Friday, July 22, 2016

This is What Living on the Sun Looks Like

It was 113 today.  I haven't been outside all day, but when I opened the door to let the dog out, this was my view.
This is our second big fire in two weeks.  The first was on the other side of town.  About 700 people were evacuated, but luckily no structures were damaged.  So far, about 100 people have been evacuated in this current fire.  It was moving away from structures out towards the Angeles National Forest, but the dry winds are making it unpredictable.
It looks like a bomb has gone off nearby.  It's not a concern for where I live, but it's still quite ominous.  Fire season is upon us and it's only July!
UPDATE: Now that the sun is down, the flames are visible and it's now even more ominous.  It's still too far away to be a problem and to get any kind of shot with the camera.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Saturday 9

Summer Break has made me lazy in a lot of things, including blogging.  A Saturday 9 will have to do, for now.  This week's song is Hall & Oates' Sara Smiles.  It's such a 70's song, isn't it?  I grew up with Hall & Oates in the 80s, so prefer this and this.  :)
1) This was Hall & Oates' first #1 hit. Can you name another of their popular songs?  Um, ya, Private Eyes, I Can't Go For That, She's Gone, You Make My Dreams Come True, Method of Modern Love, Out of Touch, I Can't Go For That.  They had a lot of songs, didn't they?
2) Darryl Hall and Sara Allen were a couple for 30 years, and he wrote this at the beginning of their long relationship. That makes this a very public love letter. Are you good at writing love letters? Would you rather tell the person how you feel, face to face? Or do you let your actions speak louder than your words?  It's been a long time since I've written any kind of letter, but I could do a love email or text.  
3) In the song, Darryl and Sara are waiting for the sunrise. Did you see the sunrise this morning? Or did you sleep in?  I did not.  Being on summer break, I barely see morning at all with all the sleeping in I'm doing.  
4) Both Hall & Oates hail from the Philadelphia area. Hall is a native of suburban Pottstown, which was a stop on the Reading/Philadelphia rail line made famous in Monopoly. Do you like playing board games?  Yes, I like board games and card games.  I like games that you can socialize whilst playing.  
5) John Oates grew up a few miles away from Pottstown in North Wales. Decades ago, North Wales' biggest employer was a cigar factory. Do you like the smell of a cigar?  Cigars aren't as bad as cigarettes, but I'm still not a fan.  Back in my bartending days, I had some regular customers who came to drink after their weekly men's league soccer game.  It was back in the olden days and on the East Coast where smoking inside was still allowed.  They once asked if I minded if they smoked cigars when they came to drink.  Thinking my tips would increase the longer they stayed and smoked, I told them it wasn't a problem.  Boy, what a big mistake.  It wasn't so much their smell, but cigars are a mess.  Yuck!  I'm not so sure the clean up was worth the extra tips.  
6) Daryl Hall now hosts a music show, "Live from Daryl's House", that you catch free online.  Do you typically watch shows from your computer, iPad, phone, or TV set?  I don't usually watch stuff on devices unless I'm traveling.  I prefer to watch on the TV where the picture is larger and better quality.  Plus, that frees up the device(s) to play on since I'm not very good at just sitting and watching TV.
7)  Hall & Oates are currently on tour.  Are you seeing/have you seen a concert this summer?  YES!  Sting and Peter Gabriel are coming to the Hollywood Bowl this next week.  I'm going to see them on Monday.  Funnily enough, I think I saw the Hall & Oates tickets on Goldstar recently.
8) Daryl and John have been friends for 50 years, even living together at the beginning of their careers when money was tight. Another successful duo of the rock era, Simon & Garfunkel, also met as teens but they forever seem to be feuding. What do you think makes for a lasting friendship/partnership?  A friendship that is fairly effortless and equal seems to last longer.  When thinking about my own relationships through the years, the ones that are still strong have those qualities.  The ones that have been one-sided or hard are the ones I tend to let go.  They make me tired.
9) Random question:  Are you quick to try new things?  It depends on the new thing.  Chances are I'll overthink it, but sometimes I can easily jump right in.
Happy Saturday!

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

A (Fruit) Salad

Summer fruit is getting into full swing here.  I'm still waiting for the stone fruit to be GOOD, but everything else is looking fresher and local, finally.  I had a small brunch this past weekend and wanted to serve some fruit with the light (cool) meal I was serving.  While I love fruit, it's always difficult for me to serve it.  Fruit doesn't last very long once cut into serving portions.  I'm the kind of hostess that likes to have as much as possible prepared before guests arrive, because once they do I lose focus and the cooking gets out of hand.  Whenever contemplating fruit as part of the meal, it ends up getting nixed due to the last minute prep.  It had been so hot here, and I did not want to turn on that oven, so I researched make ahead fruit ideas.  So many of the recipes had melons of some kind as part of most of the dish as they are easy to cut and store for a time.  Other than watermelon (which is too watery to cut ahead of time), I don't personally like melons like cantaloupe or honey dew, so those were off the table.
I stumbled upon this recipe and it looked delicious, plus most of it could be made or prepared the night before.  The strawberries and blueberries were rinsed in vinegar which supposedly kills bacteria that makes them go bad so quickly and stored in the fridge for the day.  The rest of the fruit was washed or peeled the night before the brunch.  I added it all to the bowl and wrapped it in saran before going to bed.  I didn't cut the grapes in half as I worried about about their juices making things too wet.
 All I had left to do the next morning was to core and cut the apple and banana.  Normally this couldn't be done until right before eating as the apple and banana start to go brown so quickly. But the "magic" dressing took care of that problem.
 The dressing is made from the juice of one orange and one lemon, some honey, and poppy seeds.  It's a very light mixture.
 So mixing the fruit up with the dressing an hour or two before guests arrived worked out perfect.  It coated the fruit keeping it from browning and the taste was so mild, not interfering with the fruit flavors.  I didn't use all of the dressing to keep if from pooling in the bottom of the bowl - just enough to see it glaze all of the fruit.
Having similarly prepped the Chinese Chicken Salad and the bread before everyone arrived, the only thing I had to do was pull the dishes out of the fridge, add the dressing to the salad, and serve.  I will definitely make this fruit salad again. It would even be great as take-to salad.  Before leaving for a party it can be made and mixed.  It would last a few hours before serving and there's no melon in it at all!