It was very “Closer”. He was disarming.

I had a great weekend. You know what I did this past weekend? I kayaked for four hours and fed a bouncer/door guy M&M’s. Plain *and* peanut. And I got to go dancing! At an Indian reservation casino! And I ate at Bogart Yogurt, Valentine’s and the Julian Cafe.

But the highlight was really the door guy. Or the feeding of the door guy. We were walking back from Ralphs and I had two packets of M&M’s in my hand– we’d been eating them since we left the store– and I ran back and offered him some. I’d noticed him on the way to the store and noticed him again on the way back; as they say in baseball, he was "caught looking", you see. Granted, I was out with The Wife, and 11 times out of 10 when guys look our way, they’re looking at her (she insists it’s the other way around, but if they are looking at me, it’s because they think that if they get on my good side I’ll introduce them to her), but in the end, I didn’t have enough of a reason not to turn around and chat him up. Because you *know* it was a good weekend when you can return home and announce to people that you fed the door guy at the Bitter End M&M’s.

And then next weekend– this coming weekend– I’ll be in Arizona! In Tempe/the general Phoenix area! Home of the Sock Zombie lady! (And, apparently, scorpions.) Summer. Yum!

America’s Finest City of Sin

To this day, if you asked me to tell you why San Diego is such a great place and what exactly it has going for it and why anyone should want to live there, I could talk your ear off until *you* got blue in the face just listening to me. For every one reason why Las Vegas is a terrific place to call home, I could give you ten for San Diego.

It’s a funny thing, though: after I left the first time, after the first time I started settling and making a life for myself here in Vegas, I sort… "got over" San Diego. There were a hundred million things in San Diego that I missed like hell on a regular basis– to say nothing of the people in San Diego I missed with equal misery– but I was done with the city. I went back on Super Bowl weekend back in 2006 and visited friends and old favorite haunts and as fabulous as every second of that weekend was, I was acutely aware of how I had no desire whatsoever to live there anymore. And people kept pestering me all that Sunday– why didn’t I move back to SD? I didn’t have anything going on in Las Vegas at that time (I was, in fact, sending out my resume to countless companies in the Bay Area then, desperately trying to relocate *there*) and clearly San Diego was chock full of things that made me happy! But the more they pestered, the more I got annoyed and the more I strengthened my resolve to be over that city for good.

And then two months later I moved back. But that was because of a job offer that was too good to pass up– and I honestly had nothing keeping me in Vegas, had no reason to stay, had too many sensible reasons to move.

And *then* the tables turned and I had every reason to come back to Vegas and little, if anything at all, tying me to San Diego. And here I came, and here I stay. I know where I want to go in terms of a long-run career and I have a general idea of what I want to do and how to go about these next two years. This is the place for me– probably not forever, but for a good, good while.

So– I can understand that, leaving a place you love and leaving people you miss and who miss you too, leaving and not coming back even though what you left it for doesn’t really present itself as all that advantageous. Just as I can understand coming back right after you swore you never would, not again, not ever– can understand circumstances changing so that you have enough of a reason to come back, as opposed to simply not having enough of a reason to stay where you moved. I can understand all that– and I do.

That being said: I miss the Cove, Valentine’s, kayaking, the OB tide pools, Big Sonic Chill, Bogart Yogurt, my alma mater, the 992 line, Julian, that salad shop on 8th and F, Golden Hill, and– of course– Balbloa (the second "l", it’s silent). Among many, many other things. San Diego, I love you with all my heart. I’ll visit again someday.

My back? It’s pretty much screaming: “TROGDOR WAS HERE.”

I’m such a sunscreen maniac, typically– I will nag you to death if we’re going to be out in the sun for an extended period of time, just to reassure myself that you’re wearing sunscreen, because people getting sunburned is a pet peeve of mine. Maybe not, like, Top Ten Pet Peeves-esque, but somewhere in the Peeves Number 25-50 range. You get the idea.

So I am thoroughly disgusted with myself because I am currently an icky-thump shade of red all over, red in places I didn’t know could even *get* burned, DESPITE HAVING WORN SUNSCREEN. And! Despite having REAPPLIED sunscreen! Twice! Fuck you, banana boat. Daylight come and you wanna go home? Here’s a better idea: how ’bout you stay the shit put and do what you’re supposed to do– namely, keep my skin from getting burned— instead? Boo.

