Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Scenes from the Road

We crossed Arizona today and reached Albuquerque, New Mexico. Our long days of driving are finally over....until after the weekend.
Below are a few scenes from the road today.
When we got to Albuquerque, we were hot, tired and hungry. We checked into our hotel to clean up when I remembered that Mary-Heather lives here. I immediately Tweeted her and asked about some hip place to have dinner. She recommended the Flying Star Cafe downtown, close to our hotel. It was great! Thanks, M-H! See you in Taos!
Flying Star Cafe, Albuquerque, NM

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Road Trip

We left L.A. Tuesday morning around 10. We made a few stops along the way, but eventually ended up in Ludlow, CA for lunch at the historic Ludlow Cafe. A simple lunch and a few snapshots and we were on our way. I've been knitting my Red Scarf on the road and have at least half completed before I go back to the cable knit red scarf. I hope to send at least two scarves (maybe three) to the Red Scarf Project.
Anyway, back on the road. We made it to Flagstaff by around 7pm. We'd read an article in the L.A. Times that morning about the Kachina Express. This was a 4-day, round-trip train trip from L.A. to New Mexico, accompanied by some terrific roots musicians, Dave Alvin, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Butch Hancock and Joe Ely. Our friends, Claire and Tom were aboard. The L.A. Times article said that the last concert of the trip would be in Flagstaff on Tuesday night. Remarkable, we found the tour guide and the group and we actually made it in time to hear the last two songs!

Tom, Claire and Ellen in Flagstaff

Of course, Claire, Tom and Dave A. were surprised to see us. We like to show up at odd gigs around the country!
Dave Alvin, Joe Ely, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Butch Hancock

After the gang got back on the train bound for L.A., Larry and I wandered around Historic Flagstaff for awhile. It's very quaint and beautiful here. We had a nice dinner last night at the Mountain Oasis Restaurant and a sleepless night. Our motel is across the street from the tracks. Who knew that every train blows their whistle when they come through town....every hour on the hour. Oh well. It's all an adventure.

Historic Downtown Flagstaff

Today's....destination: The edge of New Mexico!

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Monday, September 28, 2009

Harvey's, Johnie's, Bob's

Photo courtesy of Adriene Biondo
On Saturday Larry and I drove out to Downey. There has been a huge preservation effort during the past few years to save this classic drive-in restaurant. It was first known as Harvey's Broiler. Then it was Johnie's Broiler. Now Bob's Big Boy has taken it over and restored it to it's early magnificence. You can read the history of the restaurant here.
The restaurant eventually looked like this, after some unauthorized demolition took place in 2007. It was so wonderful to see the Broiler almost ready for action on Saturday. Bob's Big Boy should be finishing up the interior and landscaping soon. I can't wait for the first official Cruise Night to sample a Big Boy Burger.
On Saturday Downey local, Phil Alvin was there with his band, The Blasters to celebrate the rebirth of the Broiler. We saw lots of old friends and had a great time.
Since Bob's wasn't open for business yet, we caravaned over to the nearby Stox Restaurant on Imperial Hwy. near Bellflower Blvd. for a divine dinner of Chicken Pot Pie for Larry and Cobb Salad for me. Everything was delicious.Tomorrow we take off on our Route 66 adventure. Catch you on the road!

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Friday, September 25, 2009

Beverlywood - VPF

When I was born, we lived in a house that my Dad designed in Beverlywood, an area south of Beverly Hills, in Los Angeles. I don't remember the house because we moved to nearby Beverly Hills when I was two years old. However, the house is still there and I drive by it often. It still looks great and very much the same, except the landscaping is very lush now.

Kenny & George Bloom Playing Cowboy, Beverlywood, 1952

Beverlywood is a very nice area of Los Angeles. There are good schools, stores, restaurants, markets and bakeries nearby. I've lived my entire life on the edges of this neighborhood, so I feel very at home here. Which area of Los Angeles is "home" to you?

More VPF.

