Thursday, May 21, 2015

inaugural camping trip

Ahoy,

We finally made the effort to collect some camping goods this year. After my trip with H, I came back with a new sense of excitement for camping and I embarked on a mission to collect supplies for us to go camping without having to make the runaround to borrow from our friends. I think prior to that we had decided that we're not the camping types and we didn't have the equipment. I like to shower daily and A is too fancy and afraid of bugs. Not showering for a week certainly changed my mind.

After collecting the tent and sleeping bags, we made our first trip to use these items at Yosemite with some climber buddies. It was a sort of last minute decision. I was reluctant initially because climbing are not the most exhilarating for me. If I'm going to be outside, why would I sit for hours on end in front of a rock when there is all the rest of outside to see? This is especially true, in my opinion, for Yosemite. But alas, he wouldn't let me go explore lest I get eaten by a bear or lost. It was still nice to be outside. I don't think it was too hot or cold. I did come home with more than a dozen mosquito bites.

I brought my hammock and set it up by the climbs. It was delightful. Definitely makes these trips more fun. I had a great time sleeping under the stars and trees. There is a window in our tent so we could look out at the moon as we were going to sleep and watch the sun light up the site in the morning. The great thing about climbing trips with other girls is that we are all busting to the boys to finish up. Usually it is only me. All in all a great trip with lovely people.

unusually detained,
jt

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

booksbooksbooks

Ahoy,

I went to the bookfest with the RRS and H. I had him wear my red sack so I could fill it with books and have him carry them. But he ended up buying lots of books and I didn't buy any! He says he felt like he was bait and switched. I found this great compendium of space books, and he just couldn't resist. Because he's a nerd. Steal of the day!

possessively read,
jt

Thursday, May 14, 2015

old friend

Ahoy,

My friend A came to visit and now I will go into detail regarding our whereabouts while she was here. She is probably one of the only people that reads this blog, so it's somewhat redundant to tell her about what we did, because she was there too. Doy. I can justify this by stating that I like to use this platform to recall what I did because sometimes I have trouble remembering and I want somewhere to remember.

She arrived late afternoon/ early evening on a Wednesday. She had to get a rental because this place is a sea of cars. Although, I do believe a Los Angeles vacation can be done without a car. She called me to let me know she was downstairs and it was the first time in a long time I had heard her voice and it was delightful. A belongs in the category of friends in which we don't have to talk for a while and once we do it's as if no time has passed. I believe friends like these have always been acquainted with my soul and will always be with my soul.

We jumped online to say hi to our other cohorts (I mean cohort in the most intimate form). The four of us date back to kindergarten and I love telling people that. We narrowly made it in time for dinner at this indian place and just went home to tuck in and catch up. I remember A taking me to this indian place in NY where they specialize in the cafeteria tray type of sampling stuff. It was the first time I had had indian food in that manner.

The following day we went to both the Gettys because A likes art, and I thought the gardens and architecture and views would also be appropriate to show her. Art is pretty low on my museum ranking, but I've been to the Gettys a lot this year. It's not like it's going to kill me. I showed her Sawtelle and we got lemonade at the new location. It's not my favorite location. It's smaller and more crowded than the others. We wandered around Santa Monica for some omusubis and window shopping. Also, no daisos on the east coast, so apparently her suitcase is full of daiso merchandise. Lazy dinner of burritos from across the street. The RRS loved it, he always does. He believes they are the best in LA.

On the last day we made our way downtown to explore and I think downtown is totally doable without a car. Grand Central Market was first for breakfast, of course. Looked around Little Tokyo in all the little shops, and daiso. Made our way back to GCM for horchata before the bookstore, happy hour and finally dinner. Last stop was at the LACMA for the streetlights display. It really looks much better at night.

I look forward to when we can meet again! I can't express in words the value of this friendship. It's just too much.

eternally friended,
jt


Tuesday, May 12, 2015

spring break

Ahoy,

My brother was torn about what to do for spring break. He considered visiting LA, and somewhere else, or staying close to home. Ah, indecision. I think he is a lot like my mom in that they like to stay at home and do nothing. I think I am a lot like my dad in that I always want to do stuff and explore and adventure. It's interesting to me now that I think about it because my dad was not around for a lot of my childhood. He had a minimal hand at raising us. Like most traditional Chinese family structures, my dad was very much the provider and my mom the caretaker. He never really parented us. But I feel like I am more like my dad - in personality traits and hobbies - even though I have not spent enough time with him.


