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!

A Perfect Day Out

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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Pinch, pinch, pinch.

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Spin, spin, spin.

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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…

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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.

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Of course it’s decorated crazily.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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

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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.

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

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

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