Thursday, November 26, 2009

Great Pic of the new Mayor & Vice Mayor

Here's the swearing in of Diane McNutt and Joe Pirzynski which was on November 16th.

Happy Thanksgiving

Wishing all of my readers (yes, all 2 of you, hi, mom & dad) a Happy Thanksgiving :-)

Friday, November 20, 2009

Congraulations to Diane McNutt

Congratulations to Diane McNutt for being elected Mayor. She brings a level head and strong leadership. It's amazing how much she does, and I am grateful.
She still runs her own business, McNutt & Company doing PR and marketing.
And I hope she starts up her blog again.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Squirrel in the Attic

So we got our roof replaced, thankfully right before the first rain in October (and that was a doozy)

Actually I had this post written and then it didn't get saved. Lesson learned. When blogging, save regularly.

So, a squirrel got caught up there somehow. We could hear something running around on top of the ceiling. I couldn't bear the thought of a critter hurting. And I called all around different agencies.

Bottom line, if you have a squirrel in the attic, it's your responsiblity.

I started researching online to find a Haveaheart trap. I was shocked that neither Ace nor Home Depot keep them in stock! Thankfully, OSH does, and I zipped down to the one off of Branham, and they had a good selection of humane traps.

I then stopped at the Wild Bird Store to find out what will tempt the little squirrel. Answer is the same as for rats: peanut butter. I did pick up some bird seed as well.

Well, bottom line, I hope the critter found a way out because after 2 weeks, I didn't catch anything. It's now below the house trying to capture a rat. I want to release the poor thing, but I'm outvoted.

Here's a link to the Haveaheart website dealing with trapping squirrels.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Missing McWhorter's

I know I sound like an old fuddy sitting on the porch, but I really really miss McWhorter's. When I rented in Mountain View, I would go to the one in Sunnyvale to get notecards. When I was active in ABATE, I would go to the one off of Saratoga and Moorpark to get tickets for the 50/50 raffle. And I have so many memories of the one in Los Gatos where Trader Joe's now is located. I love TJ's and am very happy they're there, don't get me wrong. But I miss a store like McWhorter's.

When you needed a graduation gift of a really nice pen, or a fountain pen, you would go to McWhorter's. When my daughter was born, and I would walk down to the Live Oak Manor park, I stopped into McWhorter's and bought a scrapbooking kit. My daughter loves her baby book. I would never have done scrapbooking had it not been for McWhorter's.

And I think back to a time and a place that was so very long ago. I had completed my sophomore year at CalPoly SLO, and was so busy that I hadn't lined up a job "in my major." I worked 2 weeks at Radio Shack in Saratoga, and just could not hack the "hard sales" job, and walked into Wherehouse Records and Tapes and asked if they were hiring. They were. I was hired on the spot. I was also taking 3 classes at night over at De Anza to try to get some of my general ed taken care of. I'd take a break, and walk down to Di Martini's Orchard (now Carl's Jr) and get some fruit, and love walking around McWhorter's during my break. And a friend of a guy I was sorta dating worked there, and we three would meet & flirt. It was a fun time.

And I have a confession. I have long had an odd love of office supplies. A new pen and a notebook would send me over the moon. Even when Office Depot moved in, my loyalty was for McWhorter's.

And for good reason. I swiped this from the website:
In 1996 McWhorter's was purchased by U.S. Office Products (USOP) of Washington D.C. This ended the local ownership and our long affiliation with Hallmark Cards. USOP purchased over 200 small companies, attempting to form a powerful nationwide commercial office products company.

We bought our house in LG in 1995. And I would always get my cards at McWhorter's, sign them, and then run a few doors down to Mailboxes Etc. (now The UPS Store. I love Elroy & promise to devote a whole post to my love of the man) to get it out so hopefully it would arrive not TOO late after the person's birthday. And, let's face it, we all knew Hallmark. We were slaves to the brand.

I wrote a letter to the president (yes, I used the internet to research who he was and where to send it), and within 2 weeks, got a personal letter back from him explaining the situation. It went into more depth than this blurb up there, and I won't mention it since, you know, it was a personal letter, personally signed. He made me feel special. And he had my loyalty until the end of time.

So I lift a glass of Testarossa Pinot Noir to you, McWhorter's. Well done. I miss you.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Not the sound of silence

We're getting our roof replaced. They pulled it off last Wednesday, and the Los Gatos inspector took two days to show up. So the roofers are back today to finish putting down the felt, and then the steel shake. We went with Cal-Pac Roofing, and can also highly recommend Woods Roofing. It was a tough choice as they're both amazing companies.

So Wednesday, it was a funny sound of things getting pried off. Thursday, they fixed some dry rot, and the materials got delivered. Holy cow. Listening to them drop the stuff on the rafters. I mean, removing the roof sounded like elephants dancing. The delivery sounded like meteors hitting the house. And it would shake the whole building structure.

So, they're here today. The meteors are hitting a bit as they move materials around, and I'll know the sound of the hammers really really well by the time this is done. Wish me luck. And no, I can't blare music or put in earplugs. I'm waiting for a UPS delivery :-) After that, though....

