Thursday, August 28, 2008

Albuquerque, New Mexico: The Wedding (Part I)

people at a wedding: so i went to a wedding the other weekend. the wedding was in Albuquerque, which i kept misspelling with an extra E or U, sometimes an extra R. it just seems like that first U should be an E, no?

the bride: she was a good friend from high school named Christie, who was and still is a stunning doll who never seems to age. just love this girl. she’s all sugar.

Mo and me: given that Mo and i attended the same high school, he also knew Christie, so we made the trek to New Mexico together, leaving the dogs and house behind to take our first real vacation this year. (he looks great in a suit, huh?)

more high schoolers: Deo, Mo, Tim and Damien. all Class of ’94, middle-class, Valley-bred SOCES graduates taking advantage of the open bar.

and even more: me, Shannon, Ann and Raidis. all dolled up and trying not to melt under the New Mexican sun.

20 years and counting: my girl, Raidis, and i have known each other since the 6th grade. in 40 more years, we’ll be looking at nursing homes together, where we can sit in rocking chairs, talking about boys and our hip replacement surgeries.

the family: in total, nine CESers flew in for the wedding. top row from left: Suzanne, Mo, Tim, Christie, Deo, Damien, Ann, Shannon, me, Raidis. we’ve all stayed close through the years and still hang out regularly. people sometimes find it strange that i’ve remained tight with my high school friends, but i can’t imagine not staying close to those who endured puberty right alongside me. i plan to know these people for the rest of my life, and that gives me great comfort.

there was a groom, too: his name is Michael — great, great guy. sweet, smart med student and very deserving of our girl. he also has fantastic teeth that rival Christie’s own beautiful chompers. together, they make quite the colgate couple.

the surgical cut: the cake was tasteful and perfect like the rest of the wedding. it was also neato to see Christie’s family, whom i hadn’t seen since high school, and to meet her new friends, who asked for dirt on our gal, wondering what her nicknames were in school.

valedictorian: that was her nickname, because that’s what she was. she was also voted most likely to succeed. she attended Brown for undergrad, UCSF for medical school and now works as an ER doctor in Albuquerque. congratulations, Christie, you won!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Stuff and Things

  • the household: i received a rather pricey bill from the County of Los Angeles last month, called a “supplemental tax bill” (since property taxes don’t tax homeowners enough). the bill unsettled me — particularly its amount — so i paid a visit to the tax assessor’s office to get a few questions answered. after standing in three different lines in various offices, talking to countless people who couldn’t help me, a not-on-break employee finally noticed that the bill was not prorated as it should have been but instead was billed at the full amount for the fiscal year, meaning i was being taxed for a time period when the bank who repoed the house owned the house. County assured me it would repair the mistake and i would get a new bill in the mail for just my portion.

    a few weeks later, i received the new supplemental tax bill in the mail. the bill was for the same amount as before but now included a refund check that covered the bank’s portion. i called the County and asked what happened? “the refund is to help you pay your bill,” they told me. “why didn’t you just deduct the amount of the refund from the total?” i asked. “because that’s not how we do things.”

  • that earthquake: in case you missed it, LA was rattled by a 5.4 a few weeks back. i was at work when it happened, on the 33rd floor of a downtown highrise, talking to a coworker in New York when the trembling started. when i’m faced with frustrating, frightening situations, my impulse is to start swearing like a goddamn cocksucking motherfucker, so that’s what i did — while on the phone with a virtual stranger. “fuck, shit, goddamn motherfucker. it’s an earthquake happening. I NEED TO CALL YOU BACK!!” then i dove under my desk and stayed there until the shaking subsided. first call went to Mo, who’s stationed at home during the day, “how’s the house???” Mo said house was fine, held up well. we hung up a moment later and i realized i forgot to ask him how he and the dogs held up. fuck.

  • those Olympics: at first, i was resigned not to watch them because i knew that watching them would mean becoming obsessed with them. now that i’m obsessed, i’ve become slightly depressed over the fact that these young athletes have accomplished more in their short lives than i ever will with the remainder of mine. i used to think that being a rock star was the greatest profession on earth because it meant never having to get up early, but now i’m convinced that being an athlete is the way to go, because even though athletes need to rise early, they get to eat a lot and spend their days popping off endorphins. i’m also convinced that i will marry Michael Phelps.

  • the day Juice went missing: i swore far more that day than i did the day of the earthquake. but yes, there was a day the other week when Juice got out and got gone. she was found an hour later a block away with some kind neighbors who took her in, but fucking hell, that hour Mo and i spent scouring the streets looking for her was the shittiest hour of my life. i actually held it together quite well until the moment i saw her again, at which point i started bawling like an asshole, at which point she started licking my face. i spent the rest of the day in such a state, my only relief lying on the floor cuddling with both dogs while my heart tried to reconstitute itself.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

The Stone Brewery

field tripping: Mo and i had been talking about going out of town for ages, but issues with the house, the dogs, the money made it difficult to just get up and go. still, we were aching for a breakin, so we settled on the Stone Brewery. located in north San Diego, it’s nearby enough to not require the burning of too much gas in getting there but far away enough to make us feel like we’re really out of town.

giddy Mo: like a kid in a candy store, a Mo in a beer shop, the Stone brand, with its Arrogant Bastard Ale, is one of Mo’s favorite microbrews.

impressive: they had about a kazillion beers on tap, most of which change daily and can’t be bought in stores.

manic panic on tap: at the time of our visit, the brewery was participating in some annual event where its employees and fans are asked to dye their hair blue to raise money for beer awareness or something. oh wait, it was for childrens charities. hiccup — pass the pale ale.

back to the beer: it was pretty damn tasty, especially for a gal like me who has an underdeveloped beer palate. Mo was in hops heaven, sampling everything on the menu and bringing home a growler filled with one of Stone’s anniversary brews, which was aged in a brandy barrel, alcohol content: 10.25%.

schlemiel, schlimazel: we took a free tour of the actual brewery, which provided a lesson on how beer is made, plus a walkthrough of the premises.

not quaker oatmeal: apparently, beer is made with a lot of rolled oats, or yeast, or barley or something. i was quite drunk at this point so i’m not sure what the tour dude said.

did she get it at Ross? i was so drunk that i kept urging Mo to ask the girl in the orange halter top where she got her shirt. “tell her you want to buy one for your girlfriend,” i said to Mo, who was too busy calculating how many cases of beer would fit in the trunk of my car.

total Stoner: that’s what they call fans of the Stone Brewery. our tour guide was definitely one, leading the tour as he did, beer in hand, while explaining the fermentation process and restating that “yellow, fizzy beer is for sissies.”

kegggggerssss: there were so many. felt like college.

and the food: beyond just the drinking, there was plenty of eating to be done. we had two different meals in the brewery’s “world bistro” restaurant, which served crazy incredible food, some of which was prepared with Stone’s own beers, like the Arrogant Bastard Onion Rings. the restaurant was mighty gorgeous, designed with stones and pebbles, and with this huge wall of glass that faced the back patio.

babylon: the landscaping was also first class, with the most lovely, fragrant gardens everywhere. it provided me with many good ideas on how to landscape the house, which is currently surrounded by dirt and dead grass. something tells me Mo won’t mind growing hops in the front yard.

back to hell-lay: the “vacation” was short-lived (just one saturday night in Escondido), and it wasn’t entirely relaxing as Mo and i had a spat after dinner, but getting away is always good. i’m sure this had everything to do with the beer.