Los Angeles

The Grimmest Pumpkin Patch in Los Angeles

After misunderstanding a friend’s recommendation for a preschooler-friendly local pumpkin patch, we took Charlie to the grimmest, most Carnie fall experience I’ve yet encountered.

In pursuit of of autumn magic, we drove over to the Pasadena Pumpkin Patch. When my friend Heidi said she always took her kids to their local pumpkin patch and had a great time, I just Googled which pumpkin patches were close to her and made plans. Like an idiot.

As we drove into the CVS parking lot, I questioned Heidi’s taste for the first time in our 11-year friendship. When we walked through the chain-link fence, I knew she must be all the way out of her entire mind. But Charlie was enchanted. He immediately found the pumpkin of his dreams.

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I foolishly only took pictures where it looked like we were at a perfectly acceptable pumpkin patch. 

He liked that it fit in one hand, and that it had the best stem. He also found some dried corn, which he started using as a broom immediately. Neither of these were near as exciting as the prospect of the ultra-grim petting zoo. Wanna touch a real, live, mangey chicken? This is the place for you! What about a piglet with intestinal discomfort? We have two! Do you like goats? This goat does not like you, and is currently escaping through the chain-link fence to explore the freedom of the rest of the CVS parking lot. Don’t worry, Methy Joe has acquired a rake with which to shoe the goat back into place. Please, Mom, please can we pay the $7 to get right in there, in the pin with them, and touch those animals? Kiss them with our faces? Rub the hay in our eyes? I’m especially interested in the parts of the animals that ought to have fur and/or feathers, and yet have neither.

Oh, sorry honey, dad is highly allergic to some manner of evil within this petting zoo, and we’ve got to GTFO before his sinuses explode. I, too, am experiencing itching in places on my face I didn’t know I had.

When can I go on the inflatable slide, Mom? I love the part about how we have to take our shoes off and walk around in what I can only assume are used hypodermic needles and a bit of hay.

Sadly, we had to go before we could experience the full splendor. Andy was legit allergic, so we couldn’t linger, as much as we obviously wanted to. Charlie started throwing a fit upon the news that it was time to pay for our pumpkins and go. Sobbing, as is his custom, “I’m never going to be happy again!” He cried all the way home.

As it turned out, this was not the recommended pumpkin patch in question. The one my friend endorsed was her non-gimmicky, strictly pumpkin-based neighborhood patch. In fairness to me, this questionable autumn experience had a lot of close-up pictures on its website, so all red flags had been carefully cropped out of my internet research. But because I wanted to create a magical memory and didn’t feel like driving all the way the fuck to Moorpark, we now have the magical memories of the saddest petting zoo in Los Angeles, and a son who promises to be unhappy forever.

But a memory’s a memory. I’m counting this one as a win.

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I Voted! And My Toddler Helped! Kind of!

We walked as a family to our polling place today. My East Coast friends (who live three hours in the future) had a lot of posts about how they cried at the polls. Making history! Feelings!

I didn’t cry, but Charlie almost did. As we left, it became apparent that he wasn’t going to get to meet Hillary Clinton OR Donald Trump today. This voting experience was not what he signed up for.

“Where’s Her-Larry Cinton and Donald Trump?”

“They’re voting in New York. Everyone votes close to their house.”

“Okay, let’s go to New York now.”

“No, buddy, we’re going to go home after this.”

“BUT I WANT TO SEE DONALD TRUMP!”

Last night I asked Andy if he knew what the J stood for in “Donald J. Trump.” He said, “I don’t know. John? Jerk?”

Charlie was within earshot and thought this was the greatest comic masterpiece since Tartuffe. So obviously, he marched out of the polling station chanting, “Donald Jerk Trump! Donald Jerk Trump!”

We told him that we weren’t allowed to say what we think of the the candidates inside the building. So he went back to his previous talking point: “But where IS Donald Trump? Let’s go see him.”

“We’re not going to see him today, honey.”

“Okay, let’s go see Her-larry Clinton.”

So far, it’s been an awesome day and I’m glad I got to share it with my guys. But now that he mentions it, it is pretty disappointing that we don’t get to meet Hillary Clinton today.

