Thursday, June 30, 2016

Throw-Back Thursday, 1992, Solstice Canyon

May, 1992, Solstice Canyon, Malibu. L-R: Ellen Bloom, Jessica Baron, Patti Thornton, Reeva Hunter, Lucinda Williams. Photo by Larry Underhill

In May, 1992 we attended the wedding of Jessica Baron and Rick Turner in a meadow at Solstice Canyon, Malibu. This is part of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. It's just off Corral Canyon Road from Pacific Coast Highway and about a mile east of Point Dume. It's a beautiful setting for a gathering.
This was quite a gathering. Rick Turner is THAT Rick Turner, from Rick Turner Guitar Company. Rick has made guitars for many musicians, including Jackson Browne, David Crosby, David Lindley, Ry Cooder, Lindsay Buckingham and more. Rick is a legend among musicians. Jessica Baron is an acoustic guitarist, singer and songwriter. She's an educator and psychotherapist.
I met Jessica YEARS ago through mutual friends. She asked my name and then wanted to know if I was related to musician, Ken Bloom. Why yes, I am! Turns out that Jessica took guitar lessons as a youth from my brother at the Amazing Grace Coffee House in Evanston, Illinois. We became fast friends.
Jessica invited us to her wedding to Rick Turner. I'm not sure if she hired Larry to photograph the wedding. My memory fails me. HOWEVER, the back of the photo has one of Larry's identifying numbers on the back, indicating that he took professional photos that day.
Back of photo, above. That's my handwriting and Larry's "73" in the corner

In addition to hanging with my besties at the time, Jessica, Patti, Reeva and Lu, I remember Ry Cooder and Jackson Browne in attendance. The band that day included my brother's old friend, Stu Brotman, along with his acoustic Klezmer band! It was a joyous day.
I lost touch with Jessica over the years, but looked her up on Facebook. I see that she and Rick had a son. They are no longer together. Rick lives in Santa Cruz, Jessica in San Diego. Rick is still building instruments and Jessica is the founder and director of Guitars in the Classroom, which is an organization that teaches the joys of music in the classroom. I'm happy to see that Jess is still playing, performing and using her gifts to inspire children!

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Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Sixth Year!

Wow! This is the sixth year I've participated in the Annual Dishcloth Swap on Ravelry.  A bit of a repeat, today, but I LIKE COTTON DISHCLOTHS! What? A DISHCLOTH swap? Huh? Why would I swap a shmatta (rag) with my friends? Because 100% cotton knitted and/or crocheted dish cloths are awesome. That's why!
Other than the fact that cotton dish cloths are lovely to use, they are reusable and good for the environment. If you use a soft cotton, they are excellent to use for spa cloths on your tender skin. If you use an everyday cotton yarn like Sugar & Cream and add some ribs and bumps to your pattern, these cloths make excellent scrubbers for dirty pots and pans.

They make outstanding gifts paired with fancy soap. Oh! You can make them using all kinds of PRETTY COLORS. This will cheer up the spot next to your sink, whether it's in the kitchen, laundry room or bathroom!
2013 Dishcloth Swap
You knit or crochet five cloths in the SAME pattern. Of course, you can change around the colors so you don't get bored. Then, you tag your cloths and mail them with a self-addressed stamped envelope to Swap Central. After Labor Day you will receive five NEW dishcloths, all different designs!
2012 Dishcloth Swap

The Annual Dish Cloth Swap is on NOW! You don't have to register to join, just finish your cloths before August 26, 2016 and send them to Swap Central.  All the instructions as to size, content, mailing instructions, etc. are here.
2011 Dishcloth Swap

There are tons of free patterns for knit and crochet dishcloths on Ravelry.  Join us, won't you?

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Monday, June 27, 2016

Ancient Stuff

Bronze statue of Ronald Reagan

On Saturday, Joan and I drove out to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley to see the exhibit, "Vatican Splendors." A description, from the website: The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum is the exclusive West Coast destination for Vatican Splendors: A Journey Through Faith and Art.  This 10,000 square foot exhibition, comprising one of the largest Vatican collections ever to tour the United States, includes an extraordinary collection of historical and religious objects, some of which date to the first century, as well as works of art by Michelangelo, Bernini, Guercino and others.  
The Library was PACKED on a hot and windy Saturday. They do have excellent air-conditioning, I must say.
We went right into the Vatican exhibit before it got too crowded. It was very extensive and well-displayed. The show started on the first level and then we descended into an underground gallery for the remainder of the show. We came up for air after about an hour.
Lunchtime! We headed over to the Reagan Country Cafe for sandwiches and dined al fresco on the terrace. 

After lunch we made a quick tour through the Reagan exhibits to see his Oval Office and a few other highlights of his administration. Visiting Air Force One is always fun. This jet is huge. Though not as luxurious as Elvis's plane, but I could see that Air Force One was ready to take care of business! #tcb 
Air Force One
Check out the custom fabric that includes the Presidential Seal on Reagan's shirt!

