Sea Life

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We had a Company event in Monterey, California on Thursday and Friday.  Four of us drove down together on Thursday morning – a few hour’s drive.  The 3 others in the car had never been to Monterey before.  I, myself, haven’t been in more than 20 years.  The Company had us lodged at the Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa.  The hotel and rooms were very nice and the staff was great.  After presentations on Thursday, we had tickets to check out the Monterey Bay Aquarium from 3:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.  At 5:30 p.m. our group was given a private, after hours tour of the Aquarium for an hour.  That was great for me, as I’d never seen the Aquarium before; the line was always too long to get in.  The ticket is expensive at $37.95, so we were happy that our Company was covering our admission!  My favorite part of the Aquarium was the jellyfish exhibit, which yielded some amazing photos.  The private tour was quite interesting, too; they have several volunteer divers working after hours cleaning out the tanks, getting “eggs” and feeding the fish.

Here’s what I saw:

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A Musical Moment

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Back in 2012 I’d come upon a video on YouTube of a guy named Kaipo Kapua singing a song called “Before You Know It.”  I was crazy for that song and played it constantly.  He’s got a smooth voice and sings mainly R&B, hip hop and reggae type music.  Kaipo is based in Honolulu, so my chances of seeing him perform were slim to none.  Even on myriad trips to the Islands, he was always performing either right before I arrived, right after I left or on another island while I was there!  Imagine my excitement to see his Instagram account announce that he would be in San Francisco for TWO consecutive nights performing at my preferred venue, Pa’ina Lounge.  (On a side note, I’m so over being trampled and elbowed by rude people at Mezzanine.  Big Body Cisco annoys the crap out of me, too, with his same shtick for every single concert – “Where my Samoan people at?” “Where my Giants fans at?” Plus, he plays the same music to try to hype the crowd up.  But that’s none of my business.  :) )  Getting back to Kaipo at Pa’ina…  I marked my calendar tout suite! On Wednesday I showed up at 5:35 p.m. or thereabouts.  Although they open at 3:00 p.m., I was the only customer at that time; everyone else inside was staff.  I plopped down at the bar and ordered some Kahlua pig cheese fries and a Sapporo.  I also inquired as to whether they had butterscotch schnapps; wanted the same butterscotch and Bailey’s shot from Vegas!  They didn’t have butterscotch schnapps, but thought the Bailey’s might be tasty with some Frangelico.  Not bad, but I still prefer the butterscotch. Kaipo went onstage around 7:15 p.m.  Surprisingly, not many people were there.  I sat in the front row all by my lonesome, there was a table with 4 people a little further back and that was it.  All of the other customers continued to sit in the upstairs area.  They were definitely listening to his music, but were rooted to their original seats!  I won’t complain, though, because I had an unobstructed view (for once) and thoroughly enjoyed his set.  Not only that, but I chatted with Romeo Valentine and him afterwards, as well as taking a few photos with him.  I told them that I might be back the next night, although I was supposed to have drinks with a friend. As it turns out, my friend had to cancel on Thursday because she ended up having a job interview later in the day.  In addition, I’d come to the realization that I’d left my credit card at Pa’ina Lounge!  Thus, it must have been fate.  I walked in on Thursday closer to 6:00 p.m. and explained that I’d left my credit card there the previous night.  My card had been safely put away and was given back to me immediately, which enabled me to charge more drinks on it!  When Kaipo and Romeo walked in, Romeo said “Tina’s back” (or something to that effect) and we said our “hellos.”  This time when he got on stage, there were definitely more people, but I still got a front row seat!  That’s a big plus when you’re vertically challenged!  When his sets were over, Kaipo hugged me goodbye and I told them I’d see them in a month.  He’ll be back at Pa’ina Lounge on March 11th, along with the Jimmy Weeks Project. I’m not personally a huge fan of the Jimmy Weeks Project, but I’ll show up to support Kaipo (and probably leave after his set!).  So I’ve taken this musical moment to give him a little promotion.  Check him out!

