Thursday, October 30, 2014

sunny daze

Ahoy,

In an effort to do things before he has to start school (his last quarter!), we made a quick and last minute decision to make it out to Catalina. I had been wanting to go, and he had been wanting to take me.

We booked an early ticket, I think the 7:15am, but we arrived so early that they just let us onto the 6:15am. I had originally considered the 6:15am, but then the ticket lady told me we have to arrive an hour prior to departure (5:15am). I ate my words and went with the 7:15, but it turned out well for us because we got on with an hour more sleep (not like we slept that much the evening before). First stop when we arrived was pancakes at the first place we spotted. I figure it had business because it's one of the only breakfast restaurants. Service was absurdly slow.

We headed off to the Conservancy to get a hiking permit. The lady gave us a few options for hikes ranging from 1-6 miles. After this list, I believe our mistake was pausing too long, because then she told us about the 11 mile hike, and our next mistake was accepting the challenge. I will not let him make decisions so early in the morning from now on. The trail we picked was Renton's Mine to Avalon for those of you who dare. It begins on an uphill for about 2 miles to get to the trailhead. The trail continues going uphill for most of it. Just when you think you're at the top, you round the corner and your heart drops because you realize it is not the top. You will never be at the top. It is excessively sunny for all of the parts that are dreadful (most of it). There is no shade, not much of a breeze. We ran out of water just at the point when you need water the most (we'll never learn). The RRS and I both contemplated our demise on this trail. We saw no people, no signs, no maps, no wildlife on this trail. After the constant uphill came a series of gradual up and downs which were both heartbreaking and torturous.

Just when we saw the first clear view of Avalon, a large safari-esque truck came rumbling down behind us. We were both flabbergasted that the Conservancy lady suggested this hike for us, and quickly concluded that she had never completed it herself. A much steeper and short lived downhill stretch dropped us into the back of the Botanic Gardens where we made quick time in drinking all the water on the island before commencing the 2 mile walk back into town.

...to be continued,
jt

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

some things new

Ahoy,

The weekend I'm about to detail was a pretty chill weekend as far as our weekends go. After a bit of traveling, this was the perfect weekend mix of fun and stocking our provisions. We began with a yoga class early Saturday morning and we both ended up really liking the instructor. He is probably our favorite of the varieties we've experienced at this studio. We went home so the RRS could do car stuff and I could make our place look less like a disaster zone.

We discovered a new sandwich place that is thoroughly mind-blowing, but totally simple. A got a giant cookie and proceeded to scarf most of it down. At Target, we did what people usually do and came out with way more than we intended to.

What I had been looking forward to that week was Shakespeare in the Park at Griffith Park. I had got wind of this event earlier in the summer, but we never got a chance to go so I put on my best bossypants and got us to the very last show and finagled some friends along too. The last show turned out to be a collaboration with an orchestra, and they paired selected works from various plays to the sounds of a symphony. As far as boring old people events go, I've always been a fan of the symphony.

The RRS went to Shakespeare in the Park events as a child in the Bay Area and he does not have fond memories. He described the agony of being at the park but not being able to play and having to sit (usually in the back) and stare at the stage, during the day when it was sunny. I contested for seats as close as possible and made sure to pack snacks and libations. The show starts at sunset and ends when it is dark. It was a warm day so the temps were perfect. He had a great time, and we will be back next summer.

desperately regular,
jt

Thursday, October 23, 2014

driving cars

Ahoy,

Our first day back and being reunited with his other gf, he requested we go on a drive with the s2000 club. I rolled, he leapt out of bed excessively early for a holiday and drove us out to a parking lot to meet his soon to be car friends and their cars. We started off with more than a dozen s2ks going from almost Redondo to Malibu to meet some more cars and their humans. There were probably more than 30. They drove through a bunch of canyons. There was so much driving.

We trailed off before the final canyon drive because I was hungry and hot and on the verge of changing into crankypants. He has seen that monster plenty of times to know the proper protocol. We went to one of our lunch favorites and sat outside in the shade. Emphasis on shade because we had been driving with the top off and that is far less pleasant in the sun than media suggests.