The very best artifact I've seen at the Reagan Library, after a few visits, is the jelly bean mosaic portrait of Ronnie. This goes well with some of the beautiful mosaics seen in the Vatican exhibit!
Jelly bean mosaic portrait by Peter Rocha using 10,000 jelly beans!
Ancient Vatican Mosaic, NOT made with jelly beans
The Reagan Library is a very well-run and pleasant place to visit, but after 5 hours of being surrounded by republicans, I had to get outta that place!

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Friday, June 24, 2016

Clear the Brush!

Bel Air Fire, Stone Canyon Road, 1961. Photo by Jon Woods for the Valley Times.

It has been hot, hot, hot in Los Angeles for the past week. Driving to work this morning (from east to west), as soon as I crossed Sepulveda Blvd., there was a mist on my window. What? Light rain? It only lasted a few seconds, but at least this small bit of dampness will help with all the dry brush on our golden hills! 
Fire season has come early to Southern California. We are surrounded by fires in the San Gabriel Valley and nearby Santa Barbara. We've had a very dry year and there will be more fires to come, I'm sure.
One of the worst fires in my memory was the Bel Air fire of November, 1961. The Santa Ana winds were blowing, fanning the flames. So many homes were lost. My Aunt and Uncle owned a home in Bel Air and I remember my Uncle telling me that he was up on the roof with the home's Caretaker, both wielding garden houses to wet down the wood shingle roof and keep the sparks from igniting. It worked! Marvin and Louis save the house when so many structures all around them were damaged.
LAFD, near the Bel Air Fire, 1961. Photo by Alan Hyde for The Valley Times

Click HERE to see KTLA-TV news coverage of the Bel Air fire.
As a direct result of the Bel Air fire, the City of Los Angeles initiated a series of laws and fire safety policies which included the banning of wood shingle roofs in new construction. There were also new laws about hillside brush clearance. Thankfully, these laws stand today. 
Clear the brush around your home! Now!

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Thursday, June 23, 2016

Throw Back Thursday - Love-In, Griffith Park, Reenactment

Celebrating the '70s in the '90s, Griffith Park, photo by Larry Underhill

In the late 1960s and early 1970s Love-Ins were held near the Merry-go-Round at Griffith Park, Los Angeles. I was on the fringes of one of these events around 1971. It was a major scene. So many people were there, wearing all of their hippie finery, bright colors, long hair, fringed jackets and more. I was there with a small group of girlfriends just to see what was going on. We really weren't of the hippie persuasion, but who doesn't like the message of peace and love? We only stayed long enough to eat our picnic lunch and catch a few rays.
Over 20 years later, in 1992, someone organized a reenactment of the Love-Ins at Griffith Park. Larry and I donned some 70s clothes and ventured over there. We managed to see this cool VW van in the parking lot, painted in bright colors. We snapped a few photos, hung out for about an hour and left....kind of similar to my 1971 experience!
Griffith Park, May 1967. Photo by Kent Kamouse

The first Love-In at Griffith Park was on Easter Sunday, 1967. Per photographer, Henry Diltz, from the book "Laurel Canyon: The Inside Story of Rock and Roll's Legendary Neighborhood" by Michael Walker, "The love-ins were semi-spontaneous gatherings of the counter cultural tribes of Southern California in the vein of those in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park. A love-in was just a  Sunday afternoon when the word of mouth was, 'everyone's going to meet there around noon.' Easter Sunday was always a love in.  Some musicians would bring instruments, sometimes there would be organized music, but otherwise it was just hundreds of people meeting in the afternoon much as they would in the evening in a club. And they'd dress up really nice, wear tie-dye or beads, colorful clothes."
Griffith Park, 1967. Uncredited Photo
I found another description from a Love-in participant on The Hip Forums. This is by S.H., "There were a couple of hundred people all gathered on a hill as I recall, flat on top and perfect for looking out over the beautiful view of the park. There we all were in all our splendor, a kaleidoscope of color pulsating to the beat of the music. Smiling faces and eyes wide with wonder and love in our hearts, celebrating life in peaceful assembly. There were booths set up and beautiful people sitting around talking and singing, laughter filling the air like tiny tinkles of bells ringing in chime with the music."
The message of peace and love hasn't left me in all those years. The peace symbol has always had a powerful meaning. If only we could all adhere to this message. Sigh.
One of these days I'll make one of these peace symbol afghans, like my friend Diane crocheted a few years ago. She did such a great job in perfect colors!
Diane's "Peace, Love and Granny" Afghan

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Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Tee Time

Knit Cancun Boxy Lace Top

Summer!  It's hot in Los Angeles. Time to break out the tee-tops. What do you do when you're a knitter and/or crocheter in the summer? You can't stitch stuff with wool! Even a rayon/wool blend is too hot to wear in this scorching heat. The only solution is to make something in cotton yarn. Regular ol' kitchen cotton is too thick. We must find a thin, light-weight cotton yarn or tape. The only problem with thinner cotton is that it takes too long to knit! If we crochet with thin cotton, this is fine, but the fabric is usually too transparent and holey and one must wear a camisole or tank underneath the tee-top. Then you're wearing TWO tops! This defeats the purpose of a cool top!
Crochet Tribe Tee

So, do I want to wear two tops OR do I want to wear one top during this heatwave?  ONE TOP!! This means I'd either have to crochet a tight or linked stitch or knit a top. I recently signed up for a Tunisian crochet workshop in July. I've been practicing the basic Tunisian stitch.  I like it! It's fast, like crochet AND it creates a solid fabric like knitting. I might experiment with some cotton yarn in my stash. Here's a really cute Tunisian shell pattern by Robyn Chachula:
Tunisian Crochet Vanessa Shell

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Tuesday, June 21, 2016

2nd or 3rd Saturday in June?

