It’s been a slow week

Yom Kippur is over, not my favorite day of the year. I don’t find the fasting all that hard. It’s what to do for 12 hours. The evening of Yom Kippur isn’t bad, a quick dinner then Kol Nidre. I enjoy this service very much. The next day, I’m not that crazy about being in Temple. I never was one who felt spiritually uplifted by services in a synagogue. As a child, I was Orthodox and it was simply part of the routine. As an adult, I have pretty much become a High Holiday Jew, at a Conservative Temple.

I’m getting tired of the mini speeches, the musical interludes, and I do not like the choir. Luckily I go to a service that doesn’t have a choir, but I do pop into the Choir service for one prayer session – Yizchor, remembrance prayer. This year it’s for both parents.

What really gets my goat is how certain Rabbis have to inject just the slightest amount of politics. At this point it sickens me, my one holy day of the year, my one chance to be cut off from all that ugliness and the Rabbi has to virtue signal. You wonder why I don’t feel like spending a lot of time with my fellow Jews.

But spending time with family was wonderful, both the before and after meal. I spent time reading an art book with my granddaughter, she is getting it! My DIL suggested going back to LACMA with the kids, I think I’d rather take them to the Norton Simon.If summer is over, and it is, then at least I get to enjoy the Halloween decorations. Fall here in So Cal, is cool mornings and evenings and hot days. The days are much shorter, so I do enjoy the fun decorations, I hate the real gruesome ones. Give me witches and ghosts and fall colors and I’m happy.Still working on my hand applique, I’m liking the results, but it is slow going.  Bought this at Michael Levines last week. I’ve already cut a shirt out of this. Tomorrow I leave for a 3 day retreat with my Quilt Guild to Bakersfield. I will be working on the Guild opportunity quilt, someone dropped the ball and I’m picking it up. Just in case I finish the top, I have this project.

We will be spending 3 days at ThimbleTown, and yes, I know I’ll spend some money… So you know me, a new city, a chance to explore. I mentioned to some of the other participants that I am going to explore downtown Bakersfield. All I got was blank stares and the question why??

Because every city, town or hamlet has something to share. Bakersfield has some good Art Deco and a great 1950s vibe.  I don’t understand people who are unwilling to explore their surroundings.I know, this knit is most probably polyester, I couldn’t resist. I love the color, and it was on the sale table at Michael Levines, so a long sleeve knit dress will be happening.My Meyer Lemon tree is very happy and full of lemons. That reminds me, I should give it some food, now that it is so busy producing fruit.

Next week will have much more content, after a busy weekend.212

Changing face of the city

I went to hear Stephen Gee talk about his new book about LA City Hall. Stephen Gee is the one who has been working tirelessly to bring the architect John Parkinson back into LA history.

So here’s my little part. I went looking through my photos to find images of the Title Guarantee building. Designed by John and his son Donald in 1930. A wonderful example of Art Deco. Pay close attention, this picture was taken maybe four years ago. Things have changed.The tower and rooftop are the same.When built, the tower acted as a billboard, someone said there is now an apartment there. Not sure if that is true.A few years ago, Starbucks opened up on the ground floor. Eight years ago there was one Starbucks up in Wells Fargo Plaza, on Bunker Hill. Today there are all over downtown, which just goes to show how much development is going on.I took this picture just the other day. After 40 years of being an empty lot, the Title Guarantee building will be surrounded by a large massive development.  I’ll keep posting along the way.Stephen Gee was able to turn the book into a documentary. I will be setting my DVR for Oct. 7, I also might be buying the DVD. It will be available on Amazon sometime next month.

Also, one of the great-granddaughters was at the lecture. She recently moved back to LA and of course is working with Stephen Gee to bring John Parkinson back to LA lore.