Me and Kaipo

Me and Kaipo

And he's wearing my hat!

And he’s wearing my hat!

Blasts From the Past

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You know how one of my New Year’s resolutions was to reconnect with people from my past?  My track record since right before New Year’s Eve is fairly good, all things considered.

Tonight’s reconnection was with S., a guy I’d gone to college with for a year at California State University, Chico.  We haven’t seen each other since 1980!!!  I found him on LinkedIn about a year and a half ago.  We’d planned to do lunch shortly thereafter, which never materialized.  I made a bit more of an effort this time and, after one failed attempt, we managed to meet for drinks this evening.

How does 35 years go by so quickly?  It seems like just yesterday that we were sitting in the lobby of Whitney Hall watching “General Hospital” between classes, eating burgers at Madison Bear Garden and drinking adult beverages out of brown paper bags after hours at the dorm.  S. and I didn’t necessarily hang out together all that much, but he was kind of like a brother to me.  I reminded him that I, he and several others had gone to a party off-campus once.  We’d all been rip roaring drunk and most of us ended up staying over at this apartment.  Someone had put cushions out for me to sleep on, which had been comfortable enough.  However, when I got up to go use the facilities, S. had snaked my spot!  When I came back and asked him to move, he was drunk and refused!  Luckily, someone else took me “under their wing,” so to speak, and deposited me in their bedroom on a comfy bed.  S. said that he “vaguely” remembered that party and refusing to move when I wanted to lay down again!  What he didn’t remember was the time we got drunk and made out!  It was all him, though, I swear!  I was just going with the flow!  Back in the day, that kind of thing could happen without any fallout the following morning (i.e. no strange behavior; all back to normal).

We both had questions as to which classmates we’d been in touch with.  Unfortunately, I found out that someone I’ve been searching for had died of AIDS several years ago.  (I miss you, G.  I particularly remember you picking me up one night out in front of the dorm and twirling me around for no particular reason; we were just happy.)

When they say that hindsight is 20/20, they aren’t kidding.  If I could have those days/time back, I wouldn’t change MUCH, just a little.  I definitely would have lived in the moment more and appreciated it more, though.  So, although reconnecting is a good thing, it also brings back those bittersweet memories.

On a happier note, we’re talking about the Playboy Jazz Festival in L.A. in June; he said he hasn’t been in years.  I’m thinking we should try a little reunion of sorts of people that went to Chico and particularly those that are living in L.A. right now.  Will let you know how it goes.

S. and Me

S. and Me

 

 

Date Night

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I came upon another great idea on-line, somewhat akin to the Memory Jar.  You and your significant other should make a “Date Night” jar.  Take some popsicle sticks, write date night suggestions on them and put them in a Mason jar.  You could even color code them to indicate a price range (i.e. red for expensive, green for medium and blue for inexpensive, or whatever).  If you decide to have a Date Night once a week or every other week, you take turns choosing a “stick,” depending on what budget you can afford for the day/evening.  Some of my Date Night/Day suggestions would be to watch a chick flick, volunteer somewhere together, read romance novels aloud to each other, make lunch/dinner for the other based on a theme (Italian night, opera night, etc.), spend the day at the zoo, picnic in the park, & so on & so forth.  I could even make an “Activity” jar for myself, which wouldn’t even require anyone else to participate with me.  I could, for instance, go to a matinee, go to a museum, write a letter to someone, stroll through an unfamiliar neighborhood, attempt to sketch for an hour, etc.  – things that don’t even necessarily cost money.  Get to it, people!

Remember That Trip to SE Asia?

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Uh, yeah, well, I’ve obviously been remiss in filling you in on all of the details.  Then again, you had a little insight into Bophut Beach in Koh Samui, Thailand.  Let me give you a quick run-through of the rest.

