Friday, January 31, 2014

Vintage Photo Friday

Ringo Starr, George Harrison, Ed Sullivan, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, 1964.

On February 9, 1964 The Beatles appeared on television for the first time in the United States on The Ed Sullivan Show in New York.  This was the beginning of the British Invasion in American pop music.  CBS-TV is making a huge deal about this 50 year anniversary by airing a show recorded a couple of days ago at the L.A. Convention Center to commemorate the date.  Surviving Beatles Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr were in attendance and took the stage.  Many stars sang their renditions of Beatles songs.  It should be a great show.
30 years ago, my good friend Leah gave me a set of salt and pepper shakers commemorating this very same event!!  I took them out of storage the other day.  This is the only Beatles memorabilia that I own, besides the record albums.   I do love the old-fashioned TV set in pink and black.  This is the way the 1980s interpreted the and glossy.

The Fab Four
"Shake It Up, Baby!"

I remember all of The Beatles' performances on Ed Sullivan.  We were all glued to the TV set on those Sunday nights!  Beatlemania reigned in my life.  I look forward to reliving my pop rock 'n roll youth on February 9th.  Have a wonderful weekend and remember that other TV event is on this Sunday!

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Thursday, January 30, 2014


My friend, Audrey is a photo nut.  She's always snapping pictures wherever she goes.  She has an excellent eye.  Recently Larry and I went along with Audrey and her husband, Jeff on a photo safari of sorts with InstaMeet, an InstaGram group of people at Venice Beach, CA.
It seems that Audrey has found another iPhone application called EyeEm.  This group has photo meet-ups and online contests too!  Audrey was recently included in the Top 25 photos from the Don Filter Mission group (whatever that means).   I was with Audrey in Venice when she took this winning shot:

"Waiting on a Friend" by Audrey, Venice Beach, 2014
Since I was with Audrey that day, she has dubbed me her "Good Luck Charm."  Thanks Audie!  I also joined the EyeEm group and downloaded the free app on my iPhone.  I must say, the photo filters on EyeEm are way cool, even better than InstaGram or Hipstamatic!  I'm still in the learning stages about this app.  It's not as user-friendly or obvious as InstaGram sharing.  I don't really get it yet, but I'm learning.
Here is my first official EyeEm photo, taken this afternoon in the courtyard of my office building in Santa Monica.

"Thirsty?" by Ellen, Santa Monica, 2014 (Cabu Filter on EyeEm)

Thanks, Audrey, for opening the eyes of this photographer's wife to a whole new world!
Photographer, Audrey w/her trusty iPhone @ Venice Beach, 2014

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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Works In Progress (WIPs)

Yarn for 2014 Mardi Gras Hat for Mr. Larry
In this yarny world where I live we're always talking about WIPs, FOs, Frogging, LYSs and such.  Translations:  WIPs - Works in Progress; FOs - Finished Objects; Frogging - Ripping out, as in rrrib-et rrrrib-et frog sounds; LYS - Local Yarn Shop.  Yeah, we have our own lingo.
Well, I'm innundated with WIPs this week.  I'm working on a quickie afghan for a friend; thinking about a Mardi Gras hat for Larry; almost finished with my Valentine Swap project for my WeHo (West Hollywood) SnB (Stitch 'n Bitch) buddy; AND thinking about a few more Crocheted Mobius Cowls to show for the El Segundo Slipt Stitchers Guild at our February meeting. I also joined the 2014 Mood Afghan group and am about 8 days behind on my squares.  Phew!

I'm rather excited about being a co-chair for the KAL / CAL (Knit-A-Long / Crochet-A-Long) for 2014 at the El Segundo Slipt Stitchers Guild.  My co-chairs and I have come up with a knitted cowl and a crocheted mobius cowl for our Spring project.  We've all been working on samples to show the Guild at our February meeting.  My pattern choice of the Crocheted Mobius Cowl is really easy and takes no time to whip up, I just have to DO it!
THEN, the Ravellenic Winter Games are coming up!   This is an international project, hosted by Ravelry (Facebook for yarny folks) where you challenge yourself by starting and finishing one or more yarny projects during the 2014 Winter Olympic games.  Our WeHo SnB group has a team participating.  I have to decide and tag the projects I want to enter.  Oh the pressure!

So many projects, so little time!  Ack!

