Saturday, January 31, 2009

Apples to Apples

There is a great game that is out (probably been out for awhile but I was just introduced to it). The game is called "Apples to Apples". We played the game at a dinner party during the Christmas holidays at our friend Holly's house. It was really alot of fun. If you haven't tried this game, give it a try. It's easy and simple and great laughs. There are a couple of versions. We used the Green boxed version.

Each player is dealt seven "red apple" cards; on each is printed a
noun or noun phrase (such as "Madonna", "Canada", "The Spanish Inquisition", "Michael Jackson", etc.).
The judge (a chosen player) draws a "green apple" card on which is printed an
adjective ("scary", "frightening", "patriotic", etc.), and places it face-up on the table. From amongst their red-apple cards, each player (except the judge) chooses a card that they think is the best match for the green apple card, and places it face-down. The judge shuffles the red apple cards, reads them aloud and decides which noun is the best match for the adjective. The player who submitted that red apple card wins the round, and takes the green apple card to signify the win. All players then draw red cards until they have seven again, and the role of "judge" may pass to another person (generally going to the next player in line.)

Friday, January 30, 2009

Hillmancurtis Films

HILLMANCURTIS: SHORT FILM: CIRCLES latest short film, Circles, was shot early fall '08 in designer James Victore's Brooklyn studio and features Michael Goduti (Sopranos, Law and Order), Sid Hillman (Men in Black, Arlington Road, Ghost World), and Laura Victore.We've also recently completed a short film on the American artist Jim Dine, for the Getty Villa and a series of silent Obama ads for ObamaMinute that played on a four story jumbotron in Times Square.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Going away for the weekend

We're joining some slowtravel friends for a nice weekend get-away to Paso Robles. This is called the annual "slowbowl gtg/get-to-gether" but I don't think we will be watching the superbowl. There will be big potluck dinners on Friday and Saturday nights. Friday is the "lasagna smack-down". You can be sure there will be lots of great food and plenty of wine and of course laughter among about 45 slowtravellers.Two of the wineries we will be visiting are Midnight Cellars and Jada Vineyards. There are other wineries on the agenda as well Adelaida Cellars and Castoro. The slowtravel friends are coming from Canada, Missouri, Boston, Seattle, the Bay area and many more places far and near. I will hopefully be posting about this weekend in the upcoming days as well as telling you about "slow travel". Meanwhile I have pre-written a few posts to be automatically published while I am gone. I hope this works. Have a great weekend everyone!

Useful rusty old tools

"It's funny: I always imagined when I was a kid that adults had some kind of inner toolbox, full of shiny tools:

The saw of discernment,
the hammer of wisdom,
the sandpaper of patience.

But then when I grew up I found that life handed you these rusty, bent old tools-


- and said, "Do the best you can with these, they will have to do. And mostly, against all odds, they're enough."
-from "Travelling Mercies" by Anne Lamott

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Listen for the Whisper

Fairhaven path images via the web
Fairhaven leaves

"We spend most of our time and energy in a kind of horizontal thinking
We move along the surface of things
but there are times
when we stop
We sit still
We lose ourselves in a pile of leaves
or its memory
We listen
and breezes from a whole other world begin to whisper."
-James Carroll

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Monday, January 26, 2009

7 Legged Spider

"David Thorne tries to pay an overdue account with a spider drawing. This blog post was hysterical! Check it out for yourself. His site is called 27b/6. The spider featured here is David's own work and was auctioned on Ebay. Have fun reading and don't spit out your coffee "

This is a hilarious post. I hope it gives you a good morning chuckle.
The above was posted on the blog:

Sunday, January 25, 2009

24 Tips for a Better Life


Subject: 24 TIPS FOR A BETTER LIFE - 2009

1. Take a 10-30 minute walk every day. And while you walk, smile. It is the ultimate anti-depressant.

2. Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day. Buy a lock if you have to.

3. When you wake up in the morning complete the following statement,
'My purpose is to __________ today.'

4. Eat more foods that grow on trees and plants and eat less food that is manufactured in plants.

5. Drink green tea and plenty of water. Eat blueberries, wild Alaskan salmon, broccoli, almonds & walnuts.

6. Try to make at least three people smile each day.

7. Don't waste your precious energy on gossip, energy vampires, issues of the past, negative thoughts or things you cannot control.
Instead invest your energy in the positive present moment.

8. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a college kid with a maxed out charge card.

9. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.

10. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.

11. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.

12. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.

13. Make peace with your past so it won't spoil the present.

14. Don't compare your life to others'. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

15. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.

16. Frame every so-called disaster with these words: 'In five years, will this matter ?'

17. Forgive everyone for everything.

18. What other people think of you is none of your business.

19. GOD is able to heal anything.

20. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.

21. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch.

22. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.

23. Each night before you go to bed complete the following statements:
I am thankful for __________. Today I accomplished _________.

24. Remember that you are too blessed to be stressed.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Jumping for Joy

"Enjoy the little things,

for one day you may look back and realize they

were the big things."

-Robert Brault

Friday, January 23, 2009

My French Life

Life is not about waiting for the storms to’s about learning how to dance in the rain.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

It's Everyone's Job

Inauguration day January 20, 2009

Photos courtesy of Marta's blog

"Be the change you want to see in the world"
I'm sorry I cannot be more original with this post but I've borrowed the photos from Marta's blog and the Gandhi quote which slowtraveller Sandi from Whistlestop posted on her blog. Both the visuals and the written word extremely powerful messages. Wonderful and inspiring. I just had to share.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Cool theater in Long Beach

Originally opened in 1924 as the Carter Theatre with 636 seats, an Oriental style and equipped with a pipe organ.Remodeled into an Art Deco style by the architectural firm Schilling & Schilling in 1934 it was renamed Lee Theatre, operating until 1947, when after further remodeling it was renamed Art Theatre. This classic art house cinema was going strong for many years.The Art Theatre closed on March 8th 2008 and was renovated, reopening on August 22, 2008.

Art TheatreLong Beach, CA
2025 E. Fourth Street, Long Beach, CA 90814 United States(map)
Single Screen
Art Moderne
Movies (Foreign), Movies (Independent)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


"The only things that stand between a person and what they want in life are the will to try it, and the faith to believe it's possible." -Rich Devos

"It's choice, not chance, that determines your destiny."

Today history will be made with the inauguration of Barack Obama as our new President.

May the words, "Yes WE CAN!, remind us all what is possible when we pursue a dream."

Monday, January 19, 2009

This is for Kim

One of my slowtravel friends, Kim is going through a series of very tough Chemo treatments for breast cancer. Sometimes when I read her blog I am overcome by how brave she is. She shares her feelings about treatment, having this disease and all the ups and downs that go with this journey. She is so so brave.
Because of Kim's chemo treatments she has lost most of her hair. She posted a recent picture of herself on the blog. The thing is this, even though her hair is mostly gone what you see is her striking smile. She has the biggest most beautiful eyes and her smile could light up a dark night. To me she looks very beautiful even though the hairs on her head are few. On Saturday, I watched a video of my friend John's mom, Chloe discuss her philosophy on life. Chloe was about 88 yrs. old at the time the video was made. The film reflected what a truly "positive" person Chloe was. During the video she told a short story about a woman and her hair. I would like to tell you this story and dedicate it to my friend Kim, another very positive and inspirational person, a champion surivivor! This one's for you Kim.

One day a woman woke up and looked in the mirror. There were only 3 strands of hair on the top of her head. Ooooh she said, " I wonder how I should comb my hair today?" "Well, I think I will take those 3 hairs and "braid" them!."
The next day the woman woke up and looked in the mirror. On that day there were only 2 strands of hair. "Well she said, "I think I should part them in the middle". On the third day she woke up and there was but a single strand of hair on her head. She said, "Well, I guess I'll wear a pony tail today!" On the fourth day she woke up and she was completely bald. She looked in the mirror and said, "Well today I don't have to worry about how to wear my hair!"

Sometimes things happen to us that we cannot control. Perhaps one way to make those times a bit more tolerable is to try to find the positives as best as we can and to build on that foundation for our strength and survival.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

I Am Not A Pole Dancer

Dear Mrs. Jones,

I wish to clarify that I am not now, nor have I ever been, an exotic dancer. I work at Home Depot and I told Sarah how hectic it was last week before the blizzard hit. I told her we sold out every single shovel we had. Then I found one more in the back room, and several people were fighting over who would get it.

Sarah’s picture does NOT show me dancing around a pole. It's supposed to depict me selling the last snow shovel we had at Home Depot. From now on I will remember to check her homework more thoroughly before she turns it in.

