Year: 2021

RAIN

It’s been raining for DAYS, walks cancelled, Rome and Lilly a little under the weather, house chores and BritBox on the agenda. This is a telephoto from my back door, the rain chain is on one of the rented cottages.

As Always

As always, can’t make ’em stop, BIRTHDAYS. And Carl’s birthday has been a party for decades. Usually there are 35-40 people shoulder to shoulder but this year they kept it down to a dozen guests. They were going to have the outside available but it was raining, yes, raining, in LA?! I really enjoy this party, getting to visit with people I see rarely but like a lot. Thanks Carl and Lynn! (I got the inset from Carl’s facebook.)

David, Jim, Marijka, Jill, Carl, Bob, Stewart, Dan, Lynn, Lydia, and Shelly is beside me.

HoHoHO

Rome and Lilly in our annual Let’s Take A Picture!

When I arrived on Christmas Eve Lilly and Liz were busy making donuts for a tasty evening treat. We played a few games and then the kids made preparations for Santa – carrots, cookies, and milk and then we all went to sleep so Santa could come to town.

Ooops I forgot to check for eyes…
Good morning! First SANTA with a sleigh full of gifts for US, then Breakfast: OJ fresh from the tree, waffles, vegan eggs and sausage, and fruit salad. So good. And there’s room in the kitchen for everyone to participate.
Darryl and Angela are of course adorable but it’s Oliver who caught my eye. I mean really.
Angela’s pictures of Rome and Lilly, and Oliver mining for treats.

Kalle Anka och hans vänner

Rick’s photo.

From atlasobscura.com:

Every year since 1959, at 3 p.m. on Christmas Eve, the 1958 special Kalle Anka och hans vänner önskar God Jul (Donald Duck and His Friends Wish You a Merry Christmas, in English) is screened on Sweden’s main public television channel, TV1. Known in English as From All of Us to All of You, this hour of Disney mayhem is hosted by Jiminy Cricket, who leads viewers through about a dozen “Christmas cards” that open to reveal shorts, film clips and other cartoons dating from the 1930s through the 1950s (most having nothing to do with Christmas). For decades Sweden only had two channels, and this was the only time of year when people could watch Disney animation or American cartoons on television.

““The show’s cultural significance cannot be understated,” writes Slate’s Jeremy Stahl, who watches the show with his wife’s Swedish family. “You do not tape or DVR Kalle Anka for later viewing. You do not eat or prepare dinner while watching Kalle Anka.” The viewers’ silence is only broken for the recitation of favorite lines or eruptions of laughter.

“And so the soft, angry glow of a barely intelligible duck has assumed the role of the fire around which people have long gathered to hear, once again, stories that they’ve heard a hundred times before. “It’s not really that the films are so good,” Charlotte Hagstrom, a professor of ethnology at Lund University, told NPR. “It’s more like it’s a ritual to sit down with your family every year at the same time watching the same films.”

Let me restate that except for the contractual obligation to have one slot set aside for a new Disney release, they watch the Exact Same Show of old Disney cartoons put together in 1958. According to several sources 40-50% of Swedes are watching every year, as has Lill every year of her life. As did we!

Rick, Jim, Ingalill, Tony, Daniel, Eivor

We ate crackers and roasted whole garlic and a garlic spread while we watched Donald et al and enjoyed champagne. Our dinner menu included four kinds of pickled herring with perfectly cold and extremely delicious aquavit. We also had gravlox and sardines. We had boiled potatoes and three kinds of crackers and bread. There was wine, a plate of Swedish sausage, cucumber, and tomato, and the cheese I remember from Sweden. Also(!) we had prime rib and two kinds of scalloped potatoes, one with anchovies mixed in. There were Swedish meatballs and mini-sausages and not to forget the hard-boiled eggs with caviar. OMG YUM.

Something Different

I’ve been so many years with my glasses and I think they’ve held up well but it’s time for a new prescription and Something Different. And these are different indeed. I haven’t pulled the trigger yet but I just spent an hour online looking at 10s of 100s of frames which has made these frames feel exciting.

Different light sources, checking the color from window light and the overhead.

Torrance Candy Cane Lane

Thanks to Angela for driving everyone, I got to click click out the window at the extravagant displays in the Sleepy Hollow area of Torrance where everyone joins in.

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A Vacation in 24 Hours

Here’s the full itinerary of A Vacation in 24 Hours and pictures follow:

Drive down to Alex and Carol’s;
do some car shifting and then have a huge and delicious lunch;
pick up Nepenthe for a sail from A&C’s marina in downtown Long Beach to Tim and Kevin’s marina in Naples;
Happy Hour aboard Nepenthe;
go to T&K’s to enjoy a feast and the Christmas Boat Parade;
sweet dreams snuggled in aboard Nepenthe;
back to A&C’s Yacht Club for brunch;
a visit to MOLAA (the Museum of Latin American Art);
Home Sweet Home for a two hour nap!

The one hour sail (although we motored due to lack of wind) from around the Queen Mary to the Naples marina.
I was expecting many more container ships but they seem to be clearing out much more quickly than in prior months.
This tour boat was moored for weeks closer to shore A&C said before the latest storm took it out and in subsequent days it somehow ‘got moved’ so we went for a little detour looking for it.
The Naples marina where we tied up at a guest spot at the end of one of the docks. Check out the snow on the mountains.
Over at Tim and Kevin’s, from one of their balconies looking toward their boat and into the channel.
Tim and Kevin have been together for 17+ years but just got married in September 2020. This wedding photo of them is priceless, flat out of a movie, and the inset is their cake topper.
Joy to the World!
The stair well and one of the many windows featuring etched glass.
Getting on to dark with a gorgeous moon rise.

Here come a few pictures of the boat parade.

