The bird is the word

I attended a party in Hollywood last night, my husband works on a TV show and last night they held the wrap party. As we crested the hill into Hollywood, I was struck by how strange it all was. I used to crave the star strewn, urine soaked streets with the glittered asphalt and silver robot men. I completely romanticized that weird little town proudly stating that the urine smell would be delightful! But now it makes me feel icky. Everyone is selling something, the valet, your server, even buildings. The essence of desperation (desperessence?) starts to seep in and I just feel sad. Everyone wants to be somebody and I just want to say, "You are."

It made me appreciate the little hamlet I call home. I live in the foothills of the San Gabriel mountains, walking distance to amazing hikes and streams. From my bedroom window, I have a view of downtown Los Angeles and it's as gorgeous as it is tiny. We are the home to feral parrots and wild peacocks.
I took this in front of my neighbors house this morning. We were getting in the car and he was right next to us. Hartwell exclaimed," Mom! A peacock!" I rounded the corner and...PEACOCK! I thought he was down the street! John heard his wailing recently and thinks he's looking for a wife. (Sorry, sir, I'm married).

The wild birds seem to be a great litmus test for the neighborhood. If you don't mind them, we'll like you. Which means my neighbors are all awesome. And I'm working hard to weasel my way into their lives. I don't want to miss out on an amazing story because I'm too busy to chat.

 When people stop while driving because they see someone they know walking on the sidewalk, and start talking to them, stopping traffic one way.
I have done this more than twice. As the driver and the pedestrian. Which makes me love my little unincorporated section of LA County all the more.

Move over bacon!

I learned how to knit! I took a class and learned about 5%. Then, I turned to youtube! And finally found the video that helped me figure out what I was doing wrong. And then many more videos for every step along the way.

Here's my first piece, complete with dropped stitches and messed up binding:
Here's what I'm doing now:
Someone's gettin' a potholder.

I need one of these at home.

Lunch in jail. Hartwell picked the table. "Can we eat in the cage?" He loved it. This is the only picture I could find where he was still.

Awesome Masonry

We saw this house while driving around Oxnard. It's called The Wall House and it's available to rent.

Endless Spring

We took a mini-vacation this last weekend. Much needed. Much. It was John's and my sixth wedding anniversary. Hartwell kept handing me things and saying, "Happy Aversary, Mom!"

The best part was overnight in a hotel. There's nothing better than going to the beach and then not having to drive home. And maybe going swimming. In a saltwater pool! With heat!

I can't wait 'til the boys know how to swim and beach vacations aren't quite as nerve wracking. And I can sit and read while they swim with their dad.


The tile I ordered came in and I picked it up! I was remembering it redder and regretting my decision. So I was very happy when it was more of a brick red. It's cement, so they color it and mold it. So it could have been hyper red. But no!

The lady who helped me told me it would be better installed vertically rather than how I laid it out above. But she can stuff her sorry's in a sack 'cause I like it horizontal! So there, tile lady!
Now I just have to pick the grout color. I'm sure that won't take long at all...

Also? Bee is an excellent photo stylist.


In the past few days I've been seeing a lot of these little caterpillars. The boys and I watched one crawl across the yard. Later that day we were excited to find a new one on the wall by the front door. Then two more:
One on the door jamb, hanging into the opening. When we checked on the first guy, he had cocooned himself!
There's so much nature! All around! I need to go to a mall.

I hope we can see the butterflies when they come out. It's the least they can do.

Flowers, chocolate, promises they don't intend to keep.

I found two of these sconces at a little store nearby. Plus a matching ceiling fixture. I think they were originally patina colored. Like a green-blue matte. And someone painted them brown. Yuck. I still have two cans of sea green. And I thought I'd paint the inside silver metallic.

I'm a little worried John will think I'm crazy. I'm glad I love them enough to tell him to shove it if he does.

Boy Approved!

I think they're just playin' it cool until I leave. Then, time to water the porch!

How do you spend $40 at the thrift store?

