When my middle baby was still a baby – not yet one – we moved from the beach in Oxnard to a great house in Agoura. In Oxnard, we were so close to the ocean I could spit in it from our roof-top sun deck. I used to roller-skate with Sebrin in a baby-jogger along the ocean. Breathing in the ocean air, with both of us sucking in the invisible magical energy that is released as the waves crash against the shore. She was even conceived very close to where the the Pacific Ocean meets the land mass of North America, and amazingly, that happened to be our bedroom. Wow. Did I really live there? It is quite often that I wish we were back along the shore of Mandalay Beach.
We had to move though, it was a tiny, TINY beach house. My husband worked two jobs, one in Santa Monica, the other downtown LA. I was an actress driving into Burbank with baby in tow just about daily. Between the auditions, repertory company I help found (The Alliance, still going strong), and the secret post office box where I would check the breakdowns. A group of actors all chipped in to pay for the service that we could read what only the agents could get their hands on – THE BREAKDOWNS – a list of all the auditions for parts that were being held – casting everything.
No Twitter, MySpace, or Facebook. The only social networking back then – acting classes, cocktail lounges, workshops that starving actors yet again, had to pay for in the hopes that the “esteemed panel” were not only the agents and casting directors they were advertised to be…they would also discover you and make you a star!
Turns out that was a racket in itself. And THAT is a blog post for another day. Maybe I’ll collaborate with Martini Shot’s Rob Long on that one.
We had to move! Aja, our oldest child, was in a pretty rough school up in Oxnard.
The public schools in Agoura were known far and wide for how great they were. With our growing family we wanted great schools.
The house in Agoura was amazing, I wondered, “Why is it so cheap”? Could it be that the freeway was so close? It’s not like we had to see it, if you shut your eyes it almost sounded like the waves…almost.
While living there I started to worry. I read everything I could about any potential dangers, air pollution being my number one concern. After all, I was pregnant with our third child – baby Greer. The only thing I could find was some “health nuts” saying, sitting in bad traffic and the immediate surrounding areas could be toxic!!!! Yeah, but could I believe this? These “health nuts” also pontificated the virtues of probiotics, vitamins, yoga to relieve stress and something called pilates…whatever.
Photo from The Glendale Press
A new study out of Harvard University’s Center for Risk Analysis estimates that pollution caused by traffic congestion in the nation’s largest urban areas led to 2,200 premature deaths in the country last year, with a related public health cost of at least $18 billion.
Researchers expect those figures to grow as population swells in urban centers, leading to even more gridlock and early deaths if solutions aren’t found….
No matter what the “real” experts said, it simply felt wrong. I was pretty young and naive. I used to believe everything I read – never even thinking I should look deeper. Maybe find out who is paying for the study. Before Greer was born, I started looking for a new place to live. After she was born we found a great place in the country part of Agoura. We ended up finding a ranch in Old Agoura. We had goats, rabbits, chickens and 8 horses. Oh and those “health nuts”? Hold on while I take a sip of my pro-biotic yakult.
With pro-biotics in products from Kefir to make-up, and MY 88 year old MOTHER taking yoga, Lord have mercy. I think you know where I’m going with this.
And me, I’m SO excited, I just signed up for Birkam yoga, and over 20 years ago I took the first Pilates class that was in Los Angeles. It was off of Melrose near The Bohdi Tree. Stefan and Austrid. They ROCKED! I wonder whatever happened to them, visionaries.