It was time for a facelift

When I first started this blog, I wanted Orange & Black (go Los Gatos High!). And it was fun. However, it's time for a facelift, so I hope you like the new theme.

My garden is nearing it's end for the summer. I did buy some cauliflower and broccoli and cabbage and Brussels sprouts but I haven't planted them yet. I still need to do some more cleaning out of the old before putting in the new.

School has been in session for a month now, and the routine is finally settling in.

Until next time, leave in the comments your favorite thing about Autumn. Mine is the smell in the air. It's subtle, but definitely hinting of fall.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Plumber Picking

So, we had a bad plumbing problem this summer. Our wall was squishy. Walls shouldn't be squishy. We got the three bids and threw out the high and low. The high seemed like he was looking for more things to tack on even though it was already a pretty high bid. The low seemed to be really "lego mentality." He was going to come in, and just deal with it, but I didn't get the confidence that he would be able to handle the problems that I knew would come up. And they did. Plus, I asked him to come in and do a face to face meeting with dear husband to explain about the written bid (which took a lot to get out of him. Another big warning sign, no?).
We chose Nelson Plumbing. I Yelp'd about them. They're wonderful, and I'd call on them again. And did. But Mercury is Retrograde and so mis-communications are abounding. :-)
We found another leak, so it was nice to get that all repaired. The walls are repaired and re-textured.
We repainted the living room the same Navajo white (or whatever we chose). We still have to get some BRIGHT white for the bathroom. And dear daughter managed to convince us to paint the family room with a color. Woah. That was kind of hard for two nerds. We do like things to be simple. And she chose a lovely color that looks like very rich vanilla ice cream. Dear Husband has been good about taping and painting in the evenings. Now it's my turn to get the clutter cleaned, and getting some new drapes.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

My next big thing - more coaching to stay working at my home office

My next big thing is going to be Success in Sweatpants coaching. I have already taken Trish Lambert's Winning with Elance coaching, and through it was able to land 3 more clients. It's not paying the mortgage yet, but I've got a good momentum. This way, I work out of the house and keep blogging about life in Los Gatos.

Success in Sweatpants is based on the book Book Yourself Solid: The Fastest, Easiest, and Most Reliable System for Getting More Clients Than You Can Handle Even if You Hate Marketing and Selling. Trish, a certified coach, is focusing on home based entrepreneurs. So if you've lost your job and want to start working out of your house, this is a great investment in yourself since it's not expensive, and you'll get a great understanding of who you are, what you want to do, and how you'll get there.

A common mistake when you start out consulting is to say "I'll work with anyone who will pay me." But then you end up with a lot of duds or people who don't pay. (been there, done that). And it really does help to have a focused niche. Like I enjoy copywriting. But no one really looks for a "copywriter." They'll look for an article writer, sales copy writer, or professional blogger. Then, word of mouse works in your favor.

"Say, Joe, do you know of any professional bloggers?"

"Why, yes, yes, I do."

rather than

"No, I only know someone who says she's a copywriter, but I'm not sure what that is."

Anyway, I get pretty muddled since there's so much I enjoy doing that I'll be going through Success in Sweatpants to get clarity, and to book myself solid :-)

Friday, August 28, 2009

Don't Miss Out on Leadership Los Gatos

Hey, you. Yeah, you. You can sign up for the Leadership Los Gatos and learn more bout how the town functions. It will make you a better citizen and a more informed voter. Maybe, you'll even learn how to become more involved in your community, and that's GOOD for everyone.

So check it out, fill it out, and get involved :-)

Oh, and Second Saturdays were so successful that it's being continued! Yeah! On the second Saturday of the month, go to the downtown where there are lots of specials, and helpful people who can show you all the cool shops that you didn't know existed.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Picnic in the Park

Dear daughter keeps wanting a picnic lunch, and why not? Well it’s 92 out. But we could picnic under some nice trees if we went to Oak Meadow park. Or if we walked down by the lake at Vasona.

When we were in Girl Scouts, we had a nice picnic lunch at Belgatos Park, and I used a picnic basket that was more like an insulated backpack. It kept everything in its place and the drinks stayed cool. It was nice having the utensils, not like you really need it for peanut butter sandwiches and chips, but, some day.

I should look into getting dear daughter a real picnic basket. You know, the kind made out of wicker that has the sides that flip up. It’s all delightfully mysterious. I remember a passage out of either The Five Children and It or it’s sequel The Phoenix and the Carpet by E. Nesbit which talked about the delight and the mystery of what hides in a picnic basket. You wonder if there will be exotic things like duck eggs, and yet you’re so happy to get a simple sandwich wrapped in waxed paper.

Maybe that’s what dear daughter wants is the fun of the picnic. I keep asking her what we should pack and she said she didn’t know. So perhaps I’ll get a real picnic basket and stuff it full of a mixture of the exotic and the every day (hey, chips and pretzels are always fun and exciting), and then sneak her off to a magical place where we can eat and talk. School will be starting soon, and my young daughter is going to blossom into a young lady very soon.