Mrs. Smith

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Had Your Feet Massaged Lately?

In the last six months we've discovered some mysteries in the San Gabriel Valley/Monterey Park areas of Los Angeles. If you drive around you will find "Foot Massage" spas popping up on almost every other block. Something like the "Nail/Manicure salon" phenomenon. The little quiet store fronts usually have the prices posted and maybe some kind of signage or a sign that is flashing "OPEN". My sister-in-law first told us about her experiences and said they were good massages and cheap. "Cheap? How Cheap?", we asked. Well, most are $15.00-$20.00 (not including tip) for one hour. This is what happens. You walk in they seat you in a comfortable lounge chair. There are maybe two or three rows of three or more lounge chairs per row. The ambiance can vary but it's normally lit dimly. You are seated fully clothed but you'll need to roll up your pant legs above your knees. They bring you a small wooden bucket filled with warm water to soak your feet. Some places bring you water or hot tea. In the next hour you will not only get your feet and legs massaged but you will get your shoulders, arms, back, neck, head massaged as well. You can determine how intense your massage is. For instance, my sister really likes a deep tissue "hard" massage. I'm the opposite. I only want a gentle, put me to sleep, "don't hurt me at all" relaxing massage. They will abide by your wishes, though I think some of the attendants may not speak english very well. Someone there usually can translate. I've only had two very different experiences. The first one was really odd though the massage was great. This is what happened. My sister and my two cousins and I walked in. I had called to make the appts. ahead of time though you can just walk in as well. We were all seated in the same room but a t.v. was on. This was the middle of the morning and the program was "Jerry Springer". We four were the only customers. At one point this program was driving us all crazy. My sister was sitting next to me and whispered, "Something is very wrong with this picture...Jerry Springer and a massage just doesn't work for me!" We felt like laughing out loud. Finally one of us asked to have the tv turned off. "No Problem" ...aah much better.

The second experience took place last week in the San Gabriel valley/Alhambra area. My sister had invited our friend that lives in the San Fernando Valley to join her for Dim Sum lunch and then the foot spa massage. Our friend also brought her daughter and I joined in as well. The atmosphere was much nicer at this place. Soft music was playing and twinkling holiday lights softly lit up the room. I must admit this is much different from our spa days at Burke Williams so if you are expecting that kind of ambiance you will not find it. But if you want a pretty good massage you can't beat the price and it's kinda fun to do this with a group of friends for a girl's day out. I'd suggest doing a peek through the door at the many foot spas in the area and find one that appeals to you. If you're out exploring these possibilities you will also have a great chance to sample some interesting ethnic food. These neighborhoods (try Valley blvd. or Main street/turns into Las Tunas Ave. in the cities of Alhambra to San Gabriel ) are full of Chinese noodle houses, Vietnamese and Thai restaurants and many other interesting looking places. It's really a nice adventure. Our friend from the valley loved it and said she was coming back and bringing her husband so guys you can consider this too.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Don't Worry, Be Happy

"Courage does not always roar

Sometimes it is a quiet voice

at the end of the day, saying...

"I will try again tomorrow."

-Mary Anne Radmacher

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Huntington Library

Japanese Gardens at the Huntington Library

The Huntington, in partnership with The Gamble House, USC, presents the most comprehensive exhibition ever undertaken on the work of Arts and Crafts legends Charles Sumner Greene and Henry Mather Greene — the first such exhibition to travel outside of California.

“A ‘New and Native’ Beauty: The Art and Craft of Greene & Greene” will be on view from Oct. 18 through Jan. 26, 2009, in the MaryLou and George Boone Gallery at The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. It then travels to the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Renwick Gallery in Washington, D.C. (March 13– June 7, 2009), and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (July 14–Oct. 18, 2009).

Bamboo lines the path to the Meditation Gardens in the Japanese section of the Huntington.

The Gamble House, Pasadena California

The impetus for this special exhibition is the centennial of the Gamble House, a National Historic Landmark in Pasadena and the only one of the Greenes’ works open to the public. The house is also unique in that it retains all of its original furnishings and fixtures designed by the architects. When the Gamble House opened to the public in 1966 (a gift from the family to the city of Pasadena in a joint agreement with USC’s School of Architecture), Charles and Henry’s work had largely been forgotten. But 1966 provided a pivotal moment for their legacy with the passing of the National Historic Preservation Act. Before then, a number of Greene & Greene buildings had been demolished. The act began to bear fruit in the 1970s as communities increasingly began to protect their architectural heritage.

