Archive for the ‘More bars in more places’ Category

No one expects the Spanish Inquisition

This has been a completely unexpected weekend. I might just need a vacation from it, but I’m out of vacation days. I did say a little while ago that I miss my crazy life. Well, it is back with a vengeance.

Friday night after work, I met up with some former coworkers for a little ego boost. I completely miscalculated and kept up with them on drinks. Three very strong gin and tonics later, I stood up and realized my mistake. I immediately got a ride home.

I ate leftover pizza, drank water, made myself some popcorn on the stove (with Greek olive oil and Hawaiian sea salt)” and watched tv in a desperate attempt to sober up before sleeping. I also drunk texted, which was not in the plan. None of it was in the plan. Last week, I had nothing scheduled from Wednesday-Sunday. Oh how that changes.

Saturday morning, I woke around 5 am and laid in bed pretending to sleep until 6 am. Five hours of sleep was not enough. I finally got up, walked the dog in the cold, cloudy, silent morning, showered and hailed a cab so I could retrieve my abandoned car. I felt like an idiot. I’m only telling you so you will learn from my mistakes. Of course, if I had been my grandfather, The Grump, I would have forgotten where the car was and sent one or a few of my six children to walk down the streets until they found it. Luckily, I am not The Grump.

I drove my car to my 9 am hair appointment. Wilson has been bored with my long haircut and normal color, required for wedding photos, so today I let him color outside the lines to his heart’s content. Two dying sessions, two shampoos, a cut and style later, my hair is so red, I think it glows in the dark. No fewer than three strangers approached me in the farmer’s market to tell me how much they loved it. That is why I let Wilson do it.

I am dog sitting this weekend, so I showed up to pick up Pascal and was greeted with two Jell-O shots. Hair of the dog, be damned. The pink was better than the blue. I haven’t had a Jell-O shot since either the afternoon I spent in the gay district in Dallas, Texas in 2010, or a 4th of July BBQ with a pink Jell-O shot mold of Darth Vader. Either way, I wasn’t sure if I was winning or losing.

I took Pascal home and he and I and Perl went for a walk. Doesn’t matter because he still pooed on my freshly shampooed carpet. My dog dug holes in their backyard, so all is fair in love and war.

I took out my contacts and put on my silk pajamas at 1 pm and took a nap. I was exhausted. I’m getting too old for my own life. At 4 pm, I threw on some clothes, tussled my glowing locks and went down to my favorite pub, Lily Macs, for a ladies’ afternoon beer pong game.

In an effort to ward off {^+~€~*} breast cancer, we drank the afternoon away. My partner and I won and then whooped the other team at a round of flip cup. We are amazing.

I told them about how, at the age of four, my father recognized my beer pong skills. By age six, I was training competitively. My first international competition was at age 13. I got my balls handed to me by a couple of Germans. I was not prepared to play with Bavarian stout. By age 18, I was ranked in the top ten in the world, however, because of drinking age laws, I was never allowed to play in the United States. My skills at swiping the ball away after a bounce were cat like and I became known as The Pussy. I was feared and revered far and wide. Two days before my 21st birthday, I was playing against the Russians since the Cold War was over. You don’t know beer pong skills until you see me sink a ping pong ball into a shot glass of vodka from twenty paces. Just as I threw the winning ball, I screamed in sheer agony as I threw out my shooting arm. The doctor said I had the worst case of beer pong elbow he’d ever seen and I would never play professionally again. The Pussy was no more. She now plays in seedy bars and hustles the college crowd, scowling at the Coors Light on the table and reliving her glory days through tales the kids don’t believe. What a waste.

Next, back in reality, we went to our favorite Mexican restaurant, Roberto’s, for a little tequila and fajitas. I always forget that Saturday evenings in the summer on Murphy Street is a jazz festival. We enjoyed the music and some of my table danced with Das Deutschman.

I begged out as soon as the sun was setting, so I could go walk the dogs. I laid in the backyard in the hammock as they ran around the yard. Then I went to bed early. I’m talking 9:30. I slept until 6 am. It was glorious.

This morning, I walked the dogs and returned the little one to his house. He is a snuggler and Pablo, who is about the same size, was jealous. I got some laundry done while waiting for a text about hiking.

At 11 am, The Lawyer and I headed off for a hike at Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park in Felton. We did not buy a map, instead, we went to look at the ridiculously old redwoods and then picked a random trail. We hiked for two and a half hours without getting lost. We did make one half-hearted attempt at crossing the river where there was no bridge, but eventually, after a couple prickly bushes, gave up on the idea.

