Thursday, May 10, 2007

California Part II

The Friday of my vacation, the three of us ventured to Santa Monica for a bit to walk around, take in the sights, and to bask in the sun on the beach.

We spent the afternoon leisurely strolling through the boulevards of this very interesting beach town. When it was time to go, Kate was searching for an atm when we accidentally stumbled upon my idea of heaven: Le Cupcake. On my gosh I was so excited. I could not believe how simply beautiful these little confections were.

Kate and I had a chocolate cupcake with peanut butter frosting (my absolute favorite thing) and regretfully, did not purchase a box. TO THE PEOPLE OF WASHINGTON D.C., THERE IS HOPE FOR YOU because this store is located in two places: Santa Monica & you guessed it, Washington D.C. I'm considering moving... Heaven in a circle. I'll just tell you it was absolutely divine. For a good half hour, I seriously was considering quitting my job to become a baker for these fabulous people.

Despite being friends for almost half of my life, I realized you still can learn new things about people, as I discovered I am not the only person in the universe who notices elevator inspection certificates (I have a legitimate reason for this, I swear). You can imagine my excitement when I discovered my dearest friend notices them too. We took the elevator to Kate's car in the parking garage, which is where we confessed our odd behavior because the certificate for our trammy expired in 2003. Of course, we both noticed. I'm glad to know I'm not alone, and I'm certain every time I look at a certificate, I'll think of Kate instead of why the state screws up each and every elevator certificate for the OEIs. (I confess I almost called Kate the other night to tell her the elevator at the Top of the East did not even have a certificate. Is that even legal???) On a side note, I can tell you if an elevator is hydraulic or not. I was not kidding when I wrote "random ramblings" in the title of this blog. Anyway, Kate, I am with you.

We left Santa Monica and headed to find food. Luckily, Kate had a place in mind thereby negating the "where do you want to eat?" debate we had for most meals. Lunch consisted of a lovely Indian meal at a tiny grocery store near Pasadena. Aside from the lemon rice, I have no idea what I had but it was deliciously flavorful. We sat outside to enjoy our meal. I could not help but think how easily I could live a life like this: enjoying lunch with Kate and Alé, seeing the sights, and contemplating dessert...

Speaking of dessert; You didn't think the cupcake was it did you? Phew. We headed to my most favoritest frozen yogurt/ice cream place in the whole wide world. This place is the coolest most amazing place ever. It's called 21 Choices. They make their own frozen yogurt and change the selection every day. You pick one of the choices, your mix-ins (they have everything you can imagine), and then the cone/dish you want. They mix your candy or fruit into the yogurt and serve it up. It is outstanding. I cannot adequately describe the goodness they produce. It's always fun, delicious, and absurdly awesome. I had an oreo creation I devoured almost before we left the shop. So good. Gosh I wish I was there....Tropical Raspberry or Sam S'mores sounds fantastic..As you can tell, food is a high priority for the two of us.

After dessert, we headed to my favorite stationery store: PAPER SOURCE , which is another place I love dearly. Ok, I admit it; I have a fascination with paper. I completely blame my father. I spent a few minutes mulling over the choices until I decided on a glossy purple stock to use for my fundraising letters. The trip to the Paper Source completed all my missions for my vacation. I only had two: to go to 21 Choices and Paper Source. Check and check. Super.

We spent the afternoon playing with Alé and leisurely chatting about everything from "wet bars" to dinner, which we both consider a sacred ritual. We brainstormed what we could have for dinner and dessert. A girl has to have priorities. Since Trader Joe's (oh my gosh another place I ADORE!!! It makes my heart swoon.) was nearby, I presented my menu of bruschetta pizza and brownies. We made a small list and headed to TJ's. If you ever need a quick and delicious meal, you cannot go wrong with this invention. My friends from college and I made it up the year after we graduated and had nothing to do but eat and drink because we could not find jobs. The recipe consists of this:

2 jars of Trader Joe's Mixed Grilled Vegetable Bruschetta
1 garlic & onion pizza round
shredded cheese

1 box of "No Pudge" Brownies
1 Carton French Vanilla Yogurt

Spread the veggie bruschetta on top of the pizza round. Top with cheese and bake on 350 degrees F until cheese is melted. Be careful not to smoke out the house or set off the fire alarm as I did at Kate's because I did not put the pizza on a pizza stone and the veggies are soaked in olive oil. Go me. At least the pizza was still unharmed and delightfully scrumptious.