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Thursday, September 24, 2009


Fall is in full swing here in sunny Los Angeles. Here are a few possibilities to check out: There are some interesting events listed in the L.A. Times today, especially the Redondo Beach Lobster Fest! The L.A. Weekly always has some different weekend items listed. I like to explore the City when I have a chance! Sometimes, it's nice to soak up some culture. You could also just check in with the locals and see what they've got in mind.
I'll be running around this weekend, preparing for our trip to Arizona and New Mexico. There are clothes to wash, indidentals to buy, snacks to pack and maps to mark. I just LOVE roadtrips!
People have been asking about our recent room addition. The room is DONE! Now, we're thinking about adding pictures on the walls, window treatments and decorating a bit. There's a lot to do on the OUTSIDE of the new room. We recently had the driveway cement poured. We still have to think about painting the exterior of the house, along with landscaping. The work is never finished.
We did purchase a little red couch for the foot of our bed last weekend. It's the perfect spot to put your shoes on, read a book or lounge a bit while watching TV.
See you around town this weekend while running errands!

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Taos Wool Festival

I'm getting verrrrrry excited! On Tuesday (only 6 days away), Larry and I leave on a roadtrip to New Mexico. We're doin' about half of the ol' Route 66 trip. Our destination is the Taos Wool Festival. On the way we'll be stopping in various Arizona towns, Rio Rancho and Santa Fe, NM. While in New Mexico, I hope to visit Victory Ranch in Mora. I read all about Victory Ranch in "Shear Spirit," the wonderful book by Joan Tapper with exquisite photos by Gale Zucker.

I've joined the Ravelry Group of people that are attending the Festival. There are so many wonderful tips about the Festival, restaurants in the area and where to stay. I just love our Ravelry community. Whenever I have a question about another place in the world, I can always just look up a group on Ravelry, ask my question and know that friendly knitters and crocheters will go out of the way to help me.
I Need More
Larry and I haven't been on a REAL vacation (where we actually go somewhere for more than a week) in over five years. It's about time!

Arizona Desert, photo from Flickr Commons

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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Commendable Cause

My friend, Gale, told me about this worthy cause. This year I'm prepared to contribute! It's called The Red Scarf Project.
From the Orphan Foundation of America site: In 2005, OFA launched a unique initiative to warm the hearts (and necks) of college-bound foster youth. We began taking donations of handmade red scarves to put into our Valentine's Day Care Packages. Here are the particulars:
Scarf Size: Approximately 60" long and 5" to 8" wide. Scarves should be long enough to be wrapped around the neck, with tails long enough to be tied in the front.
Style: Think unisex collegiate. Ask yourself if your son, brother, and/or husband would enjoy receiving the scarf. Fringes are optional. Your scarf should drape and tie easily.
Yarn: Preferably DK, double fingering-weight, worsted weight, or light bully yarns. No laceweight, super-chunky, or mohair yarns as there are many people who find mohair too itchy. The yarn should be soft.
Color: Red! However, this could mean burgundy, cherry, russet, red stripes with other colors, or multicolor hues including red. Other unisex colors, including black, navy, teal, olive or gold are also welcome.
Finished and tagged: Yarn ends should be securely sewn in. For a personal touch, attach a tag saying "Handmade for You" with your first name, city, and group affiliation, if any. Donors have also included washing instructions, messages of encouragement, gift cards, burger bucks, books of stamps, etc.

Deadline is December 15, 2009. Check out the site for pattern ideas. My scarf is a modified version of this one. Using size 10 needles, I cast on 28 stitches using Lana Grossa Bingo. Garter stitch first 10 stitches, rib (K1, P1) next 8 stitches, garter stitch remaining 10 stitches. I continued this for about 7 rows, then cabled (in ribbing) the center 8 stitches. By ribbing the cable, it is reversible, so the scarf looks good on both sides. Brilliant!

Come on! I know you've got some red, burgundy or russet yarn in your stash. Whip out a few of these scarves and send them to The Orphan Foundation of America, The Red Scarf Project, 21351 Gentry Drive, Sterling, VA 20166. Thank you!

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Monday, September 21, 2009

Too Many Projects

When I have too many knit and crochet projects crowding my totebags and couch, I get kinda' crazy. I need to clear my head. I need to knit a dishcloth or two, or three.
I needed a little gift to go along with a larger one for Beth's b-day. I always try to hand-craft a little something for my friends' b-days. On Saturday, I knitted up a Ballband "Spa" Cloth and paired it with some Lemon/Verbena soap. We celebrated with a late lunch at Grub on Sunday and a visit to the Garden of Oz. It was hot, but we had a nice time.
When I got home from the celebration, I had that washcloth in my head. Of course, I forgot to take a photo of Beth's cloth, so I immediately looked through my cotton stash and picked out some half-skeins and started making another cloth. Now, I'm obsessed. I'm going to try and use up lots of my cotton odds and ends and make a few of these to have on hand. It's a very satisfying pattern.

