Well, we are officially Californians again. After nearly a year of travel, we decided to stay put in Long Beach for a while.
In related news, life is busy as shit right now. Who would've thought moving is time consuming? But it's busy in the best way ever. I love new beginnings, especially when it means getting to decorate a 1920's apartment (it's the CUTEST). I wouldn't be surprised if Doomed for Happiness becomes an interior decorating/baking blog (kidding?)...
Welp, see ya.
Sunday, April 13, 2014
Twelve Aloha's, Three Jars of Kombucha, and a Survival Action Scene featuring Joseph Washington and Theodore Rosecrans.
Our last week in Hawaii was filled with beachery, beautiful drives, long goodbyes, and an amazing battle scored by Hans Zimmer.
Tuesday was designated for chilling at Big Beach and turning light skin to more of a toasted marshmallow color. The sun hid behind the clouds for most of the day, but came out just enough to burn Shana. Once we had our fill we headed back to the house, but not before making a stop at Bluth's* Frozen Banana Stand. MMMmmmmmm. Upon our home arrival we were greeted by the two dog wolf pack and Pops. The rest of the night was spent hanging out and dodging mosquitos.
Wednesday started off with Shana and Cierra joining my Mom at Yoga. I dropped off the brat pack and went back to the house to finish up my job application. Hours passed and the ladies came back from yoga and we all geared up to head to the beach. The water was crisp and the beach was toasty. My mom was in the water and said, "Jerrad, look!!! A sea turtle." I turned and took a closer look and realized that the creature my mom pointed out was not a sea turtle, but a stingray. I looked at her and said, "Mom, thats a stingray." I looked back at my beautiful wife sitting on the beach and said, "Don't tell Shana." Shana was just starting to fall in love with the ocean and I didn't want to scare her. My sister joined us in the water and I pointed out the stingray. She turned to Mom and said, "Don't tell Shana". We stayed at the beach for a while longer and decided to head back to the house to get ready to hang upcountry with my sister's buddy. We cleaned up, changed, hopped in Leroy Jenkins (new name for the bug, because she charges hard and gives zero $**** about doing so) and headed to Mokawao. Cierra's friend Loren worked on a farm upcountry. Loren gave a tour of her diggs. They were pretty sweet diggs. She grabbed a giant bean pod from a tree and said "Open it up and eat the fuzzy stuff in between the seeds, but don't eat the seeds." It was an ice cream bean and that fuzzy stuff was hella good. We continued to walk around and met a girl hog named Napoleon, some chinchillas, a group of ducks, and caught an amazing view. We topped off our visit with cracking open some macadamia nuts from the nearby tree (helpful tip: rocks are the best macadamia nut crackers and way cheaper then the special nut crackers you have to buy at the store). Loren grabbed some jars from her living quarters and we fled to Maui Kombucha bar. This place was rad, but I was reluctant to try anything because last time I had kombucha it tasted like vinegar dirt water with a hint of garbage and ginger. The guy behind the bar let us try the three flavors they had (all local ingredients and brewed in house) and to Shana and my surprise this stuff was pretty damn good. We had them fill the jars (they don't have cups, you must supply your own) with their fermented tonic and we grabbed a seat. After meeting a couple of Loren's friends and a rando (now known as Nick from Aspen) we realized how awesome we all felt. Maui Kombucha makes you fell super good. We were all chilling and swapping stories until we got the boot (they were closing). Our next plan of action was to walk down the block to Wayne's Sushi. Luckily Loren's buddies bought a couple of take home gallons of kombucha and we sat outside and continued to swap stories and feel awesome. The waitress took everyone's order and went back inside. Ninety minutes later our food started to come out. The restaurant was far from busy so we figured they forgot to place our order. We didn't mind because we were all so engrossed with each others conversations it didn't really bother us that it was taking so long. We went inside to pay our bill and found out it had been taken care of already. We all pointed fingers and no one owned up to it. We came to the conclusion that they felt bad it took so long to get us our food that it was on them. The owner Wayne was taking sake shots and singing karaoke as the restaurant was closing and invited us to join in. We told him next time, thanked him for the food, and headed back to the cars. We said goodbye to Loren and all of our other new friends and drove back to Kihei for some sleep.
