Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Cow in the Living Room

"I want to get you some flowers to go with your cow in the living room", she said as we walked into Trader Joe's.

"I have a cow in the living room?", I asked, puzzled.

"Yes", she replied, "The one in your window".

Aaaah, mystery solved. 
 So after cracking the whip and making Orlando Grandma climb the hilly trails of Griffith Park yesterday, she still wanted to get me these pretty sunflowers when we stopped on our way home.

So pretty. Such a bright spot in the room. And, yes, they go perfectly with my cow in the living room.

Thank you Orlando Grandma!

Special Note to readers:  Orlando Gma is quite the walker and I was so impressed that she just wanted to "keep going!" everytime we asked if we'd gone far enough. I think she's thinking of taking up rock climbing next...

Monday, November 26, 2012

Orlando Grandma's Visit So Far...

We took it easy on her the first week....

See that cocky stance as she crested a very severe incline during a hike with me and The Maven? Incredible!

but watch out - she's rested and acclimated to the new time zone and has one more week to go.  But that's a story for the next week.

Here's a little peek at what Orlando Grandma's first week looked like:

The Maven helped her get her Nook straightened out.

She met Stanley, our Canine Grandson - her Canine Great-GS?

We had Thanksgiving dinner out on the patio, SoCal style!

Stan and The Bostons supervised.


Mr. T and Stan rested...

But we eventually did an after Thanksgiving dinner hike around this area:

Porter Ranch, not far from where we live.

Mr. T had to be a drama queen:

This was actually the end of a road which continued across the gulch/ravine/crevice/gorge.  We came to the conclusion that there had been a bridge at one time that was destroyed during the Northridge earthquake.


Orlando Gma and I went to The Mission in the Valley, right here in San Fernando Valley - 10 minutes from our house!

We spent about 2 hours doing a self-guided tour...

...enjoying the beautiful grounds and genius reconstruction, as well as many historical relics. A worthwhile trip if you are in the area.  Next Mission in our sights may be the next one North in Ventura.

We were pleased and surprised to see a garden dedicated to the late Bob Hope and his wife, Dolores.
They were great supporters of this particular mission which is now their final resting place...


Mr. T and I took her for a ride in the Hollywood Hills and stopped for this view of the valley.

We are somewhere out there at the base of those mountains in the distance!


Of course, no trip onto Hollywood Blvd is complete without a stop at Graumann's Chinese Theater.

Friday night - it was packed and it was hard to take pictures, but I snapped a few.
This one was for me!

Even captured two celebrities on camera - Mr. T and his Momma!

This one was for Grandma...

This upside down one is for our local Twihard, The Maven.

Lots to see along Hollywood Blvd...

Gazing at the Hollywood sign from the Dolby Theater - formerly The Kodak Theater.

There it is!


We wanted to take in a movie and went to a fancy theater in Hollywood where we were treated to a beautiful rooftop sunset...

When we exited the theater and returned to our car on the rooftop a fog had rolled in and we couldn't see past that building in the foreground.

But we did catch a glimpse of Anderson's workplace as we walked towards the elevator.

We entered the very fancy Hollywood movie theater and Orlando Grandma insisted her picture be taken with her favorite leading man...

But this is actually what we saw...

...and enjoyed very much.  Three thumbs up from TBL, Mr. T and Orlando G-ma.

(I will mention that on Saturday, G-ma and I ventured to Pasadena.  She enjoyed the beautiful views on the drive.  We visited an antique mall and walked around the shopping/dining district. Because I had been to a wonderful restaurant with a fellow blogger, we hit that place and had a tasty lunch - thank you Lisa! - and then drove back through that same scenic highway)


Today...Sunday we ventured to Venice Beach so Grandma could take in the unique atmosphere and sights to be seen there.

Took only one picture, which pretty much sums up the Venice Beach Vibe:

Man playing piano - very well - with pretty kitty sitting atop his instrument.
Cool Cats.

This upcoming week promises the following so far:

The Getty Center
Griffith Park
The Grove
...Who Knows!!!!

