She’s at the cafe again, sipping coffee, watching her friend sweep the floor while the sun streams through the windows but when she is not looking the trees whisper ill-fated tales of childhood to each other and the familiar wind and snow rage on an empty field steeped in her blood. Every corner of this place is loneliness and desertion, the scent of which clings like a hungry leech waiting patiently for the spirit to suffocate. You can flee to California but this town crawls in your veins, bursts in your bones.
Our cat Fiona has always taken it upon herself to train Kyle for having babies by waking him up at odd hours, making strange noises, and demanding food at ungodly times. Recently, she has really upped her game. Today, Kyle was gone for work but she must have pestered me for food five times after I returned home from work.
I wrapped a present for a baby shower for the next day, set it aside, only to return several minutes later to find Fiona had made a small tear in the pretty wrapping paper, and was sitting her ass on the present. That was not enough mischief for the night, though.
I turned on the hand steamer, set it down on the kitchen counter to heat up, and turned my back for not 30 seconds to grab a snack. When I glanced back to check on the hand steamer, I practically had a heart attack when I saw Fiona had her whole face pressed into the holes where the steam is supposed to come out. I yelled at her and she quickly retreated, exactly 3 seconds before hot steam came streaming out. I thought she was going to burn her eyeballs off! I think this is the first time I encountered a cat safety hazard while engaging in domesticity. I thought she needed to blow off some energy, so I played with her, but when it came time to use my computer, this was happening:
When I finally got to use my computer, she crawled into my lap like the spoiled thing she is and pretended she was totally innocent.
ADDENDUM: The next morning, she attempted to drag me out of bed at 6:50 am and pestered me to no end. She even bit my face at one point. I am a firm believer in not giving in to such antics, but although I ignored her bad behavior, I was not able to go back to sleep. I still refused to get out of bed until 8:00 and then went downstairs to have coffee before yoga class. To top it off, as I was headed out the door, Ophelia circled my legs, blocked me on the stairs, and clung to my leggings as I was trying to leave. I texted Kyle and let him know the cats are extra neurotic when he’s gone.
I’ve read in multiple sources that gratitude is a significant contributing factor, if not the key, to happiness. In a study by two psychologists from UC Davis and the University of Miami, researchers found that writing about things for which people were grateful led to more optimism and positive feelings about the subject’s lives (here and here).
Even in the absence of scientific evidence, this theory seems to make intuitive sense, and at the least is worth a try, because it can’t hurt. I am fairly happy in general regardless, but pregnancy is not always my cup of tea, so I thought this would be the perfect time to make a list of things for which I am grateful:
- My husband, for being supportive and kind.
- My family, immediate, extended, and in-law, for being wonderful people who will be positive influences and role models for my little fetus.
- My body, for doing what seems to be a decent job so far – no vomiting, no complications, no abnormal lab results, no debilitating symptoms. Even my blood pressure, which normally runs a tad high, has normalized.
- Financial stability, which makes this process far less stressful.
- Google and the internets. Sometimes Googling medical conditions can lead you to believe you have cancer or a brain tumor, but sometimes it does the opposite. Sometimes you Google some symptom and find out it’s totally normal during pregnancy and that you are not, in fact dying. What a relief! Not only for myself, but for my doctor’s office as well because otherwise I’d be calling non-stop.
- Yelp, so I can read reviews on doctors and classes and make informed decisions.
- Living in a metropolitan area where the quality and standard of healthcare is high, and I am able to easily find providers, facilities, classes, and options suited to my needs, preferences, and philosophies.
- Living in a time after the invention of ultrasounds, genetic/other types of testing/screening, breast pumps, pregnancy pillows, and life-saving medical interventions and procedures.
- Wal-Mart, for all kinds of cheap shit, from baby gear to maternity clothes and more.
- P.G. Wodehouse, for making me laugh when I was very tired in early pregnancy and did not have energy to do anything except sit on the couch and read.
- All the little pleasures in life: roses, coffee, the beach nearby, Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald on Saturday mornings, gummy bears (or maybe NOT, since I can’t stop eating them and they are not nutritious at all!)
