Beach Bits,  Bug,  out out out of the house!,  Super Dad,  travel

Laguna Beach
and the story of my first date with Toby

hi! I'm a hobo baby and I'm taking over this joint

Toby’s been under a lot of pressure lately and it’s been hard for him to work with Baby Bug’s noise AND the neighbors behind us cutting TILE ALL THE LIVE LONG DAY. I know. I know. People have to do remodels once in a while but I swear, where we live, it’s been bathroom tile cutting for the past year. Have you heard what tile being cut sounds like?

Like puppies being killed with a side of fingernails on chalkboard. It’s impossible to ignore but yet, it goes on and on and on… so ignore it we must. This is the price we pay for living at the beach. Leaf blowers, Harleys, jackhammers, forklifts backing up, buses wheezing, ambulances wailing… tis music to a city kid’s ears.

Sometimes, it’s just too much and we have to get out of the house. For our sakes and Toby’s. I always hate to leave. It means packing sippy cups and snacks and diapers and who knows what else but once I’m gone, I’m so glad I went. I even wonder why I don’t leave the house more often.

lifeguard tower

Today, I packed up the Bug and went to Laguna Beach. It was just a quick trip. Just long enough to put a buck seventy-five in the parking meter and brave the hoards of tourists. It’s so crazy there this time of year.

A very kind reader sent me an email a while back asking me for some information about where I live. Like where would be a safe but affordable place to stay and see the sights. She asked me if I had any suggestions for fun things to do with children.

I have to admit I’m a bit at a loss of how to answer this email. Everything is expensive here and I haven’t a clue where to stay or what to do. I rarely do anything other than visit my little local beach, duck into my local coffee shops and taco shop and all the other regular routine stuff to do like grocery shopping and dropping off dry cleaning etc etc….

In an effort to do some “research” for inquiring minds, I decided the Bug and I would explore Laguna Beach looking for “fun and affordable things to do”. We only skimmed a part of it but we found some places of interest.

Unfortunately, I didn’t take notes. I was already pushing a stroller one handed so I could hold an iced latte in the other, banging Bug’s head with my swinging camera on my neck and completely distracted by all the many many many strange looking tourists to look at. I really really want to be a travel writer but I think I’m going to have to wait until I either get my act together or Baby Bug grows up.

You’ll have to forgive me as I stumble through these places.

going down the blue tube
We loved bumping the stroller along the board walk at main beach and the playground was great. It has lots of blue tubes to climb through and Baby Bug thought it was swell. The tubes are bit small for big people so I had stay below and hold my breath that she wouldn’t fall or get stolen by somebody. I miss having her strapped to my body in the baby carrier. With so many people, around I constantly want to just hold her tight to me.

main beach. crowded.

Crowded it was. This isn’t really even a very bad picture. In some parts of the beach, it was towel to towel. Everywhere you turn you can hear funny accents and languages other than English. I like people and new cultures but this is not really my idea of a peaceful vacation. I think my best advice to people visiting Southern California is to wait until after September. The weather is still so nice right up into October. I say, stay home in your air conditioning and come visit us when it starts getting chilly. Better yet, be a snow bird and hang out with us all winter.

Fleeting Moment

The neat thing about Laguna Beach is all the art. Some of it is corny and cliche (like about a zillion galleries dedicated to the art of “boat in harbor”) but some of it is very playful. I don’t remember exactly what street where we were on when we found this but it was a delight to stumble across. There are a lot of little parks and alleyways that have bits of local art like this.

starfish Thailand or somewhere

There are all kinds of shops where you can buy touristy crap. I can’t really judge because when I visited Paris, I was all about the touristy crap. Who cares if it was manufactured in Taiwan. It’s the memory of where you bought it that counts. I really doubt these sea stars came from here. But they are pretty.

hari krishna

There is one more thing to blog about Laguna Beach. The Hare Krishna Temple. It’s kind of funny really. This is where Toby took me on our first date.

Toby and I were friends and he was telling me about this horrible date he went on with a stripper. (Yes, Toby dated a stripper before me. And yes, I did have a complex about it for a short time.) He took her to this little restaurant inside the Hare Krishna Temple. He thought it would be a fun (and different) to take a date there. Sometimes the monks would chant and parade around the tables and such.

It sounded really cool to me but it was beyond awkward with the stripper. Strippers aren’t really known for their lively conversation skills and I guess this girl was no exception. I think she was more into fast cars and things like that.

I thought this was a great story and told Toby (as he chatted with me at the music store I was working at) that I would LOVE to go to the Hare Krishna Temple. I was just fresh out of college and my journalism major hadn’t quite worn off yet. Anything new and different was considered fun to me.

So we went and that was our first date. The food was awful. Totally bland with no salt shaker in sight. Nobody paraded around us chanting either. But the conversation was great and a little black cat wandered in and sat on my lap. Personally, I think it was a sign that Toby was supposed to marry me.


  • Bethany Actually

    Anyplace (store, restaurant) with animals wandering freely always feels homey to me. What a great first-date story! And what a slick way for Toby to ask you out on a date. “Yeah, I took this STRIPPER chick to the HARE KRISHNA temple for lunch, but she wasn’t into it…” He had to know you well enough to know that your curiosity would be peaked. Smooth, Toby. Very smooth. ;-)

  • BeachMama

    I so love your first date story!! Mine is so boring all we did was go to a movie. How unique ;).

    I love the pictures of Laguna Beach. It all sounds wonderful from afar, but it is great to hear about it from someone who lives there.

    And BB in that pink sleeper standing on the table… adorable.

  • andrea

    What a lovely first date story. My husband and I frequent the spot where we had our first date, it reminds me of how simple our lives once were, not that I am complaining : )

  • SmocknMama

    Great story, but the pics make me homesick. I grew up on the beach and in my twelve years of parenting I’ve been able to take my children to the beach once, for only a few hours (12 hours before a hurricane hit and we traveled home). I love the beach, but love the sea more. It’s a great metaphor for my life. I was sailing a boat before I could walk. It’s wonderful to see BB waling on the beach and playing in the sand.

    I love that your first date was at the Hare Krishna Temple – funny, but I think it’s even funnier that he took a stripper there. My neighborhood, quiet, old folks. I love it and they love our kiddos. Maybe we could swap for a week. ;)

  • Amanda

    Ooo, the plot thickens. A stripper?! I just can’t picture Toby sitting down to dine with a pole dancer. I am glad he kicked things up a notch and found a great woman like you to smarten him up. :)

  • Melanie

    THe Ergo Carrier is a great way to have Baby Bug strapped to you again. It goes on your back like you are piggy backing her…I can easily carry my 3 year old in it!!!

  • Beth

    cool story, thanks for sharing! what a great memory to have.
    BB is so cute, i love the tube-walking, great shot! cool artwork with her standing there. It’s hard to be a tourist in your own hometown! good job! you sold me to visit in the winter time!

  • Alissa

    Oh SAJ I know I’ve said it before but…you must get another baby carrier (and a comfortable one too). I also like the Ergo and others. It is extremely comfortable and handy. Just imagine – besides having her close for outings you could go up the stairs with your shopping (and strollers) too without having any worries.

    I also love the story about how you met Toby. Although I don’t know him, he has never struck me as the stripper sort.

  • Ariel

    I know that Hare Krishna temple… home of Sumptuous Vegetarian Feasting! I miss Laguna. I lived there briefly, in the late 90’s, and loved it, especially in the fall/winter.