Debbie, Alex, Merlyn, Carol, Mo, Hilda, Etched Glass
Kevin in the blue jacket.
Kevin and Hilda. For some reason Tim hasn’t made it into these pictures?!
Back to A&C’s marina for brunch at the yacht club.

After brunch we drove over to the Museum of Latin American Art to check out a big Judy Baca exhibition.

Abuelita!

Judy Baca’s main claim to fame is The Great Wall of Los Angeles. It’s a mile-long mural located along the west wall of the Tujunga Wash flood control channel near Coldwater Canyon Blvd. in the San Fernando Valley. For this exhibit they scanned the whole wall and you could sit in the center of the room and watch it all slide by. It was very impressive!

Seussical the Musical

Lilly’s theater group had been preparing Seussical the Musical for 2020 but had to covid-cancel. The group’s director decided to get the kids together for a week of intense practice and they put on a shortened version of the play. It was excellent!

Some Rando and Magaly’s Tamales

I want to remember Magaly’s. It’s out in the town of San Fernando and YUM on the tamales. There were 14 people back there that I could count, making tamales. I got four different kinds and they were all SO delicious. In particular the masa, although flavorful, was thin letting the delicious filling be the meal. You can get them ready to eat or chilled for you to steam later.

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Doing a little Bloody Mary sampling around town and enjoying the differences. So far, Best Bloody Mary, not this one, the one at California Pizza Kitchen on Wilshire and 2nd. True.

Out shopping I thought, hmm, let me see what $500 shoes are like (these are the samples). There were $1000 shoes in another store but at that point I hadn’t got around to the idea of trying them on.

Might As Well

In my effort to arrive at New Year’s Eve with a mostly empty to-do list, today I got this year’s senor flu shot and the new shingles shot too (you need two so I already have a chore for 2022). My arm’s a little sore as ‘they’ said it would be and I did just wake up from a nice afternoon nap.

But TICK, off the list.

I do have a number of big jobs that are too big to finish in the coming few weeks. What I need to do is break each job into smaller parts. It’s what I tell everyone else to do…

Conference of the Birds

Unfortunately Luna couldn’t make it this day, but here are the rest of us who are reading Attar’s Conference of the Birds most Monday mornings. What kind, thoughtful, intelligent women who put up with me and all my blah blah blah!

Hilda, me, Victoria, Judy, Susan

Will We Have Stores

I don’t know. I was perfectly happy during the shut down for all goods to simply arrive at my front door. Of late I’m trying to wean myself from amazon.com and it’s not going so well.

Sharon and I went to stores today at The Grove and in Beverly Hills. Yesterday I went to stores in Santa Monica. The result of all this traipsing around was that I bought nothing. The stores were half-empty of product and of customers and whenever I asked about something in particular the store employee said I could probably find it online.

I bought a gift recently from a not-amazon online vendor and it was late arriving, terrible quality, and I’m having a heck of a time getting a replacement or getting it returned. Now what.

60th Wedding Anniversary

Windy and I went with Lona to Hartley’s resting place on this the occasion of Lona and Hartley’s 60th Wedding anniversary.

In 1961 L&H took the train from LA to Pocatello because you could get married in Idaho without your parents’ permission. Their only guest was the taxi driver who was waiting in the back of the church. The minister disturbed his wife and daughter playing cards in the social hall to sign as witnesses.

And they lived happily ever after.

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This is the church where they were married and the minister who performed the ceremony. I visited Pocatello in 2012 and hunted up this place.

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From the patio of the Old North Church at Forest Lawn, Lona is standing beside the marker.

Some Walks

Aloe arborescens, also called Torch Aloe and Candle Aloe.

The Palisades Park walk is so good, long enough, good views, no stops, and has the best possible weather as it lies on the cliffs above the sea.

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Agave attenuata, also called Foxtail, Lion’s tail, or Swan’s Neck.

This Party

Ann, me, Ljubica, Marija, Marsha, Alicia, Maxine, Becky

Alicia has been hosting this party since 2004. Oh how young we were.

Ljubica, Becky, Marija, Maxine, Lourdes, Alicia, me, Maryanne, Marsha, Ruth.

Maryanne and Ruth passed away in the intervening years, Lourdes moved to Arizona, and Ann wasn’t there for this picture.

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What I wrote in 2005 when we were at Marija’s: During the Holiday Season the Monday Night Ladies, like some sort of freakish cult, take to dressing alike in our various gifts. Some years we wear tiaras, some years we wear glittery necklaces…

Lilly Is In Matilda

The main stage at the Hermosa Beach Community Theater.

Granny and the Great Aunts exclaiming YAY LILLY! She was so wonderful in her part and imagine this – the group is performing 7 times in 3 days, Fri night, Sat x3, and Sun x3. Lilly has a part in every show, one of only two or three who are performing in all 7 shows. I’m tired thinking about it!

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We had a quick and tasty to-go Thai dinner (and three kinds of leftover desserts) at Lona’s place before we headed out to the show. We are looking forward to the next performance already!

Amazing Sandy’s Latest Work

Singing…

Raise your feet high
Say goodbye to scuffing and sliding.

Moving slowly and carefully
Past local markets with bins of produce
The colors and shapes of some I’ve never seen,

Specialty stores displaying stacks of
Mops and handmade brooms,

Rolls of fabric from heavy brocades
To light and soft like silks and cotton batiste,

Pots and pans of aluminum, iron and steel,
And Everything imaginable for the kitchen,

Hand carved combs and shoe horns,
Handles and knobs,
Jewel boxes in drawers by the register.

One of our favorites, the House of Ceramics!

A converted warehouse, with
Floor to ceiling shelves.
This is THE place for ceramics,
Elegant plates and bowls, trays and vases
Dazzle with special glazes.

