Thursday, 31 May 2007

PB#2 all present and correct

:: A place for everything and everything in its place. Lots of pockets on one side for tissues, phone, pens and Wrigley's, and ...

... a lovely bright lining to the zip pocket. Room inside for the big wallet and glasses case. And notice how well is stands up. Hmmm ... could this really be Perfect Bag #2?

Well, it's certainly a very slimming bag, don't you think?

Wednesday, 30 May 2007

Bones ...

That's Will's nickname in certain quarters, and this (above) is his amazing piece of digital 'painting', which is my desktop wallpaper at the moment. Clever, huh?

:: We've just had the Memorial Day long weekend - except that Dave worked for almost all of it. He was at the office and the Bondi all day Saturday and all day Monday, and then got a migraine. Guess who needs a holiday?
I, meanwhile, started to make the Perfect Bag Mk II (Maggie knows where Mk I has gone!). It still needs its handles ...

... and while it doesn't exactly look its best posed on the daggy ironing board, it will actually be a purler. I'm loving it. Can't wait to get it finished and on my shoulder!

:: Okay Vegemites - I need you to send some vibes this way. Today, Dave and I re-visited the amazing house we'd found in University Heights. Which has been reduced by $100,000 since we first saw it. We meandered through it, imagining where the furniture would go - you know how you do when you look at an empty house - and David, normally the most prosaic of men, was even talking about putting in an infinity-edge pool to take full advantage of the canyon view.
We discovered two rooms on the lower ground floor that we hadn't even realised were there. And all the four bedrooms had built-in cupboards; two of them had balconies. All the floors, upstairs and down, were solid oak. While we were out the back, an eagle soared over the canyon, which is so deep that the eagle was at eye-level with us ... Gorgeous.

Anyway, while we were wandering, someone else got busy and put in an offer for it. Contingent upon selling their house. So, as I was saying, send some vibes this way ...
(Then, when I got home, I dropped a bottle of tomato sauce, and shortly after, a plate. The day has gone downhill rather!)

:: Change of subject. This (below) is the Marriott hotel near the convention centre, downtown. It's h-u-g-e, as you can see from this shot of the lobby. Must be the biggest Marriott lobby in the whole of the southern hemisphere (don't hear that too often in these here parts).

David and I were there last week for lunch, as guests of Lisa, one of our mates at the Union Bank of California. It was a fundraiser for an organisation Lisa supports which funds, builds, runs and maintains homes for senior cits.

:: The sun's been out - well, every now and then:

That was supposed to be an arty shot to show you that the May Grey's weakening: we had a little blue sky in between the clouds!
And even the dogs enjoyed being outdoors:

They ran and ran in our little bit of grassy parkland down in the bottom of the canyon, and then, all tuckered out, were very happy to be chauffeured back home.

Saturday, 26 May 2007

Two lovely cars ...

:: Ric Ocasek dreams of Infiniti ...
... much as I do.
You may, however, need to be d'un certain age to remember strangely spunky punky Ric.
This is for today's Illustration Friday challenge.
I got the sketchbook marker ribbon in the way of the scan - but I thought it added a certain something!

Monday, 21 May 2007

Mystery buyers spend up big!

Christie's and Sotheby's had big art auctions in New York recently. Click on this link to read about Christie's record-breaking sale, including the $71.7 million Warhol painting:
Auction History - New York Times
Then you can click on this link - Sotheby's - New York Times - to read about the Sotheby's sale. This was not quite as successful as Christie's (heads will roll!), but massive nonetheless, with $72.8 million for a Mark Rothko alone.
Doesn't the NYT love the concept of the 'mystery buyer'! Each sale had one: one simply had a beard (the new Rothko owner), while the other was a telephone bidder rumoured to be from Hong Kong.
And the references to 'new money' are cute: the emergence of big-spending collectors in Russia, as well as their continuing presence in Asia, obviously fuels this fascination for the mystery buyer.

Sunday, 20 May 2007

A cloud tsunami

These shots that Will took one February afternoon, as a marine layer rolled in from the ocean, help explain what the 'May Grey' is. On this occasion, we'd had a crisp, bright and sunny winter day. Then this layer blew in, stayed all night and started to dissipate by the middle of the next day.
The pic above, and the one below, were taken just a few minutes apart, looking south, down into Carmel Valley, as the layer moved in from the ocean, a few kilometres to the west (right of the pic).

We live on top of the hill Will is standing on, but a safe distance away from all these powerlines! This next pic is looking directly west:

It's very dramatic watching this cool, moist tidal wave of cloud take over the landscape. And because it's so big, it's quite awe-inspiring.

