Sunset Boulevard II

She misjudged, flooded her burning unrestrained veins, and while she fearfully fantasized she would fall in love to a symphony of bad songs again, her quiet friend in the corner was feeling a secret silence creep in from the corners of the diner. The flash of lights and obscene billboards of Sunset Strip beat against the surreal levity of everything else, melting into a smooth bleeding in their favorite wasteland.

The three of them fell asleep in bed together, in the room at the end of a small hallway of mirrors, an unfinished bottle of Hennessy left on the nightstand

One of them whispered but I want to continue my amphetamine romance as she drifted off to gray beach mists steaming around, a quiet, solitary expanse, and white breasts catching warm sun rays on a Mexican beach

When she heard her mother’s name called she opened eyelids to sunshine piercing its way through heavy blinds, spilling across the wall panes of glass

The New Typical Saturday

Weekends have changed a bit since being pregnant. Waking up late hungover is no longer an option, and since I don’t party all night, I don’t sleep in as much. Even so, I love sleeping in, so it was sort of a big deal that I woke up at 8:20 a.m., drank some coffee, had husband snap a “Week 23” picture, brewed some caramel macchiato flavored coffee, and headed off to yoga. I’m not in the habit of taking pictures of myself half asleep in gym clothes, but I noticed that my outfit was unintentionally extremely pink and obnoxious (hot pink shirt, purse, yoga mat) and husband found it amusing.

 

After yoga, I played some Chopin for Fetus: an etude and the Fantasie Improptu. She wasn’t impressed. No kicking, no response. Sort of like how my cats flee the room when they see me reach for the guitar, except Fetus is imprisoned inside me and has no choice. Afterwards, I finished up some chores. Husband had to go into work on a Saturday, so I went to lunch with Tony and Belen (also preggo). We first went to a smoothie shop in San Marcos called Disfruta. I got there a little before them, and scanned the menu, which was entirely in Spanish. This was exciting because it makes getting a smoothie near your house feel like a foreign adventure.

Fortunately, I had learned lots of fruit names on DuoLingo, and further, have a shortcut to Google Translate on my phone. I ended up ordering a Jugo Berry (berry juice) and Belen and Tony ordered smoothies. The berry juice was basically pure blended berries, probably consisting of strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries. I didn’t think any sugar was added, and it was totally amazing. Belen and Tony ordered smoothies; I tried theirs, and they were really good, though I am partial to the simplicity of pure juice.

Next, we hit up Mi Rancho Market in Escondido again for the best tacos on the face of the earth. This award as determined by me has been stripped from Tacos El Gordo and bestowed upon Mi Rancho. I ordered the adobada and lengua, which I had last time and loved. They were just as good this time. On this day, Belen also pointed out they had birria de chivo (goat) tacos, and so I had to get one of those. The first and only time I had birria was in Rosarito in November, and this was a pleasant surprise. The birria taco was juicy and delicious and I wished my stomach was bigger so I could have a few more.

 

We went to the mall afterwards, where Belen wanted to check out the maternity section at Macy’s. The maternity section was fairly predictable. Everything was boring and frumpy as fuck, and the sale items weren’t very cheap, so I changed strategies. I went to the junior’s and women’s section, and bought items in larger sizes and/or stretchy material. I ended up getting a a $6 dress, a $7 sweatshirt, and another $7 dress. I did splurge just a little and buy a really pretty maxi dress with cherry blossoms on it for $24 (gasp!)

Next, I went across the way and bought a large stretchy pencil skirt at Cotton On, and another dress for $15. Seriously, fuck maternity clothes. They are hideous, and a total rip-off (but maybe check with me again in 3 months to see whether this strategy is still viable at 7-8 months pregnant). While I was trying on about 20 items, Tony and Belen wandered off to Brookstone and other stores, then made their way back to me. I told them I was at Cotton On, but I happened to be in the changing room when they showed came back:

I met them at Spencer’s. I probably had not been inside a Spencer’s since high school and had no recollection of this store stocking sex toys, but there it was – a big wall of dildos indeed, in pretty much every color of the rainbow.