Usually, World Wide Stitch in Public Day is the second Saturday in June. This year, for some reason that was not explained on the international site, the celebration was on the third Saturday in June, the 18th.
I met up with the Santa Monica Yarnies at The Coffee Bean on Ocean Park Boulevard. We usually meet every Saturday from 3-5 at this location. We are considering moving to Clover Park for the summer. We should have been at the park on the 18th. There were so many of us, that we barely fit at the big table! Great turnout!
Cathy, Leo, Carina, Marge, Sherry, Lisa, Meri
Barbara S., Karen, Sarah, Barbara F., Cathy
Cathy, Leo, Carina
Barbara, Eve, Karen
Marge, Sherry, Lisa, Meri
Sorry, I missed taking photos of Marian, Jamie, Lauren and ME! We missed a few old members, but look forward to more yarny adventures this summer!
Twins, Jason and Georgina weren't all that interested in yarny pursuits

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Monday, June 20, 2016

Expo-Fail. Slide Show-Success.

Union Station, DTLA

Friday, Larry and I drove to our Metro Station at La Cienega and Jefferson. There was plenty of parking at 5:30 pm on the first level. We hopped on the Expo Line toward downtown L.A. The train was packed with Dodger fans and people travelling home from work on a Friday. It was a 30 minute ride to USC and Exposition Park, then we rode under the Harbor Freeway and made the turn north on Flower Street. At 23rd Street, the train came to a stop. We were told that we'd be here for about 10 minutes. After about 20 minutes, we heard some garbled message over the PA system and people began to get off the train. We knew we were cooked when we saw the train conductor get off the train and walk away! What?
We were stranded at 23rd and Flower. Argh! We figured we were about 5 miles from our destination, Union Station. We walked a block over to Figueroa Street and summoned Uber. The car arrived in about 4 minutes and expertly took us through the back streets to Union Station. Thank goodness for Uber. We could have called a taxi, but that would have cost twice as much. The Metro has to work out some issues. This was really bad public relations to leave passengers stranded without explanation or alternate transportation to the 7th and Metro Station.
We were planning on walking over to Olvera Street for dinner, but since we had an 8pm start time for Charles Phoenix's "Los AngelesLand" slide show in the old ticket area at Union Station, we ducked into Traxx for dinner. Traxx, of course, was understaffed, but we managed to have a delicious Caesar salad and bowl of gumbo.

There were TONS of people in the ticket hall audience for Charles' show. He was wearing his rainbow suit as he tossed pieces of King's Hawaiian rainbow bread to the crowd, extolling the similarities between downtown L.A. and Disneyland! 
King's Hawaiian Rainbow Bread

Charles then proceeded to give us a hilarious lecture, illustrated by his colorful slides of DTLA. We had a wonderful time and saw lots of friends. Charles' show makes me want to really investigate the little shops in Chinatown!
Charles Phoenix autographs one of his many books

On our way back to the train platform we marveled at the beauty of Union Station (1939). The tiled floors, raised ceilings, arches, furnishings, everything is so elegant! Luckily, we didn't have any problem trains on our way home!

One of these days I'll take the Los Angeles Conservancy Tour of Union Station and learn all about it's beautiful architectural details!

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Friday, June 17, 2016

Ukulele Summer

Picasso's Dream Girl plays the ukulele!

My 4-week ukulele workshop with Cali Rose at Boulevard Music in Culver City ended last week. We're taking off a few weeks and then we will start up again on July 9th. Cali is also teaching beginning ukulele classes at Boulevard Music toward the end of July. These are great classes! They are small, personal and tailored to each group. Come on, join the class and have some fun this summer! 
I'm excited that a few of the Ukulele Ladies will be taking the workshop with me in July! We do have a good time when we uke together!
Natalie, Mary Jo and Brit
In the meantime, before our July workshop starts, I plan on practicing and gearing up for summertime fun. You never know when someone may want to have a little backyard hootenanny along with their barbecue!
1964, Valley Times Collection,
There are LOTS of ukulele events in Los Angeles and the surrounding areas this summer. I hope to see you at one or ALL of them!
I'll be up near Seattle at THIS festival in September!
In addition to Cali Rose's workshop at Boulevard Music in Culver City, there are a number of uke groups around L.A. too: Huntington Beach Groups; Southbay Strummers in Torrance; Pluckin' Strummers in Atwater.  Check your local music store for ukulele lessons and groups!  It's fun. Let's jam!

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Hiren's BootCD
hard drive recovery