Jenny Burman Jenny Burman
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from Echo Park

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Weekend diary

On Thursday, my husband and daughter and I got into the car and drove seven hours (counting a dinner stop in Paso Robles) to Monterey -- not to get away from Los Angeles, but to bask in foggy, damp air, and maybe see an otter or two. Considering all that was going on in Los Angeles this weekend, the trip could not be called a getaway (though it is an adventure).

First, there is the poop pick-up event taking place this very minute in Elysian Park. A service social occasion. All of dog society will be there, and I wish we were helping out, too, as it's not only poop that needs scooping but other bits of debris and trash that kills birds and robs our special park of beauty and grace. It was organized by the Echo Park Animal Alliance.

Next, there is the Frogtown Artwalk. This is the fourth annual -- organized by Tracy Stone -- and there are some 30 studios open to the public on a self-guided walking tour down by the river. In the past there have been fire-breathing pianos, there have been paintings, crazy furniture and...the river.

Well, it would have been swell to join in the fun back home. But it isn't exactly exile here at the Monterey Bay. So far, we have seen tiny deer that came near our lodging. Loads of seals. A lone sea nettle. Long-legged shore birds with long beaks. And the aquarium. We have met people from Merced and Cincinnatti, and I now believe that frozen vegetables are, in fact, "too good to be true" -- I won't be buying them anymore unless for very special reason (for one thing, they have been cooked and treated to cease enzyme action before freezing).

And, of course, the shoreline is better than you can believe. Just like in Los Angeles.

Whenever I take a driving trip away from LA, I am always struck by two things -- first by for how long I drive before I actually leave L.A. The journey begins way before we get out of town. And in this instance, it included an I-5 swing around the back side (north west) of the Angeles Forest, where there were patches of black that ran right up to the highway, and it all looked scary bare. The next thing is how enormously the state opens up and becomes huge faster than I can believe.

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