Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A Long Overdue Update

Now, let me see if I can keep straight when it was that I last posted to this silly blog thing. I believe I need to start with Fleet Week Friday, my last night in town before I zipped off to Gold Country and Yosemite for a wedding reception and my birthday, respectively. Hmmm…. what an odd odd night was that Fleet Week Friday.

Just in case anyone doesn’t know, Fleet Week is the, well, inappropriately named weekend when the city of San Francisco fills with sailors, the Blue Angels make the buildings shake, and there is a great bunch of revelry in general. I was only here in the mighty San Francisco for the first official night, last Friday night. In order to support my troops whom, by the way, I get to know very little about due some sort of lack of national and world news here in San Francisco, I wore my navy blue dress with all the fringe, a pair of sparkly tights, and my red spool-heeled t-strap Mary Janes, and I went dancing.

I couldn’t help from shaking my fringe; even though, some twatty little girls kept trying to physically infringe (pun intended) upon my solidly held dance space. I mean, really, the only thing that can usually move me off a dance spot is a man trying to hump my leg. Let’s be honest, if I wanted my leg humped, I would get a pet dog. My friend Helen even introduced me to the bassist Dave for the band at Maggie McGarry’s that night. He subsequently kept shaking his head at me as if to say, “No,” while he played and didn’t even acknowledge me when the music was done. Needless to say, the evening ended uneventfully, and I went home to sleep until it was time to pick up the rental car for my drive.

In the morning, I walked myself over to the Avis on Fisherman’s Wharf to pick up my rental car. Low and behold, I know the owner of that Avis office. She looked at me and said, “You look familiar.” The only response to that, of course, was, “Are you Andrea?” I knew her from years ago when I still lived here in San Francisco permanently the last time. She has only gotten prettier and healthier looking. I tried to tell her that, but I didn’t want it to come off as though I were flirting. She is married, after all.

The drive out to Sonora was rather uneventful, though, full of beautiful country scenery. I was tempted with the idea of buying a pumpkin from a local produce stand. Luckily for my ability to transport my luggage, I did not do so.

The wedding reception was that afternoon. I walked through the dining room in my red dress as though I were a Spanish lady with an orchid behind my left ear. ‘Dabs and Evilia looked all stunning in their big-city wedding clothes. Michael and Kathrin looked all gorgeous in their (Marine) dress blues and rousched (Is that how you spell that?) white gown. ‘Dabs and Michael’s parents threw a mighty fine, intimate party for us all.

After the reception, we met in Sonora’s historic downtown for various drinks and tasty Mexican food. We tried The Sportsman, the first place I have ever seen where you can buy beer and guns all at the same place, before settling in at the Office, a Clamper bar. The Office had a wonderfully well-stacked jukebox that I neglectfully spent more time perusing that chatting with my friends. Whatever. They still love me.

I slept oddly that night. I thought I heard the audio from a television show broadcast directly into my room at the charming Spanish mission-style Days Inn while I tried to sleep. My ears are prone to playing tricks on me.

Sunday morning’s breakfast was spent at Michael and ‘Dabs’s parents’ place there in Sonora. It was quite the breakfast feast that their mother spread for us, and we chatted lightly outdoors at the patio table while we ate. When I was finally ready to head out on the road, their mother also gave me almost bugged-out eyes of worry about the drive on SR-120 to Yosemite. Their father also double-checked that I knew the route. They really are such a wonderful family.

Once I hit the mountain-hugging highway, I understood why they worried. Little did they know, my sporty hybrid could hug curves like an eighty-year-old letch. That drive was more fun that it should have been.

Yosemite was gorgeous. I don’t know quite what else to say about that. This particular National Park has epic landscapes, majestic monoliths, and some of the biggest trees this world has ever know. Due to the drought (which no one told me about until I arrived there), the waterfalls were dry. Sigh, global climate change. We all really ought to do something about that. I drove into Yosemite from the west that day and out through the south.

The B & B I stayed at, the Hound’s Tooth Inn, was adorable. Despite how packed the park was, it was also rather vacant. For the amount of charm you get for the price, I found that odd. I happened to be able to photograph a stray tuxedo cat while stopping to smell the wares of their rose garden, and my room (#7) was clean, new, and too romantic, I must admit, to be in alone. I mean, really, it even had a fireplace.

