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Month: November 2012

Last Day

Last Day

Dad had requested that we try to visit The Bradbury at some point on this trip and mom had mentioned the central library.  Since Sam had to work a half day on Monday we dropped her off, parked in downtown and attempted a walking tour.  We first took Angel’s Flight (parking nearby) and then went across the street to the market.  The market was actually rather lackluster, mostly cheapy Chinese and burrito stands.  My parents didn’t want to eat there, but I didn’t know where else to take them being unfamiliar with that area of downtown.  So, we went to the Bradbury building, which was three blocks away.

Next we walked to the main library, imagining we’d find a cafe or something along the way.  We didn’t.  We ended up eating at the tiny Trimana at the base of the Library Tower.

After leaving the library we still had a lot of time left before we’d have to pick up Sam for lunch, so we hiked up bunker hill and loosely weaved our way towards the Walt Disney Concert Hall.

The Concert Hall Gift Shop was the only thing open.  After walking through we still had over an hour to go, so we walked down to city hall and took the elevators to the top.  At the time I was really sad that there was so much fog (smog?) hanging over downtown; visibility was severely reduced.  Ordinarily you can see all the way to the Hollywood sign to the north and westwood to the west, but today nothing was really visible north of the 110.

Days later when editing the photos from the trip I discovered that this actually lent a cool effect to the downtown shots.

Finally it was time to pick up Sam.  We decided to go straight to Exposition Park for lunch instead of our original plans of eating Korean BBQ in KoreaTown.  I made this decision because A) supposedly the restaurant in the science museum was Zagat rated and B) if we didn’t go straight there we wouldn’t have much time to see anything other than the space shuttle at the museum.

As it turns out, the restaurant at the museum isn’t very good.  Nothing really looked that appealing to any of us, so we went to the McDonalds in the same food court.  Afterwards we had time before our shuttle appointment so we wandered around in the rose garden.

The shuttle exhibit is really more of a museum piece ABOUT the shuttle technology than the craft itself.  Before getting to the shuttle you’re bombarded with everything from touching the tires (which makes you realize you won’t be touching the real shuttle) to looking at the real canoga park launch control (below) to inspecting the space shuttle toilet.

Endeavour is being currently housed in a large warehouse.  Eventually the museum wants to stand it upright, build a building around it and open the doors.  For now, though, you’re only allowed to wander around underneath it.

After leaving the shuttle area we still had an hour or so before the museum closed, so we tried to check out some of the other exhibits.

After we were kicked out of the museum we headed to the LAX area to drop my parents off at their hotel.   They opted to stay at a hotel and take a shuttle to their early AM flight instead of have us drive them to LAX at 4am on a Tuesday.  I was grateful for this decision.

After eating a 5,000 calorie McDonalds lunch nobody was up for any more food, so we said our goodbyes and that was the end of the visit.  I was hoping they could stay longer than a few days this time since we now have an actual bed for them to sleep in and their own bathroom at our condo; but mom just started a new job, so her vacation is quite limited.  Future plans for a visit were ambiguous, but I have a feeling they’ll be out here at least one more time before I set foot in Ohio again.

All the photos from the entire trip can be found here.

Sunday Sun

Sunday Sun

On Sunday Sam cooked sausage and croquettes.

After eating too many carbs we went to the Arboretum, as mom had requested   We didn’t see as many peacocks as last time, but there were still a few.

There were plenty of water fowl left over by the fountains though.

Next we meandered over to the waterfall.  Kind of lackluster when you’ve seen the real deal in Thailand.

After hiking up the side of the waterfall we walked down the other side of the hill to the cottage and peeked in the windows.

We left the Arboretum and headed to Huntington Gardens. Our first major stop inside was in the conservatory.

Sam found a new dress.

I found some fish.

We walked next through the Chinese Garden, which was not very impressive.  The adjacent Japanese Garden was much better put together.

In the rock zen garden courtyard next to the teahouse there were Ginkgo trees with yellow leaves getting ready to fall.

The bonsai tree area had several nice looking specimens.

We wandered up the hill past the rainforest area to the back of the art museum.

We took the path to the rose garden.

Just before the complex closed we walked through the library, which currently has a temporary “light” exhibit.

After leaving the gardens we went to Gyu-Kaku in Pasadena and drove home across the suicide bridge.


All the photos from the entire trip can be found here.

Family Beat Michigan Day 2012

Family Beat Michigan Day 2012

On Saturday we had a breakfast of sausage and stuff (don’t know where those photos went) from Sam while watching The Game.  This was probably the first time I’ve watched The Game with my parents since 1998.

After The Game I gave them a short tour of our complex while Sam was putting the finishing touches on lunch.

Lunch was a “traditional Long family Thanksgiving” meal.  We don’t like turkey that much so mom started making stuffed cornish hens a long time ago instead.  Sam doesn’t like turkey any more than we do, so she was happy to experiment.  I think her first hens came out great.

And her (not first?) mashed potatoes were good too.

After eating we attempted to burn it off by hiking up to Amir’s garden in Griffith Park.

Afterwards we went to the Americana to try and find the Microsoft store so dad could check out the Surface tablets.  All the directions lead us to an alley beside the mall since the store was actually a “pop up” (i.e. large kiosk) in the OLD mall – thus having no real address inside or out of the building.  Once we finally found it dad took one look and said “too small” and it was time to go.  We called Micelli’s to get reservations, but they said it would be over an hour wait, so we decided to just go home and eat ice cream, as we had eaten a really large late lunch anyway after The Game.


All the photos from the entire trip can be found here.

Post Thanksgiving day 2012

Post Thanksgiving day 2012

On Friday we woke up to Sam’s scrambled eggs and toast before heading to Malibu.

