Happy Thanksgiving!

Best dollar ever spent on this giant pumpkin from our favorite joint, 99¢ Only Store.  Its circumference is a whopping 45″.

Makes for a great sunshade… :)

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Some Cheese with My Whine, Please

Lately, life’s been a little rough – some patches larger than others.

In no particular order…

My father passed away.

While zooming downhill at CicLAvia, I was thrown off my bike by Oblivious Oliver perpendicularly turning into me and now, both knees are scarred, left elbow is nice and gnarly and my left hand is always feelin’ a little hinky.  The funbags were the only thing that kept my chin from making friends with the asphalt.  Being that we were only 40% of the way through the 20+mile ride, I had to hastily brush the gravel out of my wounds, trek on and rely on adrenaline to numb the pain.

The irises in our window box that Husfriend’s friend from Montana was so kind to send has been hosting some gnats that have long overstayed their welcome.

Our hanging fruit basket has become suicidal and comes crashing down as it pleases, full or not.

The water damage to our ceiling and walls caused by our neglectful upstairs neighbor was finally “fixed” by one of the resident handymen whom Husfriend has dubbed “Glue Sniffer.”  Of course, a little spackle and paint would fix soaked 100-year-old lath and plaster walls.  So now, the moisture and stains have seeped through to the surface and it looks worse than before.

The kid that lives up there is overweight, uncoordinated and likes to run around to boot.

Nothing new but the dog always hogs the bed.  She’s cute so I pretty much let her do whatever she wants.  Bad, I know.  She’s also tiny so I’m always mindful of snuffing her in her sleep so I never really get to sleep.  :/

And today, she’s not speaking to me.  She’s upset that I sprinkled 0.35ml of water (aka flea meds) on the back of her neck.

I did get a break though.

I broke my tooth.  A quadrant of my molar is just kicking it in the back of my mouth, hanging on by whatever is not its root.

So, I went to the Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC.  For those that aren’t in the know, the school offers dental work for less than half of what it’d normally cost in exchange for your soul.  Kidding.  Sort of.

Basically, you eventually become assigned to a doctoral student who meticulously works on your mouth as their assignment.

I say “eventually” because my first 3-hour visit consisted of waiting in line in hopes of becoming a patient as they only accept 14 new patients per twice-daily session. more waiting, an oral cancer screening and x-rays.

Within 4 four weeks, I will be notified of the date and time of my second visit with my assigned student dentist for another 3-ish hour session where they’ll study my mouth and hash out a game plan.

Then, 4 weeks after that, my fractured tooth will finally be fixed.

I just hope I don’t swallow it before then…

Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

Yesterday, Pepsi exchanged our change for some handy household items.

We opted for $59.50 in Amazon credit instead of paying the nearly 10% fee.  These Coin Stars are very smart.  It’s either take 10% of my money up front or entice me to eventually spend 100% of it.  Not bad.

With our shiny new Amazon credit, we got some cedar balls, a set of washer hoses, a hose mender to attach said hoses to an adapter that’ll convert our full-size washer/dryer to a portable unit that’ll attach to the kitchen sink, some cloth strainer bags to make homemade almond milk and a wireless switch outlet.  I would say that’s a pretty good haul for “free” money.

I’m very much looking forward to receiving our new stuff.  It’ll mean some minor and major fixes to the abode to make life a little bit easier.

I’m excited to make some homemade almond milk.  Husfriend wants to try walnut milk too.  Looks pretty easy and I’m sure it’ll be tasty so we’ll see…

The wireless switch outlet is basically a remote control for anything that you plug into it.

I like that it looks like a traditional switch that’s missing its wall.  :)

I had one for the living room lamp but it finally crapped out.  I tried replacing the battery, which was dated 2007, but it still didn’t work.  I’ve had it for over 10 years.  I’d say that’s a pretty good run for a <$20 device.

Speaking of changes, Walter the Washer had his name changed to Stan.  My friend Sara suggested it and I think it’s very fitting considering he’s moved in with Dorothy.  Hehe.  :)

When the hoses and the mender arrive, we’ll finally be able to use our washer/dryer.  We’ve been through so many incarnations as to how to connect it to a water source.  My sister‘s man, Nathan, is a general contractor and he explored some water line options for us.  The original idea was to have the washer/dryer in the dressing room opposite the bathroom where it’d share a permanent water connection with the bathroom sink.  However, it turns out that the plumping is so old that he wouldn’t have been able to connect a new water line to the current plumping without it basically crumbling to pieces.

