What Shakes in Bakes


One of my favorites from my visit to the Bakersfield Museum of Art yesterday. This is an untitled piece by Samuel Hyde Harris. He came from England and painted in California quite a bit.

The Bakersfield Art Museum has such interestingly curated exhibits. Sometimes you learn about the community as much as anything else. This was part of an exhibit of works collected by locals, Local Visions,  which included stories of how the owners found the art. One painting (not this one) was bought just across the Texas/Mexico border in 1957. The couple had crossed to buy $35 worth of booze, but came back with art work instead.

One of the most interesting exhibits was of art collected by East Bakersfield High School. Decades ago, a principal at the high school began a tradition that the senior class would donate 1-3 works of art to the high school as a parting gift. How amazing is that?!  They don’t say that the tradition continues today, unfortunately, but the school collected some wonderful work for a while.


Sweet display of vintage kids’ clothing in the window at the old Woolworth’s building which is now an antiques mall.


The shop across the street from the Woolworths featured some fun murals on the walls, including this one in the basement. There was also a mock theater display in one hall, with a set of silk curtains that led only to a wall inscribed with, “What made you look?”


Hydra indulging in 100 year old ice cream at Dewar’s. One of the places we found years ago thanks to Huell Howser.


The drive there and back was breathtakingly gorgeous!  Green hills, blue sky, even some rain. It was all good.


Going Up? Vintage Otis Birdcage Elevator.


Encountered this lovely old elevator on the grounds of an antiques shop in Littlerock. If our yard and budget were big enough, this would be mine. It would make a great little gazebo.

No, that’s not a creative frame, that’s the lens cover on my damaged Lumix not opening all the way. And since it was so very bright out, I couldn’t see the LED screen well enough to know. (Note to self: always carry the DSLR!)P1020335

Standing inside. Magical. Imagine all the rides people took in this. Feels like a hotel elevator for some reason.  The carpet looked motel-ish.


Back when you needed the elevator operator to allign the cage with the floor!  Patented in 1897!

Here’s a video that shows a similar type of bird cage style elevator in action.  Hydra and I used one like this in a hotel in San Francisco years ago. The hotel is, sadly, no more.

There is also a nice shot of the elevator in the Bradbury Building in downtown Los Angeles, CA in action, starting aroudn 1:20 in this video.


Detail of the Greek key design on the outside.

Woolies Lives!


We drove out to Bakersfield a couple of weekends ago, for Basque food and to poke around the junk shops. There are a couple of areas of 19th Street that have clusters of antiques shops. We hadn’t been to this one before. Nice to see them celebrating the old place!

It’s now officially called Five & Dime Antiques Mall.


There’s a working diner inside. Looks like they serve classic diner food at the Woolworth Diner. But, as I said, we were on our way to The Wool Growers for lunch. Still Wooly!

I just get the set up, which is very filling. Family style cabbage soup, beans, salsa, lettuce salad, tomato salad, bread. All very simple and delicious!


Three floors of old stuff at the Five & Dime. I neglected to take a photo of the terrazo stairs. They really reminded us of what it must have been like to pass from floor to floor when this place was in its hey day.




Old Stuff, New Obsession?


How cool is this?  We were on our way to the Santa Monica Airport Outdoor Antique and Collectible Market for the first time and saw a whole line of Model A Fords heading south on the 405.  I gave them a big thumbs up out the passenger window as we passed and earned some nice “aah-oogas” in return.

And BTW, that’s fog!  It was physically very cool in Los Angeles…and me in sleeveless white eyelet lace!


Didn’t bring this home, but I thought it was an eye-catching display of both the Kewpie doll and the toy wagon.


Hydra pointed out this darling mini-vanity.  It probably originally had a mirror attached where the two vases are sitting.  Not a jewelry box, as we first thought, since the drawers are quite deep.  Beautiful wood.  But not something I wanted, ultimately, to try to make room for.


