Our Alphabetical Tour of South Bay Cafes

November 9, 2018

This autumn, Jake and I took an alphabetical tour of places to eat in the South Bay. We only ate at accessible places (yes, in 2018 there are still quite a few restaurants that are not wheelchair accessible), open when we were ready to eat (which can be a little random for us), with something on the menu for Jake (usually dessert or breakfast items), and that were friendly (we didn’t feel uncomfortable staying to have a quick bite). At each place, we took a photograph of Jake with the restaurant’s name or logo, and a photograph of the food he enjoyed there.

We used Yelp to find places for each letter, and checked out parking and entrances on Google Streetview to avoid any confusion. We tried to prefer places we hadn’t visited before, and if we had a choice, we preferred Torrance, Inglewood, Hawthorne, Gardena, Lawndale, over Manhattan Beach or Hermosa Beach. Today was out last stop! Photos below. We visited a lot of interesting places, met a lot of hardworking people, had some delicious food, and generally enjoyed ourselves enormously. I will never drive past a strip mall without taking a second look at the hidden possibilities. I will definitely return to many of the new-to-me gems for another meal.


A is for Amandine Patisserie Cafe (Gardena)
B is for La Bella Napoli (Torrance)
C is for Corner Joint (Lawndale)
D is for Desserts by Patrick (Redondo Beach)
E is for Eat at Rudy’s (Torrance)
F is for Four Brothers Burger Grill (Redondo Beach)
G is for Green Temple (Redondo Beach)
H is for Happy Veggie (Redondo Beach)
I is for It’s Boba Time (Gardena)
J is for Jon’s Doughnuts (Torrance)
K is for Klatch Coffee (Redondo Beach)
L is for Leo’s Mexican Food (Lawndale)
M is for Manila Wok (Lawndale)
N is for Nagomi Cake House (Gardena)
O is for Oh My Burger (Gardena)
P is for Pie Pie Pie (Redondo Beach)
Q is for Queen Bee’s Catering (Gardena)
R is for Roman Aroma (Redondo Beach)
S is for Sacks in the City (Redondo Beach)
T is for Torrance Bakery (Gardena)
U is for Upper Deck (Redondo Beach)
V is for Village Pizza (Redondo Beach)
W is for Wanna Chill? (Redondo Beach)
X is for exEat (well, kinda) (Gardena)

And our last stops:
Y is for Yorgos Burgers (Gardena)
Z is for Zacatecas Mexican Restaurant (Hawthorne) CA8B088E-0562-42AA-A048-3802FB2DCF97


Our 2018 costumes

October 29, 2018

It’s that time of year again. Once again I crocheted my costume, and built Jake’s costume from cardboard. I’m a giant squid; he’s a vintage convertible.

What I read in 2017

January 15, 2018

A small Marge Piercy paperback and a grande coffee, wrapped in a crocheted cozy.

Past editions of this list: 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008. This list is also available in pictorial format at Pinterest.

It was a good year for reading here! Twenty-five books finished. I’m a slow reader who likes long books; and this year my time for leisure reading changed with more carework responsibilities. I’m still working on how to fit more reading into the new routine. Also, I stop reading books without guilt; so assume I also didn’t finish a dozen or so titles.

BG=Book Group selection. I’m in two book groups, so a lot of my reading is driven by that. REV=Reviewed for an academic journal. Just because I read a book and listed it here doesn’t mean I liked it or would recommend it.  Female author/male author ratio: 17/8 (counting Angel Catbird for Atwood); Fiction/nonfiction ratio: 19/6 (counting Rouse Up, O Young Men of the New Age! as fiction, though a lot of it isn’t).

These are numbered in chronological order, from January to December.

