Friday, May 24, 2024

Memorial Day Weekend

Memorial Day Weekend is the kick-off for summer!  It is also 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.

Summer also means backyard barbecues, parties, the beach and vacations! We are experiencing some cloudy and cool weather here in Los Angeles right now.  We call it "May Gray," which leads to "June Gloom."  Eventually, we'll have plenty of sunshine.  Savor the coolness while it's here!
Photo by Nicole Houff

My local ukulele group, The CC Strummers are having their annual Memorial Day Potluck on Sunday.  It's always fun, full of great food selections and excellent conversation!  We are also holding an Open Mic with about 10 participants. Ukulele has changed my life!  I hope you also have a fun weekend planned. Try to stay out of traffic and just enjoy your current surroundings. There's a lot to be said for a home-grown holiday!

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Monday, January 15, 2024

Honoring MLK in Yarn

This has become a tradition on "L.A. Is My Beat."  For the past ten years I have been featuring Suzanne's MLK sweater on my blog in honor of the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I will repeat  again this year because I'm so in love with this idea and in awe of Suzanne's mad skills. 

The sweater pattern is from "Mason-Dixon Knitting Outside the Lines."  The name of this sweater is "Margaret," designed for the book by Mary Neal Meador.  The instructions state that the sweater may be embellished after knitting with chain stitched quotations of the knitter’s choice.  The sweater in the book has poetry added to the front and back. 
When I saw Suzanne's ("owlknits") sweater, I was touched by the words she chose.  This is from Suzanne's project page on Ravelry: 
I knit this sweater for a local art exhibition that was organized to honor the ideas of Martin Luther King, Jr.  I used quotes from his “I have a dream…” speech to embroider on the front and back of the sweater: Front: Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. Back: The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the day of justice emerges.

These words are still true today.  I am still blown away by Suzanne's sweater and her choice of quotations.  One day I will make such a sweater for myself.  Bravo!  Excellent work, Suzanne, honoring an eloquent man and his ideas! 

Follow this graphed chart to make a different sweater honoring MLK

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Marin Luther King, Jr.  

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Friday, January 12, 2024

Happy Birthday Larry!

Today, January 12th is Larry's birthday!  I married the perfect man for me! I hope to have many more adventures and fun times with you, my sweet, handsome, smart and adorable Larry!

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Saturday, September 02, 2023

Labor Day

I'm thankful to all the laborers and workers who came before me, standing up for equal rights on the job.  Happy Labor Day!

Observed the first Monday in September, Labor Day is an annual celebration of the social and economic achievements of American workers. The holiday is rooted in the late nineteenth century, when labor activists pushed for a federal holiday to recognize the many contributions workers have made to America’s strength, prosperity, and well-being.

I spent over 45 years in the work force. Some of that time was spent as a union member, working at various movie studios throughout Los Angeles. Today, I am reaping the benefits of full-time, corporate employment thanks to the labor movement's accomplishments over the years for equal rights, better working conditions and equal pay. Thank you. Let's get our writers and performers back to work!

Sunday, July 23, 2023

Birthday Week 2023

B-Day carnations (my faves) from Mr. Larry

I've been on a birthday roller-coaster since last week!  My actual birthday was on Thursday, July 20th.  We had lunch with Mollie and Jeffrey on Monday (Miolie's b-day is 7/23) at Bodhi Thai on Olympic Blvd. in BH.  Delicious! Tuesday, I finally passed my obligatory written CA-DMV test.  When you reach a certain age (ahem!) you are required to re-take this tricky test!  On Wednesday, some of the Ladies of the Uke took me to lunch at our fave place, Jackson Cafe.  

On Thursday, the big day, I was greeted with flowers and gifts from my Sweetie! After my online ZOOM ukulele class with Cali Rose (where the group sang "Happy Birthday" to me), Larry and I embarked on our b-day field trip.

6th Street Bridge View from the Street Below

First stop, the Sixth Street Viaduct Bridge. The original bridge built in 1932 was torn down in 2016 and replaced by 2022.  This is the longest bridge in L.A. spanning the L.A. River, The 101 Freeway and the I-5 Freeway. This bridge looks totally different from the original and the other bridges cross the L.A. River, which are Art Deco in design. It's a modern miracle.  The bridge was so popular and unique when it opened, that people were performing all kinds of stunts on it, driving too fast, getting into accidents, jumping off, etc.  It had to be closed numerous times for these knuckleheads!  It's been a year since the bridge opened, so we figured we'd be able to drive across without closures.  No such luck.  We got there and police activity had closed the bridge.  So, we drove around underneath and took a few pictures.

We head over to Al & Bea's  Mexican food stand on East 1st Street in Boyle Heights for lunch.  They make the BEST bean and cheese burritos!  I haven't eaten anything else there because the beans in those burritos are so flavorable, but I'm sure everything is good!  There's always a guy playing popular tunes on his guitar out front.  It's a pleasant and delicious time at Al & Bea's.

The famous bean and cheese burrito at Al & Bea's doesn't look like much, but it's divine!

On our way back home to Mid-City, we drove down to Whittier Boulevard (which transitions into 6th Street on the other side of the L.A. River).  The 6th Street Bridge was open!  We finally got to drive across.  A park environment will be built beneath and surrounding the base of the bridge in the near future!

Driving across the 6th Street Bridge, east to west

We stopped at home to rest up a bit before the next leg of our birthday field trip. Later in the afternoon we headed over to the newly refurbished Hammer Museum in Westwood. The lobby has been remodeled with some added gallery space.  We toured the galleries and generally enjoyed the atmosphere.

