Monday, April 29, 2019

The Barge

On Saturday evening, Larry and I decided to chuck our usual restaurant choices and have a mini-adventure. I'd always wanted to visit the Chowder Barge in un-gentrified Wilmington, so we hopped in the car and headed toward the Port of Los Angeles

Wilmington is the last little sliver of the Port. Most of the Port is in San Pedro. Once we got to Harbor City, we started seeing the cranes, barges and big ships at the Port. We got off the Harbor Freeway (I still call it "The 11"), turned left on Anaheim Street until we reached Henry Ford Avenue and the signs for the Chowder Barge.  We drove into the ample parking lot and viewed Leeward Marina. This is a very small marina with maybe 50 boats moored. It was a cool and cloudy evening, very noir. The tide was high.
We walked down to the dock and entered the Harbor's only floating restaurant. The Barge was built in 1934 as a support vessel for the original movie, "Mutiny on the Bounty." Later, it was moved to this spot and plastered over for stability. The exterior is not a particularly architecturally significant building, but the inside was worth the drive.

The interior of The Chowder Barge definitely looks nautical. There are tables, lots of seafaring accessories, a few tikis and the most interesting booths. The booth benches look like portions of boats, specially carved for the restaurant.

It was about 6:30. There were a few people inside and some at the bar. The place closes at 8pm. It's a very friendly, cozy place. Looked like mostly locals inside.
Nautical, but Nice
We ordered drinks and perused the menu. Lots to choose from, including burgers, sandwiches, fried fish and broiled fish. We opted for the signature clam chowder. It was rich, creamy and full of fat clams. Then, we split the broiled swordfish dinner. The food was simple, but beautifully prepared...very fresh.
Cup of Boston Clam Chowder and House Salad
Next time, I'm ordering the large chowder in a round of sour-dough bread! It looked really delicious.
Grilled Swordfish, Baked Potato, with butter and sour cream, Grilled Broccoli
After dinner, we toured around the restaurant to read all of the interesting articles about the history and check out some of the artwork.
A Thai bowsprit on the ceiling

Large table with abalone inserts that appear to be islands

A Vintage oil painting of Chinese "Junks" (Sail Boats)
I really like The Chowder Barge. I can't wait to go back!

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Friday, April 26, 2019

Then and Now

A repeat from 2014, but worth your while! 
In our beautiful City of Los Angeles, landmarks are razed, streets are re-named and areas are re-invented.  I have lived here my entire life and have seen many, many changes, some good, some not so good. 
8806 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills, LAPL archives
I came across this photograph from the 1940s of the building located at 8806 Wilshire Boulevard at Robertson in Beverly Hills.  This multi-use building was probably built in the 1930s when much of this area was developed.  Looks like there was a dance studio, acting and singing school upstairs and a drug store and furniture store downstairs. Maruice Kosloff was an actor and producer in Los Angeles during this time.
Art Deco details of 8806 Wilshire Boulevard
After a bit more googling, I found some L.A. Times articles about this very school and about Mr. Kosloff!
Click on photo to read article

The exterior of this building has not changed very much. THANK YOU!
8806 Wilshire Blvd., BH, present day. Google photo
Now, it appears that there is a furniture store taking up the entire downstairs area and various offices upstairs at 8806 Wilshire Boulevard.  The facade of the building still reveals a handsome and intricate design.   I drive past this building all the time, but rarely take a chance to really LOOK at it.  I will WALK by this building this weekend to notice the exterior decoration.  Remember to stop as you traverse our City and really look at our architecture.  You may have missed something fascinating and historical.

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Monday, April 22, 2019

Orphan's Easter

Every year for almost 30 years, Carol and Thane have invited their friends over for an Easter feast! They call it "Orphans' Easter," because so many of their friends are transplants and have no family in town.  Larry and I honored to have attended almost every single Easter celebration at Carol's and Thane's home! Yesterday, they outdid themselves once again!
Carol did most of the cooking, but other people brought a few items to add to the feast. Their lovely Spanish Revival home in Inglewood was decked out with Easter bibs and bobs. Due to our recent rains in Southern California, the gardens were exquisite!  

To see MORE PHOTOS, click on this LINK. Dinner was DIVINE! Thank you again, Carol and Thane, for welcoming us to your lovely home!

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Friday, April 19, 2019


Click on comic to embiggen

Tonight at sundown, we read the story of Passover which commemorates the exodus of the Jews from slavery in Egypt. The holiday is a celebration of freedom!

Here are a few words from the Passover Seder Haggadah that our family reads:

"Tonight we celebrate freedom for everyone on earth who is lucky enough to be free, and we PRAY for freedom for the people who live shackled by the chains of  fear, the chains of poverty, the chains of slavery, the chains of religious intolerance, the chains of violence and the chains of economic decline.

On this spring night, we have refashioned our ancient Passover ritual to include reflection on our own modern-day world, to find hope in this story of Exodus.