Porch Song Trilogy

I finally finished spray painting the table. I bought a crazy aqua color from Michaels and I think it must've been "art" paint. One can covered about 1/4 of the table. And it was $6.99 a can. So, to finish, I went to the hardware store and found a sea glass green for $4/can and one can covered 3/4 of the table. Including painting over the other color. American Accents. Good stuff.

I think I may have breathed too much of the paint. I'm a little off right now. I need to go dog face to the banana patch! Good Morning.

Drawing with Alligators

A few years ago John brought home the leftover chalkboard paint from a job. I'd always wanted to paint a chalkboard so I taped off this crazy wall and went for it. We used it all the time. The top corners both had the date the boys took their first step. I had some issues with it, it wasn't proportionate to the doors below and it was green! This was before the black was everywhere, and waaaay before the great colors.

My neighbor, Norm, had an entire wall in his boys room painted black chalkboard and it looked awesome. I asked him if he liked it or if he would change it and he said that he loves it and he can draw things when he reads them books at night.

I went to his memorial service a couple of weeks ago and was reminded of how awesome his chalkboards were. He was an art professor and also had them in his backyard office. And they were full of ideas and sketches. I was also reminded that life is random and short. And what am I waiting for?

So I painted it black, and put new handles on it.
 It makes me happy. Especially when it's full of color.
And alligators. Number one request is," Mom? Can you draw a alligator with a bird on it."

I have more projects and I'm diving in. Why wait to be surrounded by things that make us happy?

"I'm gonna have a relationship with that thing."

This photo was taken over Christmas in my sister-in-laws backyard. She had just finished filming an episode of Turf War, a show that pits two neighbors against each other, with a contractor, to see who ends up with the best backyard. Full episode available here.

Lynn was hilarious, as always*, and her backyard is incredible. That tub has hot and cold running water! They also installed a gas fire pit and a bar.

The colors of her backyard alone make it worth a viewing. Incredibly rich, bright fuchsias and peacock blues with the green of the landscape make you want to curl up with that fire pit and have a giant cocktail from the bar. They also designed an enormous movie screen upon which a movie can be projected. Appropriate because Uncle Mike is a cinematographer.

The other yard also got an incredible makeover. But instead of landscaping and color, they got a giant pergola with an amazing outdoor kitchen. Super fancy, but no match for the wabi-sabi loviness of Lynn's yard.

Check out the video, if only to hear Lynn say hilarious things!

Also? Check out Lynn's website! She makes great things!

*She coined two of my favorite sayings: "Walking Nap" and "Friends Hat." If I explain them, they aren't as funny. Except that "walking nap" came up when discussing Edward Burns. Which is funny no matter what.

Painting with Alligators

We have this crazy structure that is supposed to keep rain out of the basement. It works, but it's ugly. And, turns out, termite food.
John wanted to replace the post which meant that it needed to be painted which meant I could paint it! Green!
First, John removed the jasmine. He unhooked it and leaned it over so we could put it back after painting. Once it was removed, he discovered this:
An alligator lizard who had set up house in the corner of the structure. With baby! I'd found some of her shedded skin in the yard. Which was creepy. 

New post! (Where the blogger and home improvement worlds collide).
John also replaced two other pieces of wood and removed the top before I started painting. I primed and puttied and even painted the house and trim again.
While I was waiting for some pieces to go in, Bee discovered my brush:
After a few hours painting and securing the structure, and the dumping of a five gallon bucket of paint, (thanks, Bee!), we put the top on.
The finished product:
John just needs to reattach the jasmine. And I need a bath. I climbed all over that structure and gerrymandered myself in order to paint it. I also cleaned up that insane paint spill. Insane. Paint. Spill.

O Banksy! My Banksy!

Things you can learn about my family from this photo:

1. We don't watch our kids as closely as we should.
2. Bee likes to draw.
3. We need to keep more paper around.
4. We recycle.
5. We shop at Big Lots.
6. Bee needs a bath.