Welcome to the Happy Reading edition of our Sunday Digest!
What makes you happy living here on the Eastside? Who inspires you and makes you proud to be in this community? What old building do you often drive past and ask yourself, “What’s the story behind it all?”
Thanks for reading – and happy Sunday!
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Holiday Shopping, “Vet’s Son” Style
When my daughter announces that she saw an Instagram post for a “50% off everything” sale, we eagerly pile into our van and. We head to the Son of a Vet thrift store in El Sereno, excited to explore a new place to haggle.
As an Earth lover, I also appreciate getting affordable clothing without resorting to fast fashion, which is said to produce around 8-10% of global carbon emissions.
But when we stop in front of the modestly sized storefront, I wonder if we’ll be staying here long. Until we cross the threshold. As a cue, we stop at the door, our eyes adjusting to admire the wealth of goods crammed into a not-so-large space. “Just one shelf at a time” becomes my mantra, because it’s too much to take at once. I’m soon rummaging through a stockpile of post-its and a slew of sleep masks.
Founded in 2008 by a veterinarian’s son, Jason Berti, the for-profit boutique specializes in downsizing seniors. Berti’s partner, Mike Davis, who is also the son of a veterinarian, tells me that nursing homes recommend Son of a Vet to people who need to empty the old farmhouse. This is how they get better quality stocks. So much so that they have three warehouses full of goods waiting in the wings.
When I was a teenager, thrift stores were musty-smelling places for grandmas. Today’s teenagers and young adults, like my children, savor them; they represent around 40% of second-hand shop buyers worldwide. Even stars like Julia Roberts, Zooey Deschanel and Billie Ellish have shared their passion for budget finds.
Since I’m juggling too many things (I missed the convenient shopping baskets when we arrived), I overhear my husband slipping a box of stuff into the van. “I will be back!” he assures me.
When my family gathers at the checkout, we share our treasures. The husband holds a self-winding watch winder and a Zeiss vise, as well as everything hidden in the van. My daughter is enjoying a handmade book cover and a new sleep mask. My son gets a Skeletor pin and a sweater. I store a Space Bag, an Under Armor top, LED bulbs and paperbacks in another wicker basket for my growing collection.
Son of a Vet does not accept donations from individuals without prior approval. What better place to shop this Veterans Day?
What’s your favorite place to thrift in the Eastside?? Respond to this newsletter with your recommendation.
Artists adopt a highway
Traffic roars past me as I steer my slow car toward a cutoff along Highway 5 before the Broadway exit near Lincoln Heights. I had braked, trying to see the sign that said, “Caltrans Adopt-A-Highway Nicole Linh Anderson.” But, I missed it.
I park near this stretch of Adopt-A-Highway land where few trees and shrubs grow and where commuter trash regularly accumulates.
In front of me, out of his car, footsteps Nicole Linh Anderson, a 29-year-old concept artist from Cypress Park who has been in charge of this land for a year and a half. She opens her trunk and, among the trash bags and metal trash collectors, she hands me a bright yellow vest and an Adopt-A-Highway hard hat. “Let’s go,” she chimes, reaching for fast food wrappers and pieces of foam. I’m having trouble getting my vest on, but Anderson is at work. I hurry to catch up with her.
Waste collection has a rhythm; a slow step, a radar eye scanning the immediate space, hand and picking at attention. Anderson and I discuss the interesting junk she found (“Nothing really, just more of the same”), are any friends joining her? (“Some have expressed interest, but it hasn’t happened yet”) and why this engagement is important.
“I wanted to see what it would be like to take care of a piece of land,” she says, hugging her pick over a cup of coffee. “As an artist, it reaffirms my practice. I observe the patterns and textures around me. I also think about how humans treat the land. You could call it meditation, I suppose.
Anderson scans the land – her land – and explains how CalTrans has a program for volunteers to put plants in their adopted land. “I would like to see flowers here one day,” she said.
Twice a month, Anderson is on this three-quarter mile strip picking up what inadvertently falls off trucks (furniture, building materials, etc.) or is accidentally thrown away (cigarette butts, energy drink cans, etc. . .).
With the constant rumble of the freeway less than 20 feet away, Anderson the artist reflects on humanity’s often indifference to its actions – and how the earth responds. All the while, she picks up our trash.
Sponsored by Tracy Do
All signs point to Inizio, new homes in Glassell Park
Planet Home Living and Tracy Do are pleased to present Inizio, a new collection of 17 modern homes in Glassell Park. Beautifully designed and structurally independent residences are offered in three or four bedroom configurations ranging from approx. 1,700 to 2,200 square feet. Each has rooftop solar panels, a two-car garage, and private outdoor space including elevated decks with views of Griffith Park and the surrounding hills.
Known as a “green” means of rodenticide (aka rat killers), working cats have held vital positions throughout history, on building sites like ships, libraries and wine cellars.
Kitten Rescue LA continues that tradition with Cats On Pawtrola program designed to match feral cats from local shelters with gainful employment in farms, warehouses, stores and even safe backyards.
Janice Hutchins, the rescue’s community cat coordinator, strongly recommends that socialized pet cats stay indoors, “getting fresh air during walks on a harness or in a catio for added safety.” But for unsocialized cats, which are often euthanized, the program is a win-win situation, she says.
“These cats are just sitting in shelter cages, not going anywhere. It’s really sad, and these spaces could be used for adoptable cats.
Potential employers provide shelter, food and water, while the program provides vaccinationsterilization, the microchip, help with acclimatization and, most spectacularly, the possibility of saving lives.
Wanted: your nutritional books
The East Hollywood Certified Farmers Market is expanding its mobile library of nutrition books and wants to help you downsize. They will gladly accept your books on recipes, children’s health, health and wellness, as well as books in Spanish, Thai and English.
The public can consult books free of charge for a month.
Drop off your book donations during market hours: Mondays and Thursdays from 3:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Elton John at Dodger Stadium, once in a while
Will he wear his sequined Dodger uniform? We can only hope!
Elton John brings his Goodbye Yellow Brick Road farewell tour later this month at Dodger Stadiumwhere the Rocket Man performed two iconic sold-out shows in 1975.
My husband Jim likes to remind me he was at that show who turned Elton into a mega-superstar. Alas, current ticket prices prevent us from experiencing Elton’s return to Dodger Stadium – so I’ll hear Jim’s story once again on the main lawn really, really close to the stage. Then Elton starts to sing, “Don’t let the sun go down on me,” just as the sun was setting and the sky was ablaze with color.
🙂 More good reads
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That’s all for this Sunday
As I walk around my neighborhood, I love watching the yellow and red leaves fall from the trees – which reminds me of being a kid in the Midwest and jumping through giant leaf piles. Later, these leaves were raked up and burnt unceremoniously.
But today’s common wisdom says to leave the leaves. Experts explain that instead of getting rid of leaves, we should consider how a leaf cover provides shelter for small creatures and, as they decompose, injects nutrients back into the soil. So put that rake away! And drop the leaves.
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