New Year’s Eve
Alex and Nova came over during the day; the three of us and Mom had Second Christmas and then played a few rounds of Clue: The Great Museum Caper. Then we Becks (and pre-Beck) went to Dad and Bev and Megan’s house for New Year’s Eve dinner, Third Christmas, and a few rounds of Bananagrams. Alex and Nova took off for more partying; I chilled with Dad on the couch. We watched The Three Stooges marathon, an episode of The Twilight Zone, and the New Year’s Special from Times Square. Dad dropped me off at Jan’s swing party and I caught a few dances before the party dissolved.
New Year’s Day
Mom, Don, Paul, and I drove to Leilani Estates for a brunch party with Mom’s Toastmaster friends. The couple we visited have a very lovely house on a one-acre lot, and the husband is way into gardening, so he took us on a tour of his masterpiece-in-progress, which was amazing. They also had a very cute and friendly cat and a very cute and timid dog. After brunch we figured, what the hell, we’re already in Puna, let’s make this a day-trip. We went down to the coast and drove along the shore to Kapoho. Paul directed us to Wai‘opae, which the rest of us hadn’t been to. We found a lava bubble for Don to crawl into; he took a nap in his tiny cave, and we ditched our stuff and went snorkeling. The coral gardens are just so incredibly amazing, and there were fishies everywhere: butterfly fish, raccoon fish, rainbow wrasses, Moorish idols, yellow tang, manini, ‘o‘opu, and a single, tiny puhi (moray eel) that backed quickly into a hole and glared at me. I made it my personal duty to pick up every sea cucumber I found; I also harassed a good portion of the local hermit crab population and a collector urchin the size of a small pomelo. While sunning myself on top of our lava bubble, I found a Geocache, which was kind of hilarious. I poked through the contents, and left a log entry and a small length of rope. We drove to Mackenzie and enjoyed watching the southern swells hurl themselves, foaming, against the black lava cliffs. A big set very nearly soaked us, and I was deeply amused by a funny blowhole in the inlet next to us that jetted at an odd angle after every swell. I found a ripe lilikoi, which was an excellent bonus. Finally we drove to Kalapana and walked out to the new beach, burying our feet in the incredibly soft, impossibly black sand and watching a couple of bodyboarders catch waves in the last of the twilight.
Alex, Nova, and I washed and detailed The Van. Then my iPod and I got into the truck and drove to Waimea for dinner with the Ernsts. Everyone thought I was crazy (it’s an hour-and-a-half one way), but I really didn’t mind–it’s a nice drive. The venue was Pau, a bistro I’d never been to but was recommended by the internets as the best place to eat in Waimea (edging out Merriman’s, even, one of the best restaurants on the island–which I’ve also never been to). Pau has definitely earned the hype with truly amazing pizzas and salads with ultra-fresh ingredients, and meals for $12-$15. I had seared ahi on a salad, mmm~. I got back to Hilo in time for the last 25 minutes of Kope Kope Swing, and it was totally worth stopping by. Like, everybody was there, and I had time for several excellent dances. I discovered my Winry sandals are actually great dancing shoes, and I discovered that Justin (one of the Honolulu swing boys Mom took to Waipi‘o) is SO FREAKING FUN TO DANCE WITH. Apparently the feeling was mutual; most in our swing crowd are mediocre dancers and/or old, and he’d been waiting all evening for someone who could keep up with him. He is so high-energy and knows all of these amazing tricks and likes to do aerials (:DDDD) and is really an excellent lead. So that was fun, and Gail was playing some fun songs, including The Spiderman Theme and The Curly Shuffle. Afters Mom and I followed Don, Paul, and Jimmy up to Don’s house to hang out. I watched Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, which was a pretty stupid movie. Oh well.
Dad and I spent a couple of hours hanging on The Farm, poking around by the lava tube a bit but mostly just sitting on the porch, enjoying the breeze and the view and a chat and cold drinks. Then Mom, Don, Paul, Mark, and I piled into The Van and drove to Kawaihae. Don and I took turns DJing, so we had some good GNR (XD), blues, classic rock, oldies, and indie. We met up with Justin, his girlfriend Julia, and his brother Travis at The Blue Dragon for dinner and dancing. And OH MAN WE HAD SO MUCH FUN. TT_TT We shared the delicious spring rolls, then I had seared opa on mashed potatoes with lilikoi buerre blanc (ohgodyes), a really lovely Italian pinot grigio, and chocolate decadence coconut bliss (OHGODYES), which is “ice cream” made with coconut milk instead of dairy, so you have this amazing chocolate experience with an afterkick of, like, pure essence of coconut amazingness, like, ohgod it was so sinful and delicious. So yeah, dinner was pretty much a foodgasm of epic proportions. And the entire time we’re eating, The Olliephonics are playing, so we’re running back and forth between our table and the dance floor. It really should be impossible to dance as hard as we did on full stomachs and not DIE, but somehow we managed. I had excellent dances with everyone, including some truly excellent ones with Mark, but mostly Justin had a monopoly on my dancing attentions. WHICH WAS FINE BY ME, ohmigod. He taught me this awesome move where we go crosshand, rubberband into a dip, and then he slides me across the floor on my heels before I jump-spin around and get back into the dance. IT’S SO FUN. And one of the songs in the first set was I Will Survive, which turns out to be excellent dancing fun. It’s bouncy and funky and great to play around with, and their vocalist is AMAZING, and we were the only ones on the floor, so we did an aerial–to wild applause from our audience. Oh man I love dancing in public. We’re medium-sized fish in a very small dancing pond, so people freaking LOVE us. Everyone in the restaurant kept coming up to us and asking if we’re professionals and telling us how awesome we are and how much fun they’re having watching us, and The Olliephonics love us and always make a point to tell us so; Susan was saying how fun we are to watch, and how hard it is to try to read music and watch us dance at the same time. So yeah, that was fun. Rachel was there and we chatted a bunch, and Julia even got up and danced a couple of times. Justin and Julia are so freaking cute together, like, tooth-rotting sugary cute, ohmigod. …I had to try really hard not to let my RAGING JEALOUSY show. Because. I kind of have this amazing crush on Justin now. He’s just so incredibly fun and happy and outgoing and energetic and casually flirty, and of course he’s a freaking amazing dancer, and he’s so sweet and adorable with Julia, like, it’s so cute how amazingly devoted he is. …So anyway when he moves to Seattle he had damn well better visit Portland soon and often, and he’d damn well better call me up so we can go dancing. Or I will hate him forever. And cry lots.