Busy being creative

I’ve been busy creating.  Item number one is the blue sweater:To me this is a fail, I didn’t like it from the get-go, I went to support a local shop and it was a fail. You are probably saying, it looks fine, well to me it doesn’t look fine.  Not only that, I didn’t even enjoy the knitting process.I spent more money than I would have liked on a simple sweater, I didn’t enjoy the knitting and I don’t really like the end result. I kept at it rather than just frogging the whole thing. At some point I will  want to knit another sweater, but I’m going to be much more careful. When that yarn store didn’t have much selection and had no patterns or magazines, I really should have just walked out.  At the moment the ‘local’ yarn store I really like is down in Westchester near the airport and really isn’t local at all. I went to my actual local yarn store and bought this yarn for a shawl. Have I mentioned they don’t carry a single yarn that is simply solid?!?!  I am enjoying knitting this, it will be a gift. Once blocked I expect the shawl will be lovely. I still think I’d prefer it if the yarn weren’t tonal. I guess I’m back to buying online – even though that has its pitfalls as well. Light matters, this is the exact same corner of my owl quilt. I think the second photo is more accurate. As you can see, I’m busy appliqueing the border. It is going to take time, I think I need another quilting project in the mean time.This is what the applique looks like from the back, with the seams glued down.  I’ve been using different glues. I don’t like the June Taylor glue, I do like the Fons and Porter, I especially like that I can buy it at JoAnn’s with a coupon.Four corners done, I want to fill in the background, it will be a lot of work but will be worth the effort. Joel asked who this is for? For us, not giving this one away! I will probably try and put it in some shows, I think it is that good.Look at this owl I saw in a shop, on a little girls dress in Montreal. It is machine embroidered, but I will probably copy this, do it by hand on the label of the owl quilt. Just saying.

The 12th Outstanding art of Television costume

I had hardly gotten over jetlag and it was off to FIDM with friends to see this exhibit. There is a reason why it’s in the dog days of summer. There was plenty of outstanding workmanship, but it doesn’t have the grand feeling of the winter exhibit that shares costumes from movies.This is from The Crown, probably season two, since everything was more subdued. Yes, it’s lovely, but nothing here screamed best costumes from the show.I very much enjoy the hand embroidery here. A lot of sparkle so this shows up well on screen. High Definition means the costume department has to work harder. And yet, they need to hit that mark, of having garments really pop on screen.Here is a dress from The Marvelous Mrs Maisel. I LOVE this and am seriously thinking of knocking it off, probably without the bow. The costumes on this show are so exuberant! They used a lot of color to really catch your eye. This is one of the quieter pieces. I’m itching to go get some wool crepe and some heavy satin. I know I have a pattern I can hack. I’m no good at drafting my own. The centerpiece show was Glow, not a show I’ve seen. It’s about women wrestlers in the 1980s, and Irene tells me her daughter, who was a child then loves this show. I simply love this dress. Actually, it isn’t a dress, she is wearing the leotard she will wrestle in and instead of a robe, this wonderful high-low skirt. I do appreciate how much fun the designers can have.This outfit is from the Alienist, I watched a few episodes. I’m squeamish, going into details about the murder and mutilation of young boys in late 19th c. NY.  It was too much for me, even though it was very well done.

