Saturday, June 16, 2018

Happy Father's Day

Larry and I attended a funeral yesterday for our friend, photographer Jack Laxer. Jack was 91 years old and led a full and satisfying life. He was best known for his 3-D photographs of mid-century modern architecture in Los Angeles. See these examples for a taste. The service was lovely, his wife, Jan and daughters, Lisa and Ellen planned a wonderful tribute. Sitting in the chapel and listening to everyone speak about Jack made me think about my own Dad, George (1919-2004). I feel sorry for Jack's daughters that he passed just before Father's Day.
George E. Bloom, 1999

When my Dad passed away 14 years ago, everyone told me that it would get easier to think about him and that I wouldn't start sniffling each time. Not true. Yesterday at Jack's funeral brought me right back to my own Father's memorial. I couldn't stop thinking about Pop and what a wonderful man he was. Salty tears on the keyboard right now. Sigh. I miss him very much.
Happy Father's Day to everyone who celebrates and to the memory of all of our fathers who did their best.
Ellen and George, Ahwanhee Hotel, Yosemite, 1961

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Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Happy Birthday Ken!

So many June birthdays! Today is my big brother's birthday. Happy birthday Ken! I hope you're having a grand celebration today in Pilot Mountain! Your home town of Los Angeles misses you!
Happy Birthday Ken!
It's my goal in life to see how many old, embarrassing vintage photos I can find in the Bloom archives. You've seen all of these! I hope to come up with some rare doozies for next year.
Love, Ell

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Monday, June 11, 2018

World Wide Stitch in Public Day

The West Hollywood Stitch 'n Bitch met this past Saturday, June 9th for World Wide Stitch in Public Day at the Original Farmers Market. We had a great turn-out. It was fun seeing knitters and crocheters we hadn't seen in a long time, as well as some newcomers. Thanks so much for participating!
Sara and Yuki, comparing yarns
Vickie arrived first to save our table. Ellen brought yummy doughnuts from Bob's
Thanks to Kate...way in the back, wearing lilac, for bringing FREE YARN to share!
Lauren, Lucas and Kelli
Newcomers, Robin and Paula checking out Kate's FREE YARN and Lauren's FREE Yarny Magazines
Thanks for braving the crowds at the Farmers Market on a Saturday! Please join us EVERY Thursday night from 7-9 and the second Saturday of each month from 10 am - noon!

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Thursday, June 07, 2018

Happy Birthday Mom!

Today is my sweet Mom's 96th birthday! WOW! Happy birthday, Rozzi! See you later!

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Wednesday, June 06, 2018

More Town, Less Country

Town and Country Village in the 1950s, 3rd and Fairfax, Los Angeles

Town and Country, which is a shopping center directly across the street from the Original Farmers Market at 3rd and Fairfax is going to change drastically. The entire shopping center will be demolished. There will be a 26-story tower with 380 residential units. Whole Foods and CVS, among others are supposed to come back to the shopping area, along with other stores and restaurants. K-Mart will be gone. There are more details and a rendering of the proposed development HERE
When I was a child, Town and Country Village was a ranch-like shopping center with a few places we frequented like Fisher's Hamburgers, a magazine stand and Andre's Italian Restaurant. Scroll down in this ARTICLE to the Los Angeles section to see more about the history of this property. During the 1960s most of the original buildings were replaced with what stands today, not nearly as charming as the original!
We decided that we should visit Andre's Restaurant since it might not be here any longer. Andre's has been at Town and Country since 1963. The founder, Chef Andrerone owned a similar establishment in Westchester and also the way fancier Andre's of Beverly Hills on Wilshire Boulevard, between Robertson and La Cienega. I do remember going to the place in Beverly HIlls once when I was a child. The Andre's at 3rd and Fairfax is the only remaining Andre's Restaurant. The menu offers home-style Italian food, served cafeteria style at low prices. There's always a line to get inside. It's not fancy, but you can't eat atmosphere!
Andre's in 1963

The food portions are huge and can be easily shared. I ordered the chicken parmesan with ravioli and meat sauce. Larry ordered the poached salmon with vegies and rice pilaf. We also ordered a green salad to split that came with a huge portion of cheese bread. They have home made gelato too. We just didn't have room for dessert!
Copper covers keep the food warm
Salad and Cheese Bread
Chicken Parm with Ravioli
Poached Salmon, Vegies and Rice Pilaf
The Gelato and Ice Cream look yummy!
The dining room has been remodeled over years...nothing fancy, but clean and comfortable. You can also dine on the patio, just outside the restaurant. Get over there soon. No one knows how long Andre's will be at Town and Country Village!