Announcing Pregnancy

Everyone knows the 3-month rule. Due to the higher chance of miscarriage in early pregnancy, many, if not most, like to keep things under wraps until the second trimester. I did not follow this approach for a few reasons, however.

While the risk of miscarriage in known pregnancies is, according to Dr. Google, 10-20 percent in the first 20 weeks, the odds still appeared to be largely in my favor. I also considered the fact there are no known miscarriages in my family and I’m pretty healthy. Whether these are scientifically sound reasons for being optimistic, I can’t say, but that was my thought process.

I balanced these odds with the absolute certainty that within a week or two, I’d find myself at a party, uncharacteristically without an alcoholic drink, and would face questions about being pregnant and have to lie. I knew this with absolute certainty, because there was one occasion on which I attended a baby shower after a night of brewery hopping. As I had indulged sufficiently the night prior, I decided to take it easy on the alcohol at the baby shower. I was one of the earlier guests, and actually did help myself to a mimosa, but after that, I refrained with the exception of a virgin Bloody Mary, which is nice the day after drinking. Also, I hate vodka and love tomato juice, so I always drink Bloody Marys virgin, but I do not do this frequently, so not many people know this.

Subsequently, my husband received several text messages from his friends insisting they “knew” I must be pregnant, because none of the girlfriends or wives saw me imbibe alcohol at the shower, and in fact, saw me order a virgin drink. The texts were so adamant my husband actually called me on the way home from work to ask tentatively, “You’re not pregnant… are you?”

So I had a pretty good idea that any time I’m caught without alcohol, there would be questions. I am not a good liar and I could see myself being really awkward with this. Further, I’d have to make up a lot of lies if I was seeing people or being invited places over the course of 3 months.

Additionally, while you never know until it happens to you, I did not think I’d be the type to be completely devastated if I miscarried. Surely, it would be frustrating, but I suspected I would tell myself it was my body’s way of rejecting an organism not meant to be born, and doubted I would become a total emotional wreck. I balanced the relatively unlikely possibility of having to tell multiple people I miscarried with the absolute certainty of telling many awkward lies, and decided the awkward lies would be worse for me.

We told parents and family almost immediately, followed by close friends. Everyone else, we told if they asked or if it somehow came up. We did not go out of our way to share on social media or make any type of formal announcement. To be honest, for me, the beginning was characterized by a certain level of anxiety, and I didn’t want to feel like I had to put on an act for everyone about how exciting and joyous this all is. Maybe that makes me weird, but it’s the truth, and I was not inclined to put on a fake show. You can fool the world, but you cannot fool yourself, nor should you try to.

[Note: pictured above indeed is our little fetus, not a cat sitting on a plank, however appropriate that might be.]

Being Preggo: The Good Parts

Doctor’s Appointments

Ultrasounds are fun! It’s amazing what medical technology has done for humanity. Just a couple of months in, you can see your little fetus bouncing around and waving her hand inside your belly. It’s neat-o. She looks like a little alien and sucks her thumb. By the time of the anatomy scan around 20 weeks, they have the ability to scan the entire fetus organ by organ, to ensure everything is in its right place and in developmental order. But don’t think for a minute this has eroded my rabid support for abortion and reproductive rights.

Friends

People are quite supportive and friends you may not even have been very close to will periodically check in on you, which is very sweet and thoughtful. Also, the bar is considerably lowered for you in terms of life. You will be praised for doing mundane things like actually wearing heels and not looking like a total slob when leaving the house, and people will ask if you are capable of a 15-minute walk. You will feel like a champion just for getting through the bare minimum requirements of life. Just kidding. This is actually not entirely a good thing.

I am also incredibly fortunate in that I have many friends who are pregnant at the same time as me (it’s an “we’ve hit the early thirties” thing). They are there to share experiences and advice, give good book recommendations, and be positive when I’m not feeling so sure (or to reaffirm that they are not so enthusiastic about the same things, either!). I have 5 other friends having babies this year, so I feel less alone in this. This kind of support is priceless.