A private collection of glass bottles and jars
Oxidized with time in
Iridescent hues, fill the
Etageres by the warehouse window.

Humming …as we leave House of Ceramics

What a wonderful day,
Aren’t we glad we stopped?

Watch out! Don’t Trip!
One slip and it could be a hip!

Look out for loose pebbles that might make you stumble,
Perilous pits and bits of uneven pavement
so easy to miss….

We love to shop but not til we drop.
Hold your feet high, your chest and your head.
If your tired of looking, just say so
We can go home instead…

Sandy Chaves, 2021, painting and poem

LACMA And The Obama Portraits

I saw these balls from a distance and they made me look. The piece is called Convergence, 2005-7 by Sunagawa Haruhiko.

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Here until January 2, 2022, from the LACMA website: “Featuring the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery’s official portraits of President Barack Obama by Kehinde Wiley and Mrs. Michelle Obama by Amy Sherald, The Obama Portraits Tour enhances conversations surrounding the power of portraiture and its potential to engage communities.”

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Here until April 17, 2022, from the LACMA website: “Black American Portraits features 200 years of Black American subjects, sitters, and spaces, centering Black love, abundance, family, community, and exuberance. This selection of approximately 150 works draws primarily from LACMA’s permanent collection and chronicles the ways in which Black Americans have used portraiture to envision themselves in their own eyes.”

The scope and power of the show is quite remarkable. The curator chose to hang the pictures very close and very tight in a relatively small space so that one is quite surrounded by them on all sides. The show will be up through mid-April so there’s time to see them more than once.

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Also in the same building, the Weiwei Circle of Animals / Zodiac Heads is back. They used to be delightfully positioned outside LACMA (see the inset) but now they’re moved into the Resnick Pavilion.

The Friday After Thanksgiving

That’s Marley and Bagel.

It’s the Friday after Thanksgiving and I get to feast on Celina’s leftovers! Gideon and Sam came too, always a pleasure.

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Soup, Salad, Turkey, Dressing, Gravy, Cranberry Sauce, Sweet Potatoes, Brussels Sprouts, Green Beans,
Pumpkin Tarts, Pecan Tarts, Apple Pie.
Steve and Celina. Thank you, for Friday and for Saturday too!

Thanksgiving

With THANKS! A first Thanksgiving in Darryl and Angela’s new home.

Darryl made the spinach, mashed potatoes and gravy, and fried tofu. Angela made beet and arugula salad, Brussels sprouts, and apple crisp. I made the stuffed squash, roasted carrots and parsnips, and orange and fennel salad. Lilly made the pumpkin pie. Rome made an artichoke hummus and put together a bountiful appetizer display, true, even without a picture.

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Gary, me, Rome, Darryl, Angela, Liz, Lilly

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And oh Oliver, what a Cutie. (You’re plenty cute too Gary!)

Ken The Car Show And

HAPPY HOUR at the Georgian Hotel, sitting on the veranda, enjoying the sunset. Mighty nice!

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I’ll comment about parking at the LA Convention Center. OMG. Make a plan before you go to park a little distance away and walk. Yikes those lines to get into the big lots.

Paradise Blue

Ken and Susie weren’t going to use their tickets to the Geffen Playhouse in Westwood to see Paradise Blue and offered them to me. Oh yes, thank you very much! Marsha came along and we had dinner at Violet, a very nice place two blocks from the theater.

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There were a few empty seats and Lucky Dog Me I had a straight shot view >this< close to the stage.

From the website: “It’s 1949 in Detroit…And trumpet-playing club owner Blue has a tough decision to make. Should he sell his jazz joint as gentrification is banging on the door? The house band is desperate to stay, Blue’s demons are tempting him to leave, and the arrival of a seductive stranger turns everything upside down.”

A Quick Few Hours

At The Getty Center! Here’s one of the untold number of iconic images.

I went with Nancy specifically to see a very interesting Holbein show and to have a look at a new acquisition, Artemisia Gentileschi’s Lucretia (ca. 1627), the Lucretia story reminding me very much of the Titians I saw in Boston, women subjected to sexual violence.

We ate lunch at the posh restaurant…
…admired the always captivating shapes…
…and of course Hurray for Hip Girl and Frog Boy on a warm hazy day in November!

What’s Happening Here

Coffee is happening. They call it “handcrafted Syphone coffee”. They said they’ve been in this location since 2006 meaning I’ve lived here as long as they’ve been open, less than a mile from my house, and I’ve never heard of them or taken notice of the shop, maybe not surprisingly since this is the google street view of Funnel Mill.

They’re remodeling after covid with some private work spaces to rent.

Thank you Muriel for finding this place and buying me a coffee!

Hamilton You Guys

Hilda couldn’t go so I Got Her Ticket. Thank you thank you Hilda…

And Merlyn!

We met for dinner first at De$phine, the restaurant in the W Hollywood hotel, across the street from the theater.
From the left: Betsy, Ed, me, Kevin, Tim, Alex, Carol. Merlyn took the picture.
The lobby of the awesome Pantages Theater. (internet)
And inside the the theater. (internet)
From our seats looking forward…
…and some details looking up.
They checked vaccination cards and ids going in and continually monitored Masks Up.
And it was Hamilton! What a wonderful night.

The Fence

23 months in now and going strong.

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9 months in. I was thinking this would be it.
This one little vine is how it all started. ONE little vine.

If You Like Shapes

Wow, right. Carl invited me to the Chargers game on Sunday and I got to visit the SoFi Stadium for the first time. It had been under construction for years, in Inglewood on the site of the old Hollywood Park racetrack, just down the road from the Forum. It officially opened September 2020 but didn’t host guests until May 2021.

