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 www.losgatosgirl.com

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?