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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

North, South, and East


One of my college friends was in town for her maternal grandmother's funeral, which was held at SkyRose Chapel at Rose Hills Memorial Park & Mortuaries in Whittier. I've never been inside the chapel, though my ba noi (Vietnamese paternal grandmother) and oldest uncle, as well as countless others from my hometown are buried at this cemetery.

Does it look familiar? Will you think I'm a complete nerd when I tell you that I recognized it as the filming location for the scene in "Star Trek" where Spock informed the Vulcan Science Academy that he was going to attend Starfleet Academy instead?

While shopping for groceries at 99 Ranch Market, I came across these purple corn. Aren't they beaaaautiful? And priced at three for $1.17, I bought some for my oldest uncle's wife, my second-youngest uncle, my youngest aunt, and my friend DP. Because they feed me the most, you see.


My friend DP stopped by to drop off her GPS for me to borrow for an upcoming road trip. She gave me jackfruit; I gave her some purple corn.


I took the long way up north, along the 101, and when I saw a sign for Painted Cave Road, a niggling memory caused me to take it. Almost five miles of steep, winding road later, I pulled up beside this Chumash Native American painted cave. The art work has been added through the years, but scientists think it dates to the late 1600s.


Afterward, I spent some time eating lunch and wandering around Solvang. Stopped off at Hearst Castle, but missed the last tour by half an hour. Then took a nauseous and nauseatingly long time to go up Highway 1. I stopped off in San Jose to visit some friends before ending the night up in Oakland at cousin Q's older brother's place.

The next day, I had an appointment in San Jose. Afterward, I had a lovely lunch at the John Steinbeck House in Salinas. His childhood home! His room was that top one. I also visited the National Steinbeck Center, but it wasn't nearly as fascinating to me.


Then I decided to make it into a writerly day and grabbed a drink at Heinold's First and Last Chance Saloon in Oakland, where Jack London used to study and whose owner lent him the money to go to college. Had a quick dinner at Champa Garden in Oakland with my cousin before dropping him off at the airport.

The next day, I met up with my college friends for lunch at Mama's Chicken Noodle in Alameda before driving back down. The whole reason for the trip was really to get this, traditional Chinese medicine, or as I call it, twigs and berries.


Lil' sis brought her puppy, Whiskey, when she came to visit. Isn't he beautiful?


We had dinner with my brother and his family at Mountain View Sushi in Sierra Madre. Obviously, when a restaurant features Star Trek rolls on the menu, we had to order the Spock roll. Geez, that's the second Star Trek reference in this post. :P Hmm. Think the niece will become a fan too?


Aww. I came home from work to find that lil' sis did my dishes before she left.


I got home from work late, wondering what I should photograph, when my youngest aunt knocked on the door. She was out for her nightly walk and stopped by to give me some grapes she had bought at the farmers' market.


Momen+, a Japanese fabric store in Torrance, was having a huge sale for its anniversary. I bought some nice kimono-ish fabrics and cute children's prints for baby quilts. Then stopped off for ramen at Santouka - Torrance.


Wandering Chopsticks and the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. (Bonus points if you get the reference.)

What was supposed to be a quick trip down to Orange County to return my friend's GPS turned into a day of driving in circles. The first restaurant we were going to meet at was closed. So we ended up at Tan Hong Mai Restaurant - Westminster, where I was served the tiniest portion of Hu Tieu (Vietnamese Clear Glass Noodle Soup) ever.

Trying to salvage my day, I stopped off for some eclairs and croissants at Boulangerie Pierre & Patisserie - Garden Grove. The cashier forgot to return my credit card and I didn't notice until I was already home. So I had to drive back down again to pick it up. I'm not one to make a fuss about things, and I didn't at the bakery. When she gave me my credit card back, I told her that I had to drive 80 miles round-trip in order to pick up my card. She apologized, but I think she could have offered me some pastries or a drink or something. It was her error. Time, gas, inconvenience is nothing to shrug off. The more I thought about it, the more annoyed I got. So Boulangerie Pierre & Patisserie is now off my list.

I liked the convenience of my friend's GPS so much that I ordered one for myself. When I finally got home, the GPS I ordered on Ebay arrived missing the GPS unit itself, just the accessories. Geez!

That night, I took cousin A and her husband out for dinner at La Casita Mexicana - Bell for her birthday. It wasn't as good as my first experience there during DineLA. Especially when the coffee cup the waiter gave me had lipstick on the rim, and I wasn't wearing any.

All in one day! Terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day indeed.


The next day, I needed to cheer myself and searched my shelves for one of my favorite romances, "The Abduction of Julia" by Karen Hawkins, which was written partly in homage to "Devil's Cub" by Georgette Heyer, another of my favorites.


