The Terrible No-Good Apple-Picking Weekend

pottery-painting

Most people would take it easy on a weekend before they jet off to another country but I did not. I decided to schedule an apple-picking expedition with my kids because that’s what you do when you are “basic” and it’s fall and you can’t fit it in any other time.  But really, there is a reason so many white people like to go stand out in an orchard and take pictures of themselves picking apples. It’s pretty! And it makes all the cozy seasonal bells go off in our heads which aren’t really going off normally because we live in Southern California where seasons do not exist.  I hate pumpkin spice lattes so I have to find my seasonal jollies where I can.

We were due for a visit to my mom and the kids hadn’t painted pottery in sooooo long. They’d been begging to go since this last summer but we never got the weekends right. It was time. They wanted to see my mom’s new house etc etc…

EXCEPT an epic storm blew in and messed everything up! As you know we don’t have weather here so when something so much a little puffy cloud blows across the horizon we all send out massive storm warnings and freak out. The roads are slick because they are covered in oil and dust that hasn’t been wet in half a year and everyone goes crazy driving their cars into each other.

We left as soon as the girls got out of school but that didn’t help the traffic problem at all. In fact, I think everyone and their cousin had plans to get out of town at that exact same time. Add some rain and it was mayhem. Google maps routed us off to some tangent mountain road and then stuck us there for HALF AN HOUR because of course mountain roads are not any safer than any other road and of course there were five wrecks. Good times!

Actually it was kind of awesome though because we didn’t have wifi or a radio signal because of said mountains and the girls had to actually get off their phones and talk to me. It was great. We sang, we laughed, we connected our bluetooth to Joon’s playlist and rocked out with the sun roof open. It was QUALITY BONDING TIME with a light sprinkle.

Long story short we made it to the pottery painting shop, painted until 9pm, had a quick Panda Express dinner (my worst favorite place to go but the girl’s favorite) and then finally made it to my mom’s at like 10pm.

house-panther

But the story doesn’t stop there! Oh no! There were spiders and a few mishaps with my mom’s dog that may have traumatized Joon who is not used to our ways in the sticks. Spiders and poop are not Joon’s cup of tea. They are not really mine or Bug’s either but we’ve been to this rodeo before and have grown a thicker skin.

My dad is away earning extra money driving a potato truck for some family in Idaho so my mom is left alone to take care of her animals by herself. This is all fine except my mom has a bad knee and she can’t take her dog out for the long walks her dog is accustomed to. Her dog is Miss Priss and doesn’t like to go outside in the yard and poop. She wants to go on long excursion walks to the special pooping place under a willow tree or on some nice grass up by the clubhouse. So you can see how some bad things might happen. My mom is at her wits end. Add some rain and her Miss Priss dog is even more uncooperative. My mom is literally pushing the dog outside by it’s rump and the dog is putting the breaks on with all four paws. It would be hilarious if it wasn’t so frustrating and sad for my mom.

It’s 11 o’clock at night, I’ve walked the dog to the special green grass at the clubhouse and I’m trying to settle the girls into their collapsing recliner beds. I’m soothing their spider phobias when suddenly I hear my mom call out for help from her covered patio. Guess what?! IT’S FLOODED. Of course it is. Because we don’t know what to do with rain and all the drains are plugged up with leaves and debris.  My mom is still in the process of unpacking so of course her covered patio is stacked with cardboard boxes that are now standing in three inches in water getting soggy.

You know what’s sad? I’ve been to this rodeo before too. My mom has had so many valuables ruined by flooding over the years (more a side effect of hoarding than weather) it’s sort of created a trigger for all of us. It’s almost midnight and there we are hauling boxes to her garage, wading through cold water in our pajamas. Good times!

I gotta hand it to my mom though. These things happen regularly so we just grin and bear it and think about how it will make a great story someday.

desert-misty-morning-3

Somehow we all got over that and got a few hours of sleep. We woke up early and took the dog for a long excursion walk in the fog. It was so pretty. I think we all forgot about the trauma from the night before because now the weather was creating all kinds of dramatic instagram content for us. Win, win!

desert-misty-morning-2

We loved it.

desert-misty-morning-1

It’s so pretty! Click, click, click. Snap, snap, snap. Musically, musically, musically.

