Tuesday, April 19, 2016

month around town

Ahoy,

Our weekends of late have been pretty thoroughly domestic. We were supposed to go to Yosemite, but weather reports washed that out. Which has left us in town for several consecutive weekends. Gasp! For a while we were looking at no weekends at home. This has given us some time to:


  1. make a bed. We got wood from Home Depot. The check-out lady was hilariously incompetent, and I think that resulted in not charging us for several 2x4s. We came up with design and measurements and got all the wood cut at the store. We only got in 1 fight, and probably because we were hungry. I was really skeptical that we would finish the bed in a weekend, but it happened. So now we are raised off the ground some 30 odd inches, which gives us a lot more storage. This is the closest I'll get to a bunk bed as an adult now; I was pushing for that for a while. My goal was to make it awkwardly too tall for me to clamber onto bed. I just think it would be really funny to witness my struggle, in my head and for you. Also, one end of the bed rests on a drawer set from Ikea, which is probably the least sturdy component of our bed. All in all, good job, us! I honestly did not think it would happen as quickly as it did, but our landlord let us borrow his drill and that made a big difference. 
  2. meet A's folks for dinner and lunch in far flung locales of the LA area. We had dinner in Chinatown one night, and I have to be honest - there are a lot of restaurants I would choose before I choose that one. But I think they have a massive load of nostalgia for that eatery, so what can you do but grin and bear it? Always a fascinating night of interactions with his folks. The following day, on a whim, we made the trek to Disneyland (!?!) for lunch with them. We always make the wrong turn for downtown Disney and end up somewhere the employees enter. The RRS loves the beignets at the jazz place. This is not the first time we've made this trip just for beignets. 
  3. create organization/storage solutions. We hung up a hook for his longboard, hooks for our closet, and replaced shelves with a new bar in the closet to hang things. We now consider ourselves just beyond the level of newbies with a power drill and wood/hook combos. What a thrill. But really, this closet stuff has been on our to-do list for a while, and it's been nice to have some time to knock these out. 
  4. go on Sunday morning hikes. That first weekend, we left a little later and we quickly realized that everyone and their mom was also going on a hike. Luckily for us, someone left right next to where we were waiting in line (there was a line) for parking. So despite all the folks that were waiting ahead of us, we were at the right place at the right time. Bonus, that morning was overcast. The following weekend, we left a little earlier for a brisk 3 miles in the Palisades. It was sunny so I was glad to be out of there when we were. And the last great escape into the urban wilderness took us into Beverly Hills. After wandering around for a while, this place probably had the least obvious trails, we went for brunch at a place we had passed up before because the line was too long. It was delicious! 
That's our generally unexciting & domestic month pretty well summarized. But I must admit, storage is really quite thrilling. 

pleasantly acquainted,
jt

Thursday, April 14, 2016

finally

Ahoy,

We finally got some more white rice and I switched out our rice bear from the icky brown rice mix to pure, unadulterated white rice and it is simply, blissfully heaven! Brown rice is the worst.

bearingly grainy,
jt

Thursday, March 17, 2016

stay-cation

Ahoy!

Due to an unfortunate circumstance, our friends were situated in a hotel for a while and they got sick of it. They had vacated the premises but still had the hotel, so they offered us their room for the weekend. And it was a blast! It ended up being less than 2 miles away from us, but it was still so fun. We walked to get pizza & pasta the first night.

The next morning we left somewhat early for Snow Summit, much to my dismay. My 2nd time snowboarding was more frustrating than the 1st time. The conditions were icier and more slippery. I feel like I spent a lot of time going down the mountain just trying to slow down. Going downhill is terrifying. It will never be not terrifying. A had fun once I freed him to go off on his own. He would have wasted a lot more time waiting for me, the record holder for the slowest run down the slopes ever. My prize for participating was Chinese to go for dinner. We also made use of the pool/jacuzzi that was strangely located underground. The RRS and I had fun making up games to play in the large lukewarm jacuzzi.

We had a major sleeping in session the next morning in honor of daylight savings. We didn't leave the hotel until noon. It was such a pleasant morning laying around in bed watching tv and reading. After driving to our proposed brunch place, we kept on driving because we had never seen such a long line for anywhere ever. We found this cute little French cafe attached to a cute kitchen store. It was a great meal, and we left for the tar pits museum fully satiated. It is a tiny museum and totally inconspicuous. I had never noticed it before. It was thoroughly informative regarding fossils and getting stuck in tar. Fascinating stuff. Iranian new year was happening in the park that day. I had never heard of Iranian new year, but they had the full displays and goldfish mascots. Always interesting to learn about other cultures.

delightedly aloft,
jt

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

bay area birthdays

Ahoy,

We ventured up north for a weekend, really a day, of birthday celebrating. The RRS's birthday is in March, as are his sister's, dad, and brother. Despite the rain, he somehow convinced his family to go on a coast walk by the sutro baths. My dress got thoroughly soaked when it started raining sideways towards the end. It was a fun adventure to see the forest in the rain. It's always nice to see anything in the rain.

