alhambra farmer’s market

We got on the scale this last Sunday morning, after not stepping on the Wii for 126 days, it told us that we both gained 8 lbs.  That’s TERRIBLE for someone my frame, and being that I’m short, I probably look like I gained 20.  Ugh, no wonder my “fat jeans” are tight!  So…being that we both know what it’s like to go up higher (and how hard it is to take it off) we decided that it was time to start caring about what we put in our mouths and practice better eating habits again.  This requires a trip to the Alhambra Farmer’s Market.

tiny zucchini :)

Bugs Bunny would approve of these organic carrots.

3 baskets for $5! Deal



Cherries, $4 for the large cup


Asparagus $2


fruit galore


Heirloom tomatoes


Chinese and Indian eggplant



Blueberries. $4 a basket.

OOooh, Olive oil!

Look at the size of those beets!


It seemed like all the vegetables were super sized this season.



No sprays, and the size of the herbs kick the ass the herbs you buy at the supermarket, and for a buck!

The Alhambra Farmer’s Market also has a lot of vegetables that are popular in Asian cuisine such as bok choy and Chinese broccoli, but there’s also tons more that I’m not familiar with.

Anyone have a clue?


Thai basil? Not sure


Some kind of squash?


Oh yeah, this (whatever it is) is a good one!

That was a big box, and those barely fit in it.






strange days

"beer label"

Wish it were true

     As a kid, I remember my grandmother watching the news and after  a terrible story say  in a melancholy voice, “The world is coming to an end.”  But she’d say this in Spanish, all dramatic and finishing it off by crossing herself.  I tried to picture what that would look like and when that would happen.  Would earth simply “give up”?  Stop spinning?  Spontaneously combust?  My young mind tried to absorb it all, and in the end decided that going outside to play was more important.  Grandma was trippin’ as far as I was concerned.  As I got older, I would over hear her talk to my tia about God coming down from the heavens and something about the dead rising?  What??  Seriously, they would talk about all the Biblical signs that Humanity was going to shit, all the signs that earth was coming to “an end”.  Apocalyptic stuff my young ears didn’t want to hear.  You wonder why they would even talk about that sort of thing around someone so young, but that’s an entirely different blog for another time.  It shaped me though, and it’s no wonder  that I notice things like earthquakes happening all over the world, the climate changing, the polar caps melting…and all the other stuff that goes along with there being no hope for humanity. . . like people eating people’s faces off in broad daylight.  Zombie type stuff people!  If my Abuelita had lived to see this, she’d be crossing herself and praying the rosary.   But I’ll get back to this in a minute.  For the last few years, esp. with the rise of earthquakes happening all over the world, I’ve been nervously waiting for us to have a big one.  We’ve experienced a few in the last few years, but they were small, but  just big enough to rattle my nerves.  Add in all the talk I grew up with and you have yourself one very paranoid girl.  I shouldn’t have… but I found  a show on Netflix called “How The Earth Was Made”.   I’m kind of a nerd and love educational documentary type stuff so when I stumbled upon it  and saw that one of my most favorite places in the world, Hawaii was one the topics on one of these episodes, I had to watch.   There were also other places of geological interest, Yellowstone, Death Valley, Iceland, Mt. Everest, and The Alps!  Oooh, I want to know how all those places were made!   But first, I had to start from the beginning….the very beginning to when the earth was nothing but a fire ball of hot lava, when earth was young and it’s atmosphere was violent and uninhabitable, being constantly bombarded by asteroids and meteors creating and shaping the worlds oceans and continents we know today.  It talked about how the moon was made, how the oceans were created and how they both worked together to create life on earth.  All very interesting  and educational stuff, and at the same time, frightening.  Especially when I got to episodes like The Ring of Fire, The Deepest Place on Earth,  Super Volcanoes, and the San Andreas Fault. Their simulations and graphics really help put it all together, but the visuals are pretty terrifying.  All these places I love so much because of their visual beauty were in fact created by very catastrophic events.  I sat and watched one episode after the other and I have to say, my eerie fascination with the kind of destruction the world is capable of has in a way almost cured my fear of “The Big One”.  I can’t explain it, because really, the show could have turned me into an insomniac/hoarder in anticipation of the Apocalypse.  And although the thought alone should create even more phobias, it’s made me a little more accepting of the fact that not only do I live along the Ring of Fire, but along the San Andreas Fault as well and if the earth opens up and swallows me up, then it does.  I’ve had a good life,and I know Love.  I tell ya, I think I’d rather go this way, then  having someone go crazy on me and start biting my face off.  I was horrified when I heard the story out of  Florida, a homeless man had his face eaten off by another man for 15 minutes before police showed up. He was shot 6 times before he finally collapsed.  In Maryland, a man killed his room mate,  ate part of his brain and heart and chopped him up.  Those two incidents happened days apart in the last part of May.  Today I found out that a Louisiana man bit a chunk off of his neighbors face.  All these bizarre stories happening so close together, and the possibility of this drug “bath salts” being the culprit.  Maybe that’s the Zombie Apocalypse… Bath Salts.  Drugs make you do crazy things, but if this one gives you a violent appetite for human flesh then I think we have a huge problem on our hands.  With all the  undiagnosed violent, mentally unstable and schizophrenic people out there using drugs…it scares me to think what would happen if they all started taking bath salts. Someone needs to do a show… The Walking Dead and Breaking Bad mixed together.  Go ahead Hollywood, you have my permission to run away with this.