Anyway, back to the spring break my brother could have spent with me, but didn't. We would have spent the first weekend getting my passport application ready to mail, climbing at the Lab and trying and failing to make it to a botanic garden before closing time because we decided to eat instead. The following day we would have gone to WonderCon in Anaheim. He might have dressed as the Flash, Megaman, black Spider-man, or his BotCon costume, or something new. I would have been Supergirl and A would have been our posse/photographer. It would have been awesome. He would have bought a lot of comics and toys.

We would both have gotten sick on Monday and spent the day at home binge watching tv, probably the same on Tuesday. On Wednesday, we would have gone to watch Last Comic Standing semi-finals. It would have been rip-roaringly funny, and we would have gone home with sore cheeks. The following weekend we would have gone to the Corgi Beach Party in Huntington Beach, again. Because he came last year for it too. It would have been really tempting to make off with a dog, but we would have brought doggie treats this time to lure them in.

It could have been a great spring break despite being sick. But alas, I now have to share my brother. My brother who now stays out past midnight and pays attention to his phone messages. The changes having a gf will bring about. My brother, kind of grown up.

genially related,
jt





Thursday, May 7, 2015

so early

Ahoy,

Some friends and I decided to get up at an ungodly hour to go on a hike. First off, we could beat the heat projected for later that day, and secondly, we had a schedule to work around. The morning air was still chilly and delightful. The sea fog was still ashore so I loved that it wasn't sunny. There is a certain stillness and quietness in the morning mist that is totally worth being awake at that time. There was a deer running around as we were starting our hike up in the street. Parking is down the hill, so you have to walk up past the mcmansions to get to the trail.

The trail is pretty flat and covered most of the way, so heat exhaustion was not my main concern. First you'll come up to the lower falls and a swing. The fall is a trickle and not very impressive, which is typical for most waterfall hikes in SoCal right now. Some of us continued the "trail" to the upper falls, which involved a lot of scrambling and sliding. My friend M braved it for part of the way and stopped at a viewpoint to let us continue. What a trooper. I made a wrong turn following some people to a wire fence and slid my way back down. The upper falls weren't too far away, and were an even less impressive drip of water, but the rock scramble is a fun way to get places, so I'm glad I did it.

We were finished pretty early in the day and I spent the rest of the day waiting for A to do car stuff. It was magical. Cars. Car maintenance.

captivatingly driven,
jt

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

finally some ropes

Ahoy,

A's sister L visited in March, sort of as a continuation of her birthday festivities. We spent a day going from place to place eating with her and her friends. It was sort of delightful, and sort of strange. I like eating food as much as the next person, but it was strange to me because I really didn't feel like I was doing anything in between. This is how obesity creeps in, folks. The feeling that you've eaten a lot and not really done anything to be hungry and will not really do anything that that food will serve as fuel for. It's strange to me.

I think L finally voiced that A regards her as much more inclined for exercise than she actually is. Which is a win for me, because I suspected that the whole time. I had always thought that she was too nice to say to her brother that no, she does not want to go on a 5 mile hike and add miles to it by getting lost, coming across bees, jumping across water, and in general getting dirty. Granted, it is all well within her physical capability, but is it something she wants to do? Maybe not totally. A likes to spout endlessly about how rough and tumble his sisters are. Although I'm not so sure they need to prove that anymore.

The following day I convinced A to go out to Malibu Creek for some rope climbing with a group of my friends. I had a lot of fun, certainly more fun than bouldering climbing trips. We had learned sport a while ago indoors, and I had never tried it outside. I thought M was a good friend to go with because he is very knowledgable and safety-conscious, unlike some of A's friends that didn't make sure he was double backed his first time outdoors. I got some time on the walls and learned how to clean, and A got to try some trad. My clipping is so sloppy. I really look forward to being able to practice more when the new Touchstone gym opens in Culver. We left in the afternoon with enough time for dinner with friends downtown. Great day to be outside.

dangerously belayed,
jt

Thursday, April 30, 2015

comings and goings

Ahoy,

My grandfather passed away about a month ago. I'm not sure if my mom would have told me by now. My brother told me, and he only told me because I happened to call him that day. And he didn't find out either until several days had passed. I'm really not sure what to make of this. I wasn't very close to my grandfather on my dad's side. I think I should be more upset with my parents for not letting us in on the situation earlier, but it's not like this type of thing isn't typical in our family. But why should I accept that it is the way it is? But it is not within my role or capacity to change my parents' ways moving forward. Sometimes it feels like they will never take me seriously or my advice.

