Monday, June 18, 2012

Road Trippin' for Aloha

I knew when we got back from Hawaii the best thing we could do is find a way to capture that aloha that we'd be missing after being back to 'real life.'  Thankfully for us, I did some digging a few months ahead of time and found one of our favorite Hawaiian artists, Jake Shimabukuro was doing a rare mainland tour this summer.  (If you don't know who he is, check out his version of Bohemian Rhapsody all the way through.  It's amazing and it won it's fair share of people over.)   I found the town "closest" to us and decided to make a road trip out of it and surprise the Mr for our anniversary.  This weekend was the weekend to go road trippin' for aloha to Cleveland, Ohio to see this ukulele (pronounced oo-koo-leh-leh not yook-uh-lay-lee!) virtuoso.

I apologize for the collage laden mess below but I took a ton of pics so just click to make 'em bigger.  First off was a stop at Brown Bag Burger which we'd heard nothing but good things about and it was duly touted.  (That rarely happens!)  Good, flavorful burger and yummy fries.  I got the junior size and we split the fries after the guy said "you want a regular fry too?" when I ordered.  We asked if they were big and he said yes so we decided to split.  When we got them it was like it wasn't that big but we must've looked like we weren't two fatties comin' in that could polish off a regular each so that was encouraging.


Next was off to pay our respects to a great singer lost too soon.  Patty Donahue from The Waitresses.  I loved her sassy, indifferent tone in I Know What Boys Like and I still can't get through the song "Christmas Wrapping" without crying when I hear the line "you mean you forgot cranberries too?!"  I know...nerd.  If you want to visit when you're in the area, she's at Holy Cross Cemetery in Brooklyn, Ohio.  Go in and turn left.  You'll see the St. Benedict building up front.  Park there on the right.  You'll see the tree view like in pic 2, she's just behind the first pine tree on the left.


Then it was off to this really cool candy store we read about called B A Sweetie.  It has EVERY candy you can imagine, many from childhood so we stopped by to grab a few little pieces.  I was surprised the restraint we showed given how batshit I could've gone in there.  I think eating lunch beforehand was a good move!  Then it was off to vintage toy store, Big Fun where the Mr lamented the passing of his youth in front of the Star Wars figures and me in front of the Strawberry Shortcake.


No trip to the area is complete without swinging by Ralphie's house from A Christmas Story.  We didn't go in because we'd been there before and our time was running low but we got a pic of the house, the leg lamp and it looks like the Bumpus' are having some work done next door.


You know me...I see the international sign for cupcake and I'm there dude.  Everything looked great from the selection to the funky tables out front.  We decided on 3 cupcakes to split (salted caramel, M&M something or other and PB Crunch).  The salted caramel looked impressive and the cupcake portion was good and then we got to the frosting...

whipped!!!  BLECK!!!!  And with that we threw the rest away.  What a disappointment.  I want something that is going to induce diabetes, not a can of RediWhip on top.  The Mr is the same and one of the reasons I love him.

Then it was time to check in to the Wyndham downtown.  It all looks innocent enough doesn't it?  Have I told you we've been watching Hotel Impossible?  Well the brown thingy came right off and into the corner since they are rarely washed.  We did our bedbug inspection, clear.  Sat on the bed and knew while it felt fine for sitting on, it was going to make for an uncomfortable night's sleep.  (I was right)  Then the Mr took off the pillow cases when he saw something through the thin as rice paper pillowcases.  Check out the bottom 2 pics...
Yes, that would be a murder scene on the pillow on the left.  Mine?  Well mine had some loverly short hairs all over them.  Oh hells no!!  We called downstairs at 3:20pm.  We had to leave at 5pm.  Nothing.  We gave them time because we thought with the big wedding going on (that we knew would have drunken slobs and a-holes keeping us up all night and we were right.  Worst night's sleep ever) that maybe they were backed up.  We return 7 hours later and nothing.  It took the Mr going down to the lobby with other customers standing there and waving the bloody pillow on the left in front of them saying "I'm not being picky, would YOU sleep on this???"  She yanked it away to keep it from the other customers and said they'd be right up.  An hour later they showed up with the "new" pillow on the right.  That would be more blood stains and a HUGE urine and/or sweat stain in the middle.  We decided to flip the pillowcases inside out and finally go to bed...completely aware that this would be our first and last stay at a Wyndham and confirming why, if we can help it, we'll never sleep in a hotel again.  We usually rent homes.  This was AWFUL.  Meh.

