Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Perfect Weekend

We had such a good time this past weekend in La Quinta with our friends, Jacquie and Bob. They are most hospitable!
We arrived on Saturday just in time for lunch. We drove over to the nearby Polo Grounds for lunch in the Tavern. The Polo Grounds are where the upcoming Coachella Music Festival will be held. The grounds are beautiful! They were starting to set up tents for the crowds.
After lunch, we toured the Polo Grounds and then drove thru Jacquie's and Bob's development to see the golf course, tennis courts, etc. There are grapefruit and orange trees throughout the area. We stopped to pick up a few grapefruit. Yes, it's the SoCal dream....you can pick perfect fruit right from the trees...to your table.
We stopped at a newish yarn shop in La Quinta called The Ultimate Point. Wow! What a great shop! They have all of the fancy yarns, with some fairly good prices (compared to L.A. shops). Everyone inside was super nice and very helpful. Jacquie knows how to crochet, but her knitting skills could use some brushing up. We signed Jacquie up for a series of knitting lessons and purchased some lovely birthday gift yarn. The Ultimate Point is right across the parking lot from Trader Joe's. I know that if I lived in La Quinta, I'd never have to go beyond this one shopping center.
That night Jacquie made a delicious barbecued chicken salad for dinner. We just stayed home and watched an old movie on TV. We needed to rest up for our big day-trip on Sunday.

Bob and Jacquie

We set off early on Sunday morning to the Coachella Valley Preserve in 1000 Palms Canyon. The San Andreas Fault Line runs right through the Preserve. It's fabulous to drive through miles and miles of barren desert sand and then suddenly see a huge oasis of overgrown palm trees. There was a bit of water running on the fault line. We took a short hike through the palms. It was very interesting. There's a small visitor center made from palm fronds and palm trunks. It was closed, but we could see inside.
After the Preserve, Bob drove us to Cabot's Old Indian Pueblo. It's a fascinating structure with a great story. It was super windy in Desert Hot Springs, so after the tour, we ducked into a Mexican Restaurant for lunch.
On our way back toward La Quinta we stopped at the nursery at the Living Desert. Larry always likes to pick up a cactus or succulent plants to add to our garden at home. The Living Desert is a zoo and wildlife center where animals live in their natural habitats. You really feel like you're walking through the African desert and deltas when you're inside. On hot days (it was 80+ degrees F.) the animals stay in the brush; they only come out of hiding in the cool early mornings and early evenings.
Once again, we were exhausted after a day of adventures. We went back to our Casita to rest up for dinner.

On Sunday, Larry and I drove home leisurely, stopping at a few places in downtown Palm Springs. All in all, it was a perfect weekend. Thanks again, Jacquie and Bob!

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Monday, March 30, 2009

Postcard from the Desert

Coachella Valley Preserve

Today is our last day in the beautiful California desert. We've had some great adventures this weekend with our friends, Jacquie and Bob. I'll post more tomorrow when we get back to L.A.

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Friday, March 27, 2009

Vintage Photo Friday

Larry and Ellen as Kids (Photoshopped)
No, we didn't know each other as children)

We're driving to La Quinta in the beautiful California desert tomorrow morning for a few days. We just love the desert. The sitelines of sand, mountains, clear blue skies, cactus and clear air is always breathtaking. Our friends, Jacquie and Bob have a lovely home there, with plenty of room for houseguests. This will be like a playdate for us kids!

Jacquie as a little girl

Bob, as a little boy

Jacquie and I have been friends since we met while working at USC in the mid-1970's. We both grew up on the westside of Los Angeles, led parallel lives and have much in common. Later, we both got jobs at 20th Century-Fox Studios. I'd say that Jacquie is probably my best CONTINUOUS girlfriend. I am still in contact with friends from high school, but those friendships come and go. Jacquie and I are gold.
After leaving 20th, Jacquie's interesting life took her to Hawaii to live on a macadamia nut farm with her long-time b.f., Bob. Since leaving Hawaii, Jacquie and Bob have lived in Las Vegas and La Quinta and traveled around the world.
Luckily, the four of us get along famously. We plan to take a few desert area field trips while we're out there. Also, quite close to J's & B's house is a newish yarn shop called The Ultimate Point. I'm always up for a tour of a yarn shop!
More Vintage Photo Friday blogs, here. Have a great weekend!

