Thursday, August 31, 2017

It Wasn't Great, But It Was There

Food Court at Colorado Center, Santa Monica

It is the end days for our food court at Colorado Center, Santa Monica. Tomorrow is the last day. True, none of the three restaurants were fantastic, but it was quick, inexpensive food, right across the courtyard from my office. On rainy days you could walk to the court through our underground parking lot and avoid getting soaked.
We do have other places within walking distance of our office complex. There's a few places near the Rite-Aid on 26th and Santa Monica Blvd. The Water Garden, across the street offers a few choices. Also, the Universal Music Group of buildings down the block has some lunch spots. None of these places are a two-minute walk though. I like to maximize my lunch hour by getting a quick lunch and then reading my current novel during that time. 
Plans are to re-vamp the entire Palm Court area with additional fast food options, increased variety and quality of types of food served. There have been complaints that the interior dining area is dark and depressing.  I think it's nice to have a quiet place to eat lunch and read my book during lunchtime. I'm going to miss my corner table in the food court. Sigh. It's also a nice place to meet and greet your co-workers. Sometimes, having an impromptu lunch or meeting.
Yes, it is rather dreary
I do look forward to more varied food choices. I tended to patronize the salad bar more often than the other two spots. It was acceptable, fresh and reasonable. I wonder if the restaurants replacing our Mom 'n Pop food court choices will be national chains.
In the meantime, during construction, Colorado Center will have a rotating array of food trucks, parked on Colorado. Fooda, a restaurant pop-up food service, will be available. The Daily Grill will provided an Express Lunch Grab 'n Go Menu. Sushi will be sold in the park area every Wednesday afternoon.
Interior Courtyard, Colorado Center
Colorado Center has a lovely campus, maintained beautifully. We are lucky to work in this park-like environment. I guess I'll just have to plan lunches from now on and prepare ahead of time. #changesuckssometimes

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Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Joan's Birthday

Akasha Restaurant in the historic Hull Building, Culver City (1925)

We celebrated Joan's birthday a bit early this year at Akasha in Culver City for dinner. I've always liked this restaurant. I've had breakfast and lunch here, but never dinner. The selections were inspired and delicious.
After a cocktail, a shared appetizer and birthday presents we ordered dinner. 
Joan and Ellen. Photo by Mr. Larry

The birthday girl ordered Akasha's pan roasted chicken with summer vegetable fricassee, piquillos, cipollinis and grilled eggplant. Joan gave me a taste of her chicken and it was really divine. The next time I go to Akasha, I'm ordering this!
Pan roasted chicken with summer vegetables

I had the Bali Seafood Curry which consisted of scallops, shrimp, calamari, mussels, king salmon, baby spinach and cilantro on a bed of black forbidden rice. It was yummy.
Bali Seafood Curry

Larry ordered the Cheeseburger with gruyere cheese. 
Cheeseburger, cheeseburger, cheeseburger!

We had a delightful early evening, excellent service and topped off our meal with the most delicious KahlĂșa ice cream riddled with  chocolate bits!
Joan blows out the candle on her birthday ice-cream with the help of our accommodating waiter

I do love the warmth and ambiance of this spot.  The room is huge. I do remember eating here when it was an Italian restaurant.  One section of Akasha's is a little coffee house, bakery and cafe. The larger side has a full bar, many interior tables. There's also a nice patio for dining. 
The Historic Hull Building (1925)

The building that houses Akasha's Restaurant is called The Hull Building. It's Historic Site #2 according to the Culver City Historical Society. The exterior of the building hasn't changed a bit! Read about it's history HERE.
Happy Early Birthday, Joan!!

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Monday, August 28, 2017

Gothic Revival Monkeys and Dragons

Example of Asian Carved Chair, 1880-1915.

When I was a child we had these exotic pieces of furniture in our house. There was a table and two chairs. One chair was heavily carved and the other chair was only slightly carved. All were pitch black in color. There were dragons, monkeys, trees with leaves and grapes, all quite enchanting for a child to see and touch. We called this The Chinese Furniture.
Example of Japanese Carved Table

All of these pieces had come from Dora and Bernard Pellicoff's (my maternal great grandparents) hotel in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The Majestic Hotel was a Kosher hotel near the Boardwalk. 
Majestic Hotel, Atlantic City, New Jersey

My Grandmother, Dad and Uncles spent most of their summers there. Dad told us lots of stories about Atlantic City.
Hi, George and Mort Bloom at The Majestic Hotel, Atlantic City, 1936

Grandpa Lawrence would stay in Los Angeles and work, maybe visiting Atlantic City for a week or two toward the end of the summer, while Grandma Ethel and her three sons, Mort, George and Hi took the train across the country. They would stop in Chicago and visit the Bloom relatives for a bit and then continue to New Jersey to stay with the Pellicoffs. My Dad told us that he and his brothers had jobs at the hotel, but would spend all of their free time on the beach. Dad always worked in the hotel bakery. The bakery was busy in the very early morning, then Dad could spend the rest of the day at the beach.
Ethel, George, Dora, Lawrence, Bernard and Mort. 1920, Atlantic City

These pieces of furniture were in our garage for a long time. Eventually, Pop took them out and evaluated them. He was an excellent woodworker and carpenter and often built furniture from scratch. Mom and Dad decided to re-configure a few of these pieces, after all, they were CONVERSATION pieces! Dad cut down the square table and made a Parson's table, much narrower, to be used as a sideboard in our dining room. He took the legs from the back of this table and the legs from the less ornate chair and made a bench for the living room. The intricately carved monkey-dragon chair remained intact. It was a showpiece!  Of course, Mom didn't want all that heavy black furniture in our mid-century home, so Dad painted all of the pieces Antique White! They looked great with our sky-blue interiors, but probably lessened the value of the pieces considerably. Yes, I watch the "Antiques Road Show" too.
Our Asian Carved Chair. Photos by Ken Bloom
A conversation piece only. This chair is REALLY uncomfortable!

