Mysterious Message

There’s a voice in my head that has been repeating the same message every day for the past few months — sometimes several times a day. I should probably pay attention, right? Here’s the three-word advice that this voice gives me: “Pillsbury Bake-Off.” What the heck does that mean?

Pillsbury Bake-Off

I confess that I was fascinated with the Pillsbury Bake-Off when I was a teenager, and I may have submitted recipes once or twice. I remember coming up with an avocado bread that was bright green on the inside and like banana bread, but made with avocados instead of bananas. Alas, my avocado bread recipe was not selected for the finals, and I never had an opportunity to compete at the live event.

These days I wouldn’t dream of eating Pillsbury’s processed food products, because they’re loaded with fat, sugar, preservatives and other ingredients that I avoid. So what can this message possibly mean?

Is there some way I can bring healthy eating to the Pillsbury world by inventing a recipe that is reasonably healthy using one of the Pillsbury products? Maybe something like a kale-Pillsbury cookie dough smoothie?

Or perhaps the message “Pillsbury Bake-Off” has some other meaning, like an event I could create that is reminiscent of the Pillsbury Bake-Off. Do you have any ideas about what this cryptic message could possibly mean?

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Getting There

The studio is coming along! It now has a plywood roof, and they installed the six Velux skylights today. The insulation is in place, and after tomorrow’s inspection, they can start on the drywall.

Cassandra Tondro Art Studio Ventura

Cassandra Tondro Art Studio Ventura

Cassandra Tondro Art Studio Ventura

Cassandra Tondro Art Studio Ventura

The screened-in porch is ready for stucco and the finishing touches. The new sliding glass doors are fabulous, and the cats enjoy sitting in the morning sun.

Cassandra Tondro Art Studio Ventura

This is the new broken concrete walk in the front yard, created from recycled concrete removed from the back. The front yard is ready for planting, and I’m in the process of deciding what to put in. It’s going to be a drought-tolerant garden — mostly California native plants.

Cassandra Tondro Art Studio Ventura

It’s all very exciting, and I can hardly wait until it’s done!

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Charmlee Update

I drove down to Malibu today to set up a new computer for my parents. But now that computers come preinstalled with almost everything you need, it only took an hour. So afterwards I went for another hike in Charmlee Wildnerness Park.

Charmlee Wilderness Park Malibu

This is my selfie taken from Fossil Rock overlooking the ocean.

Charmlee Wilderness Park Malibu

I love this grove of ancient rocks and oak trees. Chumash Indians lived here at one time.

Charmlee Wilderness Park Malibu

It has only been four weeks since I was here last, but it already looks different. Wildflowers are just beginning to bloom. In another month or two the colors will be spectacular.

Charmlee Wilderness Park Malibu

Charmlee Wilderness Park Malibu

Charmlee Wilderness Park Malibu

Charmlee Wilderness Park Malibu

The poison oak is coming out of winter dormancy.

Charmlee Wilderness Park Malibu

It’s the most beautiful natural park I have ever seen.

Charmlee Wilderness Park Malibu

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Raise the Roof!

Today they nailed plywood walls onto the outside of my art studio and put the bow trusses for the roof in place. It’s starting to look like a real building now! Before it looked small to me, but now that it’s mostly enclosed, it looks huge. And I love the raised ceiling. I can’t wait until it’s done, but we still have a ways to go.

Cassandra Tondro Art Studio

Cassandra Tondro Art Studio

Cassandra Tondro Art Studio

Cassandra Tondro Art Studio

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Angry Bird Kite

We’ve had really strong winds the past couple of days. Yesterday afternoon I was standing at the kitchen sink, washing dishes, and I saw this fly by. It appears to be an Angry Bird kite! Maybe from the park across the street? It got caught on the top of the garage, and finally worked it’s way down to the ground. I thought someone might come looking for it, but no one showed up. It looks kind of cute there, don’t you think?

Angry Bird Kite

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New Art Studio

Woo hoo! We finally got the building permit for my new art studio, and they poured the concrete foundation for it yesterday. Today they started on the framing, and it’s beginning to take shape. So exciting!

Cassandra Tondro Art Studio Ventura, CA

Cassandra Tondro Art Studio Ventura, CA

Cassandra Tondro Art Studio Ventura, CA

They’ve also been working on the screened-in porch and deck, off of the back of the house. The new sliding glass doors at the back of the house have a beautiful view of the back yard and the mountains, and really open up the bedrooms.

Cassandra Tondro Art Studio Ventura, CA

The cats are going to love their screened-in porch when it’s done.

Cassandra Tondro Art Studio Ventura, CA

We still have a ways to go, but I can see that there’s light at the end of this very long tunnel. It looks like I’ll be able to paint again this spring. It’s been almost a year since I last did anything, except for the performance in November at Cosmotion.

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Art at Community Memorial Hospital

Twenty-three of my paintings are on display in the windows on Loma Vista Road at the Coastal Communities Cancer Center that’s part of Community Memorial Hospital in Ventura. They just hung the show today, and it will be up through early March.

Art Display community Memorial Hospital Ventura

It’s hard to photograph because of the reflections on the windows, but hopefully you get the idea.

Art Display community Memorial Hospital Ventura

Check it out if you’re in the area.

Art Display community Memorial Hospital Ventura

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Construction Update

The construction guys just left for the day, so I thought I’d take a few pictures to show you how the construction of my art studio and screened-in-porch/deck are coming along.

They’ve removed most of the stucco from the back of the house, which was an ear-splitting job. The house was shaking so bad that it felt like an earthquake, and some of the plaster on the ceiling fell down. The stucco needed to come off because the back wall needs to be reinforced for the roof of the screened-in porch.

Construction of art studio and deck

This is the view of the yard from the new screened-in porch, with the foundation for the art studio in the back, on the right.

Construction of art studio and deck

Closer up view of the screened-in porch which is off of the back of the house. It will be a 16′ x 16′ room, primarily to give the cats some outdoor space.

Construction of art studio and deck

And we’re ready to pour the foundation for the art studio, as soon as that building permit comes through.

Construction of art studio and deck

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Milestone

The odometer on my car flipped over to 100,000 miles in the Whole Foods parking lot today, and of course I got pictures!

Toyota RAV4 milestone

Toyota RAV4 milestone

Toyota RAV4 milestone

It’s a 1997 Toyota RAV4, and it still looks and runs like new. It’s been a great car, and I so appreciate it’s many years of service. It has faithfully taken me everywhere I wanted to go, and I hope it will continue to accompany me on my journeys for years to come.

Toyota RAV4 milestone

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Carpinteria Seal Rookery

I was up in Carpinteria today, so I stopped by to see the seal rookery. Harbor seals come ashore there in January through May to bear their young. Those may look like rocks on the beach, but they’re actually seals. They sleep on the beach until the tide comes in and washes them back into the ocean.

Carpinteria Seal Rookery

Carpinteria Seal Rookery

This is the only place on the California coast where you can see seals in their natural habitat, and it’s a very protected area. People are not allowed on the beach, and no loud noises that would scare the seals.

I took a video of them and a second video of a turkey vulture flying by. The turkey vultures hang out and eat any seal pups that don’t make it.

If you don’t see the embedded seal video below, click here to view it online.

If you don’t see the embedded turkey vulture video below, click here to view it online.

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