Morning came and we got ready to say goodbye to sister Cierra. Pop's and I drove Cierra to the airport to see if we could get her on a plane. Turns out flying standby and trying to get out of Maui is near impossible. All the flights were overbooked so we headed back to the house to look at the standby list for the next day. We put Cierra on the standby list for the following day and waited until Mom got home from work before heading out for taco flavored lunch bites and beach going. We stopped by the famed Taqueria Cruz and we were not disappointed. This Mexi joint was the closest to California/Arizona mexican food we've had since our arrival. I unhinged my jaw, fired in two fish tacos, a couple Coronas, some chips, hot sauce, and headed to Keawakapu for more beach relaxing. The dogs ran amuck while Pops, Cierra, Shana, and I boogie boarded. The waves started to roll in a bit bigger and Cierra caught a nice sized wave and it barrel-rolled her. She hung onto to the boogie board and rode it to the beach to claim her prize of MVP for the day for best trick and bad assery (accidental bad assery or not). The sun started to go down so we headed back to the house to finish off the day by watching Breaking Bad and eating dinner.
Pops, Cierra and I kicked off Friday morning by trekking off to Ho'okepia so Pops could shred and I could paddle out and fight the break. That's pretty much how the story went. Cierra took pictures of Pops ripping the ocean a new one and I spent roughly an hour and a half of the two hours we were there in a salt water washing machine and paddling my ass off. After finally meeting Pops in the line up we decided to catch one in and try to get Cierra on the next plane outta there. A wave began to build and I used every last vapor of energy I had left and I finally caught my first wave on a knee board. Hella. We got back to shore and watched some lady surfers kill it before we headed back. Next we stopped by a local coffee spot in Kahului before making our way to the airport. Some dick hole decided it would be funny to unscrew the cap on the cinnamon and I ended up cinnamon challenging myself. I got most of it out and the coffee ended up not being too bad. We said goodbye to Cierra once again in hopes she would be able to hop on the flight out. No dice. On the way home the crew and I stopped by Costco to pick up BBQ supplies for the festivities Ma had planned for the night. Upon returning we hung out on the lanai and helped clean a little before Cierra, Shana, and I hit the beach for more boogie board action. We decided even though we were killing it in on the ol' Morey Boogie we had to head back and help prep for the BBQ. When we returned Shana made guac and Cierra made Pico. Pops and I made... sure we had a beer in hand while we set up other stuff. My parents friends started to arrive and Ma started cookin'. We all enjoyed some tasty tri-tip tacos and fish tacos before Shana, Cierra, and I headed back to the airport to try and get Cierra on a flight outta Maui. Cierra said goodbye to everyone and we headed back to the airport for what seemed to be goodbye number eight. Shana and I dropped Cierra off and said we would be close by in case she wasn't able to get on that flight either. Turns out there were some (exploitive deleted) snakes on that (exploitive deleted) PLANE!!!! It was either that, or the standby list was full again. I don't remember. I wasn't listening. We came back to the house with Cierra and hung out with my parents and their remaining friends. One of my parents friends said he got my sister a standby ticket on another airline for the next morning. We thanked him profusely and proceeded to hang until everyone went home. The only bummer part about the standby ticket was the plane left at six in the morning and we didn't go to bed until one thirty.
Saturday morning came quick. Cierra and I woke up from our three hour naps and headed back out to the airport at four thirty in the morning (the airport is a half hour drive from my parents house). It was still dark when we left, but we did get to see the tail end of a lightning storm. I dropped Cierra off and said aloha once again. I figured out why aloha means hello and goodbye, because you cant get on a plane and leave and people get tired of saying goodbye so you just say aloha instead. I told her I'd be close by at the Krispy Kreme waiting for that hot light if she wasn't able to catch any planes. Cierra didn't catch that plane or the next. Standby is a bitch. She told me to go home and get some sleep and she'd catch a ride home with Pops if need be. I got back to the house and started checking other flights home for her. After checking flights I managed to take a forty eight minute nap before finding out Cierra was getting bumped from all of her other flights as well. I had a flight pulled up and was ready to pull the trigger if Cierra didn't catch the last standby flight. They bumped her last minute and we purchased a guaranteed plane ticket for her to return home later that night. She caught a ride home from Pops and we all chilled hard until the next time we said good... aloha. After Cierra finally caught a plane back to the main land we all said good... aloha to each other and fell asleep.