The Angst

This was on the complaints list as well, but there’s an aspect of this I suspect I have missed, and I somewhat welcome its return. It’s nice to have a head full of thoughts and ideas, however disjointed, nonsensical, and fleeting they are. I had two moments, one involving Donald Trump, and the other involving a lost cat that incited in me a uncontrollable word-vomiting in the form of angry blog posts. It’s not the best in terms of emotional regulation, but having been dry on ideas for some time, it was refreshing to be reinvigorated again.

I entered two poetry contests for absolutely no reason. I do not even write poetry but my husband’s cousin posted a link of random free writing contests for the month of March and one thing led to another. Since I can’t blog about beer anymore, I flipped through journals from 12 years ago and sorted through my thoughts and words from what seems like a lifetime ago, to turn them into blog posts. It was like a 20 year old me left behind pieces of a puzzle for 32 year old me to put back together. If I really want to keep this up I have 12+ journals worth of junk to sort through, but we’ll see what whims strike next.

The Thorn

These haikus came to mind while I was awaiting my turn to be heard by a judge at a court hearing.

Thorn I

Many years ago

She was warned but did not heed

Now she must atone

 

Thorn II

She glanced at his soul

Perceived a bitter rotting

Silently, she left

The Beach

June 27, 2004 sober for 7 days I was lucid and smug

The sand told tales of tan lines, gold and shade taking turns on bodies resting on graininess

In the city with the highest concentration of fake beautiful people second only to Hollywood

Smooth young skins vie for afternoon bronze with books in hand, then dance in the garrulous waves

This is the glory and the glow

Their mothers, ghostly creators, are broken with leather and haunted by crows, purposeless, but

Can find solace in plastic salvation on every corner in this neighborhood

She tells me we are more than halfway dead and I believe her

I cannot help but think our friend who will be a man and a doctor, has more time

A lifeguard angrily shouts to us that no dogs are allowed

Holiday Drinks 2016

My birthday is around Christmas, so it can be hard to get friends together during this time, but I was lucky enough to round up some of my favorite people this year and hit up some beer adventures.

Having lived in San Diego for almost a decade, I wanted to make the rounds in a neighborhood that was not one of the usual party spots (e.g. Downtown, PB, etc.) I also wanted to drink somewhere walking distance from a Coaster station, so I decided we would take the Coaster and get off at Old Town Transit Center. It’s really unfortunate San Diego increasingly has a stick up its ass, and banned alcohol on the Coaster, but I guess it’s not like we needed any extra alcohol, considering how the night progressed. We took a short stroll from Old Town to Modern Times Brewing, which was on a nondescript street corner that appeared relatively uneventful and dead until we got inside.

Modern Times was full of the holiday spirit, complete with Christmas tree and arts and craft supplies for those who like to play with glue, glitter, and pipe cleaners while drinking craft brews.

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Modern Times beers are fantastic, with my favorite probably being the Blazing World. While I rarely favor ambers, this one definitely is more related to an IPA in flavor profile. They served their tasters in cigar boxes.

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We stayed at Modern Times for a few rounds of beers, and made our exit when we had our fix of making Christmas trees, wands, and headbands out of popsicle sticks and pipe cleaners. We took an Uber to Old Town Public House. It’s a pretty small bar, but even so, it was surprising that at 9:00 p.m. on a Saturday, there was literally only one other person in the bar. They had a fantastic selection of Belgian beers, which is unusual. Bars in San Diego tend to emphasize a vast collection of IPA’s, and rarely feature any significant selection of Belgians (dude, Stella does not count).

We had just one pint each here, and walked over to Home & Away, another neat bar in the area. Again, this was another joint that had a decent selection of beers on tap, and also had games a plenty, including ping pong on the patio. We really liked this bar, but again, it was surprisingly empty for a Saturday night. We did make friends with a regular who lived walking distance away. He treated us to a round of Fireball shots, which was wonderful of him, but regrettable when the morning rolled around.

