Los Angeles

Fall Fun in SoCal 2015

Harper and I spent the last two weekends doing some traditional Fall activities. (Poor Kurt had to work.) First it was apple picking then a Fall Festival at the U-pick farm that we frequent throughout the year.

The apple farm we chose was Riley's Farm in Oak Glen. That's about a two hour drive without traffic. We got there right when they opened and thank goodness we did. It turned out to be the last day of apples (Granny Smiths) for the season and also pumpkin patch time for them.

We went first for apples.

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Then wandered around the pumpkin patch before heading back to the Hawks Head Tavern for an early lunch of Ye Olde Grilled Cheese.
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The food took a while so we made ourselves busy with selfies.

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Finally, lunch was eaten and then it was time to make a speech.

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We then left and I was so glad we'd gotten there early as the two lane road leading the farm was JAMMED on both sides for about 1/4 mile.

The next day we made apple pie. It was delicious! Before and After:

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I look forward to going back to that farm next year earlier in the season to get some red apples. 

I'm not the most crafty person in the world, don't know how to sew nor do I own a glue gun. But I actually made a Halloween Craft this year! Sewing and glue gun not required! It's small, only 10" around, but I love it. Harper helped me paint the snakes.

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Today was all about the Pumpkin Situation at our regular farm Underwood Family Farm. They have a full on Fall Festival every October with rides and games and and food and music along with all their regular farm fun stuff.

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The most fun for both of us was the Bean Box - an enclosed, shaded "Playpen" full of beans and various scoopers and cups. Harper could have stayed for hours. We were there for about 40 minutes. It was heaven.

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That Other Online Place Where I Write Things

I'm on facebook and have some fun and lively interactions there. I'm not really 100% sold on facebook, I use it warily and my "security" settings are pretty tight. (I don't really believe I have much security there.) There have been some hilarious images being shared on FB and I wanted to put some here.

The whole Kim Davis (I'm not linking, you can google it) ridiculousness has been amusing for the memes it generates. Like the serious ones:

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But more than that one, I really enjoyed the on-point, but hilarious ones:

HanDoesTheJob

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Smart memes just make my day.

Here's another image I had to share about life in general these days. This is THE TRUTH!

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And lastly I wrote about a comment made to me by a valet guy on recent evening. He was returning the GTI to me - six speed manual transmission (or "Stick" as we like to say) and as he got out he said: “I like the 6 speeds!” And I said, “I know, right?” and he said “It’s cool you know how to drive it!”

At first I felt a bit insulted, but not long after I posted that interaction, I realized it was a compliment. I felt insulted because of my own occasional low self-esteem. Middle age is a tough place to be (especially while I'm so overweight) and so when a 20 year old guy tells me something like that I imagine how he pictures me - like someone who could be his mom - and he's surprised that I know how to do something cool like drive a six speed stickshift car.

But you know what? I am goddamn cool!


Going To The Beach

This morning I started a blog post about going to the beach in LA vs. going to the beach in Hawai'i. About one paragraph in I realized that it's not that different because I was remembering going to the beach as a kid.

As a grown up with a three-year-old in tow, going to the beach means bags of towels and dry clothes, snacks, drinks, hats, sunscreen, buckets, shovels, etc etc etc. It also means finding parking in expensive lots or parking spots, some times far from where the sand actually starts. Then schlepping all that stuff across the W I D E expanse of beach that lines the Santa Monica Bay to sit near the water.

Wide:

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Compared to my three favorite beaches in Hawai'i:

Hapuna:

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Ka'anapali:

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and Anaeho'omalu:

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And Beach 69, but I think I've made my point. The beaches in Hawaii are small.

(Bonus points to whoever can tell me why it's called Beach 69!) (Dor, you are disqualified from competing.)

My main point is this. As a kid, going to the beach was a snap: put on your suit, grab a towel (and maybe a t-shirt) put on your slippahs and HELE ON! Easy! But of course the more I thought about it earlier this morning, I realized that whoever drove me to the beach had also packed a cooler, bags of snacks and all the other stuff. (Minus buckets and shovels - we dug WITH OUR HANDS!) So, in fact, it wasn't that different than today in terms of schlepping all that stuff. But at least once you got to the beach, the distance was much smaller.

So my original rant of a blog post fizzled out by the dawn's early light.

Then I got to thinking about going to the beach in high school. That, in my memory was also a snap. Bathing suit, shorts/t-shirt, sunglasses, slippahs, bag with towel and suntan lotion (not actually sunscreen...). Oh and someone might have had a small boombox. On the way we would stop and get manapua and/or arare and/or li hing mui (oooh my mouth waters just typing that) and sodas.