Cool chair bench made by a guy who also made neat fountains.


Metal door mat I bought to use as yard art.  It’s currently under this rosemary bush on the slope, where I can see it from the library/music room window.


Nice rug we picked up for $5.00 at a yard sale in Sherman Oaks on the way home.  Score!


Title page of a Betty Jane Wilson’s baby book.  She was born in 1924.  I adore the drawings in this book.

There are some baby photos of a happy smiling little girl.  Just adorable.  Handwriting is lovely, but a little hard to read, so I need some getting used to it.


Welcoming Western Union telegrams of congratulations to Betty Jane’s parents from their family in Chicago and elsewhere to Whittier, CA.  These gave me a little lump in the throat.

I haven’t spent a lot of time with the baby book yet, but there are a lot of early notes on the designated pages about Betty Jane, and then notes about her younger sister Gloria.  I found envelopes and clippings between the pages. Her parents’ 1922 wedding program with a little article about the officiant passing away at a later date tucked into it.  An envelope with a lock of hair in it.  An MGM newsletter from 1945 including a note about Gloria at 20, when she worked there as a receptionist!

From front to back, the notes quickly get out-of-order as details are filled in under appropriate categories at different times.  I’m looking forward to transcribing them in chronological order, because they have me quite curious.

This is one of those things that I used to tell myself was ridiculous to pick up, but I haven’t really regretted the few times I’ve done so, while I do still think about the photo album that got away.  It was in a little shop in Kernville probably 10 years ago, and the photographer clearly had an eye and was experimenting to try to improve his composition, etc.  It was pricey, but I would probably be proud to have it.

I could easily become obsessed with old baby books if they weren’t such a rare find.  (Thank goodness.)

I suppose I’m drawn to these lost bits of family history because, without kids, I expect that the things I treasure will end up scattered. Maybe they’ll provide someone a little mystery to solve in 2060.

Pasadena City College Flea Market – Treasures!

"Red Pine" - Deborah Butterfield

The next day Hydra, Kitty and I  headed over to the Pasadena City College Flea Market, which is held on campus the first Sunday of each month.  (This was October 3rd…I’ve been having so much fun that I haven’t stayed current here!)

Parking on campus is $2.00, but otherwise it’s free (and there is some street parking in the area).    It’s been a while since we’ve been here, and they’ve changed the location a bit.  It was quite a walk from the parking structure where we left the car and the parking structure/lot where the vendors were set up.

It’s a lovely campus, complete with a man-made stream and sculpture like this.  It’s “Red Pine” by Deborah Butterfield.  One of her pieces is also in UCLA’s  sculpture garden.  We recently saw one of her sculptures featured on an episode of Antiques Roadshow.  They explained that each piece of driftwood is actually created by Ms. Butterfield and cast in bronze!

Water way at PCC

PCC’s artificial stream.  Quite nice, actually.

glassware 005

The guy who was selling this told me it was a hundred years old, which I doubted.  Regardless, I thought it was worth the $5.00 asking price.  I love little pitchers and this one is solid and uniquely square.   I looked it up online when I got home and found that it is Mason Vista Pink from the mid-20th Century and is selling on eBay and elsewhere for $35-45.00.  I don’t buy things to make a profit, but it’s nice to know my eye for old stuff is becoming educated a bit!

glassware 002

Another great find I wasn’t looking for!   Bought 10 of the seller’s set of 16 glasses for $15.00.  They look just perfect inside the new china cabinet.

They don’t have a mark, but they’re so nicely done.  The seller told me that the prior owners of these glasses were the Koppels.  He was with the 90th Bomb Group in World War II.  They were neighbors to Mickey Rooney’s family.  When he was little his family didn’t have a piano, so he would go to their house where they would let him play.

I doubt they ever let the rambunctious Mickey drink out of these glasses, but it’s kind of nice to place them in history a little.