Tomato or tomatoe taste~test

The tomato with the stem came out of our garden

The one with the stem is ours

For the last couple of years, Scott and I started planting tomatoes.  Last year, we made a mess and planted way too many tomato plants, way too close together.  We also didn’t cut off the “suckers”, and they turned into huge messy bushes.   All the different varieties we planted were growing in strange ways…one was a vine and one was a bush, and the fancy French Heirloom one grew to be super tall.  It was a mess, and even though we got lots of tomatoes, we wanted to do it right this time and not be shamed by Sam, who would look over the fence and giggle at our ridiculous set up.   Instead of the insane number we did last year, we decided to only go with four plants, all different varieties once again.  This time around, we set them up a little differently, gave them plenty of room to grow and were diligent about trimming them and making sure they were being tied or anchored properly.  They’re doing pretty good so far, but I think they don’t get enough sun so they might not be ripening as quickly as our neighbors.  Sam, seems has a green thumb and is the reason why we even started growing tomatoes.  Every summer he’d come over with a huge bag of them…every once in a while he’d give us a bag of green beans or zucchini.

bowl full

Even though ours won, they were still delicious cut in half with salt, pepper and a little olive oil :)

Well, today Sam gave us another huge bag of tomatoes over the fence.  Again, like every summer, we hang our head in shame as our tomatoes are still green and tiny.  We did however have the same tomatoes he did, and decided to have a blind taste test, and see whose tomatoes are better. Blind taste tests are popular in the family.  Scott’s parents do it with wine, his brother Mark does it with grilled cheese sandwiches…we’ve done it with beers and today decided to do it with tomatoes.

"tomato taste test"

Ours Vs. His
(the ones with the stems are ours)

The tomatoes with the stems are ours, the ones without are his.  We cut our tomatoes in half and put them in a bowl.  In the bowl was a piece of paper labeled “Ours”, turned upside down and did the same with Sams.  Once the tomatoes are in their proper bowls, we mixed them up, shuffled them around until we had no idea which ones which.  We each took a piece of the smallest from each bowl and compared flavor and picked our favorite. We did the same with the bigger tomato and one tasted “funny”.  I was like, “uh oh…that’s probably ours.”  I was honest, and picked the one that tasted better to me, as did Scott.  When we turned over the winners card and saw it said “Ours”, we gave each other a high five.  Now they just need to ripen!!

A tired dog is a happy dog

Yesterday we spent the day along the coast.  We wanted to give the dogs a nice long day and in a way, devote the day to them because we know that the neighborhood walks don’t cut the mustard.  To our surprise, Spot didn’t want to get in the car.  I showed him the leash and he gave me this look as if he could care less.   He ran to his bed and laid down as if to say, “No, I’d rather stay, thanks…”  Reluctantly, I left him behind and we even came back after I left my wallet and he still didn’t want to go.  Well, Wally  is always up for a car ride so he happily hopped in the car and got in his position, front legs on the center console and he’s just long enough for his back legs to rest on the back seat.  There, he gets a good vantage point and he’s able  to balance between me and Scott.  We made many stops that day, but this is the one that tuckered him out the most and was the highlight of the day for us. Nothing brings me back to earth like the beach and a little bit of treasure hunting along the shore. The weather was perfect, the water was warm, and the breeze made me feel like I was on vacation.  It was just what I needed and… what Wally needed.  He was tired, and a tired dog is a happy dog.

Wally’s first time at the doggy beach. 

Never turn your back on a wave Babe!

Wally wasn’t sure of the dogs at the beach, he couldn’t understand why they were all so happy to be wet.

After our stop at the park, the beach and the wetlands yesterday, we thought we’d have a lazy day today because we felt so weather- beaten after our day out in the sun.  Well, Spot woke up feeling a little more energetic so we thought we’d take a quick trip to Ernest Debs Park.  Four hours later, we think we tired them out enough to come back home.  This view of is one of the trails going down.

