Beach Mornings

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Last weekend Bug announced that we were going to the beach for bagels. She didn’t ask anyone if that’s what we wanted to do. She just announced it.  It’s a thing the girls and I do from time to time. We get bagels on our way to the beach and then sit on the lifeguard tower or on a towel on the sand and enjoy our breakfast while watching the waves. It’s not a bad idea really. But I’m not so sure how I feel about Bug dictating the day for the rest of us.

So we hashed it out. We didn’t really have any plans. Everyone threw out all the things we wanted to do and finally by the end of it we admitted that Bug’s idea was the best idea. Also the cheapest. So off we went! All four of us!

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I took my camera along because I am trying to be more responsible in generating content here on this blog AND hey, what do you know, some of these shots might work out really well for the end-of-the-year calendar I like to make as a Christmas gift for the grandparents! Hot diggety! Also it gives me something to do besides going in the water. I’m kind of a curmudgeon when it comes to going into the actual water. It was supposed to be a “morning” at the beach not to be confused with a “Beach Day.” Well, you know how that went.

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When we left it was cloudy and we only thought we’d stay a few hours. But then the sun broke through and it turned out to be a perfect beach day!! Why didn’t I wear my bathing suit?!! Because I’m a curmudgeon that’s why. Grumble, grumble… I really should know better. I am a beach expert. There is really no going to the beach and not getting wet.

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Bug was in her element. She’s a beach kid through and through.

I love that she grew up on the beach and doesn’t get grossed out by a bit of sea weed. You can tell when someone is from inland, they won’t get near the stuff. Sand between their toes? Nope. But us, we sleep in sandy sheets and think it’s normal.

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The waves were decent so the girls tried to brush up on their body-surfing skills. Let’s just say we need to go to the beach more this summer. They need some practice.

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I took a thousand pictures. I love this beach so much. I do miss not living by it anymore. I miss all the changing colors with the weather and the geography of the rippling rocks, bending to whatever plate tectonics we have going on. It’s just so beautiful and changing every day.

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At one point Bug snuck up and threw some seaweed on me while I was bending over taking pictures of a shell or something. Insert rolling eye emoji.

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Eventually we had to cut the girls off. I hate doing it. I want to be that parent who can stay at the beach all day until the sun goes down and they exhausted and sun-kissed but I had things to get done. You know how it goes.  Phones are dying, stomaches are grumbling for lunch, the laundry needs to get done before the week starts up again etc etc… So we packed up our towels and beach blankets and slowly made our way back to our boring regular every-day life. Next weekend we have the girls I vowed that we’d do it again and this time pack a lunch and plan to stay all day. Next time!

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But a beach morning is better than a no-beach morning. So we kissed our favorite view goodbye and promised we’d be back soon.

LA River Walk with Atlas Obscura

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I LOVE adventures. I really love adventures in Los Angeles because I am sick of my own neighborhood. Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE my neighborhood but there isn’t much left for me to explore.

This time I took an adventure to go see The Los Angeles River!

What river, you ask?

That’s the sad part.  There is a river running right through the middle of LA but it’s hidden in a “concrete corset” as the local activists call it.  It hasn’t been called a river since probably the 40’s but it actually is! It use to be a really pretty river that had all kinds of wildlife living in it but it flooded the local neighborhoods (a lot) so engineers came in and controlled it.  You might know it as the “flood control channel” or that giant ugly concrete drainage canal that they sometimes film movies in.

I bought tickets to go see it on a walk with Atlas Obscura. I’ve done a tour with them before to see The Triforium. It’s a great way to get out and see new things. Even if you have to drive all the way to LA to do it. (Traffic: ugh)

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We took a short hike along the Glendale Narrows section of the LA River and this lady told us all about bugs and kayaking and how she took her English family down to the river for a crumpets and tea picnic. Pretty cool, right?

What’s interesting about the LA river is that it isn’t as polluted as you might think because most of the water draining into it comes from water treatment plants. Who knew?!  So basically it’s just a touch dirtier than drinking water. Not that anyone wants to test that theory out. And you definitely don’t want to test that theory out right after a rain storm. Ew!

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It was a nice little outing. A little exercise walking up the steep concrete inclines, crossing a bridge or two and basically learning all about the river.

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A dog named Enzo came with us. He was really cute.

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What a peaceful little oasis in the middle of a big city, right? Minus some graffiti and a few homeless people peeing into the river you could almost pretend you were out in nature.

I guess homeless people pee in nature too…but you get what I mean. I actually was disappointed that there wasn’t more graffiti. I had read about the famous LA River Cats and I was super disappointed to see them all painted over. I was really there for the fun photos I could take and not so much about nature and politics so I was not their ideal audience. But I do love nature too and it was really cool to see nature taking back the river in bits and parts.LA-River-Walk-6

The reason there is so much plant life in this particular section of the river is because the ground was too soft for the cement to really take back in the 40’s when the US Army Corps converted it all to concrete.

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The Friends of the LA River have started a movement to reclaim the beauty of the river. There are new pocket parks being built along it as well as trails and even some sections that have been opened during the summer for recreation. You can kayak down it but you can’t swim. Not quite safe enough for that yet.

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I really loved the art. I wish there was more.

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Nature, nature, nature…politics, politics, politics…

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Where is the Tequila shack? All that walking in the sun made us thirsty!  Just kidding.

But actually there have been a few restaurants opening up along the river taking advantage of the newfound interest. It’s kind of controversial subject because many of the neighborhoods are poor and gentrification is pushing the locals out to make room for trendy cafes and bars so rich white people can enjoy the river. You know the story.

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Of course I had to try out one of those trendy cafes because they are good and I am a privileged white person (groan). At Waxpaper (the cutest LITTLE sandwich shop ever!) you can order a sandwich named after a NPR newscaster. Liberal much? Yes, yes, I might as well cop to it.

The sandwich I had was called the “Ira Glass” and it had avocado, cheese, cucumber, spicy mustard and a TON of sprouts on some super nutty, seedy bread. It was delicious.

Then we got in our car and sat in two hours of traffic (Thank you Payam!) to go back to our boring little town, which by the way already has a river/bird sanctuary in it that is not encased in cement and it’s pretty too. So there’s that.