After the flea market we headed for the Delacey Street Grill, but found that it’s no longer there.  Sigh.  Over on Green Street, we found Bucca di Beppo and remembered that we’ve liked that in the past.  We feasted on shared chicken with artichoke hearts and capers, chopped anitpasta salad and a huge serving of bruschetta.  Mmmm.  Kitty and I split a limoncello for dessert.

Stopped at Vroman’s Bookstore for a hour or so.  I spent part of my hoarded gift certificate from Antipasta on Jarretsville by Cornelia Nixon.

I love Vroman’s.  While I can’t fault Barnes & Noble for becoming a meeting place that is fueled by books, going to Vroman’s reminds me of what I’m missing in an independent bookstore.  I could spend half a day just browsing the shelves filled with staff recommendations.  And it was heartening to see so many more volumes of food writing on the shelves.  Stuff I’d heard about on NPR.

I need to go back and spend more time there.  What an amazing resource!

Between Hikes – Saturday 2/28/2009

Part of what I do in my job as a script researcher is come up with fake business names for shows to use so they don’t accidentally identify an actual business and depict, say, someone getting killed there. We check everything, no matter how ridiculous it sounds.

Believe me, if one of my clients had sent me “Between a Rock and a Leather Place” I would have laughed and figured it would clear.

This is exactly why we check everything, even if we’re laughing.

I wouldn’t mind having this flour sifter in my kitchen. But for like $3.00, not $15.00. I don’t buy a lot at antique shops, as much as I like to cruise them when I’m in the mood.

Really, I want to be the person who buys it at the yard sale before it gets marked up.

Okay, you tell me.

Does this clock just scream, “I love you, Daddy, even though you blew the milk money playing craps?”

Road Trip! Bakersfield – Saturday 1/3/2008

Whew, the fog was thick between Tehachapi and Bakersfield! It actually got worse than this, but by then Hydra stopped taking photos and was digging his nails into the dashboard.

Hydra alive and well inside The Pyrenees Cafe. It’s located on a rather desolate and industrial feeling street, but it’s pretty interesting inside. The bar, which is visible over Hydra’s shoulder in the next room, seems very friendly and lively. The dining area has rows of long tables and you eat family style.

The cabbage soup was really good. The rest of it, frankly, was just okay. We loved this place the first time we came here, and it still earns points for being a throw-back to another style of eating place. There was a lot of garlic on the chops and chicken we ordered. I like a lot of garlic, but I like it cooked a bit more than this was.

I’m on a photo scavenger hunt for a list of 43 pirate- and surfer-related items. This counts as a treasure chest, I believe!

My entry into this week’s themed photo contest (RED) on Facebook : the little red wagon outside an antiques mall in Bakersfield.

This is here just because I thought it was interesting. It’s like an electric chair for soup!

Pretty elaborate set up, here: a single metal mug with prongs on the back of it that plug into this machine. This booth had a lot of very old vending machines. Like pre-Mad Men old.

We went to several antiques stores and malls up there, and didn’t end up buying anything. What makes it interesting is when you come across a booth like the one with all the old vending machines in it, and you feel like you’ve learned something about the (obsessions of the) person who finds this stuff and salvages it.

It’s like they’re curating their booths rather than merely stocking them.

Bakersfield Morning – Sunday 8/24/2008 (Part 1)

We didn’t speed out of Bakersfield in the morning. Enjoyed the included breakfast at the Residence Inn by Marriott where we spent the night. Cruised Barnes & Noble with some good coffee in hand, and then hit Great American Antiques. We spent a couple of hours looking around.

Hydra’s interested in finding a better deal on a salt & pepper set something like this one, which his family had when he was a kid.

Having watched all those William Powell movies from the 1930s recently, I was particularly attracted to these stylish playing cards.

But I don’t need any more in my house.

I would think this potty chair would scare off most kids!

Never let it be said that we left any of our resources undeveloped. There were several oil wells in the midst of the grape vines. They grow table grapes around here.

Who would stay in the Rank… Er RancHotel in Tehachapi?

I know it’s supposed to be Ranchotel, but I swear to you it doesn’t read like that.

My. That is personal storage.

The old and the new, east of Tehachapi.

I used to be a little conflicted about these things. They are huge. When we were in the midst of a field of them outside of Palm Springs years ago (Hydra was acting in a student film,) they were really disturbing.

Now I can see the beauty of them.

Victor Valley Visit – Saturday 6/21/2008

Here we are! It always cool to wake up some place new. I sat in the dinette in the trailer and wrote, and then went out to see if I could walk around the lake.

This was taken across from our campsite. There are quite a few people scattered around the lake fishing for the stocked trout and catfish.

This body of water is a natural oasis (which may have been enhanced with damming) formed by the Mojave River. The Mojave is completely dry and sandy above ground in some places, but apparently still flows below the surface.

Click here for an aerial view.

This was taken looking north from the northern end of the park. Those are cattle in the background. I have some closer shots, but I liked this posts, too.

It was really too hot to think about sitting on a fiberglass seat in my denim shorts, but the boats look nice, huh? It was 98 degrees when I started my walk at 10 a.m.!

This guy asked if I was trying to get a picture of the ducks. He’d just seen a mother duck and her babies disappear into the reeds. He asked if they were catching all the fish at the other end of the lake. I told him that’s what they asked me about his end when I was up there!

He said one time he was here and he saw a whole flock of white water birds on the lake. They swam around in pinwheel circles, then go butt-up all at once! Then resurface and slowly spin until they dipped again. He said it was beautiful and kind of funny, too.

There are horses–which you can hire to ride–and camels at the other end of the park (though this shot was taken later, from the window of the Tahoe.)

We visited the California Route 66 Museum in Old Town Victorville. It’s a really nice little museum. Very well maintained, and chock-full of interesting memorabilia from Route 66 itself, and about the businesses and desert characters that were once in the area.

Interesting fact: Sammy Davis, Jr. almost died and did lose one eye in an automobile accident in Victorville on November 19, 1954, on his way from Las Vegas to Los Angeles.

Inside the museum. That sign for Mahan’s Half Acre used to advertise a folk art construction of glass bottles out in the desert.

For my tastes, this is the weirdest display in the museum. False fingernails painted with Route 66 scenes! Brought to you by Lissa Anderson.

This rather grim sign is a reminder of just what it meant to travel Route 66 back in the day!

Luckily for us, it was only a few minutes to Johnny Reb’s for lunch. We split catfish and a hamburger. The burger was way over done, but the catfish was crunchy and wonderful. And hush puppies! Hydra is not impressed with a fried ball of corn meal dough, no matter what you call it, but I was transported back to vacations in South Carolina as a kid, and that was just fine.

Passed this very expressive Vietnam War Memorial in Old Town, near Johnny Reb’s.

We could have bought this cool coin-operated Uncle Sam riding chicken at The Antique Station in Oro Grande. But noooooo.

Whatever you think Soylent Green might be, we’re pretty sure they make it in Victorville.

Took this on the way to the hoot, which was the main excuse we had for going to the area for the weekend. Met a bunch of friendly desert Songmakers we’d never met before and stayed out realllly late.

No, really late for us. Like 1 o’clock.

Which leads us to the last adventure of the day. Or the first adventure for tomorrow… Whatever.

When we got back to the campground, the gate was locked! And it had been since 10pm.

So I held the tire-gouging strip on the exit down with one foot while Hydra drove slowly into the park. I don’t think I could have actually stood there with the Tahoe coming so close to me and the headlights shining into my eyes if Hydra hadn’t gotten out a big flashlight so I could hold it and see that the tire wasn’t going to go over my foot.

Still that was less scary than the thought of driving over the thing myself! Whew!