I got it into my head that I wanted to sew a dress and Jo-Ann was having a sale on jersey knits. I got some discount lace trim too because it was so pretty. I also got it into my head that I'll sew some dresses for the niece. We'll see...


Doesn't she look so intent when she draws? My brother carved a pumpkin for her for Halloween. He gave her a choice between a toothy or vampire face. She chose the vampire. (Oh no! Please don't become a Twilight fan!)


I adjusted my work schedule a little bit to give myself a much-needed half hour break between appointments, enough time to run to the farmers' market: fennel, lettuce, squash blossoms, and a pupusa for lunch.


I sent back the missing GPS unit to the Ebay seller to get a refund and ordered a new one from Amazon. Good old Amazon. I won't trust anyone else for major purchases again. There were also a ton of books on clearance that I ended up buying some as gifts for the holidays.


The DMV wouldn't renew my driver's license by mail anymore so I had to go in to take a new picture. Boo! I liked my 22-year-old face better.


Babysitting the niece for a few days. When did she get so big? I'm surprised she looked so happy in this picture because she was absolutely devastated when my brother left. She insisted on keeping her jacket and shoes on and walked up and down the street crying for him. So sad!


I couldn't bear to see her cry so the next day, I went to my brother's house instead. She was much happier in familiar surroundings. Probably because she knows her daddy will come home. That's the tricycle I bought for $5 from the thrift store on Day 183. She couldn't even reach the pedals then.


The vintage blue floral brooch I bought on Etsy as a birthday present to myself arrived.


My brother subscribes to a CSA and got two Hawaiian avocados. It's gigantic, about six inches long and four inches wide. Really! That's it next to a regular Haas avocado for comparison.


I'm still not used to my new schedule and need coffee to keep me awake. I pretty much don't get a chance to eat again until dinnertime. Haven't had a McDonald's breakfast in years and years. It wasn't half bad.


Twigs and berries.


I'm trying to eat healthier. I never could get into the gummy texture of rolled oats, but steel cut oats are awesome. Probably because it's like eating Chao (Vietnamese Rice Porridge) to me.


Got invited to a crawfish dinner at Memphis at the Santora in Santa Ana. Mmm. I love crawfish. Gourmet Pigs was my +1. A fellow Oregonian at my table and I had a fun time talking about mushroom foraging, Estacada, Oregon City, and other Oregon things.


I told lil' sis not to come home for my birthday and that I would come down to San Diego instead so we could try Ali Baba Restaurant in El Cajon. This Iraqi feast for three fed five of us with leftovers. Everything was sooo good!


The next day, I lounged around watching documentaries and hanging out with Whiskey before meeting up with lil' sis for lunch before heading back up.


Crock Pot Pho Ga (Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup). I think my photo is quite nice if I do say so myself. :)


The airport in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The land of enchantment has enchanted me for sure so I decided to join my brother and his family for a few days at the tail end of their vacation.


I usually stay in cheap hotels, but my brother wanted something nicer so he booked the Hard Rock Hotel in Isleta. We did a lot of exploring around and outside Albuquerque that day, but honestly, the bed was the best sleep I've had in such a long time. Oh if only I could afford such a mattress.


Phew! October was a busy, busy month for me what with driving all over the place, but so worth it. I decided to make my birthday month all about me and indulged in exploring some places that I've always wanted to see. I don't know why I waited so long.

My Project 365 posts:
January: Minutiae
February: On Tactile Pleasures, a Plethora of Plaid, and Souvenir Socks
March: Bridges, Literal and Figurative, and Reuben Obsessions
April: Quotidian
May: On Lifelong Friendships, Napping with Babies, and Thank Yous
June: On Brocade Slippers and Spaces
July: Breakfast for Dinner, Paris On My Mind, and the Last Harry Potter
August: Blueberries, Long Days, and Vacillating Victuals
September: A Reunion, a Wedding, a Birthday, and a Michael Jackson Impersonator
October: North, South, and East
November: Sentimental

1 year ago today, $41.40, RT LGB to PDX for 35 Hours.
2 years ago today, Hwang Hae Do Korean BBQ - Artesia.
3 years ago today, let's talk turkey!
4 years ago todayPunjab Indian Grocery Store - Alhambra.


  1. I immediately googled "Spock Vulcan Science Academy" after this post!

  2. i liked the star trek reference. i showed the photo to bert and he recognized it as well!

  3. GP,
    How could you doubt me? The pictures matched up, yeah? Did you find it on Star Trek Memory Alpha? Great website.

    Haha. Guess he's a Trekkie too.


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