My Abnormal Son

Mom: “I told my friends you don’t want to live an ordinary life…I told them you were…abnormal?”
Me: “Abnormal?”
Mom [laughing]: “Isn’t that the opposite of normal and ordinary?”
Me: “Extraordinary, a life less ordinary…not abnormal.”
Mom: “Oh, I told them my son wants to be abnormal.” [all of us dying from laughter in the car]

I guess the description isn’t really too far off, all things considered. But then one could argue the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, and my mom is surely one of a kind.

Hey Good Lookin’…Whatcha Got Cooking?

“So are you ready to have some dinner?”
“Sure, what are we having?”
“Roasted carrots.”
“That’s all?”
“No, also beet greens, tofu and some couscous.”
“Sounds good!”

Some days we’re the epitome of healthy living. Other days you can find us consuming a whole pack of Trader Joe’s Inside Out Carrot Cake Cookies in a single sitting or eating a week’s worth of homemade pasta casserole in half the time. We’re complex like that, yo.

The Microclimates of the Home

The last day of the month and Spring decided to step aside and let Summer cut in for a dance with Los Angeles today. I don’t think anyone was quite ready for 90 degree temperatures, but only the most gothic and sloth are complaining about the surprise visit.

When you work at home, you’re privy to your home’s sometimes hidden qualities, being audience to the transitional states throughout the day you’d otherwise miss when working a 9-5er. I find it interesting how a rooms just a few feet over from one another can be so remarkably different in light and temperature.

Everyday, through the floorplan of just 4 rooms of our modest sized apartment, Emily, the cats and I follow the architectural sun dial of our rooms, directed by light and warmth. I work in a closet, literally, so it’s one of the cooler rooms of the apartment, decorated and planned to be a light-sucking black hole to reduce glare and reflections. The adjoining living room is the second darkest/coolest room, since the large windows face northward, toward an eyesore of an apartment building (I added frosted window film to block out the view).

The two most light filled rooms are the kitchen and the bedroom (alongside the utilitarian bathroom; I do admit basking the sun and view while relieving myself). In the morning, the east facing dining room glows amber, and our cats lazily slink underneath the dining table to retire for hours, not to be heard or bothered while enjoying the warm rays seemingly letterpressed in yellow onto our floors. By afternoon, the sun has migrated southbound, lighting up our view of the Silver Lake Reservoir in a teasing manner. It’s often around 3-4pm I start feeling an itching desire to set aside my work and head out to the water and light that beckons. Sounds like a bad UFO abduction tale, but I’ve yet to tire of the view outside these west-facing windows and view they afford.

Finally, by early evening, the hills surrounding the Reservoir glow neon oranges, pinks and blues, a hypercolors ode to my 80’s youth, streaked across the sky and into the bedroom in a fashion Pollock would recognize in spirit. It’s often the case Emily and I find ourselves napping here during weekends, watching the water fowl float in spirals above the water and the staccato of sunshine glimmering like angelic 8mm film, as we drift into sleep as the birds depart to nest for the evening. It’s appropriate the best room at dusk, welcoming the nocturnal hours, is the bedroom.

And then we begin all again the next morning.

When Art and Deep Dish Pizza Beckon, I Must Answer

I think these are amongst my favourite photos I’ve ever taken. They’re all from last year from about this time. I had 2 hours to myself inbetween nights during a whirlwind visit to Chicago to attend the The International Home + Housewares Show on the dime of a major vacuum manufacturer, a behemoth trade show where all those common cleaning, cooking, organizing and miscellaneous “As Seen On TV” coagulates into one gigantic ejaculation of consumer wares.

Amusingly enough, during my stay I found myself the sole male design blog representative thrown in amongst a gaggle of mommy bloggers (they’re a force to be reckoned with, no lie), not completely a surprise considering the event. But with just two nights in Chicago, my first visit ever, I decided to forgot the invite for early cocktails and a fancy dinner at the expense of my gracious host, instead settling for 2 lone hours inside the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art, and later some quality time with a box of one of Chi-town’s finest, a deep dish pizza from Lou Malnati’s. It ended up being the right decision, the early evening attendance sparse, allowing for quiet moments to reflect about art versus product and even watch a procession of birds along Lake Michigan gently spanning the icy early spring sky, returning to wherever they nest for the evening. It was certainly my kind of town.