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Thursday, March 26, 2009

In L.A. This Weekend

We'll be heading to the desert this weekend for a bit of rest and relaxation. HOWEVER, there are always plenty of things to do in L.A. on a beautiful Spring weekend!
I'm sorry to be missing the Fairview Knitters group for the second time this month. They will meet this Saturday from 3:30-5:30 at the Fairview Branch of the Santa Monica Library, Ocean Park and 21st St., in the Community Room. This gang has really grown since we've started the Ravelry group!
Merna let me know about the Multi-Cultural Weaving Expedition at the L.A. Arboretum in Arcadia. This Saturday, 3/28/2009 The Southern California Hand-Weavers Guild presents an Introduction to the Magic of Weaving. (From the website): Join the Southern California Handweavers’ Guild for a hands-on afternoon exploring the magic of weaving. Several members of SCHG will be on hand to help you work through projects on a variety of looms. You’ll experience many different styles of weaving and learn a little about weave structure. And you’ll be amazed seeing how the colors you select become even more magical when woven together. Free with admission. Introduction: 10:00am-12:00noon, Workshop 1:00-5:00pm.
L.A. Arboretum

The Annenberg Center for Photography is finally open to the public in Century City. It's in the space where my beloved Shubert Theater used to be, right next to the newish CAA building, 2000 Avenue of the Stars. The Museum is free to the public. You just have to pay for parking. I'm thinking that it would be best to park over at the Westfield Mall and then walk a block or two to the Museum. I'm really looking forward to touring this new building.
Annenberg Center for Photography
Photo from Curbed L.A.

Esotouric is conducting "Pasadena Confidential," a tour of historic crimes in Pasadena on Saturday...always an entertaining pastime. If you decide to go on this tour, try to get the bus to stop at the Pie 'n Burger on California Blvd., just east of Lake Ave. for lunch. The burgers and pie are legendary!
Have an excellent weekend!

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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Knit and Crochet

Black Cardigan, Aeron Chair

Spring is here. Summer approaches. In Los Angeles that means that we're in for some hot days. So, I thought I'd better move along on my black cardigan so I can at least wear it during cool evenings.

Black Cardigan, Shoulder Detail

I'm almost done! I steamed it a bit today so I could try it on for fit. I LOVE it...it fits beautifully! I added a ribbed collar with a garter stitch edge to the original design. I also decided to finish off most of sleeves in the same 2 x 2 rib as the button band and bottom edge. That way, I don't have to decrease for the sleeves as my arm narrows. Naturally, I didn't make buttonholes. I might just add some toggles with I-cord or even snaps. My friend, Heather added a zipper (Rav) for her closure to this same basic sweater recipe. I might do that...not sure yet.

Black Cardigan, Front Detail

I was talking to Mary Jo a few weeks ago about crocheting a grid and weaving yarn strands through that grid to achieve a plaid look. There was a Noro scarf pattern online that used this method with some self-striping sock yarn. I've made many colorful placemats and even an afghan using this method. I crocheted the placemats below awhile back, but tucked them away for a gift.
I threw them in the washer over the weekend (yes, they're made from practical acrylic). The ends frayed a bit, but I still like them. I offered to make Mary Jo some of these for her beautiful and colorful tiled kitchen. Here you go, M.J. These are for you! I'll bring them to the WeHo SnB this Thursday!


Tuesday, March 24, 2009


The Courtyard at the Hammer Museum
Mark your calendars for Saturday, April 18th. I'm organizing a meet-up at the Hammer Museum in Westwood to see the exhibit, "Nine Lives, Visionary Artists from L.A." The art of our very own, Lisa Anne Auerbach is part of this legendary exhibit. From the exhibition catalog: Lisa Anne Auerbach’s artistic practice is multi-faceted -- she is a writer, a passionate advocate of bicycling, a knitter, a photographer, and a political activist. Auerbach has co-opted the traditional female craft of knitting and transformed it into a tool for wry, pointed political messages. Her contribution to the exhibition includes sweaters with hand-knit political jokes and riddles, as well as ‘cover girl’ self-portrait photographs featuring the artist in deadpan poses revealing the artist’s sly sense of humor.
We will meet in the beautiful courtyard of the Hammer Museum at 12:00 noon. Here, we can sit, knit, crochet and have a little snack. There's a Wolfgang Puck snackbar or you can sneak in your own munchies. It might be a bit chilly, so bring a wrap.
At around 1pm, we can proceed upstairs to the exhibit. Lisa will be there to hang out with us and answer any questions we may have about her process and artwork. On a side note, Lisa has recently proposed a class at the Public School so we can all learn how to make sweaters, skirts and other garments with a message, just like she does.

It's a wonderful exhibit! Two more of my fave artists are involved, Jeffrey Vallance and Llyn Foulkes.
Parking at the Hammer is easy. The entrance to the underground parking lot is on Westwood Blvd., just north of Wilshire. $3 for 3 hours with validation. Since the Museum is on the corner of Westwood and Wilshire, it's accessible by bus too. Scroll down to check the schedules here. Admission to the Museum is $7. Tickets are sold in the bookstore, upper level, near the gallery.

