Han style, solo.

For starters I have to confess (and people that know me in real life already know this) I don’t like LA. 
I have reasons. 

Some of it has to do with the general douchey vibe, some of it is the oppressive urine smell and some of it is the general overly busy congested streets (I would be curled into a ball crying to myself if I was left in New York. Not really…but probably…)
HOWEVER, I like history, walkabouts and new places that hold the possibility of a great atmosphere. Also, George had to work all weekend so in order to guarantee that he and I got to spend some time together I turned to Airbnb for a decently priced room and dusted off my adventure day list. 

Side note: having my “Han style” (get it? Solo) adventure days is empowering. When you’re always a partner and a mother you’re never alone and you rarely travel to places you’ve never been by yourself or without the company of friends. I have been told that this is “weird” and I’ve also been called a Honey Badger when I take myself out for drinks (apparently “Honey badgers don’t give a f*ck”)? 

I took it as a compliment. 

Truth be told as a recovering “damaged” person and an ambivert I plan these days and weekends with the kind of trepidation an ill equipped soldier feels the night before a battle. The 24 hours before boarding a plane or finalizing reservations can be filled with everything from severe politeness, tears, apologies and panic. 
Ah…panic…
Ok. Onto the list! It’s a bit different from a “regular” trip to the City of Angels. You won’t find maps to movie star’s homes (I stand by the philosophy that they don’t know that I exist soooo why should I be obsessed with them? no offense to anyone that adores TMZ or People magazine). And there was that one time that Seth Green made me dumbstruck just by shaking my hand….

gingers man…I can say I’m obsessed with funny gingers… 
Also I tend to ramble (if you’re a quick thinker you may have noticed already) my list will be broken up by “stops” so you can just scan through to find what you’re looking for. 

First stop: Starbucks and Sage in Culver City.
George had to be in Hollywood by 8 so he dropped me off at Starbucks at 7. Sage doesn’t open till 9 so I had some time to kill. I burned through Facebook, watched people like a creeper and sent too many snapchats. 


 When Sage opened at 9 I was freezing and hungry. Did I mention my clothes dryer didn’t work properly the night before and that my jacket and jeans were still damp? No? Well they were.  I promise I’m a fully functioning adult.  I had been to Sage before but not to this location. The Culver City establishment has a wonderful feel to it. Reclaimed wood as decorative walls, airy floor plan and the people that work there might be the friendliest folks I’ve met. I ordered the chai latte and biscuits and gravy and it arrived fairly quickly. The chai was wonderful, the biscuits damn near perfect. The gravy and sausage were good but not as good as mine.

 I’ll give you the recipe sometime. 

Starbucks 

4114 Sepulveda Blvd

Culver City, CA 90230

Sage Bistro
4130 Sepulveda Blvd

Culver City, CA 90230
Stop number 2: The Museum of Jurassic Technology. 

Borrowed from their website – 
“The Museum of Jurassic Technology in Los Angeles, California is an educational institution dedicated to the advancement of knowledge and the public appreciation of the Lower Jurassic.

Like a coat of two colors, the Museum serves dual functions. On the one hand the Museum provides the academic community with a specialized repository of relics and artifacts from the Lower Jurassic, with an emphasis on those that demonstrate unusual or curious technological qualities. On the other hand the Museum serves the general public by providing the visitor a hands-on experience of ‘life in the Jurassic’….”

The Museum itself is small but well put together. It’s a bit of a shock when you first walk in. It’s dark, the ambience is slightly creepy, the background music and sounds piped in from different corners and underneath displays make it difficult to get used to them. I jumped more than once. It’s obvious that it’s a labor of love, there are displays that are in the process of being repaired and a slight smell of mildew in the air. The tea room upstairs is relaxing and bright, a contrast from the atmosphere downstairs.   You’re not allowed to take pictures but I snuck a few because I have no shame. After looking at their Yelp page I’m not the only one.  At least I was discreet?  

