Sunday, August 6, 2017

I got rid of a lot of unused flower pots in my backyard and moved several shelves out of the way to donate.  Dead plants are thrown away and outdoor tables and chairs are dusted and cleaned.  I found whole bag of unused fertilizer and bark chips in the shed and gave all the plants several deep watering.

Within a few days my poor neglected backyard seems to be coming back to life.  After the big clean out it actually became very enjoyable space rather than a messy jungle.  Today I actually sat on the bench for a good while just relaxing, somethings I haven't done for a long time.

I still have to fix two fountains, have my BBQ grill serviced since I haven't used it for years and maybe add some outdoor string lights.  I can't wait to invite some friends over for some BBQ and drinks after everything is all fixed up.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

It's a small miracle that my vanda orchid bloomed.  There's no feeling like it, now that I know I can get them to bloom, maybe I will buy another one to add to my collection!

Every once in a while I like to change things up a little bit, a friend of mine had told me that it's good practice to move furniture around a little bit to change the energy of the room, and I think there might be some truth to it.  After all, when the furniture layout of a room is changed,  the way you feel about a room is different too.  I moved my desk around to different side of the room and decided that I was just going to let it "float" in the middle of the room.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

These days right when I wake up in the morning Bobby was the first thing that jump in my mind, it brings me a lot of sadness, but like that songs goes, " you are on my mind, you're always on my mind." 

Saturday, July 1, 2017

This week was legitimately difficult for me, I had worked so much that when I finally got to bed I felt so sick and thought I was getting some bad virus infection and probably would never have the energy to get up in the morning, but I did and the sun came out so all was good that the world didn't collapse with my energy level.

Since I was away so much I really missed my doggies during the day, and crazy things happened too while I was away.  Apparently my back door somehow got open and that triggered my alarm and the police came, all the drama escaped me because, well, I just wasn't there.  I only found out because my back door was wide open and there was note from the cops in my mail box.  Since there was absolutely nothing of value in my house I didn't even bother to check, I counted the dogs and just assumed nothing was missing and went on my day.

After eating junk food all week I really felt like cooking so I picked up a ribeye steak from the store and bought a bottle of wine.  I have a pretty reliable steak recipe that I've been using for years and I'd like to share it here.

I learned this recipe in college while I was renting a room from a landlady in North Hollywood.  For about a year I was desperate to find a cheap place that's close enough to my campus so I didn't have to commute three hours a day.  Finally I saw some ad posted at the bulletin board at my music department.  Room for rent, $450 a month.  So I teared a strip of phone number off the bottom of the ad.  Turned out it was a huge Spanish house in North Hollywood owned by a Austrian lady.  She was also a piano teacher, and in her beautiful sprawling house she had a grand music room with two Steinway pianos and chandeliers.  it was a house furnished with a lot of European antique.  My room was a small bedroom in the back with my own full bath complete with antique bed and dresser and a beautiful bathroom with antique fixtures.

My landlady lived with her younger son, who at that time was in his late 20s and quite a looker and a stud.  The three of us became pretty good friends and since we were all music nerd, we had quite a bit in common.  My housemate actually taught me how to cook steak and it was one of the few recipes that he knew how to do because it helped him to "impress girls."  He certainly wasn't trying to impress me but rather thought I was more pitiful than him not having any cooking skills at all. So here are the instructions.

This recipe basically involves cooking steak with a quarter size of olive oil, or as I like to do, about two oz of butter, I also like to add cumin to the sizzling butter for add some extra kick to the flavor, season the steak with salt and pepper, and then cook on medium high heat for about five minutes on each side.  The trick is not to flip the steak except once.  The meat will stick to the pan, but once it's cooked enough it will release itself from the pan and that's when you flip it to the other side.

When the steak is done, I liked to serve with a light salad or boiled green beens and a glass of red wine, and for under 15 minutes you have a delicious dinner for very little.

I also liked to use the smallest pan that I could find, so it's the perfect size to cook for one person. There's something very comforting about preparing dinner and enjoying the wonderful sizzle and smell while cooking.  So now that the food is done, enjoy it under the candle light or a mini chandelier.  Bon Appetite!

Thursday, June 29, 2017

On the weirder side of me, on occasion I like to get a tarot card reading.  Maybe once or twice a year, and I go in to see some random psychics and have them tell me some things that I could totally tell myself, you need more exercise, eat healthier, some opportunity will come up in the next few years, a wild handsome beast is in your future type of thing, etc., etc.  I suppose people go in for no more reason other than to see if their fortune or health will improve in the near future, and I seek these answers just the same.  There's a bit more to it though.

