Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Sewing: Nesting Baskets

I made a few nesting baskets for a school auction donation to hold our contribution of three 8 oz. jars of Ramshackle Solid honey and a beeswax votive candle. Two sets. We don't normally "sell" our honey. The auction for our son's preschool fundraiser seemed like a worthy exception.

The nesting basket pattern is from maya*made. I was inspired, as I often am, by SouleMama.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

In Search of Snow

Despite the mild weather, we went on a quest for snow in our neighboring Angeles National Forest. We headed up the reopened 2 highway until we were just outside of Waterman. We stopped by the side of the road where the powdery snow dusted the landscape and went for a hike.

He doesn't remember his last trip to the snow. He was a baby, I held in my arms, without speech. He had a lot to say about it this time, including "I just got an idea in my brain! Let's build a snowman."

Angels were made. Hills were slid on bottoms.

I suspect we will be back as the season progresses.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Mount Wilson Expedition

Mount Wilson Observatory 100 inch scope

I found myself feeling quite thankful this Thanksgiving. Thankful for our time together as a family. Thankful for friends. Thankful for where we live.

Los Angeles is a complex city that draws many people. The weather is typically mild. Gardening is a year round possibility. The city is close to the ocean, mountains, desert and snow. One might spend the morning in the snow, trek down the mountain and head towards the sea to watch the sun slip behind the Pacific. And, of course, the film/television/entertainment industry and tastemakers that shape and curate media imagery also hold a stake in this town.

Although the latter group might skew the perception of the city, Los Angeles offers much more.

150 foot Solar Scope

The clear skies and exceptional viewing caught the interest of George Ellery Hale, who founded the Mount Wilson Observatory in 1904. Mount Wilson stands 5,710 feet above the Los Angeles Basin in the Angeles National Forest with views to the sea and Channel Islands. For over 40 years, Mount Wilson housed the biggest scopes in the world. The eyes of Albert Einstein, Harlow Shapely and Edwin Hubble peered through the eye piece to discover the earth's location in the Milky Way, other galaxies and more.

Over the weekend, we headed up to Mount Wilson Observatory for the last docent lead tour of the season to literally walk in the footsteps of Albert Einstein and other preeminent astronomers and scientists.

In the 150 foot solar scope, scientists continue to gather information about solar sun spots on antiquated equipment. The scientist hired by the man in the picture above let us into the "Computer Museum" to see the Raytheon computer still in operation.

Although the data is still culled using the Hal-esque computer, the scientists transfer the information to an online database.

Inside the 100 inch scope where Hubble worked.

The 100 inch scope is open to tours but no longer in use. Light pollution from the growing city, and the creation of larger scopes elsewhere, have diminished the relevance of the scope for scientific research. Although the 60 inch scope is open for rental to private groups. We are already discussing the possibilities.

Imagine being able to look through the eye piece that so many great scientists have peered through: a small window to the limitlessness of space, light traveling millions and in some cases billions of years, right to your eyeball.

The sun tracked west. We headed down the mountain while sailing through the galaxy.


Monday, November 21, 2011

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A Welcome Return

Extremely grateful that the artichoke has come back. Two plants so far.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Tiny Deaths

Carrion discovery date & location:
Skunk, 10/25/11, east side of Arroyo Seco creek, south of Colorado Street Bridge.
Rat, 11/11/11, Huntington Gardens, east of Lily Ponds at the base of the fir trees.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Sometimes a Small Moment

Today is incredibly overcast with rain in the forecast. Buckwheat pancakes for breakfast. Aspirations: a small excursion like the one above...drawing/writing...small projects...warmth by the fire.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Possum Poop vs. Dog

Can there really be a victor? The possum left it's tell-tale legacy in the yard. Trudy ventured out early, rolled in it & slid back into the house. I was in the kitchen, farthest away from the stink. My four year old waltzed through the living room into the kitchen clutching his nose, "What is that terrible smell?'

"What smell?" I asked as I walked into the living room and was hit with a wall of fetid nastiness.

Dog out. Washed. Washed again. Allowed back inside and documented with a photo.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Book Cart Resuscitation

The NPR affiliate station I worked for (prior to my mombatical) was located under a community college library. Each day, I would pass by double swinging doors where library carts would rest before being launched back into service transporting books back to shelves. As I was leaving one day, I found an oak library cart cast aside for the more modern and maneuverable aluminum carts. I asked if I could have the cart. With a yes from a questionable granting authority, I quickly wheeled the cart to my car and threw it inside. What is a public radio geek but a dorkier cousin to the librarian? I was thrilled with my book toting acquisition. The cart, hands down, is one of my favorite pieces of furniture.

But like any librarian, my cart has seen some hard and fast times and weathered some water stains from errant cups left to flounder coasterless on it's delicate wooden surface. My cart sat bedside until Eric's nightstands pushed it back into the living room. I decided to show some love and fix the water stains. I read up on some remedies to use mayonnaise to pull out the water rings. Reason departed and I foolishly tried the remedy. Witness the dark oil stain of my folly in the picture above.

I pulled out a sander and tried to eradicate the oil stain. I found an old can of half full Restor-A-finish that I used on the cart. The cart cleaned up beautifully. Now it holds court next to the dining table. I love it as much as the day we ran away together.