Museum of Jurassic Technology
9341 Venice Blvd, Culver City, CA 90232

http://www.yelp.com/biz/the-museum-of-jurassic-technology-culver-city?utm_source=ishare

Stop number Three: Velaslavasay Panorama 
Borrowed from their site – 

“Drawing on the illustrious history of the great panorama paintings of the 18th and 19th centuries, The Velaslavasay Panorama is an exhibition hall, theatre and garden dedicated to the production and presentation of unusual visual experiences, including those of the 360-degree variety.  The Velaslavasay Panorama panoramic exhibition encircles the spectator within a fully enveloping atmosphere; a vast painting of a continuous surrounding landscape, accompanied by sound stimulation and three-dimensional elements, affords the viewer an opportunity to experience a complete sensory phenomenon.”

First of all this isn’t in the “best” part of town. During my adventures I walk A LOT and take the bus and Lyft occasionally. As I walked down the street I noticed that a lot of the cars passing were looking at me in a “are you lost”? way. I don’t get spooked too easily when it comes to “rough neighborhoods” but there was a vibe and I felt like I should mention it.

The gal that greeted me was very nice, assured me I could take pictures and quickly pointed out which way to go. She also explained the the lights and sound experience in the Panorama is about 35 minutes long and guests are encouraged to take the time to experience it throughly. The staircase spirals up and up and you enter a room that is dark and hypnotic. I enjoyed it for 20 minutes before realizing it was making me too calm…to the point of sleepiness. Which isn’t a bad thing but it was eerie and fascinating watching the scenery “shift”.

  
  
I walked through the small garden that is is located out of the back of the theater. 

  
It’s very pretty and peaceful.

And again, a total labor of love.  

Velaslavasay Panorama
1122 W 24th St, Los Angeles, CA 90007

  
http://www.yelp.com/biz/velaslavasay-panorama-los-angeles?utm_source=ishare
Stop number 4 Checked into Airbnb (located inside The Dixie Hollywood).  Our Airbnb was located in Thai Town inside of a Hotel/Motel called The Dixie. I wasn’t expecting anything fancy due to reviews I had read (after making the reservations of course because I’m just that thorough). The room was clean, the bathtub was California-drought-guilt-inducing kinda deep (and with jacuzzi jets, I don’t know how I’ll do penance for the llllloooonnngggg beautiful baths I soaked in while watching TV).

  It’s located across from a Ralph’s, Starbucks and various food establishments which is great! For the night it served our purposes wonderfully. The room was comfortable and clean and the price was a bargain.  

Dixie Hollywood Hotel
5410 Hollywood Blvd

Hollywood, CA 90027

Toll Free: 800-381-2935

Local: 323-463-7171

http://www.dixiehollywoodhotel.com/rooms/
George finally got out of work and after we freshened up we went out to dinner at Our final stop on Day one: Cafe Gratitude 

One of the upsides of LA is that you don’t have to look far to find vegan food. I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to eat here but I’m so glad we did. The flavor in our appetizer “Present”, an autumn bruschetta were complex and wonderfully rich. I got the butternut squash and sage lentil loaf which was heavenly and George got a build your own type bowl that he could only finish half of. I forget the affirmation names of these dishes but they were delicious regardless. The staff was gracious and we were seated immediately even with the long line of people outside. We made reservations prior to arriving but as we all know sometimes even the best places don’t have instantaneous seating.   

On a side note I was not a fan of “Love”, a hibiscus flower iced tea. 

Cafe Gratitude – Larchmont

639 N Larchmont Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90004

http://www.yelp.com/biz/cafe-gratitude-larchmont-los-angeles?utm_source=ishare

Day one ended sleepy and looking forward to Day two.
To be continued….

By going to these locations, walking these neighborhoods and streets is at your own risk. As always everything on The Pollyanna Complex are ideas of the author, please attempt any and all activities posted at your own risk. 

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So. It’s been awhile. Aka our journey to Jim Morrison’s cave.

