I guess my new hobby is making cooking videos at home, and I guess people like them. I’ve already had over a million views! I never expected that! But it just motivates me to make more of my little How-To vignettes in the kitchen. What really surprised me was which ones are the most popular.
My number one most popular video on youtube? Pepperoni pizza!
Well, I guess that doesn’t surprise me. Who doesn’t like pizza and my video shows a healthier way to make it. But then, the next most popular video? Polish cabbage rolls!
This was a complete surprise. Even I don’t make them very often because they take a lot of work but I thought the process might be interesting to some people. So it seems they like it, right? Not exactly. Oh, I did receive lots of positive comments at first… from this country… but then they found my video in Poland.
They called me names. They said I forgot where I came from. They said I was not Polish. Apparently, I have highly insulted the entire population of Poland with my…. tasty, delicious, healthy cabbage rolls. I got hate mail. “That’s not how we make them in Poland.” “No self-respecting Pole puts mushrooms in cabbage rolls.” “We don’t put meat in our golabki! What is wrong with you?” “Only a simpleton would take the cabbage out of the pot to remove the leaves.” “That’s not how my babcia made them.”
To me the best way to deal with offensive people is with humor. So how many Poles does it take to make a cabbage roll? Only one. But he has to make sure the cabbage is round; otherwise, it won’t even roll around once.
I checked on my pomegranate tree a couple of weeks ago and the fruit never looked like it was ready. Denis said not to worry because the squirrels were all hibernating and the fruit would be safe. And I know the longer any fruit stays on the tree, the sweeter it will taste. But this morning, I saw a squirrel in the back yard. Hmmm… not hibernating… not carrying nuts… so what’s that in his mouth?? It’s big and red and it’s not Santa Claus.
That mangy, rat-faced, no-good, low-life, beady-eyed, scum-sucking, pomegranate-eating squirrel is ruining my life. I threw a tennis ball at him and missed but it got his attention. He dropped the pomegranate (what was left of it) and flew like a reindeer up the back hill and he was gone. I decided I’d better take all the pomegranates off the tree so that rodent can’t get any more. See this picture?
The one on the lower right was the one he dropped and it was just a shell with nothing left inside. The other ones were still on the tree! I planted this tree because pomegranates are super healthy and eating them will make you live longer. So my mangy, rat-faced, no-good, low-life, beady-eyed, scum-sucking squirrel is probably going to live even longer than he normally would, thanks to me. Life is not fair.
“Please… take me with you! I want to live with you in California. I’ve already packed some toiletries and I know there’s room in your purse. I’ll be good. Look at this innocent face. You can trust me. Puh-leeeze?!
Do I look like I would eat your tomatoes and peaches and pomegranates? No way! I have food allergies. Eat a peach and I’ll blow up like a balloon. Besides, I’m not really a squirrel – I’m a cat. This is a Halloween costume. Booo! Now open up that purse!”
Denis and I are on a road trip to the east coast. What better time to come east but when the trees are ablaze with colors like this. We started in Washington, DC and then we went on to New York City. This tree was in Central Park. I got right under the tree and kept looking up at it – I couldn’t believe how beautiful it was. But my joy was short-lived. When I looked down, guess who was there to welcome me to New York?
“Hi, Jenny! I’ve been waiting for you. My cousin back in L.A. texted me that you were coming. Did you bring me any snacks? Any tomatoes? Peaches? …No? No problem. Just open up your purse, I’ll jump in and go back with you! After I eat all your peaches, can we go to Disneyland?” How about you jump in my purse and I catapult it across the Hudson River, you mangy, rat-faced, no-good, low-life, beady-eyed, scum-sucking, vacation-ruining squirrel!
Is he looking at me or not? This praying mantis was hanging out on the side of a hummingbird feeder all day. When I got close, he kept tilting his head around and I never knew when he was looking at me. See those little black dots inside the big green orbs on the corners of his head? I think they were moving around. So we had a staring contest. But I don’t know who won because I don’t know if he was really looking. But he was still there when I left so I guess he won.
Oh, this guy showed up, too. It was not nearly as much fun taking his picture and I promise I did not get as close. It was a zoom lens! This was our 4th scorpion since living here in the southern California hills. At least it’s the 4th one we’ve seen. I’m pretty sure there are more out there. It was scary. I need taller boots. And bigger cojones.
When I heard the county fair was coming to town, I marked it on the calendar. THIS is the day I will ride my Tilt-a-Whirl. I planned it months ago and even got a confirmation that they indeed had a Tilt-a-Whirl from someone who was there. So last Thursday, we headed to the L.A. County Fair.
