Orange County is a lemon.
yeah, we live 11 miles from the beach. so what? i really don't enjoy dragging the kids down there by myself. it's not relaxing, it's just hot and sandy and sunburn-y.
yeah, we're close to mountains. wait a minute. the Santa Anas aren't mountains! they top out at 5600 feet! Dan calls them the Santa Ana Hills. they are pretty, but are only enjoyable to hike when the weather is cooler and cloudier. right now, in the dog days of summer, i don't want to spend any time hiking there. and forget backpacking - there's no water most of the year. and i like water.
cultural events? sadly lacking, at least as far as i can tell. there are very few "older" neighborhoods in the county, and very few "ethnic" neighborhoods. we have Santa Ana - which tries very hard, but seems to me to be mostly a depressing mash-up of desperately poor spanish-speaking families living in tiny pre-war shacks, with a few "restored" neighborhoods that are so gentrified that normal middle-class folk can't realistically afford to live in them. We do have Little Saigon, but Westminster is far out of my usual orbit and i have never worked up the courage to drag the kids over there.
Speaking of dragging, we took the kids to Los Angeles on the train last Saturday. it was Dan's idea and we went into it with tremendous optimism. we got off at Union Station and had breakfast/lunch at Luz Del Dia in Olvera Street. Then we walked over to Little Tokyo, where they were celebrating Nisei week, which is their annual "hooray for Japan" event. We strolled through the Japanese Village (shopping center) and over to the cultural center, where we looked at a beautiful bonsai exhibit and watched five ladies demonstrate five different ways of writing in Japanese. They laid out long papers on the floor and wrote the same 5 characters 5 different ways, using large brushes. I wasn't even sure which alphabet they were using - there are two. Japanese fascinates me and makes me hopeless. I'll never learn it.
Paul was really fascinated by both the bonsai and the calligraphy, which made me happy on several levels (one of which was the air conditioning). We also looked at some shoji manga (comics for little girls) and then headed back out into the muggy heat.
Paul didn't last long. he began to whine, whine, whine, and with the heat and the humidity (barest tail end of Hurricane Dean) we soon decided to head home on the earlier train. but we got in almost 5 hours of sightseeing and big-city experiences. There was an immigration rights protest going on in the area, so we got to watch the po-lice load up their guns and head off to get verbally abused by the protestors. don't get that often in Lake Forest!
at Olvera Street again, we had linner at Cielito Lindo. i need to remember not to eat there again. the beef in my Chile Colordao burrito was cheap and chewy. the one time a week i let myself eat beef, and it sucked! i'll have to eat some fake beef today (we are experimenting with semi-vegetarianism). when we got home Dan & i were the tired ones (he carried Eli in a baby backpack) and the kids of course ran around like lunatics.
i think i have the summer hates. it's hot, i don't want to waste electricity & money on air-conditioning, i'm stuck in a yardless townhouse all day, lots of stuff is looming on the horizon (see the previous post), and i'm cranky about it all. and tonight i have to go to our Homeowner's Association meeting. bleccchhh!