We waited 2 hours for dinner at the Cheesecake Factory. I had never been inside that Macy's, the one where they have the Cheesecake Factory at the top. We spent some time wandering around the store and hanging out in the furniture department.

The next day we got on a megabus back down to LA. And it was so nice to be home.

swimmingly bubbly,
jt

Thursday, March 10, 2016

dia del museos

Ahoy,

Our seats from the Coffee Museum. It was lots of fun to sit above the street and observe the unknowing streetgoers. The cloud game was on point our whole trip. So many stellar postcard moments every time we looked up at the sky. The RRS found himself sunburnt for, apparently, the first time in his life. He was unfamiliar with the condition and process. I am not a sunburn newbie, and whined appropriately.




We spent this day at 4 museums, making pretty good use of a leisurely day. I was pretty proud of ourselves. The coffee museum was incredibly proud of their organic product. The RRS reported a good cappuccino, and the sandwich we had was surprisingly tasty. He was in love with their sauces for the basket of potatoes (think potato wedges). Peru is home of more than a thousand varieties of potato. They are a very proud agricultural economy. We went to 2 history/cultural museums to get some more context for Peru & Machu Picchu. The chocolate museum was our last stop of the day where A had his first chocolate covered orange peel. We tried to sign up for a truffle making class or a cooking class, but they had not enough attendees for either. Too bad, we ended up going to a class elsewhere that did not have a max participant requirement for the green light and we got a personal class!

slightly cultured,
jt

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

fotos

Ahoy!


This chicken noodle soup was recommended to us by the chef from our cooking class. It is made with spaghetti noodles. A claimed it to the best chicken noodle soup he ever had. It is probably because the broth is made from all the chickens that have ever been simmered in the eternity of time.


I was told everyone goes to San Pedro Market for everything. There is a section for souvenirs, aisles for smoothies or fruit juices, fruit & vegetable aisles, meat & poultry aisles, spices, dried goods, etc. The end of the market has sections for ready made foods, where we saw locals actually eating. A lot of the stalls look like they have the same items as their adjacent neighbors, so it was anybody's guess which one to patronize. Most of the tourist places had restaurants advertising burgers, pizzas, pastas, etc. And no locals. It was somewhat difficult to figure out what local Peruvian cuisine is. Peruvian cuisine apparently had a heavy Chinese influence so some local dishes have a Chinese flair. We came back to the San Pedro Market upon multiple occasions. I love a good covered market anywhere we go.

delectably appalled,
jt

Thursday, March 3, 2016

lunar new year

Ahoy,

We made our annual pilgrimage to Chicago for Chinese new year. The highlight was probably Beaver Donuts, which I got to eat 5 days in a row. My record thus far. It was glorious.

O & H flew in for the weekend, H's first time in Chicago! We did the usual for first timers to Chicago, spending most of our time exploring the downtown area. We made stops at the Architecture society, cultural center, library, eataly, french market, millennium park, maggie daley park, billy goat's tavern, water tower place, etc. I"m sure you don't need a laundry list anymore because I've probably mentioned all these places here before. Winter was pretty mild because of el nino, so it wasn't as uncomfortable as it could have been while we were walking everywhere. Somehow we made it to a 10pm dinner reservation at Girl & the Goat.

Sunday was a late start, which was fine. We mostly hung around Bridgeport because it was new year's eve. We got some coffee, went to the park to throw ice in the quarry. We dropped off our amigos at the airport, excited to see them in May again.

I was pretty apprehensive about our trip that week to Machu Picchu. We had some errands to complete before we could leave. The RRS was pretty sure he could wear his non-waterproof sneakers. Much to the contrary, I voted he should buy some weatherproof shoes. After a long fruitless search we ended up at Northface, which is where we should have begun with all along. It ended up raining only one day despite the forecast for all days, but it rained hard that one day at Machu Picchu. If I had a nickel for every time I told him so.

justifiably agloat,
jt


Tuesday, March 1, 2016

first time going to snow?

Ahoy,

The idea of "going to the snow" is so strange to me. Why doesn't it come to me? Like it has been for the majority of my life. But A has been wanting to take me for a while. We got snow pants last year and never used them. They proved to be excellent additions to our snow gear.

We drove with a friend, whom we routinely bum rides from, up to Mammoth. It was snowing at a pretty good rate as we rolled in, but his car has all wheel drive so we just drove past everyone putting snow chains on their cars. I've also never really heard of snow chains until A asked me about them. I don't think I've ever seen anyone in Chicago with them.

