Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Top Ten

It's customary at this time of year to make lists. Some people make a list of their accomplishments for the past year. Some list their resolutions for the upcoming year. When I was the co-host of a blues radio show on the local public station, we used to list our top ten favorite song releases of the year. SInce my focus for this blog is mainly yarn-related, I thought I'd list my top ten yarny projects that I liked the best in 2008.

Bainbridge Scarves for Holiday Gifts
Chevron Lace Cardigan
(I recently added silver buttons)
Rosina's Tea Cozy
Spider Granny Halloween Costume
Mom's February Lady Sweater
(modeled here by Melissa)

Mary Jo, Carla, Natalie, Ellen

The sweetest project of all, of course, was our completed afghan for Frank and a mini-ghan for his son, Oliver. Many people helped make this afghan, including members of the WeHo SnB, Fairview Knitters, etc. This piece was the most rewarding of all because it was for an excellent cause and we all worked together to complete it!
Happy New Year everyone! Have a safe and happy holiday!


Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Decorating With Yarn

Other bloggers have written about this phenomenon (here, here and here), but I thought it was worth mentioning again. In my local Starbucks and in Starbucks Coffee Houses across the nation, yarn has taken over. The company issued a darling cable-knit mug this year. I've been to many shops to gather these as gifts for all my yarny friends. They have continued in the yarny theme by decorating their establishments with wreaths made from yarn balls! Brilliant, gorgeous and sexy!!!
Upon scrutinization, I can see that the yarn ornaments are styrofoam balls with only a couple of layers of yarn. Otherwise, I might have been tempted to stow a few of these yarny treasures in my totebag while strolling thru the shop! So, even though many Local Yarn Shops across the country have been suffering and closing their doors, yarn has reached corporate America as a symbol of cozy coffee breaks with your yarny friends and family. This reminds me to shun corporations and support my local yarn shop (also to quit wasting my money on chai tea lattes and make my own). Get over to your little corner yarn shop now! There's probably a year-end sale. Of course, ordering online is fast and easy, but there's nothing like petting, sniffing and squeezing the yarn in person. Yeah....brilliant, gorgeous and sexy!


Sunday, December 28, 2008

Our Very Own Beef Bowl

Of course, there's no salt & pepper, just Lawry's seasoning

This weekend the college football teams (USC and Penn State) that are playing in the Rose Bowl on New Year's Day are celebrating at Lawry's The Prime Rib Restaurant in Beverly Hills by eating as much prime rib as they can. It's called The Beef Bowl! There were signs up all over the restaurant, inside and out, when we were there.
Well, on Friday, my step-brother, Tom and his girlfriend Sheila were in town from Palo Alto. Tom was longing for a specialty dinner of prime rib.

Tom and Sheila

Hal and Mom took us all to Lawry's the Prime Rib for dinner. We had our very own Beef-Bowl-Extravaganza-a-go-go.

Hal and Mom (notice Mom wearing her new February Lady Sweater!)

This really is a special occasion restaurant. It's very expensive, but the food is divine. We don't eat beef all that often, so this was a treat. A silver cart comes around to the table and you can get any cut of beef you desire, along with Yorkshire Pudding, Creamed Spinach, Mashed Potatoes and Gravy. Yum! Double Yum!! The portions are super huge. We all split dinner with our respective partners. It was still too much to eat. We've got prime rib leftovers for dinner tonight!
When I was a kid, Lawry's was across the street from it's current location. It had a cool mid-century modern design by Wayne McAllister (see below). Now, the restaurant is super huge with many private dining rooms. The design is definitely more corporate and traditional. On Friday, the restaurant was very elegant and decorated for Christmas.