So here we have a classic looking outfit, but let’s take a close look.Look at how the lines match!! Not just on the skirt, but the lines on the cuff perfectly match the lines on the sleeve! I want to shake the hands of both the designer and the person who sewed this!!!  This is why I come to these exhibits, to see incredible workmanship and design. I don’t care how good your TV is, you simply aren’t going to see these details. To be honest, if I were standing talking to a model wearing this outfit, I’m not sure I’d see it. There is something about a still manikin that really draws my eyes to the details.From Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, fun, fun, fun!! Later we went to Michael Levines, where they have a great selection of boiled wool. I’m thinking this jacket might have been made from that. Unlike boiled wool from years ago, today it is much thinner and more pliable. I’m seriously trying to figure out what jacket to make for myself since I fell in love with a gorgeous purple. No, I didn’t buy it, and it could be that by the time I figure out a pattern, that fabric may be gone. There was a large selection of colors, I’ll be alright.From Schitts Creek, who doesn’t love a very well made crochet dress?? It is so hard to make a good crochet dress, the fabric is much stiffer than a knit dress. And yes, I’d have a full slip, but I am not an actress on a very quirky show. I get what they are doing here with the black underwear. I also see the placement of the band of circles, but because it’s a whole band not just two circles, it is classically suggestive, instead of being in your face suggestive. There were shows I had never heard of, these days, with broadcast TV as well as streaming services, it makes sense. I don’t watch TV all the time. So, I don’t know what these are from, they are just cool boots. The red pair is a costume, I really want the brown pair. Even though I don’t wear heels much, I think I could wear these.

So if you have a chance, this exhibit runs through Oct. 6th. It is free, the Scholarship store at FIDM is always fun and a few blocks further into the the garment district is a must!

Montreal

Final stop of the vacation, Montreal, we crept into town in traffic reminiscent of LA and returned the car. Then hoped an Uber to our hotel in the old part of town. Turns out they are tearing up many of the freeways to build new ones. It’s such a joke here, that a street comedian even said: when cars are gone, we will be way ahead of the game because we won’t have roads.As you can see, this is a very large modern city.Down near the old Port is Rue St. Paul, today a fun busy pedestrian street. The old port has been rehabilitated, this is where the cruise ships stop as well as a huge Ferris Wheel and other fun attractions. They even have something they call a beach, really, too small to get a pictureA section of St. Catherines St. can you tell it’s the gay part of town?!?!  How much do you need to hit us over the head?  I like the concept of the colored balls, I’m a little over the rainbow flags everywhere, we get the message. Btw, looking for a coffee shop here – no go. Only bars a full fledged restaurants. A guide told us this may be the last summer for the balls, it must be a lot of work to put these up and then store them for most of the year.Unlike Quebec, a lot has changed in the old town, like most citie. Luckily some of the old buildings are standing. The red brick is the oldest skyscraper, built in the Beaux-Arts style. Next door is a wonderful Art Deco.This panel really reminds me of Gladding McBean tiles in CA, it is different, but this is common in Art Deco. Actually, it looks more Art Nouveau, but there is a period of overlap, so it’s all good. Turns out that every ‘English’ statue must have a ‘French’ statue facing it. Sorry, didn’t get the French one here. Lord Nelson is so high up on a plinth, that I had to be pretty far away to get this picture and see the details.  This is all about him beating Napolean at Waterloo. Already lost his hand. Also, keep the birds off! Someone with a sense of humor about the whole thing. So we have an Englishman and a Frenchwomen turning their noses at each other. But the poodle and bulldog want to be friends. The statues aren’t right next to each other, but on opposite corners of a large office building.A favorite son. There are other murals dedicated to Leonard Bernstein, apparently he is buried here as well.

Since we are in the old Jewish neighborhood, we had to stop for this:Luckily for us, I took the picture after we had our smoked meat sandwich, we got in with no line. Was it good? Yes, as good as Langers, Brents or Wexlers? No, but it is a traditional thing to do, and why not support a 100-year-old institution. By the way they only take cash, and if you give them American dollars, there is a surcharge. I hope they have a very secure system to take the money to the bank a couple of times a day…Across the street, Jewish headstone being carved, I bet Leonard Bernstein had his carved here.We climbed Mount Royal and literally bumped into cousins from San Fransico. They had just dropped their daughter off at college in Boston. Since I was posting on Instagram, they knew we were in Montreal, but when we met, we didn’t know they were there. Of course we had dinner together and then the next day, we once again just bumped into them. That was a highlight of the trip. Here is another sight we saw in the park. A white squirrel, not an albino, the eyes would have been red or pink. He has full pigmentation in the eyes and yet is white. Maybe with all the snow in Montreal this works for him. A local woman told me this is a very rare squirrel.