I hope she has a good time in sixth grade. When I was her age, Sixth was still at the elementary school, and we didn’t get to switch classes or have lockers until junior high. I know she’ll do well.

And now for your public service announcement. Don’t put cut up melon into the picnic basket without an ice pack. I had no idea but you can get food poisoning from melon. Eek. Be safe. Have happy memories of the picnic.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Compost Tea

Compost tea is pretty much what it sounds like. You take well-composted compost, put it into a cotton bag, and then dunk it in a load of water letting it steep for 24-48 hours.

Then it’s ready to use!

What I can’t figure out is, what do you do with the stuff left in the “tea bag?” Maybe put it back on the composter or use it as mulch, perhaps.

In books, they talk about mixing tea with water in a watering can, and then watering the plant. I am wondering if I can put it into my old miracle-gro container that I haven’t used in years, and if that would create the right mix, or if it would just shoot out most of the tea at the start. It’s worth playing around with.

I buy the J. S Stone Organic treatments at the Ace down the street. So I’ve got blood meal, cottonseed meal, etc. etc. around the house. In theory, this compost tea supplements everything but the calcium, if I’m reading things correctly. I’m sure there’s some calcium due to the eggshells, but I suspect it’s trace amounts.

The tomatoes definitely need their calcium. Just today, I was out there picking off some small green potatoes that had the tell-tale signs of blossom end rot on the bottom. It looks pretty gross.

I’ve read that you can dissolve Tums or any other generic antacid in water, and pour that on to give a quick shot of calcium. But is it organic? I haven’t finished wrestling with that one yet. And do I want to be pure organic anyway?

The compost is a good start. I’ve almost got dear husband trained to put leftover veg into the bag. Some day, I hope, he’ll buy me one of those composters for the kitchen counter where I can put the scraps in and let them do their work until I feel like taking them outside to the big composter.

When it’s cold or rainy, I do get a bit lazy.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

What I Did with Compost

I was so happy when I was given a composter Winter of ’08. I did my duty of only putting in the right compostable materials and no fat or meat. My gardener put in grass clippings. Ok, honestly, I wished he’d just let them sit out & dry out a bit & then I would have put them in, but it’s OK. The smell wasn’t great. I did turn it somewhat regularly. When I’d remember. And then this Spring, by some miracle of nature, I had black gold.

Ok, by then, I’d already planted up my garden. Whoops. So for fun, I spread it around next to the side fence, and planted The Three Sisters in it.

For those wondering, The Three Sisters is corn, beans, and squash. In this case, I used Renee’s Garden seeds, which are Indian corn, red runner beans, and sugar pumpkins. And they grew. Here’s how they looked in the beginning.

Here’s how it looks now!

I got all excited & planted some Delicato squash as well. I’m not sure if it survived or if the stellar jay family ate the seeds.

What really surprised me was this:

I swear these are tomato plants or something. They just kind of burst out. They’re not really growing quickly like the other tomato plants that I started from seed, but maybe it’s because they started later then my seeds.

So yes, I’ve started another pile in the composter. The gardener isn’t putting clippings into the composter, so I’m not sure what’s going to happen or how much I’ll have. I may buy some straw to add in. And some well aged manure. Next growing season, I’ll put the manure on the asparagus patch.

And I’ll make compost tea for the rest of the plants. What’s compost tea? Find out next time right here on

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Cool Story About Growing Up in Los Gatos

This is the Los Gatos that I know and remember. The author Amy Graff writes about how we kids were free to strip down to our nothings and just play in puddles or sprinklers. No one worried too much about offending.

She wrote this article on summer in the 70s for young kids for The Mommy Files on sfgate. And she's right. We weren't a hippy commune. We may have had a few artists around, but overall, Los Gatos in the 70s were just families.

I wish we could be more relaxed and let kids be kids. Being a mom, though, I do have fears. And yet, I don't want to transfer those fears to her. I want her to learn to soar, make mistakes, and soar again.

And because I'm prejudiced, I have her here in Los Gatos where I think she'll have a safe environment to explore. Now I just need to get her her own bicycle. She outgrew hers and keeps stealing mine. Grr.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Remembrance of New Years

For years, our court would hold a New Years party. Well, if it didn't rain.
We own the long fold out tables and would put them out. Everyone would
pitch in food. And another neighbor would bring out their patio heaters.
Some years, this was essential! We would be out there in our heavy ski
jackets shivering until the heater would warm us up.

But we only got together twice a year (4th of July was the other court
party). (And we didn't need patio heaters for that). So this was a time to
catch up on the gossip and trade stories, brag about kids, share sorrows
about losses.

Then the kids got older. Some went off to college. Others wanted to go to
New Years Eve parties with their friends. Another neighbor started going to
Hawaii for the holidays.

Actually, there was someone who showed up at the house in the middle of the
party & set off the alarm. At first we were shocked & thought "how rude to
rob a house right under our nose!" And the police showed up promptly.
Which wasn't necessarily good since we had been setting off some fireworks.
Shh. Don't tell anyone.

