Summer Nostalgia

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Bug and I finally made it out to the sticks to take advantage of my parents over-achieving gardening skills this summer. My parents have a HUGE over-grown garden that is producing tomatoes like a factory. Their nectarine tree is literally breaking it’s branches to hold all the nectarines it grew and of course there are grapefruits coming out their ears. This winter’s heavy rain probably had something to do with the bumper crop but the rest is all my parents and their giant green thumbs. They also may have an alergy to staying inside. Let’s just say my mom’s approach to housework is to close the door and garden instead. I should make her a shirt that says that.

I love taking the kids to The Sticks but we haven’t been much this summer because it’s been hard to leave our perfect 70-degree weather to go hang out in the 102 degrees of blazing heat that is The Sticks.  We have a big olympic-sized pool in our community. My parents have a tiny above-ground pool that sits in the sun and promises a darker tan in three minutes. And that’s not a good thing.

I can’t even take the dogs with me which is sad because the dogs LOVE The Sticks even more than the kids! But I feel horrible taking them out to that heat no matter how much they love exploring the wonderland of dangers that is my parent’s foxtail-infested half-acre yard and the twenty-seven cats they get to chase.

Cody is not allowed in their pool because his hair would clog the filter in about a minute. It would just be mean to take them on a long hot car ride just to tell them they couldn’t swim. You know how Cody is. He is a SWIMMING DOG.

So Bug and I decided to tough out the heat on our own and it was totally worth it! (Like you knew it would be of course.) I love visiting with my parents. We hide out in the cool of their mobile home, chatting away in the living room. The drapes are drawn to keep it cool and the swamp cooler blows that soft cool air that reminds me of my childhood. Bug takes quick breaks to run outside and visit her old friends, the many kittens who have now grown up into lanky cats.

I love that Bug and I have The Sticks as a big part of who we are. We are both sentimental about it in a way that bonds us deeply.

I almost forgot the one funny thing that happened while we were out there! We found Mongolian Grill!  I can’t even believe it myself because usually eating out in The Sticks is limited to horrible chains with 2000 calorie entrees or fast food. It really is Walmart Culture at it’s worst and everywhere you look are depressing choices. So you can imagine my surprise when I opened my Yelp app and I found a whole underground of Asian food in The Sticks that I had no idea existed! Why didn’t I discover this sooner!  I even made my Dad try it and he loved it!  Sticks WIN!

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We came back home from The Sticks with a giant bag of nectarines which were about to go bad in a day so you know what that means: PIE. Except I forgot that they are super maximus juicy and I should have added gelatin or five tablespoons of flour or something to my pie when I made it because my beautiful pie turned out to pretty much be cooked fruit soup with a crust.

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Mmm… soup. Sadly, I left the pie out on the counter too long and fruit flies got it. That’s what happens when people are on stupid diets and things don’t get eaten fast enough. Sigh.

Maybe the pie didn’t get eaten because some people like to spend all their time in the garage and they forget to eat. Harumph. Jealous much? Yeah. I am.

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As you can see, Payam has finished his workshop in the garage and it’s pretty cool! I’m sure he’ll keep tweaking it and getting it more and more just right but I have to say it is very cool and yes, I am jealous. Good thing he lets me come hang out here and I’m even trying my hand at creating some of my own wood things. Power tools are fun!

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They are also scary. I’ve been customizing Payam’s work bench with illustrations and reminders not to cut himself. He’s on blood thinners after his recent heart surgery so I’m pretty much visualizing gushing limbs on a regular basis because I’m fun like that.

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You know what else is fun? My laundry room! I love my laundry room/craft cabinet corridor that sits on the other side of Payam’s shop. It’s like my own personal Diagon Alley.

You laugh but really it is awesome.  I look at this and smile as memories flood me from all my past laundry rooms… All those days of schlepping laundry to a laundromat in the next town over. Doing so many loads with a baby hanging off my hip.  Watching the loads go round while my baby napped in a wire cart. All those playdates at drug dealer park… I love this room, torn linoleum and all. It even has a man-cave refrigerator in it, covered in stickers! Care for an ice-cold soda in a glass bottle while you hang those wet swimming suits? Don’t mind if I do!

