Two days ago we moved out of our sweet house in La Canada. We are still currently in Southern California for a few weeks of vacation, but we have left our dear La Canada.
Boy, moving is stressful. And a move halfway across the country at that. The last few months have been so busy packing up our house (oy vey, that’s a lot of work), keeping our house clean while it’s for sale, soothing various emotions about the upcoming change, oh, and still feeding my children and fulfilling their basic needs.
At the same time, I wanted to sustain a sense of normalcy for Isabel and Brady- hosting Easter, throwing Isabel’s birthday slumber party, volunteering at school, all with open houses and showings in between. Of course, we also needed to allow time for spending time with loved ones and saying proper goodbyes.
With all of that now in the past and summer vacation in the works, I have time to reflect. Despite all of the stress, for months I really have been appreciating and cherishing the things that have made my life here in La Canada so special and fun.
#1 The View From our Kitchen Window
Our front yard looked straight down a valley between two mountain ranges to Downtown Los Angeles. Washing dishes really wasn’t so bad when I was looking at the inspiring cityscape. My neighbors probably saw me on many occasions first thing in the morning in our front yard, in my pajamas, with my camera hanging around my neck taking photos of this view.
I’ve shot it on cloudy days…
…on foggy days, on dreary rainy days…
…on beautifully clear days when we could even see the outline of Catalina island.
I’ve captured this shot focusing on the flowers in the foreground with blurred buildings in the background …
…focusing on the buildings with blurred flowers in the foreground.
At dusk, at night…
I think you get it. I love this view. (That’s not even all of my photos.)
#2 The View from our Backyard
The view from our backyard was pretty darn good, too. After nine years of living here, this scenery has never gotten old.
I truly relished these majestic mountains as I let Valentine out each morning. (And so did she.)
Once a year or so, we saw snow!
I always pretended that this tableau from the side of our backyard wasTuscany.
Isn’t it breathtaking?
Can you hear O Sole Mio playing? This was the sight I awoke to the morning after the super moon was in full effect.
And I’ll never forget the sight of my children playing with the mountains as their backdrop.
#2 Friday Morning Hikes
I delighted in my Friday morning hikes with my girlfriends as we charged up the trails of Cherry Canyon enjoying the panoramic views of La Canada, Glendale and beyond.
On these hikes, these fantastic ladies and I discussed which Netflix series we were watching, we chatted about our kids’ sports seasons and dished out parenting advice to each other. Mostly we enjoyed each other’s company in a beautiful setting.
This was the moment of victory when we would reach the fire lookout at the top.
#3 My Favorite Coffees
I savored lattes and cappucinos at my favorite mom and pop coffee shops, Lavendar & Honey in Altadena and Constellation Coffee in La Canada. I also enjoyed my last ice blended from The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf (not an Oklahoma franchise…yet).
#4 Dining Out
I love love love dining out! There are my local faves like having a Molly salad, a steak and a slice of key lime pie at Taylor’s. Or a Moscow mule from The Proper. Or a potato taco and a midnight mule from Basin 141. Many family dinners have taken place at Dona Maria, our favorite Mexican restaurant, John going through countless baskets of chips (his weakness). Fajitas, enchiladas espinacas, crispy tacos…too many great dishes to mention them all.
Of course there is also the more casual fare at La Canada landmarks, for instance scrumptious sandwiches from Bergie’s (boy, did I eat a lot of Bergie’s egg salad when I was pregnant with Brady back in the day), and the best pizza and meatball subs at La Canada Imports and Georgie’s.
And I really find it exciting to experience a restaurant that is new to me. Since we have announced our exciting moving plans, some friends have taken us to some amazing celebratory dinners a hop, skip and a jump from La Canada. To 71 Above at the top of the US Bank building in DTLA where the food and cocktails were innovative and delectable…
…but the panoramic view of L.A. and looking down upon DTLA was even more spectacular. (Occasionally, a helicopter would fly by not that far above us.)
We were also taken to Mastro’s Steakhouse in the heart of Beverly Hills where we shared a bountiful seafood tower steaming with dry ice and I experienced the epic lobster mashed potatoes that blew my mind.
With so many fantastic restauants surrounding La Canada, my palate has never gotten bored!
I absolutely love the rare treat of going to the theater. Not long ago, Isabel and I saw Cats at the Pantages. It was so special to witness her become as moved as I was from the music and emotion of the performances. Whether it’s at the legendary Pantages Theater, the Pasadena Playhouse or the intimate Glendale Centre Theater, I absolutely love the experience of a cast of actors giving everything they’ve got to a live audience. Again, with La Canada so close to Hollywood and beyond, these venues have been at our fingertips.
#6 The Parrots
The story goes, in the 1950’s or 60’s, there was a fire in a pet store , flower store or nursery in South Pasadena. The fire fighters or owner released some parrots in order to save them. They have since multiplied into the thousands and call Pasadena and neighboring cities home.
I am obsessed with the parrots. They fly past our house every morning and every dusk. When I hear their signature squawking, I scramble to get my camera, but still have not successfully taken an impressive photo of them.
I have many pathetic attempts such as this. There they go… Yes, they’re there. Keep looking. One day, when I’m back visiting, I’m going to get a good shot.
I’m so excited and intrigued by the gorgeous exotic birds. When I have seen them, green with a flash of red, roosting in a tree as I go for a run or when they pass through the sky in flocks at the end of the day, for a split second, I feel like I live in South America! They are so beautiful, and because to me they seem so out of place here, I’ve always appreciated how really special they are.
#7 Neighborhood Walks
I love our neighborhood. It’s so beautiful with ancient oak trees, towering deodar and palm trees and too many beautiful floral varieties to mention.
After dropping Isabel and Brady off at school, I would often stroll around the neighborhood really as more of a relaxing moment than a workout. Sometimes I would listen to my Imagine Dragons station on Pandora, sometimes just to the ambient sound of the neighborhood.
I would admire the beautiful homes and yards and take in the smell of jasmine and orange blossoms.
It’s been all of these things and more that have made living here so memorable. Raising my kids in my hometown of La Canada has been a beautiful blessing. Norman Rockwellesque, even. Despite being nestled in Los Angeles county, it has a small-town feel and close sense of community. I’ll never forget the friendships that we’ve made with kind and supportive families. I promise to nurture those special friendships even from afar.
Thank you, house, where we’ve been a family and so many memories have taken place for the last nine years.
Thank you, Patagonia Drive.
Thank you, La Canada.
We love you, and we’ll never forget you. And, of course, we’ll be back to visit soon.