Skirball Center — Check!

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Oh, you guys!  Noah’s Ark at the Skirball Center is simply the most amazing thing ever.  A must-see mix of interactive kid museum meets Burning Man meets Swiss Family Robinson meets DIY Reduce Reuse Recycle heaven meets indoor playground meets activity and art party meets baby drum circle meets a Bible story you read years ago.

The pure fun of Noah’s Ark was exquisitely balanced against the simultaneously heavy and ethereal ‘Women Hold Up Half The Sky’ exhibit.  It’s a visual and emotional journey based on the book,  Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide, by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn.  I didn’t leave with dry eyes and I sure wasn’t the only one.  A participatory exhibit that made me open and think and feel and exit ever so grateful for the life I’m living.

SkirbalI: I can’t wait to go back!

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Kimberly Crest

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We couldn’t have been more thrilled when we pulled over for gas randomly in Redlands and decided to take Griffin to a park before we got back on the road.  Just imagine being lovers of grand old houses and gardens and stumbling into Kimberly Crest.

And then imagine if, by some stroke of luck, the Executive Director, who as a child used to play in the house while it was still the home of the Kimberlys was giving your tour.  And imagine the only other two people in the tour were an architecture buff and a historian.  We got to see so much more than most people touring the home.  We learned so so (ahem, So) much about the home and what life was like in California from the turn of the century through the 1970’s.

A girl could do worse than to spend a glorious sunny day in a French Chateau style home built in 1897.

And what a lovely, lovely day it was.  Afterwards we shared a yummy if off-topic dinner at Oscar’s Mexican restaurant.  Redlands has a charming downtown and if you’re in the area I would recommend it as a destination.  We’ll be stopping there again!

Onward!

Happy New Year at Matador Beach!

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Um…okay, so we’re a little behind in posting and a lot behind in 40 Waysing.  No matter.  We are having fun and WOW!  Matador Beach is gorgeous.  You must go.  Truly.  It’s a Big Sur vibe without the (huge) drive.  Don’t forget your camera.  Take a picnic.  (A lightweight one, because there’s a lot of stairs.)

And if your baby randomly grabs your apple out of your hand and starts to eat it, let him.  The expressions of amazement and joy at his first taste of a real live fruit in natural form are so totally worth it.

A beautiful way to start a beautiful year.  How blessed we are.  How blessed we are.     How blessed!

Welcome 2012.  You’re beautiful!

Watts Towers: Check!

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Wow!  Watts Towers invoke and are inspiring to me as Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia.  Built on a smaller scale, of course, but built by hand.  Built by one man, Simon “Sam” Rodia, and built without the use of any help, any ladders, any power tools, any blueprints or plans, any engineering or architectural education, any education at all… Sam spent 33 years of his life building these towers.  “Towers,” here, means a space which includes not only multiple towers, but a wedding chapel, three fountains, a beautiful surrounding wall, cactus gardens and Marco Polo’s ship.

Then one day, for no known reason, Sam deeded his property to a neighbor and simply walked away from his finished project.  I am…words fail.  This is simply amazing.  A tribute to creativity, flow, purpose, fortitude, beauty.  One trip does not do it justice.  Especially as we arrived smack in the middle of the 30th Annual Watts Towers Day of the Drum Festival.  Hundreds of people, tents, music, food, art, crafts and instruments from Africa, and no less than seven formidable drum kits on the stage.  It was a day full of joy.

Thanks to Uncle Seany for hangin’ with us Watts style.  And for finding among the wide ocean of food tents, the best chicken wings this side of Dixie.

You’ll find us there again for the Watts Towers Jazz Festival…not to be missed!

San Gabriel Mission: Check!

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We enjoyed a lovely {warm} Sunday afternoon with Grandma Joan in Alhambra* at the San Gabriel Mission.  The fourth and largest of the 21 California Missions, San Gabriel claims bragging rights for first orange and tangerine trees planted in all of California, and first grape vines in the area.  The gardens were a bit garbley, but impressive nonetheless, with Mother Grapevine looming large as a mature tree and upholstering a massive arbor spanning the entire length of the church!

Though it was beautiful to hear music and we arrived after the red wedding, we were a little too close to the pink wedding to get a peek inside the church.  And even if we shall someday return (sans balloons) : I promise not to host any more 40 Ways on a late August afternoon in Alhambra, Amen.

*Note: It has come to my attention that the San Gabriel Mission is, in fact, in San Gabriel not Alhambra.  I just love saying Alhambra.  Alhambra, Alhambra, Alhambra.  Plus, I got to say August afternoon in Alhambra, Amen…and you just can’t beat that.  So I refuse to edit. Onward!

Pie N Burger: Check!

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What a day!  A stroll n’ play through the children’s garden at the Huntington with the G-Man followed by some down home Pie n’ Burger.  Burger = American cheese with grilled onions.  Pie = Strawberry with whipped cream.  Total experience = can’t beat it.  Note: they actually hand mix their sodas right at the counter!

Love and thanks to my Mother in Law, Joan, for joining me on this mouth-watering mission.

Sunset Ferris Wheel: Check!

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Ohhhhh I want a ferris wheel in my backyard!

What fun we had…some peking duck confit tacos (what?) exotic cocktails (and G-Star-rated milktails) at Buddha’s Belly and then a quick jaunt over to le pier for some Sunset Ferris Wheel action.  I might forget to cross this one off the list and do it again.

Thanks and much wind-machine hair to Erin and Antonia for joining us on this spontaneous adventure!