After a quick nap in my room, I found myself chatting over complimentary wine in the common area with a cute (taken) Brit traveling across California with his life partner while they were both on holiday. I asked him about his research, I chatted about my diagnosis, I even recommended that they see the Racetrack Playa while in Death Valley. It was quite a comfortable and delightful chat.

After not finishing my half-glass of red, I sped off to the Jackelope themed bar & grill at the Tenaya Lodge for dinner. The coffee was nothing to be messed with, and the cute, tattooed bartender seemed more shy around me than the cute, non-tattooed bartender who met me when I sat at the bar. While I ate, the bar filled out with cute, manly types who all ignored me. I tried sitting outside by the fire; however, it was rather chilly, and the coffee was making my hands shake. I was in bed (alone and) early that night.

Sleep was much more comfortable that night than at the Sonora Day’s Inn. I heard some rustling around from what seemed like the attic above me, and my rest was only interrupted by the sound of a door shutting that occurred sometime in the dead of night. I’ve needed that kind of restful sleep for quite a while.

I quickly enjoyed a light breakfast, seemingly, right when it hit the serving area in the common space. Then I was off to Yosemite! It was birthday, you know, that Monday. I spent it driving all over that amazing park. I hiked the Mariposa Grove in my black dress and red heels, and I made it all of the way across Tioga Road to Lee Vining and Mono Lake. With any luck, I will have photos to share some time soon.

Mono Lake has an amazing, alien-looking landscape full of salt. I know my photos could not bring justice to the beauty of that, apparently, mostly avoided lake, so I bought postcards at the visitors’ center before heading back across the Sierras and the snow-speckled Tioga Road. I had somehow managed not to notice any snow on the way there. Well, I’m not know for being the most the observant person in the world.

The fog rolled in, and a few lonely raindrops fell, shortly after I passed the Toulumne Meadows and the White Wolf turnoff. I tried to stop to photograph the fog, but that romantic weather phenomenon moves around with a mind of its own. It cleared to a regular level of visibility when I finally found a turnout upon which to stop the car.

I made it to the valley floor just in time to photograph the monoliths I have managed to forget how to tell apart in the glow of the setting sun. Beautiful. There is nothing more to say about that. I hope my photos turn out as well as I think they should. This was all on the way to the main dining room of the Awahanee Hotel (if I spelled that correctly) for my birthday dinner. The three-course prix fix is quite the steal there. I chose the boysenberry pie for dessert. My night’s sleep at the Hounds Tooth Inn after my birthday dinner was some of the soundest sleep I have had in a good long while.

I was up at 3AM to dress for my drive back to San Francisco. I had planned on getting in earlier than I needed to in order to return the car, but (thankfully for the detriment of the drought conditions) the rain, the fact I could get myself lost near Modesto (How did I end up asking for directions at the Kaiser Permanente in Modesto?), and the eventual morning rush traffic, I arrived just a little late. The conditions turned what should have been a 3.5 hour drive into a 7 hour one, after counting the time spent unloading my luggage before dropping off the vehicle. It’s a good thing I left as early as I did.

I stopped by to check on some friends at various neighborhood establishments, checked my mail, called a hospital about a bill I never received, and ended up putting together some mail to send tomorrow morning. Gaynor is doing fabulously at MELT! . Peg even stopped in to chat with us before a group of regulars appeared to sing me happy birthday. The BBC radio chattered in the background as I typed away at this silly machine trying to write a specifically and multiply addressed letter.

I quickly stopped in Ireland’s 32 to say, “Hello!” to Grasshopper and Ruce. I just wanted to make sure they knew I made it home safely after such a long, mountainous drive. There was, oddly, a group of pool players in the upstairs bar, something I had never seen there before during the Tuesday night open mic. I believe there were more yuppies playing pool upstairs than there were musicians playing music downstairs.

From there, I meandered my way on mass public transit back to the neighborhood in order to sit here at Specs, drink bourbon, and compose this entry which I plan on posting later. My mind is full of all sorts of beautiful things I need to get done with my more immediate future and, or course, vastly beautiful things I plan for my distant future in this world. San Francisco is such a beautiful city.

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