All are welcome, not just fiber people. It's going to be a grand afternoon of culture, yarn and friendship. Let me know if you're planning on being there in the comments, below!

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Monday, March 23, 2009

Gettin' Jinky

On Saturday morning, Larry and I met up with Audrey and Jeff to belatedly celebrate Audrey's birthday. I crocheted Audrey a lacy scarf out of a beautiful blue, yellow and lilac Koigu sock yarn. It looked great on her!

Breakfast at Jinky's on the Sunset Strip is always good. It's a healthier alternative to your greasy spoon, coffee shop. They have an amazing menu, full of great possibilities for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I've only been to the Jinky's on Sunset, but they have other locations too...Santa Monica and Sherman Oaks.

Audrey's Breakfast

Jeff's Breakfast
Larry's Whole Wheat Waffle
Ellen's Breakfast

As you can see, we all had a delicious meal. I must remember to go to Jinky's more often....it's great!

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Friday, March 20, 2009

Vintage Photo Friday

I love old family photos. Both my Mother's and Father's families took lots of photos. Many of them were posed photos in elaborate studios. Below is a photo from 1920 in Philadelphia of my Uncle Mort (left) and my Dad (George, right). My Dad was born in 1919 in Philadelphia, but the Blooms moved to Los Angeles when George was one, so I assume he was about 6 months old in this photo. Uncle Mort was probably 2 years old. Such cute little devil boys! About a year later, my Uncle Hi came along. Can you imagine my poor Grandma Ethel with three wild little boys, so close in age, running around the house!?!
Morton and George Bloom, Philadelphia, 1920

My mother's family, the Katz's, came to Los Angeles from New Jersey before my Aunt Mae was born, probably around 1915. Below is a photo of my mother's younger sister, Celia and my Mom, Roz. The year is 1928. That would make Roz 6 and Celia 3-1/2. They are standing in front of their family house on 2nd Avenue in the West Adams district of Los Angeles. This weekend, I might just take a drive past that old house to see how it looks today.

Celia and Rosalyn Katz, Los Angeles, 1928

When I was little and watched the old Our Gang/Little Rascals movies on afternoon TV, I used to think that my Mom looked just like the character, Mary, played by Mary Ann Jackson (right). I remember screaming for my Mom to come into the den from the kitchen to see Mary on TV. I thought, for sure it was Mom. She tried to tease me a bit and said, "Yes, that's me. I was a movie star when I was your age, but then I gave it all up just to look after you and your brother." I couldn't believe that she would give up all that fame and glamour just to take care of us. I was right. She was messin' with me.
Below is a photo of my Mom and Dad, before they were married in 1943. I'm sorry the photo is so scratched and damaged. I just love that big bow in Mom's hair and her stylish pleated slacks. My Dad was so skinny and look at all of his wavy hair! They had a wonderful marriage for 61 years until my Dad passed away in 2004 at the age of 85. Mom is still zooming around the City in her big car. Watch out for her!

Roz and George, Los Angeles, 1942

Have a great weekend! To see more of today's vintage photos, click here.

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Thursday, March 19, 2009

This Weekend in L.A.

It's almost spring! Every weekend in L.A. is packed with events. On Saturday at the Petersen Automotive Museum, they're holding Family Fun Shop, which will teach you and the kids how to draw and sculpt cars! Waaaay cool! You can also tour this amazing Miracle Mile museum's incredible collection of cars!

Speaking of the Miracle Mile, this Saturday from 1-6pm is the Miracle Mile Art Walk, encompassing more than 40 galleries on La Brea and on other nearby streets.
Esotouric is holding an interesting tour on Saturday called "Hotel Horrors and Main Street Vice." This is an excellent tour, expounding on the seamier side of historical Los Angeles.
You can always count on the L.A. Conservancy to keep you busy during the weekend. In addition to the regularly scheduled walking tours, this Saturday is the Pico Union: Layers of History self-guided walking tour kick-off and community fair. It's FREE. From the website, "Pico Union is one of Los Angeles’ most architecturally diverse neighborhoods, with a range of styles dating from the 1880s to the 1930s. “Pico Union: Layers of History” will celebrate the historic cultural diversity of the neighborhood and the architecture that embodies it."

