Friday, February 13, 2009

Mmmm... cupcakes

I did make cupcakes this week, but I want to work on that recipe a little more before I post it.

In the meantime, I can recommend these peanut mini cupcakes made by a colleague.

He posted it on his own food blog, Tofu Fighting, which I have added to the food files section of my links.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Getting paid to dive

Way back in November manfriend and I went on a boat diving trip to one of the Channel Islands.
We both took a lot of pictures and I wrote a lot of words.

And this weekend it was the cover story in the Orange County Register's Travel section.

You can read the story by clicking here. There are 30 photos in the slide show there, all of which were posted here first back in November.

The layout appears below.

Yay! It was a lot of fun to write about these dives. I guess it is fun to write about something that is so enjoyable.

Next up: I may try my hand at writing a food article.

$1,600 would have bought a lot of shoes

Well, I have officially done my part to stimulate the economy in this past week or so.

It started out nice enough.

Manfriend and I went for a Monday afternoon dive at Redondo before he had to go to work for a late shift. I forgot the o-ring for the camera, so the only picture is from the parking lot.
But the dive was nice. Conditions were totally flat, visibility was decent.

We saw a couple baby horn sharks (no sign of mama shark... whew!) and a traffic-cone orange anemone like nothing I have seen there on any previous dive.

When we got home, MF had to get to work so I cleaned the gear then got cleaned up myself for a quiet night of leftovers.

But I heard water running. I checked the sinks. Nothing. I checked the hose outside where I was cleaning the gear. Nothing. I checked the shower. It sounded like water running in the wall, but no water was coming out of the faucet.

This cannot be good.

Finally, I called MF. He asked about the water heater.

It never even occurred to me to check the water heater.

I went outside to go around to the side of the house where the water heater is, and before I got there I knew that was the problem.

Water was streaming down the driveway from the side of the house. It was all flooded on the walkway.

I got over there and turned off the water going into the water heater and that seemed to stop the waterfall.

It was late. Any solution would have to wait until morning.

Since MF had worked late that night, he was not going to work until later in the day, so he was able to help me check things out in the daylight.

Yeah. It was bad.

Calling a few places, I found out that it would be about $1,000 to have someone come out and install a water heater. But, if we did it we could get save almost $500.

Lucky for me MF is pretty handy to have around the house.

Also lucky for me (yes this will sound weird), my car was in the shop. This was lucky because it meant I had a rental. It was a little Kia Rondo. It looked tiny when I picked it up at the rental place. Turns out the back seats fold all the way flat and you can fit a water heater back there.

So we got it home and dragged it to the side of the house. After only one more trip to Home Depot for the proper valves, we had it installed.

That was the first $560 of the week. Oh, and I had to use a vacation day to stay home to do that and deal with the car in the shop.

Plus it looks like the valve is a little leaky, which is what likely caused the top of the thing to rust out over time. So I still need to get a plumber out to fix that.

Then came the car repair stuff. There were some seals and hoses and whatnots that needed to be replaced. The car, with 85,000 miles on it, still runs great. And since I drive about 80 miles a day to and from work, I need to keep it that way.

So, another $400. Thank goodness I don't have a car payment.

Then the car repair guy told me I needed new tires. I was afraid of that.

Since I had already taken a day off to deal with the water heater, I decided to wait a week on the tires. I was worried all week that I would have a flat or a blowout on the freeway. I get paranoid like that sometimes.

I called a few places and checked with Costco and found a good deal at Ocean Tires in Hermosa Beach. I took the car in Monday and got the thing four new shoes.


Is that it? Please, let that be it. At least for the next six months.

Oh wait, I almost forgot about the money I spent on the car rental.


Now, let's add it all up...


Yep. That's my part for the economy.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Craving, satisfied

I finally gave in to my recent scallop craving.
And man, am I glad I did.
I made a lovely appetizer last night of seared scallops in lemon-shallot sauce.

I think I have a new favorite preparation for scallops.
And the best part: It was so easy!