But before the concert we wanted to go to Little Italy for dinner.  We went to Nido Italia and got the ricotta stuffed rigatoni.  SO good!  Then we headed across the street afterward to Presti's Bakery and got this chocolate mousse thingy...divine!    See the creamy middle in the bottom left.  Worth every calorie.  Then we walked around town to walk off the feeling of yakitude from over-indulgence.

Then it was off to Cain Park to see Jake.  When that lil nugget took the stage, I know more than half of the people there had no idea what they were in for and left lifelong fans.  He is so amazing, energetic, funny and passionate about his playing.  My cheeks hurt from smiling and my eyes stung from crying, sometimes bawling through his lighter tunes like Blue Roses Falling which he explained was inspired by a friends grandma who was in the hospital and she began hallucinating that there were blue roses growing on the ceiling and at night the rose petals would fall on her.  He wrote it after she passed and I could not stop the tears from streaming down my face.  When there is a story like that tied to a song, I'm a quivering heap o' flesh.  Good Lord, I'm crying now just writing about it and listening to it play.  I cannot begin to tell you what a beautiful experience this was for the Mr and I and even more so when he invited people to come say hello afterward.  Now I've met some famous people in my time and we're even friends with a few so it's not a big deal to me but I froze up like the biggest dork just so in awe of him and what his music has meant to our lives.  He signed our shirts and my ticket.  I know the Mr could not stop smiling and it was the perfect late anniversary present for him.  I was able to tell him what his music means and he was so gracious and sweet and he even accepted gifts and took pics with everyone.  The line for that must've been over 100 people long (we were toward the front thankfully) but I know he likely stayed for every person because that's the aloha spirit that he exudes.  It's not a hokey marketing line, it is something living, breathing and known to all who live or visit there.  I cannot thank Jake enough for doing a mainland tour and I will drive any distance to see him again.


We were hoping to get his new CD Peace Love Ukulele but we didn't have enough cash after buying the shirts.  So it goes on the wish list for our birthdays.  We're very happy he's working on a new album with Alan Parsons and great studio musicians.  He gave us a sneak peek of a song or two and they're amazing. 

Sunday was back to reality and we got on the road early and back late but still got a good workout in.  I want more weekends like that and I've got a few planned.

What did you do this weekend?

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21 comments:

  1. It was a great weekend and thanks so much for the wonderful anniversary gift. Meeting Jake was a major highlight and the show was awesome! It was also nice just to get a little road trip in and despite the bad hotel experience I enjoyed evrythign!

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    1. You're very welcome! It was a great concert and worth the inevitable bullchit we seem to have to go through for like 2 hours of wonderful.

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  2. Sounds like you had a great weekend, except for the hotel of course, =s

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    1. Yes it was and I won't have to worry about staying at that hole again. NASTY!

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  3. We always take our own pillows wherever we go--never leave home without them but I'm a bit of a pillow snob. I worked as a motel maid one summer between college years--WORSE job EVER!!! You would not believe the things people do in those rooms and the messes they leave, however, I would never have put those pillows back on the beds and my rooms were clean when I left them. Glad you had a great weekend.

    We cooked breakfast for about 75 apparently starving church-goers as they wiped us out of food and I made a ton of it! Took the hubby out for Father's Day and then vegged.

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    1. P.S. Blue Roses Falling was beautiful!

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    2. I don't think I'd want my pillows on a grody hotel bed either. We decided if we have to go to a hotel in the future (aka-decide not to sleep for a night a pay for the privilege) we'll take specific hotel pillowcase we buy then burn, earplugs, eye masks and those silk sleeping bag thingys so we never have to touch the bed. This is the 2nd bad experience at high end hotels in a row. I'm thinking finding a parking lot would be better and sleep in the car.

      Yes, that song is beautiful. All of his stuff is just amazing!

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    3. What a great road trip. I felt like I went along with you. Thanks for sharing all the great pictures and your descriptions of everything are so vivid that my mouth is watering hearing about and seeing all that great food. YUM!

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  4. I'm glad you had a good weekend. You deserved it, especially after your last non-weekend.

    I usually stay at lower end (read cheaper) chain hotels and I've never had an experience like that. Maybe I've just been lucky, but I've always had a clean room with clean pillows and linens (although I don't use the bedspread either). Except for one place we go every summer, but it's more of a camping/fishing place than a hotel so we just take our own pillows & blankets and make the best of it.