You can read about its construction as there’s much to say, most of it full of praise for the innovative design, environmental awareness, and technical sophistication. It’s home to the Rams and the Chargers, many annual events, and set to host the opening and closing ceremonies and several sports during the 2028 Olympics.

These are internet pictures of the outside since I couldn’t get far enough back, and the big shape is worth knowing.

From the pictures above you can get the idea and I’ll point out some details below.

Heading in.
A pano from the deck where Carl has his tickets. It’s good because it’s here that the openings in the roof bring in the fresh air for circulation, at both small ends of the oval. Notice the screen hanging from the ceiling. It’s the largest display in any stadium now. And I liked it.
Here’s a bit of one of the openings, for scale. They call the roof a canopy because it is independently supported. It feels like those canvas sails people are using now to shade their yards,
And here is where the canopy comes to ground. Notice the two types of covering, the one with holes for some dappled shade and the rest, the translucent material, covers the stadium itself. The light was lovely and bright but not such that I ever felt I needed to get out the sun screen, so good job SoFi.
The outside swoop…
…and the inside cover.
You know this scene…
…the one where the team pours out of the tunnel. By this time the noise level was deafening. I really really hope I remember to pop some ear plugs in my pocket should I go again.
Then I had to chuckle. What’s this? The line up at the gents! Ladies, go right in! How often does that happen?!
From our seats, with little head movement I could glance down at the field and up to the screen so easily I could actually follow the game and for every replay or contested call we got closeups and multiple angles. The Chargers lost but not by much and it felt like there was a chance, right up to the 2 minute mark.
When the Chargers failed to make a first down at 2 minutes we hit it for the traditional LA dash to the car. We went a couple hours early so Carl could get his special spot by the exit and we got out so easily, we were both impressed.

Thanks Carl, it was great!

Let’s Do Something

First we were going to go to the new Academy Museum but sorry, no tickets available, then we were going to walk in the hills but sorry, too hot, finally we decided The Movies, let’s go to the movies!

At Ann’s

Ann’s table centerpiece, right from the garden. All in season and fresh off the trees we get persimmons, figs, lemons and limes and grapefruits, and now we’ve got papayas coming along. Ahhh.

Lilly Meets The Avengers

For Lilly’s birthday outing we went to California Adventure to meet The Avengers. Lilly knows every Avenger movie, every character, every story line By Heart!

More pictures coming when I get Lilly’s.

Ant Man and The Wasp
Spiderman
The super-best ride, Web Slingers: A Spider-Man Adventure requires 3-D glasses and is a real kick, and yes, worth the 75 minute wait.
On our way out we passed these little cuties heading in, I’m sure Disneyland is their destination where Disney Princesses make themselves known. Photoshop cut out the figures in One Click. Amazing.
“PB&J Flavor Lab: assemble your own experiment – smooth Peanut Butter, Strawberry Jelly and Pym Particle Bread, served with a Cuties® Mandarin, Dannon® Yogurt and choice of Small Lowfat Milk or Small DASANI® Water.” And a very tasty pretzel as big as my head. LK.
Lilly’s got those selfies Down!
Mine and her’s. So Fun!

Lilly’s picture of the gate from which Dr Strange emerged to put on a great show. (This is not our Dr Strange…he’s the internet’s Dr Strange.)

0% Visibility 100% Fun

From Merlyn and Hilda’s balcony. The inset below shows what it usually looks like from their 29th floor balcony. I was wanting to get a picture of the 100s of ships waiting outside the harbor but today it was not to be.

Merlyn-Hilda-Alex-Carol, we all got together for an old-fashioned “slide show of my vacation”, and it went like this: appetizers, me, dinner, Carol, dessert, Merlyn. Oh yes it fun!

Merlyn cooked us this amazing feast. On the left, before we sat down. On the right, five people totally stuffed and leftovers for ten more meals. You go Merlyn!

Lona’s Birthday Gift Cards

We went to a big nice Barnes and Nobel to spend Lona’s birthday gift cards to the kids, and it was super-fun to stroll around through a book store. Like the waaay before times.

Hail Hail

Hail Hail the Gang’s All Here.

Ljubicia, Marija, Maxine, Becky, Alicia, Marsha, me, Ann

BOO

Rome was to be The Mad Hatter but sadly they were feeling unwell. I’m The Cheshire Bat (get it get it), then comes The White Rabbit, The Queen of Hearts, and our very own Alice in Wonderland. And The Caterpillar of course joins the party.

On Sharon’s Patio

We enjoyed a lovely late-afternoon happy hour. Sharon came home from a weekend away to find her house decorated for Halloween. The team that does her Christmas lights thought she might enjoy this surprise. And she was surprised!

Better I Hope Than the Second

Although the internet seems to think the after-effects will be similar to the second shot. Fingers crossed for an easier time since I was kinda achy and I slept 12 hours for two nights after the second shot.

Happy Birthday Susie

We had a plan, we did nothing on the original plan but instead did a quick u-turn into a new and extremely wonderful plan.

As we were rolling down PCH it came to light that Susie had never visited the Adamson House.. okok, let’s see if they’re open! And not only were they open, there were guides just waiting to take the two of us on the best tour I’ve ever had there, and I have been there a time or ten.

Our guide did a good job at the museum talking about the history of the population and development of the area but best of all she took us into every single room of the house and she was full of delightful stories.

But first we enjoyed the views into the Malibu Lagoon Bird Sanctuary.

Ducks, Pelicans, Seagulls, Cormorants
Pelicans being our favorite.

Here’s Susie and our wonderful guide Mariana.

We had lunch at Taverna Tony which was perfect including totally delightful outdoor dining. And I got to have flaming cheese again!

