Tuesday, December 4, 2012

eye can art kits feat. dylan: first commercial shoot

dylan is in a video for eye can art kits, created by artist, mom, and friend shannon ninburg. we'll do a post about eye can art kits and how amazing these art kits really are. watch the vid!

Monday, October 22, 2012

camp jalama beach 2012!!

have you heard of jalama beach yet?


well, you may never see this surf spot from any california highway (because you can't). the place may never get written about in a travel magazine (because it won't). and yet those are the reasons to love the place.


last month, the traveling band of kids, families and dogs reconvened for 'camp jalama beach 2012.' for a very short weekend, we camped out at the cabins and left all concrete worries and stresses behind. together, we shared bellyachin' laughs, and the men surfed; everyone listened to music and we feasted on each others' jokes. the kids played in the cabins and we had marshmallow smores and ate a TON of tasty vittles cooked up on the grill.

but really, we came to get a glimpse of this:


and this:


it's simple really--just a rugged, deserted stretch of coastline visited mostly by die-hard surfer types and beach rats. sitting on the sand, you're surrounded on all sides by craggy cliff, sky, flocks of sea birds overhead, sunsets and nothing more.

there are coves and caves to poke around in; and not much to see from here to santa barbara and up to lompoc. miles of farmland, where herds of cows and bands of horses roam and run freely, keeps major highways quite a distance away.


the only civilization to notice is the amtrak making its way down the tracks and the little grocery store that sells the famous jalama burger.

other than that, there is no 'there' at jalama.








but WE were all there. all of us. and not a lot of anything else.




and that's how we'd like this place to remain.

until next year everyone!!
love to the camp jalama crew for all the great memories.

read about last year's surf camp that started it all here.

Monday, June 11, 2012

destination ojai! wheeler gorge and rose valley falls

we took dylan camping to ojai last weekend. wheeler gorge was perfect---no crazy, loud, neighbors or blasting heavy metal or oompah music; everyone was respectful of each others' space and privacy. sites were spacious and shady, which i loved, and our site was right next to the creek! those are the good--now the bad: poison oak, bugs (a few flies and mosquitoes), the vault (stink-y) toilets and the absence of showers. but those were minimal discomforts.

seriously---what's not to love than sitting under leafy oaks, listening to rushing water, reading a book, cooking outdoors, or just doing nothing. 

we had just dug out my dad's old coleman tent from my parents' garage--so we had to take it out camping, natch. it felt great to be able to camp in the same tent we used when we were kids growing up. i have fond memories of my dad and his love of camping. stuffed into the boxes of old tents, poles, sleeping bags, stoves and vintage lanterns was even an old map of ojai wilderness that he had saved.

so this past weekend, we found ourselves driving up highway 33, past ojai and up to los padres national forest.

IMG_1500 by deniro and mangosetting up the tent couldn't have been easier. here was the view of the creek from inside the coleman tent--its upright walls made it feel more like a 'house' than a tent.

resurrecting old memories and my dad's old camping stuff was like him being there for us all over again--and finding that old ojai camping map--i could feel his guidance as if were handing us his blueprint for adventure and happiness.

his happiness is ours!

i miss you dad and dylan misses his papa! we appreciate all the love and affection you generously bestowed onto us while you were alive on this earth. we miss you greatly, every day, and feel your presence always.


django rock-hops up to rose valley falls--the trail to the falls is easy, only one mile in and is accessed from lion campground in the los padres national forest.


here i am, trying to climb up the falls--one slippery, mossy rock at a time. i imagine in winter and fall, after the rains, the falls is lush and spectacular. in early june, the falls wasn't so much a rush but trickles and then streams cascading over mossy rocks. still very pretty and worth the short hike in. lots of people were picnicking and kids were splashing about in crags and little caves here.


dylan climbs up the highest peak at rose valley falls with a friend and chats up the locals.


django fiercely guards against the occasional redneck happy camper crashing our site. good old django!


the creek was just steps down from the creek and dylan managed to have a hella good time trying to catch all sorts of bugs.

right now, we're wishing we're back in ojai, catching bugs with dylan and chatting with campers.   a weekend convening with nature always allows us to press the 'reset' button on our lives and our souls. happy!