Six and a half miles later, we went to Santa Cruz for a late lunch at 99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall. After burning 800 calories, we figured that burgers, fries and a beer were in order. I was good and left some burger and fries on the plate. I still can’t manage to leave beer. I blame The Lawyer for us being carded, although the woman next to us claimed everyone is carded. She was soon replaced by three people and a big, white, fluffy, year-and-a-half old, friendly golden retriever. Adorable!

Before going back to the car, The Lawyer came up with the Evil Detour Plan which took us to The Penny Ice Creamery. How have I never found this place before? I tried the fennel ice cream, but couldn’t quite convince myself to get a cone of it, so I went with the chocolate and salted caramel. I didn’t need the ice cream, but since when has anything I’ve really wanted been good for me?

Back on the other side of the hill, I headed home to quickly walk the dog and shower before heading up to SFO. There, I picked up TOK and Cabana Boy. I was so excited to see them! I don’t think I’ve seen them since their wedding in 2010.

We went into Burlingame where the street we tried to visit was under construction and they wondered what kind of place I was taking them to. We chose to eat at Olea Mediterranean Cuisine, which I swear was a different name and decor the last time I was there. The food was good and the company was even better. I miss hanging out with TOK and Cabana Boy in upstate NY. Well, I don’t miss upstate NY, but I do miss them.

Everything was closed on the street, including the street, when we finished dinner, so we went back to the hotel lounge for coffee and dessert. The mini desserts were just the right size. We had, as the menu pointed out, “The trio of three.” Perfect for the trio of three of us.

Sadly, it was time to leave. They have an early flight and I have work in the morning. Overall, it was a fantastically typical, atypical weekend. I’m happy to have my crazy life* back!

* Although I could do without mistakes like Friday night. We live and we learn. Hopefully I learned not to keep up with the boys.

Teacher Birthday

I showed up to surgery once with a stamp on my wrist. The surgeon was surprised. I’ve tried to avoid getting a stamp ever since. Tonight I failed. I also failed because I thought I ordered a normal sized beer. Obviously, I am a Lilliputian.

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And then…

Drunken shopping. Always a bad idea. But I had to walk south on the Magnificent Mile. Oh look! The place where Cub Scout and Brownie are registered. I printed out the registry. Crate and Barrel use a horrible semi-touch-screen Windows system. I [redacted ranting].

I said, “[redacted swearing] “, and went to the register and explained I’d been drinking and am incapable of buying something (but am capable of writing a comprehensive blog post about the situation), so, do they sell gift certificates? Amused as they were, they helped me obtain a gift certificate. I’m hoping Cub Scout realizes that half of his gift is this story.

Across the street from Crate and Barrel was Ann Taylor. Not Ann Taylor Loft, but I’ll give it a try. No dresses. No dresses. Dress. Damn, price tag. Try it on anyways. Damn, it is awesome. Drunken shopping. Buy it!

I spilled the beans to the cashier. I said, with an Eyeore expression, It isn’t on sale, is it?

Fifty percent off!

I win!

Saving that much means I can stop at Swarovski. Not really, but don’t forget, I’ve been drinking. And even more than drinking, I’m looking for a good story. I’ll do almost anything for a story.

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Even buy ridiculously priced crystals.

Time to find the restaurant that @puls suggested. Something about a goat. Not on this street. Maybe in the alley. Nope. Oh there it is! In the utilitarian part of the city down the stairs.

Billy Goat Tavern.

Not what I was expecting.

I couldn’t order dinner from the bar, but was welcome to bring it back. I’m a new vegetarian. Oh. Grilled Cheese. Sure. Chips. Sure. Plain or BBQ? Never mind. You are plain. Okay.

Beer. Miller, Miller Lite, Natty Light, Billy Goat Ale. Yes. Where is it made? Germany. Yes.

Next thing I knew, I had a bet going with the bartender, for my drinks, that the Celtics would beat the Heat. Implanted Massholes to Wisconsin were there to back me up. They loved that I had lived in Salem because I’d
followed a full moon there. They don’t know it, but they bought me a shot of Jameson.

Some kid came in and ordered a shot of gin. Then he tried to order a coke as a chaser. I told him no. I didn’t know he couldn’t, but I was right. He had to get the coke where I got my grilled cheese.

The waiter was rooting for the Celtics too. The kid ordered a vodka shot for him and his friend. The bartender and I had already discussed how they probably weren’t of age. So I asked if it was their 21st birthday. Sure enough, it was.

