A Perfect Day Out

laguna-wall

Even though we haven’t been in strict quarantine for months, it still feels like we’ve been cooped up since forever. We do get out these days to enjoy the alfresco dining that is popping up everywhere but we haven’t really been out out for a long time. So yesterday, when we spent the day in Laguna Beach, it felt like we were on vacation. Like really on vacation! If I squinted really hard and forgot that we were only a half hour away from home, I could almost feel like I’d flown thirteen hours and I was back in Italy. Laguna Beach feels like Italy sometimes. It’s just such a quaint touristy sort of town like that. I love it.

artime-barro-studio-laguna-beach

Yesterday we took a pottery class at Artime Barro studio in Laguna Beach.   I booked it a few weeks ago and carted the whole family off whether they wanted to go or not. At first the girls protested. They usually like to meet up with a few friends at our local shopping center in our neighborhood. It’s a habit Payam and I are not that fond of, given the risks of covid AND the fact that they are both starting to think that hanging out with a passel of boys is the cool thing to do. We fight them on it but give in regularly. Parenting, it is not for the weak.

After a few eye-rolls and sullen sulks with headphones in the back seat, they gave in and started to get excited too. It felt so good to be back as a crew having an adventure again. I LOVE love love when all four of us do something fun together. I guess, that’s the meaning of family after all. Now all those adventures my mom used to drag my brother and I off to make sense. These are the things that makes moms happy! Like really really happy! I should plan these sorts of adventures every week.

Of course everything comes with a price and a pottery class was $40 per person BUT you get to make two things each, you learn a new skill and it’s really really fun.

Bug-at-the-pottery-wheel

Bug is taking ceramics in highschool already so she’s a pro. I took a sculpture class at the local community class years ago but throwing pottery on a wheel is completely new to me. It is so relaxing. I found staring at the spinning clay almost hypnotizing. I could have stayed there for hours.

making-pinch-pots

We took turns. Two of us making pinch pots and two of us learning how to use the pottery wheel.

busy-pinching-pots

Pinch, pinch, pinch.

Payam-at-the-pottery-wheel

Spin, spin, spin.

my-pinch-fox-pot

I defied the instructions and made a fox instead of a pot. I thought I’d get in trouble but the instructor said it was perfectly fine. As long as I had a hole for the air to escape I could totally make a fox head instead of a pot. And that is why I like Laguna Beach and artists in general: It’s okay to break the rules and be creative! If Laguna Beach didn’t have such traffic problems I would seriously consider moving there. It is definitely my kind of town. Maybe someday…

artime-barro-studio

The studio is so nice and open, you almost feel like you are out doors. There are several doors and all of them are open with the gentle ocean breeze wafting through. In the back is the classroom area and off of that there is another outdoor seating area. In the front where you check in and out there is a little shop where you can buy locally made pottery. Lots of really cool gift items.

beautiful-studio-1

Of course it’s decorated crazily.

lots-of-fresh-air-in-the-studio

My favorite part is the interactive wall map where you can write on a broken shard of pottery and glue it to the wall with stucco.

interactive-wall-map-1

I really hope this studio lasts forever. Firstly because I want to go back and make more pottery and secondly because I put SAJ up own the wall and I want her to live there forever.

interactive-wall-map-2

Just fun all around. I think I should get a job here. Too bad I am a newbie at ceramics.

dog-in-the-studio

In true laid back Laguna Beach fashion, dogs are, of course, allowed. I would not bring Cody here though. His sweeping giant tail would costs me hundreds of dollars.

funny-plant-pot

There is a cute little pot on the check out counter. I want to make one of these one of these days.

I-miss-the-ocean

After our pottery class we walked down to the beach. When in Rome… You can’t really visit a beach community without at least putting your feet in the water. I miss living by the ocean. I’m only 15 minutes away now but you’d be surprised at how rarely I leave my little sunny town to go find it.

my-crew

Covid or no covid, I’m so glad to be out and about with my crew.

and-then-we-got-gelato

Then to top off the day we got gelato. Because that’s what you do when you go to Laguna Beach!

also-i-cut-bangs

I even had some, which if you know me is a pretty big deal. It was such a perfect day.

