Laguna Beach: A Liberal Lost in Orange County

Laguna Beach: A Liberal Lost in Orange County

NorCal Girl in SoCal

When I was 16, my favorite aunt moved to Orange County, CA. I live in Northern California. Throughout my childhood we all, my whole raucous family of grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins, lived in Northern California. You see how northern has a capital N there? Northern California. Because Northern California is its own separate space. Northern California and Southern California are separate universes within the same galaxy. People not from California may not understand this, but we are very different, NorCal and SoCal. When my aunt, along with my grandmother, moved, they may as well have left the state. So how the hell did I, a native Northern Californian end up falling in love with Orange County? And how did I end up vacationing in Laguna Beach? Let me tell you.

I remember one visit to see my aunt when I was around 25. My hair is long, auburn, wild, and unruly. I wear very little makeup. A giant tattoo of a fairy in flames dances on my right shoulder blade. I was, even then, an outspoken progressive. That woman who throws her head back and laughs with her mouth wide open in the middle of a crowded bar or a quite cafe? Yea, that’s me.

Needless to say, I stuck out like a sore thumb.

The Beach

But the beaches are a different story. Dana Point, Newport Beach, Laguna Beach, San Clemente, Ocean Beach, you name it. The beaches in Southern California are beautiful. I am most at home on the beach.Continue reading…    

Ambivalent About Disneyland: A Family Trip

Ambivalent About Disneyland: A Family Trip

Ambivalent About Disneyland

Let me begin by saying that I do not dislike Disneyland. I know that there has been controversy, especially in my (liberal feminist) circles, over princesses falling for the princes, the artificiality of happily ever, and the massive amounts of cultural appropriation and revisionist history, not to mention the blatant “fleecing” of customers. I get it. I’ve heard the message. And I remain actively ambivalent about Disneyland.

On the one hand, Disney is over the top with the happily-ever-after-every-moment-is-friggin-magical narrative. On the other hand, we can all use a little magic in our lives. I have a five year old, and we live in California. I feel, as an idealist/realist, that I would be doing her a cultural disservice by insisting she not enjoy Disney because <insert outrage here>.

To that end, I have slowly introduced the Disney movies I find appropriate for a small girl. She first watched Merida shoot arrows and change her fate when she was three. Then she sang along at the age of four to Elsa and Anna as they battled with self discovery and made sacrifices for love. Finally, at five, she fell in love with the bold and brown skinned Moana: “Mama!” She exclaimed, her eyes bright. “She looks just like me!”

Along the way she worried over Nemo’s fate, she flew to infinity and beyond with Buzz and Woody, and she still falls in love over and over again with the fairies in Neverland. But most of all, Winnie the Pooh has been a staple in our house from the very beginning. Our house still has A.A. Milne quotes on the wall in stencil from her third birthday party, almost three years ago.

Disney has its magic, and I have gradually revealed that magic to my daughter. And she has breathed it all in like pixie dust filled air. Folklore quotes Einstein as having once said that if you want children to be intelligent, read them fairytales, and if you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairytales. I am not sure if he actually said that, but I am sure it is true.Continue reading…    

How to Just Let Go and Travel (To Lake Tahoe)

How to Just Let Go and Travel (To Lake Tahoe)

I’m on this new kick, as many of my friends know, to be always fierce and unafraid. Fiercely unafraid even. A couple of months ago I let it all go, all fear, all anxiety, all despair, and now live my life to the fullest every single day. Part of that involved booking the trips I said I was going to take. Hence, this “let go and travel,” piece.

Inspired, I booked my trip to Disneyland, with no money and no credit cards. My daughter’s fifth birthday had passed and I had been telling her we would go to Disneyland after she turned five. Damnit, we were going. Booked.

I also went online and booked another camping trip. My husband loves camping, my daughter loves camping, and I had only booked one group trip for the summer. It was kind of scary for me because I have an infant, but c’mon, let’s be real. We weren’t backpacking into the middle of nowhere. We were ten minutes off a major highway in the middle of fancy town wine country for our first trip.

This second trip I booked in South Lake Tahoe. Carlos and I had gone a couple times previously but never with our kids. We really like the area, both for summer and winter, and it is super kid and family friendly. I went online in July and found one (one!) spot left at Fallen Leaf campground. It had to be a fluke. Someone must have just cancelled it right as I went online.

Serendipitously, that’s how life has been since Iet it all go and decided to do all the things I have always wanted to do. The doors just open. I barely even knock sometimes, and the doors just open.Continue reading…