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Murdered Souls of San Gabriel Canyon

By Rachel Farrington

We've been in California for three weeks now and the boys are having a blast! We spent the first week before my classes began hanging out in Santa Barbara, which is always lovely, apart from California's ridiculous over-regulation of public lands. But anyway, we had fun in the mountains and at the beaches. The trick is to arrive at 6am and then you have four hours of an entirely empty beach (you may notice the jackets) as well as some killer sunrises! Here's a picture of all my boys looking for China.

The original plan was to camp as much as possible this month while I attend school, but that only lasted about a week. I'll make some excuses here so it doesn't sound like we just wimped out. Our target was an area of the San Gabriel National Forest to which my university backs up. As it turns out, the camping culture in that area was vastly different than the Leave-No-Trace group we are used to camping with in Colorado. When we arrived it was bumper-to-bumper traffic, cops were everywhere, and we got to witness a few drug busts. If that weren't enough, we questioned an old Hispanic sage who was coming out of a more isolated area of the woods about his opinion on the safety of the area. He cleared his throat and began to prophecy about the day of judgement when all the souls of the murdered would fly out of the canyon to meet Jesus. We left.

Since then we have been in a cheap, but decent motel about 10 minutes from campus with a pool, a kitchen, and a it worked out. I've been incredibly busy with classes, but we did manage to make it to the LA Arboretum where our true nerd nature comes out. We took a notebook and climbed in and around shrubbery that we adored in order to record their genus and species. It's pretty bad when you hear yourself saying with glee, "Five bucks says that one over there is part of the Pittosporum family!!!".

The other interesting experiences have revolved around art openings. I've been hanging in Culver City and Chinatown and other hot spots on the weekends and really getting a taste of the art world. It's fun, but the weirdest culture ever. It's like all the characters from "Real Housewives" with an extra dose of pretentiousness on one side of the room and all the dirty artists doing their best to schmooze into the mix. I think they might have more success if they wouldn't wear sweatpants with paint splattered on them, a punk-rock t-shirt, and a Searsucker jacket. The only common denominator between the two groups are Ray Ban glasses---rich or dirt poor, everybody loves them some Ray Ban. I have been able to meet some amazing artists, curators, and critics though, which has been an incredible treat! This weekend I'm headed to an opening with Karen Finley, which I'm praying will be tame.

All in all, it's been a great few weeks. And yes, my knee is starting to get better thanks to my PT before I left and my hubby's 7am wake-up call to head to the gym each morning. Thanks for the prayers!


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