Wednesday, December 07, 2016

...And It's On It's Merry Way!

THIS IS REPEAT-WORTHY! From last year's blog-post:
Click to embiggen

L.A. peeps!  Remember Mission Pak? I remember every word of their TV commercial jingle, "Say the magic word, say Mission Pak and it's on it's merry way. No gift so bright, so gay, so right. Give the Mission Pack magic way."  Call ADams 2-4184.
This ear-worm has been plaguing me for days! I was at the Original Farmers Market last week and saw these gift boxes of California fruits and nuts to send to your friends and family back East. I immediately thought about Mission Pak! In addition to the gift paks, there was also a subscription club for Mission Pak. You could have fresh fruit EVERY month of the year!  I wish I could find a video of the commercial.
Mission Pak boxes were made out of wood and featured scenes of sunny California!

Mission Pak was founded by George C. Page in 1917. YES! The very same George C. Page (1901-2000) whose name graces our fossil museum at the La Brea Tar Pits! Page was quite a renaissance man. He sold Mission Pak in 1946 and moved into car manufacturing, then real estate development. He financed the construction of many public buildings in Southern California. Read more about Page's life HERE

There are tons of companies that provide the service of shipping fresh fruits and nuts today. Harry and David come to mind, as well as Hickory Farms. I feel lucky to live in California and have fresh fruit all year 'round. We never received a Mission Pak when I was a kid, but the displays in store windows and that infectious jingle made the holidays so festive!
Ordered my Fruit Cake from Collin Street Bakery this year!

Oh, how I wish Mission Pak was still in business!

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Monday, December 05, 2016

The Pussy Hat Project

Thanks to my co-worker, Nicole, for modeling!

I was inspired by rhetoric on Facebook about The Pussy Hat Project. They have a powerful mission statement:
Click on picture to read

The knit pattern, created by Kat Coyle of The Little Knittery is easy to follow and knits up quickly. 
Kat Coyle, Little Knittery, Atwater, CA

I made two hats this weekend, one for my friend Eve in San Francisco and one for me! You can make a few too! They need more hats for the Women's March on Washington, January 21, 2017. Knit one, send it in! Knit another one and wear it!
Kat Coyle's Easy Pattern for the Pussy Hat
I modified the second hat I knit. Instead of knitting a 4-1/4" ribbed band that folds up, if necessary, I knit a 2-1/2" band. We all look good in this hat!
 Blurry, low-light. Sorry, but the hat still looks good on Mr. Larry!

Knit a hat today and send it to the Committee by January 14th If you're local, drop it off at The Little Knittery3195 Glendale Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90039 United States, (323) 663-3838

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Friday, December 02, 2016

Holiday Crafts 1964 vs 2016

Ladies from the YWCA, North Hollywood, crafting poodle covers. Valley Times, 1964, photo by Steve Young

I've been perusing holiday craft sites and patterns.There are LOTS of knit and crochet patterns on the innernets for your upcoming holiday bazaar! Not much has changed since 1964. Ladies are still making the same crafts today!
Patterns for those adorable poodle covers!

Clown dolls might be a popular gift item! Considering that clowns are now considered to be scary, I'd be careful who to give this gift to!
North Hollywood Woman's Club with clown dolls for sale. Valley Times, 1964. Photo by George Birch
You can make these festive clowns today!

Northridge Woman's Club Members Jolly Santa Crafting Get-Together, Valley Times, 1964. Photo by Gary Watson
Here is today's version of this cute little guy!

Have you started your holiday crafting? I'm busy making Granny Trees and Garlands of Stars

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Thursday, December 01, 2016


Decorations near the office kitchen

'Tis the Season for decorations! I mentioned here yesterday that the first night of Chanukah coincides with Christmas Eve this year. This calls for over-decorating, especially at the office.
We celebrate EVERYTHING at HBO!
The tree in our lobby is especially festive!

Virginia, at our Reception Desk
Many of the employees have started decorating their cubicles too. Denise's desk, in Legal, is particularly jolly!
Denise's Desk, HBO Legal Department
Some years I decorate for Chanukah with my star garland. Other years I decorate for Christmas with my Granny Trees.
Ellen's Star of David Chanukah Decorations

I love those little Granny Trees! I have a garland at home that I use during the holidays. I added red pots for my trees to indicate that they are living trees and will stay fresh through the season.

The Grandma Tree is a sweet pattern. I made six little trees last night in no time at all. The tutorial is HERE
Red Heart Acrylic Yarn, Size "G" Crochet Hook
I plan on whipping up more of these cute little trees to give to friends and decorate gifts! Happy Holidays!

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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Chanukah and Christmas Confusion!

Oh no! What are we going to do? Chanukah and Christmas are at the same time this year! Christmas Eve coincides with the first night of Chanukah. We are a multi-cultural family. I'm Jewish, Larry is a Generic Gentile. We celebrate both holidays. We light the menorah candles during Chanukah, eat latkes and think about playing dreidle. On Christmas we put up the aluminum tree, decorate the house and have some family and friends over for Christmas Day brunch.
Christmas Day, 2014 with Rhoda, Roz, Larry, Audrey and Jeff

Shall I decorate the house with red, green, blue and white? Shall we place only Chanukah decorations on our tree? What's for brunch? Well, I really don't have to worry about brunch. I serve the same meal every year, always a cultural Jewish feast: Lox, whitefish, bagels, cream cheese, rugalah, etc. After presents, we usually hum a few holiday tunes while I accompany the choir on my ukulele.
I was sad to hear that the Music Center will NOT be holding their Ukulele Christmas Sing-a-long this year. I always LOVED meeting up with other festive ukulele strummers to sing holiday songs. Maybe this event got too popular or the Music Center staff just couldn't schedule it this year. Sigh.
Hundreds of Ukulele Players Show up for the Music Center Holiday Uke-A-Long. Sigh.
I will pull out my little red notebook of holiday songs and brush up for a mini-home concert. However, I may just try to work up a Chanukah song for an online concert on Neil's blog! I participated in 2006. It's ten years later, so it might be time to participate again. 