It was an hour’s drive but I didn’t care. My Tilt-a-Whirl was there. It was the only reason Denis was willing to drive for an hour and be there on a hot and windy day. As if the amusement ride wouldn’t be enough, we arrived and went to get tickets and guess what? Senior Discount!!
Once we were in Denis said, “Do you want to go see the animals first?” “No. Tilt-a-Whirl.” “How about the prize winning pies? You love to bake.” “No. Tilt-a-Whirl.” I had a singular goal and nothing was going to slow me down. I thought I would ride five times, twice right away, go see the animals, two more rides, then the pies, and one more ride before we left.
This Tilt-a-Whirl wasn’t the traditional red but it was even prettier, painted in pink and purple. As if this wasn’t the best day ever (no traffic + senior discount) there was hardly anybody on the ride! No line at all. Denis bought some ride tickets, and I saw only two cars with other riders so I could pick any of the other cars. Denis got the camera ready while I handed the ride operator (let’s call him “Satan”) my tickets.
“You can’t ride,” said Satan. “WHAT? Why not?” “No single riders,” Satan replied. “But there’s nobody here,” I said, “That’s for when there’s a line. I drove an hour to ride this Tilt-a-Whirl. Most of the cars are empty.” “No, you can’t ride,” said Satan, “No single riders.” Denis offered to ride with me but I was wearing a nice shirt and didn’t want him throwing up on it. It was a long, sad, ride home. Satan could probably get a job at a restaurant and if Jesus himself walked in he’d say, “Sorry. No shirt, no shoes, no service.”
Here’s a nice article I was invited to do about my favorite comfort foods for the top5.com website. (I think they asked the right person) It was not easy deciding on the final five – I had five more that didn’t make it. They were: rice pudding, pepperoni pizza, meat loaf, pączki, and pierogi. Eliminating these was like deciding which one of my children I should leave behind. I don’t have children but I do have love for potatoes. Happy Labor Day, everyone!
Have you seen the pictures I posted of my beautiful home? It’s paradise. The day I saw it for the first time, seven years ago, I knew in less than five minutes that this was my dream home. It has the most beautiful backyard and beyond it is a huge hill that wraps around the yard. For someone like me who enjoys nature and the outdoors, it’s truly a dream place to live.
I remember the first time I saw a deer on the back hill, of course I grabbed my camera and have been taking deer pictures ever since. And when I saw my first coyote, I was a little anxious but still excited. Then came the bobcat…. okay, I kept my distance.
The first time I saw a rattlesnake, it was a shock but I knew they existed in Southern California. I just didn’t expect to see them every year. They come out in the morning to warm up on concrete or stone and we have a stone walkway so I stay away in the morning hours. Now this year, the skunks showed up. Yes, that’s plural. A family of skunks has been coming around, in fact last night I was outside after dinner and a skunk walked right past me! If my back had been turned I might not have seen him and could have walked right into him. And then what?
So I avoid going outside in the mornings for snakes, and in the early evening for skunks. But I do have a window of freedom from late morning into the afternoon (the hottest part of the day). Beyond that I’m a prisoner in paradise.
Here’s what the gardener found this week…
The truth is, I would still choose this house again. I just need to get some tall boots… and maybe a skunk suit so I can blend…
I regret it had to come to this. But here are the harsh details: I planted a white peach tree because white peaches are a delicacy and these were going to be organic, too. My tree was getting bigger and this year, it produced more peaches than ever. I was so excited to see all the blossoms in the spring and could hardly wait to pick my first peach. Imagine my dismay when the peaches finally came and I would walk out to see 5 or 10 peaches on the ground every day, most of them with just as bite taken out, and they were still hard and nowhere near ready to pick. But they were ready enough for the squirrels.
One day in particular, there were 24 unripe, damaged peaches on the ground. So of the 200 or so produced by the tree, we got to eat five. The other ones that I was forced to pick early finally softened but they weren’t sweet. And the ones I held out for until they were a bit soft, mostly had bruises and brown spots anyway.
I can’t say I didn’t try. I used a hot pepper spray, stuffed beach balls into the tree, tied dangling CDs from the branches, traps, plastic hawks, and a rubber snake. Nothing worked. And the tree became a source of stress and anxiety of what was coming next year. So it’s gone. The gardener dug it up today. Watching him carry it away was sad. You win, you mangy, rat-faced, no-good, low-life, beady-eyed, scum-sucking, peach-eating squirrel. But don’t be a stranger… my pomegranates are coming next.