Another visit to Forrest Lawn Cemetery in Glendale.

Glendale has an historical society. I have gone on a number of their house tours. I always enjoy the variety of houses this region has to offer.

The Jewel in Glendale is Forrest Lawn Park, yes it is a cemetery, but there is so much more there. A few months ago it was just a walk in the park, this time with the Historical society it was a chance to see some of the mosaics as well as the glass workshop.

We met in the Church of the Flowers, the first structure that Dr. Eaton built here. It is based on an old Church in England.Inside is this beautiful stain glass based on one that is in another church in England. It’s called Tree of Life and is about as traditional as one can get.I don’t know what the elephant represents, but I do like him.

Erin and Sandy from Atlas Obscura were there, which was fun to see fellow explorers I hadn’t seen in a while.Fergus came in especially on Saturday to explain to us how stained glass is restored after 100 years.Here is the restored panel in progress. These nails are horse-shoe nails, because they are flat they hold the glass in place without cracking it.Scoring and cutting the glass.Love this sign.Then it was on to the Great Mausoleum. One thing I have to commend Dr. Eaton for, he wanted to bring art to LA back in the early 20th century. His idea of art was often replicas of the great art of Europe, so there are copies of Michaelangelo’s statues such as Moses and the Pieta. Not the same scale, not the same, but at a time when few people could travel and images weren’t prolific like they are today, it was a nice endeavor.I just got a book about Gladding McBean and their decorative pottery. I don’t know if they made these or the local firm Tropico – that was latter acquired by them. I love the little details, which tells me this is ceramic and not carved into stone or concrete.Like all museums, a lot of objects are in storage. This was brought out to share with the group.  This is The Coronation of Mary as Queen of Heaven.  Made by a German Company, it part of a church in Buffalo NY which no longer stands.The gold robes are beautiful, really look like gold, although I think it was just yellow glass and paint.

There is an actual museum up at the top of the hill. Next month they are hosting an exhibit of FIFA, yes soccer-related items. Go figure, or better yet, just go visit, it’s free.



After my downtown tour, I had lunch here, yes the falafel was good. I’m sharing the image because in the 1980’s all the food stalls in Grand Central Market were made out of neon. Most of the newer stalls are following that tradition, I’m not sure if it is a requirement or not.

After that it was time to visit the Museum of Neon Art in Glendale.  I had gone on the Neon bus tour a few years ago, wonderful thing to do if you are in the LA area in the summer. During the day, the diving beauty shines, but no as much as she would at night.I don’t know if this installation lights up at night. Neon is a technology that became quite popular in the early 20th century in advertising.  All of the signs in the exhibit have come from buildings that are no longer around. I’m glad there are people out there who are saving these artifacts.

This is the sign from the Chinese Theater in Hollywood. There were two of these marquees, put up in 1957, they came down in 2001.  Thank God one was saved and was repaired back to good working condition.The orange-red is the color you get with neon gas. The blue comes from Argon gas. Using phosphates is how you manipulate these two into other colors.I had to take a selfie! I don’t quite understand these pop up museums that are just Instagram opportunities. The Neon Museum has a purpose, to educate and to share an art form that almost died. It wasn’t easy getting this sequence on my camera! This is one of the fun things about neon, the stop action motion. This is a very funny advertisement for a bar.Neon really is art, I do enjoy the creativity of the designers. Bars, peep shows, and motels, don’t forget the motels! Eric (a fellow conservancy docent who leads some of the Neon Bus tours) was there and was telling me that he could tell back in 2017 that the economy was roaring back, because so many old motels are being torn down for modern development. The museum tries to get the signage, but that is not always possible.There is a poster with images of motels around the country. This one caught my eye! The motel is no longer there, but look what I found a block away!The Carlton Motor Lodge, another Art Deco motel. Btw, the word motel is the combination of the word motor and hotel, the first of these was in San Luis Obispo. Clearly, this one is using the words motor Lodge instead. I don’t know if the neon sign still works.The blade sign is newer. I do like the Atomic Age star on the top. I hope this survives a while longer!




Columbia Memorial Space center

For a number of years now I have been enjoying event set up by Atlas Obscura. There is so much to explore in the LA area, I’m just scratching the surface.

Years ago I had been on another tour in south LA and it was mentioned that the whole space program, as in building the Capsules, rockets and shuttles happened here. So I signed up for this tour in Downey.In an area, the size of Disneyland was the birthplace of American Space exploration. Today, there is a hospital, large sports facility and a huge outdoor shopping mall. Oh and this little museum.All of the Apollos and the shuttles were built here. This one, sitting outside was the first to leave the atmosphere and come back intact.Here is Bill, the head of this museum. He is showing us a very important artifact, this is the coupling mechanism for the Apollo. I can’t explain it all, but somehow, this small device is what allowed the space program to jettison the boosters while leaving earths atmosphere, while being able to come back again. As I said, I can’t explain it, it’s a small thing thing that made a very big difference.