The other day we enjoyed a lovely afternoon visit to the Huntington Library and Gardens. If you are able to tour the Greene and Greene exhibition which ends Jan. 26th you will be rewarded with a wonderful look at the incredible works of these two richly talented architect/craftsmen.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Some Like It HOT

I really like the hot chocolate drink with pepperoncini. The first time I ever had it was in Florence at the Uffizi Cafe. When we couldn't find it at La Terrazza, Aria said I'm going to take you to the "best" place . It's so cute and they will have your pepperoncini for sure. We made our way through all those little streets of Florence to Via del Corso (36/r, tel. 055 21 4247) to "Chiaroscuro Cafe". fyi: This place is open 7:30 a.m.-11:30 p.m. Mon-Wed. and Fri-Sun; 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.Thurs. no credit cards.

Local shoppers, students in the know and YOU will be so pleasantly surprised by the cozy ambiance, good food and great coffee here. The window displays of espresso machines, coffee cups, all kinds of coffees on the billboard outside show that this place is all about coffee. At the back tables beyond the long narrow bar you can have a light lunch, delicious pastries or any of the twenty or so flavored hot chocolates or coffees. On that day after not finding the pepperoncini hot chocolate at La Terrazza we were in front of Chiaroscuro. It looked so cute, like a little Parisian cafe. Aria says, "This is the place that has really GOOD hot chocolate. We weren't hungry but I said, "Want to go in?" She says, "Wow, YES!" We go past the busy bar area to the back. It's still crowded but we are once again lucky and find a nice table against the back corner. The waitress brings us a menu listing all kinds of teas, coffees, and about twenty variations of hot chocolate. (now we're talking) There's hot chocolate with hazelnut, almonds, caramel, and YES they have the spicy one with pepperoncini. We both want that one, plus a small bottle of water to go with this. Note to self "this is an important thing to order". The hot chocolate arrives, thick like syrup with the sprinkled red pepper sitting on the top like someone shook cayenne all around the top. I mix it up but Aria just dips her spoon in and takes a mouthful of chocolate and pepper. "Wow", she said. "That's HOT!" but she smiles and says, "I love it!" ....more water please. We are very happy. The desserts look good and so does the food but that will have to be for another day.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

La Terrazza

"La Terrazza" (The terrace)

I follow a blog by a fellow "slowtraveller" Sandra. Her blog is called, A Journey of a Thousand Miles Begins With ... Too Much Luggage . In one of her recent posts she talked about a familiar place that Aria introduced me to. It's a rooftop cafe called "La Terrazza". This is a small terrace cafe, only about ten small tables or so and it's on the 3rd or 4th floor, can't remember exactly which, in the department store La Rinascente in the heart of Florence. (1 Piazza della Repubblica; 39-055/219-113). It stays open all day. You can get a light lunch up there, soft drinks, wine even. But more important than what you can eat or drink, there is the "view." It is amazing. You get an incredibly close up view of the Duomo on one side of the terrace and from the other side, Piazza della Repubblica looms below. For a much better description of the surrounding area go to Sandra's blog. On the day that Aria and I were there it was a very cold,crisp February morning. The sun was out but our hands felt frozen. I said I wished for a hot chocolate, the kind they serve with red pepper on top. We were lucky because when we got there, there were some open tables. We were a bit unlucky though. They did not serve the peppery kind of hot chocolate I was thinking about. Oh, no matter. It was freezing cold so anything hot would be fine and I needed a cup of anything hot to wrap my hands around. And then of course there was that view. By the way, tuck this in the back of your mind: If you are in Florence in the midst of a hot summer day, Rinascente is a nice air conditioned oasis to pop into while shopping. They also have a convenient free restroom. Always something good to know in any foreign city.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Another MEME

I found this fun meme at Girasoli’s blog She found it at
bleeding espresso. She found it at Yankee in a New World. And so it goes …

1. What are 5 things you were doing ten years ago?
*I was teaching a Special Education Pre-K class full time
*I was taking night classes at the University
* I was driving both girls to school.
*I was a Girl Scout leader
* I was juggling far too many things in my life.