We arrived somewhat late, and woke up pretty early to get out. We didn't arrive in time for the first lesson, so I ended up in the afternoon class. We had some time before, so the RRS panicked as he tried to figure out how to teach me to snowboard when he didn't really remember to begin with. I fell a lot, but I was told I was doing pretty well for a beginner. In conclusion, snowboarding is thoroughly exhausting and expensive. I think it's kind of a silly sport for mostly affluent people. Shoveling is a much more useful skill. I would probably do it again, but it's not a sport I would devote myself to.

Ironically, the RRS got sick/altitude sickness after our first day out, so we ended up not going to snowboard the next day. He was originally super adamant about us going both days so we'd have more time to get better. He ended up spending our second day in bed and taking a day off from work. Thrilling. I continue to be super, duper grateful to the folks we were with for being able to accommodate him in his sorry state. When he gets sick, it's usually just a wrench in my our plans, but I was so sorry to be an inconvenience to the rest of the party. And so incredibly thankful for their help and kind gestures. I feel like we will encounter more situations like this, and I'm not sure how to return the kindness or express enough gratitude.

liftingly blizzarded,
jt

Thursday, February 25, 2016

skipped some events

Ahoy,

It was brought to my attention that I failed to mention a few things that happened before Machu Picchu.

There was a last minute trip to Houston, TX awarded to the RRS because he won a rocket science award. Neither of us were sure what he won for. And when they announced it later, I wasn't really listening. We arrived on a balmy and breezy Tuesday. It was forecasted to be rainy over our stay. We attended an hors d'oeuvre and welcome speech talk thinger where we were supposed to talk to someone new. Forced socializing is exactly what adults are missing. Remember in school when we were forced to socialize? Making friends used to be easier. I met an astronaut that night!

The following morning we loaded up onto a bus to go to the neutral buoyancy lab among other NASA sites. Some of the divers gave us a tour and answered questions. I learned that they are required to maintain a certain BMI and so a lot of their work hours are for exercising. We also made stops at the current mission control in addition to the original, historic mission control. The RRS nerded out the whole, entire time. I'm sure you can imagine. Bonus! An astronaut was with our group for the day. So we were hanging out with an astronaut all day! We got to try some of the simulators that the astronauts practice on (READ: expensive video game).

That evening we got to see this new exhibit with a space shuttle sitting on top of a boeing. You get to go inside both vehicles. The exhibit wouldn't be open to the public until the following week. So that was pretty cool. We had some more hors d'oeuvre inside the star gallery at the museum. The turkey was really good! It was the most moist, tasty turkey I've ever had in my life!

We spent quite some time binge watching hgtv at the hotel. That's my new obsession. We flew back to LA the following day after a Q&A with an astronaut. But before getting to the airport egregiously early, we stopped at rocket park to take a look at some engines that the RRS made. The vehicle that was used to go to the moon lives there, and it's ginormous! The RRS continued to nerd out, and I spent most of the trip beaming with pride over his accomplishment. We were the likely the youngest there. Some folks might have been wondering if we were crashing the party.

We also stopped at a barbeque place and HEB, among other dining highlights in Houston.

gleamingly busted,
jt

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

something to see

Ahoy,

One of our days in Cusco, we got a boleto turistico. It gave us access to the ruins of Sacsayhuaman, Q'enko, Puka Pukara, and Tambomachay. We walked up to Sacsayhuaman from Cusco. It was uphill for about 20 minutes. I had A set his alarm for the bright and early hour of 6:30am. We ended up snoozing it to 7am. Our hotel offered breakfast in the morning, which we took advantage of all the days we were there. Even fresh eggs to order, which we can't say the same of a lot of hotels we stayed in the States. It was totally worth it. We spent an hour or 2 at the first site. A was not impressed. We noticed these sites rarely have information for context, often resulting in the necessity for a guide or homework. We wandered around not sure of the meaning or significance of anything. We went down a natural rock slide that but fun and terrifying.

Q'enko was another site just up the road - about 15 minutes up. We hired a guide here. A made the call that we had no idea what we were getting into. The site was pretty small. You can easily just walk through in less than 5 minutes. Our guide told us it was a spiritual site with a lot of altars to offer sacrifices. The layout of the rocks were so interesting and intentional.

We hopped aboard a bus up to the other 2 sites that were about 3 miles away. Puka Pukara was though to be some sort of military outpost, affording the Incans wide views and lavish accommodations. And Tambomachay was thought to be some sort of water aqueduct facility type. It has waterfalls and intricate tunneling  that a river runs through. I found these things out after doing homework when we got back to the hotel. The information providing at these sites I found to be less than that of places in the States, where they have informational placards everywhere to tell you about all the things.

We took the bus back down to our first site and got back to our hotel by 3pm. All in all, a thoroughly productive day. I'm glad we got up early to catch all these sites without being in a rush or amongst the crowds. We had plenty of time once we got back to have a slow afternoon and get to bed early, which I'm more and more so becoming a proponent of.

exceedingly aged,
jt