Tuesday, October 6, 2015

fried chicken party


Some really good fried chicken from Hawkins in Watts! Totally worth the trip! I promise.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

the trip that didn't go


Last year over labor day weekend, we went to Chicago. I had this big plan for a family road trip to Toronto, but my mom wasn't being helpful with her requests, and my brother started new work, and the RRS got sick. Such good timing. This year, I thought I'd go ahead and just plan it to Michigan just for A and I. We started out going first to Ann Arbor, where we stayed at an airbnb near campus. It was forecasted to rain, and rain it did. A said he had never seen so much rain, most epic storm of his life. What a milestone. It started pouring immediately after we paid for parking at the garden. A was a trooper and took off his shoes and socks to walk around the garden paths, which all happened to be grassy. The garden looked pretty big, but we hustled out of there after about an hour and a half. On the way out we saw sprinklers simultaneously going off while it was raining. More water than all of the east coast.

We spent a day at the Henry Ford Museum. A day. It was open for 8 hours, and we spent 8 hours there. And it was definitely not enough time. It's a lot like Disneyland because you spend all day walking around looking at attractions. Apparently Henry Ford was buying anything folks were selling back then. Edison's workshop and house, Wright brothers' store and house, Robert Frost, Noah Webster, plantation/slave owner ranch, George Washington Carver's house, and so many more. All these old houses he had had moved to his property. It was amazing to step back in time like that. We ended up with less than 2 hours in the museum. Why is it I always feel like we are just running through a museum trying to look at everything as the clock ticks down to closing time?

We stopped in Detroit for a hot second because the RRS is a pansy. I'm not sure about his street cred a lot of the times. We got mini burgers at a hipster place and saw an old art deco building. Detroit used to be the NYC of the midwest until manufacturing and industry in the States declined. You can tell it used to be grand. So much of Detroit has become run down and abandoned that it is now ripe for hipsters to invade. I look forward to that process. It will be an incredibly interesting case study.

We met up with my mom and brother in Grand Rapids, MI, the 2nd largest city in Michigan. Perhaps it was because we were there on a weekend, but it seemed like a much quieter, smaller town than I was expecting for 2nd biggest. The highlight was the garden, one of the biggest in the area and well curated. It was an incredibly hot day. What else is new?

Our last stop was St. Joseph, MI, a happening little beach town on the other side of Lake Michigan. There were a lot of people out probably because it was a holiday weekend. We walked through, walked by the beach, picked up some ice cream, and continued our journey back to Chicago. Chicago is still my favorite place on Earth.

finally homebound,

Thursday, September 3, 2015

other August trips


I was super excited to make it out to Seattle because our Seattle friends are the best! We always have so, so much fun, and weather is always great! This time around, we played board games at a cafe because it was pouring, made it to the museum of flight with about 2 hours to look at everything. There was a whole other wing we didn't make it to. Must definitely go back. We went on a hike to a waterfall. There was more water in that fall than all of California. Everybody got schnockered at a brewery because they give free tasters. It was like our glasses were bottomless. We went on a chocolate factory tour, which was delightful because it was chock full of samples. Anybody that tells you they don't love samples is a liar. Also, at the Chihuly museum - I didn't break anything. Some amazing super cool stuff there. That's a whole 'mother demographic than my normal in that museum.

With our last open weekend in August, we took the opportunity to visit friends who had just moved to San Diego. The Saturday am drive was horrific. But traffic in San Diego is truly a blessing. I will say the sandwiches, climbing and beer were pretty worth it. Their climbing gym is connected to at least 2 other breweries, which is every climber's dream, I'm sure. Bonus, you get a discount at one of the breweries if you came from the gym. The next day we hit up the beach and brunch. It was a totally easy-going, relaxing weekend. Sometimes I do feel like that is very nice to have no particular timeline or rush to go anywhere. It's nice to have the freedom to do nothing.

incoherently distracted,

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

a garden, a concert, and bikes


It seems like August has flown by in the blink of an eye. The RRS flew up to the Bay for a grand total of one day in early August. I spent the day with some friends at a Japanese garden. I was honored to be able to spend some time getting to know a very wise man. It was very much a day of stories. The garden felt like a secret garden. It's an excellent respite from the calamity of the world. I love the calmness of Japanese gardens. It is not my usual state to tune into the quietness that is deafening in a Japanese garden. I feel all the carefulness and attention that this garden exudes. Japanese gardens are marvelous living artforms, continually growing and changing - yet the artists/gardeners are eternally in this struggle to balance the growth/wildness with maintaining a picture moment suspended in space and time. You have to respect somebody who has dedicated their life to a losing fight. You have to admire the process.

That evening we went on to a free concert downtown. It's an interesting observation of mine that people are so amazed when there is a public free event. They happen so often in Chicago. I guess it's easy to take public goods for granted. My favorite part is snacks. I was expecting it to be at the park where you set up a picnic, but it was a plaza type location. We sat on lawn chairs and ate snacks strewn about.

The following day, A and I prepped for our 3rd annual ciclavia patio bbq. We made the grocery run and hopped on our bikes to check out the festivities. Since I had recently sold A's bike (at a profit), he had the honor of riding the cruiser. Our landlord found it tucked in the bushes on the property one day and reported it to the police, but no one has claimed it - so it is the community bicycle. I use it mostly. The food got cooked and people ate. We really do need to start the fire earlier. I always think it takes less time than in reality. It's always great when ciclavia goes through Culver because our friends show up on bikes. Good reward for biking, no?

sizzlingly tamaled,

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

news in mobility


So we completed our motorcycle class at the beginning of August. We both passed. It was shocking! I was shocked. I was so nervous and terrified on that piece of machinery. I still can't believe I passed. We still need to make DMV appointments to get our motorcycle license, but the RRS has been researching motorcycles nonstop since. I'm sure he dreams about them now too.

