Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Ukulele Fun

Ukulele Workshop at the Boulevard Music Holiday Show
L-R: Joe, Marissa, Jim, Debbie, Candace, Ellen, Ron, Deb, Carol, Deb-2, Cali

We had a really good time performing at the Boulevard Music Holiday Show this past Sunday. Our Ukulele Workshop played four songs at the top of the show. There were 11 of us on that tiny stage! Thankfully, Cali's microphone and amplifier were at full force, so if we forgot some chords or lyrics, no one could tell. We kept shifting around on stage. No one wanted to be front and center. Well, alright, I'll stand in the middle! I'm a ham. Most of the photos I've seen from the evening have me with my mouth wide open in song or smiling at the audience. I know I forgot a few chords and some lyrics, but I also know from experience that "you go a mile with a smile!"
It's rather hectic backstage at Boulevard. The staff has to clear out the entire shop full of guitars and other instruments, including the stage. Then, they have to set up all the chairs for the audience. The "backstage" consists of music stands, instrument boxes and a kitchen. It's kind of a mess. We were tuning up, chattering away and basically having a great time. This transferred to our performance onstage. 

As I was roaming around the audience after our performance, a few of the other "professional" performers gave our group compliments. The joy of music transmits!

If you'd like to join our group in January (or anytime. We are an ongoing group), please do so! We can all have a great time making music together!
Click on Flyer to embiggen!

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Thursday, December 13, 2018

It's a Miracle!

Santa on the Miracle Mile, early 1950s. Check out the May Co. building! It's being refurbished and re-conditioned right now for the upcoming opening of the Motion Picture Academy Museum!

Everywhere I look I see Santa Claus! He should be in his workshop, supervising the elves. Santa has a lot of work to do between now and Christmas.
I was perusing some vintage photos of Santa Claus online and found some very interesting ones of Santa Claus on the Miracle Mile.
Wilshire Blvd., and Hauser Ave., Miracle Mile, Early 1950s

At the OTHER end of Wilshire Boulevard, Santa and his reindeer have been installed at Beverly Drive in Beverly Hills. This was a major highlight of the holiday season when I was a child.
Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills. Photo by Herman Schultheiss, 1937

Santa and his reindeer, Beverly Hills, 2018
I'm half-ready for the holiday. I have most of my gifts, just have to wrap them. We'll be having a small family brunch on the 25th and I haven't even started getting our house ready!! Our holidays cards are imminent! There are so many extra events to attend during the month of December. I should have taken a few days off! 

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Monday, December 10, 2018

Countdown to the Big Show!

Next Sunday, December 16th, my Ukulele Workshop will be participating in the Boulevard Music Holiday Show. Showtime is 7pm. It's FREE and there will be cookies! This is a fun show. the music staff, teachers and other friends sing a few songs geared toward audience participation and the holidays. Our group is first and we will be performing 4 songs!
We've been practicing like crazy. Our leader, Cali Rose, makes our classes fun and informative. Many of us show up for Workshop every single session. If you'd like to try out one class, you can arrange to attend and just pay for this single class. If you're confident that you're a beginning player and want to improve, this is the group for you!
I don't know where they stash all of that equipment, but the Boulevard Music staff clears out the first floor and sets up chairs for the audience. The "stage" is also cleared for the performers.
We had a lively practice session on Saturday. Here are a few candid shots that I managed to sneak:
Santa Jim and Deb work on some arrangements
Joe and Debbie
Candace, Carol and Ron
Marissa and Fred with their teardrop ukes (photo by Cali)
So, think about joining us next Sunday for the concert. I guarantee that you'll have a great time! Happy Ukulele Holidays!
Back Row, standing, L-R - Joe, Fred, Debbie, Marissa, Jim, Deb, Ellen, Debbie, Carol, Ron.
Front Row, seated - Cali, Tom, Candace (photo by Aaron)

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Friday, December 07, 2018

Going Somewhere for the Holidays?

1958. L.A. Xmas decoration. I love that Santa travels in a flying saucer!

Los Angeles is getting so crowded. We all know that this is the worst city for traffic! I know, because I sit in the L.A. traffic for hours each week! Argh! How about getting away for the holidays? I was reminded of this movie by my friend, Brooke. I might have seen "Santa Claus Conquers the Martians" a few times.

I'm going to look into this trip. Time for peace and quiet during the holiday season. PEACE, above all is desired.

Happy Hectic Holidays, my friends.

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Wednesday, December 05, 2018


Six-Pointed Stars for Chanukah

'Tis the Season! Time to crochet holiday ornaments for decorating around the house and to gift to friends. I do have my favorites to make. Chanukah is early this year. I've made my Garland of Stars, but adding a sixth point for a Star of David many times!
Garland of Stars, 5-Pointed Stars
Another favorite is the Grandma Tree. I make one of these for the co-workers in my quadrant. We hang them in our cubicles for a festive look. The original pattern calls for making the tree in all one color. I like to add a RED planter potThese trees can also be joined into a garland. So festive!
Grandma Trees in formation

I found these Christmas Baubles online. They are really fun to crochet and stuff!
Christmas Baubles
One year I added a bauble to my WeHo SnB Holiday Hat. It was a hit!