Then we went to breakfast at IHOP because we love that and headed off to the local hills to go apple picking! It was super foggy and a little treacherous but we made it.

apple-picking-5

We were worried that the apple farms might be closed because it was still drizzling pretty hard. But they were open and they were magical because they weren’t super crowded with tourists like they usually are. In fact, now that I’ve been here in this “awful” weather I don’t think I can go back in any other kind of weather. Give me drizzle and fog any day over crowds of people and sunshine.

apple-picking-4

I mean, look at these photos! The secret on the top photo of me is that I accidentally left the *food* filter on my phone camera (which rocks by the way) and it made everything all orange and fall-ish looking. That’s why the blur is so extreme. But whatever, I’ll take it.

I hauled my big camera around in my purse all day but I didn’t take it out because it was raining all the time and we were kind of in a hurry to get out of the rain. Nobody thought ahead and packed a raincoat or an umbrella or anything. What are those anyway? We don’t even know what they are!apple-picking-2

I really wish I would have set up a proper photoshoot though because this magical combination of colors and weather will probably never happen again. In fact I know it won’t. I have to move to Oregon or somewhere like that.

apple-picking-3

Long story short we had kind of an awesome weekend even though we sat in traffic for hours, we nearly got in a few wrecks, we sloshed around in water in our pajamas, we dealt with poop and spiders and tween-age angst…the list is so long. It should have been a very horrible no good weekend but it wasn’t! What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right?

OR maybe getting awesome photos for your social media far outweighs the crap of dealing with every day problems. I think if this had happened back in 1980-something we would have groaned and complained and filed it away as an epic failure of a weekend but now in 2018 we look at a bunch of rosy, pretty pictures and call it an epic success! We remember what we want to, right?

I will say I am going to remember all the laughing and singing with the girls forever. I love these girls so much.  Of course we missed Payam and wished he could have come along too (he had work and somebody had to stay home with the dogs) but it was super sweet to have this time together. Especially since I am leaving for Italy today!

macaron-date

Every time I ask the girls what they want me to bring them back from Italy they say a plane ticket. They want to come with me so bad. We all have the travel bug since London and Wales. I want to save up to take Bug and Joon (and Payam!) to Paris on Bug’s 16th birthday. I always promised I’d take Rapunzel but I never could make it happen. Now I really have to make it happen.

I should wrap this post up here because it feels like the end but I wanted to share about the new app that Bug accidentally spent ninety-nine dollars on. That was another part of our horrible, no-good, apple-picking weekend. We were bumping along on that mountain road and Bug asks me if she can download this really cool cinemagraph app. I’m driving and dealing with people slamming on their breaks in front of me and causing wrecks so I’m only half paying attention to her. But I’ve seen those photos that are part moving gif and part still photo so I tell her to go ahead and spend the $9.99. It seems like a pretty good deal to me.

I can’t figure out how to embed the picture right now but click here to see what it does. Really neat, right?

Then I get an email on my phone, that I look at even though I’m driving, and it says that iTunes has charged me $99 for a year subscription to Cinemagraph. Not the $9.99 that Bug said it was. What?!!  OOPS x 1000.  This is what I get for driving in weather and traffic and approving apps without paying attention.

The girls figure out a way to share the app on their two phones and spend the next hour or so making the coolest moving pictures ever and my anger fades. In fact, I love this app and I’m super bummed that I can’t use it on my Samsung phone! The girls have promised to edit photos for me and I think I will take them up on it. In fact I know I will.

And that is the end of my terrible no-good apple picking weekend. Not too terrible after all!

Next up: ITALY!!!

Adventurers in Downtown LA

SAJ-visits-the-bradbury-building-1

You know I love adventure. I love big cities. I love little towns. I love the countryside.  I love the sea side. I even sometimes love the ugly downtrodden side! I just love getting out and exploring the world.

Of course getting out of Orange County is a huge big deal because I am kind of bored of my safe little neighborhood. I love it here but I also love to get out of it and when I do, my eyes are so big taking everything in.