My mom regarded the occasion as "not important." She would have told me "eventually." I came across a red envelope from my grandfather the other day. He had written my name in both Chinese and English on the envelope. He had pretty good English handwriting for somebody who doesn't speak, read, or write English. My dad asked us to go see his parents about 2 months ago. I said I didn't want to, but I would in the summer. Time can be so tricky and tragic. My dad's side of the family lives to an alarmingly high number of years. How many things will I "eventually" know?

positively dreadful,
jt

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

hiking, of sorts

Ahoy,

H and I set out for an adventurous day of hiking in Santa Barbara. She selected Gaviota State Park. It was about 2 hours out from LA and we set out bright and early. We arrived to a sort of inferior looking state of park. There was no one else around and no way to get information. The store and info center were both closed. There were some campsites, but really not much going on. We drove up to the beach and still nothing really exciting or definitive about this park. Luckily we happened upon a park ranger, and were able to ask him some questions.

us: Excuse me, where are the trails?
him: Everywhere.
us: [look at him as if there is more he must have to say]
him: [runs in his car to grab a map] Well, we have x miles of trail all over the park. Over there at the water tank is this trail, and over there at the telephone tower is this trail, and...

He continues on to explain that you have to exit the park to get to various trailheads, and some trailheads don't have signs. We thank him and conclude that we had no idea what he was pointing to when he was showing us all the landmarks for the trailheads. We conclude that we will just have to drive around and hope we hit something. We decide on the hot springs trail and end up passing it once and finding it with sheer luck the second time around. Because there are no signs for anything and all the rest stops are closed. There is no sign for the trailhead or the trail, but there is a sign for mountain lions and this makes H uneasy. We hike the mile or so to the hot springs and eat out lunch with our toes in the water. Back at the bottom, we conclude that the day would not be a wash if we continued onto Solvang, the Danish capitol of America, and 20 minutes away.

The drive to Solvang is scenic and pleasant. Once there, we are smitten with the charming architecture of the small town. We wander around for a bit, finding the farmers market and visitors center. The gentleman recommends wine tastings for us and thus begins the rest of our adventurous "hike." We ended up going to 2 wine tastings and having a marvelous afternoon. At the first place we learn about wine and its properties. At the second one, we have a great time learning about the winery and its family. On the way back home it rains a little and I love it. I love overcast skies and intermittent weather.

I will have to go back with the RRS for more wine.

inebriatedly danish,
jt


Thursday, April 23, 2015

birthday

Ahoy,

The weekend after we got back from the Bay, I arranged for a bunch of people to join A for go karts for his birthday. It was a mad dash to invite as many people as possible because chances are a lot of people are going to flake. And they did, as predicted, but I ended up with just the right amount of people for his own go kart racing. I think he had a great time. I hope everyone else had a great time. I'm always grateful for people willing to hang out with us.


It was a really hot day and when we got to the place the sprinklers were on and I made a mental note to come back out and run through them after we checked in and everything. Alas, they were off by the time I got back outside. We had stopped off at 85 degrees to get drinks and pastries and a cake prior to our arrival, but then some other friends brought a cake too! So we had 2, count 'em, 2 cakes! It was a different flavour and exactly what A wanted; good decision, friends. We had cake all week.

That was also the weekend we went to go see the wildflowers in Antelope Valley. Unlike the bright and springy flowers, I wilted like my basil plant that I didn't water for too long. It was far too hot and sunny and there was no shade anywhere. This place is madness. We made the whole giant loop and I was fizzled out. And just like a plant, right after my shower at home I perked right up. Just like magic.

magically wilted,
jt

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

single life

Ahoy,

The RRS is on a work trip to Minneapolis. This is actually the first time I've ever had the apartment all to myself ever. He's been here by himself of course. I always come back to find all the windows shut and 5 blankies on the bed and the room stiflingly hot. Well, I will get to remove the blankies and open all the windows and starfish across the bed. It will be glorious, and strange. As if the room is emptier than it should be.

We joked that I will indulge in the bachelorette lifestyle. I will have apple pie moonshine and hippie cheetos for dinner. And he will go out to bars with his coworker. One aspect of our long distance relationship I realize now is that I delight in the imagining of his adventures. I always liked having something to bring back to him, like when I was a kid stealing rocks from the neighbors' to horde in our backyard. I enjoy the reunions from abroad, the rejoining. I think back to the times we were apart and I am happy about it, and I think about now when we are together and it is still happy.

He is at the Mall of America with the transformers. I am so jealous. But I also have a bottle of wine to finish. I can't complain.

gloriously alone,
jt