They held daffodils between their teeth as they wove flower crowns and years later
Flipping through old books she found four-leaf clovers pressed between pages
Crushed flat and still, preserved for no one
She felt the heat and shine of the rising sun and saw her friend in his car, preparing to leave the summer behind
She called out to him from the patio and said I love you
He turned to her and responded Ugh stop drinking
The child molester sitting a table away asks her about a boy as the morning coffee begins to waft
She says Give me a cigarette and I’ll tell you
She takes a drag and weaves a tale of indifference
As he lectures her about fickleness
This is a true story and it could happen to you. My brother was in town for the holidays, and I planned some brewery hopping for a Friday night. It was a really nice, sunny, warm day in December (23rd), even by San Diego standards. I ran stairs at the beach after work, went home and showered, and we were ready to head out the door early evening. Before we left, I decided to take a pregnancy test, because ever since going off birth control, I thought it was a good idea to take a test before decadent, booze-filled nights out. I was down to my last test and strangely, after peeing on it, I realized it was broken. Seriously. Instead of the little lines that show up on each window of the stick, both windows remained completely blank, even after about 15 minutes.
I had never heard of this happening before, and I felt vaguely ripped off by Target. These things are not that cheap, after all. I was not too concerned and decided I could always stop at a grocery store and grab another one on the way to the first brewery. We made a quick stop at Vons for this purpose and then were on our merry way.
The first scheduled stop was Burgeon Brewing, a new brewery nearby which I had not yet tried. Like so many breweries these days, Burgeon is a sort of warehouse facility located in an industrial park, with 30-foot ceilings and hipster lighting.
I ordered a flight of beers, which were served on a tree-trunk-shaped taster holder. Based on the picture of their menu, if I had to guess which beers I ordered, it was likely the Carlsbad Crop IPA, Thuja IPA, Mixed Greens Double IPA, and the Moo Moo Farm Milk Stout.
Halfway through the taster, I was able to pee again and snuck off to the bathroom to take the test, which turned out to be positive. Barely. The blue lines were faint, yet unmistakable. I cannot say I was shocked, because at this age, I’d have to be an imbecile to be unaware of how pregnancy comes about, but I was still a little surprised. I did not want to return to the group and announce this to a table full of people, so I tried to text my husband while in the bathroom stall, but the reception was exceptionally poor and I failed. Finding out you’re pregnant in the bathroom stall of a brewery and texting your husband while on the toilet has to be about the most romantic and classy way to break the news, if you ask me.
I had no choice but to emerge from the safety of the bathroom stall and return to the table. Once I was able to discreetly pull husband aside and share the somewhat surprising news, continued indulgence in beer was no longer an option, so I opted for the cold brew coffee on nitro. This cold brew was smooth and delicious; it was practically a dessert, even though it is not sweetened. Thus concluded my beer adventures for approximately 9 months, and began an adventure of different sorts.
She invented the cloudy dreaminess in boys eyes and their obvious intentions,
While drinking a golden tea rendered from a sunburst of alien tentacles with a red heart.
He explains he is a budding musician and believes in god so she asks why and says
You can find god in pews, or resounding from the throat of a holy man or
You can find god in the five-lined staff
Where your wings force their way through the skin of your shoulder blades
To glitter or reflect the steely pall of your confessions –
But then sacrilege appears on the patio casting his poison on every frame of her daylight
A blank ghost, with colorless, translucent skin composed of love molecules from her youth.
She suddenly feels she might be compressed to a vanishing dust to be dissipated with the breeze
Becoming only a glint in the saga of conquests
A dead, buried, short story with no premise.
She has forgotten about the young musician and his guitar
And her tea has turned to mud.
drifting in and out of sleep floating through disturbances of phone calls and scrambled details of a faraway night-glory when riddled with shivers she found a warm body, let herself crumble to elusive plans not her own, victim to sloshing in the head, a warm bloody release of the fulfillment. she slept alone above a pool of aquamarine liquid, disconnected from infidelities.
there’s a vague flash of pink, metallic, chipped nailpoish, and bent wings. here’s the skin my flesh and all the youth for you to feast on. she raged and dragged a furor through the bones with a fresh madness and love that has never idled away in a pantry or been stored in a can.
waking up penless and thoughtless, light was starting to claw at the blinds and she was still waiting for unconsciousness and relief from the battle schemes of the day. coffee and spirits have flooded the veins, burst against reason, spun the head with heavy confessions in a rotation of heavenly uncertainties.