We hope to find our own Exodus from unproductive wars, from embittered enemies as well as friends, from the tyranny of theory over data and from a seemingly endless financial tailspin."

At the close of the Seder, we recite the following:


Once again, we have recited the age-old epic of Israel’s liberation from bondage. 
We have learned the message of the Exodus for our day.
This freedom that we cherish does not mean only freedom from slavery, but freedom from want and fear, from prejudice and bigotry for all men.

“Let Freedom Ring”

When we let freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of that old Negro spiritual, “Free at last!  Free at last! Thank God almighty, we are free at last!”
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Washington,  D.C. 1963

The speech by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was included in our amended Haggadah at Temple Beth Am when I was young. I always admired the way Rabbi Jacob Pressman included modern-day references into this ancient story.
I hope you have a meaningful Passover Seder my friends.

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Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Passover Prep

The Matzoh House replaces the Gingerbread Xmas House!

Our family is NOT having it's traditional Passover Seder this year. Some cousins are recovering from surgery. Some cousins are on cruises. Other cousins have different obligations. It's OK, we can skip a year. I will miss seeing my extended family, but we will meet up again soon.
My goyishe husband lamented that we were not having gefilte fish or matzoh ball soup this year!  What? Well, OK. Today I zoomed over to the Kosher Warehouse on Pico Boulevard. It was jammed, by the way. I picked up a frozen gefilte log.
Ungar's Gefilte Fish Log is absolutely the most delicious gefilte fish you'll ever taste. I happen to like the bottled gefilte fish, but many people do not. The Ungar's version doesn't even taste like fish! You do have to prepare it though. You boil the log in its tissue paper with onions and carrots, salt and pepper for an hour. Then you have to chill it overnight. To serve, slice it in one-inch pieces and serve with the stewed carrots and horseradish. It is divine!

You don't have to shlep to the Kosher Warehouse on Pico, Mid-City L.A. to buy the log, you can usually find at at Ralph's, Von's or other big supermarkets in Jewish neighborhoods. I've seen it at my Von's on Pico and Fairfax, also at the Ralph's on Pico and Beverwill in the Kosher Korridor!
My cousin, Marilyn usually makes the matzoh ball soup. She does the whole thing, boils the chicken, strains it, makes the matzoh balls and boils them in the broth. It is always delicious. Feh! I'm going to buy the mix and see if Larry knows the difference! I might add a bit more broth for a richer flavor. 
Every year, the family reads from a semi-traditional Hagadah that I have cobbled together from various services over the years. We sing songs, recite the plagues and the 4 questions, yada-yada-yada. This year, Larry and I will recite the brilliant 2- Minute Haggadah by Michael Rubiner.

You're welcome.

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Friday, April 12, 2019

The Ukulele Lesson

My knitting and crochet friend, Suzette, expressed an interest in learning to play the ukulele. In the past, she took 5-string banjo lessons and worked up a considerable repertoire, so I knew she'd be easier than most to teach.  I've never taught anyone how to play a musical instrument, but I have taught knitting and crochet.  I've taken enough lessons in my life, that's for sure! There have been music lessons, painting lessons, knitting and crochet lessons, sewing lessons, cooking lessons. I know when a teacher gets through to me, so I thought that I could teach Suzette the basics of beginning ukulele.
Naturally, I suggested that Suzette take the upcoming beginners class from my ukulele teacher, Cali Rose, at Boulevard Music in Culver City. Suzette lives in Silver Lake. It's a long trek in L.A. traffic between those two points. Maybe, eventually, she'll want to make the trip to Culver City for Cali's Beginners PLUS class.

Suzette came over to my house this past Tuesday afternoon at 1, bearing gifts! Really, she didn't have to give me anything to teach her the basics, but I accepted her offerings: Fresh baked bread from her husband, Mark's bakery, a set of ukulele strings and Jason Arimoto's CD of ukulele tunes.  Jason Arimoto is an excellent musician and ukulele teacher. He is one of the proprietors of U-Space, a ukulele-centric store in Little Tokyo. 
Yummy home-baked rye bread
U-Space Gift Bonanza!

I'd offered to loan Suze one of my ukuleles to see if she was really interested. We started her lesson with my Ohana Concert-size ukulele. It has an extra long neck and a really mellow, rich sound. It's probably my favorite sounding ukulele. We learned the parts of the ukulele, how to tune the uke (George Clooney Eats Arugula) for the standard GCEA tuning. We learned how to hold the ukulele and we learned a basic downward strum. No chords yet. We also learned some strength and warm-up exercises.

