We got a free upgrade because they were out of compact cars, so we chose a Ford Fusion to save money on gas. We never had to fill it up—only used a half a tank the entire time.
We went straight from the airport to Wal-Mart, where we bought some sun block and high protein goods and healthy snacks, like tuna packets, jerky, sugar snap peas, and pre-cut mixed fruit. Brittney got herself some protein shakes, but I can’t do those because whey. The one thing we forgot here was a massive water bottle. So we stopped at CVS on our way to Seal Beach and grabbed ourselves some big water bottles.
At the beach, the parking meter thing wasn’t working, so Brittney had to set up an account to pay for it and stuff. Super annoying.
It was cloudy and somewhat cold that morning. I still covered up with sunblock every hour or two, and came away with a decent tan and no burn. Sadly, Britt burned herself. But some lotion at Jason's and some aloe later helped her feel much better the next day.
We spent a few hours on the sand and put our feet in the water. I even fell asleep. It was an early morning for me (I got up at 5 to work out).
We left around 2:45 to head to my brother’s apartment. We got there on time by 4pm. There was more traffic than anticipated, of course.
That night was probably the most special of all my nights at home. Jason and Kellie’s apartment was decorated so cute and Bohemian. We sat around and chatted for a bit, then took the food out to the apartment complex grills. Jason had a heck of a time lighting it, but thankfully a groundskeeper came by and helped us out. He also had a heck of a time cooking the chicken because he didn’t spray the grill, and the chicken was sticking to the foil. Still, after all this hassle, the chicken turned out so, so good. Kellie also made a delicious salad, garlic bread, and mashed potatoes.
It was so awesome to me to have an adult dream realized, and a hope fulfilled. I thought and still think all the time about hanging out with my brothers as adults, at our respective homes, eating food, and having adult conversation. I honestly never thought Jason would be the first to arrive. But it was so special to me to be at his home and have him and his girlfriend cook me dinner for the first time ever. I’m so proud of them and how far they’ve come in their sobriety and in all they’re doing.
After that we headed back to Glendora, and stopped at Stater Bros. where we got some spinach, almond milk, egg whites, and drinks.
We hung out and talked with dad for a bit, and said hi to Jake really quick. But then we left to get a treat because we ate so well early in the day. We went to Donut Man and got a half dozen: maple donut, crumb donut, raspberry cream cheese donut, strawberry donut, tiger tail, and a buttermilk bar that was disappointingly dry. Don’t worry, we didn’t eat all the donuts. We each ate one (Brittney had maple; I had crumb), and took a couple bites of the others.
We went to bed super exhausted and woke up ready to seize the day on Sunday. I checked out breakfast options on Yelp. We decided on a cute café in San Dimas called Rail Side Café. They were full inside, as it’s a tiny place, so we ate outside under a covered table. It was cold and misty rain. I ended up ordering a nonfat Earl Grey latte (with no stomach issues later?) to go with my bacon, egg, and cheese croissant sandwich. Brittney had a chai tea latte. It was a slow and magical morning just sitting there, enjoying the ambiance of the place. The manager came out and offered everyone outside blankets. I thought that was such a cool, personal touch. It was just a really great time.
After that we went to the Dollar Tree where I got a few necessities (including slippers because I can’t do hard wood floor and tile barefoot). We stopped at Robek’s so I could get Jake a gift card, and then we shopped at Old Navy. We made ourselves a protein shake and then headed to Venice Beach.
My GPS didn’t take us south enough. We paid to park and walked down to the boardwalk, and saw Santa Monica pier wasn’t too far north, so we headed there. We looked around and took some pictures. I loved all the Route 66 stuff. We wandered back to the car, and honestly didn’t mind the walk because we were pointing out cute houses on our way.
We headed further south to Venice Beach and had quite the adventure looking for parking—all the lots were $10 and $15, and we weren’t going to be there for very long. Thankfully, smart Brittney said we should try the Post Office. There was a spot in there, and USPS is closed on Sundays, so we should be OK. It was right on Main street, making our walk to the boardwalk really easy. We stopped at a little café where I got a Taro Thai milk bubble tea, and Britt got a passionfruit bubble tea. So good.
Obviously, we wandered around for a good portion of time. There weren’t too many weird folks, but there was a family exploiting their children, who weren’t especially talented. All the usual artists were there, and some musicians/performers. We went to a couple of shops where I picked up a Muscle Beach tee, and Brittney got herself a California hat, and some souvenirs for friends back home. We got some churros from a Mexican lady with a cart, which sadly weren’t that good, especially since they probably needed to be heated up.
