Sunday, September 22, 2013


The best purchase I've made in several months has been a hummingbird feeder. It brings me so much joy to see the little birds out there every morning and occasionally in the evening. The hummingbirds here in LA are very enthusiastic about feeders and will let you get fairly close to them.

I believe these are Anna's hummingbirds based on their range and the song. These little guys are frequently chittering as they fly and especially when they are chasing away other hummingbirds from the feeder. They seem to roost in the large tree in the courtyard in front of our apartment (or at least use it as cover) because they dart to and from the tree to our balcony. When they are in the tree, I can hear them singing. They are surprisingly loud for such a tiny creature!

Monday, September 2, 2013


I used to live where it would get legitimately hot. 100+ degrees during the day and barely under 90 degrees some nights. Summer in LA has been blissful by comparison. Up until a week or two ago, I needed a sweatshirt biking to work in the morning and sometimes needed a light jacket outside at lunchtime.

However, summer has hit and it is toasty now. I forgot what it was like to really sweat! Oddly enough it is only in the 80's and occasionally hitting low 90's, but something about the intensity of the sun and humidity make it seem hotter than that. I've heard we've got another couple of weeks of "heat" before things return to normal.

Because the actual summer weather is so brief and really not that intense, central AC is somewhat of a rarity in all but the newest apartments. Several buildings around here have no AC whatsoever. We have one window unit AC that is fixed into the wall. This seems pretty common around here.

inside view (we close up the cabinet in the winter/spring/fall)

At first, I thought our bills would be outrageous because I had always heard that window units were electricity wasters and a central AC system pays for itself within a few years. Ours however seems to work well for a reasonable cost.

exterior shot (it stays shaded by the overhang most of the time)

We also don't have central heat. Just some bizarre "radiant" system in the ceiling that I don't understand. I've heard of radiant heat in the floor, but never in the ceiling (someone forgot to tell them that heat rises). It seems like a massive fire risk to me  plus it is weird because it makes absolutely no sound. We've had the breaker off since March and only used it about half a dozen times during January and February.

Our only window is a large sliding glass door. It faces east-southeast so it gets direct sunshine until around noon. We added curtains with the triple purpose of reflecting light, adding insulation, and absorbing sound. The curtains are black which at first I thought would be depressing and gloomy. They really aren't and I like them a lot (and because our black cat adore laying in between the panels, the black doesn't show his fur). The side that faces out is a slightly satiny white and they have a flannel interior panel intended for sound absorption (also works for insulation).

curtains (look at all that blazing heat trying to get in!)
exterior face of curtains