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Friday, September 18, 2009

Vintage Photo Friday

Cawston Ostrich Farm, South Pasadena, California, 1921
I found another photo in my Grandma Ethel's album that I just love. From left to right, Grandma Ethel, Uncle Mort, Baby George (my Dad, looking cranky), and Grandpa Lawrence.
It seems that Cawston Ostrich Farm was quite a tourist destination. You can read about it here. I was researching it on the web and found a Flickr photo of this lady's family at the Ostrich Farm too. THEN, I came across this page.
Here are some more great vintage photos of the farm:
I've heard that this original building at the Ostrich Farm has been turned into loft condos! I wonder if there are any old feathers in the rafters?
Have a wonderful weekend! Too bad we all can't meet at the Ostrich Farm for a picnic! L' Shana Tovah...Happy New Year to all!
More VPF.

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Thursday, September 17, 2009


I'll be busy with family this weekend. Friday at sundown is the beginning of the Jewish holidays. We will celebrate the New Year, Rosh Hashanah. L' Shana Tovah means Happy New Year in Hebrew. It's traditional to eat sweet food for the celebration to insure that you will have a sweet, successful and happy new year. Apples and honey are a favorite, also anything cooked with honey.
There's an interesting festival on Sunday called Thai Cultural Day at Barnsdall Park in East Hollywood. Trekking L.A. is hosting a walking tour focusing on global street food (Thai and Armenian) in East Hollywood. Read about it here.
You might want to catch a play over the weekend: "Matthew Modine Saves the Alpacas" at the Geffen has received interesting reviews.
Later on Sunday, plunk yourself down in front of the TV and watch the 61st Primetime Emmys. I usually flip channels for the pre-show, red carpet interviews between E-Entertainment, TV Guide Channel and the broadcaster of the actual ceremony, CBS. Ryan Seacrest is the best red carpet interviewer EVER. He's up on all the shows and cast members. He asks smart questions and he's quick with the ad-libs. I am looking forward to seeing Neal Patrick Harris emcee the primetime show too...he's very intelligent and entertaining. Watching the Emmys will also afford yourself an excellent opportunity to knit and crochet!
For other fun things to do this weekend, check out L.A.'s Essential Calendar on the L.A. Weekly site, The L.A. Times Guide and the L.A. Cultural Affairs events.

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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Warehouse Store

Costco, Marina del Rey, CA

Larry and I do not belong to any warehouse, membership, big-box stores. You can buy items in bulk at these stores, supposedly to save money. We just don't have the space in our house to store large amounts of goods. Some of my friends have taken out their calculators and figured out, item by item, if they've actually saved money at these bulk stores. Most of the time, they have not saved much.
Hal and Roz, Havin' Fun!

Well, shopping at Costco is one of my Mom's most favorite activities. She loves their food section. Granted, they do have some nice looking hunks o' meat and deals on canned and frozen food. Mom likes the prepared food. For me, most of the prepared food tastes like it's from my grammar school cafeteria...bleah. She's also crazy about the bakery items. Double bleah. I can taste the preservatives.

Miles of Chinese Chicken Salad Kits

Awhile back we accompanied Mom and Hal on their Sunday trip to Costco, in hopes of scoring some nice new bed linen. We found a lovely set of sheets and Larry found his fave athletic socks, after fighting our way through the Sunday crowds.

Larry Loves Socks

I only buy items with shelf-life at these types of store. I believe I'll wait awhile until my next visit.

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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

New Technology

Larry and I have had our cellphones for almost ten years. The battery never runs down, it always works and the reception is pretty good. My big complaint with our ancient phones is that they're too big and heavy! Also, people used to laugh at me when they saw me raise the antenna on my ol' phone. So, last week we decided to upgrade to smaller, more efficient phones.
After waiting forever, a salesperson finally helped us. She said we should take our old Nokia phones to the "Antiques Roadshow" next time they're in town. Smart-alec.
We just got basic flip-phones. They are compact and lightweight. I am having a few problems getting used to the many techno-possibilities offered by this new model. Ol' Ellen has to study the manual a bit longer to get up to speed,.

