I hope that this blog doesn’t just turn into recap posts, but I haven’t written since my 10-year recap and in that post and the one before that, I didn’t really talk about what was happening in the present day, so let’s get caught up.
In the Spanish culture and how my mom grew up, January 6th was as big or bigger than Christmas. It’s the day of the Epiphany, when the three wise men actually reached Bethlehem and gave their gifts. It’s a gift-giving day we call Los Reyes Magos. For that day, Mom gifted me with a $50 shopping spree at Marshall’s which was fun. Afterward, we tried the internet-famous chicken sandwich from Popeye’s, and yes, it was quite delicious (no pickles for us!)
On Saturday, January 11th, I was at La Mirada Regional Park before 7 am to start my tennis clinic, an 8-week clinic to brush up on my skills and hopefully meet some people I can play with. Unfortunately, by 7:20 am, with no instructor or other students around, I gave up. I hit against the wall a bit and served then went home. (I ended up getting a refund for the whole clinic). I headed to San Diego as was my plan, directly to my acupuncture appointment. So awesome! Then I went to the Becky’s house where I was staying. We caught up a bit, and then it was time for me to get ready to go to my featured reading at Meraki Cafe. My friend, Heather, was already there (yay!). My friends, Mike & Dana, were also there, plus a bunch of SD poets I know. The reading went very well. It was well-attended. Here’s a pic from the evening.
After the reading, Heather & I walked around the corner to the El Zarape taco shop (best shrimp burritos ever) where we talked and talked for a couple hours. It was wonderful to see her!
The next morning after breakfast with Becky & Bill (he made biscuits with sausage gravy), I went for a hike at Tecolote Canyon. I’d walked there before but hadn’t nearly gone as far as I did that day. The only problem was that there were some steep hills and going down a couple of them there was some mud, and I totally fell on my ass twice. Thankfully I didn’t get hurt, and I could mostly laugh about it. Yikes. After the hike (about 5 miles), I headed back to LM.
On Tuesday and Thursday of that week, I helped out at another bookstore for their rush. The Cerritos bookstore is much bigger than Cypress where I usually am, but once I figured out where to go and kind of got the hang of things, it was fine. Both days I started at 6 am which is early, but I was done by 1:30 pm and noon, so not too bad. I’m kind of glad I don’t work there. The campus is older and just not as nice as Cypress.
In between those two work days, I took myself to Disneyland, making sure I use my annual pass at least once a month. It was a beautiful day, and I took advantage of the single rider lines on most of the major rides. Perfection!
On the 17th, I used my word for the year (blossom) to encourage myself to say yes to playing tennis with a stranger. It was better than hitting against a wall!
On Sunday the 19th, it was time for a Mom, Lizzie & Lulu road trip! My friend Cathyrn’s band was playing at a bar/restaurant that also has a small motel so we headed to high desert for a change of scenery and some music. We had decided to stop at Calico Ghost Town since we were nearby. I had been there once, and Mom had been there a couple times. It seemed way more touristy than either of us remembered. But it was fine. We just walked up and down the main street with Lulu. I bought a magnet, and we took some photos.
From there, we headed down some old road to get a glimpse of Elmer’s Bottle Tree Ranch. It was closed for walking around but we still got a couple photos. It’s just dozens and dozens (maybe hundreds?) of ‘bottle trees’ that an old dude made his life’s work.
We then made our way to the Hilltop Tavern and Inn. If I had been by myself, I may have been creeped out a little, but it was fine. It’s a cinder block motel and you can hear your neighbors through the vents, but it was steps from the restaurant and venue. We went there and had dinner and watched the show. It was great to see Cathryn, the first time I’d seen her since her dad had passed in early December. Her mom and aunt were there, and her husband, plus all the other gals in Calamity. It was a fun time.
On the 21st, it was back to work at Cypress with more shifts scheduled now that the spring semester was starting.
On the 22nd, I played doubles with the gal I’d played with the previous week and a couple other people that she knew. It was fun. I feel like I was more skilled, but it was also the first match I’d played in YEARS. I was paired with the girl I knew. We did lose the match, but I did get some good shots and serves in. I’d probably play with them again if my schedule works.
The last week of January was mostly working. I had a few 8-hour shifts because of rush. I like when it’s busy. On the 31st, it was another Mom, Lizzie, & Lulu road trip! This time to San Diego. The Central Library was having its Local Author Showcase which I was in. There was a big reception at the library. I got us a pet-friendly room at a hotel near where I used to live so everything was super familiar. We had dinner from Lolita’s, yum! The reception was nice, and it was good to see some friends, and of course to see my book displayed (also displayed was an anthology I’m in) with other local SD authors.
In the morning, we went to my little French cafe for my once-weekly ham & cheese croissant. It was still as delicious as ever. The owner and one of the gals who works there remembered me. It was very nice. On the way out of town, we headed east to say hi to Han who was playing a gig at a BBQ place. Unfortunately, they didn’t allow dogs so we didn’t stay, but it was nice to see him.
January was a good month! We did a lot of fun things!
February so far has had its ups and downs. On Feb 2nd, I drove down to San Clemente to meet up with Lindsay. We got breakfast and caught up on what’s been going on. We walked along the pier. It was a beautiful day.
I worked more 8-hour shifts on Monday and Tuesday. I was halfway into my shift on Wednesday when my manager pulled me aside to ask if I was okay. I was starting to not feel very well with a cold, so he sent me home. I slept most of the rest of that day. The next day, I stayed in the recliner under my weighted blanket all day. I let my manager know I couldn’t make it in for my shift on Friday. That day I stayed in bed and binged The West Wing most of the day. Saturday was also a down day, though I was feeling more human finally. Which was great because Sunday…
… was the day for which I had bought 2 spots for me and Mom in a “For the Love of Chocolate” baking class. It was a rainy Sunday afternoon, but the baking room at Le Pain Quotidien in Newport Beach was warm and smelled yeasty in a comforting way. We were the only 2 students which was great. Our instructor was a cutie-pie named Dario. We made chocolate chip cookies with pecans, took pre-made chocolate brioche dough and made braids and bagelish-looking and regular-looking rolls to be baked on site, made our own chocolate brioche dough to take home, and then he mixed up a chocolate ganache and we filled little tartlet shells with it and topped them with a blueberry or a blackberry. We had leftover cookie dough that we brought home to freeze along with our brioche dough, plus all the baked items we made. It was so fun and yummy!
That night we watched the Oscars and ate brioche!
On Feb 10th, I took Mom to the doctor, then I had a job interview with the La Mirada Theater for a box office associate position. I’ve done two interviews for city positions, both part-time, and they have been very formal. I also had to do a written test for the theater job. I know I got one wrong for sure. I have no idea if I am what they’re looking for, but I think it would be fun to work at the theater. I’ll keep you posted. The rest of the week has been shifts at Cypress, though we were told our shifts would be cut even more. The corporate mantra that reaches down even to retail: do more with less.
Next week, Sandy will visit! She arrives on Thursday and leaves on Monday. On Friday, she & I will go to Disneyland!! I don’t have to work any of the days she’s here so that’s great.
Yesterday, we went to the Fullerton Arboretum for a little stroll. We saw this bird (featured image) at the first little pond. It was a nice day. We went to Black Angus for lunch. I liked having my mom as my valentine.
Today we took Lulu for a haircut that was desperately needed. I like her both fluffy and shorn, but she’s like two different dogs looks-wise. It’s kind of hard to see in the photos but trust me, she looks so little now!
Until next time!