Monday, July 16, 2018

First Day of Stay-cation

Yay! It's my first day of stay-cation! I'm taking one week off from work to hang out in Los Angeles. L.A. is a tourist destination, you know!

Day One - Museum and lunch with my cousin Amie. Amie's birthday was at the end of June, mine is on Friday. We like to have lunch and celebrate. Today we went to the L.A. County Museum of Art (LACMA) to see the "David Hockney: 82 Portraits and One Still Life" exhibit. 

The exhibit was quite impressively staged. All of the paintings have cool-color backgrounds. These pieces, placed against terra-cotta walls, provided a striking contrast. Most of the subjects were either good friends or acquaintances of Hockney's. Amie read that the people that Hockney REALLY knew had more realized features in the paintings. We did notice that he was more expert at painting men than women. Also, Hockney was excellent at painting everyone's SHOES!
The one still-life in the exhibit
We visited one more exhibit, "In the Fields of Empty Days: The Intersection of Past and Present in Iranian Art."  The images are amazing...a cross between vintage and classic Iranian figures with the trappings of today's pop culture. Really, you have to see these paintings in person to appreciate them fully!
Amie at the Hockney Exhibit, LACMA

We drove over to the very trendy La Brea Avenue and had lunch at Sycamore Kitchen. We had a lovely lunch. Amie ordered the chicken salad on toast and I ordered the cured salmon with hard-cook eggs on toast. We split, half and half. It was yummy. I definitely want to return for breakfast one day!

The baked goods looked fantastic!
Chicken Salad on Toast
Cured Salmon on Toast
Today was an excellent beginning to my stay-cation! Thanks, Amie!


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Friday, July 13, 2018

Vintage Photo Friday

It's HUMID in Los Angeles! I may just end up looking like this if this weather continues!
Windward Ave., Venice, CA, 1978. Photo by Leah Drillick Mitchell
In 1978, Leah had recently rented an apartment in Venice on Sunset Avenue. We were waiting in line for breakfast one Saturday and she snapped this photo of me and my PERM! We were both recently divorced and FREE. Venice Beach was crazy and wild in the 1970s, before gentrification! I miss those days. Sigh. Have a great weekend, my friends. Stay cool and I don't just mean the weather!

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Thursday, July 12, 2018

Fancy, For Us

Last week our oven conked out. Not that I've wanted to actually turn the oven on in this L.A. heatwave! However, I usually bring cherry cobbler for our 4th of July gatherings, and I couldn't this year.
Time to shop for a new range. We went to our local Lowe's and looked around. The best part about Lowe's is that it's highly air-conditioned, fairly close to our house and Oki Dog just opened up a branch right across the street.
4601 West Pico Boulevard, Mid-City L.A.
We ended up choosing the mid-range range by Frigidaire. It's a gas range with a self-cleaning convection oven in stainless steel. I've never used a convection oven before, but it's supposed to be great for cakes and pies. Here's what it looked like at the store:
Depending on your age, this is Larry "Furness" or Larry "Vanna" Underhill presenting our new range
One of the major things I liked about this range is that there are three separate grates across the burners. Some of the models had only two grates stretched across the top. I think having just two grates would make them heavy to take over to the sink for washing. The grate in the center covers yet another warming burner . A griddle-grate was delivered for this center section if we want to grill food.

The stove fits nicely into our kitchen. I've only used the top burners so far. One day soon, when this heatwave is over, I'll bake something in my new convection oven!

