Bug Turns 15: The Road Trip to Nowhere, Part 1

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I labored about whether to write this post for a long time. While only a few days have gone by, I’ve sat and worried about it endlessly, the hamster wheel in my head spinning like the hamster is a crack addict.  I really wanted to share this big-deal-trip but I felt like it was also an embarrassing mistake. I am deeply ashamed. I was afraid to talk about it for fear of being lambasted for naively ignoring the governor’s travel ban. It was stupid. We shouldn’t have gone. We were incredibly careful and incredibly lucky but at the end of the day I don’t want to traipse around with my white privilege like people are not dying from a horrible disease.

But then I talked to my therapist (I have a therapist now!) (more white privilege that I’m ashamed of) and she said, it’s my story. This is where I tell my stories. If I lose friends or future business contacts because of some dirt that can be dug up on this blog then maybe I don’t want those friends or business contacts anyway. I am fully going to own my mistake and write about why we shouldn’t have gone. But I also want to share the special parts. It was an amazing trip with my daughter. It was her birthday party that she couldn’t have and you know how I always go over the top with birthdays. So it’s a bittersweet story but it’s my story. I am ashamed that I acted irresponsibly and I will pay the consequences. I will also try maybe unsuccessfully to defend my bad choice. But I made it and we made it back and I think we are going to be okay. Hopefully wiser for our mistakes. So please don’t let the pretty pictures glamorize a bad decision. This was irresponsible of me and I regret it. I am also incredibly grateful that we were able to be safe.

There. That’s it. A huge heavy weight on my conscience.

When we left for our trip we never intended to go more than 200 miles. That was the point: a road trip to nowhere. Our plan was to get in the car and head up the coast and stop at every little silly thing we could find that wouldn’t be infested with people. That meant nature and funny photo opportunities that nobody else would be looking at. Bug is her own person now with her own instagram account and she creates her own content just like her mama. I can’t say I’m not proud of her creativity. Social media has it’s many faults but creativity is not one of them.

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Our first stop was a farmer’s market on the way to the coast. Back when we used to live at the beach, Bug and I would visit the Farmer’s Market every Saturday. It’s such a strong memory for both of us. I’d buy a three-pack box of raspberries and Bug would eat them before we even left the market. She loved the Farmer’s Market. From riding in the front-facing Bjorn to stroller days to riding her own tricycle…the market holds a super soft spot in our hearts. It’s really sad that we don’t go anymore but where we live now we don’t even think about it. We live in a super boring suburbia that has no central gathering places like a farmer’s market. Of course we can drive to a few that are actually nearby but we don’t because we don’t even think of it. Out of sight out of mind I guess. This is something I intend to change. Farmer’s Markets are great. They support the local farmers, there’s fresh healthy food and it’s just a good family outing. Of course we haven’t been going anywhere since Covid started but now that farmer’s markets seem to still be open with precautions maybe we’ll put them back in our schedule. Note to self: go to Farmer’s Market.

We bought some hummus and pita chips, a three pack of berries (of course!) and some snap peas and carrots for snacks. We didn’t have a way to wash them so we just hid them in our cooler for later. Then we headed off to find our favorite breakfast: Zinc!

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Yes, we are those basic beetches. I mean, how can we not be? Do you see that work of art that is avocado toast up there? Everyone should eat avocado toast! I told Bug that we are really spoiled. When I was a kid we got cereal or toast but never gourmet avocado toast on the regular. This is definitely the good life. Bug had an iced green matcha latte and of course I had a regular latte. Basic Beeches through and through.

After that we hit up another favorite spot for Bug’s favorite sandwiches and sparkling cider for the road.

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Then we drove. Basically we sat in traffic all through Malibu and Santa Monica. We took the long route and didn’t mind. We had no schedule and no place to be. Of course I was a little worried about where we’d stay that night without any reservations but Bug forced me to be optimistic. What could go wrong? Worst case we sleep in the car. Um, we could get murdered? said my usual over-operating worry brain. We did pack sleeping bags and my back windows are pretty darkly tinted so it could be work. I do know a few campgrounds that are usually open so we could get by. I was just worried. Like I always am. But I didn’t need to be. There are a lot of hotels open and they are super happy for customers because business is slow and they are hurting. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Next stop: lunch in Zuma. I had planned on stopping in Santa Monica and maybe swinging on those really big swings on the beach near the boardwalk but it was way too crowded. If there was no parking then we weren’t stopping because crowds are NOT for us. Even before the pandemic I hate crowds so it was a no-brainer that we’d avoid them now.

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Zuma was beautiful. There were people out but no crowds. The breeze was also pretty strong so it felt like if there were any germs around, they weren’t sticking around long. They were blowing far out into the sea to be cleaned. So we sat and we ate our sandwiches and talked about turning fifteen. I’m so proud of this big kid.

She’s tall now. She often stands next to me and says things like, “Mom, you are so small!” It’s refreshing. I like being small. She’s still a few inches shorter than me but she is definitely adult-sized now. It’s a funny thing that happens. I often tell her that I wish I could keep a version of her at every size. I miss that wobbly three year old who would tear down the sidewalk and throw herself into my arms for a hug. I miss the floppy pigtails and songs about hotdogs. I even miss the scared years when she’s talk about her worries incessantly and hated going to school. I’m so proud of her and how she overcame. She’s strong and independent and opinionated and smart. She’s everything I ever dreamed of and so much more. I knew I’d get a quirky kid but I never dreamed she’d be this perfect.