see more photos here and here.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

new york city: moma's material lab thursday

no sooner than landing at jfk in pre-dawn hours last thursday, john, dylan and i found ourselves walking smack-dab through rainy, downtown manhattan with cousins sunny, gabriel and katherine by noontime. our destination: moma and the petting zoo at central park. whew---talk about a whirlwind tour of new york city! our first stop was moma's material lab, a must for kids and parents. moma---quelle musee. browsing its galleries and exhibits, i was moved to tears and could've spent days and weeks browsing each floor filled with early 20th century modern art.

picasso at moma

the view from moma's fifth floor
the dramatic view from the fifth floor at moma: new york, rainy and historic. 

i viewed matisses, picassoes, calders, and elbowed my way through the crowds gathered before truly iconic works by modern american and european artists: marcel duchamp, andrew wyeth, andy warhol, etc. moma's modern coffers were satisfying and immense--i'll definitely be back to study the galleries a bit more.

calder at moma matisse at moma patty hearst by christopher knowles

and the kids had a load of fun too. after a dirty-water hot dog and pretzel-cart lunch, the kids dove into the lab's digital painting, collage and sculpture labs. cousin katherine and dylan started composing on-screen and the adults couldn't help but start painting too. the digital painting was hands down, the most impressive computerized painting i've seen anywhere (hint, hint children's museums everywhere: time to update those tired old 90s era computers!). using the latest techno from microsoft, this moma-specific software and interface allowed kids to use a soft stylus brush directly onto the monitor to paint. 

warhol at moma
after you pass warhol's cows, you'll be on your way to the material lab. 
digital painting at moma
katherine and dylan dove right into the digital painting and created these masterpieces...
dig painting lab
everyone got into the act, sunny, katherine, dylan and john.
moma digital painting
the material lab entices kids to create, as seen here with dylan. totally absorbed!
cousins at moma
cousins! they could've painted for hours. 
cardboard chair
gabriel, on the other hand, loved manipulating this very cool folding cardboard chair...
cardboard chair, folded
pressing it into an accordian/book shape....
cardboard accordian couch
then back into a couch. fascinating and architectural.  
digital painting at moma
dylan's van-gogh inspired painting.  
paper dolls and crafts
kids could make dolls and sculpture out of raw material (the view outside is of the famous sculpture garden--but we got rained out and had to skip it). 
each lab was inspired by artists' styles and different mediums. here, a lightbox displays cutouts to create vignettes.  also included were assemblage boxes inspired by the work of artist joseph cornell. 
inside the lab, it was calm and cozy, creating art. but the galleries were mad-house with the tourist rush. so we headed to another tranquil oasis for kids: central park and its zoo.
rainy day at central park
traipsing around the city was the most fun, according to dyl, kath and cousin sunny. more to come!
...stay tuned for part ii of our new york city trip!

read more about the material lab here on moma's blog.

(and a big thanks go to cousin ken for picking us up, sunny for chauffering us around, and to gabe and kath for the good new york-style fun--thank you!)

Saturday, March 31, 2012

a trip to bodie ghost town, eastern sierras

in january, we got to visit bodie state park while visiting mammoth mountain with friends, our first trip in the new year.


and if you've never heard of it, a visit to bodie is highly recommended. it's fantastic: an actual, intact, perfectly preserved ghost town. think spaghetti westerns, gold mines, shoot-outs, brothels, saloons, gambling dens and the lawless west.

it's quite a drive to get to bodie, about an hour if you're coming from june lake and mammoth. after a long, rough ride up a winding, rocky 13-miles, the last three miles on unpaved road, you get the dreaded sense you're going nowhere.

and then you see it.


and your heart starts to beat, as you feel this excitement and wonder.

what is this place?


at 8000 feet elevation, the town is located on a forbidding, isolated mountain and is a scatter of old buildings--churches, cottages, shacks, barns, lean-tos--servicing the old mining industry. resting amongst the grass are rusted equipment and machinery.

i love exploring ruins, it is one of my absolute favorite things to do. i can imagine i was the archaeologist i never was yet i can fantasize about the past, like a kid.


it was nearly dusk when we arrived and the setting sun cast this golden, red-hued 'magic hour' light onto the entire mountain high up in mono lake county--and when the light hits, creating these grand shadows, bodie became one of the most mysterious places i've visited and seen.

