Tuesday, March 30

Sarah's visit

My cousin Sarah came to visit for her spring break two weeks ago. It turned out to be my last week of being job free, which was perfect!

The first night, after picking her up from LAX, we went to eat "shrimp fajitas" at a place Colin knew of on Redondo Pier. They were nothing like fajitas at all (it's run by Koreans), but it was amazing spicy shrimp, potatoes, and garlic bread. I found out that Colin has been holding out on me, so now I need a plan to get him to take me to other amazing places he hasn't shown me yet.

Sarah and I went to the Getty Center the next day, which is one of my favorite places to go. It's where I requested Colin take me on our week of dates last spring break when I came to visit. The gardens are so amazing!

We took the official Sarah and Lela picnic food - cheese, bread, and pesto. We have eaten this meal in various forms in many other picnic spots around the globe.

We spent the next two days visiting Little Saigon, the LaBrea tarpits (the beautiful hill above), Olvera street,

and at the beach, of course - Corona del Mar, where they have firepits. Sarah and I camped out there all afternoon then Colin came to join us for dinner. He made a fire and we cooked what I call Girl Scout foil dinners - just meat, potatoes, carrots and seasoning in a foil pouch over the coals. Yummy! Then Colin's world famous s'mores (he has a particular method for making perfect ones!).

A great visit. I'm ready for our next visitor! Any takers?

Thursday, March 25

Vietnamese Market

We live sandwiched between a Korean neighborhood and a Vietnamese neighborhood. If I want to go to a "normal" supermarket, I have to go out of my way, but Korean and Vietnamese markets are everywhere! Korean markets don't seem so foreign to me, but since I can't read Vietnamese and I've never been to Vietnam, I thought these things were picture worthy.

I guess these are some kind of snack. Those little white eyeball looking things kinda weird me out.

Live blue crabs!

My sister used to love Little Debbie swiss cake rolls. I'm guessing she wouldn't be so into the green version.

Jackfruit or durian - I'm not sure, but it's HUGE!

Whew. I was wondering where I was going to pick up some congealed pork blood for tomorrow night's dinner.

So many varieties of ramen!

Wednesday, March 24

Korean moving tradition

About two weeks after we moved in to our apartment, we decided to try to meet our neighbors. We live in a complex that is mostly Korean speaking (we moved to the Korea town section of Garden Grove), with some Vietnamese families in the mix too. We rode our bikes over to the local rice cake shop (yay for bikes and fun places to bike to!) and Colin asked about the special rice cakes that you give to your neighbors when you move in. She made them to order for us and we picked them up the next day. They had some other ones that looked just like the ones we needed, but she told us those wouldn't do, we had to get the special ones.

So, the Korean tradition is to take these rice cakes on one of your own dishes. (I was going to take them on paper plates, but Colin wouldn't have it! We had to do it the Korean way. He's more well-versed in Korean culture and also more of a by-the-book person than I am.) Then, the neighbor brings the plate back to you with something else on it. It turns out it is a great way to meet neighbors, because you go to their door and then they have to come to your door too.

Our plates with rice cakes (covered in red bean powder) and banana bread mini muffins.

Our immediate neighbors are Hispanic. They brought us these homemade tortas the next day. Some of the non Koreans just returned to give us the empty plate. We got a bag of organic apples, a plate of oranges and nectarines, and a jar of kimchi in return. I guess that in American culture, your neighbors are supposed to welcome you when you move in. This Korean tradition kind of makes that happen because the person that moved is supposed to take the initiative.

Tuesday, March 23

The Getty Villa

A few weekends ago, we went to the Getty Villa, the original Getty museum with Greco Roman art on the coast near Malibu. It was a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon, but I still recommend the Getty Center in LA if you have to only choose one.

Thursday, March 11

I want...

to learn how to read the mind of the 4 month old that I'm taking care of now.

to be a good nanny.

to be an awesome wife.

to learn how to crochet so I can make things like this.

to go to San Francisco and visit this store.

to hang up the pictures that are leaned against walls in the apartment. (I guess I'm waiting for some kind of artistic inspiration or some amazing new additions to add to the collection.)

to drastically shorten my to-do list.

to start studying Korean regularly again.

to spend lots of time in the sun without increasing my risk for nasty wrinkles or skin cancer.

Wednesday, March 10

Pasadena Pictures

This is a totally random post, but as I was looking through pictures on my camera for the requested honeymoon pics, I found these that I took and meant to blog about as they happened and didn't, so here they are now.

Above is a switch on a beside light in the apartment in Pasadena we lived in for a month. It was hard to turn, so Colin cut a piece of bamboo from our wedding huppah poles to make a little knob for it. It worked great! (Should have told you this earlier, Ruth. You've probably been wondering what that was there for.)

The apartments there get deliveries on Mondays from Trader Joes with about-to-expire food and flowers. So, I didn't have to do much grocery shopping and we always had fresh flowers in little vases everywhere.

Outside our bedroom window, the morning sun would shine on the neighbor's backyard and this swing looked so inviting. On sunny days, I thought I should go over and ask if I could try it out, but I never made it.