Next up: Santa Barbara and the horrible, no-good, terrible business of finding a bathroom in a town full of covid-partying morons. I know that’s harsh. Not all anti-maskers are morons in fact many of them are doctors and seem pretty smart. But for someone who has anxiety and has become a germaphobe because of the pandemic, you can kind of understand what it’s like for a worrier like me to see a crowd of drunk people NOT social distancing. Anyway, more on that tomorrow!

Let’s Catch Up

I took a minute off blogging. Not on purpose. At this point it’s the monthly illustrating-a-new-banner habit and boy did I work hard on this one. Why? I don’t know! It’s just a thing I have to do. Have you guys watched The Social Dilemma on Netflix? I’m sure you have. It’s pretty good. It gave me a lot to think about so maybe blogging is my small way of sending good content out into the world to fight the evil monster algorithm. It’s pretty scary when you think about it. But it has helped me to put social media and the internet in perspective.

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Nobody is happier that it is Halloween Season than Bug. Just when I thought I figured out her last aesthetic (dreamy white walls with delicate botanical drawings, plants everywhere, natural textures and boho hippie vibes…) she goes and changes it! Now she’s really into dark gothic designs and loving anything Victorian. If it’s complicated and patterned and dark then she loves it! But she’s always been this way. When she’s into something she’s passionate about it!

I guess we are two of a kind that way. The other day we found a new taco stand and they had these wild blue turquoise painted stucco walls. So we posed in front of them of course.

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I recently purchased a turquoise bucket hat so it was kismet.

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This is the taco joint we found. I recently hired an accountant to help me figure out my mess of finances now that I’m a big fat corporation (not) and I have a feeling that the accountant is going to put the kibosh on all these out-to-lunch adventures Bug and I often go on. I think it’s going to be time to get back to basics with peanut butter and jelly soon.

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The girls are back to school two days a week on the hybrid model. They love it. I’m so so. But I do feel a lot better knowing they are back at school only half the time with half the amount of students. It’s a numbers game I guess and at this point I’m weighing their mental health against their chances to catch covid. I guess we’ll just wait and see and take all precautions.

Back to school for my girls means dressing like you are in the nineties. And by nineties I mean the Kirk Cobain era, not the fact that it has been over ninety degrees outside. I don’t know how they can wear long sleeves and docs when it’s sweltering but they do. Sweat in the name of vanity I guess.

And speaking of vanity,

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Guess who likes her picture taken again! I am so happy to accommodate with the fashion photography. Work it girl! I do love her fashionable choices. She’s getting more and more inventive every day and I love it.

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The other day we popped into a thrift store and she found this vintage Parisian skirt. I would have never picked it up myself but now that’s she’s been wearing it regularly, I am loving it too! It’s really well made with one tiny button at the waist. I think it’s super cute on her.

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In other news, Payam made it back from hiking Mt. Lassen!  We are so proud of him. He set out to do something that seemed impossible and he did it! Now I just want to go back and do it with him!

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Meanwhile back home my favorite cactus has been putting on a show.

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Oh! I’m babysitting my mom’s dog, Spreckles. This dog. She is going to be the death of me. She’s wearing a cone because she scratched her eyelid and wouldn’t stop itching it until it was raw and hairless. I took her to the vet and they gave her some meds and she’s pretty much better now.

And she bit my friend Lubna.

Yes, I said that right. Lubna is fine but it was a scare and a half.  Spreckles has a biting problem and we forget about it because she is a super sweet dog when she’s not a rabid crazy biting dog. It causes us a LOT of stress. She’s a Kingsland Healer so she has instinct to herd animals (or people) by nipping at them. When she gets scared (like if someone unintentionally gets in her space) and will lunge at them. Usually, we can avert this problem by giving her her beloved tennis ball (she’s psycho about the ball) but if we don’t have a ball when she encounters someone new it can get really dicey. She probably feeds off my fear and gets even more defensive and protective of me. Anyway it’s been a super nightmare because I am scared to death she’ll bite someone and really hurt them and then they will sue me and my life will be over.

I’m being dramatic but it was really scary. She bit our cleaning lady once when she went outside to throw out some trash AND she tried to bite the gardener through our screen door and knocked the screen door out of it’s track. Thankfully I had her muzzle on and nobody was hurt but still. Scary dog!!!!

Except that she is super sweet to me and nuzzles her little nose into my lap while I’m typing this. How can you put down a dog like that? It is a real conundrum.

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I found a muzzle for her that is super cool. She doesn’t mind it either. In fact, she is really happy to put it on usually because I always put it on when we take walks and she’s associated it with getting to go out on a walk. You can see how red her eye was. It’s better now. The muzzle is soft and mesh and she can easily breath with it on. It also doesn’t look too scary like a dungeon dog or something

Taking walks with all three dogs is the regular three-ring circus it has always been. Except I think it’s worse now that I am afraid of her biting someone. I’m also worried my dogs are picking up on her habits because now Whiskey growls and lunges too but he hasn’t bitten yet. SO enter one of my favorite friends, Maria!! I love Maria for so many reasons but recently she has started walking the dogs early in the morning with me and it helps a ton to have some extra hands.

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So yeah. A real dog circus. Have I mentioned that Spreckles is obsessed with her ball? She was trying to get it from under the couch (where it always seems to go) and she pawed at the cord of our lamp and knocked it over and busted the lampshade. Dogs, man.

I think that about catches you up. See you next month! Unless I get back here sooner.