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Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Sonya and Frida

Solo art show featuring the paintings of Sonya Fe, 2013, Pasadena

I recently purchased a painting from my acquaintance, Sonya Fe. I met Sonya in 2013 at Rhonda Voo's birthday party. Later that same year, Larry and I attended an art opening for Sonya in Pasadena. I realized that we had many friends in common! It turns out that Rhonda, Sonya and my husband, Larry all attended ArtCenter College of Design at the same time. Larry says that he remembers Rhonda from those years. Thank you, Brooke Keesling for introducing me to Rhonda!
Art Center Grads, Pasadena, 2013. Click on pic to identify Larry, Rhonda and Sonya

I "friended" Sonya on Facebook and have been following her life and career through her timeline. I really love her pieces. They are painterly, colorful and spirited. 
In early July, Sonya posted a painting that she had just finished of Frida Kahlo, in honor of her birthday on July 6th. I flipped when I saw "Frida, Pain and Glory." I immediately messaged Sonya and inquired if I could buy this painting. Now, it's mine. It's hanging in our living room and looking fierce!
"Frida, Pain and Glory" by Sonya Fe.
Frida is home
I began studying about the career and life of Frida Kahlo over 30 years ago. I saw a rare exhibition of her paintings at Plaza de la Raza, Lincoln Heights in January 1987. At that time I had recently finished reading a biography of Frida's husband, muralist Diego Rivera. I was so crazy about Frida's artwork, that I, too painted a portrait of her.
"Homage a Frida Kahlo," 1987 by Ellen Bloom
Oh yeah, this is definitely a piece from 1987! Check out those "Miami Vice" colors, aqua, orange and peach! Not exactly a timeless color palette. Oh well, I still like my "Frida," but I like Sonya's "Frida" better!
Recently, Sonya started posting her paintings of children to draw attention to the youngsters who have been taken from their parents at our border and put into holding areas. These paintings are done purposely in a child-like fashion. I think they are charming, but definitely hammer home the cruelty of this policy.
Paintings by Sonya Fe
"All Children Must Play" by Sonya Fe

"Where is my Mami? Where is my Papá" by Sonya Fe

"Still Waiting" by Sonya Fe
Do yourself a favor and start following Sonya Fe on Facebook! Also, check out her website!

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Monday, July 09, 2018

The Good Ol' Days are Back!

Saturday night Larry and I drove to Woodland HELLS for a show. It has been hot, hot, hot in Los Angeles for the past few days. Woodland Hills is one of the hottest sections of the San Fernando Valley. The reason we ventured out was to meet up with some old friends. My friend Jan has recently relocated to the Pasadena area from Austin by way of Palm Springs. Our buddy, Bill Lynch and his wife Maggie recently opened this new club called The Write-Off Room. One of our fave bands, The Sin City All Stars was having a reunion gig! This band gets together around every 5 years. At one time we used to see them all over town, at the Palomino Club, Molly Malone's, etc.
Ellen, Jan, Judy and Jan-2

The club is really beautiful with state-of-the art equipment, comfortable seating a good bar and restaurant menu. Also, we want to support this club as often as we can. There aren't too many spots in Los Angeles where you can see top-notch musicians for the price of a couple of drinks (no cover)! Bill knows so many musicians around town, including BIG STARS and incredible studio musicians. This is who performs at The Write-Off Room. You'll never see a bad show here!
The Sin City All Stars
We ordered dinner and drinks and proceeded to enjoy the show. This is one of the most entertaining bands with a great line-up. Before the show we talked to our friends, Dusty Wakeman (bass) and Chris Lawrence (pedal steel). The first set was excellent. More and more people started streaming into the club. We saw NBC weatherman, Fritz Coleman. THEN, we saw our buddy Lucinda Williams. Dusty produced a couple of Lu's albums. I'm sure he called her and invited her out to the club. Lucinda was part of our rock 'n roll roots group during the late 1980s and early 1990s when she lived in L.A. It was great seeing her.
Club Owner, Bill Lynch with Photographer, Larry Underhill
Naturally, during the second set, Lucinda sang a few songs with the Sin City All Stars. It was a wonderful evening, full of great music and old friends!
Lu and Dusty