Anyhow. This is my last day in San Diego– I’m leaving for L.A. tonight after Lindy by the Bay. I had a good, good stay– I got to see friends and catch up and I got to eat my happy only-in-SD-food (sometimes both! at the same time!): Valentine’s twice, Santana’s once, Bogart Yogurt twice, and V. introduced me to a nice vegetarian place inside a food court in Sorrento Valley. Mmm, soy.

I also finally got to meet, *really* meet, a lot of local follows. I’ve always felt slightly uncomfortable because I only know the leads down here, but– still, even now, women intimidate me and I can’t fathom how to just start up a conversation with another female. Somehow, though, conversation happened and I’m all the more grateful for it.

All right. Time to pack, then off to the drugstore for after-sun stuff, and then– dancing! And then driving! And eventually sleeping. Yay, sleep.

Though I’d also like to point out that we did NOT get a tandem, because I’m not a pansy

Did I forget to mention that on Saturday, we went kayaking? In Mission Bay? And saw a canoe race? We did! We went kayaking in Mission Bay and saw a canoe race, from start to finish, and man did it take forever for "finish" to happen. I waved to a bunch of people who all waved back and the weather was nice and the guy who was working at the rental shop was really laid-back and friendly and only charged us for an hour because he (conveniently) had forgotten to track how long we were out there.

And we *meant* to take pictures, but neither of us a) wanted to risk taking our digital cameras out on the water and b) thought to pick up a cheap waterproof film camera beforehand. So I don’t have pictures to show you. So here are two pictures of two other people kayaking:

That’s what we looked like! Except our kayaks were blue and neither of us wore our life jacket, and also I’m not blonde and am maybe half the height of that girl, and he wasn’t wearing a shirt and is about twice the height of that guy. (He’s TALL. His height eats heights like mine for breakfast.)

Anyway. The point of all this is really just to explain why, tonight, at Henry’s Pub, dear and beloved Henry’s Pub, home of the Stilettos and home to good ol’ swingin’ rockabilly fun every Tuesday night, I only lasted one set and one break, net total of less than two hours, because apparently KAYAKING? KAYAKING WORKS YOUR LEGS LIKE A MOTHERFUCKER. I thought my quads were just going to detach themselves and fall off tonight, fall off right on the dance floor. Who knew!

Still, it was worth it, if only for the canoe race. And for the diving fishermen by the rocks, one of whom caught a 40-lb. halibut. And the pelicans and the kelp beds and the everything else. It was a really nice afternoon, and if I had to sacrifice the functioning of my legs for something, I guess I can’t really mind sacrificing them for all that. Even if I don’t have any pictures to show for it.

I see you baby, shakin’ that thing

Oh, San Diego leads. You keep me dancing in a whirlwind of melodies and only let me leave the floor long enough to hastily take a sip of water. I adore you.

Also, what happens when you make nice with one of the guitarists from the band during their set breaks:

[right before they all go up for their final set]

Other Guitarist Who’s Kind of Cute: Hey, so you can play drums for us, right?
Me: What??
Other Guitarist: You’re gonna play drums for us this last set.
Me: Oh! Ha ha. Right, right. Of *course* I can play drums! [smiles agreeably, remains firmly in seat at the bar]

At which point the original guitarist with whom I’d been chatting reappeared, holding out a pair of maracas and motioning for me to scoot over to the stage.

Though there were only about six of us left in the bar, I was *humiliated.* While also, admittedly, kind of thrilled, in that oh-my-god-I’m-so-embarassed-but-this-is-kind-of-cool sort of way. I protested (A LOT) but, in the end, obliged.

They had me up there for three songs. I played two varieties of maracas and a tambourine, for the most part while holding a rubber iguana in my left hand. It was– interesting, to say the least.

If the rest of my weekend turns out crappy, tonight will have more than made up for it in advance.

Hey look! I’m a shopping blog!

Not really.

But in case you might possibly be able to benefit from this: Henry’s has pluots on sale through Oct. 4 and I just tried one and it’s super sweet. And pluot-y.

Also, they have white peaches and yellow peaches and cantaloupe and Gala apples and Rome apples on sale. And Bartlett pears are 4 lbs./$1.00, which is super super on sale.

(Wait, you mean it’s *not* normal for people who are getting ready to move out of their apartments in a week’s time to overstock their fridge with a small orchard’s worth of produce? What?)

Mmm, fruit.

Restaurants: Salad Style

Salad Style has more of a cafe setting, in that there is room inside for about four people with three small tables outside. So, you know. In real estate terms, it’s "cozy."

And, go figure, they serve salads! Gourmet salads. Organic-y gourmet salads. I usually shy away from food that so flagrantly strives to be healthy, and organic food has a reputation of being very tasteless, but Salad Style is really, surprisingly, delightfully yummy.