We drove to Kanan road and then started on the Backbone Trail around 11am.

Take a look at the white stuff in the middle of the above photo, between the cracks of the hills.  That’s not a reflection of the sun on the water, it’s a reflection off of something else – I’ll explain later on…

Eventually there is a fork in the road on Backbone and, after my father and I hiked to the top of the hill by the water tower, we turned back.

After we were done hiking we went to Malibu Seafood, which was requested by my dad, as he really liked it last time.


They were out of oysters (or something) this time so my dad was a little disappointed.  On the schedule we’d planned to watch the sunset at Leo Carillo State Beach.  However, after driving past Point Dume it became clear that nothing was clear.  A thick fog had rolled in and got stuck north of the point.  We would see nothing but gray fog sitting on the beach at Leo Carillo, so we turned around and headed home.

Okay, okay, full disclosure:  After getting to the 1 after hiking, I accidentally turned right instead of left to go to dinner – so we ended up going up past Point Dume “on the way” to dinner, which was really south of where we’d hiked.

Going home on the way up the mountain to cut to the 101 we looked back and stopped at a few of the lookout points to snap photos of the very low hanging fog crossing over the water, now heading south towards Los Angeles, and surely engulfing where we’d just eaten dinner minutes before.

As we drove farther up, the fog was so low that it was completely covering any view of the ocean at all.  When we’d been hiking earlier in the day we’d wondered if the white stuff down below (see photo #2 in this post) was just the sun reflecting off the ocean – but it turns out it was fog.

We picked up Prometheus on the way home and dad agrees, not up to snuff.  However, I have to say that on Blu-Ray on our tv it looked MUCH better than on screen at the theater.  However, you could still easily see the pig through the brilliant looking lipstick.  Or, if you prefer, the big albino white dude through the space jockey suit.


All the photos from the entire trip can be found here.

Thanksgiving Prep 2012

Thanksgiving Prep 2012

My parents flew in for Thanksgiving weekend this year.  Nearly every day for the last six months Sam and I had been preparing for this in some big or small way.  There were lots of furniture, accessories, repairs, etc. that needed to be examined in our new condo before our first overnight guests could set foot in it.

On Tuesday our friend brought over a delivery of plants, mostly for our patio.  In the last month we’d also visited Ikea and other home supply stores more often than I’d like to admit.  As we did final prep of the inside of the home on Wednesday night I took some photos.

A potted plant from our friend.

Sam’s quick fix for a Christmas tree since I’m allergic (it’s rosemary).

Potted succulents from our friend.  This pot used to hold the christmas cactus that my mother gave me a few years ago.  Now that cactus is spreading roots out in our garden.

Our living room.

The new table and Sam’s interior design accessorizing.

It looks crooked, I know.  Our floor actually isn’t level, so it’s the table that’s slightly rising to the right, but the photo makes it look like the painting is off.  If we ever get hardwood floors we’ll have them fix the floor when they rip out the carpet.  For the time being though we’ll save the money and stay with the new carpeting that was in the condo when we bought it (albeit over an uneven floor).

Sam doing a last bit of cleaning in the kitchen.

The next morning we put the final touches on the patio.

That is, of course, after Sam tested her idea for a planned Saturday brunch on me.  I didn’t mind.

Agave plant in one of our pots.  These pots are actually the original clay and plastic (the taller ones are plastic) pots that were left in the patio when we bought the condo.  Sam didn’t like the color much so she had the idea of painting them white before we gave them to our friend to fill with plants, I think her idea worked out great.

The larger (plastic) pots were filled with Banana plants and flowers.

There were two larger pots made of plastic and three smaller ones made of clay.  One of the smaller ones had an agave and the other two had these more “tall grass” like plants.  Our friend told us what everything was when he delivered them, but we don’t remember what they are.


We put some of these fellows in the garden.  Opinions were mixed on whether they will flower only once or keep flowering seasonally.

It was Sam’s idea to buy an outdoor shelf and fill it with little plants (many of which can aid in her cooking) to cover up the outside AC vent next to the patio door.

We are trying to sell that old dining set – we don’t plan on keeping it on the patio – but there’s nowhere else to put it for now.

View of patio looking left (Northwest).

And during construction of patio:

View of patio looking right (Southeast).

And during construction:

Don’t forget, here is what it looked like when we bought it (note the clay and plastic pots with dead/dying shrubs):

The friend of ours that did the plants in the pots and some of the indoor ones too runs a business called Branch of Life.

Around 1pm we picked up my parents at LAX and headed to Hummus House, a local middle-eastern themed restaurant.  My parents, who don’t eat things like this often, thought it was great. It was pretty good (the hummus choices were creative and delicious), but the meat was all overcooked and rough.  However,  due to our requirements; A) something near LAX and B) something OPEN on Thanksgiving day other than McDonalds, I think we did fairly well.  Our next stop was Alta Loma Terrace.  This had been a request of my mother, an interesting walkway very close to our condo.  I only took one photo, for a more comprehensive write-up check out this blog.

We had originally planned to go to ThaiTown and eat noodles for dinner after Alta Loma, but Sam’s employer had given her a free thanksgiving Turkey the night before so we headed home and ate that for dinner.  On the way we tried to stop by the Hollywood reservoir, but we found the parking lot gated off, and after parking on the street and walking up we found the access to the reservoir was also gated off.  A city employee drove up and told us it would be open the rest of the weekend.  We never did have time to make it back, but Sam and I aren’t going anywhere for a while, so mom and dad can see it on their next visit.

After the early dinner we watched Super 8 on Netflix and my parents headed to bed.  They had been up since about 1am PST in order to make their flight out of Akron (?).

All the photos from their entire trip can be found here.

(yes, I will be blogging each day, eventually)