Maybe tomorrow.img_3445img_2411

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Regaining Hipster Cred: 12 Steps Back, 5 Leaps Forward

I’m not gonna lie; I’ve been in danger of losing my hipster status as I slowly moved into Regular Mom Territory. I think I’m back.

When the term “hipster” started being applied to me in about 2008, I was perhaps the only person on earth to embrace the title. Of course, denial of one’s own hipster status is one of the universally acknowledged criteria for hipsterdom, so I was already on pretty thin (locally sourced, artisanal) ice. But I was so flattered to be seen as hip and/or young! Over the last several years, my hipster identity started to slip. Here, in no particular order, are the things that have happened since 2009 that made me think about changing the name of my blog to just “Mother,” or whatever iteration thereof hadn’t already been claimed by the Internet.

  1. I stopped relying entirely on public transportation and my bike. I purchased a used 2002 VW Jetta.
  2. I stopped acting. More about that decision here.
  3. I settled into a full-time job in arts administration. This is less hipster than my previous full-time job doing administrative work for tech companies because arts administration made me feel like as long I was facilitating the production of art, I didn’t really have to make any art of my own. When I was an accounting assistant at Defense Technology Or Whatever Incorporated LLC, you can bet your sweet patoot I was out of the office and on my way to rehearsal at 6 p.m. When I worked in the arts full time, I ate/slept/breathed my job. I had good health insurance. That’s not hip.
  4. I stopped smoking. Please note that I’d been smoking American Spirits, which rival only Parliament Lights in hipster cred.
  5. I started walking with a cane. It’s a stylish cane, but that first old-lady cane with the pink roses on it from CVS was a real humdinger. (Which actually ended up working for me––Plenty of people thought I was using it ironically. Yay?)
  6. We bought a house, moving out of our c. 1925 apartment in the cool part of Capitol Hill and into a ranch house in the affordable part of Hyattsville.
  7. I stopped buying clothes at thrift stores, as there was no Goodwill by my new suburban home. I started shopping in the maternity section at Target.
  8. I had a baby.
  9. I dressed that baby in predominantly unhip clothing, leaning instead towards a wardrobe that was cheap or free. Circo hand-me-downs all day, son!
  10. I kept wearing my Liz Lang Maternity collection, because I’m not gonna spend all that money on clothes that I’ll only wear for four months. Plus, once you embrace jeans with elastic waistbands, it’s real hard to go back to the oppression of standard denim.
  11. Andy and I stopped podcasting, instead spending our free time living with our child.
  12. After the well-worn Jetta broke all the way down (on the side of the road, at midnight, with our 8-month-old in the back seat), Andy and I bought a brand-new Honda CRV. It has room for Charlie’s future sports equipment in the back.

So there I was, in my maternity jeans, driving my SUV from my office job to my suburban home, clinging to my chunky glasses frames for dear life. BUT DON’T WORRY:

  1. A year ago, I left my longtime employer and started freelancing as a writer/copy editor/social media consultant while I finished up my M.F.A. in creative writing.
  2. As such, I spent most of the last year being a semi-impoverished grad student.
  3. Just under two weeks ago, we moved into our cozy c. 1925 apartment in the cool part of L.A…
  4. …So that I can pursue writing full time. I’m that girl working on her pilot with her laptop at the independently run artisanal coffee shop in Eagle Rock.
  5. I smoked three Parliament Lights on my new balcony. Don’t yell at me. They were awesome (and then disgusting).

I haven’t gotten any younger, and youth is an asset to any would-be hipster. However, I think I can classify myself as at least an “aging hipster” without running into a branding problem.

In conclusion, if you’d had concerns over the last year or so that this blog wasn’t meeting your hipster needs, let me assure you that the record player is up and running, and that we just moved in across the street from a vinyl store. Plus a used book shop, a sassily named antiques place, 17 coffee bars, a few regular bars, a fish taco stand, and a Jack In the Box.

Two tacos for 99 cents. I’m living my best life.

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DON’T WORRY. I’m obviously taking my child to art installations as I strengthen my hipster cred. He might even be the first owner of the non-Target-brand shirt featured in this picture.