Welcome Gentle Readers

This blog tends to wander from its main purpose -- updates on my fiction. I do have updates and excerpts of my work. But I also write about my obsessions -- food, friends and pop culture and my weird life in Los Angeles. Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

On Tiny Gardens, Sterilizing and Socializing

I have a tiny tomato on my lonely tomato plant. (It's on the lower right). That was such a relief, because I was really concerned that I needed bees to pollinate the flowers. Unlike Jon, the notion of letting bees into the apartment just did not appeal to me. That sure did tickle my father though. He's quite the urban gardener. He got quite the chuckle out of that proposal. He explained that tomatoes are self pollinating somehow. They've been developed that way, because bees are so scarce anymore. I'm fairly pleased at how strong that plant is especially compared to the last time I tried to grow something. I may get a mini herb garden to keep it company. I know it sounds weird, but it just seems like the plant is lonely all by itself. UPDATE! It's been days since I started this blog. I now have a little thyme plant to keep the tomato plant company, and supply me with thyme. That's my favorite herb.

I've been having trouble keeping up with all the blogs I need to post over weekends. I'm considering moving this blog to mid-week when I don't have a bottleneck. I'll be having some really busy weekends in the next few weeks, so that may be prudent.

Craig as My Nemesis?

Jon thinks I am Craig's nemesis. I do drive him crazy, it seems, by putting him in my fiction (he's even made an appearance in my fanfiction) and writing about him in the blog. He's not really angry. He's just puzzled that anyone finds him interesting. I know a lot of people who are interesting in many strange ways, but I know few who are as interesting and consistently funny as Craig. He worries that people will be disappointed upon meeting him. Highly unlikely. I can count on one hand the people that can make me laugh as hard as he does no matter what my mood is or how badly I feel. Today, I was feeling really down (tired of being tired, really tired of all the pain). I swear that he senses this, because he always seems to call when I am at my mopiest. One call was to inform me that Ray Liotta was back in his orbit. I looked him up to see if he was between shoots or really stalking Craig. It seems to be the former. The call that really cracked me up today was his review of John Carter. It's not the worst review I've heard from Craig. That honor goes to Pathfinder. If Jon ever gets a notion to tune in on that film, I am to leap across the TV screen in slow motion screaming NOOOOOO to block the signal from the remote. I can't repeat the other things he said. The John Carter review was more colorful and far less angry. He likened it to his keen disappointment with Star Wars Episode 1 but with a herd of Jar Jar Binks . And he said the leads were pretty but ill suited for dialog beyond 'I love you, cardboard character (his words).' 'If I wrote one of those review blog things, I'd give it four F#$%K Nos and recommend people put their time to better use like auto-erotic asphyxiation.' See, he can't help being interesting. So, I accept being his nemesis. He's too much of a gentlemen to start a war with me. He'll just try to terrorize Jon.

Social Butterfly

Aside from the sojourns that Marie and I have taken to the Culver Hotel after shopping at the Culver City Farmer's Market, I had two other social engagements. That was a lot before I fell ill. Since then, it's unheard of. I think I held up fairly well. I even managed to put makeup on AND do my hair. Have I mentioned that some of the most helpful makeup tips I've found online has been from transvestites and transgenders? Who better to instruct on making skin look flawless? I still can't get behind false eyelashes. They just make me giggle.

At any rate, the first of the social engagements was an impromptu celebration of Gabriel Koerner's 30th birthday. It happened that he really liked a place that was five minutes from our place, and it was very reasonably priced. Jon said that if I were to create a restaurant in my fiction, it would be exactly like Sara the Wine Bar http://www.sarathewinebar.com/ (Things are very glamorous in the video. Something like that was going on in a private room, but the main restaurant was really down to earth and homey). When I approached the entrance, there was a handsome, older gent dancing with an adorable, chubby cheeked baby who was grinning and laughing. Inside, there were two generations of extended family attentively waiting on customers. Though I was not a regular, I was welcomed and felt very comfortable alone waiting for Jon, Gabriel and his friends to show up. Of course, with Gabriel http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/Gabriel_Koerner involved, there is a Trek connection to the joint. Cirroq Lofton http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/Cirroc_Lofton is best known as Jake Sisko from Deep Space 9. He married a talented chef from Tuscany. The result is a place with amazing, handcrafted food and a warm, friendly atmosphere that made me feel at home. Our first birthday party with Gabriel was when he was 15 and prone to swing from trees. When I first met him during my interview for Trekkies, I thought 'I seem to have found Jon's son.' Our relationship with him reminds me of family – highly entertaining at times. He's packed a lot of hard living in 15 years. I'm glad to see that he's mellowed though he remains quite the charming dinner companion. A fine time was had by all.

The second outing will have to wait for another day. I have more to cover, and my inbox is not emptying itself!


I suppose it was inevitable that all of this fresh produce would leave to making Jam. I think that was only part of my interest in the practice. Most of it came from the interest in making bread from scratch. It seemed silly to me to spend time allowing the dough to ferment slowly for enhanced flavor only to slather on some store bought jam that has sugar or high fructose corn syrup as a first ingredient. I'm also planning on making maracons http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macaron from scratch. Regular jam wouldn't do. And if I am considering Jam that in the ten buck range, I'd just as soon make my own. I'm not courageous enough to trust that my canning will hold up for months. I'm happy with smaller yields (2 jars per type) that will last in the fridge for a couple of weeks. Once I'm better at it, I'll give jars as gifts. The process isn't difficult, but it is exacting if one wants to avoid dangerous canned goods. I think the biggest challenge for me is that once you begin the sterilizing process, you have to be ready to fill the jars with the hot mixtures. As I've often said, our apartment is small, and the kitchen is miniscule. Making the various jams used every bit of available space and most of my pots and pans. Luckily, the recipes can be re-heated to boiling later on or even the next day (I just don't add the pectin until right before I'm ready to put everything in the jars). I can rest while Jon cleans up the kitchen. Love that Kitchen Aide! Then, I can start the sterile cleaning of the stove and the sink. I even did the floor. I think I was thinking of an operating room. The instructions were adamant about everything touching the jars and lids be extremely clean. It was a mite scary transferring the newly cleaned and rinsed glasses in the hot water pot with the transferring grabber gizmo. I had to make sure that water was filled to the top without falling over. But what was really terrifying was grabbing the sterilized jars, pouring out the hot water and gently setting it on a tray. My long time readers may recall, that I am quite a klutz at times. And I have had incidents with scalding water. Luckily, Everything went well this time. And the jams turned out nicely. The apricot isn't quite as good as the stuff I had in the south of France, but it was tasty with very little sugar. I'm hoping the process will get easier with each attempt.

I have a web series update on http://demonspawntales.blogspot.com/ . I have a very pointed yet literary rant on trolls who write bad reviews without reading the book here http://sybpressyaoi.com. There are no new book or film updates. I have a pile of stuff I'm slogging through in my inbox, but nothing I'm free to report.

Stay tuned.

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