We found Afters ice cream, and a chimney place with soft serve, but we resisted those temptations. We drove home. Dad took us to Casa del Rey. We split a burrito, but I ate way too many chips, obviously.
We ended up getting no treats that night, but I did have half of an Almond Joy along with an apricot. I always need a treat, you guys.
On Monday morning, we got up and did a workout. We each used a 15 pound dumbbell, and I just traded Wednesday and Monday’s workouts (so I did Monday’s today). It was hard but so fun to have someone to work out with. It’s funny, it seems harder having someone else there. Like I just do my workouts and maybe forget that they’re challenging. But then having someone else there reminds me how hard the movements are for me, because I have someone to complain to.
It was sunny and beautiful that morning. We had shakes and left just before 9am. We first went to Donut Queen, where I got a buttermilk, and Britt got a maple bar. She wasn’t disappointed. We then went to Starbucks where I got a nonfat matcha latte (again no stomach issues), and Britt got her beverage. We headed to Huntington Beach. Traffic was pretty bad trying to stay on the 57, as usual. We got to my aunt’s house about 10:15, where I pulled up as my cousin Josh was walking up to the house.
He was our chauffeur for the day. We left pretty quickly, had to get gas, and aunt Lisa wanted a Banzai Bowl (acai bowl). Britt and I were still full, so we split one. We walked from there to the Huntington Pier, where we enjoyed the breeze and the smells, and took a few pictures.
We walked back, and Josh picked us up in the parking lot. We then headed to a few different spots. The first spot was a lookout point. There were a ton of amazing smelling flowers, and you could see the beautiful clear water.
The second spot had a toilet that we used right away. The tide was low enough that we could climb past some areas and get over to tide pools. We treasure hunted a little bit. We also went to Victoria Street and saw some beautiful homes, one of which has their own private castle spiral staircase down to the shore. Not sure who these people are, but holy cow.
|The anemones scared her|
Due to traffic and Jake’s birthday, we had to cut our visit somewhat short. We left my aunt’s at 2:45 (after I took a really long pee and brushed the tangles out of my hair). We headed to Stater Bros where we got some cake mixes, scratch frosting supplies, frozen California style veggies, some chips, and pineapple and cantaloupe to add to the mango and strawberries at home for a fruit salad. Dad made steelhead and salmon on the grill. Everything was so delicious, and I finished off those damn barbecue chips by myself. Chips are a no-go for me, guys. It’s so hard. I made Jake a lemon cake, made myself a chocolate cake, and made cream cheese frosting for both.
Jared and Amoreena came over. They hung up a birthday banner for Jake, and also brought him a funfetti cake with sprinkles in a marijuana pattern on the cake. They brought him a present: a banzai tree and care kit for it. They also bought me a present: a Harry Potter Sweet Shoppe kit—to make chocolate frogs and other treats. So, so thoughtful! Those cute kids.
The conversation and fun at the dining room table went on as normal, us cracking our weird jokes and sharing strange humor. Jake was very appreciative of the cards and gifts. He got a little teary-eyed with dad’s card. It meant a lot to him. He hugged me and thanked me for making his birthday special.
We went to bed—Brittney first, and me just after 11pm. We were up at 5 and out the door by 5:20 to head back. We had an ordeal trying to find a gas station off the freeway exit to the airport. We ended up having to turn around, and then there were two. All we had to do was turn left. Eye roll. We turned in the car with no issues, went through security with no issues, and headed to the gate. I filled up my water bottle, went potty, and Britt got her coffee. We were in zone 1, and in the very back row of the plane.
We landed early at 9:55am. We ordered an Uber WAY too soon, thinking they would come later. So we had to book it out to the pickup area so our ride wouldn’t leave us behind. I got dropped off first, around 10:31am. I put on some makeup and some different clothes, and fixed my hair. I was out the door by 10:53am to head to work. I got myself a DDP from McDonald’s because work. And I clocked in at 11:15am.
The only hiccup in all this was the fact that my phone went haywire on Monday during our beach explorations. Brittney had to be my navigator and middleman texter. I was thankful to have her there because what on earth does anyone do without a phone?
I miss my family and I miss California more than I can explain. I got a little emotional in the Uber, and tried to let myself feel the sadness. But then I had to pull it together because life goes on.
This was one of my best trips home in a lot of years. I am glad Brittney could be there to share it with me. She was such a cool travel companion—so easygoing and didn’t seem irritated with me or my family. I’m feeling all kinds of good feelings and gratitude for this trip we decided to take on a whim because of a good flight price.