Tuesday, March 9

Joshua Tree

We went to Joshua Tree National Park a few weeks ago - a place I've been wanting to go for a while, because I'd been past it so many times on I-10 while driving to and from Texas or to and from Palm Springs, where Colin has done a lot of work on the wind farms.

I managed to take pictures of everything except for an actual Joshua Tree, so here's one for you just in case you've never seen one, as I hadn't before we got close to the park.

It's a beautiful place! We hope to make it back to camp a night or two when the wildflowers are in bloom.

our minimoon

Suzanne asked me recently if I had pictures from our honeymoon. I do. Here they are. We originally planned on going to New Zealand, as it's been my dream honeymoon spot in my mind. (Never really had a dream wedding in mind, but I did have a dream honeymoon spot!)
However, wedding planning got complicated, Colin was busy with work, and I was not excited about planning a honeymoon on my own. Plus, plane tickets were expensive because it was summer in New Zealand. So, we decided to plan a New Zealand trip for later. We're saving up our wedding gift money for that. Yay!

We did have a lovely honeymoon on the way back from Texas to California. (We drove from CA to TX for the wedding so we could have a car there for the wedding prep and because we were there for a few weeks.) We stopped in Santa Fe at a bed and breakfast called the Hacienda Dona Andrea. We were the only ones there, so it was like we had our own mansion with a breakfast chef.

The night we were driving in, it started snowing. The next morning, there was plenty of snow on the ground. We used the top of a storage container to try to sled, but it didn't really work. :)

We spent four nights there. Mostly just relaxing in front of the fireplace, taking walks, naps, reading, watching movies, enjoying the coziness. Most people go somewhere tropical on their honeymoon, I guess, but I really enjoyed the low key relaxed version that we took. We called it a minimoon because we are saving a more deluxe version for later.

We did go in to Santa Fe for a day - to the Georgia O'Keefe museum and a Japanese style spa, which was nice too.

Friday, March 5

an hour at the beach

Go past Bed, Bath, and Beyond, Target, Jack in the Box until you see the wide strip of sand, the beginning of infinity.
Be drawn over that sand like a magnet to the swell, the welcoming and approaching waves.
Surrender to the pull of the sea that simultaneously speaks and listens.
Skitter like the birds on their sticklegs along the water's edge.
Take to flight when the water threatens to anoint your feet.
See if you can fathom the bright warmth of the sun; the contrast of the ocean's breezy chill.
Squint at the sheer glass of a wave's wall as it passes; disappears in an instant.
Ask how it changes into approaching spray just like that.
Make peace with yourself. Your shortcomings, your lack of love, the tears you hate to release.
Know that if anywhere, this is the place to let go, to be held by the damp, dense sand, to let your imagination soar like a gull and dive into the chilly roughness of the water.
You've come with your sunscreen, your bag of belongings, but it is too much.
You need to simply be here, full within yourself, present with all you feel.
Then set your face towards that world to go back to.
Know you can go back not being finished, not being complete, but as one in the process of completing.

Beach Inspiration

I live about 20 minutes from Huntington Beach now! Suzanne inspired me last week from her beach post and our discussion when we got to visit little Saigon together on Saturday. It was high time I got myself to the beach after being back in SoCal for more than a month already and living so close for almost two weeks! I went by myself, just sat and wrote and refilled.

Thursday, March 4

tulip poladroids

Colin got me these tulips Friday at Home Depot when he ran in to get a an air pump for our new bikes. I think having flowers for sale at Home Depot is a genius idea.

This morning, I saw this shadow on the wall in the living room made from the tulips and loved it. In my wanderings this morning on the internet, I found this free program that turns digital pics into "poladroids" on your computer. It even takes a while for them to develop from brown to the vintage look you see here. Another genius idea!

Tuesday, March 2

fun projects in our first apartment

We moved into our first real apartment (we were housesitting for friends for a month) a week and a half ago. Almost all of our furniture was given to us, which is so great. We want to get a few small things still, but we have everything we need and then some! I'll post more pictures up once we get things looking a little nicer. For now, here is one of my first projects:

I had seen pictures of bookshelves arranged by color and wanted to try it, but I thought Colin would veto it and say we needed them topically arranged. He surprisingly was for my color rearrangement, especially when he saw that I got kind of excited about it. It was a little harder than I thought it would be and I had to quit and gather steam for a few days in the middle to finish, but the finished product makes me smile. (The corner in the lower right was reserved for cookbooks, which I thought I would never use unless I kept them together.)

Another project is now making new and fun covers for throw pillows. I found a guide for using wool sweaters here and made this one on Saturday, but my sewing machine has stopped working for the time being (again) and I have to figure out what's wrong with it before I can make some more. I've already gone to Goodwill to get a bunch of half price 100% wool sweaters.

I was in a stationery store the other day and saw this. I came home and made it to hang above our bed. (I already had the mobile with clips.) It's a bit juvenile, but for now it's the only thing hanging in our apartment and I like it.

I really want to do this somewhere and I am in love with these painted trees, but I don't really want to mess with painting the walls and having to repaint them later.