Posted by: cassymuronaka | January 5, 2015

Dog gone

lola and treat

Suspicious, paranoid, her behavior completely driven by what might get her a treat, and unbeloved by almost everyone she met, the half-border collie, half-God-knows-what else known as Lola has gone to that great dog park in the sky.

No one will mourn her, save for the three people with whom she lived, but let it be said that Lola was the most interesting almost-human being I’ve ever met.  I adored my other canine, who passed away almost three years ago to the day as Lola, but when you looked in Red Dog’s eyes, you definitely saw dog.  A very crafty, lovable dog, but absolutely dog.

Not so much with Lola.  There were times I thought I glimpsed something else struggling to get out, something close to human.  Border Collies are said to be the most intelligent dogs, and this one — who was all border collie in her brain — was no exception. She began trying to herd us like sheep when she was six weeks old.  I think she spent every day of her life attempting to figure out the English language.

And we spent each of her sixteen years trying to figure her out.

Posted by: cassymuronaka | January 1, 2015

We’re very big on topiary in the south San Gabriel Valley

2015 topiary

Hacienda Heights, California
New Year’s Day, 2015

Posted by: cassymuronaka | December 28, 2014

Happy Holidays from California

plastic surgery_


El Monte, California

Posted by: cassymuronaka | August 10, 2014


duck press

In its ongoing effort to introduce America to the pleasures of Nordic cuisine, yesterday’s episode of “New Scandinavian Cooking” offered up “Pressed Duck,” which featured a gravy whose primary ingredient is extracted by use of a device that crushes the throwaway “parts” of a partially-cooked fowl.

Average price of a duck press: somewhere between $2,220 and $25,000.

Posted by: cassymuronaka | July 23, 2014

What you find when you clean out your bedroom end table

end table contents

28 nail files or emery boards
2 unactivated credit cards
2 flash drives
6 Very Important notes I have written, including one that says “FRUITCAKE!”
7 Post-it pads
14 Post-it bookmark pads
1 newspaper cartoon where the man is waking his wife in their bed, saying, “Hey honey, — your sleeping is waking me up.”
1 bottle cap
5 yellow and pink Highlighters
11 tags I have cut off from shirts because they scratch my neck
1 plastic frog
1 plastic octopus tentacle
1 round die
2 mini tape cassettes that I probably recorded around 1991 of my son babbling to himself in his crib
3 black Sharpies
5 red ink pens
1 orange ink pen
1 teal ink pen
1 purple ink pen
1 magenta ink pen
1 blue ink pen
2 black ink pens
1 black ink pen refill
1 wooden keyring pen
1 convention lanyard with nothing attached to it
13 matchboxes
1 InStyle magazine recommendation of the 15 best cellphone beauty Apps
1 satin jewelry case with no jewelry in it
2 pairs scissors
2 pairs earplugs
1 whistle
1 deck of cards
1 safety pin
7 paper clips
2 sets of earbuds
2 set of earbud replacement covers
1 plastic iPhone 4S music player/horn
3 polymer clay beads
1 South Pasadena High School “Notice of Committee Meeting” pad, c. 1969
1 LA Times employee identification card, c. 1981
3 ziplock bags, varying sizes
1 laminated “SIMPSON Criminal Courts Tour All Access” pass with the following “Unofficial Sponsors: Ross Cutlery, Hertz, American Airlines, Ford’s Bronco Div, LAPD Robbery Homicides,” c. 1994
1 small chest of drawers knob
5 pencils
2 Chapsticks
1 bottle eyedrops
1 rubber band
2 large erasers
27 plastic toothpicks
1 “How to Find & Download Free Kindle Fire ebooks” printout
1 set of instructions for the iPhone 4S
1 pair reading glasses
1 flip/fold Ott light
1 squeeze flashlight that doesn’t work anymore
1 working Maglight
1 credit card magnifier that doesn’t work very well
1 button that reads “I haven’t learned the secret to anything. I’m just old.”
1 silver button
11 notepads

Posted by: cassymuronaka | June 2, 2014

Forget Aurora: I always wanted to be HER


And who didn’t?


Downtown Disney, 2014

Posted by: cassymuronaka | May 8, 2014

Great moments in high school yearbooks inscriptions #1

you slob


I barely knew this person.

Bloomingdale's skeleton costmetics


Kiehl’s Powerful Strength Line-Reducing Concentrate display
Bloomingdale’s Cosmetics department

Costa Mesa, California

Posted by: cassymuronaka | May 5, 2014

Stephen King would love this

LV mailbox


Residential mailbox
Las Vegas, Nevada

Posted by: cassymuronaka | May 3, 2014

Malta envy

coral 2


I’m not usually one to let the green-eyed monster get the best of me, but it has been a little tough to view all the spectacular photos coming out of Malta from the EuroSynergy polymer clay conference.  The weather and scenery make me long to flee the toasty desert-ish cage of Los Angeles in exchange for a nice breezy day while I pound the cobblestone streets of the Mediterranean island.

Actually, are there cobblestone streets in Malta?  It seems like there would be.

Instead of thinking about all the awesome classes and information exchange I was missing, I decided to conduct my own polymer clay class.  With one student.  Me.

The earrings that resulted from my trying to avoid sitting on the Pity Pot came out of not just envy but unbelievable procrastination. First, I was avoiding chores I promised myself I would finish Thursday.  Secondly, I was constructing jewelry that would match a blouse I had planned to wear to a friend’s wedding.  Only, the wedding was last weekend.

The one guideline I set myself was not to go make something in the same colors that always attract me. That’s the Cool Color Place: blue, green, purple, yada, yada.   So, I picked a palette of creamy corals. By the way, the warm hue would have looked great with that shirt I wore to the wedding last Sunday.

The inspiration for my project was a pair of earrings that Cynthia Tinapple made and posted about in 2012 on her always-stimulating Polymer Clay Daily website. The earrings were called “Stacked Polymer Shards,” and they resemble smooth beach glass: Cool Color Place beach glass, which is probably why I’ve been mooning over them for a couple of years.

What kind of clay did I use for my project? Everything.  Old Classic Fimo orange, current Classic Fimo red, Kato translucent, Premo translucent, probably even ancient Fimo Art Translucent.  The process of making my earrings was not unlike how a thrifty French housewife cooks her winter stew: set the stove’s back burner to Low, and just keep throwing leftover vegetables and meat in the soup over a period of a couple of days.

Once the coral shades were mixed up from the various kinds of clay and the beads shaped, I set them in to cure at 275° in a preheated oven for 22 minutes.

Putting the earrings together was kind of like playing with a Rubik’s cube or going through a corn maze. Initially, I wanted everything to balance and the two earrings to look similar, but there was a reason I made the oval beads in varying sizes and thicknesses with bead holes not always placed dead center. So, the perfectionist in me had to chill out and go with the uneven flow.

Were the earrings successful? Did I forget about Malta for a few minutes?  Well, yes I did, and my 24-year-old son, who never has a problem sending a zinger my way, said they looked very good on me. And when I wore them to Starbucks yesterday, the young barista serving me wanted to buy them off my ears.  I didn’t sell them, but I did go right back home and assemble a second pair.


Coral 1


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