The LA area is the birthplace of a lot of the aerospace industry, during WWII this facility was busy cranking out airplanes. Afterwards, the push was to explore rockets and then space travel.

By the 1980s’ the space exploration industry was in major decline. It’s hard to describe how the death of this industry had such a massive effect on the region, hundreds of thousands of jobs gone over night. So by the year 2000 this museum was in the planning stages. Once the Columbia was lost in 2003, the Federal government designated this site as the official Federal memorial to the Columbia. The Columbia first flew in in 1981, had 28 missions and in 2003 the tragic end over Texas, killing all seven astronauts.

This image is of one of the successful liftoffs. It is made out of thousands of images of that last crew of seven who didn’t make it back. An image of the crew, which included an Indian woman and the famed Israeli pilot, Ilan Ramon.Of course, I have a special place in my heart for a fellow Israeli who flew this mission. He was part of the mission in the 1980s who bombed the nuclear reactor in Iraq. The world condemned Israel no end for that, although in private, I’m sure the world sighed a sigh of relief.  Condemning Israel for anything is what the world does.  Then, years later, one of his sons’ was killed while training with the Israeli air force. Life has not been kind to his wife, Rona.This museum is a hands-on location that is great for children, they have a robotics lab, they have all kinds of things to do. There is a real gap, these days kids don’t care much about space exploration, it’s just not in the conscientiousness of this generation. That is what happens when the world turns it’s attention to other pursuits. These days, it’s SpaceX and Space Virgin, private companies that are exploring opportunities.  The government is too busy wasting money on anything else it can. Not that space exploration is a waste, but most government spending these days is.Joel by the suit.Me in the suit, well, I’m not suited up, there is a ladder in the back. It’s just a photo op.Snoopy the Astrobeagle became a mascot for NASA. Oh and that table? I just got the corner of it, but this is a very large conference table that was used here at the facility. In the movie Apollo 11, the table is in Houston, but in reality, it was in Downey. When the trouble started on the capsule, all the info about the Apollo 11 was poured out on this table and the engineers who had worked on actual capsule put their heads together and came up with the solutions that Houston passed on the guys up in space.

Oh, and manned missions to Mars aren’t happening anytime soon. It’s not the money (well, that is part of it), it’s the radiation. The manned missions to the moon were exposed to radation for almost two weeks – and came back still healthy. The mission to Mars would be months – that amount of radiation is a death sentence to any human. Which is why JPL is doing all those unmanned missions. Who knows if at some point someone solves the radiation problem in space.


A very busy weekend

Spring has sprung, everywhere the flowers are showing off. Look at these bearded irises! After a few years, my irises have died, I think I need to get some more. I know, the blooms are short-lived, but they are so worth it.Don’t know what this is, but boy do I love the bright orange.California poppy is popping, especially at the Theodore Payne Foundation for native California plants. Every spring they have a sale, it’s been years, so I went. I bought this fellow there years ago and it’s a large bush now.They have garden tours, it was too busy today for that.This is a great place for any kind of information about native plants.$80 for this cactus, must be rare.I came home with a few penstemons, they will have beautiful blue-purple flowers and should bloom for a few months. That is unusual with natives, most have a burst of flowers and then that’s it. If all goes well, next year I’ll add more natives to the garden, since my garden is a little sad these days. The the next day, I grabbed a friend and we went on the Pasadena Historical society home and garden tour. No photos allowed except from the curb. I understand that. Sometimes it’s about the experience without the photos. So here is an amazing Mid Century, it’s hard to see, but there is a glass bridge that connects the two sides of the house. Oh and the wife does a lot of mosaics!A 1908 farm house. Today there is a small nursery in the back, all this on a rather busy street.The McNally Mansion in Altadena is up for sale! Built in 1887 it was a rea treat. They still have gas chandeliers!Although this view is from the curb and today is used as the front, this is actually the back of the house. The house just went on the market! It is a historical home, so it can’t be torn down, what a gem! Well worth the visit, which is why I love these tours.


Bach at Union Station

Since 2010 Bach in Subways happens every March around Bach’s birthday. For the last few year Union Station in Downtown LA hosts a day-long event.