1. Margaret Atwood, Hag-Seed
2. Josh Malerman, Bird Box
3. Gabrielle Zevin, The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry
4. Marjorie Harper, ed., Migration and Mental Health, Past and Present REV
5. Claire Vaye Watkins, Gold Fame Citrus
6. Claire North, The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August BG
7. Matt Haig, The Humans BG
8. Margaret Atwood/Johnnie Christmas/Tamra Bonvillain, Angel Catbird #1
9. Angela Carter, Wise Children
10. Dawn French, Oh Dear Sylvia
11. Jenny Lawson, Let’s Pretend This Never Happened BG
12. Reyna Grande, The Distance Between Us BG
13. Jeff Vandermeer, Borne
14. Colson Whitehead, The Underground Railroad
15. Lauren Slater, Welcome to my Country BG
16. Sarah Waters, Fingersmith BG
17. Penelope Lively, How It All Began BG
18. Michael Berube, Life as Jamie Knows It BG
19. Kenzaburo Oe, Rouse Up, O Young Men of the New Age! BG
20. Tana French, The Trespasser BG
21. Marge Piercy, Woman on the Edge of Time
22. Maria Semple, Today Will Be Different BG
23. Ben H. Winters, Underground Airlines
24. Kamran Nazeer, Send in the Idiots BG
25. Ann Patchett, Commonwealth BG

Chalking Belmont Shore 2017

December 29, 2017

October is a busy image-making month, with Halloween and the Belmont Shore chalk art contest. This was my piece for this year’s Belmont Shore event. I based it on an Alphonse Mucha soap ad* from 1898, loosely. Then in the second half the day, I asked anyone who stopped to talk, “What’s your grandmother’s name?” That was the source of all the names written into the image. It was fun to hear their stories! People seemed very excited to see their dear one’s name included. I didn’t win a thing (never do!), but it was a fun day as always.
*Original was very similar to this one:
Alphonse Mucha - Zodiac

Our 2017 costumes

December 29, 2017

I crocheted myself an award-winning solar system costume this year, with beaded asteroid belt. The headpiece doubled as a solar eclipse costume in August (photo by Darlyn Susan Yee, taken at CAFAM). And I yarnbombed my son’s wheelchair for Opulent Mobility 2017.

Building the Daniel Tree

April 6, 2017

A crocheted wall hanging I made for a friend experiencing loss. I just wanted to post the pictures of it as it developed, all in one place. (The fourth picture turned up on Instagram, somebody caught me working on it at the Autry Museum, next to my Sequoia piece in the California Yarnscape show.)

What I read in 2016

January 1, 2017


At left, photo of The Windup Girl, a book set in Thailand, next to fried rice at a Thai restaurant (Bamboo); because every once in a while my reading matches my eating.

Past editions of this list: 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008. This list is also available in pictorial format at Pinterest.

It was a good year for reading here! Thirty-three books finished, including books read at the Grand Canyon and in London on family trips, and at least one I read in the hospital (kidney stones). I’m a slow reader who likes long books, so anything over 30 books finished is a pretty good year for me. Also, I stop reading books without guilt; so assume I also didn’t finish a dozen or so titles.

BG=Book Group selection. I’m in two book groups, so a lot of my reading is driven by that.  Just because I read a book and listed it here doesn’t mean I liked it or would recommend it.  Female author/male author ratio: 19/14; Fiction/nonfiction ratio: 28:5.

These are numbered in chronological order, from January to December.