I say all this, of course, having only eaten their one non-leafy salad, the Morning Glory. But anyone who can make organic plain yogurt work wins buckets of accolades from me, period, because *really.* ORGANIC. PLAIN. YOGURT. Ew.

Still. I’m longing for a Pluto’s. Or at least something close to it.

I was a biorhythmic rock star today

Reasons why today was GREAT:

  1. I got to wake up in my sleep-compatible squish-flump happy happy bed
  2. Without the backache I had last night
  3. I still have two bags of frozen grapes in my freezer. Hello, breakfast!
  4. My plants seem to have not noticed that I left them for over a week without water. To the point where I suspiciously wondered if someone had broken into the place, saw them all wilted and pathetic, took pity on them and watered them before making off with… nothing, apparently. Maybe there’s a Dehydrated Plant Intervention community out here, I dunno.
  5. The sales consultant at the Cingular off Qualcomm was fantastic. FANTASTIC. His name is John Cheshier, and he actually knows his shit when it comes to mobile phones, and mobile phone technology, and mobile phone competitors, and… and… stuff. Mobile stuff. He goes to seminars and workshops and the like, where he stays updated on the newest mobile, um, stuff. And he’s quiet and unintrusive and not-pushy, and he made a very nice comment regarding the stability of Verizon’s network (personally, I wrinkle my nose at anything not GSM, but I guess if you never have any plans to venture outside of this country, CDMA or the Sprint network would make sense).
  6. (Seriously? If you live in San Diego and need anything Cingular-related done, I enthusiastically encourage you to go through him. It’s hard enough to find Cingular people who are friendly OR knowledgeable… to find one person who’s BOTH? Needle in a haystack, my friends.)
  7. The BBQ House next to Belmont Park ran out of hummus right before I got there, but I really wanted my falafel so I just shrugged and said that was fine, so the cashier didn’t charge me the full menu price.
  8. I went to Trader Joe’s to get my own damn hummus, and discovered these really great frozen fruit juice bar things called Fruit Floes. I bought the Caribbean flavor (strawberry, pineapple, mango, passion fruit, coconut flakes). They’re little pieces of heaven on a stick, at 4/$1.87. Mmm.
  9. My cashier at TJs was super friendly. So I super-friendly-y inquired about the roll of stickers by the register and asked what they were for, and he said they were for people who like stickers, usually kids but not always. And then he asked if I liked stickers, and I said why yes, I do! So he gave me a long strip of stickers. Yay, free stickers!
  10. My parking karma was spot-on all day: Belmont Park, Mission Valley, Hillcrest– and downtown. I was dreading going home because it was 6:30 by the time I got on the 163 South and the Padres (vs. Dodgers) game started at 7:00. So of course it was a lurching stop-and-go drive the whole way. But I get into my garage, and right on the second level, not too far from the stairs– is an open spot! King of kings!
  11. Also, my transponder ACTUALLY WORKED with the main entrance. It never works with that entrance (another reason I hate games– they close off all the other entrances except that one during games), and I always end up swearing profusely, backing up (if possible), and getting a damn ticket from the machine to activate the lever. Supposedly I need to turn in those tickets and just explain that I’m a 24/7 monthly and the attendant makes a note on the back and I go on my merry way, but I just throw them away. Or let them collect under the clip on the passenger sun visor.
  12. Bri and I made plans to have a late breakfast tomorrow, which will be the perfect way to start tomorrow off.
  13. Speaking of tomorrow: Zambeedo is going to be at the Mission Valley Costco again. Which means I’ll be there again. To buy more ice cream. Because it’s little pieces of heaven, in a carton. No stick required!
  14. And finally, the best and biggest reason why today is a good, good day: it’s my moozie’s [1] birthday! She was still in Honolulu today, but she and my grandfather left for Las Vegas late tonight and will arrive home early Thursday, and I’m sure all her friends have plenty of shenanigan celebrating planned for her.

[1] For the non-bookworm-children, moozie = mommy. I’ll petition for your immediate admission into the Speed Racers League of Awesomeness [2] if you know, or can find, the origin of "Moozie" [3]. Or maybe I’ll just bake you some Very Special Baked Goods and mail them to you.
[2] And extra super bonus brownie points if you know the origin of *that* reference.
[3] Actually pretty hard to find on the Internet. I checked. Hint: it has nothing to do with cows.

Battle of the Residiencies (euphemisms not included. Maybe.)

