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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Thursday, November 17, 2022

Thanksgiving at the Office

Kevin's Perky Turkey Sugar Cookies
Happy pre-Thanksgiving to all! I hope you have a marvelous, stress-free day. Next Thursday. About 18 of our family will be convening at my cousin Carolyn's home in Valencia. We're all helping with the dinner.
If you want to contribute to your family's Thanksgiving feast, you can bake Kevin's easy Perky Turkey Sugar Cookies, pictured above. We used to have a progressive Thanksgiving lunch at my office. Everyone brought a dish.

Here's my interpretation of Kevin's recipe:
Get some of that Pillsbury Sugar Cookie dough in the deli aisle of your supermarket...you know, the kind you slice down. In the cake section, pick up some squeezable cake frosting in white, orange and black. You'll find candy corn in the candy aisle. Bake the cookies according to package directions. Smoosh a bit of white frosting on the top curve of the cookie, smash in the candy corns. Draw in the eyes, beak and turkey gobbler neck with the proper color of frosting! Done! Proudly serve your Perky Turkey Sugar Cookies!

Another marvy recipe gleaned from a co-worker is Jelled Cranberry Mold. Rochelle brought this divine dish. As you can see by the photo below, I liked it alot.
Office Progressive T-Giving Luncheon
Rochelle's Jelled Cranberry Mold
1 large box cherry Jello
1 can whole cranberry sauce
1 can crushed pineapple (blue can with syrup)
1 cup chopped walnuts
Dissolve the Jello in 2 cups boiling (or very hot) water. Add all the other ingredients, mix well and chill...that's it!
Rochelle's tip: She usually switches bowls after dissolving the Jello since it leaves a grainy coating on the bowl. Next, she adds the cranberry sauce and uses a fork or spoon to really mash it up well (so you don't get chunks of cranberry sauce)...then the crushed pineapple and lastly the nuts.

The only bad thing about eating out for Thanksgiving is that there are no leftovers! I love these recipes so much, that I'll probably whip them up after the big day, along with a turkey breast, some yams, stuffing and creamed spinach for my sweetie pie! Barbie has the right idea.  Serve plastic food. No muss, no fuss!

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Tuesday, November 08, 2022


The 19th Amendment, giving women the right to vote, was ratified in 1920

A few weeks ago I filled out my absentee ballot and mailed it in. It was my privilege to do so! Voting is a sign that you believe in your democracy and that you feel that it is a worthwhile and important thing to do.  Therefore, every time you vote, it is a declaration that you believe in your country.

Before 1920, women in the United States of America could not vote. My own grandmothers could not vote in the years that their children were born. Thank you for fighting for our rights.

Voting day is TODAY, Tuesday, November 8, 2022. I am not going to recommend who you vote for or which ballot measures to support. It is just important that your choices are counted. Your vote can make a difference, especially on the local level.  If you need guidelines on how to vote today, check out this website

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Thursday, November 03, 2022

Fall Back

The saying goes, "Spring Forward, Fall Back."  It's all about that one hour!  The practice began as a way to extend daytime working hours and conserve energy during the World Wars. The time change became a national standard in the U.S. in 1966 with the passage of the Uniform Time Act. It requires states to either change clocks at a specified time or remain with standard time throughout the year. Arizona and Hawaii are the only states to not observe daylight saving time. But in recent years, multiple states have shown interest in having daylight saving time last year-round, citing reasons such as more daylight after school and a decrease in robberies. Eighteen states have passed laws or resolutions to this end.  

I do like Daylight Saving Time, when it doesn't get dark until later in the day. It's good for driving at rush hour.  Whatever.  I just know that this Sunday, we'll get one extra hour of sleep!

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Sunday, September 25, 2022

Rosh Hashonah - New Year

Sundown tonight is the beginning of the Jewish High Holidays. Tonight and tomorrow we celebrate Rosh Hashanah which is the Jewish New Year. The following is from the Judaism 101 site.
In Hebrew, Rosh Hashanah means, literally, "head of the year" or "first of the year." Rosh Hashanah is commonly known as the Jewish New Year. This name is somewhat deceptive, because there is little similarity between Rosh Hashanah, one of the holiest days of the year, and the American midnight drinking bash and daytime football game.
There is, however, one important similarity between the Jewish New Year and the American one: Many Americans use the New Year as a time to plan a better life, making "resolutions." Likewise, the Jewish New Year is a time to begin introspection, looking back at the mistakes of the past year and planning the changes to make in the new year. 

It's always good to review your life for the past year and think ahead to what you'd like to accomplish in the coming year. We all make mistakes throughout the year. The difficult thing is to try and correct those mistakes or to not repeat them.  I'll give it my best shot this year!