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The Triforium! And a winner.

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Last weekend Payam and I tagged along with my friend Teri to tour an old art monument in LA called The Triforium. It’s a huge monstrosity right in the middle of downtown sitting on top of the LA Mall, that itself is a ghost town. It’s one of those malls from the seventies that was partially upgraded in the nineties and looks worse for it. I didn’t take any pictures of the ugliness of the mall but you can take my word for it. Sometimes I think we are better off just leaving things alone.

There is a group trying gather interest in the structure in order to refurbish it but personally, it feels a bit of a lost cause. It’s one of those sad old things that everyone has an opinion about but nobody really can get anywhere on because it is mired in politics.  It kind of reminds me of the Eiffel Tower and that museum that has all of it’s ducting on the outside of the building. Everybody hates it and then over time people begin to love it because it’s sentimental just because it’s been there so long being hated by everyone.

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The structure itself is kind of pretty. The glass tiles used to light up in synchronicity with bell music that was played from below.  But because it was built ahead of it’s time, it was rigged with a computer that was doomed from the get-go. It only functioned properly for about two years (maybe not even that) before it broke and became more and more of a problem.

At the time it was designed the artist had grand visions of it being interactive with the plaza around it. He wanted pressure points around the plaza to make it light up and play. Wouldn’t that be cool? Can you imagine the public music people could make? But the computer was twenty years ahead of it’s time and it never worked and he ran out of money before he got to the pressure plates…. So it sits doing nothing and everyone wonders what the heck it is. And then someone designed these really ugly speaker covers for it that look like giant ladybugs but that’s probably another story.

We were able to go below and look at the command center through a tour with Atlas Obscura. But it was kind of a disappointment because the room was so tiny and our group filled it up to sticky humidity levels. I could barely stand being inside because it was so hot and claustrophobic.

It was neat to see a room that hadn’t been touched since the 90’s though. They even had an old play-list scribbled on a pad of paper that included holiday hits from Pottery Barn and the soundtrack from Ally McBeal. The city used to pay employees from the local Sbarro restaurant to come down and hit play from time to time.

So that was kind of cool. But what is cooler was finding Atlas Obscura! I totally want to sign up for their mailing list and go explore other interesting things. Maybe some underground tours in London! (Which is coming up by the way, squeeeee!)

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After the tour we walked down Olvera Street because we were right there. I love LA and I always forget how bored I am of Orange County until I’m there. There is just so much more to look at and experience. Don’t get me wrong, I love my safe haven of a neighborhood and all the wonderful greenbelts but you can only take so much beige after a while.

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Sometimes you need some color and some Mexican food!!!

At the end of the street there is a plaza where they play salsa music out of loud speakers and everyone is out dancing. It was so beautiful with the sun going down. Slivers of golden light shot through the trees and broke up the long shadows on the painted pavement. Old women were dancing with old men, young girls in their shorty-shorts were waving their long skinny tanned arms above their heads… I felt like I was back in time in New York in the seventies, where it was hot and sticky and maybe there would be a fire hydrant somewhere that might shoot water into the sky for kids to play in.

I was so busy making instagram movies I didn’t take any pictures. But maybe that’s okay. Sometimes the memories are better with words and pictures inside your head anyway.

In other news! I have chosen a winner!

KRISTEN who commented with this funny joke: Why can’t you hear a pterodactyl when it goes to the toilet? Because the P is silent.

You win because I actually laughed out loud and your joke is totally appropriate for my gross and disgusting joke book. Check your email and I will send you a copy! Yay! Thank you for playing, all seven of you!

I know. Why do I keep this blog alive? It is dying a slow, slow, painful death. I am just unwilling to pay the mucho bucks it would take to make a book out of it and I’m too invested in my old stories and pictures to let it go. So I keep on paying for hosting and punch out a post here and there.  And I super appreciate you old-timers who keep on reading after all these years.