Bangkok – the original City of Sin.  I didn’t see any of that side of Bangkok.  I met up with a guy that used to temp in my office here in San Francisco a couple of times for dinner.  For the rest of my time there, my ex took me around.  He took me to the Grand Palace, which was magnificent.  I’m all about that bling and there’s plenty of it at the Grand Palace.  He bought a flower and incense for each of us, then instructed me in the proper way to make an offering there.  We also sat beneath the Emerald Buddha; no pictures of it were allowed inside – only through the window from the outside.  The famous Reclining Buddha is at Wat Pho, which is also famous for having a massage school on the premises.  I was in awe of the Reclining Buddha and could barely tear myself away because gazing on his face seriously took me to the most peaceful place in my psyche.  I wanted to sit next to him for hours.  The ex and I had dual foot massages at the massage school, though; he’d asked if I wanted full body massages, but I wasn’t down for any Thai massage torture at a temple!  During the rest of my time in Bangkok, he took me to a flower market and bought some beautiful orchids for me, which I placed all around my apartment.  We did some shopping in both Chatuchak Market (a.k.a. JJ Market) and Chinatown.  I would easily get lost in Chatachuk, but there were some fantastic ethnic clothing/jewelry places there.  On the next trip, I’ll be concentrating on those.  The little warren of alleys in Chinatown were too claustrophobic for me to browse for long.  We had something specific in mind – baggy silk sleeping pants, which one ties in a huge knot in the front to hold them up.  We found them and each of us bought two pairs!  Outside of Bangkok, he took me to some strange “Chinese temple,” featuring a huge dragon.  Unfortunately, the dragon reminded me more of a Disneyland dragon or Puff the Magic Dragon rather than a serious one.  I won’t complain, though; we spent some quality time together driving there, looking around and driving back.  We also drove to Ayuthaya, where we rode an elephant and saw a few of the temple grounds.  I was really taken with those temples and hope to see more of the other grounds on a future trip.

One afternoon I flew to Chiang Mai to see an Italian friend, E.  He used to work at a restaurant in San Francisco that I frequented, but now owns his own restaurant in Chiang Mai.  He’d urged me to come up for a visit, so I did a quick one-day trip, which amounted to about an hour’s flight each way.  E. picked me up at the airport via motorbike and we rode up the mountain to see a little waterfall and the temple known as Doi Suthep, then had lunch and tooled around the Old Quarter of town.  We ended by drinking a bottle of wine at his restaurant.

My trip to Bali in the midst of Thailand was wonderful, of course.  I’d missed Bali so much and was surprised at the fancy new airport and highway construction.  My birthday was celebrated with a fabulous dinner at Sarong, my favorite restaurant.  A couple of Italian acquaintances had arrived in Seminyak the day before I left for Ubud, so we met up for drinks after my dinner at Merah Putih.  For those of you who haven’t been to Merah Putih, go!  The restaurant is stunning with, in my opinion, incredible service.  The food was very good, but I probably still prefer Sarong.  My time in Ubud was about massages at Lily Spa, sunbathing by the pool, taking pictures, seeing a dance performance and wandering through the market.  I had another lovely lunch at Melting Wok Warung, a small place owned by a French woman who’s married to a Laotian man.  The food is good and inexpensive, service is nice and friendly, and the owners frequently interact with their customers.  Order the crème caramel with cinnamon and coconut milk; you can’t go wrong there!  I almost had a romantic encounter with a guy that I met at CP Lounge.  Almost, in the sense that I turned him down, though he was attractive.  A one-night stand wasn’t on my agenda this time around!

With that being said, enjoy the photos!

At the Grand Palace

At the Grand Palace

The Reclining Buddha

The Reclining Buddha

At the Flower Market

At the Flower Market

Dat Dragon

Dat Dragon

Doi Suthep

Doi Suthep

Somewhere in Chiang Mai

Somewhere in Chiang Mai

Having Wine with E.