The absolute highlight of the Adamson House is the breathtaking glory of the tiles all made ‘down the road’ at the long-gone Malibu Pottery. We couldn’t take pictures inside so below find Internet Pictures of the tiles:

At Lona’s Apartment

Who can resist this awesome view. Crazy though, I don’t think I’ve ever seen it without an entertaining selection of boats making their way in or out of the marina.

Terry After So Long

It was Arlene’s idea, it was Terry’s birthday, Terry brought two yummy bottles of wine, Burt and Charlene were able to come. The stars aligned. We haven’t all been together for 2-3-4 years, so long, and what a lovely time we all had catching up.

Terry, Arlene, me, Charlene, Burt (“in our 70s”)

YAY!

Let’s Have Dinner

We’ve had dinner together a few times in recent weeks and it’s always So Delicious and a Ton of FUN with such sweet and kind friends. Thank you ladies! (me, Jo Ann, Muriel) We all want a smooth face but, ok, I did overdo it…

SQUACK

DAR&L’s street in Redondo Beach is now home to hundreds of screaming parrots. So so many. I’d see 20 fly into a tree and be able to find only one. They buzz so fast from tree to tree it’s quite the sight.

Here’s what HistoryLosAngeles has to say: “…like Redondo Beach, where Majestic Magnolias line some of the streets. When their avocado-sized seed pods are ripe with big red berries, the parrots will hit tree after tree in the evenings, kind of like feathered barhoppers. The parrots scream loudly and obnoxiously, they pitch the used seed pods at cars. . . yeah…”

I guess they’ll move on once the seed pods are gone. This is kind of cool, the California Parrot Project.

This is DAR&L’s street from the google walking man, lined, as they say, with Majestic Magnolias:

Oh Maxine

Every holiday is an extravaganza at Maxine’s house, and she especially loves Halloween!

A Slumber Party

Rome and Lilly and I had a wonderful 24 hours including making those spell jars from Rome’s book (I’ll get the title), making food from recipes in the book, but First…

The Ferris Wheel!

And The Arcade!

Rome’s Pictures below.

And breakfast at the waffle place!

These are Rome’s pictures too!

Merlyn Stopped By

Merlyn stopped by this morning for a coffee and a little visit, bringing those fall gourds for a decoration gift, and I shared with him some of Olivia’s peppers and Becky’s persimmons. Sharing is caring!

I also want to comment on my corner markets, catty-corner from each other, my Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s have managed 100% mask compliance and people seem to easily keep their distance in line. Like it was always this way.

The Colors of Blue

The colors of blue and Nancy at LA Louver.

Nancy Reddin Kienholz / Liberty Valley, April 3, 2007. Like those tilting postcards, you can walk from side to side and get different images.

Yes, That Kienholtz: “She was most famous for her collaborations with her husband and creative partner Edward Kienholz, from their meeting in 1972 until his sudden death in 1994.”

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From the LA Louver website.

A Wednesday Changing to Tuesday

Next week, due to Activities, we’re changing Wednesday to Tuesday for the next school semester.

Above, that’s Lilly making cupcakes and below, that’s Rome and their friends enjoying an after school (very very) complicated game where the goal is to cooperate to defeat the game itself. They won.

Something’s happening at the dining room table…

She’s Smiling But

(internet stock image)

She’s smiling but not for me… It’s CONSTANT all right. Monday I had a huge lunch with the ladies, took home some leftovers and finished them off. Tuesday I sat around most of the evening eating delicious food with Muriel and Jo Ann. Eating with friends, it’s So Fun.

Santa Barbara For Lunch

Michi is in town from her new home in Mexico and I went up to join her and Nancy for lunch. It was So Nice!

Michi is staying with a friend and we went by for tea after lunch. Woweeee, right, check out those hearts. They are a years-long collection from an annual charity auction. Impressive!

A Catch-up to Now

From the Rose Garden in Palisades Park

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Angela sent me these pictures while I was away. First, Rome’s SIXTEENTH birthday with friends:

Lilly’s fete in the backyard with friends for her TWELFTH birthday.

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I went over to Marsha’s to admire her new floor (FAB) and was again taken with her gaga collection of adornments.

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Windy and Jeff are off on a three week sojourn through Pennsylvania and North Carolina during Car Show season where Jeff enters cars in competitions, admires cars, and often judges cars for the important car shows that accredit Corvette restorations.
Sharon and I did our first in a month Palisades Park walk. Always a joy. But where are the people? We thought maybe the beach was closed because of the oil spill but I didn’t see any evidence of that in the news.

A Last Day in New England

I tried to get some feeling for Les and Elizabeth’s neighborhood but half a block in it started pouring. Here are a couple houses, next door and across the street.

Another walk in the woods in yet another wonderful park of Massachusetts Conservation Land.
Last Meal = Lobster Roll!
Then L&E took me to the Alewife station where I took a train to a bus to the airport. It was so civilized.

JFK Presidential Library and Museum

JFK Presidential Library and Museum, designed by I.M. Pei and dedicated in 1979.

The Kennedy-Nixon debates and the election returns, television featuring prominently in the displays. All the TVs were playing footage of the events and a few chairs were available in all the rooms to settle down and watch.

I was particularly taken with the live press conferences and sat through a few. Newsfolk asked questions on the topics of the day. Kennedy answered in complete thoughts, each thought making grammatical sense. Imagine that, if you still can.

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There were a few displays of era specific objects.

Also there were alcoves dedicated to then current events: Bay of Pigs/Cuban missile crisis, NASA, Vietnam, Peace Corp, Freedom Riders, etc each with artifacts and TV stories you could watch.

Some Oval Office furniture. The RFK alcove was particularly interesting but no picture.
In the back, this aviary (not an aviary but what would you call it?).
The view from the back through the aviary, looking out over a small part of Boston Harbor.