If you really want to impress your friends and make them feel special, make them a personalized garland. This involves going through your friends' Facebook photo page and finding meaningful photos of them or things around their house. I made one for Carol and Thane years ago and they're still hanging it on their mantle! The instructions are on my blog, link below.
Holiday Photo Garland
I can't get enough of my puffy granny flower. I use this pattern as the basis for hats, potholders and ornaments. The basic puffy flower pattern is HERE. It's easy to just add a few plain double crochet rows for a border. 

Puffy Flower Scrubbies or ORNAMENTS? You decide.
One year I followed a pattern on the Attic24 blog for a Birdie Decoration. I crocheted it in Christmas colors and it turned out very cute!
Holiday Birdie Ornament
Another really cute Attic24 pattern is for Wooly Sheep Wearing Sweaters. My little sheep didn't turn out as cute as on the blog, but it will do.
Wooly Holiday Sheep
This year I'm rather obsessed with these festive, tasseled pentagons from Alexandra MacKenzie. I saw them on her Instagram feed, re-posted by #grannysquaretherapy.  I don't have an actual pattern for this cute little piece, but we can definitely figure it out!
Festive Granny Pentagon Ornament
Oh! The decorating possibilities are endless with yarn!

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Monday, December 03, 2018

Jewelry Sale in a Modernique Home

Johanna at the Jewelry Sale

In between ukulele workshop and knitting on Saturday, I attended the annual costume jewelry sale in support of the  L.A.R.C. Foundation.  Ruth and Johanna both have brothers living at LARC. Every year they seek out jewelry donations to support the Foundation. It's always a wonderful sale. This year the event was held at Ruth's home in the Gregory Ain Tract of Mar Vista. I love these post-war homes with creative landscaping by Garrett Eckbo. They've held up over the years and only been modified slightly. The few blocks in this tract still exemplify simple, modern living for families. In 2003 this group of homes became a Historic Preservation Overlay Zone (HPOZ),  the first to contain solely modern homes...or "Modernique" as the advertisements exclaimed.
Ad for Modernique Homes in Mar Vista, 1948
The selection of jewelry is always magnificent! I managed to find a few treasures for myself and some holiday gifts too!

Ruth and her crew of assistants

In addition to this fab collection of jewelry, Ruth had to squirrel away her own incredible collections of tiki mugs, telephones, radios, planters and more to make room for the jewelry. It was all I could do to not grab a cool tiki mug and hide it in my tote!

Thank you, Ruth for opening your lovely home to us and thank you to Johanna for helping to organize this great annual sale!

I managed to take a walk through the neighborhood to check out a few of these beautiful homes.  I could retire here!
Modernique Homes in the Gregory Ain Tract, Mar Vista

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Friday, November 30, 2018


Menorahs and other Judaica at an estate sale

This Sunday at sundown is the beginning of Chanukah.  We will light the menorah and sing a few songs. Chanukah is all about the oil. Here's a quick description why: The festival of Chanukah was established to commemorate the Jewish Maccabees' military victory over the Greek-Syrians and the re-dedication of the Second Temple, which had been desecrated by the Greek-Syrians, to the worship of God. Thus, Chanukah is a joyous celebration of Jewish national survival and religious freedom. When the Jews finished cleaning the temple for re-dedication, they wanted to light the eternal light, known as the N'er Tamid, which is present in every Jewish house of worship. Once lit, the oil lamp should never be extinguished. The Festival of the Lights, Chanukah, lasts for eight days to commemorate the miracle of the oil. The word Chanukah means "re-dedication". Only a tiny jug of oil was found with only enough for a single day. The oil lamp was filled and lit. Then a miracle occurred as the tiny amount of oil stayed lit not for one day, but for eight days.
Chanukah, 1956. Hollywood w/ Sasha, Ellen, Denny and Kenny

In my family, since we are of Eastern European / Ashkenazi origin, we fry potato pancakes or latkes Jews with heritage from the Mediterranean or Sephardic countries also enjoy a dessert called Sufganiyot, which are doughnuts (usually filled with jelly), fried in oil. See? It's all about the miracle of the oil!
Here is my Mom's basic latke recipe:

Roz's Latkes
1 pound potatoes, peeled and grated (squeeze starch liquid from potatoes)
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and grated
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons matzoh meal
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground pepper
Oil for frying

Mix everything together and then drop the potato mixture by spoonfuls into hot oil.  Pat down into cake.  Fry on both sides until golden brown.  Drain on paper towels before serving with applesauce and sour cream.
I make the same basic latke recipe as Mom.  HOWEVER, over the years in the need to simplify this process, I've opted for frozen hash-browns (defrosted) instead of boiling, peeling, grinding and draining.  This cuts out about one hour of preparation.  Also, those lovely defrosted hash browns never turn purple!  Preservatives.  Yum.
Chanukah, 1962. Beverlywood with Bloom and Schaeffer Cousins

My good friend, Rhoda makes her latkes more multi-cultural.  Instead of matzoh meal or flour, she adds Aunt Jemima's powdered pancake mix to the potato mixture.  You should see those puppies rise while frying!  Brilliant. 
However you celebrate, be joyful, grateful and don't forget to remember the Miracle of the Oil for the Festival of Lights!
To celebrate the season, I recorded this song last year. Here's Cali Rose's arrangement of the same song!

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