Having Wine with E.

Dinner with C. and D.

Dinner with C. and D.

Hedge hogs at Chatuchak Market

Hedge hogs at Chatuchak Market

River Prawn for Lunch in Ayuthaya

River Prawn for Lunch in Ayuthaya

Ayuthaya Temples

Ayuthaya Temples

The Famous Buddha Head in Ayuthaya

The Famous Buddha Head in Ayuthaya

Morning in Bangkok from My Apartment

Morning in Bangkok from My Apartment

Ronald McDonald Teaches Me the Proper Way to Wai

Ronald McDonald Teaches Me the Proper Way to Wai

Food in Chinatown

Food in Chinatown

La Plancha on Seminyak Beach

La Plancha on Seminyak Beach

 

A Little Retail Therapy with Textiles

A Little Retail Therapy with Textiles

A Scallop Bite at Sarong

A Scallop Bite at Sarong

My Birthday Desserts at Sarong

My Birthday Desserts at Sarong

The Crystal Palace on Seminyak Beach

The Crystal Palace on Seminyak Beach

Sunset in Seminyak

Sunset in Seminyak

My Italian friends, G. and A.

My Italian friends, G. and A.

Kids in Ubud

Kids in Ubud

In My Flower Petal Bath at Lily Spa

In My Flower Petal Bath at Lily Spa

Crème Caramel from Melting Wok Warung

Crème Caramel from Melting Wok Warung

Balinese Dance Performance

Balinese Dance Performance

My BFF at Honeymoon Guesthouse

My BFF at Honeymoon Guesthouse

 

 

 

 

 

Secrets

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Well, Pockets, I had no idea that you’d found this.  Now you’re probably wondering how I figured it out.  You’re just gonna’ have to keep wondering for awhile.  You can expect to receive a postcard from me in March; most likely, it won’t even be in my handwriting, but you’ll know, as you always do.  You’ll see me a few months later when we can continue that (and this) discussion. ^.^

It’s A Crap Shoot Out There

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What am I referring to?  On-line dating, of course!  I dipped my toe back into it, which is to say that I read my messages and occasionally (but very rarely) answer one or two.  Someone might actually intrigue me now and then, but trying to schedule a meet-up is the next step.  If we can’t make it work within two tries (or I lose interest), then I don’t make any other effort ’cause, frankly, Scarlett, I don’t give a damn!  I didn’t bother to meet a single guy from an on-line dating website in 2014.  There was an attempt to meet one in September, before my big vacation, but our schedules were conflicting.  After that, I didn’t care.  I might possibly meet someone the weekend after this, but that’s still no guarantee.  I’ve been thinking of forcing myself to go out with someone younger for fun, with no strings attached.  Even for that, there would have to be some kind of chemistry.  I’m not feeling it via our messages, but you never know.  It’s a new year, so I should at least give someone a shot!  There seem to be 3 types of men that proliferate the site – (1) men that are in my age vicinity that look much older than they are, (2) men who are middle-aged that are bitter from their previous relationships (and also have children) and (3) much younger, hot guys who want to hook up.  I can’t see myself with any of those types.

My best friend from my years in L.A. now lives in Phoenix.  We worked at the same company in L.A. and discovered, due to a big pink pencil on her desk, that we both shopped at Betsey Johnson.  Thus began our reign of terror in L.A. – shopping on Melrose, checking out the guys at the beaches and drinking anywhere/everywhere.  She eventually married someone in the industry and settled down, even popping out two kids.  When she was pregnant with the first one, she once asked me “How can I possibly be a mother?  I’m too damned selfish!”  We laughed at the time, but she turned out to be one of the best mothers out there.  It’s years later and her husband and she are no more.  We’re not in contact that much any more, either, but she DID tell me that she’s met some interesting characters through on-line dating in the Phoenix area.  She’s currently dating someone that has lots in common with her, mainly music and travel.  However, she encouraged me to hook up with the younger guys, saying they’re fun once in awhile.  She seems to be having better luck at it than me.  Then again, we tend to have widely varying tastes in men.  :)

My cousin in Austin dabbles quite a bit in on-line dating when she’s between men.  She seems to do about fifty-fifty on the duds and the decent ones.  Her current beau was met through a mutual friend, however, if I remember correctly.