More Museums YAY

First stop, The Museum of Fine Arts Boston. There was a big show “Monet and Boston: Legacy Illuminated”. I think Monet’s pictures are easy to like and mostly I just want to be where he is, to see this sight for myself.

What was different and fun was how they often told the story of a picture’s connection to Boston, and hanging side by side would be an artist’s work that influenced the featured Monet. Also there were several pictures where they had available the same scene in different light. Here are examples.

This, for some reason, caught me by surprise and I liked it especially.

What’s more exciting than to find an artist you’ve never heard of whose work calls your name? (She does make pictures for children’s books so what does that says about me..Oh well.) This is how I felt about “Paper Stories, Layered Dreams: The Art of Ekua Holmes”​.

How charming is the top photo of a major piece used for the entrance to the exhibition and below are a few cropped versions of her portraits. These are made from paper, paint, and objects.

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Next stop, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.

I feel lucky to get to catch this show of six Titian paintings gathered from five museums and being shown at the Gardner in Boston. Titian made the paintings as a set commissioned by King Phillip II of Spain based on a poem, “The Metamorphoses”, by Ovid.

The show is called “Titian: Women, Myth & Power” and subtitled by the NY Times “Can We Ever Look At Titian’s Paintings the Same Way Again?”.

This is the first and last of the six paintings. The first ““Danae,” 1551–1553, in which the god Jupiter, a serial abuser, finds his way into a young woman’s locked room, transforming himself into gold dust.”
And this is the last, “The Rape of Europa,” 1559-62.

And here are a few more as they are mounted for the exhibition.

I’m including a lot here because this is one of those once-in-a-lifetime opportunities, to see all these Titians in one place. This NY Times article about the show (and where I got these pictures) helped me understand my feelings.

The Titian exhibit is in the new wing of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, the original mansion created and built by Isabella in 1898-1901 to house her growing collection of world class art and plenty of other less respected works since she bought what she wanted. From wikipedia: “Well-known artworks in the museum’s collection include Titian’s The Rape of Europa, John Singer Sargent’s El Jaleo and Portrait of Isabella Stewart Gardner, Fra Angelico’s Death and Assumption of the Virgin, Rembrandt’s Self-Portrait, Aged 23, Cellini’s Bindo Altoviti, Piero della Francesca’s Hercules, and Botticelli’s The Story of Lucretia.”

Here’s where Titian’s “The Rape of Europa” hung before the big exhibit, the only Titian belonging to the Gardner, and where, I assume, it will return.
There were three very large floors of rooms looking in some respect like this one.
Inside the courtyard of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.

A Cape Cod Farewell

Thanks Les! Let’s talk about the food since shopping, cooking, eating, cleaning up was 80% of our days.

And it was GOOD.

Les and Cinthia did all the cooking. Dinner Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner Breakfast-Lunch. The dinners were especially splendid fresh fish Feasts! And all the FABulous side dishes. Oh my!

We went out for the last dinner, pictures below, and then out for breakfast on our last morning.

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Bleu, the most delicious restaurant dinners on Cape Cod. Although dinners back at our place were a competition I’d say.

That’s our table there at the far right.
Here’s our place above the garages, and the views left and right below.

So long lovely Cape Cod, catch ya next time!

A Cape Cod Welcome

Too bad I didn’t get any of the lightening flashing across the sky and I didn’t get any pictures of the dumping rainstorm that followed. We did get a nice drive and walk-about in before the big dump.

But first, here we are, good morning! John, Cinthia, Les, and Elizabeth, arms out covered in baking soda hoping for some poison ivy relief.

Four university academics enjoying a coffee and some pastry.
Les and John

Maybe cormorants and an egret.

Cinthia and John. “Yes” says Cinthia, “my dear mother spelled my name with an ‘i’ bless her heart.”
Another inlet with more boats in the distance.
Elizabeth and Cinthia and me and Elizabeth (thanks Cinthia for the picture), and wind in our hair.

You Can Look

You can look but you’d better not touch!

Poor Elizabeth has been in considerable discomfort for the last week having, before I got here, worked in her garden and not noticed all the poison ivy. Her forearms from wrist to elbow, covered. Her torso and toes have got it too. Hourly moans emanate from her sad weary soul.

And with all the walks we’ve been doing lately I see that stuff everywhere.

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Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge

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The picture below is from Elizabeth’s garden. Flowers planted this year, perennials, and volunteers, her garden is a coat of many colors. There are at least six different plants just in this little patch.

After our walk at Great Meadows we went for a tour of the Louisa May Alcott Orchard House where she wrote “Little Women”. They had made some interesting covid accommodations and it was very fun, very original house and furnishings without refurbishments, but no pictures allowed. So after dinner we watched the latest of oh so many versions of “Little Women” on tv.

Look Who Came to Boston Too

It’s Victoria, one of my zoom call Persian Poetry Pals! Victoria lives in Vermont but comes to Boston often and was able to work it out so we could have lunch together. WOW!

We met at Harvard Square and took a very short stroll through her alma mater, below, and then ate at a white tablecloth Italian place where the waiter took the picture, above.

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What’s coming next is back in Lexington, Elizabeth and some pictures of her garden (as per Les, “her pride and joy”) and their house in the near dark.

Then we continued on for a fairly long walk through a most beautiful part of Lexington. The below is the only picture I took because I spent the rest of our delightful walk in the muggy dusk swatting at mosquitos.

Then Les, who is making daily accommodations to his advancing Parkinson’s, fixed us a feast, as usual!

Taking the Train to Boston

I rode the Amtrak luxury train Acela from New York to Boston. Les picked me up at the station and then we had a Thai feast with Elizabeth and their neighbor friend Jim.

