Post sick day

The kids have been sick for For-ev-er.
I have had reservations to visit The Broad for two months longer than forever. 
The night before everyone went to bed there were rounds of medicine, vitamin infused drinks and interrogations of “how do you feel? How is your head? Are you achey? You don’t feel feverish but do you feel warm?” Etc etc etc. as of the night before we were all systems go. The morning of Kap was tired and Co had a mild headache….we went for it.

First stop was introducing the kids to the wonders of Donut Friend. You may remember me singing the praises of Donut Friend in my last post. I FINALLY got my Jets to Basil and it was perfect.  

 The kids loved them (Brayden I think was the most impressed) George kept saying how he wished we lived closer. I’m secretly glad we don’t because my self control is non existent.
After a stop by Hollyhock house (another location I visited in during my last solo adventure) Kaplan has always enjoyed the Hollywood sign ever since she was little so she liked seeing everything from this view. Although this time around she mentioned that it should say “Kaplan” instead of “Hollywood” …I might be raising a tyrant.

We made our way to the Broad.   First off. Thank God for reservations. The standby line was terrifying and I admire every single one of those people for their sticktoittiveness. I couldn’t do it no matter how badly I wanted to see something. Heck I won’t wait for Space Mountain without a fast pass. It’s a very simple process, done online and I think they’re currently taking reservations for March. 

Once you arrive you’re put into a line and pre-checked in until your reservation time. Read up on visiting the museum and reserving an additional time-slot for special exhibits here, it has a ton of great info.

So taking kids to the Broad….first of all Kap was still on the tired side so she and I spent a 1/5 of the time sitting on benches admiring various pieces of work for ten minute stretches. Besides our bench sitting Kaps favorite part was an untitled oil painting by Rudolf Stingel, Kaplan’s Favorite. Secondly some of the art can be suggestive. Brayden and Kap are both of the age where they can look at it objectively and understand the emotion it evokes instead of the image at “face value” (please understand none of it was “lewd” but you do want to be with your children when you’re walking through). On that note, Co pointed out several times that he was “pretty sure that’s a penis.” after explaining impressions and how art affects the human emotion  Co decided his favorite part was The infinity mirrored room 


 
  It was truly incredible. 

Brayden’s favorite artist was Barbara Kruger 

I’m having a moment of pride here because all of the kids favorites were mine.

       

From The Broad we went to Little Pine a new organic, vegan bistro in Silverlake for a late brunch. I had been looking forward to going ever since I found out that all profits go to animal welfare organizations. I mean come on. Wonderfully calm setting, vegan food and it’s for a good cause? It’s almost too perfect.  The kids didn’t order much (their appetites have been sporadic since getting over their various illnesses). Kap decided on the Strawberry “Poptart” which she says “is so good, way better then a regular Poptart” (I feel like I need to point out that I can’t tell you the last time we had Poptarts in the house). 

 Brayden got the strawberry lemonade, Co and George got the Peanut Butter, cacao, cashew banana smoothie and they both loved it. 

 I ordered the vegetable frittata and immediately started thinking of ways I could make something similar at home (we don’t live close by) and George got the French toast. It looked so, so, so decadent. I had a bit of the crust and holy crap. If I hadn’t wanted to try everything on the menu I would order the French toast hands down. I do feel the need to mention that if you have to choose between the peach Bellini and the strawberry basil Bellini you should choose the strawberry basil. 

 So good. Side note: the little retail store in the front of the restaurant is every nature lovers dream. Plates featuring elegant sketches of deer, candles that perfectly capture various outdoors brought indoor themes, sage bundles, recipe books, the list can go on and on.  

This is actually a squinty face picture in the bathroom…I liked the picture hanging on the wall and the natural light.

 
Our last stop was at Wackos Soap Plant .

 I’m not sure what I was expecting but I think I was expecting something a little more…original? Maybe it’s from living in California my whole life but it reminded me of a really large Spencer’s gifts with a dash of the novelty section at Urban Outfitters. The coolest part was the art gallery in the back of the store. Turns out we missed Kevin Smith by about 4 hours (something Brayden pointed out to me very quickly and seemed a little put out about).  
 
It was a nice, relaxed adventure day for some recuperating kids. I can’t wait for our next one.   

 

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Finding Salvation in the desert : adventureday to the Salton Sea/ Yucca Valley/The 951

It’s a tricky situation to be in when you’re a perpetual homebody
*cough*
I mean hermit
*cough cough*
who also suffers from wanderlust….or maybe it’s escapism…

Thankfully my children, like myself, find joy in the simple adventures. The beauty of the world (although Cohan’s first question is always “is it a hike?”). This is what took us out to the desert and to Salvation Mountain.

I had seen a picture of Salvation Mountain a few years ago and tucked it into my mind under “places to adventure for another time”. That time arrived when I was pondering places for us to go on our mini vacation this last weekend.

First of all I regard this area of the desert like Radiator Springs, the fictitious town in the movie Cars, before they turn on the neon lights. The area between Palm Springs and Salton Sea are a series of few and far between road side stops, palm tree farms, open desert and abandoned homes. Here and there there are signs of life. People, much tougher than I, that can live in the extreme temperatures that hit this area of Southern California hard.
That’s why we came in the winter. I’m a massive wuss when it comes to the sun and heat. We stayed about an hour and a half away from where Salvation Mountain is located in the city of Banning. I didn’t want anyone to be in the car longer then they had to so staying at the half way mark between our destination and home worked perfectly.