an entreating voice is on the phone, asking for warmth, because he is about to leave again, restless to wander while she stews contentedly in suburbia, breathing in a fateful and constant concrete, only half listening because she catches sight of a man on a balcony and trails off to stale thoughts and imagined with him there would be the final reduction of the fatal rush and the pleasure of letting the unknown melt in slate irises, gold-flared in the midday sun, a faithful and eternal reflection of unending sand and flawless sky.
now they suffer the musicless hum of the 405 together and she is reminded they have always been imaginary. you might be remembered best if you finished here violently and grandly and young because continuity threatens to be the most inglorious concession.
i daydream about waking up in his apartment between cocoon sheets and quietly folded dreams of the faded night before
and padding down the hallway on his pine wood floors in the morning as a crisp reminder of reality
but he never calls me so
let us stare mindlessly at the yellow roses by the mailbox together until this song runs out
we’ll pick up guitars and play until i am ready for coffee highs and long days
we’ll make our own viscous, blurring nights with liquid destruction in our hands
you can have all my secret fascinations and my immutable kingdom
as long as we can spend all summer on the cafe patio
with old men
and iced tea
We decided to walk around to some breweries downtown a little while back, and started out at Monkey Paw Brewing,where we did several tasting flights.
Dr. Bill’s ESB was malty and a little sweet. The I-5 Coconut Black IPA was more coconut and less IPA than I would prefer. The Gibbon Back IIPA was lemony and floral. The Low and Slow Smoked Lager was interesting. I’m not usually one for lagers, but decided to give this one a go. It smelled sort of like smoked salmon, and had savory notes with a hint of smoked plum.
For our second flight, we had the Rhubarb Saison, which was fruity, slightly tart, with grapefruit tones. The Dark Side of Paradise, a macadamia nut milk stout, was a big hit with us. It was smooth, velvety, and practically a dessert. The Might Joe Young Stout was another good stout, with an obvious coffee flavor, more of a bite, but still smooth.
Our friends ordered some food while we were here, and decided it was the best Philly Cheesesteak they’d ever had.
Next, we made our way to Mission Brewery. Mission Brewery operates out of a building that used to be the Wonder Bread factory, which gives it a unique atmosphere and a certain charm that sets it apart from other breweries located inside industrial parks. We hadn’t been here in about 5 years, and were surprised to find some major changes to this place. You still have to walk through some pretty sketchy areas of downtown to get here (at one point, our friend saw an entire block of trash, tents, and shopping carts and questioned whether there was an alternative route to get to this place) but once you get in, it’s a whole different world.
When we came 5 years prior, it was relatively empty and quiet. This time, it was busy as hell, and they’d added more tables, a small store, and opened up an additional area in the back.
Mission has a great selection of IPA’s, so this was sort of a heaven for me, but if you’re not into IPA’s it might be a bit less exciting. After Mission, we walked to Half Door Brewing, which is located in a converted house. It is adorable, and I’d passed it with curiosity on several occasions in the last year. This was another IPA heaven, and I enjoyed most of the beers I tasted, including House of Hops, the Pale Ale, the Buzz, the Northeast IPA, and the Hoban. My only complaint about this place is that the tasters are a bit pricey for what they are.
Sometimes you get greedy. You have a good weekend and you don’t want it to end so you delay by stopping at random places on the way home to extend the good times. This is not a bad thing.
Cute location, though the day was a bit overcast and cold. It was nice to have a couple of glasses of wine to warm up.
After that, we hit up Valley Center Brewery. This was an unpretentious place with a divey-feel, located in a nondescript strip mall. They are able to do this and still have great reviews because their beers are pretty damn good.
Woods Valley Cream Ale: 4.3% ABV. Nutty, vanilla, smooth, light. Very nice cream ale.
Hunza Hill Hefeweizen: 7.2% ABV. Quite the bold one and quite the alcohol content for a hefeweizen. Saison flavors, fruity, warm, with a little bit of a tart edge.
Burnt Mountain Road Smoked Ale: 6.5 ABV. This is a barrel-aged smoked red. It tasted a bit like campfire and leather, in a good way, if you can imagine it. It was unique.
Hellhole Canyon Stout: 6.5% ABV. Smoky, full, deep, tastes of bourbon and coffee.
Morning Star Circle: 5.0% ABV. Belgian IPA. Smooth, creamy, floral, and slightly nutty. It was apparently dry-hopped with lavender which is pretty interesting.
Our bartender was very friendly and helpful. We had a fun tasting experience here. The bear sitting at the other end of the bar was quiet, but I think he was having a good time too.