Sunday came too fast. Shana and I hopped in Leroy Jenkins and journeyed to the north side of the island. The drive was amazing. The road was tight and twisted, but Leroy Jenkins don't care. After two and half hours of scenic views and waves crashing against cliffs we arrived at Julie's Best Banana Bread. It was a small green shack on the north side that pumped out the best tasting banana bread on the planet. We copped two loaves and a small batch of handmade passion fruit butter. The passion fruit butter was jaw dropping. Absolutely delicious. We continued our journey around the north side and ended up at Maui Brewing Company's tasting room. We ordered a small flight and beer battered sweet Maui onion rings. (See photo: Om-Nom Nom and Beer). After making it around the northwest side we came back to Kihei to hang at the beach and watch the sunset. The green flash had come and gone so we headed home. My dad was chilling when we got home and we tried to find something to watch. We lucked out and happen to catch The Dark Knight Rises (last Batman movie). My dad hadn't seen it so we decided to partake. During the last part of the movie where the music lays a backdrop for intensity I witnessed a ten inch centipede slither across our feet. Pops (Theodore Rosecrans) and I (Joseph Washington) spent the next ten minutes tracking the thousand legged beast (with music provided by Hans Zimmer). We chased the monster under a shelf, past the trash can, under the outside fridge and finally got our enemy into the yard. Mr. Rosecrans vanquished the beast with a fire extinguisher... at least that's what we thought. As my dad lifted his weapon from the creature's mid section each side started to crawl off in different directions. I hastily captured each side and we finished off the foul vermin execution style (the ol' smash and drag). As we started to celebrate we looked on the wall to see our next foe, Señor Cane Spider. Theodore Rosecrans jumped into action wielding the SINISTER SPIDER SMASHING SWORD OF DEATH (aka a broom) and chased the spider around the corner and to the upper deck. Once again the lanai was a safe place to watch TV. Tired from slaying various beasts we called it a night and headed to bed.
Adventure was in the air and we hit the open road on that beautiful Monday morning. We woke up, ate breakfast, and drove to Hana (pronounced Ha-Naw). The long winding switch backs, skinny one-lane roads, rainbow eucalyptus, and beautiful waterfalls made the journey to Hana a memorable one. Not to mention the vast greenery. Right before we reached the town of Hana we stopped by the famous Coconut Glen's Coconut Ice Cream shack. This guy produces some of the best ice cream I've ever had. The best part is it's one hundred percent natural and made with coconut milk. It was gluten free and vegan friendly which usually means it's either spiced cardboard or broccoli, but this stuff was frosted gold, sprinkled with happiness. Shana got a scoop of Coffee Toffee and a scoop of Chili Chocolate. I got a scoop of the OG (coconut) and a scoop of Chocolate Macadamia Nut. If you're ever in Maui go there. You'll slap yourself (or we'll do it for you) if you don't. After our palates were blown apart by delicious amazingness we said farewell to Coconut Glen's and proceeded to Hana. Hana was a small town that we would have loved to explore more, but it was raining pretty hard and we needed to get back to the house. We said our goodbyes to Hana and hit the road back. On the way home we stopped by the store to pick up enough grilled cheese supplies for a feast. The night ended with grilled cheese, tomato soup, Breaking Bad, and hanging with the fam. Couldn't have asked for anything more.
We started off our morning by packing up all of our crap. We wanted to head to the beach and spend our final day sealing in our sweet tans. Turns out Maui didn't give a damn about our tans and called in the clouds. We went to the beach anyway and soaked up as much aloha as we could. Pops joined in when he got off work. After awhile the rain started to come in and we headed back to the house to finish packing. After packing we had our final Hawaiian family dinner and took the dreaded trip to the airport. Upon arrival we thanked my parents so much for letting us stay. We gave them a hug and told them we'd see them soon. Our Hawaiian adventure was epic to say the least. Shana conquered some of her fears and I got to hang with my family. How I miss them so. Happiness is what you make it we made it our priority. Aloha.
*not the "real" Bluth's Frozen Banana Stand, but they taste how I imagine a Bluth's Frozen Banana would taste.
