While Auntie Lizzy and Bunny were gone, I carpe diemed (yes, that’s a verb!  Of course it is!) and let Kuma sleep on my bed.  One morning, I woke up, sleeping on my belly (which I hardly ever do) and Kuma was curled up on the backs of my knees.  You can’t see it really well here, due to all the blankets, but I literally bent over backwards and got into some awkward positions to try to get this picture without Kuma getting up.

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Other times, she just curled up next to me.  It was so much fun, and so sweet!!  Of course, forget it once Auntie Lizzy and Bunny came home, because I was no longer even a tempting prospect! 😉

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Aaaannd, in case you want to know, this is what happens when I forget to get my mom to trim my eyebrows and have to do it myself (first time ever! 😲) with scissors from a Swiss Army knife and my fingers as a guide.  A notch in the right eyebrow.  Nice, Hannah.

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One evening, after Auntie Lizzy and Bunny got back, Uncle Carl and Aunt Lisa wanted to take us out to foot massages + dinner.  Due to a family emergency, Bunny couldn’t come (we’re soo sorry for you, Bunny…our hearts go out to you!! 😢), but Auntie Lizzy did and we had a blast, even if it was a bit of an adventure.

I don’t have any pictures of the foot massage place, because it was all like very tiny and private and delightfully low in technology stimulation.  It was quite lovely, though; my first ever massage and something that’s on my pie-in-the-sky-bucket-list-of-things-to-try-doing-this-year (😜).  Foot massage was a bit of a misnomer, but Aunt Lisa warned us about that beforehand so I was prepared.  Most of the time was spent massaging my feet, but he also massaged up my calves, briefly from each shoulder all the way down to my feet (yeeeaaahhh…can I say a leetle awkward?), and my head, neck and back (which felt delightful).  I did get several opportunities to practice my yogic breath, screening out the uncomfortable factor that some, albeit professional, stranger was touching me.  Once I was in the zone, I was able separate my surroundings from the relieving, relaxing sensations in my muscles and it was like heaven.  I already knew that having Daddy or Katie massage me was one of my favorite things, so I shouldn’t have been too surprised that this was also such a treat.  I only wished my muscles could have stayed as relaxed as they were during the massage after it was over. 😉


On to dinner!  And where the real adventure started.  First, the place we originally had plans for had too long of a wait: 1-2 hours 😮😮😮…like who waits for an hour+ when they are starving at 7:00??  I’m sorry, I’m not that dedicated to any, even the best, restaurant…maybe it’s just that I haven’t been to that many restaurants, so I don’t really have dedicated loyalties.  Sooo, Aunt Lisa got on her phone and made reservations at this other place called American Kitchen across town.  In the time that it took us to drive over there, they called and asked if they could delay the reservation 15 minutes.  We were fine with that, but that meant we had like 30-40 minutes to kill.  We decided to go get the adults…Happy Hour? pre-dinner drinks? <-help me, my drinking friends, what exactly would you call a drink at that time and under such circumstances?  American Kitchen didn’t have a good bar, so we headed to a place across the street.

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Whoa, no, too crowded.  Literally, people packed wall-to-wall; I’ve never seen this many people in such a small space before.  And only two stools open for 5 people.  Ahem.  Awkward.  Thankfully, Uncle Carl left to check out nearby potential bar options and I’m not sure where Aunt Lisa was, but Auntie Lizzy had us sit two of us to a stool. 😣  Kat and I were sharing a stool, which basically meant we both had one corner of our butts and half a leg draped over the stool and the rest of it was all core work to sit up straight.  Plus, it was loud.  I mean, every place was loud that night, but this was mind-blowing l.o.u.d.  Can’t hear yourself think loud.

Then Uncle Carl came in saying he’d found a good place called The Cooperage and we all evacuated to better quarters.  This place had four open stools for 5 people, so we called it close enough and Uncle Carl stood. 😕

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Kat and I ordered from the zero proof menu. 😜  My go-to normally would be root beer, or possibly a flavored limeade if I was going for trying something new.  But my tummy/gut wasn’t feeling good, and even though I hate ginger, I’ve learned through experience how it makes me feel when I’m having digestive issues, and I found myself inextricably drawn toward the ginger beer, no matter how much I tried to talk myself out of it.  Then I remembered I’d been wanting to try real ginger beer for some time and here was my opportunity.  Decision=made.

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Also, despite my hatred of ginger (and probably because I knew how good it would and already was making me feel), I really liked it!!

My peeps.  They’re awesome.  Just sayin.  Not that I’m biased, but I just ❤ my family sososo much!!

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{l-r: Aunt Lisa, Uncle Carl, Auntie Lizzy, Kat}

I am to Aunt Lisa’s right and am the one taking the picture.^^  But my selfie lens wasn’t wide enough unless I was Mrs. Incredible.

Finally, it was reservation time and we headed to American Kitchen.  It was the cutest little place in a real house and the everything about the establishment was lovely and full of charm and character.  Plus, um, delicious food.  More sweet potato fries…what can I say.  They’re the best.