Heritage Square Museum, Highland Park

On Sunday, there's another free event, L.A. Heritage Day at Heritage Square in Highland Park. Heritage Square is the location where some of the beautiful Victorian homes from Bunker Hill were moved years ago.
Mark your calendars for next Sunday, March 29th. This just in from Ruth H of Mar Vista: An evening with Jim Heimann, L.A. Historian to benefit New School West and Walgrove Elementary School in Venice.
Enjoy an amazing slide show lecture that will revisit the noctural world of L.A. and Hollywood's
glamorous entertainment venues. The material was originally compiled in a 1985 book
entitled "Out With The Stars," and will feature rare and new images culled from incredible sources over the past 25 years. From the depths of Central Avenue jazz joints to the cross-dressing denizens of Hollywood's cellars, from Venice Beach coffee houses to Tijuana bordellos, Jim will transport you to a world that has evaporated from the streets of the southland. Wild parties,smoke filled rooms and scantily clad bodies, along with a few murders and racy scandals,await! These rare lectures are fascinating, hip, and informative! 5-6pm Appetizers; 6-8pm Slide show and lecture at 1630 Walgrove Avenue, Los Angeles 90066, in the newly renovated retro auditorium. $15.00 per person. For more info, e-mail newschoolwest@earthlink.net

Larry and I are looking forward to having breakfast with Audrey and Jeff on Saturday morning in celebration of Audrey's birthday. Happy belated B-Day, Audrey!!!

Ellen, Jeff and Audrey on the Sunset Strip, 2006

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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Construction Progress

Bathroom Tile

It's been a long haul, since early August 2008, but we're finally nearing the end of our home construction project. The hardwood floor is in. Larry is working on the vinyl flooring in the laundryroom. The bathroom vanity cabinet is installed and the bathroom tile is in the works.
Vanity Cabinet Countertop

Of course, we're running out of money for the finishing touches. Larry and I have both been tapping funds that we shouldn't tap. Argh! Luckily, we're both employed, so that helps in these shaky economic times. I forsee a beautiful master bedroom suite without any furniture or window coverings! I'm sure we'll make do. I'm just excited that it's almost done!!!

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Sunday, Downtown

I met up with Mary Jo, Brit and Brit's friend Christina on Sunday at The Nickel Diner for brunch. There was a line. We had to wait about 30 minutes for a table. I'd read a lot about this place and wanted to go for a meal.
Hey, Regina! Check out this Pie Crust Hat!

The Nickel is famous for their Maple Glaze Bacon Doughnuts (below, left). I just had to try one.We each ordered a different breakfast dish: Christina had the Tofu Scramble, Brit had Vegan Ranchero. Being carnivores, Mary Jo and I ordered accordingly. She had the Scramble with Ham, Leeks and Fontina Cheese. I ordered the Scramble with Bacon, Spinach, Roasted Garlic and Goat Cheese (both with creamy polenta). Everything was bountiful and delicious. At the end of our meal our waitress brought over a few doughnut holes: Maple Glaze Bacon and Plain with Red Sprinkles and Cream Cheese filling. The Maple Glaze Bacon doughnut holes were fabulous! Sadly, they'd run out of doughnuts to go, so I couldn't bring one of these masterpieces home for Larry to savor.The interior of The Nickel is classic, old-timey diner. The service on a busy Sunday morning was acceptable. The place is all hard surfaces, no carpet, so the din of people, clattering dishes and outside traffic noise is bothersome. I'm of the generation that danced too close to those big speakers at rock clubs in years past, so my hearing is slightly impaired. Yes, I'm turning into my mother..."What? Huh? Speak up! " I will definitely return to The Nickel to try lunch and dinner.
In order to walk off our big breakfast, we headed south to Maple and 9th to Michael Levine's. Yes, it's open on Sundays. I've written about ML's before. It's a fantastic source for fabric, buttons, trim, other sewing notions and YARN. I'm obsessed with that Noro Striped Scarf. I've only used Noro Kureyon for my scarves and I wanted to pick up some Noro Silk Garden (it's softer). Michael Levine's doesn't have any bargains on yarn, but they do have an excellent selection. I picked up some Silk Garden #255 and #47 for the scarf. M.J. and I checked out the less expensive yarn at the back of the store and saw a bin of Jelly Yarn. It's 100% vinyl. I picked up a skein of the Honey Gold for a possible crocheted Jelly handbag!Over the weekend I whipped up a new beret pattern from Berroco called Phannie.
M.J. brought it to my attention. She's making one too. Brit tried on one for me that I made out of a DK weight wool. I like it. It's similar to the hat pattern I usually make, using front-post double crochet stitches. I made two more...it's a quick pattern. I'll give them all a soak and block over the weekend for a slouchier beret.All in all, it was an excellent Sunday!

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Hiren's BootCD
hard drive recovery