Sunday, February 27, 2011

A Daddy Daughter Date

After my dad's first day back at work, we decided to go to our favorite mexican place for dinner. I pretty much predicted the text he sent me... there is only so long you can last without Taco Surf, and dad had been away for almost a month.

Fortunately for us, Taco Surf is about a 45 second jog from our front door. I know this because I never just walk there to meet people, I'm always running too late. I have no shame. Taco Surf, in my opinion, is a top notch mexican food joint; complete with multi colored chips, ridiculously good salsa, and plenty of vegetarian friendly options (as far as mexican food goes.) I good part of my child hood was spent gradually being able to see over the table from the booth seats and coloring the paper place settings with the crayons that the pretty waitresses provided me and my sister.

It just so happened to be poring that Monday so dad and I decided to drive down the street and find a parking spot even closer to the restaurant.

Bad idea.

I forgot to mention that Taco Surf is located on Main St. in Seal Beach. There's never parking on that street. We ended up parking at the beach and sitting in the car waiting for the rain to take a breather so we could run for cover. We were probably equidistant to Taco Surf as the cottage is but in the opposite direction. 

I was in riding boots, yoga pants and one of cubby's old shirts (don't judge). My dad was in his work clothes. 

"Alright on the count of three we're going to run for it." Dad says.
"Run for where?"

Annnd the sky opens up above us and really lets it dump down.

Too late. I obediently swung open the door, blindly slammed it behind me and ran laughing across the street realizing how unavoidably soaked I was getting. The sidewalk on the other side was swamped with a huge muddy puddle but I didn't care, my boots are meant for that stuff.

I finally made it under some sort of cover and turned around to realize my dad had hesitated. He heard the rain increase and stayed put. 

I watched him get out and fumble with the keys trying to lock the door in the torrential rain. Our car only locks from the inside, on one door. He proceeded to run, like I did, towards the muddy puddle. His shoes are not as cool as my shoes so he attempted a last ditch run-and-leap. It failed, there was quite the splash. 

Our cover was not the awnings of Taco Surf, rather the garage of a law office overlooking the ocean, a half a block away. So we planned our route and ran through the alley, down the street, hopping from awning to awning all the way to our trusty little Taco Surf. 

Heads turned as we opened the door. Honestly! I guess everyone else carries jackets and umbrellas with them when it rains. What squares. We were still laughing, literally dripping as we walked to our table in the back.

We ordered without the menu, and scarfed the chips by bad habit.

I ordered a veggie taco and enchilada.
Dad ordered tortilla soup, a veggie enchilada, rice and beans.
We both had never had the enchilada (shocking).

I've determined you can go wrong when ordering vegetarian there.

You can tell the Kauai got to him... what a local.

Something I should note about my dad and me. We both can talk. For a long time. And be totally serious and opinionated. About anything. 

I can be a bad thing on nights when I have a bunch of home work of job work to do because we're both easily interested in anything. And we get distracted talking about things that don't pertain to anything of particular use.

For example?

Our dinosaur cell phones!
Mine is actually not that dinosaur, but it certainly has battle wounds.
His, I admit is pretty dinosaur.

I even took pictures of them.

The nail polish was a boredom stunt in my dorm at Davis. I thought it was cool for about a day.
My phone is sort of precious. It connects me with those who I'm closest with. And I don't mean that because i'm a socialite who constantly has to be connected to 30 people at once. 

I mean it because I can call my older sister two thousand miles away and vent about life and my little grievances and joys, and gossip about our family, and catch up on each other's life for hours all because of my trusty little cell phone.

I can call my mom on a whim to ask her how to make butter-cream frosting when I forget. Or the directions to anywhere in Southern California. (Joel calls her MomQuest.) Or call her for much needed weekly mom-talks when I miss her too much I can't handle it. Because of this little phone.

When I lived in Davis, this phone was my life-line to Cubby. I perfected my thumb texting skills because of the ridiculous amounts of texts we sent when we lived that far away. I also wore the space bar out with all that texting.

My phone also took a dive in a gutter in a bad biking-in-the-rain accident in Davis last winter. I found it in three pieces, gasping for air in dirty overflow puddles. I rushed it home and laid it by the heater in between cloths and resurrected it a week later. It worked like a charm!

It matches my dad's personality, in a very endearing way.

Dad's phone isn't precious to me, at least. But it is cute because it has manly features that dad likes. Like shockproof, water resistance, navigation and the like.


I've officially failed the non-rambling mission of this blog. 

Saturday, February 26, 2011

The new Kamehameha Bathroom

Dad came home on Friday morning, as previously detailed. It is so nice to have him back, though we both know he'd rather be in paradise with his wife and home. Who could blame him? 

Though I must admit, I'm fairly certain he spent at least 75 percent of his time on that island in a single room working with plumbing, cement, drywall, a wet saw, tiles, and who knows how many other loud nasty construction machineries. Yes. My dad completely renovated the downstairs bathroom of the Kauai house in just three. short. weeks. He's an animal. 