:: At the moment, we've had May Grey for four or five days - miserable! - and next month it's known as 'June Gloom'. But in the height of summer, a marine layer will last only until about 11am when the heat of the sun dries it up. It helps prevent an early build-up of heat, but it can also cause humidity at times.
So San Diego has these two big climate modifying phenomena: the occurrence of the marine layer that keeps things cool and moist in spring and summer, and the hot Santa Ana winds that warm everything up in autumn and winter. Neat-oh! No wonder everyone wants to live here, where the average daily temp is a very comfortable 21 degrees C (70F).
California moment
I had one of these, the day before yesterday.
I was driving north up to Encinitas, on the I-5, with the sun-roof shade open and the Beach Boys belting out 'Sloop John B' on the MP3 player. Turned it up loud. The Pacific Ocean was over on the left, the fabulous freeway unrolled ahead, and I was flying past some of the world's most beautiful trucks - immaculate chrome shining like silver, great flashes of scarlet paint.

Even in the day's May Grey, when the sea is steely and the horizon's blurry and the sky feels like it's only just hanging in there, just overhead, I thought there wasn't a single place in the world where I'd rather be.

It was perfect!

Saturday, 19 May 2007

Number two ....
... in a series of SIGNS from Him Upstairs. A plague of frogs.

Though one of these might be a toad, actually.
Haven't drawn for a very long time, and this froggy doodle is my first humble offering to Illustration Friday. What larks!

Thursday, 17 May 2007

Green and grey ...

:: Bought flowers yesterday to brighten up the place - two days of May Grey don't do much for the soul. Plus, Andrea came and had lunch with me (roast chicken and cous cous salad, tea and white Lindt chocolate) which was loverly, so flars were in order.
I'm not doing as well as Will when it comes to photographing flowers - though I pinched his big white flashboard (grubby with footprints) for my background.

:: And today it was c-o-l-d as the May Grey digs in. This is the view from our bedroom window upstairs, looking south, at about 2.20pm:

:: All that cloud and humidity mean it'll be an age before the front and back of my linen knitted top dry out. I've 'blocked' them, by wetting them quickly, laying them out flat and gently pulling them into shape. They've been like this on Lily's bed for over 24 hours now ...

:: You can just make out the pattern I knit into the top of the front piece. Though really, how these two daggy looking squares of string will ever manifest as something remotely wearable, let alone flattering to wear, is, quite frankly, a mystery.
In the meantime, it's on with the baby clothes as I await further instructions about my part in the International Tote Exchange.

:: I'm off very soon for dinner at the Bondi - it's chicken parma night tonight! Seeya!

Tuesday, 15 May 2007

Go, go gadget radio!

On Saturday, the day before Mother's Day, Dave and I drove across town to the huge Best Buy store, to find him the perfect radio for the kitchen. He is a devoted radio listener - current affairs talkback, music, sports, KPBS, BBC World Service and even redneck talkback (know thine enemy). And he has the darned thing on all the time when he's in the kitchen. Not that I mind at all, really, because when he's in the kitchen he's usually cooking something fabulous for dinner, or making me a cup of tea, or brewing coffee. Bless him.
So, knowing he deserved only the very best, this is what we got him:

It's a beaut little Sony machine that screws in under a cupboard, which it then uses as a soundbox, so it sounds brilliant. It can give you instant weather reports (though they could play the same one over and over again in these here parts ... "Warm, dense marine layer this morning, becoming sunny and warm in the afternoon, cool this evening ...") and it can play CDs. Also, it comes with a neat little remote that is magnetic, so it will cling fetchingly to the side of the fridge. I'm sure that might be very handy one day.
Anyway, David loves his new radio, which he and Will installed together, with a bit of huffing and puffing and a trip to the hardware store after turning the place upside-down looking for the requisite drill bit.
Dave worked at home today (Monday), so we blissed our way through Satie's piano works (Gymnopedies and Gnossiennes) and Bach's partitas for piano. Tres plaisant!
Now it's chatting away all by itself in the kitchen, cos Dave is in the living room watching the baseball (Cubs v Mets) while the spuds are acooking.

:: I was late posting this because my camera battery ran out just as I was taking David's picture - then I got sidetracked for a couple of days!

Monday, 14 May 2007

A fab night at the Bondi!

:: On Saturday nights, David and I usually invite friends to join us for dinner at the Bondi. This weekend our guests were Paul and Debby Hopper, a fantastic Australian couple (Sydney) now living in San Diego. We first met them when they hosted a show of Aboriginal art from Utopia at their house.

:: Dave and I went out in our Freo scarves (as you can see, above) to support Our Dear Boys who were to play the Hawks later that night (our time). Rhy, one of our chefs, and a few other staffers are big Hawthorne supporters, so Dave and I felt we had to stick it to them. Lucky the boys went on to do the right thing ...

:: When we arrived, everyone told us the place had been really pumping with the pre-baseball crowd, and by the time we finished our meal, it was starting to build up again with post-game revellers and the arrival of the Bright Young Things, who tend to congregate between 10.30pm and 2am.

:: There was such a big crowd that we had a queue to get in!
I went outside to take some of these photos and one of our diligent bouncers wouldn't let me get back in!
'You gotta get in line, ma'am,' he growled. But I set him straight ... 'Now, look here my good fellow ...'
Just joshin' with ya.