Yarn installation, "Uncertain Journey," by Chiharu Shiota in the Lobby of the Hammer

A crocheted man met us in the first gallery

Selections from the Hammer's contemporary collection

An entire room made out of particle board by artist, Roland Reiss
Mixed media piece by Noah Purifoy

For dinner, we tried out the Santa Monica branch of Bludso's Barbecue on S.M. Boulevard at 14th Street.  The BBQ was delicious!  The restaurant operations and staff could use a bit more time to get up to speed, but all-in-all it was a great experience.

I have a few more lunch dates this week and next!  Thanks for all of the cards, gifts and greetings!

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Tuesday, May 09, 2023

East Side Los

Candelas Guitars, 2724 East Caesar Chavez Ave., Boyle Heights

We took a ride out to Boyle Heights this morning to visit Candelas Guitar Shop.  Candelas has been making premium acoustic guitars since the 1920s. They also make ukuleles!  I tried out this beautiful tenor ukulele at the Folk Music Center in Claremont last week and I loved playing it.  I wanted to see if the source had other ukes available.

Candelas "Heart" Tenor Ukulele at The Folk Music Center, Claremont

We met the owner and master luthier, Tomas Delgado and his son, Tomas, Jr. at Candelas.  They were both super-sweet and gave us a tour of the shop. We tried out a few ukuleles. They all had a beautiful sound to them. Considering the workmanship put into each ukulele, the prices were fair, just a bit more than I am willing to spend.  Many famous celebrities own Candelas guitars and ukuleles! They will customize an instrument for you to your exact specifications. It was a great visit, one that I will never forget. If you're looking for a custom, high-end instrument, Candelas is the place to go!

Ellen with Tomas, Jr. and Tomas Delgado at Candelas

After all of that decision and non-decision making, we were hungry!  We drove around the block to Al & Bea's Mexican burrito stand. Their bean and cheese burritos are SO DELICIOUS! It's comfort food at it's finest!

Larry at Al & Bea's, Boyle Heights

There was a really good guitar player sitting on the sidewalk next to Al & Bea's. His name is Sergio and he played every pop standard and Mexican oldies song while we had our lunch!  Smooth playing and excellent chord melodies!
Song stylings by Sergio Villaneda

We drove back over the bridge and headed for home, but not before stopping at the Brooklyn Bagel Bakery on Beverly Boulevard to pick up a dozen bagels for future use!


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Sunday, March 05, 2023

31st Wedding Anniversary

March 3, 1992, Los Angeles

Larry and I were married on Mardi Gras / Fat Tuesday, 1992. Fat Tuesday falls on different dates every year, so we celebrate BOTH days, Mardi Gras and March 3rd.  This year we decided to celebrate by taking a day-trip to Riverside, CA to see The Cheech Marin Center for Chicano Art and Culture, aka The Cheech!
2-storey Lobby at The Cheech

It wasn't raining, the sun was out and it only took us one hour from L.A. to get to Riverside.  We found a parking place right near The Mission Inn, next door to The Cheech.  We were very impressed by the Museum. It's housed in a re-purposed library building from the 1960s. We were familiar with many of the Los Angeles artists represented.  We even know a few!  Here are some examples of Cheech's collection:
3 small paintings by Margaret Garcia
by "Gronk" This is the cover of the Los Lobos album, "La Pistola y el Corazon"

Oh yeah! Cheech collected ALL of the famous paintings by L.A. Chicano artists!  It was great seeing all of these works in one place. I can't wait to see more!
After viewing the current show at The Cheech, we walked to The Mission Inn, a very historic building in downtown Riverside. It opened in 1876 and kept expanding to a world-renowned hotel. We had lunch in the little Italian Bistro.
The historic Mission Inn, Riverside

After lunch we visited The Riverside Art Museum. It is housed in a former YMCA building (1929) designed by architect Julia Morgan (Hearst Castle, L.A. Examiner Building, etc.). The building is lovely, but the Museum is small.
Riverside Art Museum

We drove back to Los Angeles in about an hour and rested up before dinner.  We topped off our anniversary celebration with a delicious bowl of seafood gumbo at our local Creole restaurant, Stevie's!  We hadn't been there since the BeforeTimes.  It was good to be back enjoying their hospitality and yummy food!  
Gumbo @Stevie's

Friday, December 30, 2022

The Weather Outside is Frightful!

Winter 2022.  It's very cold across the world.  It's cold in Los Angeles, but warm compared to other parts of North America.  For me, I'm cold when the thermometer drops to below 65 degrees. Time to get out the bulky yarn and knit and/or crochet a BULKY KNIT item!  I have tons of vintage knit patterns lining my bookshelves.  I've been collecting these old pattern books since I started knitting as a little girl, way back in the 1960's.  I've been rummaging through my books and have come up with some fabulous chunky knits to whip up for this cold snap.  Behold:

Fat yarn, large needles...these sweaters are quick and jiffy to work up!  The only problem with these chunky and bulky knits is that I'm rather chunky and bulky myself.  These types of sweaters just add to that bulky Babushka-lady look of my ancestors.  Oh well...who am I to go against my Ukrainian roots! 
These MEGA knits are coming around again in fashion circles.  Take a look at some recent runway favorites:

Please note that these high-fashion MEGA knits are shown on clothes-hanger skinny models.  
Eh!  Who cares!  I'm freezing.  I'm gonna whip out my size 13 needles and double up some yarn and knit a SUPER-CARDI this weekend!
Happy New Year, my friends.  I'll be here at Chez Bloom Underhill under a pile o' yarn!

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