I had a whole double row in the Business Class Quiet Car all to myself. It was a dream ride.
The scenery was so splendid and I didn’t take a single picture. It was gorgeous with mostly handsome forests and boat filled harbors. This is just leaving New York.

MoMA the Morgan P&G&D and Farewell

I’m traveling tomorrow to Boston and might have time to get a few pictures together to tell the story of this day. Here’s the main thing though, if you are a museum person you have to buy a ticket to New York. After all this time of looking at our walls imagine how it feels to look at objects that make your heart beat fast.

Now it’s the day after tomorrow and I haven’t got to this last day yet, but I WILL when I get home!

Above is the hot dog stand I have never yet missed when visiting New York.

COPIED from the The Morgan Library and Museum website, so I won’t forget the glory of the “Shahzia Sikander: Extraordinary Realities” exhibit and be reminded of the unfathomable vocabulary of art-speak. (I also enjoyed the original building, the library, and the gorgeous display of early bookbinding.)

“Born and raised in Pakistan, Shahzia Sikander (b. 1969) gained international recognition in the 1990s for her pioneering role in bringing painting traditions from South and Central Asia into dialogue with contemporary practices. Her work interrogates cultural identity, racial narratives, colonial and postcolonial histories, and issues of gender and sexuality. Through multivalent narratives layered across time, geography, and tradition, she shatters established hierarchies, norms, and stereotypes, using her imagination and playfulness to conjure extraordinary realities.

“This exhibition explores the first fifteen years of Sikander’s career, from her formal training in manuscript painting as a student at the National College of Arts in Lahore, Pakistan, where she enrolled in 1987, to her early years in the United States. Sikander moved to Providence in 1993 to study at the Rhode Island School of Design. She then lived in Houston for two years before settling in New York in 1997. Her work during this period reflects a new openness in the United States toward artists working outside of commonly accepted models as well as a dramatic shift in the perception of Muslims following the events of 9/11. The potent vocabulary of Sikander’s early work continues to permeate her oeuvre today, and the subjects she confronted then have only become more relevant to contemporary discourse.”

And COPIED from wikipedia.

“As an undergraduate student in Lahore, Shahzia Sikander studied the techniques of Persian and Mughal miniature painting, often integrating traditional forms of Mughal (Islamic) and Rajput (Hindu) styles and culture The traditional form of miniature painting requires equal measures of discipline, gesture and expression in order to execute a careful layering of color and detail. Compositionally, miniature paintings exhibit an extensive display of colorful imagery including, human forms, animals, patterns, shapes, dots and connecting lines. Miniature paintings often engage in contextual complexities such as, religious narrative, scenes of battles and court life. Sikander has integrated the techniques and forms of traditional miniature painting, relying on the layering of images and metaphor to drive her work. Her forms and figures exhibit a quality of continual morphing as transparent imagery is layered, providing a complexity with endless shifts in perception. Sikander’s complex compositions “dismantle hierarchical assumptions and subverts the very notion of a singular, fixed identity of figures and forms.” The increasing approach of continual morphing explains Sikander’s relationship to an ever-changing world where opposing societies coalescently interact.”

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Paul joined me for a visit to MoMA, the highlight being acres and Acres and ACRES of Cezanne drawings. SO many rooms of drawings. I hadn’t been in this version of MoMA’s life with yet another expansion, everything moved around, and more more rooms, it was disconcerting actually. I think I’d have to visit several more times before my longtime affection will return.

It was entertaining to turn the corner and exclaim “More!” at the Cezanne exhibit, and I did hunt down Matisse’s “Dance” and stroll through the rooms of Greatest Hits, so yeah, they’re still there, YAY.

Food-Transportation-Misc 16th-21st

Feelin’ it for the ‘hood.

Paul and Gretchen turned Lill on to this Swedish Candy store. Those are the folks running the store and with whom Lill could chat in speedy Swedish. Oh yes, I do enjoy the Swedish salty licorice.


We shared a delicious dinner at an Argentine place a few blocks down the road.
The Lower East Side/East Village parks I’ve visited: Tompkins Square Park, East River Park (my favorite), Hamilton Fish Park, Roosevelt Park, Seward Park. The best part about them is that they exist at all.
I thought this looked a little like a Disneyland version of a New York street.
Yes we did, we went to Katz’s deli and that sign says When Harry Met Sally Hope You Have What She Had…Enjoy!
We took the bus once, Lyft twice, 15 or so rides on the Metro, and miles and miles and miles on foot. I was concerned at first about the Metro stop near me, did it have enough trains, but it turned out to be perfect!

And speaking of transportation, citi bike seemed extremely efficient and well subscribed. We were sitting in a cafe across the street from this stand and watched a couple dozen people return their bikes and others take them away.
A spot for a salad/soup/sandwich just off the High Line.
A yummy snack at the tippy-top of the One World Observation Deck.

This is Scarr’s Pizza where I had two pieces of pizza, one glass of wine, and one bottle of water. Wanna guess the cost? I’ll tell you: Thirty Five Dollars. Shocking! The outside seating was full too. But was it good? I wanted to have the topping on the square piece put on the thin-crust triangle piece, but no, not possible unless you get the whole pie, which ok, I can understand.

These guys opened in the middle of 2020, just in time for lock down.
Biggie’s Cafe. It looked good but I’m not going to have time.
Chinatown, this was fun! We got a good meal and entertainment from the staff and guests at the Chinese restaurant. Then we walked to the end of the block where the Festival of San Gennaro was raging in Little Italy. We didn’t take even one step into that crowd!

Lill’s Last Morning

Lill’s last morning and we’re out for a 4-5 mile stroll. Oh my we have been walking a lot. I knew I’d have the afternoon free when at last I would spend many many hours not taking even one step so ok, let’s go. We walked around the East Village and then down to the East River Park.