And thats it, I’m home, I need to get back to creating things. I did knit some on the trip and hope to share that soon.

Time to finish up with Quebec

I really loved Quebec, even though someone in Montreal stated very clearly: Quebec is government and tourism. Very true, but they do tourism very well. Those staircases! I just can’t get over them, with all the snow and ice how are people not slipping and falling? You’ll never find me living in that climate with that kind of trek just to get to the front door.There are plenty of stairs outdoors, it’s a walled city, with many points in and out, not just gates. Most stairs were stone, but this looks like a newly renovated wooden staircase. There is a funicular going down to the lower city, except it isn’t really a funicular. Each car travels independently, so no counterbalance. Originally, This was enclosed and used for merchants to get things from the top, which is where most of the city is, down to the businesses here. As tourism grew, they opened it and made it a tourist attraction. So now the food merchants have to navigate the stairs to get supplies… really, we saw it happen.There were a number of great murals, not as many as Montreal, but fun to see. This is right next to the funicular. In the open area is a memorial to Joliet, he and Father Marquette left from here to explore and discovered the upper midwest and the Mississippi River. Which explains why the names Joliet and Marquette are scattered throughout.  They lost all thier diaries from their first trip, which prevented others from following in their footsteps. Joliet disappears, I had heard in Chicago that he was killed by Indians, but here in Quebec they didn’t want to say.The streets down here are fun, full of restaurants and very nice businesses, sure an occasional t-shirt shop, but mostly nice shops.  We went into the covered market, were very happy to see Hebrew. We ended up buying some croissants and blueberries that we had for breakfast. The blueberries were amazing! Not like the ones we get here.

And now for some architecture.The Hotel Clarendon, the first hotel in Quebec. (well, the first to survive a fire, have I mentioned that fire was the biggest enemy in any city?)  This is Art Nouveau, which is why Quebec has more in common with Europe than most North American cities. This is a European style, that didn’t really make it here. Maybe because of how expensive it is to create these intricate designs.There are quite a few metal workers who would love to have this kind of commission again.  Unless it’s a very wealthy private estate, I don’t see any builder willing to pay the price.This Art Deco is right next door! How cool is that! The new style next to what it replaced. Today this is also an hotel, although originally it was an office building. There are a handful of other Art Deco buildings in Quebec. By the 1920’s the businesses and building was happening in Montreal, which is where we are going next.

Water, water everywhere

Since I live in an arid climate, visiting places with a lot of natural running water in a thrill.Here I am at High Falls gorge, look at the power of the water.They call this part of the Grand Canyon of the Adirondacks. When the highest mountains are just over 4000 feet this makes sense. Out in the west those are hills, not mountains. Our local Lake Arrowhead is at about 5000 feet, and that’s not high at all. But I always say, celebrate what you have. The Adirondacks have a lot of running water and that is worth celebrating.This little park is privately owned and very well maintained, good paths, bridges and explanations about the geology, fauna and flora.Now this is a real waterfall. Outside Quebec, the Montmorency falls. Large, powerful and very impressive. They used to have a hydroelectric plant here, but they built bigger and more powerful ones and returned this to its natural state. Maine gets a lot of it’s power from Quebec.No hiking up 480 stairs, just the first 40. No taking the Via Ferrata trail, we went up in the cable car.With my fear of heights I was able to cross this bridge twice. First of all, it’s stable, it doesn’t sway, it is very large. I looked straight ahead, never down. I took this picture after crossing the bridge, looking back at where I came from. Later, we’d go to that little gazebo for another look at the power of water.View from the gazebo, my camera died just has two people zipped by on these zip lines.  All I managed to capture is their safety lines. Looking at the St. Lawrence River and the bridge that connects Ile De Orleans to the mainland. Good thing we had a car and could drive there. This is one of the places the gal back in the Chocolate Shop told us to go to. It was so worth the trip. All farmlands, and people selling their produce. We had lunch at a local restaurant that produces black currents, everything had that in it, it was wonderful. A few miles later, we are visiting an art gallery, and the rain started pounding. It is rare to capture raindrops, and yet here I did, the rain was that strong.