Lastly, an Aussie friend of mine is on several on-line dating websites.  She tends to meet up with lots of guys, but none of them seem to last more than a couple of dates.  She hasn’t given up, though.  Of course, she’s younger than the aforementioned and myself, so she’s got more energy to deal with the riff raff!

An ex asked me if I was looking to get married again.  Not really, but never say “Never.”  After all of these years, I’ve come to the conclusion that I still love the same two men from more than 25 years ago.  I ended the relationship with one (for reasons that shall remain private) and basically “ran away” from the second man (also for reasons that shall remain private).  I convinced myself over the years that I was moving on and moving up.  Yet, lately, I think I was wrong – dead wrong.  I found out that both men still love me and my love for them is still the same, too.  In fact, it may even be deeper ’cause I appreciate them more now.  Is it ever too late?  I’m hoping not.

In the meantime, I’ll still think about that younger guy that’s been wanting to meet up.  I don’t think there’s going to be a love connection.  And I REALLY don’t think there’s going to be a boinking connection, either.  I’d settle for a friend, though.

P.S. A college buddy and I are also trying to reconnect.  We haven’t seen each other in years, but are tentatively setting up a lunch date in a few weeks.  He was like a brother to me…  until one night when we got drunk and made out!  Although he’s married and has two college-age kids now, this should be interesting!

 

Le Fin en L.A.

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Pardon my French ’cause the correct title might be “Le Fin a L.A.”  Obviously, my French is out of practice.

The gist of it is that I went to Los Angeles for New Year’s Eve.  I flew into LAX the morning of December 30th.  Through AirBnB, I’d rented a room with a private entrance at a house in West Hollywood.  The room was immaculate, comfortable and tastefully decorated.  Amenities included a TV, free WiFi, a hair dryer, plates, coffee mugs, wine glasses, cutlery, a mini refrigerator, a microwave, shampoo, conditioner and body wash.  The owner of the house also rents out a very cute pool house, which means that there’s a lovely pool as well.  The house was very conveniently located for my purposes.  The owner himself was excellent at communicating, in case I needed anything, and was an interesting man in his own right.  His rescued Pit Bull, Hulu, was an added bonus – a dog with one of the sweetest temperaments ever!

After arriving at the house, I freshened up a bit and made a mad dash downtown to the Jewelry Mart.  I had six watches that needed batteries replaced, had other jewelry that needed repairs and had some gemstones that I wanted to have set.  In San Francisco, I’d had one watch battery replaced at a wholesale jewelry place for $15.  Another place closer to my apartment had replaced two watch batteries for $10 apiece.  Knowing that I’ve always been able to replace watch batteries at wholesale jewelry places in L.A. for $3 to $6 apiece, I saved up the rest of my watches for L.A.!  One of the places that sells watches told me that they’d replace all 6 batteries for $5 apiece and it would take 20 to 30 minutes.  I went to have lunch in the meantime.

During my previous jaunt to L.A. in June, I’d had lunch at a Thai restaurant called Soi 7.  The food had been good, but I’d been crazy about a tea called Midnight Blue something-or-other.  I went there again for the same spicy basil chicken and the Midnight Blue tea.  I mentioned to the waitress that I was mad for that tea; she said that it was her favorite as well.  When I asked if she knew what company made it, she explained that only the owner knew.  She sent him a text asking him and promised to let me know if he answered her while I was still there; unfortunately, he didn’t.  I enjoyed my lunch nonetheless.