Steinlager-new-zealand-beer-lagerAfter a long hot day at the beach, catchin' rays, brah, all relaxed and sun-kissed, we would head home but usually with a stop at a store along the way for a quart of ice cold Steinlager. (A quart each, mind you.) And maybe more manapua if there was any left.

Okay, if I'm honest, sometimes it was Lowenbrau.

Going to the beach as a kid and later as a teenager was the best. I like taking Harper to the beach. I am just looking forward to when she is old enough to carry more of her own stuff and old enough that I don't have to hold her hand as we splash in the water. Sometimes it's nice to just sit at the beach and chill. With a cold Steinlager.

 

 

 

 


We Also Do Things Without Harper

Because we have our own lives too. Sort of.

Eddie Izzard was in town a few weeks ago and I went with Jacquie. We had nosebleed seats at the Hollywood Bowl. But Eddie is AMAZEBALLS and did a Q&A for the cheap seats about an hour before the show started. Wonderful guy.

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Then Kurt and I got tickets to see a Texas Rangers game at Dodger Stadium. They were playing the Dodgers, FYI. We haven't been to a baseball game in about 10 years. It was fun for a while then the game turned out to be a pitchers duel (but not even a very good one) and at the bottom of the ninth, the score was 0-0. UGH. (I know, I know, fair weather fan.)

We left to avoid the crowd and listened as the Dodgers won with a walk-off balk! What is that, you say? (Because I had to be educated...) Click Here.

But we got to eat Dodger Dogs and eat peanuts and I had beer. I rarely have beer but I felt beer was necessary. Okay not necessary but traditional. I was also pleased/surprised to find we got to sing Take Me Out To The Ballpark at the 7th inning stretch, not America The Beautiful (or whatever 'Murican song that has to be sung to say F You to terrorists). Happy to hear that tradition has returned. Oh and we got to do the wave. Silly good times. I'd like to go back for another game.

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Before it turned into a snooze-fest - HERE WE RANGERS, HERE WE GO!

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I've always been bummed that I didn't grow up with a home team of any kind. I love that Kurt has his love/hate relationship with the Rangers. I would love to have Harper have a team, so maybe in a few years we can start educating her and going to more Dodger games..?? We'll see if she's into it. Kurt can be play-by-play and I can do color commentary: "Now he has two balls."

PS Waaaaaay before I was born, my dad used to recreate baseball games for the radio in Hawaii. That would have been really cool to hear him do.

 

 


Mother’s Day Portraits in Honor of Help a Mother Out

Hi friends - a charity that I support and volunteer for is having a fundrasier in honor of Mother's Day. Get your family portrait done and support a great cause at the same time. If you donate and come to the sessions, I'll greet you there and make you smile for the camera!


Los Angeles photographer and owner of Litetrap Studios, Michael Murphree, has offered Mother’s Day-themed mini sessions as a priceless gift for the moms in your life with all proceeds going to support Help a Mother Out’s efforts in Los Angeles. (Incredibly generous!)



Mother-and-baby
Portrait by Michael Murphree


For a donation of $100, up to 20 mothers and their children will receive a 15-minute portrait session on Sunday, May 17, two 5 x 7 prints, and a custom Facebook timeline photo.

Michael Murphree has 20 years of experience as a commercial and celebrity photographer, starting his career as apprentice to world-famous photographer Annie Leibovitz. It was when Michael had his own family that he fell in love with photographing his wife and twin babies. This led to the creation of Litetrap Studios, where Michael takes joy in capturing the special moments in other families’ lives with the goal of creating cherished heirlooms that pass on through generations.

The mini-sessions are available to up to 20 mothers and their children, and children of any age. Want a priceless memory of you with your own mother? This is a wonderful opportunity to have a true artist create a portrait of you, and help another mother out at the same time.

Studio space is generously provided by Books and Cookies, a bookstore and play space in Santa Monica.

To reserve your sitting appointment or to arrange for one as a gift to that special mom in your life for Mother’s Day, make your donation here. (If you are not available to come to a session, you can still make a donation to this great cause.)

Mother’s Day Mini-Sessions with Michael Murphree
May 17, 2015
Books and Cookies
2309 Main Street
Santa Monica, CA 90405
To purchase, click here
For more information please contact me or Kim Tracy Prince at kim@helpamotherout.org


Another Harper First: Disney's California Adventure Part 4 of 4 - Snow and A Parade

Part 1 here, Part 2 here, Part 3 here.

After we met Olaf, the snow was ready to play in. I should say "play" because while it was snow (very icy snow) and this was Disney, you couldn't do much more than touch it and make a small snowman. There was a strict "NO THROWING SNOWBALLS" rule. Harper seemed fascinated enough.