The class ate up time over the course of 3 days, so he owes me so much ballet, and shows and stuff he didn't think he would have to do to placate me. I cannot remember how many times I stalled, but I definitely dropped the moto exactly 2 times. It is so scary to try to control a 300 lb machine that is out of control. I did not ever think this would be my life.

bogedly aghast!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

a video I watched on the plane


I watched this video on the airplane ride from Seattle back to LA. 

Something I took away was when Joseph talks about what he wants to do with his life. It was very well put: I don't want to spend my life making my life better; I want to spend my life improving others' lives. Something to think about.

furtively contemplative,

Thursday, August 6, 2015

risky maneuvers


On our latest trip to Home Depot we bought a plank of wood 12"x48"x1". It didn't fit in the trunk, so I had to ride with it in my lap with one of the ends at my feet and the other end near my neck. I'm sure you can imagine the worst case scenario might be something out of Final Destination.

So practical, his car is. Really. And his next toy will be a motorcycle. Just increasingly practical.

decidedly opposed,

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

sea caves!


Channel Islands! I made reservations a while ago for Channel Islands National Park and the buildup was mounting. We went with our friend J who would be departing shortly for the other side of the country so this was a sort of last hurrah to trap spend time with her. The day started off incredibly early out to Ventura for our ferry boat ride. On the boat we saw some whales, dolphins and seals. We started preparing for the kayaking to look at sea caves and set off. The caves were really cool. Some were smaller, some bigger and a lot were like tunnels you could go in one side and out another. The day was perfect as far as island weather goes. It was as warm, clear and calm as we could've hoped for.

We munched immediately after because we were starving. And there's the 45 minute rule, but we threw caution to the wind and geared up and went in for snorkeling without waiting. It was definitely one of the highlights for the RRS. I had a lot of fun too, but I had only ever snorkeled in the Bahamas so that was where my expectations were. We saw stingrays, sea slugs, garibaldis and a bunch of other things. The island doesn't allow fires so we just brought our stovetops and dinner happened much faster than usual. We had some time to kill while we waited for nightfall so we could go look at the bioluminescence. It was the RRS's first time. Bioluminescence is amazing every time.

The next day was our hiking day. We woke up to begin the trail to Smuggler's Cove. The RRS started the pace too fast and I got hot and whiny. J saved the day. She soaked this towel that stayed cool and put it on my neck. I was much less whiny after that. There was a pretty steep downhill we enjoyed down to the cove, but we would also have to go back up. What a drag. Smuggler's Cove is on another side the island that receives a lot more wind, resulting in bigger waves and choppier water. It was a nice lunch spot overlooking the ocean. We ate a packed up back up the hill. More folks were on the trail by now and I was glad to knock it out before it would get much hotter/sunnier.

We lingered in the ranch houses and beachside before we boarded our ferry back. This ride back we saw more whales and hundreds of dolphins, seals too. It was amazing! What a lovely farewell to a fun filled excursion. We zipped up to Santa Barbara for dinner and ice cream. In Cheryl Strayed's book Wild, she eats a burger at every rest stop she makes. So I think it's very fitting whenever we get a burger first thing back from camping.

happily munching,

Thursday, July 30, 2015

stateside birthday


This venue provides a really good place for me to keep track of the events of my days, but in order for that to work - I need to type it up.

I'll mention our 4th of July weekend first. It was a kind of last minute, split second decision to go somewhere that weekend. A wanted to take advantage of his long weekend, but any flight out was completely overpriced. And I feel like a sucker when we make last minute flight decisions that are overpriced.

We ended up heading out to the Palomar Observatory to camp for 2 nights. The Thursday we departed happened to be the premiere of the minions at McDonald's, so I made sure to remind the RRS frequently on our way to the campsite. Traffic is bonkers towards Long Beach from probably 2pm-7pm and we had the opportunity to experience that. We made it to the campsite around 8pm and set up and cooked mostly in the dark. The fire-making was much more successful than usual, to our surprise.

The following morning we rose to hike to the Observatory. It was relatively early for a family campsite I guess because we didn't see too many others on the trail that morning. The Observatory had a separate museum to inform us of the facility and history of stargazing, etc. Definitely interesting, but we were pretty sleepy in there. We picnicked outside atop a rock and the RRS slept.

It was an incredibly slow camping day, not a ton of excitement as far as our typical camping regimen goes. We took our time hanging around the Observatory and getting back. I have to say it's a nice contrast to our other trips. It was refreshing to be outside and not feel like we have to rush from trail to trail hoping to get a parking spot in order to pack in all the park attractions we can.

We departed on Saturday pretty early. One of the traditions we have been trying to squeeze in is a stop at a fruit stand, and it's one of the highlights for me. Also, it's always quite the challenge fitting in more stuff on our way home. We made a quick stop in Carlsbad to visit some friends and a brewery. Houses there are huge!

It wouldn't be right to conclude 4th of July without a barbeque. And we are so fortunate to have friends that tolerate us and feed us. It is increasingly apparent to me how fortunate I am to so many options for exploration in CA. Camping has opened up a whole new world of adventures.

fascinatingly aslumber,

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

minion mania!


As you all well know, I have a bit of an obsession. We went to the drive-in to watch the Minions and Inside Out back to back. Double feature, folks, is very worth it. I was so excited to collect all 12 minions from McDonald's. Probably the highlight of my year. Poor A indulges my childish discretions. I'm so fortunate to have someone to minion hunt with me.

hastily cornered,