Later we stopped at a cheese shop and indulged. All in all, if you get to Quebec, go to Ile de Orleans. I had thought that the Chemin Du Roy would be like this, it wasn’t, so this was a real treat.We had some very hot days in Quebec, local children enjoying the fountains.

Quebec, part l

I made reservations in Quebec, was very pleased with the Hotel Champlain, right in the walls of the old city, with parking!!! We only took the car out once, but it was nice having a place to park the car while we hopped on buses and boats to get around.I guess I should start with the most photographed hotel in the world. The Hotel Frontenac. When the city was created, they chose to build the city up on a hill, so that they’d need less walls. The city is 400 years old, ancient for North America. It is where the St. Lawrence River narrows, so it’s a great place for a port. At the time, the fur trade was all the rage. Very very hardy adventurous Frenchmen went into the backcountry and came back with furs, which were shipped from Quebec to Europe. Someone needed to build a port and a town for that to happen.On all the tours we took one word was repeated over and over again – fire. Fire has always been the biggest enemy in any city and for years people have tried to figure out how to safeguard buildings. Today a restaurant is in this building, the oldest surviving building in the city. In Quebec’s case, war and bombardment destroyed many of the old buildings. This is a typical house, built of local limestone, it would be limed, with white lime to make the stone less porous. The roof would be slanted, they get up an average of 10 ft. of snow in the winter, flat roofs will collapse. There is a railing along the roof line to prevent big chunks of ice falling, but then you do have to worry about icicles. The roofs were made of tin from barrels, recut into tiles. The red color came from mixing cow blood into the resin. Nothing was wasted.Here is an example of the tin being cut into tiles for the roof.

Speaking of rooftops, here are a few more amazing ones.The advantage of taking the double-decker bus, I get a better view of the rooftops. This and many others are copper that has gotten this green patina over time. The combination, of green, red, tin and other shades of brown, really makes the skyline very interesting.

The French got here in 1534 and ruled for over 200 years. Those early years were just fur trappers, traders, and the Catholic Church. The British had communities in Newfoundland and Nova Scotia, although those were basically under French rule. At some point immigrants stopped coming from France but still came from the British Isles. That was probably balanced out by the high French Birthrate. In 1759 a battle was fought in what is today, The Plains of Abraham. Both the English and French Generals died there. Years later an Obelisk was erected, honoring both generals. Sorry, I didn’t take a picture. My comment is: Canadian Nice! No where else in the world would someone honor both the victor (English) and the defeated (French) in the same monument. 

English Victorian homes, this is the first time the houses are set back a ways from the street. Some more of those outdoor metal or wooden staircases, even the British Victorians adopted them.Down in the lower city, are four houses that were renovated with four different types of roofs from Quebec’s history. On the left, the red roof as it probably would have looked originally, it would have been made of wood – fire hazard. Then a slate roof, but that was very expensive, the cut tin roof and the British tile roof.Flag of the province.

On the way to Quebec

After a lovely wedding weekend, we headed north back to Canada. We didn’t turn on the gps, just drove north, following a map. We figured we’d end up somewhere between Montreal and Quebec, preferably not on the main road.