It turned out the son was going to have a party at his parents' house while
they were away and this guy got the date wrong. And they forgot to lock the
side door. But the alarm was on.

And we huddled under the outdoor heaters snickering, and went back to
toasting in the New Year.

I do miss the get togethers, but it's a part of the process with the kids
growing up and moving on. Parents reclaiming their lives again. Some day,
the older residents may sell, and young families may move in. Then we'll be
huddled under the outdoor patio heaters again trading stories and wisdom.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Happy Happy Joy Joy

I have two announcements.

First, Musics from a Los Gatos Girl now has it's own domain. Please update all references to

Second, I got my laptop back. (macbook pro) The Apple Store in Los Gatos is so great to deal with. And it really paid off to get the Apple Care. I don't abuse my laptop, but you know, it goes with me to a lot of places, and I use it, a lot.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Local Restaurants Where You Can Dine Al Fresco

I was trying to think of places in Los Gatos where I can eat al fresco. It's one of my favorite things during the early spring or mid autumn where it's chilly enough to keep the bugs away, but not so freezing that patio heaters can't keep me comfortable.

So let's list them, shall we? And put in the comments any that I missed.

1. Viva. Viva has a nice enclosed patio that is covered. You can get a
nice breeze going through, and you can eat out there if it's raining. I was
taken to dinner there by the representatives of the company that bought the
company I was working for. They were trying to get me to relocate to North
Carolina, and so I decided to take them to my hometown and let them eat al
fresco in February. And point out where Peggy Flemming lived in the hills
(Ok, not sure exactly which one is hers). Etc. Etc. The outdoor patio
kept us very happy.

2. Crimson. Crimson has a nice space next to it that they enclose with
fabric and you can look up into the sky and kind of count stars on a clear
night. That patio is quite nice for resting your heels when you've been out
walking, which this Los Gatos Girl has been doing quite a bit. The food is
amazing. And the outdoor heaters are divine. You have to be careful with
the placement of them. When I went to Pearl's in Palo Alto once upon a time
over 15 years ago, the tables were too close to the heaters and it was

3. Trevese. Have they opened up their patio yet? I know that they were
trying to set up a lovely outdoor area, but it got shot down by the planning
commission. But I do believe they have outdoor dining.

4. California Cafe. I haven't been there when they've had outdoor patio
heaters. I think they don't use the outdoor seating area if the weather
isn't perfect. What's really fun is when the chef sets up some barbecue
grills and has special dinners. That is so worth going for.

5. The Cellar. Right next door :-) They have a marvelous outdoor area with
waiter stations set up for quick refilling of water glasses. And coffee.
Which is important. The tables have umbrellas, and I'm pretty sure I've
seen the patio heaters outdoors, but I've not eaten there when they were set

Ok, so who am I missing????

Thursday, July 23, 2009

I am so missing my laptop

I had to bring my MacBook Pro into Apple Store on N. Santa Cruz to get it repaired last Friday. It had the blue line on the left side for a few weeks. And I hadn't been able to burn a disk since March, so I had to have that looked at.
But, the real problem is that the computer would overheat. When dear daughter had it on her lap, I confess, I blamed her. And insisted that the laptop only be on a hard surface. Not much of a lap top now is it.
It overheated on a hard surface about twice a week. Then once a day. Then twice a day, but we were in the middle of the replumbing, and I said "I can't deal with this right now!" But then it shut itself down again. And I made myself bring it in.
The withdrawl is fierce. Dear husband is laughing saying that I really need to look into my addiction to the internet. Maybe I should go outside and putter in the garden.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Farewell to Smith & Hawken

I remember when they opened. I think it was the site of the old market. My buddies and I would go there for sandwiches or soda during lunchtime when we were in high school.

Then they boarded it all up, and what a remodel. There’s the fish pond in the front with the now huge Koi. I swear one time when I looked in, one was pregnant. That or too many people fed it. If I can pun a bit, there was nothing coy about those Koi. They’d mug you for any food they could.

I went there to get organic garden sprays that worked really well keeping the mites off of my brassicas.

We loved all of their furniture and tools. I think we got our wrought iron fireplace set there. We never set aside the money for really good outdoor furniture. Dear Hubby thinks it would disintegrate over the years if we didn’t have A Plan for storing them during the winter.

And he’s probably right. He usually is much to my consternation. I should mention today’s our 15th wedding anniversary. My gift to him is letting the world know he’s right more often then not.

When Dear Daughter phoned me last week to say Smith & Hawken was closing, I thought it was just our store since times are hard, and unfortunately, more then a few things are closing down there on N. Santa Cruz. Imagine my surprise when I got the email saying the whole company was shutting down.

I did some research. Scott Turf/Miracle Grow bought the company in 2004 and never figured out how to make it profitable, and were unable to sell it. So the company gets shut down and about 700 people were let go. That is a darn shame.

