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1  Re: Traveling Little Visitor Swap Round 23 Gallery! in The Swap Gallery by waterbaby on: May 14, 2016 07:33:06 PM
Eeek! Felicity is adorable in her sun hat <3

I know, right?!? Grin Grin Grin

All of the gardens are absolutely beautiful! It's cool to hear that they are going with more drought appropriate plants Smiley 

Unfortunately, of the homes on the tour only the mayor's residence was really making the effort.  The garden where we couldn't take pictures consisted of a very large lawn edged on three sides with roses.  Another is mostly paved, but had these fountains running into its swimming pool all day:

And as lovely as the other gardens are, their lushness comes at a price paid by those of us who can only enjoy their greenery from what we can see if we drive or walk by....

(End of mild rant from lifelong environmentalist who nonetheless appreciates the beauty.)
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2  Re: Traveling Little Visitor Swap Round 23 Gallery! in The Swap Gallery by waterbaby on: May 14, 2016 02:54:40 PM
Felicity recently went on a garden tour with me, a fundraiser for a neighboring, um, neighborhood's historical society.  There were five homes in all, only three of which, I thought, were actually interesting garden stops (and the least interesting didn't allow pictures!).

First stop was the official Mayor's residence (though they haven't all lived there since it became the official in 1977, our current mayor and his family moved in after he was elected).  They've done a great job replanting it for drought conditions, and also had a display of "aeroponic" gardening, which let you grow mass quantities on a very small footprint, using 90% less water and no chemicals:

(I made Felicity a garden hat for the occasion....)

The central part of the garden now has a lot of open, unplanted space along with native and drought tolerant foliage:

At the far end they've retained a wonderful vine covered pergola and what I called a miniature summer house which faces the entire yard to the back of the house...

and is fronted by a fountain/pond which is now kept dry due to the drought:

A couple of highlights from some of the other homes were this charming vegetable garden, where Felicity found a a resting perch on a strawberry pot...

...and this yard with what has to be one of the all-time great pool toys...

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3  Re: Traveling Little Visitor Swap Round 23 Gallery! in The Swap Gallery by waterbaby on: May 02, 2016 06:00:25 PM
Last week as part of my office job's Staff Appreciation Week, we went to a trendy bowling alley for a few mid-afternoon hours of food, drink, and, well, bowling.  We took a Dash bus (about half the length of a regular bus, they follow smaller, more localized routes around parts of Los Angeles, but mostly concentrated downtown where we were)...

...to an entertainment complex called L.A. Live which has performance, movie, and event venues, restaurants, the Grammy Hall of Fame, and this bowling alley.  It was hard to get interesting pictures because the lights are pretty dim, except for where the balls roll back in:

Lunch was bar-type food, most of which I couldn't eat, being a mostly vegetarian, so I filled up on tortilla chips with salsa and guacamole, and consoled myself with an overly sweet, fruity version of my go-to cocktail, the Moscow Mule:

A Moscow Mule is made with vodka, ginger beer, and lime juice served in a copper mug, sometimes with fresh crushed ginger, often with mint leaf -- delicious and refreshing.  This one also had both simple syrup and blackberry syrup.  I asked for a dish of limes and squeezing the four wedges they brought into the mug helped combat the syrups.  At least they got the mug right.

But those are really points of amusement and not complaint, because we had a great time.  Best of all, I finally had a light bulb go on about the how of bowling and broke my record high score of, I think, about 14 and bowled a 99.  OK, that was over two games, but for me: fantastic!  The ball I used was, for a change, light enough, which allowed me to make a better approach and throw, and I think if the thumb hole on the ball had been a little bigger I might have done even better (couldn't get it in completely which had to affect the spin and direction of the ball as it left my hand).  In any event, having never done anywhere near this good in my previous (if limited) bowling outings, I feel I have to credit any success to the presence of my Little Visitor!
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4  Re: Traveling Little Visitor Swap Round 23 Gallery! in The Swap Gallery by waterbaby on: April 26, 2016 11:39:54 PM
I was so tickled seeing Alby and the Knitathon corner I almost forgot I came to the gallery to post some pictures of Felicity!

Last week she had her first visit to my office job, where she met the staff...

...checked out the view from the fabulous window behind my desk...

...which is from only the 7th floor of our 70+ floor building...

Saturday afternoon a friend and I had reservations for a Paint Nite (company name) event where you go to a bar or restaurant and learn to paint a picture, but it had been cancelled and we ended up doing something else crafty instead.  Before that, though, we had lunch on the charming patio...

...of a Spanish Andalusian restaurant where we had Enselada de Bacalao Ahumando (mixed greens, corn, tomato, and smoked cod with a citrus honey mustard dressing), Berenjena Frita (crispy eggplant with pomegranate molasses, on the small dark platter behind Felicity), and Patatas Bravas (roast potatoes with red pepper sauce and garlic aioli)...

I don't usually go into quite such menu details here but it was so, well, muy delicioso (very delicious), I'm salivating a bit just remembering it!!!

After lunch we went to a Color Me Mine.  My friend is a total non-crafter but had been excited to try painting, and this seemed like a good substitute for the uninitiated.  I made Felicity a paint smock so she could join in, and she turned out to be a good helper with a brush...

Here she is with the two bowls I did, which will be fired some time this week...

When they come out of the kiln the base colors will be darker, the dots brighter, and the glaze glossy...at least that's the hope....
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5  Re: Traveling Little Visitor Swap Round 23 Gallery! in The Swap Gallery by waterbaby on: April 20, 2016 11:07:21 PM
Dont know if was fairy dust or a good tail wind, but Felicity made it cross-country in two days!