Somewhere Between Reality and France: His vs. Her Dreams

I don’t know how often this happens to you, but after watching a few episodes of HGTV’s House Hunters International (the televised equivalent of crack cocaine for the home/decor set), specifically about a couple who moved from England to the countryside of France, I was spurred on to check what the housing prices are like abroad in the land of baguettes and frilly lingerie. In the process of researching properties in bed, some amusing noted traits about Emily and I arose.

Although Emily and I get along brilliantly in almost every category, besides our opinions about Mr. Darcy and death metal, we do diverge in regards to the scope and feasibility of how and what we dream about. Ever the pragmatic realist, Emily’s aspirations are firmly based in reality…arguably, frighteningly so.

Here’s an example of the “dream” property that elicited excitement from Emily while perusing real estate in France. This “drop off your used mattresses by the roadside” piece of land is unsurprisingly available for 220 euros, free discarded Fanta soda cans and piles of dirt to help hide bodies in to sweeten the deal. Another example was this “charming” fixer upper, a stone building that would likely give Mike Holmes an aneurysm. Yeah, you bet that price is negotiable…$18,242 for the privilege of living in a semi-neolithic interior is even daunting for this “love to fix shit up” gent. But at least the toilet is new.

I had to reason with Emily that owning either of these two glowing examples of French history would not bring us either joy or the opportunity to be on House Hunters International ourselves, unless HGTV decided to broadcast stories about real estate tragedies and the relationship disasters that followed.

On the flipside, my dreams tend to run willy-nilly into the realm of R. Kelly “I believe I can fly” territory. My middle name: Delusional. Ever the unrealistic dreamer, my eyes tend to roam right out of the zip code of reality, and quickly into the categorical listings of estates, castles, and manors. At the sight of the word, “chateux”, my eyes immediately widen in anticipated glee, salivary glands unleashing a torrent of architecturally induced drool. I will settle for summer estates and cottages if the location is prime, but the grand and amongst the clouds is where my dreams congregate for a dalliance. And on that note, I’ll reveal at one moment last night, upon opening a page with a castle surrounded by a star-shaped moat, I screamed out in a confident roar, “I WANNA HAVE SEX WITH THAT CASTLE!”. Ahem, I can be passionate, there’s no doubt.

We could both agree that we need to find a way to make enough money to come into acquisition of this property to preserve. You had us at the mention of “ruins”. But for now, we’ll settle for some decent croissants from our new favourite Francophile destination and hope we can move to another Silver Lake apartment with one additional bedroom overlooking the Reservoir, both more realistic than my wayward dreams outside the orbit of reality and less discomforting than Emily’s choices in property potential this side of the Manson family (a French Manson family, mind you).

The First LA Food Swap: Sneak Peek!

The day has nearly arrived for some serious swapping. No, not that type of swapping. Food, sucka. Here’s a sneak peek of Emily’s selection of handmade beet pasta, foraged Silver Lake peppercorns, and Satsuma mandarin dust for tomorrow’s LA Food Swap. Hope you’re amongst the 50 Angelenos who signed up to swap the homegrown and homemade:

citrus dandelion marmalade • strawberry vodka infusion • granola • salsa • pickled dilly beans and heirloom carrots • tomato jam • scones • lemon curd • avocados • Seville orange & grapefruit preserves • arugula • lavender • brittle • sourdough bread • rangpur lime marmalade • lettuce and greens • vegan baked goods • Meyer lemons • fresh sprouts • quince chutney • membrillo • raw vegan cacao treats and more…

A Congregation of Wind, Water and Waves

Taken on a windy and rainy late morning, overlooking the bay at Andrew Molera State Park. Possibly my favourite day in Big Sur, such was the dreary beauty of a storm raging to shore…but I reserve the right to change that claim when I remember 10 other unforgettable sights as I go through my archives of photos and video taken during the 4 year getaway.

Song: Waterboys – This Is the Sea.


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