Surprise.

The Celtics lost. Only by a couple points. I was supposed to take the bartender to the wedding if I lost. He changed it to just a hug. Close enough.

I took my Swarovski crystals, and half-priced dress and headed back to my hotel.

Expensive cardboard pizza.

Okay

Good night!

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An expensive day (so far)

I had only one goal today: find a dress for tomorrow’s wedding.

I failed at finding a dress. Instead, I bought three jackets, three camisoles, two pairs of jeans, two pairs of shoes, and a turtleneck in a pear tree.

Luckily, I brought a dress with me. I think I can wear one of the new jackets with it.

I hate shopping—really, really hate shopping—so when I do it, I go all out. I’m not sure now how I’m supposed to fit it all into the carry-on bag I brought with me. I could wear it all on the plane but that would be ridiculous. My FMBs took up a lot of space in the bag, so I can wear those home. I purposely didn’t bring enough clothes for the week knowing that I wasn’t going to have enough room after shopping. Hrm. I did bring a pair of wool pants. Maybe those are more appropriate for a winter wedding in Chicago than a dress.

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After shopping, I went back to my hotel and played fashion show. Realizing I hadn’t eaten lunch, I ate some celery I’d brought. Don’t feel bad for me. I had two more pieces of the pizza from last night for breakfast. Skipping lunch wasn’t a big deal. I felt bad for tossing the last two pieces. I wish I’d run into the homeless guys after dinner last night. I would have given them all my leftovers.

I put on the comfortable pair of new shoes, a cami and a jacket, then covered them with my big, grey, wool coat; lavender scarf; and wool cap; and headed back out into the cold and wind.

I love the architecture in Chicago. It is amazing. Without all the shopping bags, I could walk around and see the amazing buildings. Funny how shopping bags get in the way of that!

I didn’t take any photos. The sky was grey and the photos would look as depressing as it is, so I prefer to remember it in my mind as beautiful and intricate. To me, Chicago is Boston without the cow paths and with lessons learned.

The weird thing I saw on Michigan Ave was that there are two levels to the city. The ritzy shopping area that took all my money is on the second floor. When I was actually watching where I was walking, I realized there was a service level first floor. Odd, but at the same time, extremely utilitarian. I do like me some utility.

I checked out the old water tower. They had photos of before and now. I stopped at the visitor center to figure out what I was missing. Then I spent a half an hour at the John Hancock building on my iPhone trying to see if there was a way to buy drinks instead of paying to see the observatory. Better value for the price.

There is a lounge. 96th floor.

I started with the Rush Street: Bailey’s Irish Cream, Frangelico, Amaretto DiSaronno, cream.

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I watched the sunset. Sort of. I really would have watched it except I am at the bar where it is mostly couples and single people. There were two guys. I don’t know if they were a couple or on a bro date. Either way, the sunset was over the shoulder of one of them. I kind of wanted him to buy me a drink, but I wasn’t going to take him home.

Commence blogging.

The smell is intoxicating. Spices. I have to have it.

The bartender had never given me a menu. I was ignored for a while, cleavage and all. So I looked up the drink menu on the internets. When he did pay attention, I was ready. It was a tough call between two of the drinks. This time I ordered the one that was spicy. The Seasonal Hot Spiced Pear Cider: Cruzan Spiced Rum, Butterscotch Schnapps, Hot Spiced Pear Cider.

I was on the phone with Meine Schwester. This isn’t the place to pick up single men. The bartender was much nicer this time. Maybe I smiled more. He asked later if I liked it. I told him that I’d been smelling it and couldn’t resist. He showed that it was brewed in front of me. I want to do a study about the number of people in this seat that order it.

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I am paying the check. The bartender wanted to know which drink I liked better. I told the bartender how he had ignored me. When the check came, I think there was only one drink on it. I tipped him for two.

It is only quarter past five. I have more planned. I have to stop kidding myself about going to a city to see the sights. I eat and drink and walk my way around.

Tying to decide if I stop at the wine bar on my way to dinner.

It’s still early…

…but I’m afraid of the elevator.

Sunset

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I just watched an amazing sunset. Mai Tai in hand. Jack Johnson playing on the stereo. Laying in a cabana on the deck of the penthouse suite.

The sunset was absolutely stunning. I put my phone away to watch it. The sun moved too fast. I wanted it to linger there forever. At one point I thought it may have stopped, may have given in to my whims, but alas, my lowly reality-distortion field could not detain its ultimate demise.