Back at the Jewelry Mart, I was most determined to set a small cameo that I’d purchased in New Orleans in August.  I wanted it set as a gold ring.  Of the 4 or 5 jewelers that I originally found, all of them already had diamonds in their ring mountings.  One jeweler asked my budget, explaining that his ring mountings started at about $500 and went up to about $1000.  Well, even $500 was out of my price range!  All I wanted was a simple gold ring mounting to showcase the cameo with absolutely no other stones around it.  As I went in search of the Cambodian man that’s been repairing my jewelry for decades, I noticed that the shop across from him sold mountings.  I dashed in and asked the owner if she sold basic, simple settings for rings in both gold and silver.  Once she said “Yes,” I pulled out the cameo and some other gemstones and we set to work finding mountings that fit them.  I ended up finding mountings for that cameo (yellow gold ring), star sapphires (white gold earrings), fire opals (a silver ring and a silver pendant) and a mother-of-pearl intarsia (silver pendant).  When the owner mentioned that she takes cash only, I ran to an ATM to withdraw cash.  Unfortunately, the ATM said that it was unable to complete my transaction.  As I was dashing around in search of another ATM, the Cambodian man happened to see me.  When I explained that I was looking for another ATM, he suggested the Bank of America a few blocks away.  I went over there, but it also refused to complete my transaction.  My last ditch effort was at my own bank, although the ATM was at least 4 or 5 blocks away.  I ran there in the rain, but was still unable to get cash.  I was sweaty and stressed out by this time, realizing that there must be something wrong with my ATM card; possibly demagnetized.  I went back to the woman to explain, asking if she was open the following day (December 31st) or on Friday (January 2nd).  She hadn’t made up her mind about December 31st (probably not) and was definitely closed on January 2nd.  At that point, the Cambodian man told the woman that she could give the mountings, the cameo and the gemstones to him.  He would set them for me in the morning, which would allow me time to go INTO a branch of my bank, see what was wrong with my card, in addition to withdrawing cash.  I could then take the cash to him, pay him for his work and leave him the money to pay her for her mountings.  That was a great solution for me and I was incredibly happy that the Cambodian man knew me well enough to offer to do that for me.  I left everything with him, told him that I’d return by noon the following day, then went back to West Hollywood.

My plans for the evening were to have dinner with A.; we’d both attended college together at California State University, Chico for a year.  She lived in L.A. and we’d hung out frequently back in the 80’s.  Her family had invited me for every holiday.  Once her mother had told me that, on the holidays when I hadn’t shown up, everyone would ask “Where’s Tina?!”  For some reason, A. and I hadn’t seen each other since about 1989, though.  Thus, in keeping with my New Year’s resolution, I was re-establishing contact, although the New Year hadn’t quite begun.  When A. picked me up, we both commented to the other that we didn’t look that much different, aside from the obvious – a few wrinkles and a little added weight.  For dinner we decided to see what was available at The Grove, as there would obviously be plenty of parking.  We ended up at Umami Burger.  As soon as I saw a Truffle Burger on their menu, my mind was made up.  A. had never had truffles or truffle oil before, but trusted my judgment and ordered the same thing.  She loved it!  During dinner, I showed her pictures of various Chico alumni that I’d reconnected with who were my friends on Facebook.  After dinner, she hung out in my room for about half an hour and we promised to keep in touch more.

I forgot to mention that AFTER I’d already left the Jewelry Mart, my bank had sent me a text questioning as to whether I’d made a $1.75 purchase on the L.A. subway.  Apparently, they were worried that it might be fraud.  Seriously?!  My card/purchases have never been flagged over the past several years when I was in New Orleans, Honolulu, Newark, New York, Santa Fe, etc., etc., but they were questioning my $1.75 subway charge?!  I was heated, to say the least.  In about 2011, this same bank had let two charges on my card go through – one at a Red Lobster in Virginia and another at a Walmart in Virginia.  On the other hand, they’d flagged the $1.50 charge for a Coke in Virginia, which came AFTER the other two charges.  None of it made sense to me.