1. Celeste Ng, Everything I Never Told You

2. Ransom Riggs, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

3. Rachel Adams, Raising Henry BG

4. Barry Unsworth, Morality Play

5. Kimberly Elkins, What is Visible BG

6. Kate Atkinson, A God in Ruins

7. Magnus Flyte, City of Dark Magic

8. M. R. Carey, The Girl with All the Gifts

9. Scarlett Thomas, Our Tragic Universe

10. Graeme Simsion, The Rosie Project BG

11. Angela Carter, Heroes and Villains

12. Laline Paull, The Bees

13. Maria Semple, Where’d You Go, Bernadette BG

14. Julie Schumacher, Dear Committee Members

15. Lisa See, China Dolls

16. David Finch, Journal of Best Practices BG

17. Laila Lalami, The Moor’s Account

18. Hannah Kent, Burial Rites BG

19. Gregory Sherl, The Future for Curious People

20. Walter M. Miller Jr., A Canticle for Liebowitz

21. Margaret Atwood, Lady Oracle

22. Kate Atkinson, Started Early, Took my Dog

23. Sam Kean, Tale of the Dueling Neurosurgeons BG

24. Siri Hustvedt, The Shaking Woman or a History of My Nerves BG

25. Carol Rivka Brunt, Tell the Wolves I’m Home

26. Paolo Bacigalupi, Windup Girl

27. Yangsze Choo, The Ghost Bride BG

28. Neil Gaiman, The Ocean at the End of the Lane

29. Tommy Wallach, We All Looked Up BG

30. Kit Reed, Where

31. Ashok Rajamani, The Day My Brain Exploded BG

32. Mark Salzman, The Soloist

33. Sylvain Neuvel, Sleeping Giants BG



Stuff I finished recently

November 20, 2016

Big catchall post.

I recently finished #100wikidays, a personal challenge in which you commit to write a new Wikipedia article every day for 100 consecutive days. I did all biographies, mostly women, as usual; looking over the list, there were only two that I’d even heard of before the day I wrote their article. (This is how I usually work; if I don’t previously know anything about the subject, then I can’t say anything about them without a source. It still helps to know something about their historical context, of course.)

There were at least a dozen African women (because I was also doing the Africa destubathon for part of the time); a couple of Cornishmen (because of the West Country Challenge–sensing a theme?); two blind organist/composers from Philadelphia; one mother-son pair of artists; a lot of North Carolinians (partly because the NCPedia is online, unlike a lot of state historical encyclopedias); a few Guggenheim fellows, and a bunch of US women active in the peace movement. I even wrote two of the articles in a hospital bed when I needed an emergency surgery for a kidney stone. Here’s my whole list of 100 new articles. It was fun and I’d recommend it.

I also, recently (as in today), finished my contributions for the Yarn Bombing Los Angeles installation “California Yarnscape”, which will happen at the Autry Museum in spring 2017. Here’s my crocheted “Sequoias”, inspired somewhat by 1930s WPA posters for the national parks:

Also, somehow, I made two Halloween costumes this year; my son’s was the more ambitious, a rolling tarantula of funfur and pantyhose and wire and so much duct tape…

Mine was four pretty easy pieces (but I love the elaborate hat); an alien priestess costume, based loosely on the Sisterhood of Karn in old Doctor Who.
Finally, look for Jake and me in this flashmob video made at Venice Beach last Sunday. You’ll need to look closely; I’m in a black hat and red dress; Jake’s in his blue Convaid chair. This was also a lot of fun to do.

Me-Made May 2016

May 31, 2016

I finished Me Made May 2016–a month of wearing garments made by myself, either sewn, crocheted, or refashioned somehow. It was fun, and not a particular stretch to wear 30 different handmade garments. I might could have gone another week, though it would have involved wearing some fancy dresses and older things.
Click here for a closer look: MeMadeMay2016

Towel Day Memory

May 26, 2016

When I was sixteen (the same age my daughter is now), I wrote a letter to Douglas Adams. And he wrote back. Happy Towel Day! (This is a scan of a copy of the letter; I can’t find the original. I also can’t find the original postcard I got from Isaac Asimov the same year. I’m sure they’re together somewhere, very safe.)

Transcript: Dear Penny Richards: Thank you very much for your letter about The Hitch-hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. I’m very glad that you enjoyed it so much. I just make up names like Zaphod Beebblebrox from out of my heads. You may be interested to know that there is a third and last book of the Hitch-hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy coming out in September, published by Crown Books called Life, The Universe, and Everything. I hope you enjoy that too. I don’t know of any Hitch-hiker fan clubs in the US, but a science fiction bookshop, such as Forbidden Planet in New York, or a Change of Hobbit in L.A., should be able to tell you. There is a six episode TV version of Hitch Hiker which was made here in England a couple of years ago, and I believe that this is starting to sell in a few areas in the States now, for showing on the PBS channel. best wishes, Douglas Adams