Archive for March 2014

Los Angeles Union Station

March 30, 2014

On Saturday, Paula and I did a tour of the Los Angeles Union Station in downtown LA. The trip was sponsored by the nice folks at the San Pedro Historical Society. The actual tour was done by volunteer docents from the LA Conservancy. We had a total of about 36 people that was split into three groups to do the tour. There are so many clocks through out the building to keep you aware of the time.
 Here is the view of the main entrance.

The station has two gardens on either side of the station. I was first struck by the awesome view of the towering palm trees. There are many roses, greenery and fountains. Here are a few more pictures.

The architecture is a combination of Art-Deco, Moderne, and Mission Revival. Our docent described it as “Pueblo Deco” architecture. When you arrive at the station you walk through a long tunnel with ceilings about 9.5 ft high. Then you reach the main terminal you are treated with site of arched ceilings with beautiful chandeliers.

The main waiting area has these beautifully restored cushioned seats. At one time they were made of leather. The leather has since been replaced by vinyl. They are very comfortable. You don’t see seats like this at a modern airport.

 We visited what was once the main restaurant at the station. The restaurant was run by Fred Harvey. Fred Harvey was an entrepreneur who had developed many restaurants for the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad. These were among first instances of chain restaurants across the USA. Currently the restaurant has no fixtures, but you can imagine the grandeur that was once there. Notice the marble floors and the wrap-around bar. We were told that the area is available for rental for special functions (weddings, galas and such).
 While we’re on the subject of the ATSF railroad, I found an interesting fact. The ATSF railroad never made it to Santa Fe. Apparently the terrain was too difficult. The ATSF railroad was of course made famous by the song of the same name. The song was made famous in the movie “The Harvey Girls“. Here is a You Tube link to Judy Garland singing “On the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe” on her TV show.


One more thing. We told the docent that we would like to see some trains. This being a train station afterall. So here are a couple of pictures of some of the trains.

 Be sure to follow the many hyper-links through out this post. There is so much to learn about this fascinating place.
 – Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Los Angeles, CA

Shepherd’s Pie

March 19, 2014

Last night was our weekly family dinner night. In honor of St Patrick we had Shepherd’s Pie, not corned beef. I despise corned beef. And seeing as it was my turn to cook, we decided to do Shepherd’s pie.
 So hear is my recipe. It’s mostly in my head. It is not one of those meals that I need to work from a written recipe. There are many variations of shepherd’s pie to be found on the internet. This is just my variation on the theme.

 1.5lb ground beef
 2 c Fresh mushrooms
 1 med onion, chopped
 1/2 of a 16oz. bag of frozen peas and carrots. Generic store brand is fine.
 2 bags instant mashed potatoes (I use the “just add water” variation for about 4-6 servings)
 1 c shredded cheddar cheese
 1 jar brown gravy (12 oz. Heinz or equivalent) Some recipes suggest using cream of mushroom or cream of celery soup. My preference is the gravy.
 1/2 tsp ground pepper
 1 tsp salt
 Sauté the onions and mushrooms in a couple teaspoons of olive oil. Then set aside. [Last night we skipped the onions because Theresa is sensitive to onions.]
 Brown the ground beef. After the ground beef is cooked, drain the fat. Add the mushrooms, onion, peas and carrots and the gravy. Add the salt and pepper. Simmer for a few minutes. You might not need the whole jar of gravy. Judge for yourself how “soupy” you want it to be.
 Pour the ground beef mixture into 7×13 casserole dish.
 Prepare the mashed potatoes as directed on the package. Spread the mash potatoes on top of the ground beef.
 Sprinkle the cheddar on top.
 Bake in 350 oven for about 20 minutes (cheese should be melted and gravy bubbling on the edges.)
 Variations: Some folks use either green beans or corn. Not my preference though.
 Also, best served with Guinness beer and Irish Whiskey.

 Jonathan seemed to like the concoction. Though, I think he mostly liked the mashed potato part, less so for the hamburger.
 – Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Be thou my Vision

March 17, 2014

I discovered a hymn while reading a blog called “The Inspired Funeral“. I discovered the blog from an article in the NY Times. The hymn is called “Be Thou My Vision” and is based on a sixth century Monastic text and an Irisih Folk Tune. And seeing as today is St. Patrick’s Day, I thought this would be a good thing to post.

Here are the lyrics:

Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that thou art;
Thou my best thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, thy presence my light.

Be thou my Wisdom, and thou my true Word;
I ever with thee and thou with me, Lord;
Thou my great Father, and I thy true son,
Thou in me dwelling, and I with thee one.

High King of heaven, my victory won,
May I reach heaven’s joys, O bright heaven’s Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.

Here is a youtube performance with piano and cello. Truly haunting.

Here’s a hint to my Lodge and OES friends in LA. You will be hearing this soon.



Mother in Law

March 10, 2014

So yesterday at Ocean View we had a guest preacher who was preaching about marriage. After reading the title I was bracing myself for the harangue about same sex marriage, but I was pleasantly surprised. It was about the sacredness of marriage vows. It was more something I would expect to hear in a Roman Catholic Church. He was quoting from Malachi Chapter 2. But never mind.

This post is more about Mothers-in-law. Our own pastor at the end of the service told us a joke about Mothers-in-law. It goes something like this:

M-I-L to S-I-L: I would like to be cremated.

S-I-L to M-I-L: Okay, get your coat. Let’s go.

I told Pastor Jacques after the service, I feel your pain.

So as a Son-in-Law living with my Mother-in-Law, I try real hard to keep a thick skin and try to ignore the unintentional and intentional slights. Every day is a challenge.

So yesterday, Paula and I were planning on going to the movies to see “12 Years a Slave”. [By the way, it’s a great movie. Go see it.] We asked Mary K if she would like to come. Sometimes I hope for a “No” so that I can have some alone time with my Paula. But this time she said yes.

So off we go to the theater in Torrance. We hardly get a 1/2 mile from our house when she tells us that she forgot her glasses. So we are already on a tight schedule. So we don’t go back.

We find a parking space that is not too far from the theater. (Perhaps I need to try again to persuade her to apply for a HP placard.) We get out tickets and proceed to the theater. The lights are already down low for the upcoming attractions. We now find out that Mary K is now having really big problems with low light situations. The only place with three seats together is about 15 rows up.

I need to go into the row first to guide Mary K to her seat. So Mary K plops down between Paula and myself. So i can’t even sit next to my wife in the theater, arghhhh.

The film finishes and we wait for the credits to finish and for the house lights to come up so that we can get Mary K safely down the stairs without danger of falling.

As we head back to the car, we come to a curb that is painted red and is a contoured shape. Paula tries to get her to traverse the curb. It is clear that she can’t see it very well. So she stumbles and falls backward. Luckily we have a good hold on her and we manage her to a soft landing on her butt.

We finally get her back on her feet and back into the car. We stop for dinner at a local Mexican restaurant. Then finally home and after some news, into bed.

One more thing. Weather today is 75 and sunny. Not a cloud in the sky. I’m writing this sitting on the balcony. Paula and Mary K are off to her PT session. So I have about an hour of quiet time.

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad