CRAFT SHOWS AND FARMER’S MARKETS IN LA – ELLIN CURLEY

I went to two Craft Shows and a Farmer’s Market when I recently visited my daughter in LA. I go to these events at home in Connecticut as well so I can see some regional differences in style and substance. The first thing that struck me is that unlike Connecticut, the LA Craft Show sold lots of plants.

craft show plants

The most interesting plant related item I saw was something called  LA Urban Farms. They are large, tiered, plastic structures designed to hold shoots of plants and keep them efficiently watered. These shoots will grow into full-fledged fruits, vegetables, flowers or herbs, whatever you choose to plant.

Urban Farm

These gardens not only conserve space and water but they are easier to care for. For those of us in the East, you don’t have to deal with the rocky, poor quality soil in your backyard. Check out LA Urban Farms at http://laurbanfarms.com/.

I noticed at the craft shows that LA is obsessed with their dogs. There were lots of booths devoted solely to dog products, like collars and leashes, dog biscuits and themed chatchkis. What shocked me were the number of booths devoted to dog clothes! They sold hats, shirts and dresses that looked like they were meant for children. At one craft show, I saw someone pushing a specially designed dog stroller for small dogs!

craft show dog photos

craft show dog with hat

I also discovered the world of vegan chocolate. It is delicious! There were several booths devoted to vegan products but this one blew me away. Apparently regular chocolate contains all kinds of chemicals and even wax that act as stabilizers and preservatives. Vegan chocolate is chemical free and only contains pure, basic ingredients. The taste was rich and intense and the texture was smoother and creamier than any chocolate I have ever tasted. I plan to order Vegan chocolates to serve to my friends at home.

vegan chocolates

I went to a Los Angeles Farmer’s Market as well. I was struck by the tables filled with different loose teas and mixed spices. I haven’t seen that much variety and volume on the east coast. The only place I’ve seen that before is on my trips to markets in France.

farm mkt spices

farm mkt teas

The citrus fruits were also stars at the LA market, as expected. The displays were beautiful and bountiful

As were the tables that were overflowing with fresh vegetables like beets and carrots. I particularly loved the table covered with at least 6 baskets of funky mushrooms in all shapes and sizes.

farm mkt mushrooms 2

farm mkt mushrooms

I was intrigued by the variety of food products as well as life styles that were on display at the LA markets and shows. That is one of my favorite things about traveling – getting a glimpse into how other people’s everyday lives differ from mine in my home state.

craft show LA art

SHOPPING FOR COOKIES

Our local grocery stores are not bad, but there’s stuff they just don’t have. Thin Oreos — any flavor — are among the things they do not stock. So, this evening, in a fit of rampant self-indulgence, I went online. To Amazon, my one-stop online shopping choice.

And sure enough, Amazon has them in pretty much every flavor, including some I didn’t know existed. But. Either the price is outrageously over-the-top or they are available only through PrimePantry. Despite how I love Amazon (I really love Amazon), I don’t love their grocery subscription services. They won’t let me choose when they will deliver or when they will bill me. Moreover, I don’t necessarily need or want a crate of stuff.

Today, all I wanted were cookies.

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After maybe an hour of increasing frustration, I ordered 35-pounds of senior (Diamond Naturals) dog food — plus an economy-sized box of Teenie Greenies. And no cookies.

As Garry pointed out, it’s important to know what’s really important. The fur kids approve. They barked their approval when I pressed “Place Your Order.”

A THIN LINE – PENSIVE VS. UNCONSCIOUS

At our age, there’s a thin line between pensive and asleep and I think we are teetering on that line as I write.

It’s supposed to rain later. Not merely rain. Thunderstorms. The world has an eerie yellow light that signals storms on the way. We’ve just had a week of lovely weather, so a day of rain is not unreasonable. I wish it would rain overnight and leave us sunny days, but I’ll compromise, especially since I have no choice in the matter. Weather gods are capricious and not amenable to negotiations.

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All the dogs are deep in thought. Pensive in the extreme. Bishop snores gently during long pensive stretches. Bonnie, asleep until I turned on the camera, had to give herself a shake so she could hide in her crate, thus avoiding the trauma of my getting an in-focus shot of her. Bishop opened one eye slightly before yawning and returning to his previous state of deep thought.

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Gibbs had his eyes slightly open, but was clearly too exhausted from his busy morning of thoughtful pondering to flee the camera.

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So, we are all pensive today. Yawn. We were supposed to haul me into Boston today for my annual (overdue) cardiology exam, but with thunderstorms on the way and all this pensiveness going around, I rescheduled for June.

I need time for reflection. Serious reflection. And a good book.

PENSIVE

GRANDDAUGHTER. WITH PUPPY.

Family. You never know what’s going to happen, but you do know that whatever happens, it will be complicated.

A couple of days ago, my granddaughter arrived and moved into the southern end of our house, otherwise known as “downstairs.”

Bonnie, meet Nitro. Nitro? Meet Bonnie.

Bonnie, meet Nitro. Nitro? Meet Bonnie.

With Nitro, the puppy. And laundry. I will not go into any of the details of how this happened because I’m not entirely clear on them myself. It just happened. Like a meteor hitting the house or a flash flood. There we were, enjoying a quiet Sunday.

My son, the leading edge of the oncoming wave, explained that Kaity was on her way over.

“How nice. A Sunday visit,” says Granny Marilyn. Fifteen minutes later, she was moving in. With puppy. Nitro.

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Garry, who had gone into the shower a little before the arrival of the son, emerged to find himself in a new world order. Although I explained that it was just as much a surprise to me as to him, I suspect he thinks I’m holding out on him.

I’m not. Honest.

I don’t know how long this will last. It’s fine with me, however it shakes out. If anyone is going to live with us, my granddaughter would be my first choice. Garry’s too, though he is worried about finding himself in charge of Nitro. I understand his concern.

As long as she house breaks and trains the puppy properly (I think he may be growing in the general direction of pretty big) and she keeps the place reasonably tidy, I’m good. Kaity grew up in this house, so there are no surprises laying in wait. She is comfortable in the space, knows that autumn brings the mice and spring, the ants. Though I think Nitro will be a formidable force with which any invading critter will have to reckon. He grows as I watch.

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Everything else will sort itself out. This is probably a healthy move for Kaity. It’s time for her to separate from mommy. We all need to do it and it’s never easy. She can lead an independent life here, with little interference, but backup when and if needed.

I’m a bit pixellated by the rapid changes in life, so if I’m not writing as much, it’s because I’m busy absorbing a new reality. Keep in mind that Kaity could change her mind and leave tomorrow — be gone as fast as she arrived. I’m not quite sure how much to invest in this. I think I’ll keep my head low and let it sort itself out.

If I have learned nothing else in the past decade, it’s that young people need to make their own choices. Unless they ask for advice? Shut up, be supportive, be loving, and keep out of the line of fire.

HOPPING ON THAT SOUTHBOUND TRAIN

L.A. PUPPIES – BY ELLIN CURLEY

I went to Los Angeles to visit my daughter and she treated me to a unique and fun experience. It involved puppies and you can’t get much better than that as far as I’m concerned! We spend the afternoon taking three pit bull puppies to a shoot for a live podcast at a local digital media company.

5 puppies

My daughter, Sarah, volunteers for a local dog rescue group called Angel City Pit Bulls (Angelcitypits.org). Rescue groups pull dogs from shelters and place them in foster homes until they are adopted. This increases their chances of adoption because they are socialized and trained by the fosters and also have a chance to recover from the PTSD they suffer from being abused, abandoned, or caged in a shelter.

Sarah with puppies

Angel City is 100% volunteers and is very well-organized. They are also very hands on with their foster families and dogs. They cover all medical costs, pay for all food, and provide logistical help for the fosters. For example, they will get other volunteers to take foster dogs to vet appointments, obedience classes or just on walks when fosters can’t. Angel City also helps get the dogs adopted and follows up with adoptive families and their new pits.

Another part of Angel City’s mission is to counter the misinformation that has recently given pit bulls a bad reputation. Pits are actually smart, loyal, loving and eager to please. In fact, they are rated on a breed scale for aggressiveness in the middle range, between golden retrievers and yellow labs.

This shoot came about because one of Angel City’s fosters works at a digital media company that was looking for puppies for a live podcast. The foster knew that Angel City was working with a mother and her litter of eight puppies. It was a match made in heaven. Angel City uses themes to name its puppy litters and this was the Harry Potter Litter. So we had to go pick up Harry, Hermione and Dumbledore for their film debuts. The hard part was tearing ourselves away from the other adorable puppies!

We put the puppies into a crate and took them to the Awestruck TV office for the shoot. When we arrived, the office practically shut down as everyone crowded around to play with the puppies. The show is geared to Millennial Moms so the host and her actress guest were going to talk about taking care of young children and dogs. The guest even brought along her 2 ½ year old daughter to hang out with the puppies. The two women also talked about adopting puppies and specifically about Angel City. This was great PR for the group.

puppies in cage

When it was time for the live show, the puppies were ready for their close-ups. They played the classic “cute puppy” roles perfectly. Hermione found a giant stuffed raccoon and started dragging it around the room. Harry grabbed the raccoon too and they started an adorable tug of war. Meanwhile Dumbledore kept stepping in the water bowls and splashing water all around.

You can watch the podcast on Facebook

At the end of the day we were tired, but not as exhausted as the puppies!.

sleeping pups

WHEN ALL ELSE FAILS

Bishop, our oldest dog … a gorgeous, shaggy Australian Shepherd … had a nasty infection in his foot. It had been there off and on for a long time. Mostly on, rarely off. I’d taken him to the vet several times and he’d had multiple rounds of high-powered oral antibiotics.

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But the infection was back. Again. With a vengeance. The antibiotics knocked it down temporarily, but never knocked it out. As soon as the prescription finished, a few days would pass and the paw would be red, raw, swollen, and obviously painful.

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I didn’t see the point in another trip to the vet or more antibiotics. The vet had no idea what was causing the infection or what would cure it.

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I was feeling that particular kind of helplessness one feels when a pet is sick — and not getting better. When you’ve done everything you can think to do … and it isn’t working. Being me, I had to do something, however ineffectual or lame, so I slathered his paw with over-the-counter triple action antibiotic cream. The stuff I keep in the house for my own and Garry’s cuts and bruises.

Bishop Almost Christmas

The next day, the paw looked nearly perfect. Most of purple mottling and swelling was gone. I slathered the paw again that morning and a second time in the evening. The next day, there was no sign of infection. Unable to believe I had somehow cured an antibiotic-resistant infection with an over-the-counter remedy, I kept applying the cream to his paw for another few days. Then, when there was no sign of returning infection, I stopped. And waited.

When the frame is completely full, your picture is by definition in the middle!

Three weeks later, his paw looks normal. No limping. He will let me hold the paw and examine it without any sign of discomfort. He had that infection for more than a year. I despaired of curing him, yet in less than a week, it’s gone. My son wonders if maybe, that was all Bishop needed in the first place. Antibiotic cream applied directly to the infection site rather than oral antibiotics. Hard to argue, considering the outcome.

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Talk about a Hail Mary pass, this was a classic. I did it because there was nothing else I could think of to do.  It worked. If it weren’t me, I wouldn’t believe it either.

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Pets

cee's fun foto chall