Dessert: Open the brownie mix, add the yogurt, mix, then pour in a coated square pan and bake according to the directions.

In less than 20 minutes, Kate, David, Alé and I sat down to a marvelous meal. One of my favorites. Of course wine and good music was involved. Speaking of wine, Kate received Tiffany & Co. wine glasses as a wedding present. We drank wine out of these beautiful glasses all week. Let me tell you, there is nothing like drinking out of a piece of art. These glasses could bring milk to a whole new level of elegant. They are more than worth the splurge.

Mealtime at Kate's was my favorite part of the trip. We spent the time preparing and picking out meals and most importantly, dessert, then we'd purchase the components for our dishes, and finally we chatted about everything possible while preparing our feasts. Kate is right, it is a ritual; one all too often we do not participate in, which made me miss Meg again. For the last six months she and I lived together, I made a meal every weeknight. We sat down and enjoyed a glorious spread, which is when some of my favorite memories were made. The same instances occurred on my vacation with Kate. We swapped stories, shared food ideas, and sincerely talked about life over the comfort of food. I truly believe food is love. In the time we were preparing, we were also reminiscing and playing with Alé. I had the opportunity to watch him walk and bang on Tupperware containers. He's beautiful and amazing. I participated in the beginning of Kate and David's butterfly garden while the pizza was cooking. (I'll refrain from commenting on the details other than I got to take pictures.) We conspired, danced, and enjoyed just being. I cherish these moments.

Kate and I also listened to old cds like Alanis Morrisette's "Jagged Little Pill" and a mix of Pearl Jam cds. Music I hadn't heard in a long time, which made me realize how important it is for me to incorporate more of it into my life. (Dan, the Alanis cd reminded me of you and the time you made me a cd and we drove around in my SAAB loaner listening to it.) Until recently, it has always been a huge part of my life, and more than one person has commented they were surprised at my lack of it. Listening to our favorite songs reminded me to jump back into living life with a melody.

We ate dessert outside in Kate's garden under a tree dressed in little white lights. She has a beautiful yard full of flowers, herbs, and mixed vegetation. It made me want to be outside more. Of course the brownies and ice cream helped with the ambiance. We shared grandmother stories and watched Sammy, her adorable dog, mourn his confinement. I marveled in her slightly domestic yet creative endeavors. She truly does amaze me. I felt so lucky to still have her friendship.

After a couple glasses of wine and a luxurious bowl of goodness, Kate convinced me to partake in an acupuncture session. AN ACUPUNCTURE SESSION PEOPLE. For those of you who know me, you can appreciate what this means. Dr. C Blake would be so proud of me. I sheepishly laid down on Kate's living room floor where I lightly closed my eyes while she put needles in my forehead, hands, knees, ankles, and toes. That is right, something like nine needles entered my body at once. I didn't really feel her put them in. I didn't really feel them at all unless I wiggled the part of the body in which they were placed. At first, I wanted to throw up (in case you did not notice, I HATE needles, as there is a funny story about my doctor and our "needle therapy", oh and the only reason I'm not a radiologist is because of those pesky little metal things) but after a few breathes, I was fine. (It helps when your best friend is the one poking you with the needles). I felt warm and dare I say, good. She left me there for 25 minutes. I did not even feel her remove them when she came back. I did not pass out nor did I throw up. I also did not open my eyes or move my body, which I'm sure added to the absence of anxiety. If Kate ever doubted my love for her, she clearly dispelled those doubts that evening. I won't comment on how David refused to even look at the needles because Kate gave him a hard enough time after I did it. Overall, it was a pleasant experience I would consider repeating. (Can you believe it??? I'm so proud!)

After my session, the three of us watched the strangest Spanish movie I've ever seen. I have no idea what the title was but I'll tell you when we sat down to watch it, in the first scene, Kate reminded David I needed the subtitles (they speak Spanish fluently, I speak a pathetic conversational Spanish I'm working daily to improve). David looked at us and said he needed subtitles. Umm, people, he was born in Central America. SEE, I TOLD YOU THEY SPEAK TOO FAST!!! I don't care how much Spanish you speak or whether or not it's your native language, it is difficult to understand the people in the movies. I swear they are on speed when they shoot the scenes because they talk so freaking fast. David just confirmed my theory. Regardless, the movie was weird, which just means Kate will receive grief for it for years to come. She usually does so well....It was so good, she got up and left in the middle, yet David and I felt compelled to finish it, go figure.

Despite the movie, it was another glorious day in sunny California...

To be continued.

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