2. What are 5 things on your to do list for today?
*Drive Matthew to an interview at LAUSC

*Visit the my dad in the morning

* Have lunch with Matt and Athena

* Tour Huntington Gardens in San Marino in the afternoon
*Call my brother
3. What are your 5 favorite snacks?
*Chex mix spicy

4. What would you do if you were a millionaire?
* Set aside money for the kids
* Set aside money for my dad’s care and financial well-being
* Figure out the best way to set aside money for our future well-being
* Travel ALOT
* Home improvements

5. Where are 5 places you have lived?
*East Los Angeles
*West Los Angeles near UCLA campus
*San Antonio Texas
*Long Beach California
* I don’t move around much so there are only 4 that I count as anything relatively long term.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

On The Subject of HOPE

The theme this week on many blogs is HOPE. People have shared photos of various sorts depicting what Hope means to them. I came across these translations of the scripture Romans 15:13 regarding Hope while reading a fellow slowtravellers blog. I thought it was a very positive focus on this word. Also included in this blog was a quote by Madeleine L'Engle. These days everyone can use a little more hope in their lives.

Romans 15:13
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV):
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

King James Version (KJ):
Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.

New International Version (NIV):
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

The Message:
Oh! May the God of green hope fill you up with joy, fill you up with peace, so that your believing lives, filled with the life-giving energy of the Holy Spirit, will brim over with hope!

Here it is in Italian!

La Parola è Vita:
Possa il Dio della speranza, riempirvi della gioia e della pace che vengono dalla vostra fede, affinché la vostra speranza abbondi, per mezzo della potenza dello Spirito Santo!

And then there is this quote by Madeleine L'Engle:

"I will have nothing to do with a God who cares only occasionally. I need a God who is with us always, everywhere, in the deepest depths as well as the highest heights. It is when things go wrong, when good things do not happen, when our prayers seem to have been lost, that God is most present. We do not need the sheltering wings when things go smoothly. We are closest to God in the darkness, stumbling along blindly."

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Art Exhibit in Eureka California

Just received this announcement from my cousins daughter Suzanne.

Anyone in the Eureka, California area

check this exhibition out.

Dr. Richard and Elizabeth Anderson Gallery

From the Landscape of Memory

A solo exhibition of new work
January 14 - March 8, 2009

Saturday, February 7, 2009
6 - 9 pm
During the first Saturday Night Arts Alive

Humboldt Art Council
Morris Graves Museum of Art
636 “F” Street, Eureka , CA 95501

museum hours wed. - sun. noon - 5pm
info: 707.442.0278
museum admission is by donation
$3. adults, $1. seniors 55+
hac members and children under 12: gratis

Friday, January 9, 2009

This is called a MEME

This is something that I've read on a few of my Slowtrav friends blogs. I'm joining them in answering these questions. I would love to hear your answers too.

WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE? An actress but not sure of her last name

WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU CRIED? Even though I'm known as a "big crybaby" I haven't cried lately.

DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING? I used to but it is getting worse each year.



DO YOU USE SARCASM A LOT? Not usually, it's just not me.


WOULD YOU BUNGEE JUMP? Me? Absolutely not. I'm a big chicken.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CEREAL? Kelloggs corn flakes with strawberries


DO YOU THINK YOU ARE STRONG? I guess it depends on the situation.

FAVORITE ICE CREAM? Tough decision but if I had to pick only one "Jamoca Almond fudge"

WHAT IS THE FIRST THING YOU NOTICE ABOUT PEOPLE? Whether they seem open and warm as opposed to distant and closed.





WHAT WAS THE LAST THING YOU ATE? A delicious piece of chocolate covered toffee


IF YOU WERE A CRAYON, WHAT COLOR WOULD YOU BE? Iridescent fushcia, how do you spell that?

FAVORITE SMELLS? I like the smell of rain, freshly cut grass, Topaz by Avon it reminds me of being a teenager, Aquanet hairspray/reminds me of high school dances, gardenias.

WHO WAS THE LAST PERSON YOU TALKED TO ON THE PHONE?Mary Beth/our good friend from college days at UCLA. She was in town visiting from Maryland. She called me from the Hyatt Long Beach. We met for lunch.



EYE COLOR? Dark Brown


FAVORITE FOOD? Love so many but maybe middle eastern cuisine

SCARY MOVIES OR SAPPY ENDINGS? I really like Sappy endings. I don't like scary movies at all.