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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

This Man Sang For You and Me

Yes, I know Pete Seeger was old, 94.  Yes, I realize his health was failing.  However, I was still surprised when I heard of his death yesterday.   He was such a beloved American, that we felt he would live forever.  After reading all of the accolades about Pete, he certainly will live forever in our hearts and minds.   The man was a huge influence on me and my brother when we were growing up during the folk revival of the 1960s.
I was about 9 years old when my brother, Ken (7 years my senior) gave me Pete Seeger's "How to Play the 5-String Banjo" instruction book.  With Ken's help and Pete's book, I managed to learn the basics of playing many old-timey banjo tunes.  Ken thought I was good enough to enter the Topanga Banjo and Fiddle Contest (which was actually held IN Topanga in those early days).  I entered the children's division, beginning banjo.  I managed to take a first place, singing "Don't Let Your Deal Go Down," a song I'd heard and memorized off a New Lost City Ramblers record, featuring Pete's half-brother, Mike Seeger.
My banjo playing went downhill from there.  I entered the Banjo and Fiddle Contest two years later and received a third place!  Oh well, I had other hobbies to pursue, like playing the guitar, painting, knitting and boys!  I did manage to maintain my chops well enough to play for morning sing many times when I was a counselor at Idyllwild School of Music and the Arts during summer session.  Below, I'm with my friend, Jonde, entertaining the campers and staff, probably with a version of "This Land is Your Land."

Jonde and Ellen, 1970, Idyllwild
Whenever I needed a refresher on my banjo chords, I could go to Pete's instruction book. I still have that tattered old book...somewhere.   I was lucky to see him perform a few times in Los Angeles during the 1960s.  In the late 1990s, Larry and I were at Jazz Fest in New Orleans and I made a special effort to get over to the stage where Pete was the rain.  Larry was off at a different stage.  I wouldn't have missed seeing Pete for anything in the world.  I was brought to tears as he sang and played  so many of the songs he was known for.  He was in his 80's at the time and spry, funny and entertaining as always.
I was delighted in 2009 when Pete Seeger and Bruce Springsteen played at Obama's Inaugural celebration concert on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C.  In addition to sounding and looking great, Pete was wearing a fantastic knitted cap on his head.  Since my interests had drifted from folk music to knitting, I immediately looked for information on Pete's hat!  I wrote about it here in 2009.

Pete Seeger, January, 2009, Washington, D.C. wearing THAT hat!
Every time I watch John Ford's "Grapes of Wrath" on TV, I can't help but think of Pete Seeger and his activism when Henry Fonda as Tom Joad says this speech toward the end of the movie:
"A fella ain't got a soul of his own, but only a piece of a big soul, the one big soul out there that belongs to everybody. And then it don't matter. Then I'll be all around in the dark. I'll be everywhere…Wherever there's a fight so hungry people can eat, I'll be there. Wherever there's a cop beating up a guy, I'll be there. I'll be in the way guys yell when they're mad, and I'll be in the way kids laugh when they're hungry and they know supper's ready…And when our people eat the stuff they raise, and the houses they build, I'll be there too."
Thank you, Pete Seeger, for your devotion to humans around the world.  We will miss you, but remember you always.  I think I'll get my old banjo out tonight and bang out a few choruses of Woody Guthrie's "So Long, It's Been Good to Know Ya" and a few other Seeger favorites.

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Monday, January 27, 2014

Gracias Madre, WeHo

Interior, Gracias Madre Restaurant

More birthday celebrations!  On Saturday, we went to Gracias Madre on West Melrose Avenue.  This is a a plant-based/vegetarian Mexican restaurant.  Everything was prepared beautifully.  They make their own chips and tortillas.  The drinks were quite spectacular too.   I vaguely remember this location being a decorator's shop in the past.  It's a huge space with a large patioThe exterior is my fave architectural style....mid-20th Century Regency! 

Elegant Regency Exterior

The menu is very interesting.  There are loads of choices....small dishes, entrees, sides, desserts and the aforementioned alcoholic beverages.  They also make their own ginger ale.  It was yummy.  Some of the dishes were extra spicy, but delicious.  I will definitely return to Gracias Madre!
Guacamole and chips
Sopas con PIÑA
We had a lovely afternoon, celebrating birthdays of Natalie and Carol!  Happy Birthday, Ladies!
Lori, Carol, Ellen
Julie, Natalie and Beth

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Friday, January 24, 2014

Vintage Photo Friday

Once upon a time, our current China Town in downtown Los Angeles was known as Little Italy and French Town.  The original China Town was demolished in the 1930's to make way for Union Station.  In what is now New China Town, the French Hospital was located at the corner of College and Hill.  There were many Italian establishments in the area too, including Little Joe's Italian Restaurant on the corner of College and Broadway.  I vaguely remember the French Hospital and definitely remember Little Joe's.  Little Joe's was originally called Little Joe's Restaurant and Grocery.  It was on the corner of  5th and Hewitt Streets (built in 1895) in what is now considered The Arts District.  Little Joe's moved to North Broadway in 1927.  The restaurant closed in 1998 and was used as a film and television location until it was recently demolished.
Little Joe's at 5th and Hewitt, L.A.
I never had a meal at Little Joe's, but after looking at the menu from 1975, I wish I had!  My friend, Mr. Pete gifted me with "The Menu Guide of Los Angeles" (1975).  The book is a treasure-trove of restaurant menus from the era.  
Thank you, Mr. Pete!