But Los Gatos Girl, you say, you’re a capitalist. It’s true, I am. I’m sorry to see a company go since competition is a good thing. But, there are good alternatives out there. Outdora has a huge selection of patio furniture, gardening tools, composters, and outdoor decorations. Because they’re online, they can have a wider variety and greater selection. They also have a showroom opening up in Sonoma. I’m so going to take my Harley up there when they do and check it out. I want to check out the hanging chair stand.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Delusions of Grandeur

So while I was poking around for a new way of displaying our house numbers and street on an address plaque, I found some really gorgeous ones made out of stone. You put it out on the lawn. Wouldn’t it be fun to have an estate large enough to where I could have a lovely and stately stone address plaque like the ones made by QualArc.

Thankfully they do have a good selection of lovely address plaques that would suit my house. What I like about them is that they have plaques made out of granite with brass numbers.

I think my favorite is the QualArc Edgewood Large Lighted Wall Address Plaque. It has five wood types and I’m in love with the Antique Copper. The numbers are vinyl so they won’t rust or fall off.

I wonder how it would look against the house. It’s tan with worn & faded brick facing. Still, at some point, we’re going to need to repair some of the outside panels. And then we’ll repaint it. I know dear daughter has one idea of the color of the house. When she was really young, she wanted a pink house. She’s been watching Extreme Home Makeover, and has a LOT of ideas on how to repaint both inside and out.

We had to go to OSH this past weekend to get a new sink fixture (you know, plumbers are replacing the pipe, so we might as well have them replace the kitchen sink fixture. I wanted to replace the bathroom sink fixtures, but dear husband said he wasn’t going to let that horse’s nose out of the barn.

It’s just as well since we need to have some carpentry repair work where a leak damaged some wall and floor studs beyond repair.

Oh, but anyway, we were at OSH and dear daughter said, “I’ll be in paints. See you later.” She eventually found me with a handful of paint chips. They were very classy and they went well together. Anyway, we’re in negotiations right now as to how many rooms we’ll paint.

But go check out those QualArc address plaques and let me know which ones you like best.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

We’re Fixing Up the Homestead

We found a leak. We actually found a leak 7 years ago and ignored it. Then the wall dried up, and we thought we were fine. But then there was another leak. And this one wasn’t clearing up. And we knew that our galvanized pipes were disintegrating. So we sighed and got ready for the plunge of remodel heck.

I’ll blog more about that another time. But since we’re fixing up the internals, I think we should clean up the externals too. Like when I removed the ugly juniper that was overgrown and housed rats and spiders. I replaced them with geraniums and roses, and it looks awesome.

So maybe it’s time to get a pretty custom made address plaque for the house because we do confuse a lot of people since our front door faces a different street than our address. This could be a smart way of letting people know, “Hey, we’re really this address.” This can be useful, heaven forbid, we should ever need a fire truck or ambulance.

Hubby has always loved brass. And I found these beautiful copper, brass and aluminum address plaques from Whitehall. Ok, I get to use one of my favorite words. Some have a patina! But seriously, I fell in love with the Rochelle Wall Address Plaque since it has a nice bricky red background with the brass numbers and some lovely designs. Still I wonder if it would go well with our tan house, so perhaps we’d be better off with the Pinecone wall address plaque. It’s green, obviously, with brass. The detail around the outside is subtle. It’s classy.

I wouldn’t want to hang them on our brick, although we could. I just dread having to drill into that. And just to the right of the brick around the door is the living room window, which have faux shutters. I’ll keep looking.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Tomato Time

Well things are finally progressing in the garden. Here's a picture of my harvest from this weekend minus about 4 large tomatoes that I ate Saturday night.

I've been waiting impatiently for the cucumbers. I sowed them back in April and May, and they're only now getting tiny little cucumbers forming.
And that, really, is the key to gardening. Patience. The plant knows when it's time to form fruit based upon ambient temperature, length of day, and soil temperature.
Drat. I hate when I'm learning a lesson.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Burning Burning Burning, Like a Ring of Fire

I didn’t want to perfectly quote The Man in Black since if this came up in their search, they’d be mighty disappointed. I’m a firm believer in only catching the fish that are looking for you.

So this los gatos girl did some research on fire rings. Wow, they’re pretty cool. The fire rings at Outdora have some lovely images stamped out in them like stars and moons, horses, mountains and trees, and moose.

And yes, the purpose of the fire ring is to create a safe outdoor fire pit any place, any where, and (for the most part) any time. So I could get a fire ring and use it in my back yard, and then take it when I go visit dad & mom in an RV park (they like going close by like to the beach), and set up the fire ring there and roast marshmallows.

The willow fire ring and grill comes with a cool grill that you can attach and cook directly over a fire. This I thought was very cool. While someone is cooking on a fork on one side (or on one fire ring), I can be cooking portobellos on the grill over some lovely hard wood.

I think I’d want a real outdoor fire pit or a chiminea for the back yard since it’s big and beautiful, and a fire ring for camping or hanging out on the beach. I’d want to be very careful building a fire in the great outdoors. Especially in California. And apparently we’re having a drout.

In the cool evenings of the fall when it’s still twilight out at 7, it would be nice to have a fire to relax around. Most of my tomatoes will be gone by then, and we have that nice dirt patch in the middle of the yard. I can move the fall & winter crops over to the side. Hrm. Yeah, I think I’m getting a plan here.