WHAT COLOR SHIRT ARE YOU WEARING? Flannel pjs aquamarine



FAVORITE DESSERT? Hot fudge sundae

WHAT BOOK ARE YOU READING NOW? A book Pati gave me for my birthday, "The Widow Clicquot-The story of a champagne empire and the woman who ruled it."

WHAT IS ON YOUR MOUSE PAD: Picture of the C-17 cargo plane-this is not my mouse pad, it's Mike's.


FAVORITE SOUND? I like to listen to the rain when I'm tucked safely in a warm cozy bed with a big fluffly down comforter over me.



DO YOU HAVE A SPECIAL TALENT? I have some artistic abilities


Thursday, January 8, 2009

"Home of the Brave"

Allen Say was born in Yokohama, Japan, in 1937. He is an author/illustrator of many children's books. One of my favorite books of his is called, "Grandfather's Journey".

My friend Jane has just written that she is reading, "Journey to Topaz" to her 10 year old grandson's class. She said it was an eye opener to these young children to learn about the background of internment camps during the World War II era of our country. She asked if I knew any other books that might further the children's insight into this subject matter. In fact there is a beautifully illustrated and sensitively written book by a wonderful artist/author. His name is Allen Say and the book is titled: Home of the Brave.

Here is an excerpt from the Publishers page:
During World War II, more than 120,000 men, women, and children of Japanese descent living in America were incarcerated in internment camps by the United States government. Now, sixty years later, Caldecott medalist Allen Say eloquently depicts this dark moment in history with Home of the Brave. This timely and provocative book is the story of one man's confrontation of his own family's imprisonment in these remote and inhospitable sites. Say's paintings capture the bewilderment of the young man on a surreal journey and the desolation and loneliness of the children residing in the camps. His prose is haunting and provokes the reader to reflect on what these camps mean in the scope of American history.

"What Say does so successfully here is to show how displaced children feel; how, through some unnamed strength, they manage to survive and find their way home . . . The story's real focus is not so much the reexamination of America's historical past as the recollection of its emotional past — a past we become a part of through Allen Say's intense dreamscape." — New York Times Book Review

"Say here enters the realm of dream — or rather, nightmare. Say's use of light and dark has a haunting effect . . . the images create an internal logic of their own, as emotionally convincing as any waking experience." — Publishers Weekly, starred review
"Say's use of darkness in the portrayal of childhood innocence is a poignant interpretation of what children, whatever their culture, must feel when so tiny and scared and far from where they long to be." — Los Angeles Times Book Review

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Little Tokyo, Los Angeles, California

Nishi Hongwanji Buddhist temple

L.A. Union Presbyterian church established early 1900's

Museum of Contemporary Art

Far East Cafe:
Following WWII, the restaurant— called Far East Cafe—served hot meals to Japanese Americans just released from some of the nearly dozen internment camps throughout the West Coast. For those who couldn't pay, the owners gladly accepted IOU's.Decades following, Japanese Americans flocked en masse to the restaurant for everything from birthday parties and anniversaries to funerals and farewells (Why are Japanese Americans such sticklers for Chinese food after funerals?). Everyone had their favorites but the most memorable dishes included pressed almond duck, oh-so crunchy panfried chow mein and homyu—a hefty pork-fat patty speckled with tiny morsels of meat. (My dad loved this).

David Henry Hwang Theater-formerly my childhood church L.A. Union Presbysterian

Interior of DH Hwang theater-our former church sanctuary where we were in many a Christmas and Easter play ourselves.

There is a section of Los Angeles, known as Little Tokyo. (near the intersections of 1st and Judge John Aiso streets/formerly San Pedro st. for several blocks in every direction). Little Tokyo, also known as Little Tokyo Historic District, is an ethnic Japanese American district in downtown Los Angeles and one of only three official Japantowns in the United States. Founded around the beginning of the 20th century, the area, sometimes called Lil' Tokyo, or J-Town is the cultural center for Japanese Americans in Southern California. It was declared a National Historic Landmark District in 1995.