It sort of started maybe a decade ago when I was still trying to better my piano playing skills and I met this teacher from Russia, she was this eccentric lady that was quite independent and full of adventurous spirit.  She lived in this big old ugly apartment complex that upon first impression looked like a stuccoed ship.  The whole structure felt oppressive, and when I got close enough I just felt like it was collapsing on me.  Once you were in the unit though it wasn't all that bad, it had a long balcony which over looked lots of trees and she lived there on her own with a small grand piano.   In all honesty she wasn't all that great of a teacher but I liked her personality and we cracked up way too many jokes for the lessons to be productive.  She told a lot of fascinating stories of her life back in Russia and chain smoked a lot, there was always some film noir playing on her grand old tv and somehow the whole set up was very comforting for me.

On my break she always made this special Armenian coffee, which was basically boiled coffee grounds with lots of sugar, sometimes she had food stocked in the fridge and then she would feed me too, but the coffee was really special as this was something very exotic to me and it was always a special treat.  On many occasions she had a friend who would joined us during our coffee break, it was an elderly lady and she looked like a legitimate witch from those fairytale movies that ate little children.  After I drank my cup she would flip the cup over and then read my fortune, and to great accuracy too.  Something about a table full of ladies talking about nonsense was a lot of fun, and while I no longer take piano lessons from anyone, this tradition sort of carried on with me.

Recently I found a stylish psychic lady whom her friend had let me in were in her 70s.  She looked so radiant and stylish and gave advice like she really had seen the world, and it was always a lot of fun. Nowadays I could have weird people sitting at my dinner table eating cake and drinking wine all night long, it's a nice break from the harsh reality and the 9 to 5 world.  Lately I have been thinking that life is so short and it is really fleeting right before my eyes, so if I want to be weird I should be weird, and if I want to work less I should work less.  After all no matter what fortune is foretold, life is going to be bittersweet, but willingness to experience it all is that makes it truly golden.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

I have to be very budget conscious nowadays and try to eat at home as much as possible, and my pup's dinner also made it to the spending cut.  I've switched them on kibbles plus part of cooked food instead of all homemade food to keep costs down, but anyhow, still I think they are getting a good amount of fresh veggie and meat.

This recipe is what I call the "poor dog's meal,"  because it's relatively cheap and better than having a pack of sad dogs chewing dry bland kibbles while looking angrily at me.

So the easiest store with the cheapest option near me is Target, they have a produce section that often have eggs or meat on sale for very cheap, sometimes a pack of 80% lean ground beef only cost $3, and a bag of coleslaw mix is about $1.60, so for about $5 I can cook a batch of fresh meat and veggie mix meal for my pups.  I don't know what is cheaper than that, I mean a latte at Starbucks cost just as much, a medium sized one... not even a large latte, and all you get is one oz of espresso and frosted milk.

I usually cook one package of ground beef with 2/3 bag of coleslaw mix, adding a little water until the veggie is soft and meat is cooked through.  Some people feed their dog raw meat with cooked vegetable, I feed my pups cooked meat and that's just how I have it done at my house.

So I serve dinner with a mixture of kibble and the meat and veggie meal, sometimes if I'm feeling extra fancy I will add in a spoonful of whole fat organic yogurt.  After all that I will have enough left over for another batch in the morning for their breakfast.  My pups look forward to their walk and meals all day long so I try to supply as much as I can.

I've been looking at online pictures for some creative home renovation ideas.  The last time I did anything to the house was over three years ago, and I'm really looking forward to do something creative with the house again.  There is actually a large amount of work that still needs to be done.  Some of them include three bathrooms that badly needed renovation, a new kitchen, exterior paint, repairing the badly cracked drive way, and probably a complete rebuilt of the garage at the different spot of the backyard.

 The tv room in my 1923 cottage was originally a tiny bedroom.  Over time the previous owners pushed the ceilings and walls further out to make the room bigger, but the ceiling had low beams and weird layout.  And since there's no definition between the kitchen and tv room, this part of the house just looks like a huge long hallway.  This is probably the most heavily used room in my house and I'm never quite comfortable in it.  Lately I've been thinking about some renovation ideas like reconfiguring the ceiling and windows to make the look more consistently "vintage."  Or doing some kind of wall beam to make this open space a bit more defined.

Anyhow, lots of ideas and not enough time and energy to get it done, but a girl can dream right?

I really like the little round window idea.  I have a couple of half round windows from the 90s that I was never too fond of, and I would love to replace with round shaped windows or somehow tweak the framing to make it look more vintage.

The frame work of this bedroom is pretty much what I want my tv room to look like, albeit my room is not nearly as wide, but I think I can achieve that vaulted ceiling look complete with vintage chandeliers.

Anyhow, my renovation plan probably won't happen for quite sometime, but having some ideas is a good start!

Friday, June 23, 2017

Took this picture as I was walking out of late dinner at a local Italian restaurant couple nights ago.  I had just finished work late and whenever I'm tired and hungry I have no willpower to cook something healthy.  I ordered a plate of spaghetti and a glass of wine and finished my dinner just as the restaurant was closing up and all the guests were leaving.  It was very nice to step into the cool breeze of the night and the streets were sleepy and quiet.  Moments like this make everyday life feel like a bit of adventure. 


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