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CalAdventure28Then it was time to head out and find a snack. There was a parade starting in ten minutes so we went over to the parade route and found a spot right in front of a snack stand. There were chips and nuts and fruit and drinks. Harper chose a giant chunk of pineapple! Awesome.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The parade started and Harper got a cozy spot to watch from.

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Parade was over and we were walking out behind the parade (Behind Mater) and Harper kept wanting to get ahead, but I had to hold her back so as not to actually join the parade. She was getting annoyed and the parade attendant next to us looked over and said, "Hold my hand!" So Harper got to walk with her a ways and she was happy.

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I forgot how actually VERY NICE 99% of the Disney Cast Members are. Every time we needed help they provided that help and so much more. Quite refreshing.

That was it, that was our day. We left the parade and made our way back to the front, back to the tram, back to the car, back to real life. But not before we took a few more potential Christmas card pictures!

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Another Harper First: Disney's California Adventure Part 3 of 4 - The Celebrities

Read Part 1 here. Read Part 2 here.

What California Adventure is complete without celebrities? We bumped into our share and Harper seemed to enjoy them, though she preferred to have at least me by her side while posing.

As previously mentioned, we ran into Lightning McQueen first thing. (And I finally got our official picture - click to see it bigger.)

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I'm pretty sure there is someone in the car who drives it and I can't decide if that is better or worse than being in a sweaty costume.

Later, just walking along Paradise Pier, we bumped into Buzz Lightyear OMG! Harper was pretty stoked to see him and waited patiently.

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After the lunch and nap and second traumatizing ride, we decided to head to Hollywood Land to see Olaf and the snow room. And we didn't have to wait long thanks to the guy running the pager line.

Okay, so the deal was, you wait in line outside to get a pager (like in restaurant) so that you can walk around and shop or whatever and when it is your turn to see Olaf, your beeper goes off and you just go in.

So we got in line (behind about six people) and the Cast Member, Brandon, said, "Oh just come in, I'm not doing beepers, it's not that crowded." Um, okay! Always nice to go to the park when it's not crowded.

Inside the building was Olaf's Snow Fest with a space full of actual snow that we watched them make and groom. There was an Oompah band, snack and gift stands. And Olaf of course.

We waited patiently and finally we were next when the Olaf attendant said that Olaf needed to go on a quick break "to have some hot cocoa" and he would be right back. I looked at her and said, "Do you mean bourbon?" She looked at me and laughed a little, but said, "oh no, of course not! Just cocoa!" Sure thing lady.

The Olaf person was very sweet and nice. I love Harper's little hand in his.

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After Olaf we played in the snow for a bit, then went out side where a parade was going to start in 10 minutes. Perfect. We got seats on the curb, a quick snack and waited. Then Harper got to see one of her all time favorites - Mater.

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These were some prime time celebrity sightings, I'll tell you! Alas, no Anna or Elsa as they were hard to come by (without the extra time, patience and scheduling). Gotta save something for next time!


I Love Scarves. I Live In The Wrong Place.

Okay, I actually live in the right place for many things. The main thing is the movies. I always wanted to work in the movies, so here I am working the movies. But the weather never suited me. I always wanted to live in a place where I could wear a scarf like this all the time:

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That's Claire from Outlander, in case you didn't recognize her. I just started watching the show and it's a perfect escape after busy days. (I don't binge, I savor.) But it's one of the first times I've watched a show and through the whole episode I just stared at her scarf. I believe my exact thoughts were: WANT WANT WANT WANT WANT WANT WANT WANT WANT WANT WANT WANT WANT WANT WANT WANT WANT WANT.

Problem is I don't knit. Then I googled "Outlander Scarf" and dang if there weren't a ton of these for sale on Etsy. Problem solved.

But I live in LA and it's spring (and going to be 90 today) so what on earth am I thinking?

Maybe I'll just google "Highland Cottage Rentals" and fantasize a little more before Harper wakes up. Oh and pin the esty pics to my pinterest account for later.

 


Back To The Farm

Last year we discovered Underwood Farms in Moorpark (and their smaller sister farm in Somis). They close from December to March and recently reopened so we drove out and picked some lovely veggies and strawberries. Then Harper had fun in the bouncy house and feeding the goats.

YUM!

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Aside from the super delicious strawberries, we picked carrots, sugar snap peas and radishes. Harper had mostly carrots (with ranch dip) for dinner. She tried the radishes and seemed okay about them. But then just had more carrots. Awesome.

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PS you know a place is uber kid friendly when all their porta-potties have these in them.

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