Everyone have a great week!
I look forward to catching up with my bloggy friends when Orlando Grandma slows down and takes a nap!  It's hard to keep a good woman down!

Having fun and hoping all of my good friends are too.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

A Shared Day This Year

This year my father's birthday falls on the same day as Thanksgiving.  That happened often during his lifetime, I'm sure.  How nice to have your birthday around the time when your family was most likely to be all together.

He's been gone nine years now, but we think and talk about him often.

Interestingly enough as we were packing for our move to our new home, Mr. Tennis came across this:

A card given to us by my parents. My dad wrote the note and he and my mother both signed it.
At first I thought it was to wish us well when we bought the house we just left in Orlando, but then I saw my father's little drawing down in the corner of his parakeet, Bleu. (Of course my father, loving all things French had to spell his budgie's name in French).

I realized then that this was actually a card wishing us well in our very first home we bought as newlyweds in 1982.  Somehow Mr. T had put it into his files and then rediscovered it as he packed up his office.

How appropriate that we would find it as we prepared for one of our biggest adventures and arrival at our new home.  It made me feel that my parents were smiling down on us and rooting for us, just as they did all our married life.

Happy Birthday to my father and Happy Thanksgiving to the rest of our family and all our friends, old and new.  I am thankful for you all.

Monday, November 19, 2012

How Did Pa and Laura Do It?

I feel very fortunate to have a working fireplace in our rental here.  As an adult I haven't lived in a house with a fireplace and it takes me back to my childhood.  Our fireplace was in the den of our house in Toronto and I spent many a Sunday night in front of it watching the flames dance and the cinders pop.  

My dad had come up with a way to use our old newspapers which I have always thought was unique, but maybe that's what everyone did in to late 1960s.  He would save our newpapers throughout the week and then we would roll them into "logs" and secure them with old electrical wire.  Don't ask me why we used old electrical wire, that's just what I remember.  These newspaper logs supplemented whatever wooden logs we had to burn - again, I don't even know where THOSE came from, but remember I was just a kid...

Fast forward to present day.
I was sitting in front of the fireplace tonight, in our rental, and reflecting on my Sunday fires as a child and then further reflecting on a beloved literary and television series.

I watched "Little House on the Prairie"  on TV growing up, 

but it wasn't until my daughter, The Maven was around and old enough to read/reflect on what was read to her that I really understood, to some extent, what those brave prairie folk went through.

As I sat there tonight watching the logs burn, I remembered reading "The Long Winter" with The Maven.  Pa and Laura would twist straw day and night to feed the fire that not only kept them warm, but was the source by which they cooked.

How much straw they must have twisted day after day.  I watched our logs burn quite quickly in the dry air and can only imagine how quickly that twisted straw burned.

So, I start my week with more than my fair share of things to be thankful for:

I don't have to depend on fire for my heat and cooking.
I'm living in a pretty nice house with all the bells and whistles compared to Laura.
I don't have to twist straw to be warm or cook a meal.
I have the warm memory of those fires in my father's den on Sunday nights.
I have another warm memory of sharing The Little House series with my daughter, both the books and the television show via reruns. (She just asked me today - "how did I see that television show while we were reading those books when you had already seen that show when you were growing up?")
Ah, the magic of tv and thank goodness for the sense of some television executives to save and then broadcast a quality television show for the next few generations to learn from and also enjoy.

I am most thankful for the love of my family and for the many friends I left behind when we moved.  They are all still very close in our hearts everyday.  

Call me a throw back, if you must.
You go, Half-Pint!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

There's Treasures in Them Thar Hills!

The hills of Bel Aire and Hollywood that is.

The last couple of weekends I have expanded my explorations and estate sale shenanigans to include some pretty fancy zip codes in LA County.

I didn't take a lot of pictures while on the road because, well, they were so winding and hilly that it took all I had just to steer and listen to GPS lady.  Thank goodness for her, by the way - I never would have found some of these sales tucked away in these beautiful hills.