Scott caught a few Sunfish with his fly rod.  The last Sunfish he caught almost got eaten by a large Bass…that would have been the best catch of the day…maybe next time baby.

And the last one I was around for when I wasn’t out exploring the trails.

The L.A. skyline isn’t looking too hot right now…gotta love that smog.

Spot going up the trail.

Joys of Camping

This Memorial Day weekend is as it always is, a holiday that sneaks up on me and becomes just another normal weekend.  As a hairstylist, I always work Saturdays, so unless I make the effort to drag that pencil across the Saturday before Memorial Day slot,(and actually make plans that are worth taking a day off for) then it likely won’t happen for me.  I end up working on Saturday and have my usual Sunday and Monday off, just like I’ve had for the last 20 years. Well, this Memorial Day weekend I finally took the day off!!  But, get this…. I’m working Sunday and Monday. :-/  How ironic.

Scott and I were talking this morning that I really would like to make the effort to plan something for Memorial Day weekend. Seriously, if earth doesn’t get struck by a giant meteor, or if one of the super volcanoes doesn’t erupt, or if the polar shift doesn’t happen or any other Apocalyptic event, then I really REALLY want to go camping.

Now, it’s been a really long time since I’ve been camping, and at my age, I should be doing the fancy shmancy camping, like in Santa Barbara where they set up a tent with a bed, and they call it “camping” because it’s outdoors.  That would be nice, but not ideal and besides, camping is supposed to be a little rough.  It’s okay if your hands get a little dirty and you get a little cold.  It’s suppose to remind you how good we have it…to live in a house with heat and electricity and have the comfort of a warm bed at night. I complain about my bed a lot, saying how I need a new one, but I will bet you that when I get home after a camping trip, that bed is going to feel like the best bed at the Ritz Carlton! Or even better since my fat ass is indented into it so that it fits in nicely.  Wonderful.

"grilling dogs"You know what else is great about camping?  Everything you eat tastes SO much better!  Haven’t you ever noticed how good even the simplest sack lunch tastes when you’re at the beach? There’s something about the outdoors that makes whatever it is you’re eating taste like that’s the best “blah blah” you’ve ever had in your life.  There’s something about the fire you make, the smell, the appreciation of being able to even get a fire going because you depend on it to 1) feed you 2) keep you warm.  I sound like I’m talking about rubbing two sticks together to get fire going, but no we use a BIC.  :)

But the best part about camping is the quiet.  Yeah, sometimes there’s some creepy noises in the bushes or even better, coyotes.  But again folks, camping is supposed to be like that.  It’s supposed to make you go, “What was that?”, because the only time we do that at home is when the cat knocks the cereal box off the refrigerator.  It’s different when you’re out there in the dark, where only the light you get is from  your campfire and lantern and you’re exposed, vulnerable and your only protection is a tent. I don’t know, it would make me appreciate that I have a door that locks :)

You know what gets me about camping?  Why it’s got to be associated with something or someone scary.  I suppose that if I wanted a beautiful location all to myself, I’d make up crazy stories like that too… I know that it has happened.  I’ve seen enough shows about people who have been shot in their sleeping bags and couples who have been killed while out in the woods.  It HAS happened… but I figure that if that’s my destiny, it’s going to get me one way or the other. One of my friends can’t understand why I’d rather “rough it” than go somewhere else for the weekend.  “Why not San Diego or Santa Barbara? It’s so lovely this time of year… Besides, aren’t you scared of Bears gnawing on your head or a Bob cat slashing at your face???!” (And she makes scratching motions at her face for emphasis)  Um, no.. I’m not…because let me tell you, of all times I’ve gone out there, I’ve never seen a bear, or a coyote.  I’ve seen coyotes at the Arboretum on numerous occasions.  I see  posts on Facebook from friends of bears chilling in their front yard…and we all saw that one in video where the guy was texting and ran into the black bear right?  Yep, they’re all down here with us, eating out of our dumpsters and feeding on our pets we leave out at night.  Again, I’m not saying they’re not out there, but unless I carelessly leave food out or take a big bucket of fried chicken in the tent with me, I don’t think I have anything to worry about.

First things first though… we’re gonna need to buy a tent…and some sleeping bags, and a hibachi grill and….


Crystal Lake, from earlier in the day.


. by ♥ Esther ♥
., a photo by ♥ Esther ♥ on Flickr.

it would have been perfect if the ladybudy posed for me perched on top of the flower, but she had things to do… you know, busy. Maybe next time.