I would be thrilled to call this my first DIY makeover post but uh, I did nothing. . And this not your average handy dandy makeover, it was a demolition project. Therefore I'd classify this as my first DDIH radical demolition post! (DDIH for Dad Did It Himself, obviously).

Alas, I do have pictures! Courtesy of my mom, the clean up queen of these messy projects and the official mascot of the Kauai Home Despot.


He got back to California and had only a few days to recover before plunging back into to his real job after working 12-14 hours days on this bathroom. What a champ!?

I had absolutely no involvement in this process, but I'm proud to post it! I cannot WAIT for Kauai this summer to get my hands dirty working on more projects!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

the grocery fairy

Living with your grandma has its perks. At least if your grandma is anything like my grandma, it does. I suppose I'm technically my grandma's tenant, but my front door is about 5 steps from her back porch.

The perks, you ask?
I get tea when ever I want.
I get cake/cookies/chocolate/CREM BRULEE/cupcakes/candy/pie whenever I want.
I get to hear stories of her travels to Germany just after WWII.
And Egypt.
And Detroit in the summer and Florida in the winter when she was a little girl.
And old Hollywood and LA.
And England with the Cameron British relatives I've never met.
And the all the old school Seal Beach Post Office drama circa 1970ish.
I can ask to borrow a cup of milk and walk away with two loafs of bread, some eggs, maybe some fruit, and not enough hands to properly hold everything, let alone my milk.
I can commission her to hunt for mirrors, frames, and various items in her expert garage sailing skills
I can watch her TV whenever I want and she basically gives me free control of the remote. This is cool because I'm the only person in America without a TV.
I can watch the most darling old movies staring her favorite famous actors and actresses of the past. (Jeanette MacDonald is her favorite.)
I really could go on but it might make you jealous.

I mean, the woman is pretty incredible. She is always thinking of other people, it's very inspiring.

Which brings me to this.

I was at school until 10pm on the night before my dad came home from Kauai last week. (I'm brilliant with locking my keys in the car at night- I'm on first name basis with the security guards who kindly break into it for me.) My plan was to head straight up to USC from school for the night to be closer to LAX in the morning for dad's 5am(!) flight.
Also to see Cubby, who am I kidding?

I decided to stop home to grab my toothbrush and some rice cakes to snack on in the car on the way up to LA. Just as I'm reminding myself to make this quick and not get distracted, I open the door...
Low and behold! Produce!

 'BeachSide' Broccoli... it's the little things.
I just really appreciate how adorable my grandma is. No note. No receipt. No apparent reason. Nothing but love left on the counter in the form of vegetables, fruit, and english muffins. (I'm actually guessing her reason was my dad's return;  the woman loves to feed people.)

Counting blessings is so much more fun than counting affliction. Remember that, Hali, remember that!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

February Lovin': Part Two

I have a serious love hate relationship with Valentines' Day.  

I love the concept of celebrating love.
I hate that pressure to find a valentine, as if you need a valentine to feel loved.
I love the valentines' day ritual of passing out valentines to everybody in class in elementary school.
I hate that by the time you're 13 you have to find your very own valentine and it's not cool to share.

I love that my mom was my real valentine while growing up.
I hate being enticed when I go to CVS to get photos developed or Target to get laundry detergent to also impulsively buy cheap chocolate that screams your name as soon as you enter through those automatic doors.

I love chocolate, even if it's cheap. Sometimes especially when it's cheap.
I hate that others can dictate to me when to be romantic.
I love flowers.
I hate that it's a shamelessly corporate holiday.
I love watching girls walk around with bouquets of flowers.
I hate that I undeniably love corporate holidays.

Most of all:
I love my valentine.
I hate that I can't be with him every day.
I hate that I couldn't be with him this Valentines day.
I hate that Valentines day made me miss him even more than I usually do.

Annnd we're done with emotional quandaries!
I just had to get that all out of my system.


So Cubby and I certainly did not celebrate Valentine's day on Valentine's day.

I spent the day 'studying' alongside my other best-friend-valentine, Lauren, in the Library. Cubby spent the day taking a test and studying at USC. *tear*

Productive studying: making it rain with flash-cards.

Because I had Lauren as a valentine, we did manage to find us some good chocolate.

We were craving chocolate so much that we packed up and headed to Albertson's to grab Ghirardelli Chocolate Brownie Mix. While the brownies baked, we made coffee and watched The Best Thing I Ever Ate CHOCOLATE EDITION on the Food Network. 

Then we gorged on brownies.

Cubby and decided that we're not just not celebrating Valentines day but that we're boycotting it.
And we have a cooler holiday all to ourselves this weekend, called ULTRA SUPER VALENTINES DAY.

It's going to be blog worthy.


I also must note that I had Cubs and Ethan and Lauren over this weekend for a valentinesesque dinner at the cottage. 

The dinner was inspired by these:

[Taken from FoodSpotting]

Because A) you can't just walk past Moose Pasta and not just grab it instinctively and put it in your big blue Ikea bag. And B) Cubby and I have a slight obsession with the word 'moose;' the way you make a kissing movement with your lips when you say it and how it is the name of our future crime fighting cat.

I bought the whole wheat ones though.

They were good! 