Tuesday, March 25, 2014
Week three in Hawaii was a doozy. It started with some classic boogie boarding at the beach, a little Lego Movie/Thai food date night, and more boogie boarding. Then things got really interesting.
Thursday started with a beautiful horse-back ride in the country, courtesy of Tammy. I got to ride Boomer, a one eyed horse that thought it was funny to bite all the horses on the ass. After horsing around (see what I did there?) Ted (Jerrad's pops) told us that we had a package at the airport to pick up (he works there, so we didn't think much of it). It ended up that the package was a big pile of Cierra, the worst sister-in-law ever, aka the best surprise ever. After picking up sissy at the airport we met up with the rest of the family (grandma, grandpa, aunt, cousins, mom, dad, etc.) and hung out for the remainder of the evening.
The next couple of days were spent hanging out with the family, eating delicious food, looking at lava rocks, and eventually saying goodbye to the Nebraska family - gramps, grams, aunt, and cuzzies.
The week continued with more boogie boarding (IT'S SO FUN), taco nights, shaved ice, and watching movies (Goonies, Space Jam, Fight Club - all the classics).
Then something magical happened; Jerrad, Cierra, and I finally went to the beach on a good* surf day so I could make my first attempt at surfing. I put my booties on, strapped my ankle to the board, and followed Jerrad's lead. We paddled out towards the line-up and waited for a moment to catch our breaths. I looked up and noticed on oncoming wave... with a surfer attached to it... coming straight at me. I got ran over by a fellow beginner surfer, but luckily I escaped without a scratch. We continued to paddle out a little more to avoid any further mishaps and I waited until my arms became solid again (paddling is tiring).
As I was waiting I saw a giant sea turtle pop its head out of the water and give a little wave. Normally, sea life scares me but I was excited to see that dude and took it as a sign of good luck. A wave formed, I got a little push toward it, paddled as fast as possible, and felt the wave take me and the board with it (in a good way). I was catching my first wave!! I decided to try my luck, balance on one knee, and to my surprise I succeeded. I decided to take advantage of my good luck and attempted to stand up."OH MY GOD, I'M IN THE OCEAN. RIDING A WAVE. STANDING UP. AND I'M NOT DYING." When I felt as though I had ridden enough wave, I plopped back on my board and rode it out the rest of the way on my belly. Holy crap, I just surfed. Obviously, it was time to go back to the shore before something terrible happened and I could call it a day. Jerrad paddled with me back to the beach and dropped me off with our stuff. Then he and Cierra rode back out to surf some more. For the next hour I sat silently on my towel confused at what just happened, but feeling so proud and giddy.
When Jerrad and Cierra returned, I noticed Jerrad's leg was no longer a beautiful shade of brown, but bright red. He hit his shin on something stabby-like in the ocean and it was gushing blood. A tourist took notice and offered up a band-aid, so Mister cleaned up his wound and covered up the grossness. He decided he was going to sit out the next session and let Cierra and I give it a try.
I warned Sissy that she had to be extra patient with me, and she was fantastic. She gave me a bunch of incredibly helpful, but simple, pointers like what to do when a wave is coming at you and you're not ready to catch it, where to be on the board when you surf, etc. When a cute enough wave was about to come by I told her I was ready to try it. She gave me a push, and I flew forward. Unfortunately her hand was wrapped on my ankle strap and we both went flying. Fail #1. After a few more missed waves, she gave me a good push and I caught my second stand-up wave!! Which means I'll be a pro any day now. After catching a second successful wave, I decided to really call it quits before I tarnished my memory of surfing with a bad experience.
Ted met up at the beach and it was time to reward ourselves with some surfing dessert: BURGERS. We went to Cool Cat Cafe, ordered some burgers (a delicious veggie one for me with bbq sauce and onion rings on top), fries, and free root-beer floats (score). After stuffing our faces we drove back to Kihei, stopped at a beach, and went for a quick swim. The fantastic week ended with watching a movie, hanging with Cierra's buddy, and a soup dinner (followed by some Girl Scout cookies).
*Not too windy, with adorably-sized waves.
Fears faced thus far: the ocean - boogie boarding and SURFING, centipedes, indoor CANE SPIDERS (google it if you dare), and A SCORPION ON OUR NIGHTSTAND. Yep, there are scorpions in Hawaii. They are rare, but apparently they can smell fear and thrive on it.