So first things first, I called my bank to make absolutely sure that my ATM card would work the morning of December 31st.  They assured me that it would.  I took the subway back downtown and showed up at the Cambodian man’s shop, where everything had already been set.  I was very happy with his work, as usual, and his pricing is very reasonable.  I paid him for his work and left the cash for him to give the woman for her mountings.  As he put her money away, he said “I don’t know why she charged you so much for those mountings.  So much for so little.”  I explained that other jewelers were charging much more for their mountings, but she was the only one who had basic mountings that fit my cameo and gemstones.  I then said to him that I had other jewelry to repair (which I’d forgotten to give him the previous day), if he had time.  He promised to start on it immediately.  I said that I’d go to lunch and be back in a few hours, so there wasn’t a huge rush.

Rather than more Thai food at Soi 7 (although it was tempting), I walked down to Grand Central Market.  In all my years of living in L.A., as well as my myriad visits there after, I’ve never once been inside Grand Central Market.  It was interesting, with a majority of Mexican places, but also Chinese, other Latin, Jewish, etc.  I got a huge combination plate from a vendor that included a chicken taco, a beef taco, rice, beans and a tortilla for $8.  She even asked if I wanted onions on them and if I preferred mild or hot salsa.  The chicken taco was pretty tasty, but there was no way I could finish that entire plate.

Walking back to the Jewelry Mart, I took a few pictures inside the Grand Central Market and a few at Angel’s Flight across the way.

Once my jewelry was repaired, I did a little browsing.  I needed to find a present or two for my cousin from Hawaii who just graduated from college in Arizona.  Luckily, I found exactly what I wanted, so headed back to West Hollywood.

My New Year’s Eve plans were to have dinner with S., a former co-worker.  She’d worked in my office in San Francisco for another division.  After 3 years, she’d moved back to L.A., eventually moving to Phoenix.  She ended up hating Phoenix even more than San Francisco, so was once again living in L.A.!  Although our dinner reservation wasn’t until 8:30 p.m., she showed up at the house around 6:45 p.m.!  The owner was kind enough to loan her a parking permit, though, so she could wait while I finished getting ready.  She was very impressed with the room and also mentioned how adorable the owner’s dog is.

Dinner was at Hutchinson Cocktails and Grill on La Cienega near Santa Monica Boulevard.  It’s a steakhouse with Indonesian influence.  Neither of us had ever been there, as it opened less than 6 months ago.  The reviews on Yelp were pretty good, though.  We arrived about half an hour early, so contented ourselves at the bar while they readied our table.  I drank Prosecco, S. drank something non-alcoholic and they served us shrimp chips.  S. had never eaten shrimp chips before and found them much to her liking.  I told her that my Thai boyfriend and I used to smuggle shrimp chips & Cadbury bars into the movies back in Kansas, rather than eating popcorn and Good N Plenty!  When we were seated in a booth, we shared the nasi goreng, which had been highly praised on Yelp.  S. asked me what nasi goreng was.  Once I explained that it was Indonesian fried rice, she was fine with sharing it and yes, she liked it as well.  My entrée choice was the filet mignon (no surprise there!) with a Szechuan peppercorn sauce and a side of roasted cauliflower.  Hers was the filet mignon with the bone marrow sauce and a side of butternut squash.  I had never had bone marrow sauce before, so tasted hers and was pleasantly surprised.  It tasted much better than I’d anticipated!  We shared a chocolate/peppermint panna cotta for dessert.  While eating dinner, I also downed a few glasses of Malbec.