1975 was just about the time Los Angeles restaurants were making headlines.  In 1974 Patrick Terrail opened Ma Maison in a little bungalow on Melrose Avenue.  In 1975 chef Wolfgang Puck came to Los Angeles and started working at Ma Maison.  This, I believe, was the beginning of fine cuisine in Los Angeles.  Family restaurants serving home-style, hearty fare didn't have a chance after 1975.  Surprisingly, Little Joe's was such a mainstay in the downtown neighborhood, it lasted until 1998!  It didn't hurt that L.A.'s favorite Italian, Dodgers Manager, Tommy Lasorda used to frequent the place before and after Dodger games at nearby Chavez Ravine.
Little Joe's on North Broadway, 2012
Get out there this weekend and have dinner at one of L.A.'s classic, old-time restaurants.  They're not long for this world!!

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Thursday, January 23, 2014

Pico Deli

We tried a new sandwich shop in our neighborhood last night, Pico Deli.  It's located at Pico and Carmona, Mid-City L.A., next to OK Liquor Shop.  The sandwiches are DELICIOUS!  We tried the jerk turkey on a roll and a grilled shrimp po'boy on French bread.  
Spicy Jerk Turkey Sandwich

Pico Deli offers hot and cold sandwiches, burgers, fries, fresh salads and more.  It's a very clean, well-designed new space with fancy neon outside.  
Grilled Shrimp Po'Boy

I'm very particular about my shrimp po' boys.  For me, the best one in the City is at Uncle Darrow's near Marina del Rey.  Pico Deli po' boy was on a French roll that was a bit too bready.  The jerk turkey was on the PERFECT roll and absolutely delish.  Next time, I would order the po'boy on this smaller roll and have them splay the shrimp to cover more area.  I really liked the idea of having grilled shrimp instead of breaded and fried. 
There is this wonderful mural adorning the area over the front door and windows of landmarks of our section of Pico Boulevard.....wonderful!
Mural at Pico Deli of Pico Boulevard!

I can't wait to try the Black Forest ham sandwich and the salads at Pico Deli.
Pico Deli
5502 W. Pico Blvd., LA, CA

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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Yarny Eye-Candy

Saturday was our monthly El Segundo Slipt Stitchers Knit and/or Crochet Guild meeting at the Joslyn Center.  I do enjoy the meetings and the new skills and yarny techniques I always learn.  Most people wear something they have either knitted or crocheted.  Saturday was no exception.
See what I spied at the meeting...Wow!

Bebe's Divine Cabled Tee

Mitred Square Tee

Carol's Crocheted Tiki Bolster Pillow

Love this intricate lace and cable design!

Peggy matched her Shawlette colors to her Malibu Tile Pin (left)

I LOVE Lee's bold colors on this granny vest!!!

If you're interested in attending an El Segundo Guild Meeting, let me know.  We meet on the third Saturday of each month from 10am to 1pm.  We have a raffle each month and excellent refreshments are served!

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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Delayed Christmas

Opening of the Presents.  Darcy, Natalie, Mary Jo, Brit and Ellen
My KnitGrrlz travel.  One or some of us is rarely in L.A. during the holidays.  Soooooo, we celebrate in January when everyone is finally home.  I met up with the Grrlz at Gusto Restaurant on 3rd Street near La Cienega on Friday night for Christmas dinner.  Everything was divine.  I can't wait to go back with Mr. Larry.  We each ordered something different, along with various appetizers so we could taste and share.  Yummers!

After dinner we toddled back to my house for Christmas presents and dessert.  It also happened to be the day after Natalie's birthday, so this was a special celebration!  The presents that we trade are always the very best and most perfect!  I LOVE everything!

Darcy, Natalie, Mary Jo, Brit and Ellen


The Grrlz liked their Beehive Beanies!
We had German chocolate cake from Normandie Bakery. for Natalie's birthday.  

One by one, after hours of talking and laughing, our heads started drooping.  Time to go home.  Thank you KnitGrrlz for a WONDERFUL celebration!

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Hiren's BootCD
hard drive recovery