I have the bench, my brother has the showpiece chair and my Mom still has the sideboard. As I was researching this furniture, I could only find a few facts about it. This type of furniture isn't Chinese at all! It's Japanese, probably from the late Meiji Period, 1880-1915. It is in the Japanese Art Nouveau style, made for the export market.
Gothic Revival style was very popular in the U.S. during the turn of the last century. Most of this furniture was over-sized and made of mahogany. I can just picture these pieces in the lobby of a grand hotel during the 1920's. Very impressive. By the late 1920s, art deco was the fashionable style. People wanted simplicity and straight lines, not fancy carvings and dark wood. Also, who would want to DUST this type of furniture? Oy!
I do remember the less ornate chair back hanging in our garage for decades. I wonder if Larry has it in our garage? Hey Larry! Look for it! It's black, only slightly carved, in fact, it looks like the BACK of the monkey chair...kinda' like this:
Maybe YOU could create a conversation piece for our house out of the lost chair back!?!

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Thursday, August 24, 2017

Crocheted Afghans and Blankets

I have made my share of afghans. In fact, I didn't realize just how many I've made in the past few years until I looked through my Ravelry projects page! This is not all of the blankets I've made, but here are a few favorites:
Natalie's Victorian Lace Afghan
Baby Edith's Half-Granny Blanket
Monet Grannies
Babette GrannyGhan
Carolina's "Call the Midwife" Baby Blanket
Mike's and Ellie's Wedding Afghan
Amie's Roses
Mom's WillowGhan
Ellen's #WelcomeBlanket

Even after crocheting ALL of the afghans above, I still want to make more! I often think about WHY I like to crochet and knit so much. I came up with these answers:
1.  My projects have a beginning and an ending (usually). There is a sense of accomplishment when I finish a project. It might take weeks, months, even years, but once I'm done I can admire my work and feel good about myself.
2.  Crocheting is meditative. There is a rhythm to crochet. The yarn slips through my fingers and I can actually see progress. Sometimes, if I'm making something for a particular person, I think about that person with every stitch.
3.  Creating something from my own mind. Yes, I follow patterns, but more often than not I'll start with a pattern and improvise the rest of a piece. Everything fires my creativity.
4.  Sense of Style. I may not be able to find that exact color of raspberry for a new cardigan. I can make it myself! What if I want a ruffled scarf in a crazy combination of colors? I can make it myself and no one else on earth will have it.
5.  Making things for others. Whether or not I'm crocheting a gift item for a friend or family member OR crocheting an item to donate for charity, I put a bit of myself into every item. This, to me, is satisfying.
6.  Finally, an afghan has no shaping! It's easy to make. There is no decreasing, increasing unless it's part of a pattern stitch. This adds to the meditative part of crocheting. I tend to choose simple patterns where colors are more important than the actual stitching.
Brit's NordiGhan

Since I've been involved with the Welcome Blanket Project (#welcomeblanket), I've come across other's afghan designs that have captivated me. I want to make a few of these:
"Faded Love" Afghan. I've actually started this afghan. Must continue!
"Modern Rose Afghan." I love how this looks like an old chenille bedspread!
Saw this on Pinterest. Triangles!

The other day my friend, Gale wrote a fascinating guest blog on the Mason-Dixon site. It was all about visiting her neighborhood of New Haven, Connecticut. She posted a beautiful Josef Albers painting that I want to translate into an afghan pattern! Thanks for the inspiration, Gale!
Painting by Josef Albers. Photo by Gale Zucker. Let's turn this into an afghan!

There are hundreds and hundreds of more patterns that I want to crochet. One day, I will get to all of them!

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Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Yarny Field Trip

The El Segundo Slipt Stitchers hit the road on Saturday. We journeyed up to Van Nuys to visit the Trendsetter Yarns Warehouse and office. Barry Klein is the owner of the company, plus he's an excellent knit designer.
Barry Klein

We started out with our usual business meeting, although it was cut WAY short. Who could concentrate sitting in a warehouse full of delicious yarn? Barry rolled out a rack of knit samples and proceeded to explain the designs and yarn used for each. 
Barry is a very clever guy! He told us the reasons behind some shapes of garments and also why certain yarns would work better for these pieces. Members of our Guild popped up to model the designs.
After Barry's talk we were let loose in the warehouse for SHOPPING. There were plenty of Trendsetter employees available to help us. Since Trendsetter is a wholesale business, they do not sell directly to the public. One of our members owns Alamitos Bay Yarn Company, so she ran all of the sales through her system. I managed to purchase 880 yards of Trendsetter's Yarn called "Transitions, Smoothies." It's a beautiful blend of colors...from hot pinks to purples to aquas. Lenora is wearing a sweater/poncho in this colorway, below.
Lenora. Yarn: Trendsetter Transitions "Smoothies"

To see ALL of the photos from our visit to Trendsetter, click on this LINK.
Not sure what I'll make yet...I'm considering pattterns

After our warehouse extravaganza I zoomed over to Galpin Motors, a few minutes away. I'd heard about The Horseless Carriage Coffee Shop at this car dealership and wanted to give it a try. 
Galpin's management is very smart. While you're waiting for your car to be serviced or while contemplating a sale, why not grab a burger? Brilliant. The coffee shop is clean, well run and the food was good! It has been here since 1966! 
There are some original design features from the 1960s and a few more from the 1980s

Corned Beef Hash and Poached Eggs

If I'm in the area, I'll definitely visit again.

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Hiren's BootCD
hard drive recovery