Shrub Snake…?

Scene:  Weekend afternoon, tidying up the bathroom.

Thinking: I’ll go ahead and open up the shutters to let in some nice spring sunshine.  Peering out the window at the shrubs/hedges in our side yard…hmmm…what a funny looking branch.  Wait just a minute…that is no branch, that is a snake in the bush, only an arm’s length away from my bathroom window.  I called to Woody so he could come and take a look as well…he did not believe me…until…yup, “that is a snake”.

It is most likely a friendly garter snake…but do you know how many times I walk into the side yard to pick up Cleo’s…ahem…business…or to turn on our sprinklers…and literally brush up against this exact bush.

Do you think it is purely coincidence that just that very morning we took Cleo in to see the vet to booster her immunizations and decided to get her the rattle snake vaccination…?  I think not.  Here she is doing her best to avoid having to ride in her kennel before we headed to the vet.  It’s sort of like trying to put a toddler (with the attitude of a ‘tween) in their car-seat…they’d “be so much cooler with all their friends if you didn’t make them be all safe and stuff…gawd!”

Safety first.

Safety.    First.


Visitors of the familial type…

I’ve been gone…no not gone…present but occupied.  Last weekend, we had visitors – Woody’s Mom and sister and her boyfriend.  And it began…

I think I’ll leave out any explanation of this one.  If you know Sarah…none is needed.  All you need to know is that we were wasting some time in Michael’s on a Friday night.  Sarah left the store with glitter on her face…source unknown.

Judy wasn’t afraid of getting in on the sillyness.

If you could see past my horrendous phone photo…you would see Daisy Mint and you might also see frustration of waiting for almost an hour for a table that we had supposedly reserved.  Oh well.

Thai for dinner was followed by a little of this and a little of that.

Saturday morning involved Woody’s favorite activity “Cleo Carrying” and pancakes.  Delicious thin half-dollar pancakes.  And Wii.

This is Woody flapping his arms like a bird…I wish I had video of this.  Priceless.

We visited The Huntington.

I took too many photos…as I always do.  There is always something new blooming.  We are lucky to have a place like this so close to our home.

I found an entirely new garden this time as well – Chinese gardens.  It’s giant and beautiful.  How did I miss this?  Okay, the place is 207 acres.  You follow a path and never know where you might turn up.

Wisteria in full bloom.

They have an amazing collection of Bonsai trees.

The Japanese gardens include a large Koi pond.

There are large mansions on the property, some built to house Henry Huntington’s collections of books and artwork during the early 20th century.  This particular veranda was designed to be reminiscent of the Mediterranean.

Walking around leads inevitably to hunger, which leads to fish tacos at Señor Fish in South Pasadena.

Salsa and crema…your choice.  The top left option is some combination of carrot, Habanero and …uh…ginger…maybe…?

Chris’s choice – Tacos Al Pastor

Woody’s Choice – Fish Tacos

Mid-afternoon tacos were followed by a little down time, a walk for Cleo…oh wait…and some more eating with a stop to Woody’s favorite frozen yogurt place.  Then some Wii time…the Wii Fit has been known to scold me for not visiting more often.  Then we moved on to…wait for it…wait for it…eating again…Dinner!

Dinner was delicious.  Sous vide tri tip salad with horseradish sauce and roasted fingerlings.

Chris and I battled in a game of cribbage while watching some of Woody’s favorite fly-fishing movies – Rise (watch trailer here) and Running Down the Man (watch trailer here – made by a friend/roommate of ours from Colorado College).  A fabulous day filled with an excessive amount of fabulous food.

Sunday morning – dumplings in San Gabriel at Din Tai Fung Dumpling House – yep…eating again.  Our dumpling order included juicy pork, fish, rice cakes – not what you think, and pork bun.  We always finish with the dumplings filled with sweet red bean paste and tarot root paste – except that I marked the wrong item on the order form and all of a sudden 5 huge red bean paste buns and 5 huge tarot buns were delivered to our table.  Oops.  The 10 buns may have been more food than everything else that we ordered combined.

Woody – being very Woody – took two of them with him, fascinated by the spongy and slick steamed rice flour dough that the paste is encapsulated in.

P.S.  This is the last picture I took…as I quickly headed to the car trying to pretend that I did not know Woody or Sarah – who were playing a game of catch with the buns when Sarah launched it a little farther than she thought and almost knocked one of the innocent people in this photo in the head with a stolen bun.

Good times.

It was a nice visit from the Fischer side of the family.  The Vacancy sign is back on at the Fischer household.

My first earthquake (awwww!)

I felt it.  4.4 magnitude quake located out near Whittier, California.

4:26 am – Dead Sleep. Cleo barks loudly.  Big Jolt. Rumble.

So this was the first earthquake I have felt since moving to California.  There have been a few others…but I’ve always missed them.  Woody’s felt all the other ones that I have missed…and I was a little sad.  But let’s think about this…I should not be sad at missing an earthquake.  Most people would prefer to miss such a potential traumatic disaster.  The only other earthquake that I remember feeling was on a spring break roadtrip that we took when I was in 4th or 5th grade…maybe 6th grade – to the Grand Canyon.  There was a small earthquake that night and I remember waking up and seeing the light over the table in the motel room swinging – but I didn’t know until the next morning that it was because of an earthquake.

Caltech is the go-to place for seismologists whenever there is an earthquake – news trucks are always parked outside Woody’s office whenever one occurs – so in checking their website this morning, Woody and  I found some interesting links.

Woody was a bit confused in the midst of everything and wondered why Cleo barked…and when I said there was an earthquake…he did not really believe me.  Cleo was riled up enough that Woody let her sleep in the bed for an hour or so.  Now I feel really bad for her during other earthquakes that she has experienced from her kennel.

1 down and I’m sure countless numbers of earthquakes to go.

2 Things!

First.  Let me introduce my new personal assistant.  When I sit down to work on the computer, paying bills, etc., all of a sudden there is a warm furry creature sneaking in behind me.  Note the small square stool is not very big – hence the use of the phrase ‘small stool’.  No matter to Ms. Cleo as I end up with about 1.5 inches of space for my behind on the corner of the stool.  Sometimes, if I’m lucky, she rests her head on my shoulder.

Second.  This was dinner last night.  Yum!  We’re making a distinct effort to cook more on the weeknights.  There was some effort involved…but not so much that it wasn’t worth it.  Mashed sweet potatoes, roasted brussel sprouts and pan seared pork chops with a Whiskey Thyme pan sauce.