Here’s the thing. I’m in love with Las Vegas. I fought against it for
years and years, and then I left it to go to college, and at some point
during the transition, I realized that the reason I loathed it with
such a passion was because deep down, I was really actually rather in
love with it.

There’s no good REASON for me to love this city, though. It offers me nothing
of much use, and it has its sporadic moments of entertainment value and
it’s fun to visit, but as far as long-term commitment? I’ve always
known I could never settle here. I’ve always known I would never want
to raise a family here. But even without the hopes of a future with
this city, I still can’t let it go. I still can’t close the door. I
still can’t keep myself from coming back, from wanting to come back.

I’m not a desert person, and I don’t smoke, drink or gamble. I’m not
compatible with Las Vegas. I love forests and green mountains and
rivers and lakes and oceans and seas. I love seasons and snow. Las
Vegas is a fickle and unfaithful city, and each time I come back,
regardless of how long my absence was, something has changed. A
favorite haunt has gone out of business, or new buildings have sprung
up and now block the once-lovely viewing of this-or-that. It knows no
boundaries, forever verging on excess, forever extending its spiderweb
of housing and commerce.

California, on the other hand, has never offered me anything less than
ideal surroundings. It’s home to a host of fabulous cultures, home to great food
and music and museums and outdoor activities. Stretching up and down
its vast coastline are either memories I hold dear in my heart or
memories just waiting to be formed. California is good to me,
California understands my needs and caters to them, and effortlessly.
California recycles and thinks kindly of vegetarians.

Las Vegas is a city that doesn’t appreciate what it has until it’s too late. California is a state that *does.*

California makes me laugh and smile for a universe of countless
reasons. Las Vegas makes me cry for two: because so much hurt and
unhappiness have taken place here, and because I don’t know how to be
okay with having left.

For the most part, I like the person I am when I’m in California. Rarely does a
second go by when I don’t detest the person I feel I am when I’m in
Las Vegas.

Yet for all that, I just. can’t. let. go.

On a slightly related note– why are there always incredibly attractive
men wearing suits everywhere I look when I’m at McCarran? Certainly
they came from *somewhere,* and odds are good that at least *some* of
them came from southern CA, so why the hell do I never see them there?

Attention, attractive men wearing suits: have you heard of this great
little city called San Diego? You should maybe visit it sometime, or
better yet, just move! We, too, have an airport there. And a convention
center. Both are air-conditioned. So, you know, you can keep wearing
your suits. In comfort.

Just a suggestion.

One of the best Saturdays *ever* ever

Saturday consisted of lots of movies and lots of swing dancing. And homemade grilled sandwiches and ice cream and roses. I am content beyond content.

From "Barnyard":

  • Mr. Beady: "Your mind’s gone, woman! Where’d it go? I don’t know, but it’s gone!"
  • Mrs. Beady: "I am not crazy. I am medicated for a chemical imbalance!"

I’m not the hugest fan of that movie, but the first quote had me in giggling fits for hours after the movie ended. That crazy woman and her squashy hick husband were maybe the highlight of the entire thing– everything else was such a blatant rip-off of "The Lion King." But for what it’s worth, I laughed more than any of the kids who were in the theater. I’m easily amused– go figure.

Also, I’m still all wonky with hormones right now, apparently, as I kept tearing up throughout the movie. The trailers, too, come to think of it. Damn.

"Cars" was lovely and sweet and beautiful, and I only choked up at the end, at the closing of the Big Bad Race. Because it was just so darn sentimental and touching and blah et cetera blah. The end credits bonus scenes were precious, and I love that my birdies from the "For the Birds" short made a split-second cameo in the movie.

And Lindy by the Bay was approximately four hours straight of dancing. I think I sat out only three or four songs– and am very, very thankful that I was lucky enough to have so many wonderful, darling, fas-ma-tasmic (and patient!) leads to keep me on my feet.

Post-dancing, I drove over to PB and ended up watching a *third* movie with Ro– "Ice Age 2: The Meltdown"! I’d told him he had to see it because of the mammoths-in-a-tree thing (mammoths are close enough to elephants, and we are both big, big suckers for elephant jokes), and I’d wanted to rent it so we could have a triple-header animated movie day, but then found out it wasn’t on DVD yet and wouldn’t be until November. So I poutily settled for a double-header. But the All-Mighty Rohan doesn’t take no for an answer (Core Values #1 and #3 at work) and he managed to procure the movie. So we watched it.

And now I’m home at last and desperately need to get in the shower, and then clean clean clean before I jump on a plane (snakes-free) and head out of town (again) for four days.

I’m thoroughly drained. But so, so happy.