Even in this depressed economy, the place was packed! Lawry's in former years

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Friday, December 26, 2008

Low-Key Christmas

Very low-key "post-it note" gift tags

This year, we had a very low-key Christmas celebration. Larry and I woke up to a rainy day, switched on the "Yule Log" and opened up our little presents. Since we're spending TONS OF MONEY on our new master bedroom addition, we only bought small gifts for each other this year.
I gave Larry a warm and cozy L.L. Bean shirt that he requested, in addition to a pair of Fernwood Woolworks socks, some new shaving cream and a navy blue crocheted scarf.
Larry did quite well at the estate sales this year and bought me some great costume jewelry and some new socks too! We've got socks on the brain this year, it seems.
We spent about 4 hours at my Mom's and Step-Dad's house. They recently moved into a new apartment, so we were good little elves and hung paintings, clocks, towel racks and just generally re-arranged things so they'd be more comfortable.
Thanks to everyone who sent us beautiful holiday cards! Have a great weekend.

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Thursday, December 25, 2008

Have a Wonderful Day

Shag's Tiki Christmas
Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, Happy Kwanza, and don't forget Festivus for the Rest of Us! One of my favorite places at Christmastime is the Original Farmers Market @ 3rd and Fairfax, Los Angeles. I spend a great deal of time at this vortex of Los Angeles. Eventually, everyone ends up here. The Market is decorated beautifully this time of year. If you have a chance, visit and partake of some of the deliciousness that the Market has to offer...for the eyes as well as for the stomach!
In the past few years, I've met many wonderful knitters and crocheters through my WeHo Stitch 'n Bitch group. We meet at the Farmers Market on Thursday nights. I wish all of my Los Angeles friends, and those far away too, a very Happy Holiday!

WeHo SnB Girls @ Holiday Time

Today, Larry and I will be visiting with my folks and partaking of our traditional family Christmas meal....lox, bagels and cream cheese with a side of chopped herring! Savor the day.

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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Meme Quiz Show

TV Quiz Show from the 1950's

Natalie saw this quiz on Squirreled Away. She's asked that many of us play along. Since it's Christmas Eve and I'm cleaning and cooking, I thought I'd whip this out. Have a wonderful holiday, everyone. Natalie! Get rid of that cold you've got. Slurp some chicken soup and down some whiskey, please!

Here are the rules: Bold the things you've done & post on your blog!

1. Started your own blog - I've met so many people thru this blog!
2. Slept under the stars - Oh my old, wild college days on the beach in San Diego.
3. Played in a band - Does high school marching band count? I played glockenspiel and cymbals. I've also been a member of some folk music groups.
4. Visited Hawaii - Many times! My love of the ukulele draws me there.
5. Watched a meteor shower - Out in the high desert of California.
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland - Tons of times. We used to visit every year on New Year's day when I was a child. It was cold and not crowded.

Disneyland's Enchanted Tiki Room by Shag

8. Climbed a mountain - Inspiration Point in Idyllwild....does that count?
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo - I play guitar, banjo and ukulele. I've been on stage many times, singing and playing for crowds.
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris - 20 years ago. I loved it and want to go back.
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea. My Dad owned several different boats when I was young. We often got caught out at sea during rain, hail, etc.
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch - I taught myself to crochet. I've also attempted collage, silk-screening and linoleum block prints.
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning - Yuck. Only a few times, thank goodness.
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty - When I was about 15, on a family trip.
18. Grown your own vegetables - Sweet potatoes in the back yard. I left them in the ground waaay too long and they ended up gnarled and huge.
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France - on that trip 20 years ago.
20. Slept on an overnight train - From Portugal to France....same European trip.
21. Had a pillow fight - with girlfriends at a sleepover during grammar school.
22. Hitch hiked.
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill - Many times!!
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping - In my wild, younger days.
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice - Only in Las Vegas, baby.
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset - Many, many times
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise - Not my most favorite type of trip. I feel trapped for more than two days at sea. We went to Puerta Vallarta.
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors - I've always wanted to see Kiev in the Ukraine and the rest of Russia....some day.
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied - For about the past 3 years, until we started this home remodeling project! Now I'm broke again.
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person.
39. Gone rock climbing - An old boyfriend tried to teach me. I went along for awhile, but wasn't too successful.
40. See Michelangeo's David.
41. Sung karaoke - Just a few times....argh...the recordings are always in the wrong key for me.
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant - Does giving my "take-home" box o' food to a homeless person outside the restaurant count?
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight - Many times.
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted - by several other art students in painting class. Some of them are hilarious. I own a few.
48. Gone deep sea fishing - With a group of co-workers, off the coast of Santa Barbara. Fun, but tiring.
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris - Been there, but not inside.
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling - Snorkeling in Hawaii. Fantastic!
52. Kissed in the rain - Well, it doesn't rain much in L.A., but this is a lovely thing to do.
53. Played in the mud - in my youth
54. Gone to a drive-in theater - We used to have lots of drive-ins in the L.A. area. They're all gone now. The Olympic Drive-in at Olympic and Bundy was a favorite. So was the Studio Drive-in, Culver City. Many, many dates here. Did we see the movie? Huh?

