We started out at my sister’s house. My niece had a day off of work so we grabbed her and headed to South Street. The last time I’d been there was probably 20+ years ago and it wasn’t the same but we had fun.
We happened upon the Magic Gardens:
Outside The Magic Gardens
M was pretty grumpy as we’d just flown in the night before and it was pretty hot. Ok forget the excuses – that’s her default mood.
We had lunch at this largely empty pub. Free air hockey and a local cider, what more could you ask for?
Rachel and me at a pub
After lunch we headed to Smith Memorial Playground. Acres of playground
When I was a kid we at times sprayed furniture polish on the wooden floor, put socks on and slid back & forth. Some genius translated this to a slide!
You grab a gunny sack, run around the walkway and WHEEEEEEEEEEEEeeee down you go!
This little fellow helped us up at the bottom.
Texting & sliding.
No texts were harmed in the filming of this slide.
Not a bad “Intro to Summer Vacation.”
M only missed one day of school so I told her she could play hooky towards the end of the year. We wanted to pick strawberries at Underwood Farms in Moorpark but couldn’t face the weekend crowds.
If you haven’t been, it’s about an hour from Los Angeles.
Maddie put on Aunt Charlotte's jean jacket to wear to the farm
Patsy embroidered it!
It started out foggy and cool. Going on a weekday is key. Going early is best. The parking lot is almost empty.
When you arrive, you pay the entrance fee and can buy a bunch of tickets. This is the time to get a few tokens for the cars as well as some carrots for the animals.
We had the place mostly to ourselves at first.
No line for the pony ride.
I don't feel good about this but am too lazy/wishy-washy to say no.
M remarked that the ponies looked pretty bored.
Empty bouncy house = best bouncy house
Mama & baby pig
We also picked LOTS of strawberries but my hands were too full to snap any pix. They are very inexpensive when you pick them yourselves.
After a full day we grabbed a bite at In-N-Out and headed home around 4PM.
Lunch at In-N-Out finished a fun day
This is a fun day. You don’t need a stroller because they have wagons to haul your kids/bags/water bottles & produce around.
- sneakers/socks (flip flops will get kind of grody)
- snacks (they have a food bar but it’s not always open)
There are two farms: Somis and Moorpark. Moorpark is the one with all the extras (besides produce picking): bouncy house, animals, petting zoo, pony rides, and in the fall, a corn maze. They also have a produce market on the way out. Somis I believe is much smaller and is primarily for picking produce.
Moorpark Farm Center
3370 Sunset Valley Road
9am-6pm (during daylight savings)
9am-5pm (during standard time)
Open March-Thanksgiving and weekends through Christmas
Closed Thanksgiving Day.
$6.00/person weekends and major holidays
Children under 2 are free.
After 20 years in the Castro, my dad decided to leave for a flatter, easier life. St. Allison met me in San Francisco a couple of weeks ago to help get the show on the road. I guess she and my brother knew if I went alone many hours would be spent looking through old pictures and packing broken frames, plastic tape rolls with 1/4 cm of tape left on them and a lonely thumbtack.
The first morning there we did a lot of stuff like this:
I love that shade of pink. That was his dining room and I never got tired of looking up out the window seeing the pink interior wall against the white exterior wall and deep blue sky.
We also gave away all kinds of things on Craig’s List. I totally recommend that versus the dump as it involves nothing more than hauling junk to the curb and then posting pix with descriptions to the free section of Craig’s List. Saves things from the landfill too.
That said, I think we could’ve sold this rug my dad bought a million years ago in Portugal:
I got so many emails about this rug. But we didn’t dare tarry. Alli and I just couldn’t stop ourselves from hurling things down the staircases and out the door!
By Friday afternoon we were in pretty good shape so Allie and I took a walk down Castro.
I hadn’t been there in a while. These were new:
As usual I got sentimental and felt something wet well up in the corners of my eyes thinking I still haven’t had a drink at the Twin Peaks bar (aka The Glass Coffin) and things of that nature.