Naturally, I love having a travel agent friend (aka Teresa). I mean, how could I not? I want to download her brain and snag some insider tips on travel! Who wouldn’t?! But she’s also super nice and one of my very best friends.

We have a lot of common interests but exploring LA (and specifically points of interest from the tv show Bosch) is definitely one of them. So when she was going to meet a mutual friend and client in LA to discuss travel, I hopped on the chance to tag along. Woo hoo!

SAJ-visits-the-bradbury-building-2

We went super early of course so we could sneak in some sight-seeing before her lunch meeting. We explored the Bradbury Building—a favorite of mine ever since I spotted it on 500 Days of Summer.

SAJ-visits-the-bradbury-building-3
Have you ever seen such a beautiful building? It’s like a giant iced cake of design in a Victorian bird-cage like atrium. Does that even make sense? You get it. We didn’t have time to brush up on all the history but I do plan to find out the story behind this building and it’s famous namesake architect.

SAJ-visits-the-bradbury-building-4

After that we hopped on Angel’s flight because if you watch Bosch it’s a major key landmark and why not. It’s better than walking up a steep hill in the hot, hot sun.

SAJ-visits-angels-flight-1

Then a block or two later we met up with our friend (and Teresa’s client), Christine, (You might recognize her as Bug’s old elementary school principal!) for lunch at Bottega Louis.

SAJ-visits-bottega-louis

Wow. This place. It’s so pristine and perfect. It felt like a fancy hotel lobby with perfect lighting in Paris. Except we weren’t. It’s an Italian restaurant in LA.

SAJ-visits-bottega-louis-4

Macarons and pretty treats for days. Huge white walls reaching expansive bright white ceilings with decorative crown molding…

SAJ-visits-bottega-louis-3

Cooks and servers, waiters and bakers…everyone on their toes being polite with Disney-trained smiles and good attitudes. You definitely get what you pay for here. Primo primo!

SAJ-visits-bottega-louis-2

I was smitten with the crazy flower-bomb bouquets and the white walls. A perfect backdrop for a movie if I ever decided to make one. See that guy on the right? He totally caught me taking his picture. I never made eye-contact though so I’m hoping he’s thinking I was taking a close-up of the bottle and blurring him behind. We both just pretended it never happened. He ate a whole pizza and drank a beer by himself and then left, walking by with a gold-handled cane. I would love to know his back-story.

Our lunch lasted for hours and nobody pushed us to leave. It really was like being in Paris.  But guess what the best part of our three hour lunch was?

Christine talked me and Teresa into visiting Italy (for a week) with her next month. YESSSS!!!!  Of course we had to go home and talk it over with our families but she planted the seed and we fell for it hook, line and sinker. Can you believe it? It will be a bit of a stretch but I’ve landed a few jobs and I think I can swing it. The tickets are bought and I cannot wait to be blogging from ITALY! I will be sharing everything with you of course!

Squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

Please drop me a line with all your recommendations. We plan to hit Milan, Florence and Venice.

SAJ-visits-billtmore-2

After that fun-packed lunch, we weren’t ready to stop talking yet so we walked through the Biltmore hotel next-door and continued our Italy discussion.

SAJ-visits-billtmore-3

The Biltmore is also a Bosch landmark so Teresa was happy to get her travel agent research in. She’s putting together a tour for other Bosch fans. What a fun job she has.

SAJ-visits-billtmore-1

We both have fun jobs and I have to admit I know how lucky we are to be freelancers who can take our jobs on the road with us. and take three hour plus lunches (!). I don’t know that I’ll be doing any crafts in Italy but I do think I could get a book idea out of it. Little Hoo in Italy perhaps? Wouldn’t that be a fun travel series?

SAJ-visits-downtown-market

After the Biltmore we walked through the downtown market, got some ice latte’s and a small treat. We talked and talked and talked some more until we had to come back to the reality that we had to go home and we had to sit in some serious traffic. Ugh. The only bad part about visiting LA: traffic. Next time we’re going to take the train!