Do I ever have to leave here?

The wait

20111001-232051.jpgThe wait begins. I’ve found myself some Irish cheese and merlot. Living in the Bay Area means I have access to all this great food all the time, so I just found something in the UK that I could eat while waiting. I figured I need the calcium.

Speaking of my fracture, as I was sitting on the park bench waiting for the park to reopen, an attractive couple approached; she in the wheelchair, he pushing. I asked what had happened and she explained. Then they asked me. That stopped him in his tracks. He had the same fracture. On one foot it took four months to heal. The other took six.

Four months? Are you kidding?

He told me that the fifth metatarsal and another bone in your wrist are the two slowest to heal because they get the least blood flow.

Sigh.

We all moved on. The bartender has been very friendly. I was walking with both crutches in one hand and carrying the cheese in another. So he put the wine on a table next to him and we’ve been chatting. But now it is time for me to move on. He is getting busy and the first round should be getting here.

Oh, and yes, this is a night race. It started at 10pm. I was not waiting on a park bench until the park opened in the morning.

One Dragonberry Mojito too many…

…and I’m ready to talk.

You already know that I went to the landing of the Space Shuttle Atlantis this morning, but what about the rest of my time here in Cocoa Beach?

Well, it really started yesterday, when I could have had a free adult beverage on Virgin America if I’d been wielding a lollipop for National Lollipop Day. I eyed the candy store next to the gate, but didn’t venture in. I know you are disappointed in me, but I didn’t really want to start drinking before the driving part of my trains, planes, and automobiles adventure. Besides, as much as you all grant me a reputation I don’t really earn, I am not really big on drinking before noon. Actually, before 5pm on most days. Not really my thing. I know you are questioning that, as I do occasionally break it, but I’ve realized that doing so really ruins my productivity for the day so I’ve stopped. Sorry.

As I boarded the plane, I realized I should have asked for an upgrade if available. But, as luck would have it, the middle seat was empty! No upgrade was required, although it would have been a pleasant surprise. (Wink, wink, nod, nod, know what I mean, Virgin America.)

The take-off was another story. It felt to me as though we were about to take off, but then slammed on the brakes. Maybe I’m imagining things, but it felt like a false start. After stopping abruptly, I saw two planes land directly in front of us. Maybe my luck was continuing.

Arriving safely at MCO, I went to Thrifty to see what I had won in the Hotwire Car Special Lottery. I was told that I’d most likely find Grand Marquis in that section. The attendant was correct. Mostly big Grandpa-type cars. But I did find a little Nissan Altima from Louisiana. So I put on a fake Cajun accent and hopped in, leaving the Grand Marquis to the three families of five I’d seen at the counter.

Upon arrival at the Four Points Sheraton in Cocoa Beach, I checked out my room on the fourth floor overlooking the retail outlet and bar. It wasn’t really what I had expected, even though I’d seen photos. I was thinking more of the lovely Desmond in Albany, NY with a lush courtyard. My view is of people drinking and shopping. C’est la vie, all I’ll be doing in my room is sleeping.

I went back downstairs to the Shark Pit which I could see from my room. I sat at the bar and put the free beer tasting card on the table like it was a game of poker and I was showing my hand. Jacob gave me a pour of the local brew. It wasn’t my favorite, but I told Jacob it had grown on me, so he gave me a full pint.

I ordered a taco salad. A little while later, @jyarmis showed up with his son. As most of you know, I’m very protective of my real identity, as if I were some sort of internet superhero. Sadly, I’m not, but that would be wicked cool! NASA had asked that we all carpool to the site, so I sucked it up and introduced myself to these other internet personalities so we could share a ride and a meal. Yes, me, the same person who does evasive maneuvers on the way home after a date to make sure that no one is following me—I met up with complete strangers and rode in their car. Of course, I had given Meine Schwester all the information I’d Googled, and we all know that her wrath would be worse than what any mere mortal could inflict on me, so I knew that if I ended up in a swamp, my death would be severely avenged.

Lucky for @jyarmis, he and his son are, as a coworker says, “good people”. We had a pleasant dinner and conversation, and they still offered to give me a ride after meeting me. I was kind of worried about that.

The next part, as I’ve said, is already history, so let me continue with what happened after. I got back to the hotel five hours after I’d left. I tried to go to sleep, but realized that I should write the blog post before the landing of the Space Shuttle Atlantis became just another weird dream. I finally fell asleep for another four hours. It was much needed, as it is now as well, but I have so much more to say!

