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!

Blawging Thanksgiving

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The girls and I drove out to the desert on Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving. I always love an extra prep day and I knew my mom would appreciate some help since this is the first time she was hosting Thanksgiving since they moved to their new place. She had plans for us to do a little dusting but as soon as we got there we booked it out to the fields to catch a few photos before the sun went down.

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I mean, how can you not? It’s so beautiful out there! I love love love the desert. Lots of people in my family go on and on about how beautiful Northern California is with all its Redwoods, lush greenery and ocean views but I will always be a desert girl at heart. Give me some golden sun, some dark burgundy sage and some pretty views of the mountains through atmospheric moodiness and I am a happy camper.

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Little did I knew we’d get busted for climbing around our old favorite barn.

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Apparently, it’s on private property and not part of the park that my parents live in. Bah Humbug. But you know me, I’ll still sneak up there and take a few photos of my #reinhartcanyonbarn. I’ll just be more careful and not let the girls go inside exploring. I should have known better. That rusty old building has tetanus written all over it.

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After our photography session and a spaghetti dinner, we settled in for an epic game of Uno and looking at Saturn with my dad’s telescope.

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You might wonder how we could see anything with that bright porch light behind us but we could. We just had to wait for the automatic sensor to turn off and then peer through the long viewfinder. My dad showed us Venus and all of it’s moons lined up and then Saturn. You could see the rings just barely but if you asked me it looked like a piece of rice. To prove my point I have illustrated it in that black box. That’s pretty much what Saturn looked like to me. My dad is much more of a space enthusiast than we are but it was still fun. Any time we have together and we are not on our phones is a good time I say.

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The next day my mom put the turkey in the oven at 9 am. I helped of course but I didn’t have much to do.  My mom’s oven is really old and struggled to keep a constant temperature. The turkey managed to cook but it took about two hours longer than it was supposed to which royally fouled up my plans to take our Christmas card photo at golden hour. I knew going into this that it would be a challenge to squeeze dinner and a photoshoot into one magical golden hour but I had high hopes.

And those hopes were dashed.

We did manage to rush out and take a few just-in-case shots before the turkey was done and those will probably be my only shots because wouldn’t you know it golden hour happened at exactly the same time as we were sitting down to dinner. It was excruciating to watch the sun set, glinting with golden light on the table while we served up stuffing and ladled delicious gravy. I was in agony.

But what can you do? Hold up thanksgiving dinner just for a photo? Eat it afterwards when it’s cold? I push my family a lot when it comes to photography, I knew that was my limit.

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So here are the rushed shots.  I’m missing in this one.

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I’m dealing with Cody looking the wrong way in this one.

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This might be a good shot but Bug is smirking and Joon is looking down. She prefers to look away from the camera. It’s a thing.

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This one I’m fixing my mom’s hair that was blowing away in the wind that picked up. Which, by the way, I should mention REALLY picked up and even if we had made it outside at golden hour we would have been blown every which way. So I guess it’s not that horrible that dinner ploughed through my plans.

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This shot of my parents and their dog, Spreckles turned out pretty good.

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This is the best one of the bunch. It’s kind of hilarious and perfect.

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In spite of the oven not working and my roasted vegetables never making it past the super-crunch level of raw, dinner was pretty delicious. I remember when everything was going down I was surprised that my mom wasn’t as upset as I would be. If this had happened at my house I probably would have had a meltdown and be in tears. I’m wound so tight when it comes to entertaining, a broken oven would have done me in. But it wasn’t my house and my mom seemed surprisingly indifferent. So I took my cues from her and tried not to sweat it. I guess if you’ve cooked as many Thanksgiving dinners as my mom has, you know that something will always go wrong and it’s not the thing that’s going wrong that matters, it’s how you handle it.

I might not have a picture-perfect holiday photo but does anyone really love a perfect picture? Nah. Bring on the outtakes!