The plural of moose is moose. I prefer meece.

Posing for the camera.  

Sprinkles and doilies and TJ vintage root-beer.
Tea lights in pickle jars, old ribbon and paper hearts.

Lauren's cookie.

I actually made real meat meatballs! I didn't know if Ethan would like the soy ones (some boys are so soy-prejudice, you never know), so I got real meat balls from the store. They smelled good but they were SO disgusting to clean up. I had no idea that the grease was actually fat and that fat coagulates if you don't wash it right away. 

Lauren and I had the soy balls <3. 

I also wanted to try the Goddess dressing from TJs that Cubby obsesses about. I heard him discover over dinner that Tahini was the secret ingredient. It really is good dressing.

For dessert we decorated sugar cookies and made a fabulous mess.

And I just finished the last of the meece left overs today for lunch!

February Lovin': Part One.

There is just so much that I love about February. Valentines not necessarily included. 

What I love most is that February is Cubby's birthday month! The 5th of Febs is when that darling man was brought into this world.

I get more excited for Cubby's birthday than I do my own. It probably has something to do with the planning, which I've always enjoyed as much as I do the party. 

Last year he came up to see me at Davis and we went to San Francisco for the weekend. 
We stayed just across the bay in Emeryville at Cubby's best friend's apartment and were given the greatest tour of the city by Cubby's older brother, Lyle, who lived in the Sunset District at the time. 

It was non stop happiness.

Becoming part of the masterpiece at an interesting art exhibit for local artists right outside the lovely vegetarian restaurant Greens that Lyle treated us to.

A favorite surf spot... and a pretty cool bridge, I guess.

Top of the world!

That city holds a lot of fond memories.


This year, things were a bit different.

Cubby was buried too deep under a pile of ochem work to see the light of day during the weeks that lead up to his birthday so I decided to take celebratory matters into my own hands. I granted him Friday and Sunday after his birthday to do as much studying as he pleased but I mercilessly demanded that he leave all of his Saturday birthday open to fun.

Thanks to a paycheck crisis misunderstanding with my job, I was broke as a joke until the morning of Cubby's birthday. Which left me to only my wits and imagination when planning this occasion. 

I ended up embracing old school little kid birthdays and decorated the cottage with construction paper. 
Lots of construction paper.

And an oversized red velvet cake.

I just wanted him to have a decorated place to come home to after the day's events. :)

Here are some awkward photos of the cottage that I snapped while running out the door to go pick up the birthday boy... I knew there wouldn't be much time for pictures later!

Gfunk helped me with the daisy chains while we sipped tea and watched A Moment in Time together earlier in the week.

I just really  like birthday banners. And TJ salt water taffy. 

Any excuse for balloons, really.

I brought him some 'homemade' cinnamon rolls, (TJ's cinnamon rolls that come in a freezer can? so good I can't even explain) and we headed up the coast.

Our destination?

Luckily, Cubs had never been to the Aquarium of the Pacific. 

Luckier, the tickets were free- I sweet talked a senior citizen Aquarium volunteer that I met at a work event to hook a broke sister up. 

So we spent the afternoon narrating voices for all the fishies, petting sting rays, staring a jellies, falling in love with the most adorable little sand pipers, shamelessly cooing over the sea otters and puffins, and proudly resisting the urge to buy this amazing tee-shirt at the gift shop.

 I always cover my eyes in the HIDEOUSLY LARGE crab exhibit. He found them 'cool' looking.

I forgot my camera in the car and couldn't be bothered to go get it. It's hard to take photos when everything is behind 6-15 inches of glass, anyways. 

Then we went to Shoreline Village for chocolate truffles and hot-sauce tasting. I liked the hat shop, Cubs liked the pirate shop.

These are the only pictures I got when we finally sat down to munch on the truffles by the marina. We picked out the prettiest boat and were planning on commandeering it until we realized that neither of us would know what to do with a sail boat so we let them keep it. ;)
One day we'll have a boat.

Raspberry, Kahula, and Peppermint truffles: yum yum yum.

Then we headed home to the construction paper cottage to listen to gfunk recite her adorable birthday poem to cubby and pick up the cake. (More on grandma's birthday poems later... like, the next time there's a birthday.)

For dinner, we went to Fiesta Grill with friends then Ruby's for shakes. We concluded the night with movies and Scrabble. I fell asleep mid-Scrabble but I don't think we were playing for points anyways.

All in all, it was a very happy way to turn 20. I'm pretty sure the birthday boy forgot about his school work for an entire day, which I consider a mission accomplished.

And of course, February 6th was Super Bowl Sunday. My first real Super Bowl Sunday. So we homeworked and workworked in the morning then ate too much all afternoon  watched the game at a friend's party.

One last thing:

Shout out to Kate Wolf, my best friend in Santa Cruz. Her birthday was on the 8th. She lives in Santa Cruz and I still have her present in my purse. I'm horrible with the post. We'll celebrate when we're together. 

Did I mention that I just love February?

Disclaimer: The lack of pictures here is because I'm not used to documenting everything. I find it kind of hard to live in the moment and take photos at the same time but I'll get better at it!