Been Busy

mom-visits

Where have I been? Well, I’ve been a little busy lately and I got out of my newly found habit of blogging in the morning. I’ll blame it on my mom. But it’s a good thing. My mom came to visit me for a week (while my dad drove a friend’s van from Portland Oregon to Austin Texas) and she actually gets up earlier than my kids so it was kind of nice to have some morning company for a change. But that also kept me away from my computer. So if you were wondering where I was, I was sitting at my kitchen table drinking coffee and chatting with my mom. It was super nice to have her around.

In my old age I have come to love cooking. I know those who are older than me are laughing and shaking their heads. Shake away, I’m right behind you. This is really great except it has been a source of frustration for me when my kids turn their noses up at my newfound love of cooking. I mistakenly think to myself that if I put love into my cooking, they should reciprocate that love with compliments and requests for more of my loving cooking. Harumph! It’s not going that way at all. Not that it won’t someday, but presently they are not interested. In fact, they would much rather not eat my cooking at all in favor of a bag of chips with a side of YouTube. They ask me what’s for dinner and then decide if they are hungry or not. You probably know how that goes.

You can imagine how wonderful it felt to hear compliment after compliment from my loving mom when I made her special dishes that stayed within the boundaries of her new healthy living die-t (that we have corroborated on together). I am super thankful for my relationship with my parents right now. I think this is the natural way of things. When your kids start to pull away from you to become their own strong individuals, you find comfort in your parents. At least that is how it is working out for me. My relationship with my parents is better than it has ever been.

I know I’m lucky. My parents had me when they were barely twenty so we don’t have that many years between us in age. Bug will not be so lucky. When she is my age, I will be (hang on, let me grab a calculator) eighty-three. EIGHTY THREE! I only plan to live until 82 so that’s kind of grim. Of course I could live until I’m 120 so who knows.  Anyway, I’m super thankful for my parents right now.

my-nature-trail

My mom left Saturday and now I am back to my usual routine. She did leave behind a photo album from that trip we took when I was sixteen across country in the broken-down RV so I am looking forward to blogging about that. It will be challenging though. I might have to fill in some gaps in my memory with a little fiction, and maybe embellish a little to protect the identity of my loved ones.

This morning I walked the nature trail with the dogs and I made you a little video. I had a rough anxiety-filled night (it was so stupid, I was stressing about the strangest things. I’ll elaborate later.) and I’ve been trying to start my mornings with positive thoughts instead of long lists of things I need to do. Most days I am not successful at this new morning mantra, including this morning. There I was thinking about all the things that are bothering me and all of a sudden my nostrils were hit with the super strong scent of honeysuckle! I didn’t take a picture. I should have but I was busy with dogs and dog poop bags and just not ready. But my point is from that moment on I took myself out of my anxiety filled brain and I started to notice how pretty it was outside!

It was really pretty this morning. Summer is definitely in full swing. The brush in the nature trail is dry and brittle. All the creeks (except that one really swampy one) are dried up. The mustard and queen Anne’s lace are dead. Their white branches look like tiny birch forests for squirrels and quail and speaking of quail, they are everywhere! I saw dozens and dozens of quail. If you have a keen eye, you might even see some in my movie but they are tiny specs.

My to-do list is still flapping away like a rolodex connected to a fan but I’m ignoring it in favor of checking in with you and sharing all the beauty around me. I love where we live. I love California. I know we have a bad reputation for traffic and politics but in the nooks and crannies are the prettiest things and of course everyone knows we have the best weather. So I’m trying to dwell on these things instead of worry.

prickly-pear

So pretty, right? I’ve been watercoloring a lot more lately too. The hardest part is getting myself to sit down *and slow down* in order to paint but once I do I am very happy.

A friend sent me some pink lemons and avocados and of course those lemons were screaming at me to paint them.

painting-pink-lemons

To the untrained eye, the painting looks pretty good. Don’t look too close, it’s very messy. But just like everything in life we can’t obsess over little mistakes. Just blur your eyes and soak in the pretty parts. That’s my mantra these days.