:: Oh - forgot to mention that Wolfmother were in last week. Our Australian staffers recognised them at once, but the others didn't have a clue! Will went to their concert and said it was sick, amazing and awesome. Now he has tickets to see Queens of the Stone Age at Irvine next week - middle of the front row, no less!

:: Mother's Day today, so happy days and much love to all my mates who are mums - I've been thinking of you. XXX.

Wednesday, 9 May 2007

Hot and beefy ...

:: I bought a pair of shoes today - that's them, above! They cost $1.99 in Ralphs. A bargain and perfect for me - though I think they're probably meant for a nine-year-old (with big feet). As I tried them on, I could hear a little voice on my shoulder saying, 'Not MORE shoes!' It was the voice of eight-year-old Simon, who would always castigate me for the number of pairs of shoes I owned - particularly when I'd refused to buy him a $50 pair of trendy sneakers when his feet were still growing so fast. One time, he was so incensed he even went to my wardrobe and, out loud, counted 37 pairs (I was a full-time working career girl then - and shoes have always been a weakness!). Perhaps that's why he's still absolutely obsessed with sneakers. Just like his kid brother ... look at the pair of them!

:: It got up to 35 degrees today (that's 95 F) and it was beaut! The pool is sparkly and the water is warm, there are flowers everywhere (poor Will is sneezy and snotty with rheumy eyes), birds are singing, flutes are trilling (we have a flute player living near us and she/he practises
a lot), and everything seems to be screaming 'Summer!' But, of course, let us not forget that first we must experience what the San Diegans call May Grey, and June Gloom - the almost daily occurrences of the 'marine layer', when warm, moist air blows in from the sea, hits the hills and mountains, rises, cools and forms a dense rolling mist that blocks out the sun. Sure, it's grey and gloomy, but it keeps the temperatures down until it dissipates in the sunshine.

:: So that explains the 'hot' of this post's title. The 'beefy' is a reference to a massive hunk of beef I've just prepared for the oven. Dave and I will have it for dinner - or a few slices of it anyway - later as we watch A-merrrrrican Idol (Yay! Can't wait!). Will has gone off with two friends to see Wolfmother in concert, so he's eating on the road.

:: Cate has sent me a manuscript to work on, and I'm all excited about making a start on that tomorrow. Fifty thousand words - looking good!
In the meantime I'm knitting a summer jumper out of linen - a very fiddly yarn, I'm finding.
The pattern calls for two strands to be knitted together, and each strand is made up of three threads, so there's a lot of splitting. And it's a bit like knitting with string - no stretch. But I love the colour and the texture, so I think it will be okay. It's a sleeveless, shapeless sort of top, with a straight-across boat neck. I think the front may look boring and sack-like, so I'm thinking of putting in a pattern of holes just to relieve things a little. We shall see.
I have also to finish Dad's socks, and I have a fabulous stash of wool to knit for all the Bondi babies on the way - three so far, with the first (our chef, Chris, and his wife, Amanda) due in September. Exciting times!

Wednesday, 2 May 2007

Happy ...

... to be back home among the gum trees. That's the San Diego variety of course! And to discover that the dreaded Sanjaya has, at last, been voted off American Idol. Hoo-ray!

:: It was inestimably sad to close the front door of Gloster Street for the last time. On all that happy family history: the little bit of kitchen wall with all the kids' heights marked since 1991; the retaining wall that Simon, Dad and I built in the back garden; the cypress ceiling in the big room that Dad and Simon nail-gunned up; the memories of many kiddies' birthday parties and family dinners and cups of tea and Christmas lunches; walking home two kids from King Eddie's maternity ward and, seemingly just weeks later, from Subi Primary; and the last resting places of a much loved dog and cat ...
But all will be well, and all will be well, and all manner of things shall be well.

:: Beautiful Melbourne was a treat after all the rigours of packing and sorting and clearing out in Subiaco. It was fresh, sunny, cool and showery, and the oak trees along both sides of Kensington Road - where I stayed in Sue M's fantastically warm and comfortable flat - were starting to turn gold and drop their leaves.
Sue and I had just enough time to whiz through the huge exhibition, Australian Impressionism, in the Ian Potter Centre in Federation Square. Does your heart good to see it all - including lots of the legendary '9 by 5' wood panel paintings from the original 1890s (?) exhibition that started it all. Streeton remains my favourite Heidelbergian by a country mile: there were a few pics I'd have happily stowed in my overhead locker on the flight home.

:: NO photos! I took my camera all that way and have only a couple of Mum and Dad at their 'Club Med' on the south coast. And a couple of Dave and Will on the pier at Santa Monica where we had dinner before taking me to LAX a couple of weeks ago for my flight to Melbourne.

:: Great to catch up with some of my Aussie best friends - and I'm sorry that I missed some of you, too. But we'll be back at the end of June, and will have more time to socialise then - and feel like it.