There's a car dealership where the Olympic Drive-In was located

55. Been in a movie - Student films only.
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class.
59. Visited Russia - See #34.
60. Served at a soup kitchen - One year, in the 80's at the L.A. Mission for Christmas.
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies - My Mom was Cookie Chairman when I was a Brownie.
62. Gone whale watching - This is a regular ocurrence when your Dad owns a boat.
63. Got flowers for no reason - a practical plant once in awhile. Sigh.
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma - Sure. Several times.
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check - Oh my younger days.
68. Flown in a helicopter - To Avalon, Catalina...the airport in the sky...very fun!
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy - I have my original Barbie Dolls, along with the carrying case and many of the original Mattel clothes. I also still have a few old board games.
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial - Love Washington D.C. The Lincoln Memorial is very impressive.
71. Eaten Caviar - Sure. I'm Russian, remember?
72. Pieced a quilt - One very small one.
73. Stood in Times Square - Many times. Love New York. I'm kind of sad that the grunginess has gone.
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job - From a temp job that I just couldn't stand.
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone - Had my right leg broken at age 12 to re-set and straighten a bowed leg.
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle - One of my old b.f.'s used to ride a big ol' Moto Guzi. That was fun!
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person - About 4 years ago. OK, it's big, but I really wasn't that impressed. It was a foggy, hazy day.
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car - Every other car that I've owned has been new. The others were hand-me-downs from my folks. The new cars: Dodge Colt, Toyota Tercel, Toyota RAV 4, Toyota Matrix. I have a love of dependable Toyotas!
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper - Once when my Brownie Troop was at the unveiling of this statue on the traffic island at Beverly Dr. and Olympic in Beverly Hills. Other times for hosting my old blues radio show on KPCC-FM radio.
85. Kissed a stranger at midnight on New Year's Eve - Not really a stranger, but a guy I just met at a N.Y's Eve party.
86. Visited the White House - During the Nixon Administration. Inside and Out. Quite interesting.
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating - Fishies only.
88. Had chickenpox - My Mom tells me that the only childhood disease I had was mumps, on one side!
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury - A couple of times. Boring.
91. Met someone famous - I've met tons of rock 'n roll, blues and roots musicians through my old radio show.
92. Joined a book club - In the 80's.
93. Lost a loved one - My Dad
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person - Larry and I were there in the early 90's. It's smaller than you would expect.
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone - I still have my first cell phone. It's a dinosaur model, but it still works.
99. Been stung by a bee

Feel free to join the fun and post this quiz on your blog! Merry Christmas!


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Chanukah in Santa Land

Christmas in the Tiny Victorian Village of Van Nuys

On Sunday night, the first night of Chanukah, my cousin Myrna and her husband Biff invited us over for dinner. Myrna was raised Jewish....both of her parents were Jewish. Biff is not Jewish. Since Myrna and Biff have been married, they have always celebrated Christmas. I suppose Myrna is reacting to all of those early years without festive decorations for the holidays. Chanukah really isn't a major holiday. It just seems that way, because it's at the same time of year as Christmas. For many years we hosted the family Chanukah party. In the past few years our extended family has just grown too large for me to host the party at our little house, especially in the winter when we can't party outdoors. Myrna was NOT taking on the task of hosting the family Chanukah party. She just wanted Larry and I to come over for dinner so we could see her Department 56 Miniature Christmas Villages!