When the bar closed, we Ubered back to our place to hang out and play Catchphrase until almost 4:00 a.m. It was a perfect end to a birthday celebration.

Beach House Winery

This was another place I found while bored and scoping out Yelp. This was a hidden gem out in east (very east) Oceanside. It’s a bit far from the beach, but the name refers to the view. They have a small tasting room here, and you can taste for $15 or buy a bottle and take it upstairs and enjoy it on the deck.

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We grabbed a bottle of their Nebbiolo and enjoyed it upstairs. The Nebbiolo was oaky, smoky, deep, rich, and tasted of berries. We paired great wine with gorgeous scenery, and searched for unrealistically extravagant and expensive houses nearby for purchase. It was a Sunday to remember.

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Some Beers In The Bay Area

We were up in northern California for a wedding recently. The wedding itself was in a sleepy and quaint Mill Valley, but we ended up spending some time in San Francisco as well as Walnut Creek, since we were there for a long weekend.

I’d like to say we came upon Resolute, a wine bar, after walking by its highly compelling sign (“HAPPY HOUR EVERY DAMN DAY!” pictured above), but the truth is we found it on Yelp. I believe this place is fairly new, as I had been in the neighborhood for work just a couple of months prior, and had not noticed it. We came by for happy hour. I had the “Hella Lite” pale ale, which was as juicy and citrusy as its description promised it to be. It was hoppy despite the fact it was “hella lite.” This would have been a great summer beer. Too bad the weather was already starting to cool down. The low ABV of 3.8% was probably also appropriate considering all the wedding festivity drinking from the night before. The rye saison by Henhouse Brewing wasn’t bad either. After that, we shared a glass of tempranillo, which was also lovely. Also had a cheese plate (manchego) to go with it all. Very nice.

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While up in the area, we also popped by to visit some dear friends, who had just returned from their honeymoon in Belgrade, London, and the Amalfi Coast (so jealous – if I ever make it back to Italy, it’s the Amalfi Coast for sure). We hit up a sort of Indian fusion joint called Kanishka’s Neo-Indian Gastropub in Walnut Creek. I can be slightly wary of fusion places, but when I looked up “beer” this is one of the first places that came up, and the thought of Indian food and beer was simply too enthralling to pass up.

This place did not disappoint. Lots of lovely beers of all types on tap. Good Belgians, good IPA’s, not much more a girl can ask for. The lamb sliders were probably more akin to wraps, but it doesn’t matter; they were heavenly. The tikka masala fries were also to die for and paired so nicely with IPA’s. All I want for Christmas is for someone to replicate this place and drop it off in San Diego.

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Barrel Republic Beer By The Ounce

My friend told me about this place a while back, but I just now got to check it out. This place has like 40 beers on tap and charges by ounce. You show your credit card and ID when you get in, they give you a bracelet with a sensor in it, and you scan the bracelet before every pour. They have a wide variety of glasses available for different types and quantities of beer.

They have a wide selection, including Belgians, IPAs, pale ales, lagers, you name it. There’s something for everyone; I suppose that’s the point. You can pour as little or as much as you want, so if you don’t like it, you can quickly move on. The catch is that it’s not a great deal. Most of the beers on tap end up being $7-$8 a pint which is what fancier joints charge for beers.

They even have a few wines. Although, there was some Adam Corolla-promoted wine called “Mangria” and I’d pretty much rather die than drink anything recommended by Adam fucking Corolla. Oh, I get it – MANgria.  YOU ARE SO FUCKING WITTY ADAM COROLLA. No thanks.

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After trying a whole host of delicious beers, none of the names of which I can recall currently, I ran into Thing 1 while waiting for the Coaster. Not sure where Thing 2 was. Speaking of the Coaster, it sucks now because they have banned alcohol. Because freedom and shit. ‘Murrica.

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