Above, according to 6sqft.com: with 39 community gardens blooming between 14th Street and East Houston Street, the East Village is the Emerald City. The neighborhood boasts the highest concentration of community gardens in the country thanks to a proud history of grassroots activism that has helped transform once-abandoned lots into community oases.

Nice.
Urban wildlife.
You don’t often get a view without cars.
A pedestrian bridge to cross the FDR Highway, and under the Williamsburg Bridge.
Here’s a handsome park, 57.5 acres, along the East River and quite the opposite of Little Island. There are tennis and basketball courts but mostly it’s paths, grass, and trees, for running, games, and picnics. All the trash from the weekend was neatly bagged up by the fence. It was all remarkably lovely.

One World Observation Deck

You can see to the curvature of the earth..or so it seems anyway. Above are three of the four bridges to the east, from the top, the Williamsburg, then the Manhattan, and then the Brooklyn Bridge.

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We had tickets for Friday but since the visibility was Zero they were giving re-bookings and we got new tickets for Sunday.

They’ve been checking vaccination status and keeping the numbers down everywhere we’ve been. No excuse-me excuse-me to get a chance at the window.
We passed through the 9/11 Memorial..
..and past the Charging Bull. This is the line of people waiting to get a picture with the bull’s face. There is a line twice as long to have a picture from the back..

Lady Liberty and Ellis Island

We did what needed to be done: ‘All ferry ticketing is run through Statue Cruises, which is the only vendor authorized to provide tickets and transportation to Liberty and Ellis Islands.’

“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
Lill has a picture of herself in this pose from so many years ago.
I know, my hair, always good for a laugh.

Here it is below, Ingalill herself, circa 1987.

The visitor’s center was very good, with interesting displays about the history and construction of the statue.

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The arrival building at Ellis Island.

When talking about Ellis Island we mostly hear numbers, how many passed through this hall, from where, how long did it take, how many were turned back, and how many were sent to the hospital. The displays here tried to personalize at every turn. We saw images of individuals, the things they brought, the clothes they wore, pictures of their families back home.

And for $10 you could use their computer for 30 minutes to try to find your relatives. Is this my grandfather? We thought he came in 1910, we thought he was 17, we thought he came from Ukraine but then google has never heard of Hamentz, Russia.

We three sisters remember the story differently so I’m going to tell my version! Grandpa told me that when he was coming to America, when he first caught sight of the Statue of Liberty he jumped off the ship and swam the rest of the way straight to New York City. But then he was the kind of guy who might very well make up a city to be from…

Inside our 30 minutes I couldn’t remember the first and last name of my other grandparents, all immigrants who would have come through Ellis Island. Lill couldn’t remember the full names of any of her relatives that came during the time frame (1892-1954) either! I think this resource is available online and you might not even have to pay the 10 bucks.

The below is a photo from the screen.

UPDATE Sep 26!

Above is the ship’s handwritten manifest including my grandfather’s entry, line 4, and this is a blowup of the Place of Birth in Russia. The typist had transcribed the name as Hamentz, so I started googling around starting with a K and look at that, Kamenetz (Kamenets) is a place in western Ukraine!

A Walk Along the High Line

from Wikipedia: The High Line is a 1.45-mile-long elevated linear park, greenway, and rail trail created on a former New York Central Railroad spur… The abandoned spur has been redesigned as a “living system” drawing from multiple disciplines which include landscape architecture, urban design, and ecology. Since opening in June 2009, the High Line has become an icon of contemporary landscape architecture.

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They’ve left remnants of the old train tracks along the way. It was fine to walk in the shade but mostly the day was HOT.
I read they chose plantings to match what had grown naturally along the tracks.
There was a lot of scaffolding which didn’t look that great but we welcomed for the shade.

Our traditional reflect-o and more of the natural foliage from the railroad tracks.

Art.
And more art. There are many art pieces on the High Line and wikipedia is happy to tell you all about it.

To find out about this eye-popping building I googled ‘jetson’s building on the high line’ and sure enough, there it was.

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The inscription above says ‘This book belongs to its owner Fathallah Saad. He bought it with his own money at the beginning of March 1892.’
We ended at the end, at Hudson Yard, more of that later.

Little Island

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Here’s an internet aerial so you can get an overview of its siting and the scale of Little Island. It’s a highly designed space, seemingly made for crowds to move along landscaped paths with occasional stops for a selfie. There’s not much room for ‘free play‘ and the amphitheater holds only 687 people, nice for the lucky ones who can get a reservation.

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One of the two entrances.
Those catawampus buildings are, in fact, catawampus!

Little Island is a vanity project of Barry Diller (from Bloomberg.com) While it may be Barry Diller’s ideal park, it doesn’t line up with the needs or expectations (or budget) of most of the 8 million plus New Yorkers, many of whom don’t have access to private outdoor space and need room to walk, play, party and sprawl. This is a pretty harsh review. Many reviewers are delighted with the space. My personal impression was dominated by ‘wow, this feels expensive’.

Music! You go Lill.
Notice the tallest building, One World, next to where the Twin Towers once stood.
Looking back.

9/11 Memorial and Museum

The fire station across the street from ground zero.

Every time I see a skyline picture with the Twin Towers I’m re-awakened to how totally they dominated the views. I remember the towers were very controversial at first and how over time I think we just got used to it.

(Internet picture)

And then they were gone.

(Internet picture)
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The pools are situated on the footprint of the towers. The lighter building is the museum. The city has given up real estate where, on a typical weekday, an estimated 50,000 people worked in the towers and another 140,000 passed through as visitors, for the sake of this memorial.

The winged building is Oculus btw.

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