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Thursday, May 31, 2018

The Case of the Missing Slide Projector

The painted and updated home of Frances and Mort, Playa del Rey

My Uncle Mort passed away in December of 2016 at the age of 99. Definitely, a life well-lived. His darling wife Frances passed away 5 years earlier. Last year, when my cousins, Amie, Barbara and Carol were going through Frances' and Mort's house, we all stopped by and chose a souvenir of their lives. They lived in a very large house in Playa del Rey for the past 30 years. The house was jam-packed. I was lucky enough to inherit a beautiful Monterey tiled table and bench. 
Later last year, my cousins hired a company to hold an estate sale for the rest of the items. Even though Larry and I didn't need or want anything else, of course we went to the estate sale. We always go to estate sales. I turned up a few needlepoint pillows and one needlepoint canvas that were nice. I like the "F" for Frances. The signal flag pillow reminds me of my Dad's and Uncle's love of boating.

On the last day of the sale, Larry was looking in the storage area next to the garage. He found a box of slides. Being a photographer and historian, Larry loves old photos and slides, especially of the Los Angeles area. Finding this box was a plus, because this was MY family! Larry noticed that the slides each had a metal frame surrounding them. 
Airequipt automatic slide magazine with aluminum slide holders

Larry has been a photographer long enough to know that we needed a special slide projector to be able to view these mounted slides. Larry looked in Mort's garage, storage room and a few closets and could not find any slide projectors. The estate sale guy gave us the box of slides. We took them home, held them to the light and determined that, yes, these were family photos from the late 1950s through the 1970s. Since we didn't have this particular slide projector either, Larry just set the box aside.
Last week Larry was up north in Paradise, CA visiting his brother. Naturally, he went to a few yard sales when he was in the area. Lo and behold, Larry found the exact slide projector to be able to view the Bloom family vintage slides!
Airequipt Superba 33+ Slide Projector

Over the holiday weekend, we set up the movie screen and plugged in the projector to have a look at the slides. Whoa! Those Kodachrome slides really pop! The slides taken with film other than Kodak have started to fade. Here are a few early photos of my cousins and Aunt.  Looks like they were in a park for a professional photo shoot.  I'll find out more about the particulars of these photos once my sweet cousins have had a chance to see them.
Carol and Frances
Frances, Barbara and Amie. I LOVE Amie's expression!

WOW! Aunt Frances was such a glamour girl! What a babe! The photos above look to be about 1958 or so. It seems like they returned to the same park for more pictures a few years later.
Barbara, Carol, Amie and Frances
Barbara, Carol and Amie....almost grown up!

My favorite set of photos are a few from the Original Farmers Market at 3rd and Fairfax. Sadly, these were not taken with Kodachrome film, so they have faded.
Carol at the Farmers Market. You can see the clock tower in the background.
Carol and Frances at Gill's Old Fashioned Ice Cream, Farmers Market
Gill's Ice Cream in 2017, when it closed. Sigh.
My beautiful Aunt Frances in her pop-art sweater! Notice the sign on the building behind Frances has the same colors as her sweater. Who took this photo?!?

To see MORE of these vintage photos, click HERE
Frances and Mort, 2007. Photo by ME

Thank you to my sweet husband, Larry for finding this great box o' slides and for searching out just the right projector so we could view them!

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Monday, May 28, 2018

Memorial Day

Memorial Day is a day to remember all the people who have served, and are serving, in the armed forces; our surviving veterans; and to honor those who have died in past wars.  Thanks, guys! Wikipedia's description of this day, Memorial Day is a United States federal holiday observed on the last Monday of May (May 28th in 2018). Formerly known as Decoration Day, it commemorates U.S. women and men who died while in the military serviceFirst enacted to honor Union soldiers of the American Civil War (it is celebrated near the day of reunification after the Civil War), it was expanded after World War I.
Below is a photo of my Dad, George, and his brothers soon after World War II, posing in their uniforms.