My number one priority was Salvation Mountain. It’s a labor of love created out in the middle of the desert by Leonard Knight. His life and story behind his creation are incredible and his devotion will leave you staggered. To live so simply, so full of hope and love.

To get there, don’t listen to the map app in your iPhone. Seriously.
The best directions are located on the foundations website : “From Los Angeles or Phoenix, take Interstate 10 to the 86S (just east of Indio.) Travel south (11 miles) to 66th Avenue (Hwy 195.) There is a big gas station and truck stop on the left. If you miss this turn, you’ll end up on the wrong side of the Salton Sea. Turn left (east) and go about a ½ mile to Highway 111. Turn right (south) and go about 42 miles to Niland, California. Turn left (east) on Main Street (which eventually turns into Beal Road) and travel for a little over 3 miles. Look to the East. You absolutely cannot miss it.
From San Diego or Yuma, take Interstate 8 to Highway 111 north. Niland is about 32 miles. Turn east on Main Street (turns into Beal Road) and go a little over 3 miles to Salvation Mountain.”

People from all walks of life can be seen climbing over the modest “mountain” as well as helping with the upkeep. Donations are accepted as well as donations of paint to keep the project going. My first impression was mild disappointment. There were about 30 people besides the people working there…I guess I was after a little bit of solitude and my hermit side was showing. After a few minutes I shook it off and started up the “yellow brick road” to the top.
My overall reaction was a feeling of peace and awe. At one point when we walked into the museum (it’s hard to explain but reminded the kids of whoville, you can read more about it on the website posted above) there was an older woman sitting against one of the walls, eyes closed and it didn’t matter if she was praying, meditating, thinking or just resting. Her face reflected pure serenity and it was contagious.

Brayden thought the experience was really cool (a high compliment coming from a 15 year old that I didn’t think was having fun).
Kaplan thought that it was interesting and cool.
Cohan said “salvation mountain? It was fun. But not the yellow brick road” (he took the dirt path on the left to the top, the paint hardened dirt of the yellow brick road made him feel insecure).
George (an agnostic) really liked it. “At first it’s a bit…different. I thought it would be more part of the mountain. The den part (the museum) was really cool though. Peaceful.”
I have to admit, I was a little concerned how George would react. Thankfully the message of love spoke louder than any spiritual or non spiritual differences.

I had packed food for the trip and we started toward the National Wildlife refuge (Sonny Bono wildlife refuge ) to have a picnic. Don’t let the smell of the park turn you away. It’s not overpowering but it is noticeable, it practically screams “birds live here! A lot of them!”. Another thing. If gun shots freak you out, don’t go during dove, duck or geese season. Hunters hover on the rocks in the Salton Sea that border the reserve and wait for the flocks to fly over. For an animal lover like myself, it was disconcerting not because of the guns but because the hunting in earshot of what should be protected threw me off. The view of the Salton Sea is wonderful, the small trail a good stretch of the legs with some of the best bird watching around (if that’s a hobby or passion of yours). The fields and view of Salton Sea are hard to beat right before sunset.

We started back to the hotel stopping by the International Banana Museum to see if it was open this time (we checked on the way to Salvation Mountain and the operating hours were not the true hours. The gentleman, while I read reviews of how awesome he is on Yelp, adheres to his own schedule). It was not open. Two strikes this far away from home I take as a sign and move along.

On our way back we stopped at Native Foodsin Palm Springs . A restaurant we’ve eaten at several times before and enjoy quite a bit but don’t frequent often because for a family of 5 it gets expensive fast. I didn’t know that the Palm Springs location was the original store front so it was fun to realize where we were. Co and I got the Oklahoma Burger, Kap the Brontosaurus Burrito, Brayden the Twister Wrap and George the Chicken Ranch. As I’ve stated in previous blogs, Kap is a mostly vegetarian, Co and Brayden are meat eaters and George and I are Vegan. When we find a place where the boys don’t miss meat at all, we know it’s a keeper. Native Foods is one of those, just as my all time favorite, The Healthy Junk , in Anaheim.

We went “home,” hit the gym and the jacuzzi and passed out *blissful sigh*.

For our last day we packed up and headed to Yucca Valley to the Sky Village Swap Meet . This place is amazing! Not because of the vendors or deals (honestly it was slim pickins) but because the layout and shanty type “booths” have the most random stained glass, oversize chicken statue and wagon wheel decor that all of us were positively charmed. If they could get some structure to the layout or some of the thrift and vintage stores on the main street in there they could really liven it up (in my opinion). Still if you feel like digging through “could be trash, could be treasure” you’re in the right spot.

Continuing toward home we made one last stop at the UC Riverside Botanic Gardens . This place… I have to admit, I had fairly low expectations of after our trip to the Los Angeles Arboretum, which we loved. It was inexpensive to park (25 cents an hour) and a suggested donation of $4 for entry. It wasn’t a must but, after seeing the grounds and the care that obviously goes into it, $4 doesn’t seem like a lot. Overall, it’s not very big but the views from the tops of the hills, the gazebos that spring up around corners, you forget you’re in the middle of a suburb in Riverside. Co, as per his usual, had issues with the height of the hill we climbed but forgot about it soon enough and had “the best time ever!”.

It really was a wonderful time and just what we needed.

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20140105-191830.jpg any pictures of me were taken by George or Cohan 🙂