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Postcards from Travel Near and Far by Jia-Rui


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93546, Mammoth Lakes

Peacha, striking a heroic pose in the Sierras

Dear ——–,

Last Saturday, I decided to take both Peacha and Tami’s toy poodle Winston out for a walk in the snow. We headed out to Hot Creek, near the airport. As I started walking in my snowshoes, I noticed Peacha trying to consolidate second place, as if to say, “If my human is #1, then I’m #2. Winston, you’re #3.” Every time Winston tried to get close to me, she blocked him. I’ve never seen our submissive little dog act the enforcer! I continued on for a maybe a mile or two, admiring the more picturesque — if exposed — views, compared to the tree-lined Sherwin Meadows. Although I was hoping we’d make it to the aquamarine hot springs, we had to turn back short because we were running out of time (I’d scheduled a prenatal massage at the Healing Arts Centre. Tough life, I know!) It was a good thing we did. Winston dragged a good 200 feet behind me at some points. But he responded well to encouragement and his little face was still plastered with a tired smile. Both dogs fell asleep immediately in the car on the drive back.

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93546, Mammoth Lakes

Peacha, looking back on our snowshoe trail

Dear ——–,

This is my first trip to Mammoth where I haven’t been able to ski. I dropped Bryan and Tami off at Main Lodge in the morning so they could slide and came back to Edelweiss Lodge, our base of operations, to get a map for snowshoe trails. My parents gave me snowshoes for Christmas 10 years ago, but I haven’t had a real opportunity to use them until now. Keith, one of the managers, pointed out a couple of dog-friendly areas and I took Peacha in the car with me to Sherwin Meadows. It was a landscape of rolling hills, so, as I went up and down, there were a couple of times where I nearly tripped over the snowshoes because they flop around. Once I got the hang of it, I had a good time meandering between the lodgepole pines. Peacha sweetly fell into step behind me, probably because it was easier to walk where the snowshoes had tamped down the mushy snow. But I’d also like to think she knew I was the expedition leader.


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90041, Eagle Rock

Playground at Eagle Rock Hillside Park

Dear ——–,

Bryan and I have started a new Sunday tradition of going for a long walk. We took a route through the hilly part of Eagle Rock above Colorado Blvd, where we saw some adorable craftsman bungalows and at least five houses for sale. Was this a sign that the real estate market was bouncing back and homeowners were deciding that now as a good time to sell? Or, was it that people in the nice part of the neighborhood weren’t able to keep holding out through a prolonged soft economy and finally reached the end of their funds? We walked all the way to Eagle Rock Hillside Park, which we’d seen whenever we got off the 134, but hadn’t yet explored. This public park was nice — there were tennis courts, basketball courts, extensive fields where a group of people were playing soccer, horseshoe pits and a well-tended playground. At least three families were hosting kids’ birthday parties, which apparently require only a permit to be pulled ahead of time. People usually dump on the city of L.A., but what a (reassuring) surprise to see something made by the city that was actually cool!


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90028, Hollywood

Josh Ritter playing the Music Box

Dear ——–,

Since we had such a good time the last time Josh Ritter came around, we went to go see him again at the Music Box last weekend. We met up with Gretchen and Anthony at Magnolia beforehand, and Bryan tried Jidori chicken (a strain of chicken supposed to be famously chickeny) and I had a nice, simple croque monsieur (one of the first things I learned to say in high school French class). After speedwalking through an unusually chilly night, we filed into a theater that seemed a lot more crowded this time around. The set was great, though there was one extended jam session where I paid a little more attention to my weakening legs and realized I wanted to sit down. (I guess this is why you don’t see a lot of pregnant ladies at rock concerts!) We managed to find a railing to lean on, which helped a lot. Bryan’s friend Austin, who was playing guitar, got us into the after party. So while security was shooing people out quickly so the Saturday night rave in the theater could get started, we went on a circuitous walk down to the basement. On the way down the stairs, we apparently passed John Krasinski, though only Bryan saw him. At the party, which was taking place in the size of a Manhattan railroad apartment, we also saw Rainn Wilson (unusually tall for an actor). We happened to find ourselves near Josh Ritter, who promptly gave us hugs and kept giving hugs down the line. One guy asked Bryan to take a picture of him and Josh. We asked him, trying to fish for an explanation for why he was down there, “Do you someone in the band?” “No,” he said. “I just get into places.” OK. Then: “Hey, are you going to be keeping your after-show passes,” he said, while looking at ours. I guess if you’re already pushing boundaries, why not push some more?