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.

Father’s Day, Pan Party 2 and the Bathroom Redeaux!

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I am all over the place today. First off I need to apologize for missing my Thursdays posting. Who cares, you ask? I care! I am the meanest boss ever and I have failed myself. I set up this complicated blog strategy schedule and set a goal for myself to post every Tuesday and Thursday and I missed my Thursday!  Sigh.  Good thing I’m not going to fire myself. I just told myself that I’m not perfect and I can get back on it again next week and in the meantime here’s a bonus super bonanza Friday post! Woo Hoo!

So this Sunday is Father’s Day in case you didn’t know. (Get on that homemade card if you forgot.) In the theme of Father’s Day Payam and I worked really hard on this cool vintage clock radio planter craft for alphamom. It was so fun, probably my favorite craft ever, next to the tiny toolbox and snow globe soaps.

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I have a new hobby now: collecting vintage clock radios. It’s great for my hoarding problem. But I mean, how could I not?!! They are the coolest ever. That red one had my name on it the minute I walked into an antique store and it was staring at me from a way up high dusty shelf. Vintage clocks can set you back a bit. Some on eBay can run from $20-$80. So keep your eyes out at garage sales and estate sales. These babies are hot.

And speaking of hot…

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Pan Party Two happened last night! It’s a THING now you guys! I’m so happy.

It wasn’t hot, it was actually a bit chilly when the sun went down but we had such a nice time. Picnicking at the park during golden hour is something that I am a huge fan of. I will be preaching about it until the cows come home or it turns into a community of hundreds which honestly is my vision. I think it can happen too. I’m passionate about building friendships and getting outside enjoying the weather and each other’s company. That’s what we have to do to fight our addiction to technology. That’s really the happy part of life, right?

We’re only doing it once a month which is good because it takes some effort. Preparing a pan dish, lugging a tin of drinks and ice to the trunk and then the park, remembering table clothes, cups, silverware, paper plates, napkins… you know the drill. It can steal away half your day if you are not careful. Then add kids who want to swim to the mix and you’ll be busy from 2pm to midnight. BUT IT’S SO GOOD for everyone.

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Look at this photo Bug took? Isn’t it pretty? I’ve been pushing Bug to be more artistic in her photos (She is the product of two photographer parents after all) and she usually rolls her eyes at me and takes a picture of her foot or the leather of the car seat all blown up blurry and then types some words on top. But this photo really stopped me in my tracks. I love the angle. I love the colors, I love the lone dad sitting on the lawn chair waiting for his kid to get out of the pool already. This is exactly what I wanted Pan Party to be. Everyone getting outside, away from their devices to see how pretty this time of day really is.

Of course I’m kind of a hypocrite because I’m all about documenting this beauty and sharing it on social media but what can I say? I’m not a purist. I think we can have it all.

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More photos by Bug.

As you can see the beanie baby collectible fluff ball dog showed up. The kids had boba right before the pan party (big mistake) and couldn’t care less about eating. They ran around wild all over the park while we parents sat around stuffing our faces with enchiladas, lasagna, mashed potatoes… (no diets here) and those crack grocery store cookies with the neon frosting on top of them, you know the ones. It was great.

Then the puppy showed up and the kids squealed like Taylor Swift fan girls and went rushing off to fight over who could carry the puppy around for the rest of the night. That poor dog never gets to walk on it’s own. It doesn’t seem to mind though. It doesn’t even look like a dog. I think it’s a long-legged fluffy mouse. Except at one point it was walking on the table and it totally went after our food like a regular dog. Maybe that’s how you tell it’s a dog.

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I’m gonna say Pan Party Two was a big success and all of you who wimped out and didn’t come for whatever reason (I’m looking at you, Maria and One Little Happy) you guys missed out. You better make it to Pan Party Three which is scheduled for July 19th, 2018 at 7pm. Make a note!

In other news, I thought I’d just smash on my Bathroom Redeux post right here at the end of this post. It totally flows. Heh.

I was thinking it’s not really enough substance to be it’s own post. And the pictures are not that great. It’s kind of impossible to get flattering photos of a bathroom that has no natural light and it’s so small you can’t really get a photo of it all at one time. I haven’t splurged on a wide angle lens that will work in such tight quarters yet.

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I really wanted to share with your this small Ikea shelving unit that we installed over the toilet. It is a little tight and I wish it was just a smidge more narrow so it doesn’t hang over the toilet so much but it has seriously changed our lives when it comes to organization.

This is the girls bathroom so imagine bottles of shampoo everywhere, most of them empty and dripping all over because they have this theory that they need to keep their shampoo upside down with the lids not all the way closed. No matter how much I harped on the fact that the lids need to be popped closed until you hear a click they did not hear me. It was gooey sticky drippy mess everywhere all the time. Then add about a zillion bobby pins and rubber bands to the counter area that you see around the sink, smear some toothpaste here and there, add a few hairs and you pretty much get the idea of the bathroom. I had had ENOUGH. Those drawers? Full of girl crap to the point that they can’t even open and close easily. I don’t even want to know what’s in there.

So I got the girls each a caddy and laid down some RULES. Shampoo and conditioner bottles go in the caddy and they must be dry. I got them individual rubber band and bobby pin jars and told them that from now on NOTHING goes on the sink counter except toothbrushes and soap. They each have a cubby and they have to keep it neat because it’s on full view.

GUESS WHAT? It worked. It’s been weeks and the bathroom is tidy and orderly. I am sooo happy.

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It’s almost like a spa in there! The caddies work really well for the girls too because they often have to take turns showering in our bathroom. This way they can carry everything they need in one trip instead of yelling for one of us to bring them things they forgot mid-shower. It’s just an all around win. If you have tween/teen kids or just someone who struggles with keeping things neat, I can’t recommend it enough.

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The kids? They don’t care one way or another.

And with that I am OUT. See you back here again on Tuesday!