I found a supermarket at the top of one hill and stopped in the parking lot and took these pictures.  

Then I finally found one of the destinations and parked after several attempts and keeping in mind my studies from getting my driver's license (which hasn't come yet - frustration).  "When parking on an incline/decline, which way should your front wheels point?  Towards the curb, or away from the curb?  And what if there is no curb?"

I finally parked uphill with wheels pointed  away from the curb and the emergency brake on.

Now I expected high, high prices at some of these estate sales and I wasn't wrong.  However, I did find some fun finds within my budget.

These unique stacking baskets that look quite nice in our living room and will be welcome extra storage.

I had picked up these two pretty king size pillow cases at that same sale. Not vintage or old, but pretty and they will either be used by us or turned into something different.

I did go to one sale in Beverly Hills. At a huge old mansion.  I really wanted to just see the inside of this beautiful home because I knew the prices would be very high.  We were limited to three rooms and were filmed on security cameras the entire time.  Nothing was marked with a price - if you have to ask...  
Lots of beautiful linens, lace, art and collectibles from people who traveled extensively.

I had very good luck the weekend before when The Maven and I got entangled somewhere (only the GPS lady knows!) in another beautiful neighborhood in "the hills".

I have been wanting something in my office that I could use as a magnetic board for notes, etc.  I found this really nice enamel tray that works perfectly.

I need to neaten up my space a bit and this will help me keep stray pieces of paper in view.

Good thing The Maven was with me because I needed help to carry out the other item we found at this sale.

The little booklet says "1933" as the date of publication,

 so I am assuming that this old sewing machine comes from that era.

Love the drawings, and I will need all the instruction I can get!

I tested it out to make sure it works and it does.

It will serve a dual-purpose as a nice side table when closed up.

And as a basic sewing machine that I can do some projects on until I decide what I will do ultimately with the machine - keep or sell eventually.

I guess I better start practicing.  It's been quite awhile since I've used a sewing machine.  

I think my first project will be some simple pillow covers.

This weekend I will be getting ready for our first visitor, Orlando Grandma!
She will be here next week and I can't wait to show her some of the wonderful places we've discovered in our first couple of months in our new home.

Have a great weekend!

Monday, November 12, 2012

La Cage Aux Folles

I've been wanting an old birdcage for quite awhile.  
For a bird you ask?
Of course not.
To fool around with and use as a decorative item for the seasons,
or as a planter or to burn candles in.
 (An incorrectly structured sentence that one is, for sure)

A bird!

Mr. T and The Writer just shook their heads when I came home from a Swapmeet with an empty birdcage. The Maven was with me when I spotted it at one of the booths, knew I had been looking for one and therefore wasn't surprised at the lightning speed at which I snapped it up.  I had about six people ask me where I got it from as I walked around the rest of the swapmeet - and they knowingly commented, "you aren't going to put a bird in it, are you..."

So, here's what I finally came up with after letting it sit empty for awhile.

Leaves are falling like crazy around here.  Gathered up some of those.
A few pretty sprigs of berries from a bush in the backyard.

A piece of driftwood I had from a Florida beach excursion.

A little wooden replica of a church door, that was my dad's.

An small, empty white frame because, why not? Plus it adds some lightness to the scene.

Added some votive holders - made sure none of the wood, berries, leaves would catch on fire and...

.... my touch of autumn - caged.

It looks better inside, in the evening - I think.

Decided I didn't like it by the fireplace, where I had envisioned it.

Mr. T could finally see what I had in mind. 

Not sure if he actually "gets it", but he plays it smart and says he thinks it looks nice.  

Me too.  
After Thanksgiving I can come up with a "Cagey Christmas".

I have been taking advantage of my GPS the last few Saturdays and have been visiting various areas in Los Angeles as I attend some fascinating estate sales. It's a good way to see new areas, check out some nice homes and learn my way around a bit.  

Here's a picture of one of the views I saw this past weekend - Bel Aire.

I hope to share some of my fun finds this week.
Don't worry.
No more bird cages.