During this time, an ex and I had been in contact; we haven’t seen each other for 3 years.  He kept calling and texting me during dinner.  I told him to chill out and that he’d get a text from me as soon as dinner was finished.  So we finished, I sent him a text and we drove back to the house.  It was about 11:45 p.m.  While S. and I were sitting in the car, I texted him that he better be kissing me at midnight, to which he replied “That’s the plan!”  At 11:59 p.m., I sent him another text saying that if he didn’t make it by midnight, I’d have to kiss S.  Midnight came and went, yet he still hadn’t made it there.  S. and I wished each other a “Happy New Year,” though.  A few minutes after midnight, I texted him to say that it was too late – I’d been forced to kiss S. at midnight and was now a lesbian!  He showed up a few minutes after that, though, and ran over immediately to kiss me.  He hugged S. as well, as they’d met about 4 years ago.  She handed over the parking permit to him and drove home.  Suffice it to say, I had a lovely New Year’s Eve – and it was all about reconnecting again.

New Year’s Day found me a little tired.  I slept in a bit and didn’t leave the house till 11:00 a.m.  I went to the Farmers’ Market at Third and Fairfax.  Monsieur Marcel there used to carry a Moroccan spice mix by Namu that is my favorite to use as a base for soups.  To my disappointment, they no longer carry it.  I walked around both the Farmers’ Market and The Grove awhile, had lunch at The Cheesecake Factory, then went back to the house and took a nap.

For dinner that night, I was reconnecting with J.  He’d been a temp in my office in San Francisco many years ago before moving to L.A.  Once he moved to L.A., I only saw him once, but that was probably in 2000.  So this was another reconnection.  We met at a Thai restaurant in my old neighborhood, Galanga Thai Fusion.  He looks much the same as before, too.  Even though we don’t contact each other much, we ended up having a much deeper conversation than expected, which caused a few tears to be shed.  Sometimes in life you end up having a more meaningful connection with certain people that you seldom see.  When you see them again, you truly connect and share.  That’s how the evening went.  By the way, the food was good, too!

I walked back to the house passing many places that brought back bittersweet memories of the boyfriend that I used to live with in L.A.  Truthfully, it made me a little sad.  Back in my room, reflecting, I thought that having a drink or two on my last night in L.A. would ease my melancholy a bit.  After about 10 minutes in my room, I received a text from the owner asking if everything was ok, since he’d barely seen me since my arrival.  I mentioned possibly going back out for a drink.  After a bit of back and forth texting, we decided to have a drink or two at Pikey together.  It was something like 2 or 3 blocks away; we walked there together.  He had vodka and cranberry; I had rum and Coke.  He’s a very interesting man; English, though born in Chile, and used to photograph punk bands in CBGB.  We talked about our favorite places to travel, he told me about funny guests that he’d had at the house and we discussed our love lives (or lack thereof).  When he asked if I thought he should try on-line dating, I told him that my experiences had been far from good.  We laughed over a few of those stories as well!

On Friday, the second I left the house, some man on Sunset insisted that he must buy me a drink.  He was wanting alcohol, but it wasn’t 11:00 a.m. yet, so no bars/restaurants were open that sold alcohol.  He settled for tea at Starbucks on Sunset and Crescent Heights.  He really wanted my phone number and kept mentioning that he would like to visit me in San Francisco, but that wasn’t going to happen.  I managed to ditch him after awhile and walked to Melrose.  The remainder of my afternoon was spent window shopping in stores there, having lunch at The Village Idiot, having a drink at Aroma Bakery/Café on Sunset (SLOW service!) and hanging out with the owner back at the house until my shuttle showed up.  The owner hugged me goodbye and said that he hoped I’d stay there again, then I was off to LAX.

Me and A.

Me and A.

My $8 Lunch from Grand Central Market

My $8 Lunch from Grand Central Market

Angel's Flight

Angel’s Flight

Pershing Square

Pershing Square

Hollywood Walk of Fame

Hollywood Walk of Fame

Menu at The Village Idiot

Menu at The Village Idiot

Inside The Village Idiot

Inside The Village Idiot

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