ChinaTown Village

I guilted Myrna into serving a Chanukah dinner, since it was the first night. So, we had latkes (potato pancakes) on Spode Christmas tree plates. I brought my menorah and we placed it on the table in front of her Santa Claus centerpiece. The rest of the dinner was fairly traditional too....roasted chicken with cranberry sauce, apple sauce and sour cream for the latkes, green beans with mushrooms, pumpkin and apple pie.
Myrna's magical Christmas villages are beautiful. There's a Victorian Village, a ChinaTown Village, a Frontier Western Village and numerous displays of tiny buildings around the house. Myrna also has quite a collection of Christmas plates. I guess Myrna likes to celebrate Chrismas instead of Chanukah because of the artistic aspect. There wasn't a crucifix anywhere in the house...this was strictly a non-religious celebration. It was a very festive and colorful way to kick-off the season.

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Monday, December 22, 2008

More Holiday Parties

Happy Chanukah! Last night was the first night of Chanukah. We celebrated at my cousin's home. It was fun and delicious....more about that party tomorrow.
On Friday afternoon, my department at work had their holiday luncheon. The head of our department treated 40 of us to lunch at Typhoon at the Santa Monica Airport. It was faboo! The food is Pan-Asian, meaning there were Thai, Chinese, Japanese and Korean dishes.
We also had a gift exchange....some people call this gift game "Yankee Trader." Everyone brings a wrapped, unmarked gift worth about $20. Then, we pick numbers. The first person chooses a gift, unwraps it. The game organizer writes down the gift on her notepad. The second person can either steal Number 1's gift or choose to unwrap a new one. A gift can only be "stolen" twice, then it's out of the running. You can just imagine the hi-jinks that went on during this game. It seems everyone wanted that disco-mirrored bottle of Absolute Vodka. It was a fun event and a perfect way to say goodbye to my co-workers for vacation. We have a very congenial group and we all had a great time at the party.
We're very lucky, our office is closed for 11 days between Christmas and New Year's. I'm taking off a few more days, just because I have an excess of vacation days and I need to use them. Woo Hoo! The slideshow below will give you an idea of our festive event.

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Friday, December 19, 2008

Festive Plus

And the winners of the WeHoHoHo SnB HolidayHat contest are......Laurie Ann and Jenna! Both created flashingly festive chapeaux that dazzled all of us. Thanks to everyone for coming out, wearing great hats and bringing treats to share! It was a wonderful way to kick off the holiday season.

I will miss my WeHo Friends during the holidays, but maybe a few of you will show up at the Fairview Knitters Group on Saturday, December 27th, 2:30 p.m. We're having an After Christmas Yarn Swap and Sale at the Fairview Branch of the Santa Monica Library, Community Room. Read about it here. Happy Holidays and have a fantastic weekend!


Thursday, December 18, 2008


A Portion of My WeHoHoHo Holiday Hat

Tonight, Thursday, December 18th, the West Hollywood Stitch 'n Bitch are celebrating the holidays at the Original Farmers Market, upstairs dining area from 7-9pm. It's going to be a great get-together. If you'd like to attend, try to bring a treat to share and wear your HOLIDAY HAT!!! I will be the sole judge for the most festive holiday hat. There is a fantastic prize!!!!
Speaking of the holidays, last night my Wednesday Farmers Market dinner group had our Seasoned Greetings dinner at Monsier Marcel.
Guy and Nancy
Marilyn, Joan and Ellen

It was raining, windy and about 44 degrees outside (in Los Angeles!), but we were cozy under the space heaters and the canopies. If you've never been to Monsier Marcel's, it's time to get over there. It is a lovely French restaurant with exquisitely prepared food and reasonably priced too!

Divine Quiche Lorraine

Thanks to Joan for organizing the get-together and to Marilyn for bringing us darling little snowman candleholders.

French Onion Soup

As for the calendar this weekend, you're on your own! Everyone will be running around, trying to finish up their holiday shopping, decorating, knitting, crocheting, sewing and cooking! Hanukkah starts at sundown on Sunday night. I hope Hanukkah Harry makes a stop at your house!

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Hiren's BootCD
hard drive recovery