I woke up for the second time today and started my day over. As I suspected, my adventure in the morning seemed like one of my lucid dreams. Maybe I sleep walked through it all. I gathered myself together and meant to go to lunch, but ended up shopping in the store I can see from my room.

There I bought a super cute dress and a new bathing suit. I stopped in my room and washed the bathing suit in the sink and left it to dry. I put on the dress, cleavage and all.

I went to the front desk to ask for a recommendation for lunch. The desk attendant was more than helpful. Really, truly helpful. I can’t imagine why. But he told me about The Village over in Cocoa. Since it was nearing two in the afternoon, I figured it was best to stay out of the sun, so I drove over there for a little more shopping.

My first stop was a cute little boutique, and bought another super cute dress. I think this one is a little less revealing, but I’ll have to try it on again in the morning to make sure. Meine Schwester has been wearing these super cute dresses and I feel kind of left out. Also, I’ve realized they make it really easy to get dressed in the morning, I look good in them, and if I get the right material then they don’t wrinkle and are great for throwing in a camera bag for a three-day vacation to Florida.

I asked the sales woman for a lunch recommendation. She suggested the same place as the hotel attendant. So off I went down the street to Ossorio. It was everything I’d been promised. I had a salad with strawberries and bacon. I think @lzucke02 said it best when she said, “Disgusted and slightly aroused all at once.”

Wandering around the shopping area, I realized that it is probably suited best for retirees hopping off the cruise ships. I wasn’t particularly interested in most of the stores, and it was really sad and lonely on a Thursday afternoon. I’m hoping that it is hopping on the weekends. It made me worried about what the local economy will do without the space shuttle launches. Hopefully it won’t affect them too much.

I stopped by the hotel and put on my clean, new bathing suit and headed to the hotel pool. I was disappointed to realize how small it was. The waterfall was a cute touch, but loud. I’d brought my book and if it had been a quiet place to read, then I would have stayed. Luckily, the ocean was less than a block away, so I ventured down there. Besides, it was after 5 pm, so I was safe from burning.

The ocean was so inviting, so I awkwardly placed my hotel key into the top of my swimsuit and ventured into the waves. I had this need to go back to my towel, as if there was something important I needed to do, but I successfully fought the urge and stayed in the warm ocean water. This is what everyone thinks of as beaches. Milky white sand that goes for miles in either direction. The soft silt slips between my toes as the undertow pulls gently while the waves crash in. Blue sky and blue water. Florida beaches really ruin it for all other locations with beaches.

Back on my towel, I napped for a few minutes and enjoyed the sun. My stomach started to rumble, so by 7 pm I came back to the hotel to change. I was out the door an hour later.

Using Yelp, I decided to go to The Fat Snook, but then I looked it up on the map and realized it wasn’t really walking distance. I should have gone anyways. I ended up going to the Sandbar Sports Grill. While it was not exactly the prime dining location, it was exactly what you would expect from a beach bar. Two bars, one inside and one serving the deck customers. The view is obstructed by the parking lot and some trees, but you can imagine it being on the beach. Tonight, I was graced with karaoke. Luckily, most of the people could actually sing, and I stayed off the stage.

There were two groups of cute guys, probably military. I couldn’t seem to get any of their attention, even with the new magic dress. There were no good opportunities to break into their conversation. And knowing I’m only here for one more night, it wasn’t really worth pressing the issue. The only guy who stopped by my table to talk was probably seventy. I fail miserably at this dating thing.

Since I was unsuccessful, I retreated back to the Shark Pit Bar & Grill. Jacob was working again tonight and remembered what I was drinking last night. He was in the middle of making a mojito, and since The Sandbar was out of mojitos tonight, I had Jacob make me a dragonberry mojito.

I then proceeded to fail at hitting on a cute Australian. He paid his bill and ran away before I could figure out what to say to him. Then two couples arrived. They were chatty and more than happy to involve me in their conversations. From Chicago, they were here for a wedding. When one couple left for a few moments, I asked if they were related and then heard the real story about how they aren’t and actually, they were kind of tired of them. Sadly, the other couple returned. And then the newlyweds arrived. Jacob remembered all of their drinks from the night before. And they all remembered me from the bar from the night before. Turns out, I’m the forgetful one.

They were all headed to The Sandbar since it is open until 2 am and our little hotel bar closes at 11 pm. I warned them about the karaoke and lack of mojitos. They left, trying one last time to get me to join them. I declined and Jacob made me one last mojito before I retired to my room. Alone.

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