Saturday, January 27, 2018

gloriousness


 BSP is back after a week away. I took a few days to jet down to southern California. I'm no sun-worshiper (am I?) but it was an idyllic few days.
  • The fun started in Riverside with lovely friends, their adorable mini-schnauzer, and delicious Mexican food at El Corral--chile relleno and heaps of spicy rice, and a dessert of Mexican cookies and cake
  • Saturday brunch was at Simple Simon's. I inhaled a cinnamon-sugar donut muffin, and part of a bear claw. And about a gallon of coffee.
  • We strolled around the farmer's market, cheered on Women's Marchers and admired their signs, bought cara cara oranges and sweet limes (delish! how did I not know about these before?), browsed a used bookstore, then repaired to my friends' comfy house for hot tubbing, games, and general lazing around.
  • Next was dinner at Casa Mota, a beloved Mexican restaurant re-opening that very day, after being closed for over a year. The wait was predictably long, but people watching kept us going, and we were finally shown to a booth, handed 32-oz beers and plates of hot, spicy, deliciousness.
  • We capped off the night with a drag show at VIP Nightclub. $5 Long Island Iced Teas, a fun crowd and a gamut of glam performers.
  • Sunday started a little rocky, but we roused ourselves for brunch at Brandon's, and zomg if this wasn't the best Mexican food yet. Chilaquiles doused in a tangy green sauce, and a side of cinnamon roll French toast. And strong dark coffee. YES please. We ambled around the swap meet for a bit, unfortunately got stuck in a traffic jam, then back to the house to relax a bit before catching a cab to the Ontario airport to pick up a rental car.
  • Next stop: Venice Beach! After a stop at Ralph's to stock up on snacks, vodka and tonic water, we walked down to the beach and randomly caught some music at The Terrace Cafe. The food was meh and the beer even more meh but the reggae band was energetic, Jah Faith sang the classics with a degree of authority, and my pal swooned into a cannabis-infused gin gimlet.
  • Monday started with a need for coffee, so we made our way past the lush canals to Cafe Menotti, where the gorgeous baristas were gentle and helpful and even threw a few hangout recommendations my way. Also, the chocolate chunk cookies with sea salt changed my world. So. Delicious.
  • Fortified, we made our way along the beach. enjoying sun and sand and 70-something temps. On the way back to our airbnb, we hiked up Abbot Kinney, window shopping, smirking at hipsters, and making a quick pitstop in Blue Star Donuts where we threw down cash (the register was down) for a key lime filled doughnut. OMG. Again, YES. 
  • After an afternoon rest and a vodka tonic on the deck, we headed out for a quick burger (at a chain that shall remain nameless) and met up with a pal. Next stop, Townhouse, a loungey spot with a tall, florid, white-haired bartender who whipped up a Manhattan, a Shirley Temple and a G&T tout suite. We hung by the pool table, aimlessly playing and chatting, until a young guy and girl came over and chatted us all up. They bought a round of tequila shots (I abstained) and the silliness increased. An older couple (swingers? we wondered. Tourists? Both?) came over and we eventually peaced out, hugging our young friends good-bye. (We later saw the guy on his ass, having just fallen off his skateboard, laughing.) Last stop, up Abbot Kinney to The Brig. The beer was good and the clientele was weird. Many statement moustaches. A gorgeous couple joined us on the couch by the window, the woman lithe and blond and distraught--she'd lost her keys. Her handsome companion whispered "I have two sets." By the end of the evening we were hugging good-bye.
  • Tuesday--last full day in Venice. After a restorative breakfast at Cafe Buna--my omelet had plantain, avocado and black beans--we rented bikes and rode up to Santa Monica. It's a flat, carless, pleasant ride. We had an iced coffee and some watermelon juice midway, then pedaled back. The afternoon was beach time--books, sand, snacks, sun, the waves crashing, surfers bobbing. So, so pleasant. Then we hopped the 733 bus back to Santa Monica, grabbed an unbelievable vegetable juice at Urth Caffe--beets, celery, carrot, ginger--then worked our way back to Venice along Main St, stopping in at thrift stores along the way.
  • Dinner was at the Firestone Walker brewery. Delicious beer and buffalo cauliflower--yum. Early to bed, as we were completely pooped.
  • Our last morning was back to Cafe Menotti, with a quick stop for a breakfast sandwich, and then up to the beach to enjoy the waves and watch the skateboarders. The flight back was quick and uneventful (and only $69). Exiting Seatac into 45 degrees and rain felt a little sad, but also right. Time to get back to life.

Monday, January 8, 2018

surprise fun

I'm a bit of a nonconformist when it comes to watching TV and movies. I don't really get the national Zeitgeist most of the time--until I do. There were two movies that I watched recently that were so surprisingly good that I wished I'd listened to the hype and watched them earlier. Both rocky non-traditional relationship movies. Am I a softy after all?
Lordy.

First: The Incredible Jessica James:


Second, The Big Sick:


B

Saturday, January 6, 2018

fangurl

As an early birthday present for myself, I invited a few friends to a hip hop show last night.
Y'all know my deep love for PNW hip hop and it's been awhile since I caught a full show.
I was super excited to see Gifted Gab again (who was sweet enough to take a photo with a few of us and wish me a happy bday).


Another treat was the saucy, confident Dadabassed.
My music world in 2018 is off to a fresh start. 

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

the whirliest whirl

This may be the whirliest bunch of holidaze I've experienced in awhile.
2018 est arrivé and I am grateful and yes, a little pooped.
I had a slight pause after the Hannukah l'chaims, for a medical milestone (everything came out okay).
Then the aforementioned dog-sitting (and bonus days of cat-sitting).
Christmas Eve and--snow! And whiskey with good friends.
Christmas morning and--more snow! I fed the kitty and nervously watched the skies.
Fortunately, the roads cooperated and the fam was able to gather and celebrate for a few hours. Small gifts, a board game, some snowballs, a ton of food and some cranberry-garnished sangria.
Another happy hour over craft cocktails. And yes another happy hour two days later at a favorite spot with good pals, over nachos and frosty beers.
Finally, New Year's Eve, and a cold ferry ride up to Whidbey Island, to a friend's cabin for more whiskey, laughs and cheers for the new year.
Yesterday dawned cold and sunny. Gradually stirring from my cozy sleeping bag, I watched a woodpecker hop from tree to tree. A cute little pup cuddled in my lap. I drank hot coffee and hit the road and took in a sweeping, glorious vista.
It's a new year, calendar-wise, and I feel a hint of optimism.

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