So it was time to grab Joel, hop on the subway all the way to the end of the line and enjoy free classical music in the beautiful 77-year-old Union Station building in downtown LA.The station was packed with people, some traveling and many others, like us, there to enjoy the music.333 years is a long time, the balloons were decorating the station, both inside and out.Oh look! There is a paper mache Bach!Someone with a Bach bag.

How about some actual music.

And some dance.

No, I cannot explain this Vaccaro with his stuffed pheasant, all I can say is, they both enjoyed the concert.No explanation for this tiger head either. It’s LA.This gorgeous half dome is atop the Patsaouras Plaza in Union Station, a newer addition to the complex.Kids from all over Los Angeles are learning music through the Harmony project and what great musicians they are.After some music, we went for a walk, a huge limousine pulled up in front, not sure if they were there for Bach or not.

We walked up through the Old Plaza where Mexican music was playing, took a look at the old Church and then down through Overa St. Joel remarked that he wonders when we are getting back on the cruise ship. These excursions can feel like a vacation.Past Chinatown to the new park at the old cornfield. Today it is Los Angeles State historic park. It needs to grow into itself, but it is lovely to have this park in a dense part of north Chinatown. People were enjoying the park and I had to get a picture of City Hall.

Then we walked through a very tight busy Chinese market, the counterpart to Olvera st. On t0 Phillipe, 110 years old and still serving the best French dip sandwiches.This time I even treated myself to banana cream pie, with real bananas. Then back through Union Station, where the finale concert was taking place in the old Ticket concourse. Down to the subway and home.

Have I mentioned that I love Los Angeles?





Birthday celebration

I know, my birthday was almost a month ago but the celebrations continue. Friends took me to lunch and gave me the perfect gift.I sat down with a nice cup of tea and drooled, thinking of all the things I want to make. Then I put a pattern to good use.I’ve been concerned that the light blue ring doesn’t really stand out. So, add some applique. I modified the pattern some, but just by removing some elements. This also gave me the chance to practice some more with my Appliquick tools. I am getting better!

Then it was time to go for a lovely birthday dinner with Joel. I wanted to go to the new Nomad hotel, but the menu in the restaurant was very small. So we went to Redbird instead.

We arrived early and found street parking in Little Tokyo! Unheard of!There are so many new apartment buildings, Little Tokyo is hopping. This mural over a parking lot really grabbed me. I think I have a thing for birds these days. Not to mention that it looks like embroidery, cross stitch and all.I think they prefer this cat in this neighborhood.That looks like the Challenger, lets go take a closer look. Indeed it is a memorial to one of the astronauts. Although I was in Israel at the time, this disaster was very big news. We all heard about Christa Mcauliffe, the teacher from New Hampshire. The Japanese American community has not forgotten, I am grateful for that.  We don’t hear much about this community because they overcame the indignation and horror of internment during WWII by president Roosevelt, and went on to build good meaningful lives. One of them was Elison S. Onizuka, I’m sorry he died when he did, I’m glad his community honors him.Redbird is in the rectory of St. Vibiana. You can see the new apartment block in the background, the whole neighborhood is filling up with these. St. Vibiana is the original Cathedral in Los Angeles. Once the new Cathedral was built, there was nothing holy or consecrated about this building. It almost faced demolition and these days serves as an event center.I wish we had more address signs like this. Beautiful.

Dinner was amazing, well worth it and perfect for a birthday celebration. I couldn’t resist pulling out my phone when dessert arrived.A very upscale homemade smores, with marshmallow ice cream, decadent and amazing.Yup, very very happy with my birthday.


The Freehand hotel

Another old commercial building that was turned into a hipster hotel.Looking at the website, I see there is a pool on the roof, but I didn’t go up there. Of course, I love all these cool details. The tile floor, the tile around the windows, the wonderful archway. The lobby is small, yet mighty.  Where Nomad used exuberant colors, things here are quiet and subdued, yet no less beautiful.The Bar! I have no doubt that all the tile work here is new since this used to be the lobby of an office building. How wonderful that the designer makes the new loos so old. Not just the tile, all that woodwork!From inside looking out at 8th st.This chair! I don’t know how comfortable it is. But the workmanship. There were at least two of these. Once again, I don’t know if the tile on the floor is original or not. I am in love with all the textures here.It feels like a British colonial club in India. Pay attention to the sign across the street, that intrigued me.If I just posted this image, you’d say, San Francisco. I do not know if the upstairs are still a hotel. The Golden Gopher is a modern take on the dive bar. Created in 2004, although the website does say that Teddy Roosevelt bought this building and had a bar here in 1905. Who knows?Right next door to the Golden Gopher is another old building. Hotel Bristol, which is no longer a hotel but low-income housing. What that means in LA, is newly arrived wanna be actors live here. This is what happens in LA, cheap, low-income housing doesn’t go to the low-income non descript workers in this city. It goes to the hipsters. I guess that is just how the market works in this city.  It’s not like we don’t have options, it’s just a question of who gets those living spaces.