I am totally obsessed with Ricky Hirsch's original song, "Spin Lil' Dreidle."  20 years ago, when Juke Logan and I were co-hosting KPCC's "Friday Night Blues Revue," I put the call out to all my musician friends to create a Chanukah blues song. We received quite a few great cassettes of original songs. Ricky's was my favorite. My brother, Ken has helped me figure out a few of the licks on this song and suggested some other jazzy chord inversions. Stay tuned!

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Monday, November 28, 2016

"Forget it, Jake, it's Chinatown"

Chung King Road, Chinatown, L.A.

I love our Chinatown, especially on a cold, rainy November night. It's dark and mysterious, very film noir. The preview art show we attended at the Gregorio Escalante Gallery on Chung King Road is called "Dark Realism / Dark Surrealism," a perfect show for a moody night. The show opens officially to the public on December 3rd. You should definitely go!
We started our evening with some warm wor wonton soup at Foo Chow Restaurant, around the corner from the Gallery. This is a basic, American-style, throwback place with decent food. It's claim to fame is an appearance in Jackie Chan's movie, "Rush Hour." I especially like the mural on the side of the building.
Who is this mysterious lady, painted on the wall of Foo Chow's, Tokyo Rose?
After dinner, we approached the Gallery and saw that only a few people were inside. Perfect! I like preview shows because you really have a chance to actually see the artwork without a hundred people crowding the place.
The show in the main gallery, curated by artist Chet Zar, was a group show. The most prominent piece was this very large painting by Christopher Ulrich called "The Last Supper" with some rather different and disturbing images than the original!
"The Last Supper" by Christopher Ulrich, oil on wood, 202" x 106"
The downstairs gallery was completely taken over by the sculptures of Myron Conan Dyal.  These are very surreal sculptures and installations, made from papier-mâché, wood and other objects, painted wild colors. The basement is dark, with a low ceiling. The sculptures were lit with smaller lights. Scary-good.
Sculptures by Myron Conan Dyal
We must remember to visit Chinatown more often on winter nights! 

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Friday, November 25, 2016

Thanksgiving 2016

Private Dining Area so we can be rowdy!

Once again, we convened at the Del Rey Yacht Club in Marina del Rey for our annual family Thanksgiving feast. We had 24 family members attending this year...three tables of eight...perfect for conversation! It seems that we sat by age group. Larry and I have graduated to the old folks table!
The main dining room was filled with old friends. It was a very festive room. The food was plentiful and tasty. The stuffing was the only item that I didn't like. It had a strange consistency. Argh! Stuffing is the BEST part of the Thanksgiving meal. I'm cooking a mini-T-Giving meal for us today with perfect stuffing!

It's always fun hanging out with my cousins. We have lots of laughs and always have things to discuss. Thankfully, we did not discuss politics. Most of us are on the same side, so I don't think there would have been any knock-down fights if we had talked about the recent presidential election.
Old Folks Table

Middle Agers

The highlight of the evening was a performance by our COUSIN STRUMMERS Ukulele Ensemble. We did not have a chance to rehearse and some of the cousins have only been playing uke for a short time, but I think we did a fairly good job! We played some old favorites that everyone could sing along with. Next year, we may have to work up a few more tunes and practice in advance! Videos are forthcoming!
Laurie, Amelie, Carolyn, Marilyn and Ellen.  Brooke joined us on a few tunes too!
There will be more photos, including a group shot, as the pictures from others roll in! Happy Thanksgiving sweet family of mine!
Jackie, Josh, Brooke, Megan

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Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Robo Village = Santa Claus and Robots!

WOW!  On our way home from Joshua Tree, we swung by Palm Springs yesterday. I'd heard about Kenny Irwin, Jr's Robo Village from a few art friends. I knew that the installation would not be open until Thanksgiving, but I thought we could catch a look from the street.
We were not disappointed! There were workers inside the compound putting the finishing touches on the installation before the opening.

I would love to see the installation at night when all of the lights are turned on! This folk art installation encompasses the area around a Palm Springs Movie Colony home at 1077 E Granvia Valmonte. It is massive. It is whimsical. It is a futuristic winter wonderland. Kenny Irwin, Jr. has been building this installation for almost 30 years.
Walking around the perimeter of the compound was magical. I couldn't quite believe that this lovely, peaceful and expensive neighborhood co-existed with the Irwin installation! There has been some controversy and permit issues recently. Hopefully, these will be resolved before the grand opening tonight. 

I certainly hope that the public will, once again, be able to enjoy this local invention of ingenuity and fantasy! Happy Thanksgiving, my friends!
To see a video on Robo Village and Kenny Irwin, Jr., click HERE

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