I grew up not far from here in East Los Angeles. Throughout my childhood years through high school I attended L. A. Union Presbyterian church near the corner of 1st and San Pedro streets. We fondly referred to this area as "J-Town". Our church still stands today but has been converted into a theater/playhouse known as The David Henry Hwang Theater, current home of the East/West Players theater group. You can read more about the history of this talented group of artists here:

As you walk from this site and turn onto 1st street you will find several blocks which make up Little Tokyo. Drop by Fu-get-su-do bakery to view pretty Japanese pastries. In 1903, Seiichi Kito, credited with inventing the fortune cookie, opened the Japanese confectionary Fugetsudo on this site. The shop moved to 315 East First Street in 1958. Today, Fugetsudo is the oldest family-owned business in Little Tokyo in its third generation operated by Brian Kito. I attended Roosevelt High school with Sharon Kito.

Walk further to "Far East" Chinese restaurant. If you ask any Japanese family that has lived in the Los Angeles area in the past 50 years they will probably have fond memories of this place. It's where everyone went for chinese food in the 1950's. People will fondly remember family get-togethers to celebrate weddings and other special events over "China-meshi" as the Cantonese cuisine was called by Niseis.(Nisei, 2nd generation Japanese American). The restaurant has reopened after several years of closure. Sadly, it is just not the same menu but worth a visit all the same. Far East is another historic landmark in this area. This restaurant was owned by the Mar family. Do and May Mar also attended Roosevelt high school in East Los Angeles.

Walk further still and you will find the Japanese American National Museum which houses current exhibits as well as a moving permanent exhibit called, "Common Ground-The Heart of a Community". My mom, Ruth was one of the many, many community members who worked very hard raising funds to have this Museum built.
See this link for more information:

Right next door you will find the Geffen Museum of Contemporary Art
here is the link:

This area will slowly fade away without your support. It's worth your time to explore this wonderful area. Lots to see and do. Hope you will see J-Town for yourself.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

All Under One Roof

There's a film that you can rent entitled, "The Spanish Apartment". Aria used to say apartment life in Florence was sort of like that film. Their apartment was an international exchange of cultures living under one roof. There were three italians, two americans and one german student but at various times they had roommates from several other countries. Connie the german student had placed this sign, which is shown above, in the apartment kitchen. She said it helped her in learning the languages of her roommates. I thought it was a cute idea.

Monday, January 5, 2009

I Would Love a Gelato

This happened a few years back in Florence. I was with Aria who was living there at the time. We were going for our daily "gelato" fix. On this day I was feeling pretty ambitious and stated proudly, "I think I can order by myself today." The two flavors I intended to order were "Bacio" meaning "kiss" and "Pesca" meaning "peach". When it was time to give my order I smiled at the guy behind the counter and said confidently, "Vorrei "un braccio" e un "pesce" per favore!" The guy gave me a very odd look and my daughter nudged me and said, "Mom you just ordered an ARM and a FISH!"

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Thank You For Your Thoughtfulness

"To love and be loved is to
feel the sun from both sides"
-David Viscott

When I woke up this morning there was a basket of scones and chocolate, almond and blueberry assorted croissants and muffins wrapped so pretty with a big pink bow on the breakfast table. Thank you Aria for being so thoughtful and arranging for this to be ready this morning at the bakery and asking dad to pick it up. Along side the pastries was my favorite pecan pie that dad bought for me and the beautiful bouquet of flowers that Jocelyn gave me. There were assorted cards to open which had been delivered yesterday and then all the e-cards from friends when I went to the computer plus so many of my slowtravel friends had posted well wishes on the travel site. It was really so touching to be showered with such thoughtfulness. I felt the love so, "Thank You" to all the dear friends and loved ones who were so very sweet to me today. I appreciated everything more than words can say.
"And did you get
what you wanted from this life even so?
I did.
And what did you want?
To call myself beloved, to feel myself
beloved on the earth."
--Raymond Carven

A Birthday Wish

Do not dwell in the past,
do not dream of the future,
conscentrate on the
present moment.

Peace comes from within,

do not seek it without.

You deserve your own love
and affection

Love yourself today
and Everyday

You are one of a kind.
A Miracle.

I just received these thoughts in a beautiful birthday card from my friend Lynda. I wanted to share it with you .

" Birthdays are a time of reflection. I have chosen a selection of Buddhist proverbs to inspire you throughout the coming year."

*Note: The above photos are not mine and I want to apologize to whomever took these beautiful pictures that I don't know your name to give you credit for such loveliness. In searching the internet over time I have saved things that touched me, scenes that were so beautiful or funny. I have lost track of where and when I saved them to my computer but I would like to use them here. Feel free to contact me if they belong to you and you would like them removed. If not, bless you and thank you for letting me share your vision with others.
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