Suzette is a quick learner. Soon we learned the "F" chord and the C7. With just these two chords, you can play a multitude of songs! We strummed and sang a few, then I threw in another strum! The "down-up" strum. We played and sang some more songs. Suzette was great! Larry walked in and took a few photos of us. He is always amazed when someone can play an instrument and sing at the same time! Hah!
I switched from my ukulele to the banjolele just to give Suzette an idea of how it sounded, since she previously played 5-string banjo. I really like my banjolele, but if you're playing with a group, you definitely have to be sure of what you're playing, because the banjolele is louder than a standard ukulele. If you play the wrong note, chord or strum crazily, everyone is going to hear it! I played a few tunes for Suzette that we're playing in Ukulele Workshop right now....jazzy tunes.

THEN, I had Suzette try my Kamoa soprano ukulele. Suzette has small hands. She was fine with the concert-sized uke, but I thought she just may be more comfortable with the soprano. Suzette took to the soprano even better and was strumming and playing songs beautifully.
I LOVE my little Kamoa Pineapple Soprano Ukulele! I bought it at U-Space from Jason Arimoto!
Suzette is a natural. It won't be long before she adds to her chord and strumming library. You may see her on a corner in Silver Lake with a tip-jar at her feet, busking for cocktails!
Suzette, on her way to the next gig!

Next lesson, we'll talk about I, IV, V chord progression and work on the Island Strum! I get a real sense of satisfaction from teaching something new to an enthusiastic student! Thanks for the opportunity, Suze!

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Monday, April 08, 2019


From "Inside Crochet" Magazine, "Circus Blanket" by Emma Varnam

Circus! I really liked the photograph of this blanket, "Circus," designed by Emma Varnam. I figured I could crochet it by looking at the photographs. Varnam used the Corner-2-Corner crochet square method. This makes for a very dense piece.  I decided to use the granny triangle square method for this blanket so that it would be lighter for our California climate. The blanket was a birthday gift for my friend Mary Jo.
I have a lot of acrylic yarn in various colors, so I thought this would be a great way to use up some of the excess yarn. I like making blankets and afghans with acrylic yarn so that they are easy to wash and dry.
I started out fine with the pattern. Here is an early photo, along with my human afghan holder, Mr. Larry.
In progress, "Circus" Afghan
I worked on the afghan sporadically, usually at home. Once a blanket gets to be a certain size, it really isn't a portable project any longer! I think, while watching TV and multi-tasking, I got a bit confused about square and triangle placement. Somewhere along the way, I managed to reverse a square so that the pattern was wonky! I didn't realize it until it was too late to change. Also, I was under a deadline to finish this blanket by MaryJo's birthday! I ended up scraping the chevron pattern of "Circus." I added an entire round of plain white squares and then an entire round of smaller squares in mostly blues, greens and grays with a pop of bright color once in awhile. 

For the border, I crocheted a few rows of white then added the Chocolate Box Granny design in lime green. At the corners I placed a picot fleur di lis. I think it turned out nicely. It's lively and still reminiscent of circus colors!
Picot Fleur di Lis corners with Chocolate Box Granny border
The Amish and Mennonite say that only God is perfect. That's why there is a  purposeful imperfection in each of their quilts! I like that reason! I'm going with it.
Happy birthday dear MaryJo! I hope your new afghan keeps you cozy on cool nights! We celebrated with a lovely brunch yesterday at Bacaro in West Hollywood.
Brit, Natalie, Ellen MaryJo, Darcy @Bacaro, West Hollywood

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Thursday, April 04, 2019

L.A. Yarn Crawl 2019

I decided NOT to attend the L.A. Yarn Crawl this year. I've been to almost every store on the list. There are a couple of stores that I don't get to that often though, so I decided to head over to The Little Knittery in Los Feliz this morning for my one and only Yarn Crawl stop today. 
I really like this store. All of the samples that Kat Coyle displays are always very inspiring. My friend Suzette lives nearby, so she met me there. We snooped around the store for a little while, drooling at the yarn and the samples. I purchased two small skeins of grey, fingering weight yarn for a scarf pattern I have in mind.
Kat sells all these adorable knitted and felted animals, made in Mexico

I do love this granny square bag made with Noro Yarn
Suzette and I walked next door to Figaro Bistro for an early lunch and to catch up on our lives.  I do love Los Feliz Village, but it was getting a bit crowded by the noon hour. It's best to hit this neighborhood early in the day!
No more crawling for me until next Thursday when I'm meeting up with my long-time friend, Ruthie Z. for a tour of the SouthBay yarny shops!

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Monday, April 01, 2019

Happy 100th Birthday, Pop!

1926, Boyle Heights, Los Angeles

March 30, 1919...the day that George E. Bloom was born. Happy 100th birthday Pop! We've been missing you for 15 years. I think of you everyday as I drive through the streets of your beloved Los Angeles. Your memory is a blessing.

1932, Griffith Park Boys Camp, Los Angeles
U.S. Army, 1942
George Paul Co. Doors and Wardrobes, 8551 Venice Blvd., Los Angeles, 1960
Marina del Rey, Los Angeles, 1984

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Hiren's BootCD
hard drive recovery