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Monday, September 14, 2009

Crochet Weekend

Beth and her Seraphina Shawl

I attended three different Stitch 'n Bitch meet-ups this weekend! Phew! My crochet hand is aching! Saturday WeHo SnB at the Original Farmers Market in the morning was great! We had a nice sized crowd. I met up with Christine and a few others early for breakfast at Loteria Grill, then we headed upstairs to knit and crochet with the group.
The Fairview Knitters group in Santa Monica later in the day was really a surprise! There must have been at least 20 people attending. We usually have between 6 and 10 people. Wow! All of a sudden, we're popular. Shout out to Meri, Jenna and Brenda who shlepped across the City to attend!
On Sunday, my Sometimes Sunday crochet group met. By then, my carpal tunnel set it, so I decided to start yet another project with a larger crochet hook. I find that when I crochet with a large hook and ease up my death-grip, my hands appreciate it.
It's count-down time for holiday gifts. This year all my Knit Grrlz are getting shawls made from various sock yarns. Lately, I've been obsessed with Noro sock yarns. I've been working on a triangle shawl with a black, rust, gray and burgundy Noro Silk Garden Sock yarn, size "I" hook. I started this shawl using double crochet stitches and then after about 10 rows, switched to treble crochet stitches. LOVE the trebles! The shawl is very drapey.
Noro Silk Garden Sock Yarn Triangle Shawl
After seeing Beth's Seraphina Shawl in progress (top), using Paton's Soy Wool Stripes yarn, I was inspired to start yet another Seraphina Shawl using more Noro Silk Garden Sock Yarn in the most beautiful combination of colors. I'm using a size "G" hook for this shawl. Beth has only been crocheting for a few months. She's really taken to it and is always researching new patterns. I'm so proud of her progress. Thanks for the re-inspiration, Beth!

Noro Silk Garden Sock Yarn Seraphina Shawl

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Friday, September 11, 2009

Vintage Photo Friday

Cousin Elkie, Atlantic City, N.J, 1921

How cute is my Dad's Cousin Elkie?!? Imagine my surprise, as I was looking through some old photos of my Grandma Ethel's, when I came across these adorable photos of Elkie wearing an entirely knitted dress and hat. She even looks happy about this! Amazing.
Every summer my Dad and his family would visit Grandma's family in Atlantic City. Grandma Ethel's parents, Dora and Bernard Pellicoff owned a kosher hotel called the Majestic Hotel near the Boardwalk. My Dad used to tell me stories about how he and his brothers had various jobs around the hotel. Dad liked working for the baker because he could get all his chores done in the early morning and then have time to go to the beach.

Check out those sweet little shoes!

I don't know who knit this incredible ensemble for Elkie, but she certainly seems proud of it. I recognize many familiar stitches: Honeycomb Stitch, Eyelit Stitch, Garter Stitch. I only met Elkie a few times when I was a kid. She lived in New Jersey and didn't come out to L.A. very often. I wonder what color this dress was?

More Vintage Photo Friday here.

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Thursday, September 10, 2009

Calendar and F.O.

Co-Worker, Susannah, modeling new scarf

This coming Saturday is my double Stitch 'n Bitch day! In the morning from 10 am to noon I'll be at the Original Farmers Market with our once-a-month-Saturday SnB group...upstairs dining area. We always have a great time. Many of our regular Thursday night WeHo SnBr's join in, as well as a few different crafters. Now that Labor Day has come and gone, the amount of tourists that visit the Farmers Market should be way less than during the summer....thankfully!
In the afternoon, from 3:30-5:30pm, I'll be at the Fairview Branch of the Santa Monica Library for the Fairview Knitters group. I really like the location of this meeting. Fairview Branch is a beautiful mid-20th Century, modern style building with a shaded patio. In the summer, we meet outside and it's always cool and comfortable. Maybe I'll see you at one of the above meet-ups?
My friend, Molly D. from Fairview gave me some beautiful tomato-orange Koigu yarn for my b-day. I whipped up the Floaty Fall Scarf from the current issue of Crochet Today with the Koigu. After blocking, it became even more wispy and floaty. I love it! Thanks, Molly!

Close-up of damp Koigu Floaty Scarf

Here are a few events happening in the L.A. area this weekend: The Original Long Beach Lobster Festival. The L.A. Greek Festival at St. Sophia's Church. The Sunset Strip Music Festival. The Bauer Pottery Company is having a seconds sale this weekend. The Los Angeles Conservancy holds walking tours every weekend. Check here for the schedule. Esotouric is holding their "Birth of Noir" tour this Saturday.
It's still summer weather in the L.A. area, so we can enjoy the beach, the beautiful sunsets and the warm breezes. The fires in the Angeles National Forest are almost contained, so the air is much cleaner now. Thank you Fire Department!

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