Mort, Hi and George Bloom, March 1946, Hollywood, CA

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Friday, May 18, 2018

We Call 'em Jax

It's Jacaranda time in Los Angeles. Our street planted Jacaranda trees about 20 years ago, up and down the block.  I love those purple flowers when they're in bloom, but not when the die and form a sticky mess on the streets, sidewalks and my CAR!
Most of the trees on our street are medium-sized. Some streets in neighborhoods nearby have huge Jacaranda trees that form a purple canopy over the street. It really is quite beautiful.
Large Jacaranda Trees on South Fairfax, between 18th St. and Venice Blvd.
I'm hoping for a bit more damp weather so that the trees really bloom in full and give us a few more weeks of purpleness. THEN, they can start dropping their stinky flowers! Here's a short story of how the Jacaranda tree was brought to Southern California.
Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

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Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Ukulele Workshop

Photo by Ian @ Boulevard Music
I've been attending Cali Rose's Ongoing Ukulele Workshop for at least two years, maybe a bit longer. We meet at Boulevard Music in Culver City. Players of all levels are in the class, from advanced beginners to intermediate players like me.
Members of the group can suggest songs to play. Cali has a library of song arrangements. We also choose songs from Jim and Liz Beloff's "Daily Ukulele." Usually, we just have the chords and lyrics to a song. In class we figure out an intro, ending and a few embellishments along the way. Cali is a really good teacher, very patient and creative! She always pushes us to learn a bit more.

We just finished a four-week session. For our last class on Saturday, Cali surprised us by bringing in a U-Bass player to accompany us. Tom Kuwata plays U-Bass with The C.C. Strummers, the group that Cali leads at the Culver City Senior Center.

Tom Kuwata on U-Bass

Tom's bass accompaniment REALLY made our group sound good! All of our treble-cleff ukes sounded great with a "heavy bottom."  We quizzed Tom a bit about his U-Bass playing. He's only been playing bass for a few years. Of course, he plays ukulele too. Tom played the tuba in his high school marching band. He told us that when he was in high school, he played with an L.A. community band that performed in the Pasadena Rose Parade four times! I guess playing tuba in high school pre-disposed Tom to becoming a bass player!

This session, we played some old-timey favorites like EDELWEISS, FLY ME TO THE MOON, PUFF THE MAGIC DRAGON, VINCENT and GLORY OF LOVE. We managed to fit in one song that is only about 35 years old instead of 50+ years old, STRAY CAT STRUT. For this last session Cali added ROUTE 66 to our repertoire. I really have to find some newer music to bring to the workshop!
Our next session starts on Saturday, May 26th. Call up Boulevard Music and register. We have lots of fun! If you are a beginner and want to learn to play the ukulele, Cali teaches a beginning class too. Call Boulevard for the schedule.

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Monday, May 14, 2018

Mother's Day 2018

El Torito Restaurant, Santa Monica

Mother's Day 2018 was casual. I could have invited my Mom over for brunch at our house OR I could have brought brunch to her apartment. My Mom likes to GO OUT! She likes colorful, festive restaurants with palatable, American-style food. Larry and I like to frequent classic L.A. restaurants and out-of-the-way places. My motto is, "you can't eat atmosphere." My Mom, not so much. Atmosphere is important to her.
I was trying to think of a nice, bright place with non-spicy Mexican-American food close to her place. El Torito on Ocean Park Boulevard in Santa Monica was the perfect spot! It's a big, colorful building, lots of easy parking with good margaritas and non-threatening food. Mom loved it! She thought it was all so festive and fun. 
It was early. The bar was empty, but see how colorful and festive the decor is!

I must say, I was impressed with our strawberry margaritas. The waiter actually made the guacamole table-side. I've never seen that before. I should have asked him to go easy on the lime!

The food is corporate, no surprises here. It was tasty though and the important thing was that Mom had a good time. Roz and Larry ordered the shrimp enchiladas. I had a combo plate with a taco and chili relleno.
Shrimp Enchiladas
Taco, Chili Relleno, Rice and Beans with mini-Corn Souffle
We had a fun time and lots of laughs. Happy Mother's Day, Mom!

Mini-history lesson. This huge Santa Monica Business Park where El Torito and many office buildings are located was once the site of Douglas Aircraft. Larry's Dad worked at Douglas for decades. It's right next to Clover Field aka the Santa Monica Airport. This part of south Santa Monica, known as Sunset Park was chock full o' little war-time bungalow courts and small houses. There are still a few of the 1930s buildings left, but you have to hunt for them among the big homes and fancy condos. 
Douglas Aircraft Co., post WW II, now the site of the SM Business Park

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Hiren's BootCD
hard drive recovery