So, the washer/dryer has now been moved into the front hallway closet.  It was a surprisingly painless move considering the doorway is 27″ wide and the washer/dryer is 27″ wide.  I removed the entire door, set it aside and summoned the Husfriend to help slide the washer/dryer into place.  The magical furniture sliders from Home Depot really helped with sliding that puppy across the carpet with ease.

At one point in time, before our time, our kitchen had a window between the refrigerator and counter.  Apparently, seismic retrofitting meant having to sacrifice the window.  To allow more light into the kitchen, they cut a hole in the opposite wall for what we now call the service window.

When you walk in the front door, the “laundry room” closet is to your right and the service window into the kitchen is to your left.  This will be the conduit for which water will travel to and fro the kitchen sink.

Note the old fashioned icebox that we believe used to drain directly into the sink.  I think it’s pretty nifty.  We now use it to house our pots and pans.

Although our kitchen is small, I think it’s laid out very well with neatly-packed-to-the-gills cabinets that extend all the way to the ceiling and numerous drawers.

I did a little of my own retrofitting and turned an old built-in ironing board cabinet in the kitchen into a spice cabinet.

I imagine it was from the days of yore when the women folk were required to live in the kitchen with one hand cooking, the other ironing and one hip supporting a tot.  :/

Honey, I’m Home!

Although it was a very harrowing drive, the family had a great time on our adventure back.  We had a small window within which to escape the impending snowstorm and we made it!

Husfriend decided to bring his car back home, which we’ve had stored in the barn since we drove out to the Midwest last fall.  Pepsi’s grandparents are always so nice to us and this time, they gave us a car.  So, we had our little caravan with Husfriend in his car and me and Pepsi in our brand-new-to-us car.  We stayed close for the most part, stopping at rest stops for Pepsi potty breaks and meals along the way.  We traveled through Chicagoland, Illinois > Omaha, Nebraska > Littleton, Colorado > Grand Junction, Colorado > Las Vegas, Nevada > Los Angeles, California in 4 nights and 5 days.

Green River, Illinois:

While Husfriend got some work done in our hotel in Omaha, I went and picked up some takeout from Laos Thai Market.  I ordered from their Lao menu and got raw beef salad, tom yum soup and papaya salad.  It was really tasty and the flavors reminded me of home.

Following Husfriend in Alda, Nebraska:

Denver Deer at Lookout Mountain:

We then headed out to our next overnight stop in Littleton, Colorado.  Husfriend squeezed in some more work and Pepsi squeezed in some relaxation at Spa Hotel Sink.

The next morning, we stopped for really good Thai food in nearby Lakewood, Colorado from Thai Diamond Cafe.  We pretty much get the best Thai food there is outside of Thailand right here in Los Angeles, so encountering such good Thai food in Colorado was a nice surprise.  Husfriend had the Pad Kee Mao and I had the Khow Soy, which traditionally is noodles topped with curry sauce, mustard greens and sliced onions.   Here, they added fried wonton skins, which added a nice crunch.

The food at Thai Diamond Cafe was so good that we ordered some Khow Soy for dinner and sweet sticky rice with custard for dessert for our next overnight stop in Grand Junction, Colorado.

We got to Las Vegas the next evening and headed straight for Mr. Tofu.  He has the absolute best tofu stew I’ve ever had.  It’s warm, spicy, savory, and just perfect.  I haven’t even had such good stew here in Koreatown.

The next morning, we set out for some dim sum but encountered a problem we almost never have – we were too early.  So, we settled for some Vietnamese food at always-open Pho Kim Long instead.  We started with an avocado shake, followed by their grilled pork rice plate and beef stew.  All were tasty, especially the shake.

After a quick nap, home, sweet home was a short 4-hour drive from Las Vegas.

*It may seem like an overload of Asian food but we had just come from an Asian food drought in the Midwest.  :)