The Big Dramatic Peony Print

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The BIG engineer print came from Parabo Press (thank you Deborah for the tip!) and I finally figured out how to hang it! It actually came several weeks ago but I was not so smart and didn’t order the 36″ wooden rails that they offered to go with it. I thought I’d be cheap and order some off amazon instead and then I did and I ordered the wrong size TWICE. I’m not the brightest fork in the drawer sometimes. Creativity I have in loads but double-checking-measurement skills not so much. I was so steamed at myself. And then when I finally caved and decided to order the right rails from Parabo they were out of stock. Doh!

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But that’s okay because I happen to have a boyfriend who is handy with wood!  The real question is: why didn’t I ask him first?!!

I studied the design and figured out it was just four 36″-long pieces of wood held together with those super strong tiny refrigerator magnets. I gave Payam the measurements, ordered some magnets and he came back with perfect rails ready for hanging! And three weeks later I finally hung my amazing dramatic peony print.

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I love it. I love it so much better than that mass-produced Bed Bath and Beyond print that Payam had hung up in the dining room for so long.

I loved the sentiment of Payam’s old art though that’s why I left it there so long. But it offended me badly with it’s 90’s choice of fonts. You know how that can drive a graphic designer crazy.  It said “Teach music to the child and you give the soul a voice after you go.” which is really cool, right? I thought I would recreate it and keep the words somehow but nothing brilliant ever hit me. Then I fell in love with the giant peony print idea and now the 90’s music quote art lives in the office/kid’s tv room until I can somehow find a new way to keep that sentiment. I’m still perking on that.

Isn’t it cool that Payam loves me so much that he puts up with my redecorating? He puts up with a lot. Funny story: I have these really really eccentric palazzo pants in a crazy black and white boho print. I LOVE them. They are super flow-y and comfortable (except for the too tight waist band which is what I get for shopping at Forever 21 when I probably should be shopping at Ann Taylor Loft). From time to time I wear them and they are the kind of pants that stop you in your tracks. You can’t not acknowledge them when I walk in because they are screaming I’M CRAZY PANTS. So you can imagine Payam’s reaction the first time I wore them. And you know what he said?

“I love you and so I love your crazy pants.” He actually hates my crazy pants but he’ll never say that. He’s my guy.

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But back to the print. When it arrived the mailman brought it to me in big long tube that was mangled on one side. Of course that worried me so the mailman asked me to open it in front of him to make sure that it wasn’t damaged. Unfortunately it was a really hot day and I stupidly chose to open the tube and unroll the print on the hood of Payam’s black car that was really hot. The damaged tube didn’t hurt the print but me unrolling it on a hot surface did. Right away the print crinkled right down the middle. I realized my mistake and rolled it back up as soon as I could but the damage was done.

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The paper is so thin it is very easy to damage it. Thankfully, the center crinkle in it doesn’t really show BUT it does curl on the sides which kind of bugs me. I’m not sure why it curls other than the fact that the paper is very thin and it works like a barometer measuring the humidity in our house or something. So while the rail hanging idea is very affordable ($20 vs $400 to frame it)  it’s not perfect. I’m still not sure what we’re going to do. But it is a good temporary fix.

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In fact it’s so affordable I’m already plotting my next seasonal switch. :P

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.