We did find a tourist information stop, where a few towns were recommended. We missed the fort, but found ourselves in Beloil, buying chocolate. The friendly sales girl wanted to know what the heck a couple of Los Angelenos were doing in a small town in Quebec, just exploring. Since she was from Quebec City, she gaves us a very good tip on what to do there, more on that later.We have some wonderful florists here, with amazing window displays. How nice that in summer, Martin can have this beautiful display outside.There are many beautiful churches here, unfortunately, these days many are no longer in use. This one in Beloil still is.There was a large cemetery next to the church, of course I had to check it out. Joel went and took a walk by the river, there are only so many cemeteries he can visit.  One marker really stood out from the rest.I went to check it out.An eight year old boy, sad, very sad. I didn’t check to see if in later years his parents were buried nearby. If they are still alive, they would be very very old.Another church across the river. I could have just taken pictures of churches there were so many.In Beloil, a 100 year old business, this old town isn’t very big, but it now has restaurants and that gorgeous florist. I like the paint job here, reminds me of colorful New Orleans. Other than this old town, most of Southern Quebec looked dull, main drags that could have been anywhere in Canada or the US, just all the signs are in French.

For some reason we decided to bypass Drummondville which is quite a large city and go on to Trois Rivieres, which is on the main highway. So we drove through driving rain, by the time we got there, we were tired. We drove to the old part of town, the one or two hotels didn’t look good, so we kept going. All we could find were old 1950s motels that looked like they hadn’t been updated at all. So back to town we went, we found an Italian place for dinner. The food was pretty awful, but they kindly directed us here:I took the picture the next morning. We waited half an hour for the owner to come over from her restaurant. Turns out we got a very nice room for the night. Since we had to wait, she even took $5 off our bill, which wasn’t expensive to begin with.While driving through Trois Rivieres I saw a lot of this, outdoor circular staircases going up to the second floor of buildings. Later in Quebec I got the explanation that was very common throughout the Province. Rather than waste space inside on staircases, they are outside. I get it, 100 or 200 years ago people simply lived in weather. They didn’t control it like we do today, so exiting to such a staircase would be normal. I understand that these kind of flats are popular in places like Quebec or Montreal – until you have a baby and need to schlep up and down them with a baby and stroller, especially in winter.

Then we headed out on the Chemin Du Roy towards Quebec. We were expecting to find a coffee shop, no luck, a few towns in, we stopped at a gas station that had a convenience store. The coffee and croissant were fine, but this is advertised as a scenic day trip. Scenic yes, amenities, not really.Yes, a beautiful church among the cornfields.We arrived in Quebec to a whole new adventure.

Lake Placid NY

Sorry, no posts for a week, we were traveling and I tried to put through my ipad, but couldn’t upload any pictures, so here you get the vacation, a week late.

We were invited to a wedding in Lake Placid, we jumped on the opportunity and decided this would be our summer vacation, after the wedding we’d go on to Quebec and Montreal.

It’s not easy getting to Lake Placid, we flew into Montreal and drove over 2 hours into the Adirondack Park.

We really did have perfect weather. Although Lake Placid is somewhat remote, it was so worth the visit.There must be crevices with snow year round. We are used to this from the Sierra Nevadas. These mountains are half as high, but they are much further north.We stayed in a small old hotel/motel, but look what we have. Lake front view, Chairs and ducks.What are the Adirondacks without some good old Adirondack chairs???Even better in rainbow colors. We took a boat ride, to view the ‘camps’ from the water. In this neck of the woods, camp means a very large expensive summer home on the lake.

OK, this one is Lake Placid Lodge, not private.Justa kid out enjoying the lake on his unicorn.In other locations we saw the taxidermy of Elk and Moose heads. This fellow was cute. The town of Lake Placid is very nice, enjoyable to walk around.There is a Jewish Synagogue in town, mostly closed for the summer. The wedding itself took place up on top of Whiteface Mountain. We were bussed up there and were a little surprised at how hot it was. We were warned it could be very cold and windy.Look at that view!!! That is Lake Placid beflow us. No wonder the couple wanted to get married up here.

Our friend, the father of the groom hoped it would rain the next day.It did. This is what you get for all that rain, lush green, huge flowers and hops. Yes, these are hops, I hope they end up in someones beer.

From here, on to Canada.