Our final adventure was visiting a kosher market in Santa Monica. I consider new grocery stores adventures and you should too. It was great. I love wandering new places and looking at all the things that are not readily available elsewhere. And also, the wine was delicious.

delectably veered,
jt

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

to the suburbs

Ahoy,

The RRS had been abed for several days during his vacation. We had not been climbing since leaving LA, so we were both pretty (READ: excessively) excited to go climbing. The night before we started looking at the online media for this place and bugged out. He even started hyperventilating. I'm pretty sure he did not go to sleep. We went to a new Vertical Endeavors location that had opened that month and proclaimed itself the largest in the nation (don't they always say this?). Also, we went right when the doors opened. 
It's a strange gym because they don't let you get on anything unless you go on an orientation tour thing which is annoying because you have to wait around and just gawk at everything until another tour starts. I've never had this happen at any other gym. They have a ton of auto belays, about 30. It's a really big gym and they have everything - bouldering, trad, sport, top rope. Enough for any type of climber to be satisfied, probably. The flooring is weird tire rubber pieces, which I've decided is not preferable and probably worse because it never gets cleaned. We spent more time than we were intending to there, but it was a lot of fun and the RRS slept really well that evening. 


coincidentally aloft,
jt

Thursday, October 16, 2014

increasingly hipster-fied

Ahoy,

Mushing our way to Chinatown to meet the family for dinner, I commanded my brother stop so I could get Beaver Donuts. We had just eaten in the suburbs because we were post-climbing starved and I do not have the self control to curb my enthusiasm. Yes, the doughnuts were totally worth it. The truck happened to be parked at this art festival thing/event. This area between Pilsen and Chinatown has increasingly become more hipster-fied throughout the years. Formerly very abandoned-industrial, it is now abandoned-industrial cum hip-grunge-artist-loft. 


not cool enough,
jt

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

taxi time

Ahoy,
I decided (and the boys consented) to taking full advantage of the water taxi day pass everywhere. We started in Chinatown and went downtown to Michigan Ave where we shopped a little and checked out Eataly. Must return! S showed us his alma mater block party where we took full advantage by eating their food. Our next stop was a ride all the way up to North Ave, a neighborhood I'm not familiar with because I seldom visit. The taxi ride is a lot of fun and relaxing and a great perspective. It takes a while to get up there so the ticket price is definitely worth it. Upon landing, we walked for a bit just window shopping before making our way back to Chinatown and home for dinner. I highly recommend getting a day pass on the water taxi if you are looking for a unique, fun way to get around to a lot of places. 

better than a car,
jt




Thursday, October 9, 2014

perfect day

Ahoy,

The last day I would see my best friend before heading back to the west coast, we went to go check out the new facilities at the park in Chinatown. They are pretty fancy as far as public parks go. I love new parks. They are so well maintained and not so well used yet. This picture is so postcard perfect and representative of my day with her. 


We also got pizza at one of my favorite neighborhood places, which isn't pictured because it's in my belly!

externally elated,
jt


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

something touristic

Ahoy,
I spent a day with S and friends from LA doing touristic things because it was their first time. For those of you looking for a fun loop tour of Chicago, I'm about to make your day. 
We started off at Intelligentsia for some caffeine because my friends had been walking around for a bit looking at Millennium Park and architectural hotspots. The Chicago Cultural Center is right next door so it was perfect because there was also an exhibit there I wanted to see. I made sure to show them the Tiffany dome. We headed down to make our way up Dearborn to see the Thompson Center, City Hall, Daley Plaza, and the Flamingo at this other plaza. This last sight popped us off right by the Harold Washington Library, which is one of my favorites. And I got to show them the roof before sending them on their way with a packed itinerary for the rest of their visit. 
poignantly perplexed,
jt


Thursday, October 2, 2014

throne of pillows

Ahoy,

His majesty spent several days in my room because he has the immune system of an 11 year old. Abed his throne of pillows. I also had to bring out all the winter blankets. Never has my bed ever been piled up with so many blankets. Not even in the winter when our heat is broken and it's negative degrees outside. 


eternally pansy,
jt

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

sauna hike

Ahoy,

I made the poor decision of going to Starved Rock State Park on an extremely hot and muggy day. The temperature was probably approaching 100, and the humidity was probably extreme (80%-90%). I dragged my brother, cousin, mom, and the RRS along. We decided on the 6 mile route, and finished in about 3 hours taking lots of photo breaks. The terrain is mostly flat. Because the sandstone erodes so easily, they request you wear regular walking shoes because hiking shoes damage the rock, and they pave the main paths to prevent further erosion. I would rate this hike on physical geography alone as super easy because most of the route was paved and flat. The heat made it more difficult, but it was also shaded all the way. This place is gorgeous. I highly recommend a visit. You are weaving in and out of these massive canyons, gorgeous rock formations and sandstone features to look at.

We left just as a major storm rolled in, perfect timing. We munched on diy cracker/salami/cheese sandwiches on the car ride back. And the RRS spent the next couple days sleeping in my room because he has the immune system of an 11 year old. He suspects he and my cousin (who is 11) exchanged germs, and he got sick from my kid cousin. To be fair, my kid cousin got sick a few days later so his theory is not without correlation, but he's 11.

pleasingly immune,
jt