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Thursday, July 05, 2018

Mid-Week Holiday

It was very strange celebrating the 4th of July on a Wednesday! I had to go to work the 2 days before and the 2 days after. It was a week of Mondays! Next year, the 4th is on a Thursday. Hopefully, we will get to take Friday the 5th off from work.
Margina's and Gary's front yard decorations

Our friends, the Sissons, have been having a pre-4th of July party for the past few years. This year, because of the mid-week holiday, they invited us over to their home in Torrance on the Saturday before the 4th. We had a June 30th Independence Day celebration! It was fun!
Margina goes all out on the decorations

Margina and Gary are the BEST hosts. This year it was a potluck, but they served up hot dogs and hamburgers with all the fixings, including beverages. People offered their specialties too. Their house and yard are always decorated beautifully. They also hired the Trackless Train so we could go on little rides around the neighborhood. I LOVE the choo choo!
Nancy and I went for a ride around the neighborhood!
We saw lots of old friends, ate some great food and generally had a marvelous time. Gary's birthday was a few months ago. Larry and I gifted him with his own Waterman ukulele. We forgot that Gary played left-handed. We should have re-strung the uke for him. Needless to say, the man has been too busy to do this. I played a ditty and we all sang along. I really like that Kala Waterman uke!
Ellen and Gary serenade the crowd

Greg & Nancy. Margina & Gary. Ellen & Larry

On the actual 4th of July we headed out to Studio City to the home of our long-time friends, Maggie and Bill Lynch. They live on a hill overlooking Universal Studios and the rest of the Valley. It was a clear and warm day. This party was also a potluck. Many people brought lots of amazing food and desserts.
This was early, before the table filled up with yummy treats

The view from Maggie's and Bill's backyard is epic!
We saw many old friends....some we hadn't seen in 30 years! What fun!
Jan, Jodi, Ron, Gayle
Mike, Claire, Tom
Mike and Larry with Cheryl in the background
Just after sunset, fireworks started erupting across the Valley


Thank you to all of our hosts, hostesses and friends for making our celebration a memorable one! Now, it's on to the weekend!

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Monday, July 02, 2018

Welcome Blanket, Phase 2

The Smart Museum at The University of Chicago hosted the Welcome Blanket project last year. They received over 3,000 blankets from crafters all over the world. Here is the mission statement for the project: 
The Welcome Blanket Project aims to connect people already living in the United States, residents with our country's new immigrants through stories and handmade blankets, providing both symbolic and literal comfort and warmth.  At the same time, the project offers a positive, hands-on way to understand the scope of a 2,000 mile border wall and to subvert it from an idea of exclusion to one of inclusion. By participating in this project, people will also come together to talk about immigration policy and how it affects real live people.
Larry with Ellen's contribution for the MODA Exhibition

This year, Museum of Design Atlanta (MODA) is hosting the project. Welcome Blanket will be part of MODA's "Making Change: The Art and Craft of Activism" exhibition from June 3 through September 9, 2018. Blankets are due at the Museum by August 25, 2018. If you'd like to participate in this project, send your completed blankets to:
Welcome Blanket
MODA
1315 Peachtree Street NE
Atlanta, GA 30309
Last year I crocheted three blankets for the Chicago Exhibition. Here is a photo of one of my blankets on the wall at the Smart Museum:
One of Ellen's Blankets, top left corner, The Smart Museum, Chicago
The blankets are fairly small, 40" x 40". This is a relatively easy project to complete in a short time, so you still have time before the August 25th deadline. Here are the pattern details, although you can use any pattern you'd like as long as the size is the same. Be sure to include a WELCOME NOTE with each blanket.
Sixteen 9-inch squares with a 2-inch border. Acrylic yarn, Size "J" crochet hook, Basic Granny Square.

I crocheted 16 nine-inch basic granny squares using a "J" hook. The border is about two inches wide. I added little fleur de lis corner embellishments. I have so much acrylic yarn in my stash, that I might be able to make one more blanket before the deadline. I hope you can help too!

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