I haven’t posted in the blog for…well…a thousand years.
We’ve hiked, loved, learned, lost and have grown in the last year. As we all know I love hiking, I love adventuring with the kids and I love taking pictures of the people I love in the great big outdoors. That’s part of the reason I could never be a “professional” photographer. I only like taking pictures of what I like and I don’t follow the formula of what makes a good composition in a picture. I don’t even know if that’s phrased correctly, see! I even lack terminology. 
Also, I’m lazy.
So Kap and Co have been fighting some intense colds that they caught somewhere so my original hiking plan fell by the wayside because it contains river crossings and a lot of miles. My second choice was at too high of an elevation for their awful post nasal situation so we went with choice number three, an easy 2-3 miles to Jim Morrison’s Hideaway in the Malibu area.  

 Getting there is pretty easy if you follow these directions http://www.newgirlsguidetola.com/do–see/jim-morrison-cave. I stumbled upon her site accidentally and I was so glad I did. The topographical picture showing where the cave is in comparison to the spiral rock formation helped us get there fairly easily and then we were able to help about 6 other people get there. 

The entrance is tight and not for the claustrophobic (I’m VERY claustrophobic so I only got brave on my second try). 

 FYI this graffiti saying this is not the way to the pink cave is a liar. Tricky tricksters.

 Kap and Co did not want to go in the cave but they LOVED the sandstone formations that are sprinkled around this trail.  

    
 Kap kept climbing to the top of various rocks and exclaiming “this is so cool!”. Which as a mom that has to sometimes drag her kids on hikes that’s music to my ears. 

By the way I totally don’t like The Doors. I tried. 
Just, meh. 
But! 

Cool cave Jim, 

cool cave.

 
  

  
Picture by Cohan

    
   

Picture by Brayden

The spiral rock formation made by who knows who is pretty great and really close to the cave 

 

  Picture by George

 

Ps I recommend getting there EARLY (we left our house by 6:30 which had us at the trail head by 7:30). By the time we left between 10-10:30 there were about 12 cars in the lot and a swarm of people. 

In other words, no thank you. 

So go early! 

Unless we plan on going then you can head down around 10 or 11.

  

“In the garden”. Big Bear, Trains and Flesh Eating Cacti – part III

I love a good arboretum. They’re a wonderfully cared for bit of “nature” in the middle of an urban sprawl. I’ve started creating an unofficial top 5 in the last year (The Spring Preseve in Nevada and The Los Angeles Arboretum topping that list). I purchased a family membership while at the Springs Preserve and was presented with a list of where the membership was accepted in different states.
Win!

So….the flesh eating cacti.

Backstory: When we went to the Los Angeles Arboretum my tough, strapping teenager reached out to idly touch a cactus. It was an overcast breezy day and this particular breed of cacti has long slender segmented branches. I was a few paces ahead trying to keep up with Cohan when I heard a terrified yelp. I spun around and my brave young man was staring horrified at the cactus.

“It moved!”

We looked at him.
Looked at the plant.
Looked toward the placard for any notes that declared:

THIS CACTUS WILL EAT YOUR FACE OFF. DONT EVEN GLANCE AT IT.

So while hiding a smirk I reached out to touch it.
Nothing.
By now Brayden was mumbling how he swears it moved and we finally talked him into trying to touch it again.
He tentatively reached out…

nothing happened.

To this day his younger siblings tease him about man eating plants. “Careful Brayden this one looks dangerous!”

I mention the cacti incident because the Rancho Santa Ana Botanical Gardens have a large focus on native plants. So much so that the nursery on location sells the native plants five days a week (I can’t wait to go back for that especially!)

We walked the paths and while it wasn’t my favorite or the most striking of all of the arboretums I’ve ever been to it was a lovely breath of fresh air with the mountains peaking through the trees in the background. Also. Be prepared to hear “squirrel!” If you have children (or child like adults) with you. They’re everywhere and very cute.

From there we went to the Loving Hut. We thoroughly enjoy their food (although admittedly it’s not our “favorite”). They have several locations but please be aware that the menus vary.

Our last stop before the hour drive home was Viva La Vegan. This is one of those store that I wish
A. Had more produce
B. Was closer to our house.
Those are the only “complaints”. Otherwise this place is awesome! It takes all of the guesswork out of grocery shopping in regards to everything from pet food to shoes (Cohan got a fantastic pair of Macbeths). Every time we’re in the area we always make a point to stop in.

It was a wonderful trip but as always there’s no place like home.

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