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These SPF actually were even the best restaurant ones I’ve ever had!  I think I should make a career out of finding the best ones, don’t you think? 😋  It took forever (as usual) to pick out what I wanted, but at least now I had a compatriot in crime, Aunt Lisa.  We share the same menu perusing timeline. 😄  I ended up going with the Cuban Sandwich without the fontina and with the SPF as the side.  I can’t even stop saying how amazing those were, and the sandwich was scrumptious as well (even though I surprised myself by ordering something I normally wouldn’t tend to choose).  And like half my plate was fries, which was pretty much the awesomest. 😍

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Last day, we all played Cribbage.  Two (I think) games of six-person, which is just a tad more confusing, even for experienced players.  Can I say again just how much I love these people??

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{l-r: Grandma, Bunny, Auntie Lizzy, Granddad, Katie}


I know this is weird, but I love it that I’ve played Cribbage for so long, I know it inside out and could basically play it in my sleep.  To other people, it looks like too many confusing things that are all happening too fast, though it really is a simple game once you start playing it (you pretty much have to learn as you go, though…otherwise it makes no sense, IMO).  It’s kind of like knowing a secret code. 😝

Auntie Lizzy and I were partners in the last game and we won.  She’s very competitive; hence the thumbs-up for us winning in the picture. 😄

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Random food pic!  This was a meal I made at home, and one I’m the most proud of because I love how it turned out.  I made these plantain chip veggie turkey mini-burgers, served it with Lindsay’s legendary Magic Green Sauce, and then I adapted this recipe of Kate’s, subbing the noodles for zoodles and playing with the dressing until I liked it (including subbing tahini for the pb so I could eat it…good as I’m sure the pb dressing would be).

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But the star of the show, somewhat to my surprise, were the adorable little mini slider buns that were the perfect size for the burgers.  I picked them up at Whole Foods and they were just so moist and soft, but they didn’t collapse when you started eating them, which is my main complaint with burger buns.  Kat maintained that there wasn’t enough bun to burger, but I thought it was perfect.  Though, as I pointed out to her, I suppose if you were a thicker-bun person, you could always not split it in half and do one whole bun on one side and on on the other. 😆

This cracked me up.  Kuma was sitting next to Auntie Lizzy while she was read and then Auntie Lizzy got up and left, leaving her Kindle right in front of Kuma.  Doesn’t it look like Kuma has studious intentions?  Like any moment, she’s going to crack open that reader and give it a whirl? 😜

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And how could I forget?  (This next picture somehow got overlooked at first in the compilation of pictures for this post! 😱)  This is probably the sweetest thing anyone’s done for me in a long time.  But let me back up.  My cousins Nathan and Jaden came over one evening while the parents went to dinner with some friends.  It was super, super-EPICLY fun!!  We did miss Uncle Jim and Aunt Anna-Marie, but I haven’t gotten a chance to spend time with the boys for, like 6 years, and they are almost different people from back then.  Not quite. 😉  We all had dinner first (sloppy, delicious tacos that I ate in my unavoidably messy way with everything going everywhere and multiple hand-washings…the boys were so kind and understanding about it as I apologized all over myself) and then played Cranium and it was awesome.  Over dinner, I was sharing with the boys that I am so bad at selfies that I have to practice selfies in the mirror…and then again with the phone (*click* ugh! *delete* repeat).  Nathan said something in sympathy, though I’m thinking he probably never had that difficulty. 😜  I’m pretty sure those boys were born cool. 😎  Me, not so much.  I’m still trying to pretend this adult-ish thing is real.

Anyhow, so after dinner, Nathan comes up to me and asks me if I’ve practiced my selfie skillz enough to take a selfie with him.  Since the only people who have asked me to take real-deal, non-obligitory selfies with them have been my sisters, I think I nearly died.

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Um, but I know I really truly died when I saw it was a snap.  It means a lot to me that someone would be willing to take a quick selfie with their uncool, over-the-top cousin (even if it had been to make her feel better, as my brain sometimes tries to convince me and never quite succeeds) and keep it on their phone as a memory.  Maybe I’m overreacting because I’m super impressionable, but I dunno, but it just seems like so significant when you show all your friends ( who presumably are at least as cool as oneself) that you just took a selfie with your weirdo cousin.  It certainly made me feel special and loved and like he’d had about as good a time with me as I’d had with him.  And even though I highly, highly doubt that Nathan will ever read this, it was a very sweet and touching gesture and Nathan, you know I will never forget it.  Thank you so much, cousin! 💕


Farewell to Wootten, Walnut Creek and all the wonderful California family!!  The only thing that comes even close to being able to encapsulate the love and the feeling tornado-tsunami-explosion in my heart is a hug. <-which is kind of a bummer, because not everyone can read the feelings in a hug.

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Words can’t even begin to contain how much I love you guys and miss you.  I hope to be back soon!!  Until next time…

2 thoughts on “Full-On Cali-Girl, Part 2

    1. Aw, thanks so much for commenting, Hannah! It totally made my day!! And yes, I am head-over-heels in love with plantain chips, straight out of the bag, dipping them in innumerable sauces…and then when I saw your recipe adding them to meatballs, I was like, I have to try that!!” I’m making them again this week for my family at home and I’m really looking forward to it. 😋


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