Making Camping Out Easier

Ok, what’s more fun then camping out? Cooking out in your backyard and sleeping in your own bed. Ok, I’ve gone soft. I really like my own bed (and my own bathroom), but I do miss the delight of sitting around a campfire.

And it’s not just roasting weenies or marshmallows. Although, let’s face it, nothing is better than a S’More. My mom would like her burned black on the outside. Said it had a sweeter taste. I tended towards the light tan when I was a kid. But the older I got, the more I wanted to catch the marshmallow on fire just for the fun of blowing it out.

But what I also realized when I got older was that the blacker it was on the outside, the gooeyer it was on the inside which made for a far better S’More.

So what’s a girl to do? Easy. I went over to Outdora again and fell in love with the Patina Outdoor Fire Pit. I mean, check out the moon & star cutouts. What could be more cool then hanging out in a chair, glass of wine, and just watching the beauty of a flame. Plus were I ever to actually go to the beach, I could pack it up & bring it with me.

Or, I suppose, I could set up an outdoor chiminea. That does seem to scream more Los Gatos Girl, now doesn’t it. They say it’s used for cooking. I’m curious how. I mean, you know what a psycho foodie I am.

Speaking of being a foodie, what the heck are outdoor fire rings? It looks like a hibachi without the legs. And this one comes with a grill. I mean, would I use it in the backyard? Probably not. Mostly likely it’s good for camping and keeping a close eye on the fire. I wonder if Dad & Mom would like one for when they go RV’ing?

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

More on the Wind Chimes

You know, once I started showing dear husband the selections, he was wanting more than one. I always over worry that they annoy the neighbors, but a quick poll showed that they couldn’t even hear them (“you had wind chimes?”)

To me, though, it’s important that we have quality tuned ones that are nice to listen to on a warm evening with the windows open. When we first bought the house in 1995, it didn’t have air conditioning. We’d shut everything up, close all the drapes, and go to work. We wouldn’t open it back up until it cooled down outside or we went to bed. It would keep it somewhat manageable. Once daughter was born, though, we had to get a/c since I started working out of the house.

But I remember being young and pouring a glass of wine or a beer, and sitting outside in the chairs under the old tree and talking about the day while the wind chimes provided a nice background.

Outdora also stocks Music of the Spheres wind chimes. These are very cool in that they’re tuned to a pitch, like soprano, mezzo, tenor, and even basso profundo. That set looks like they have some really large pipes. Another reason I like the Music of the Spheres wind chimes is that you can turn them ‘off’ by sliding the clapper up the central cord and into the ring. This can be useful if I get neurotic & worry about the chimes bothering the neighbors at night. I can just turn them off before going to bed.

We should get them up again soon, once we agree upon which one to get. And if you can have more than one set. And we do have a front and a back of the house. This year, though, we’ll take them in before the rainy season hits.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Can Wind Chimes Soothe the Soul?

We were cleaning out the garage the other day so that we can start working on the Harleys again. Lo and behold, in a corner, in an unused mini cooler that his mom left with us (which we’ll never use and she won’t take back…we should donate it, but it’s one of those things where as soon as we do, she’ll want it back)….there was a set of wind chimes that hubby’s friend gave him probably 15 years ago.

They were beautifully tuned and we had them outside for many years until the string disintegrated and parts started falling off. Then, one winter, a really bad storm knocked the wind chimes completely off. There they were hanging all over the orange tree. And I picked up all the pieces that I could find and put them into the cooler in the garage intending to get it fixed some day.

Dear Hubby pointed out that I didn’t pick up an important piece & he’d seen it kicking around the yard for months. I didn’t ask why he didn’t just pick it up and put it with the rest of the stuff. 22 years together, you tend to gloss over some things.

So, it brought out some nostalgia. Should we get them fixed or should we buy a new set. I don’t even know if you can get them restrung, honestly. This set was well tuned with a deep throaty call.

So I’ve been looking into new ones and found Woodstock Percussion wind chimes. My new favorite online store Outdora has a huge selection of them. Woodstock Percussion even makes glass wind chimes as well as the usual metal ones.

My favorite is the Woodstock Pachelbel Cannon Wind Chime. I think dear hubby would want the Woodstock Chicago Blues Wind Chime. And I am NOT under any circumstances getting a gong.

What a heat wave we had

Goodness, it was hot. Some people reported that it was over 100 on Saturday. My car said it was 98 when I snuck out at 1230 to go to Starbucks and see an old friend. We'd lost track & refound each other on Facebook, so I'm happy. It's nice when friendships transcend time. We both busted a gut laughing about the same old silly things.

So my garden seems to be surviving OK. I watered around 830am and it was already over 80 on both days. By the end of the day, the stuff growing out of the compost were a little wilty as were the strawberries in a regular container, but everyone in a self watering container were happy & ready for more. Whew. And that is why I use them.

I had my first real tomato become ready this weekend. Yeah! I gave it to my parents.