She met the pups:


and Bella

Then we all went for a little walk around the neighborhood.  This is one of my favorite front yards (and not just because the homeowners have become friends of mine); the wife of the couple who live here does all the gardening herself:

This sweet little succulent patch in front of a duplex apartment is a really great example of drought tolerant gardening:

Over the last few years Ive been watching the bougainvillea entwine this cactus more and more:

In honor of Felicitys arrival, for dinner we made something Ive been wanting to try for a while now shakshuka.  Well, kind of a quick-and-dirty version.  Shakshuka is an African-Israeli tomato vegetable stew topped with eggs that are poached right on top.  I started with a marinara sauce base, added cumin, coriander, garlic powder, chili powder and hot sauce, and sumac.  In it I simmered carrots, broccoli, and tatsoi (kind of like spinach), and when they were cooked added the eggs.  With a smashed sweet potato on the side (not pictured).  So-o-o yummy....

Tomorrow: office visit!
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6  Re: Little Visitor Round 22 Gallery in ARCHIVE OF SWAPS THAT ARE TOTALLY FINISHED by waterbaby on: March 27, 2016 10:36:43 PM
Alby made it back in record time but sat at the post office for several days because the delivery slip (some of our postal carriers leave packages when nobody's home and some don't) was left at the wrong address and it wasn't until they went to the post office that the error was discovered.  But he did at last make it home with his travel treasures:

Along with the fun photo album there's an Edinburgh tote bag, chocolates and gummies, and...

A sweet little glass candy cane ornament from Germany and a wee bottle of Maggi Wurze, which I had to look up and learned that it's a liquid seasoning popular throughout Europe and Asia (and if it is here in the States it hadn't previously come to my attention) and having now used it a couple of times I can see why; to me it tastes like soy sauce mixed with vegemite/marmite (which I like) -- very umami.

A leather bookmark stamped with Celtic figures.

A compact Tardis pouch that actually IS bigger on the inside as it contains a full sized nylon tote in the same color and with the same (but bigger) Tardis print; this has taken up residence in my every day backpack.

And three pairs of Scotland themed socks, two of which have already been worn.

Thank, Inselaeffchen, for all the treats, but especially for hosting Alby, he had a great time with you and your family!
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7  Re: Little Visitor Round 22 Gallery in ARCHIVE OF SWAPS THAT ARE TOTALLY FINISHED by waterbaby on: February 27, 2016 02:56:01 AM
Just before signups for this round closed I saw something that led me to ask if I could be partnered with Inselaeffchen and Wildfyre was able to accommodated my request.  What happened was that I noticed Inselaeffchen's avatar, which is the logo of a TV show

and knew I had to host her Little Visitor....

I've been working periodically on the show this season and Nessie's been with me every time, so she's become quite familiar with the sets:

...with what's just outside set walls on soundstages...

...and with what it takes to create even the smallest moments of a movie or TV show

Setting up for inserts (super closeup shots; in this case its going to be hands):

Adjusting a lighted mirror so the camera can see inside the car:

Looking at a monitor showing what the camera will record (and because were outdoors also seeing the reflections of everything around us):

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8  Re: Little Visitor Round 22 Gallery in ARCHIVE OF SWAPS THAT ARE TOTALLY FINISHED by waterbaby on: February 23, 2016 01:26:43 AM
Time to play catch up with some of Nessies adventurings!  It's been far too long since I posted and we've got lots to share so will break this up into a few entries over the next couple of days.

Quite excitingly, Nessie had a chance to see an American icon: the Oscar Meyer Wienermobile!

It was sitting, unattended, in the parking lot of a Ralphs grocery store.  We and a few others spent some time investigating and having pictures taken; in the 10 minutes or so we were there nobody in an official capacity showed up.  The Wienermobile has been traveling the country for decades, and I think I saw it on the road once or twice when I was a kid, but this was the first time I had a chance to actually get up close and peek in the windows (the seats are mustard yellow and ketchup red, and the tops of the dashboard are giant hot dogs in buns):

Seeing the Wienermobile was a fun and unexpected little detour on our way to the Page Natural History Museum, which is adjacent to the Tar Pits (better known as The La Brea Tar Pits; but "la brea" is Spanish for "the tar" so I try not to be saying "the the tar tar pits" whenever possible.)  The bubbling ooze is fenced and has some life size sculptures of animals that were trapped in the tar, like this family of mammoths:

The museum is associated with ongoing excavations of the tar pits and exhibits skeletons and recreations of the many prehistoric animals and birds that have been and continue to be found there.  The Columbian Mammoth was a favorite:

...as was the display of the skulls of 404 dire wolves (theyve got the remains of more than 1600 in their collection):

They also have a couple of life-size animatronic displays; one is a wooly mammoth who really just stands there, swaying from side to side...

...and the other is a saber toothed tiger attacking a giant sloth which thanks to the minimal and slow movement of the mechanics is rather more comical than frightening, as Nessie shows you in this video:

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9  Re: Scrappy Trip Around the World Gallery in The Swap Gallery by waterbaby on: January 17, 2016 01:10:53 AM
Hello Scrappy Trippers, I've updated the first post to reflect sent/received status, and feedback has been given for those who have sent packages that have been received so far.

And thank you to brandyk for the blocks she sent me:

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10  Re: Little Visitor Round 22 Gallery in ARCHIVE OF SWAPS THAT ARE TOTALLY FINISHED by waterbaby on: January 14, 2016 12:18:15 AM
Have been absent from the gallery for a bit as I've been working on a TV show the last couple of weeks, which means 12-14 hour work days and little time for much else.  Nessie's been with me the whole time, getting a good look at backstage Hollywood -- and charming those who see me taking pictures of her, which hopefully I'll be able to post more of over the coming weekend, but for now....

Here she is checking out one of our cameras:

and watching a location night shot being set up:

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