my photos really doesn't do it justice, folks.

i remember feeling the same awe when walking through the ruins of pompeii in southern italy, another place where i hope to visit again (and where i will spend countless hours wandering and getting lost, yes).


inside the old methodist church

looking into some of the houses, you could well imagine everyday lives and the people who lived here. the rooms reveal, in their 'frozen in time' state, that perhaps the residents just up and left yesterday and not over 100 years ago.


on the road rangers had erected a small sign, written in french of all things, stating it was forbidden to remove antiquities and objects from the park.

c'est interdit!

it made me think of rumi: 'where there is ruin, there is hope for a treasure.'

especially for french-speaking artifact-hunters.


and the little ones absolutely loved exploring.


dylan, zayla and zowen, right before they got chased out of bodie.
we'll return...with a vengeance, mr. park ranger!


and JUST when we were having fun, the park ranger drove up and knocked us out of our wild west daydream. he rounded up our group and shooed us out before we had a chance to pee in bodie's functioning outhouse. we scrambled out of the weather-beaten houses and its haunted rooms, the intimate, preserved living quarters, the shops, places of worship, totally fascinating and worth visiting again. we didn't have time to tour the mine or visit the bars or banks.

but we'll be back!

thanks to our friends diana, zeth, zay, and zo for making our trip so great!

more info on bodie here.

Monday, December 26, 2011

happy holidays from dylan mac and cheese!

...in which we say goodbye to 2011. we had a BLAST this year.

the dylan mac and cheese crew

Saturday, November 19, 2011

le shack: our new vintage trailer!

we did it--john, dylan and i are now the proud owners of a very old camping trailer. we now have a surf shack and cabin on wheels.

i'm still in disbelief we did this--after searching and trolling ads for months, we ended up buying a 1973 constructam caravan, originally made in belgium, shipped to california years ago that eventually found its way on craigslist.

before taking it on its maiden voyage last weekend, we were fraught with questions--will we be able to tow this thing around? have we lost our minds? will it be fun?

a resounding yes, yes and yes.

we usually visit ojai in the fall, and we ended up taking 'le shack' to camp comfort since it's located a mile from downtown ojai--i imagined if anything went wrong or we needed supplies, we wouldn't be too far from civilization.

so the experience was all very civilized...

our vintage constructam caravan

thank goodness the camp had electrical hook ups--we were able to plug in a coffee maker, toaster oven, ipod player, and of course, laptop for playing DVDs for dylan.

driving up the 101 wasn't too bad; we did lose a cracked skylight on the way (yikes) and it did start  raining as soon as we hit the campground. john put up a tarp, and the rains fell like mad. we fell asleep listening to the thundering rain--and thanked our lucky stars we brought along that tarp.

mini kitchen

bringing the bubbly
dylan plays sommelier and waiter for mom and dad. he had a ball. 

in the morning, we woke up snug, warm and dry. nothing really works on the trailer--the sink needs to hooked up for running water, the european mini fridge runs on 240 voltage and needs to be replaced with a u.s. model, no bathroom on board; the trailer is rusty and crumbly and it will need work, inside and out.

but we absolutely adore it.


our site at camp comfort was nice, next to a babbling creek and john and dylan built a fire--what is it about men and boys and fire? the camp host donated firewood, and some of the other campers (who brought huge rvs complete with satellite, big screen tvs, etc.) shared firestarter and they were all very friendly and convivial. some even complimented our little trailer.

snacktime under the trees. those granny curtains will have to be replaced, asap! 

i couldn't be happier.

kickin' it: ukulele and story time in the 'dining room'

being goofy, our dylan

dining room turned into bedrom

the other dining area turned into a sleeping area

camp comfort, ojai
camp comfort: like a glorified parking lot, but peaceful and quiet. 


dylan had the most fun being tarzan--getting dirty and wet, and dragging everything through mud and soot and just having the time of his life. that's what happens when you go camping in the rain--the experience was akin to waldorf preschool--letting a kid run wild through the forest. it's just what this kid needs.

at this very moment, i'm impatient to hitch up 'le shack' and head out again--to the desert, beach, mountains? and we keep asking ourselves, why didn't we do this sooner?