Heirloom tomatoes definitely look funny, and I haven't heard but I'm hoping it was delicious. The hot weather is great for my peppers too. The Love Apple Farms Orange Bell is producing about 5 peppers at the moment.

Friday, June 26, 2009

A greenhouse can produce your dinner all year round

Last time, we talked about a mini-lean to greenhouse. But what if you had more space, or you wanted a greenhouse in place of some of the space for containers. If you live in a place with a shorter growing season, you’d be saving yourself money by having a larger greenhouse where you can keep things producing all year.

In fact, you’ll be the envy of all your friends if you happen to product a tomato in the middle of December. And it’s possible. There are varieties cultivated in Czechoslovakia such as the stupice variety that doesn’t need as much heat, and can produce with shorter light cycles. Plus, really, if you have a greenhouse, you can add in growlights to extend the light cycle.

A good greenhouse like the SunGlo Greenhouse brand will let you adjust the humidity with venting windows. So if you get an unusually warm day in October or March, you can ventilate the greenhouse to maintain a happy growing temperature. And not cook the poor leaves. It’s happened, and I just want to get past my accidental vegicide.

The SunGlo Greenhouse kits are unique in that they have an automatic shutter ventilation system included. Most places expect that your kids will automatically remember to close them. It doesn’t work that way in my house.

I like the idea of getting to assemble my own greenhouse too. I can spend a whole weekend out in the garden anyway, so I might as well have something to show for it. And let’s face it, it’s a nice place to go hide. They can find me too easily when I’m in the middle of the plants.

The other reason I really like the SunGlo Greenhouse kits is that it looks like an old fashioned barn with the curved roof rather then the traditional A-frame. It makes it feel like its much larger and spacious. I’m sure that it also helps out a lot with the air circulation.

Let me know if you have one and what you think!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

A greenhouse could save my marriage

If you’re like me, your partner really doesn’t appreciate having seedlings on warming mats all over the dining room table all fall, winter and spring. You understand my dilemma, I’m sure. I don’t want to spend a lot of money on new plants, and frankly, it’s a lot of fun to buy unique seeds that I can’t get at the local nursery.

For example, there are at least 15 varieties of cauliflower. Some are purple, some are yellow, and some are the purest of white. And I really want to try growing a romanescu just so I can photograph it.

And should we talk about tomatoes? I think we should along with peppers. We need to start our seeds early on in the cold of winter, just to ensure that they’re large enough to thrive once the evenings stay above 50F. I confess to cheating and sneaking them out sooner, but covering them in the evenings right when the sun goes down.

I take such pride in telling people I started a plant from scratch. But how to appease my husband with dirt all over the place when a cat got too curious?

A greenhouse. This is what I’m saving up my pin money for. Living in suburbia, I have a larger backyard then most, but I want to spend most of my space on my containers so I can have more vegetables and fruits.

Juliana manufactures a perfect mini lean-to greenhouse for a very affordable price. I should be sitting it up outside in no time. Then I’ll attach it to the side of my home where I used to have a woodbin (can’t really burn wood in California anymore, so why not replace it with a greenhouse). The Juliana mini-lean to has a 5 year warranty as well. If you’d like to find out more information, here is where I found out more information on the Juliana mini-lean to greenhouse.

Can you imagine how many seedlings I’ll get with 3 shelves that are 4’3” wide and 2’2” deep? And imagine how happy my husband will be to get the dining room table back. But then, we’ll be hosting more holiday dinners.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Leadership Los Gatos

Well, I finished up Leadership Los Gatos with barely a squeak. I came down with a virus and had to miss the graduation. Drat. I highly recommend the program for people to learn more about Los Gatos and how it's managed.

In the letters to the editor, I constantly see complaints about this or that, and I have to think that if they would get more involved instead of sitting back and armchair quarterbacking, everyone's life would be better in the community.

I went to the planning commission where they discussed the future of the property at the corner of Gateway and Los Gatos Boulevard. I'd say it was where the McHugh Lincoln Mercury dealership used to be, but that's old news. So it's where Swanson Ford dealership expanded to for awhile. There were people complaining about how they might connect the parking lot with where Trader Joe's is located. Don't they realize that's a good thing? If there are offices in the new building, what a great idea to walk over to TJ's or Crimson or Little Lou's and spend some money in Los Gatos. Every little bit helps.

And frankly those that are worried about the noise should have lived there when it was McHugh. I could always here their P.A. system, and I'm half a mile from the place.

So I was happy to see the Town Council approved it.

Those who are interested in a career in civic leadership might want to earn a Public Administration degree from an accredited college.

The Weather Is Finally Warm in Los Gatos

Well, whew. I was starting to think we'd never feel some hot weather. I have these enormous tomatoes but they're all green. I think they need a bit more heat to change color.
So far, I have tomatoes, peppers, melons, squash, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, onions, asparagus, and green beans going. The asparagus crowns went in the ground in January. The first year, you ignore them. But goodness it was cute watching them grow up, and then fern out.