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Saturday, September 03, 2022

Labor Day

Female workers in Labor Day Parade, NYC, 1936. NY Daily News, Getty Images  

Happy Labor Day! Labor Day pays tribute to the contributions and achievements of American workers and is traditionally observed on the first Monday in September. It was created by the labor movement in the late 19th century became a federal holiday in 1894.

I am thankful to all the workers who came before me, standing up for equal rights on the job.

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.

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Thursday, August 04, 2022

BHHS Class of 1970 - WELCOME!

We are ready! The Reunion Committee for the Beverly Hills High School Class of 1970 has been planning our 50th reunion for 3 years! We started planning in 2019, one year before the supposed event. Well, you know what happened in 2020 and in 2021...the PLAGUE! We could not hold our reunion! FINALLY, in 2022, we are ready to par-tay! We're holding the reunion this weekend at The Skirball Cultural Center in their OUTSIDE Taper Courtyard. The name-badges are printed. The centerpieces are ready. The dinner choices have been selected. Now, all we have to do is gussy ourselves up and get over to the event! On Sunday, August 7th we've invited the Classes of 1969 and 1971 to join us in a BYO-Picnic at our beloved Roxbury Park in Beverly Hills. We will be showing our school movies, The Norman Newsreel and have a few other fun displays.

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Monday, April 11, 2022

Art in the City

"Floating World" by Ferne Jacobs, Coiled Waxed Linen Thread

"Craft in America" is a wonderful PBS television series showcasing different crafts-people all over our country and the work that they do. I've been watching it for years. There is a Craft in America Center on West Third Street in Los Angeles associated with the show. The storefront holds lectures by artists, hands-on workshops with artists and gallery shows! Last week I attended the exhibition called "Building the Essentials: Ferne Jacobs."  Jacobs is a fiber artist who has been working since the 1960s. Her work involves basketry, weaving, knotting, coiling and twining. Many of her pieces are sculptural and quite large. Her colors are riveting. The show will be on view through June 18th.  Go see it! 

"Flight" by Ferne Jacobs, Coiled Waxed Linen Thread

"Interior Passages" Ferne Jacobs, Coiled and Twined Waxed Linen and Thread

The shapes that Ferne creates out of mere fiber and twine are magnificent. I was also quite interested in her drawings and notebooks that included collage and other elements. 
Ferne Jacobs, Notebook, paint, collage

Just next door to the Craft in America Center is the store Free Hand. The shop is connected to the exhibition space and showcases original work available for purchase. There are jewelry items, paintings, clothing, ceramics and more. Many artists are represented, displaying an array of pleasing items for sale.  Really, the Free Hand shop is almost like a museum display. 
Seeing the artwork of Ferne Jacobs and visiting the Free Hand space was like being in an artist's cocoon for an afternoon. You must visit!

Craft in America
8415 West Third Street
Los Angeles, CA  90048
Tues-Sat, 12pm -6pm

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Thursday, March 17, 2022

Irish in Los Angeles

St. Patrick's Day is not really my holiday, but the spirit has reached me. Our Mid-City L.A. neighborhood must have had a strong Irish population during the 1920's and 1930's.There are more than a few Irish establishments nearby, many of the homes are built to look like Irish and English country homes in the Storybook style and there are many Catholic and Protestant congregations in the vicinity.

I found this darling St. Paddy's Day Barbie Doll online. She looks ready to hoist a pint at Tom Bergin's!

Supposedly, EVERYONE is Irish on this day. Have a great ol' time in Irish L.A. today!

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Thursday, January 27, 2022

The Corner Market

 S/E corner of Sunset & Fairfax, Los Angeles, 1933

Once a market, always a market. 
The corner of Sunset and Fairfax in Los Angeles has been a small market since the 1930's. The photo above, the SunFax Market, was taken in 1933. In later years, probably in the late 1950's or early 1960's when the A-Frame architectural style was popular, this building was re-designed and called Chalet Gourmet. In 1999, the Irvine Ranch Market Company and Chalet Gourmet merged. This location then became a branch of Bristol Farms Market
Unless some MAJOR redevelopment happens on this corner, this will, most likely, always be a small neighborhood market, catering to the locals.

Chalet Gourmet Newspaper Advertisement

Chalet Gourmet was innovative for the 1960s and 70s. It was a specialty grocery carrying higher-quality and harder-to-find items than the average supermarket. It catered to the owners of the more expensive homes in the Hollywood Hills, much like the Bristol Farms Market of today.

S/E corner of Sunset & Fairfax, Los Angeles today

I plan on visiting my local grocery store this weekend. Which local market do you like best?

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