Monday was pretty casual. Dentist appointment, bunch of errands, leisurely lunch. I spent the afternoon sorting through and boxing up a bunch of the stuff in my room, which Mom’s wanted me to do since forever. In the evening we had a Balboa Review class, which was fun for me because I’m pretty damn useless at Bal. We could’ve used a better floor, but we had a good time. Back home, Justin, Julia, and Travis showed up late at night after driving across the Saddle to ditch Travis with us. So we chatted a bit, gave Justin some caffeine, and said our goodbyes to the love couple; they had to drive back to Kona for a morning flight to, I think, Moloka‘i.
My last day in Hilo. D: Travis decided he wanted to walk to downtown Hilo from our house, which I think is a totally awesome thing to want to do. So he did. Leaving Alex to his Google interviews (oh man I need to call him and see what came of those!) I did a few necessaries, drove to the high school to say hi to Mrs. Kobayashi, then went to pick him up at Bayfront. He’d been sitting in a tree on the edge of the beach for an hour, enjoying the breeze and watching kayakers in Hilo Bay, which is also a totally awesome thing to do. We drove up the coast to see Kahuna and Akaka Falls, and on the way back we did the little, 4-mile stretch of scenic route between Pepe‘ekeo and Papa‘ikou. …He’s really cool. When his brother’s around he seems quiet and reserved (but then again, everyone is quiet and reserved when compared to Justin XD;) but we had some great conversation. He’s smart and pleasant and has a neat personality, and he’s apparently a quite excellent musician (he was really concerned with finding a piano he could play somewhere in Hilo, which I thought was cute; presumably if he goes a few days without a piano it makes him sad). …Also he was very cute. ;-) I guess this family just turns out quality young men. …Anyway, we did a quick turnaround so he could shower, then I dropped him off with Mom and the Toastmasters crowd for a potluck and “PowerPoint Karaoke”. Alex and I got our stuff together and met Dad, Bev, Megan, Lon, and Carol for Dad’s birthday dinner at Café Pesto. So that was fun, and I got my Tahitian Limeade fix, and my Fresh Catch Stromboli and Seafood Combo, which I love so very very much.
After four hours of sleep (ahahaha I suck) I flew to Honolulu. Jen and Adam picked me up, and we hung at their apartment, then met Tommy for delicious Korean food. We hung at their apartment some more until Jen went to work, then went to Tommy’s to watch Survive Style 5+, which is totally weird and awesome. We caught dinner at Akinono again–miso butterfish, fried oysters, tempura, sashimi, ahi belly yakiniku, hot tea, and sho chu. Delicious~! I said goodbye to Jen, and Tommy and Adam took me to the airport. I had a nice chat with this girl on standby at my gate, and we marveled at the horde of tiny blond children on our flight. The seats were crammed onto the plane; I was having leg-room issues, which is ridiculous. Otherwise the flight was fabulous; it was one of those planes where everyone has their own entertainment touch-screen, so I watched Funny People and 500 Days of Summer before passing out.
I saw the sun come up in Salt Lake City airport, which is surrounded by beautiful snow-blanketed mountains. My plane to Portland was super empty, so I moved to the exit row so I could have leg-room and a window, then passed out for the whole flight. Occasionally I opened my eyes to see a world covered in snow. I woke up in time for a gorgeous view of Mt. Hood and all the volcanoes to the south, and a sweeping tour of northwest Portland. In the airport I picked up my bag, then sat and watched the most adorable little girl on the planet play hide-and-seek with her mom and grandma. She would hide in the same place every time, amongst their suitcases, and tell them to wait while she climbed into her hiding place before letting them close their eyes and count. All of us were cracking up the whole time, but mom and grandma dutifully searched behind every pillar and trash can before “finding” her. Then Dar and Becca picked me up and we drove to Walla Walla. Because I am a crazyperson and lacking in brain cells, and agreed to this plan the day before. It was fun, actually. I slept in the back seat for most of the drive, but we enjoyed fries at Multnomah Falls and fun driving music and all that good stuff. At The Nunnery I brushed my teeth and took a shower and changed into fresh clothes and almost felt like a person again. We grabbed “dinner”–Safeway for Becca, Yungapeti for Dar, and Iceberg for me. I ordered a double cheeseburger, large fries, and peach-blackberry milkshake, and we had fun dancing to the Oldies music while they cooked up my food. We ate and then made a squishy nest and watched Hostel 2, Never Mind the Buzzcocks, Torchwood Outtakes, and read bad Inglourious Basterds fanfic before going to bed super early.
We woke up early, had ourselves some Clarette’s and got on the road. We drove back to Portland, and Chris showed up, and there was Fourth Christmas, and Inglourious Basterds, and picking up Lauren, and Koji Osakaya, and Up, and apple strudel. And it was good.
…You already know about today. Except that the other thing about today is DOLLHOUSE DOLLHOUSE DOLLHOUSE OMG DOLLHOUSE.