When I later lamented to my sister in law about never having seen a movie at the Castro Theater my dad quickly reminded me that we had. I already forget what we saw despite this conversation occurring last week.
The Castro is a beautiful, magical neighborhood! I was in my mid 20′s when my dad moved there and every visit was exciting not only due to being in a city but also because of the soft light, view of the bay bridge from his living room, hills and coffee. Yes, the coffee was GOOD. The coffee was STRONG. I was drinking double lattes with every meal because I lived in Naples, FL where the coffee and cuisine was nothing to write about particularly if you have trouble getting over the “e” at the end of “Grill” in 50% of the restaurant’s names. Olde Naples Grille and Buena Vista Grille. There is nothing quaint about a peach colored strip mall on the side of US 41, no matter how many “e’s” you tag on the end of a name.
That night my dad took us to Alice’s for dinner. No matter what you order at Alice’s, it comes smothered in the same brown sauce.
Shortly after reading this fortune I got a job casting (non-violent) criminals for a documentary series. These things never lie.
The next day Ali and I felt we were in good shape so we took a long walk down Mission Street to the Embarcadero. We explored many precious shops inside.
That night my dad had reservations at Zuni Cafe. I hadn’t been here in over 15 years because of 2223 (now closed.)
I couldn’t help but feel sentimental and a bit sad walking there that night.
Something magical about the lighting and the hills, the people etc.
We had a wonderful dinner at Zuni! We ordered:
- chicken for two roasted in the brick oven; warm bread salad with scallions, garlic, dried currants, and pine nuts
- wild arugula salad
- frisee salad
Waiting for our chicken at Zuni Cafe
Chicken must be ordered 1 hour ahead.
Chicken almost here!
Dad post gins/pre rose at Zuni
In packing we found this coaster Andrew made as a child.
Andrew ended up leaning towards the sciences and away from the arts
On Sunday we were doing so well we decided to take a drive down the coast, one last time.
Mini Road trip CA coast
Of course we had to eat first!
Finally we had to admit we were done and leave.
View of Castro from the apartment
View from Dad's apartment. It used to be possible to see the Bay Bridge until all the development.
One last look.
Good bye, Castro! Thank you for the memories.
A month or so ago we met Lyn in Chinatown (Los Angeles that is) for some dim sum.
Afterwards we descended the steep staircase
to head over to The Bob Baker Marionette Theater to see “The Nutcracker.”
There goes Lyn in the industrial elevator.
We met at the Theater. Founded in 1963 it’s the oldest children’ theater in LA and several years ago was designated a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument (Wikipedia). G had taken the girls a year or two ago and last November, after Bob died at age 90, suggested we go in case it shut down for some reason.
There are some chairs lining the outside of the seating area but most of the kids sit on the ground as close to the “stage” as they can.
Here comes the Sugar Plum Fairy!
Lyn got each girl a marionette after the show. Thank you, Lyn!
It was fun to see the old pix of the theater’s film work.
We had yet another fun day with Lyn!
I highly recommend this experience. You can buy tickets online from their website. They are so totally helpful and friendly – when G wasn’t able to show up they offered to refund his ticket money! We didn’t even ask (or take them up on it.)
Bob Baker Marionette Theater
1345 W 1st Street
LA, CA 90026
This Sunday and next are the last two Jazz on the Lawn’s in Stewart Park!
You can take a picnic, lawn chairs and drinks to Stewart Park from 5-7 to hear live music. It’s REALLY fun and takes care of Sunday dinner/entertainment if you have little ones. This year they have added food trucks too in case you want to take it easy re: shopping, cooking & lugging dinner that inevitably no one will eat anyway.
WHERE: Stewart Park (where 28th turns into Stewart by 10 FWY in Santa Monica.
WHEN: Sundays in August 5-7PM
WHAT: Live music (This week: Cats with Class) & food trucks (This week: Dogtown Dogs & Sweet Lucie’s Organic Ice Cream.)
BRING: Picnic blanket, chairs & beverages (Both discrete & non-discrete types…)
There is a play structure just next to the stage so kids will be doubly or triply entertained!