I thought planting onions in the same area was a good idea since they're both nitrogen loving, but the gardening books say never ever do that. Whoops. Live and learn. I've been sprinkling compost and bloodmeal periodically and everyone seems happy.

I'm going to start a new blog just for gardening, and will let you know what the URL is once I finalize it.

School has been out a week, and goodness the time has flown. I'm sure the whole rest of summer will be like that. Kiddo is in the Los Gatos-Saratoga Recreation Summer School starting Monday the 22nd. She just graduated from 5th grade and will be going to middle school next year. Time has flown. She'll be attending Summer School at Fisher Middle School. I haven't been there since I graduated from 8th grade in 1981. Since then, I know they built a new gym. I'll be very curious to wander around and see if my old locker is even still there.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Keeping the Trails Clean

So the other weekend, I picked up trash along the Los Gatos Creek Trail. Not because I had to, but because I wanted to. It was my volunteer requirement for Leadership Los Gatos. The trails were fairly clean, except for bags of dog poo. I guess I should be happy that the owners are thinking of picking it up, but the truth is, if the dog went over in the bushes, the poo would decompose & disappear within days, but being in the bag, it's going to take a lot longer.

If you're going to bag the poo, at least put it into a garbage can.

Which brings me to my next rant. There's really not enough garbage receptacles along the trail. Ok, virtually none. If we want people to be good citizens, we should at least give them the ability to throw things out responsibly.

I think that's enough ranting for now. At least it was a really beautiful day.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Congratulations Chef Kinch

Huzzah! Manresa Chef Kinch won handily in Iron Chef America's Kitchen Stadium against Chef Bobby Flay.

And this Los Gatos Girl is thrilled that Chef Kinch did a major smackdown on all areas.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Hail Hail Los Gatos

Well, I tried to take a picture of the hail that came down this week. It was pea sized, and frankly it seemed to last a minute before really big drops of water came down.

I'm pleased to say my garden is fine. Whew.

I have celery, artichokes, strawberries, peas, chard, lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower and red cabbage. Oh and I have some tomatoes in. I've started seedlings indoors for tomatoes and peppers. I'm about to start another round of tomatoes.

This year, I'm going to stagger them. Never again will I plant 23 varieties of tomatoes all within two weeks of one another.

Now the cool thing that I planted this year were asparaguses (yes, I know it's not a word but it's cute sounding to say "asparaguses" rather then the usual "asparagi") (yes, i know that's not a word too. Really it's March Madness or something, but I'm feeling mighty goofy today.

Anyway, I planted the crowns in January, and I saw that a few of the little dears have poked up through the surface. Boy did I do a happy dance. I put down well composted manure and then a layer of potting soil to ensure there was a high nitrogen content. Then I planted lots of onions and shallots. They're doing great. These are the only things I don't have in containers. I was disappointed with the container onions this fall, so into the ground they go. I hope they get large.

I did three varieties of strawberries: late spring, early summer and late summer. Then I'm expecting some blueberry plants soon. I got some self-watering container pots for them.

But the elm in the back has leaves. The tulip tree in the front is blooming.

Regardless of what Punxsutawny Phil says, it's Spring.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Oak Meadow Park in February

Goodness it's gorgeous here. My daughter & her friend convinced me to get out of the house. So naturally I brought my MacBook Pro and Verizon Air Card so I can keep working while I'm here.

We first went to the 7-Eleven where Blossom Hill ends on N. Santa Cruz. I remember my brother and I would walk down there (which was really quite a ways from College Avenue), and get mountain dew and huge candy bars, and then go play at Oak Meadow. This was back when parents didn't need to tether their kids, nor did they overschedule them. (usually we'd just go to the 7-Eleven by the high school, but sometimes we just wanted to go for a long walk. I love my brother, and we've always gotten along really well. He's been gone from the area since probably 1993 and I still miss him.)

I'm drinking a Coca Cola slurpee. Honestly, I swear it's the best. Go for the traditional.

Dan and I would also ride our bicycles to Oak Meadow when we were older. It's mostly still the same. It has great swings, the old plane and a fire truck. It's a different fire truck, but that's OK. The play structure is way different, and they have tanbark instead of sand.

That sand got so hot in the summer. I do remember Dan and I racing across the playground area on our bikes to see who could get across. We'd always bog down by the slides.

Kids need more unstructured play time. They need to get bored and learn to use their imaginations again. And not have tethers.

Ok, back to work. I took more photos with my iphone that I'll upload later.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Monday, January 05, 2009

Happy New Year and Catch Up

Hi, everyone,
I hope this finds you well.

I was going to do a blog on the arson that happened at the Peppertree school, and took pictures of how they were removing all the burnt parts, and how pissed off I was that they'd burned down the play structure at Live Oak Manor Park.

But the same day that I snapped them, that evening was the old McHugh Lincoln Mercury dealership fire (it became the 2nd Swanson Ford site). So I didn't think it was a good idea at the time. But now I guess I do. Here's the photos of Swanson Ford.

And the good news is that they've replaced the playstructure at Live Oak Manor. My daughter tested it out and it's definitely Kid Approved.