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    1. We stayed at a Hampton Inn a few years ago and it wasn't bad. My biggest beef is usually more people than the hotel. People SLAM doors and laugh and hoot and holler at all hours of the night and of course if you say anything they retaliate. People are just irritating.

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  5. That pillow is NASTY--I've stayed at a lot of hotels, both nice and cheap, and never had anything like that, thankfully. Well, except what my husband and I fondly remember as the Bates Motel--a dump where we were stuck due to weather shutting down a pass (shudder). I agree, though, the biggest beef is the people who are flat out rude! Glad that the weekend was overall a good one; we spent ours with our grandson, which was pure joy--he is a great kid and a lot of fun to be with. (His parents actually have taught him manners!)

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    1. I know right, NAS-TAY! I don't even want to know how it got there. (heebie jeebies)

      Sounds like you had a wonderful weekend with a lil nugget of your own!

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  6. Well your weekend was a lot more exciting than mine. I could have gone crazy in that candy store, as candy is my biggest love. I spent the weekend preparing food from our first CSA share and came to work today exhausted from being on my feet all weekend. Hoping to get more excited about the escarole and kale we got. Planning a trip to Niagra Falls in two weeks and am trying to book a hotel on Priceline. Even more important that we stick to the 4 star hotels based on your experience. Not that it's a barrier to dirty rooms, but I feel we've got a shot. We usually stay in timeshares, but can't get one this trip.

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    1. We stayed at Sheraton on the Falls when we went 2 years ago. It was a great view and we'd recommend it if you don't mind some street noise from crowds depending on how far up you are. We were in a corner suite on the 6th floor and were able to hear noise from below but it wasn't intolerable. Great view of the Falls and downtown/lit ferris wheel.

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  7. Sounds like a fantastic weekend! I spent mine lounging in some sand watching the waves crash in Carlsbad (!! :-) !!) and spoiling the daddy for Father's Day. I got crafty (a rarity!) and just made him feel like the King of the Castle that he is. It was fabulous...but doesn't sound nearly as fabulous as yours! Glad you enjoyed and Imma check Jake out!

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  8. This post made me so excited for our upcoming road trip next month! :D I love hitting up cute little stores and local eateries--sometimes the stuff you find on the way is just as good as the stuff you're actually traveling to see. :)

    I would FREAK OUT if that pillow were in my hotel room. Gross, gross, gross. I watch Hotel Impossible too, because I totally need more fuel to my OCD-ness about hotels. :P

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  9. You guys always do the coolest things that I would never think of. Care to create an activity list for our family-visiting vacation next month, so I can have a neat story too? lol We'll be going through Grand Junction, CO, Salt Lake City, UT and Montpelier, ID, then across I80 in ID to get back home. Leave me some time to hike to the top of Mt. Olympus in Salt Lake, if it isn't too hot.

    I think I'll just avoid looking at anything except for the mandatory bedbug check...I've lived this long without getting any dread diseases from questionable hotel linens. I don't use the bedspreads because they always weigh a ton and are too hot.

    This weekend? Absolutely nothing, unless you count the abortive Father's Day breakfast where we went to one of the nominee restaurants for best breakfast in Denver and couldn't get in the door. Ended up at Village Inn because we were starving...

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  10. Huh. Thought the Wyndham was a classier place. Guess I will stick to my Comfort Inn family. Usually a pretty clean place. As for the weekend, we went to the farmers market and on our walk home (daughter 16 and me) we got caught in a torrential downpour. With her nubile young boobies and my behemoth mounds in a white t-shirt with purple bra, did get some honks of appreciation LOL
    cheezchik32

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  11. Am back from my trip...just barely online and catching up. Glad you were able to plan a good weekend away and other than the hotel (eew) it all seemed to go well otherwise! Now I know why I take my own pillows on road trips...gag.

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  12. Aww, yay! I'm glad y'all had a good time (except for the crappy cupcake & murderous hotel room).

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  13. O!M!G!!! That pillow... YIKES!

    ...and THANK YOU for sharing Jake with us! Everyone in the family are now HUGE fans, and my Divine Miss O wants to learn ookehlehleh, LOL! I've scoured youtube and built a 'Jake Shimabukuro' file... I've listened to him every day since you wrote this post. The most touching part is that what an exceptional human being he is shines through his performances... I can see why you and the Mr. admire him so.

    ...and with every one of your Hawaii posts I fall more in love. It's now at the top of my 'places to visit' list, and sooner than later.

    I know I have not told you enough lately just what a blessing you are in my life... again... thank you for so generously sharing yourslef with me!

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