The Huntington

I probably have at least on post a year showcasing the Huntington Gardens. It’s such a blessing to have this so close to home. It’s also great to have a friend with membership so we went together and just walked around, enjoying the beauty. Many of the cacti and succulents are blooming, often in orange. These wonderful South African flowers are blooming. These are Protea, they grow very well in Southern California, we have the same climate.The cactus garden here is amazing. 40 years ago, when I visited for the first time, it was one big mess. They got control of it again and it is stunning. Some of the aloe are really huge.It had rained in the morning, we still have these gorgeous clouds in the sky.  It was Valentines Day, couples were out enjoying the beautiful day. How cute is this? This comes from the anime world. Dressing up in cute dresses, looking like a baby doll. It would be fun to make a dress for someone like this.Some people were busy working, three people on one bonsai bush.Chinese lanterns for the Chinese New year are still hanging around the garden.Looking down on the Japanese garden, what a view!A lizard grabbing some rays.

Speaking of Ray, we had a cup of coffee and talked quilting. A young woman approached, she works for Hoffman Fabrics. She is the daughter of Helen from SewkindofWonderul. So we proudly showed off pictures of quilts we both have made from their patterns. Chatted about the textile industry (oy!). And told her and her husband to enjoy a wonderful day. Through Instagram I got in touch with Helen and we both had a laugh about the small world story.



Nomad Hotel

I gave a tour downtown. Here’s some advice nobody wants. If you have trouble walking and rely heavily on a cane, please do not come to a walking tour that is over a mile long, includes hills and many stairs.  I had an organized group from Orange CA, three people could hardly walk. I felt very sorry for the other tour-goers, I couldn’t abandon the slow walkers, so the tour was very truncated. At the end, I left them at the Bradbury Bldg, they were to walk another 3 blocks to Cliftons, I noticed that the three stragglers were left behind, no-one cared to walk slowly anymore.

I rewarded myself by checking out some new hotels downtown.The Giannini building was built for the headquarters of the Bank of Italy back in the 1920s. It stood vacant for years. then it was purchased and turned into a luxury hotel. A few months ago, I was watching an episode of NCIS Los Angeles, and a murder occurred in the LA Athletic Club, which is right across the street, since this building was still under construction, they got permission to film in one of the rooms, abandoned and empty. I love it when I figure these things out.The building is an example of Beaux Arts, a beautiful example.I am so grateful that none of the exterior details were destroyed during the years of abandonment.I’m sure all the terra-cotta is from Gladding McBean. I don’t know who made the metal work, but I see it all over downtown.The side entrance is small, it’s easier for cars to stop on Olive St. rather than 7th. So the Valet is here.The lobby, in all it’s glory!  So many details are original. The furnishings are new and gorgeous. I want all those lush textiles!There is a bar and restaurant in the lobby, the place was full. Always look up!I so want this chair! The guys’ hat just adds to the colorfulness of it all.Right next door is the Whiskey Bar, Seven Grand, I bet their business has improved as well. Across the Street in Bottega Louie, 7th st is one of the liveliest streets downtown.

Even the Broad Tower, the tallest building downtown shines over 7th st. To be honest, It shines over everything.

In another post, another hotel.


Santa Monica Airport

If you can’t beat them, join them.

My son lives under the path flight of Santa Monica Airport. There are many reasons not to be happy about that, but until they supposedly close it down, you live with it. So recently he told me about the observation deck. If you can’t beat them, join them. So Cam and I went to pay a visit.There may be a few commercial flights. Most of the planes are private. Also, most of the people who live under the flight path are in LA, no Santa Monica, so really Santa Monica doesn’t care.Here we are, up on the deck, feet away from the runway. I met a nice young man who was so enthusiastic about airplanes and airports. It was a pleasure talking to him, he knew the whole history of this airstrip.This plane idled for a while before getting the ok to take off. The command tower is broadcast from speakers, so it’s the whole experience.Here is it, getting ready to take off.Coming in for a landing!Across the runway is the terminal. How iconic is this picture?  Palm trees and a clear sky in February.A lot of wealthy people store their planes here. Some clearly aren’t quite in working condition. There are plenty of businesses here that cater to the small airplanes.

I think I was much more interested than Cam. This is what he really wanted to do. Luckily for us, this little park is right next to the airport, on city land. a perfect way to end the day.