Shane and I have been feeling like a Californian weekend was overdue for some time now – we’ve been missing our friends, the sunshine, Saturday afternoons with the Giants… And so we booked our tickets and headed down to the Central Valley last weekend. It had been nearly two years since our last visit to our former home, and so I had a list of things to do and people to see. My ‘girls’ were at the top of that list – Francine, Kelly, Amanda and I have been friends since high school, and it’s been far too long since we were all together. We spent Friday at the nail salon, followed by a perfect lunch at one of my favorite Mexican restaurants. There are times when I worry that I’ve changed so much since living in Seattle that it will be tough for us to connect like we used to, but after 10 minutes of sitting around a table together, shrieking with laughter about long-ago memories, I realize that our bond is not that easily broken.
After our lunch-induced caloric overload, we decided to burn off those burritos with one of our favorite pastimes: shoe shopping. Amanda and I have a favorite store in Modesto that we visit every time I’m home, and we can easily spend hours wandering up and down the aisles, trying on heels that we know we’ll never be able to walk in or bright pink wedge sandals that won’t match anything in our closets. What I love most about these little shopping excursions is our ability to pinpoint exactly what the other person would like (“theses polka dot wedges are so completely you!”). I was talking about this with Nancy the other night and she summed it up perfectly: she said it feels really good to be known, which is what’s so special about these times with the girls – they know me in a particular way that no one in Seattle does or ever will. Of course, there are also times when I surprise Amanda with my apparently poor taste (“oh, no, Kel, you’ve got to be joking with those”), but I love those moments, too – brutal honesty without the risk of hurt feelings is a pretty unique thing.
The rest of Friday was pretty mellow – burgers for dinner, more catching up with old friends, watching movies as I crashed out on the couch… Saturday morning, it was time to bid farewell to Turlock and head to San Francisco for the rest of the weekend. We were intent on catching a game, and thought it would be fun to end our trip with a night out on the town. After checking into our hotel, we jetted over to AT&T park, stocked with peanuts and sporting our Giants gear. It was a beautiful day to be at the ballpark, and the buzz of excitement in the air told me that I better get ready to do some serious cheering and high-fiving. I was wrong. Horribly wrong. Lincecum pitched the worst game of his career, and we left the park in the middle of 8th, as the Giants were down 8 to nothing. Ouch. At least the sunshine was there to buoy our spirits.
He’s only smiling because he got a new hat to replace his crusty old faded one…
A short nap back at the room, and then we were ready to paint the town red. Saturday was the 12th anniversary of our very first date, so we were in the mood to celebrate. Shane had made reservations at Delfina, a cozy-but-hip Italian restaurant in the Mission. We slurped up perfectly prepared spaghetti and oohed and ahhed over our tagliatelle. I like to think that Shane will look back on that night and remember the dress I wore and conversation we had, but he has already confessed that what made the biggest impression on him was the fact that Ellen Page was sitting at a table just five feet away from us. We didn’t approach her, but I still had to listen to his dorky one-liners from Juno all night, about his ‘hamburger phone’ and ‘food baby’. I’ll admit, as we don’t experience too many celebrity sightings in Seattle, it was kind of a big deal.
Dinner was followed by cocktails at Wilson and Wilson, a tiny little speak-easy known for it’s intimate bar and finely crafted drinks. The theatrics of getting to our table were a bit much (having to give a password to the fedora-wearing man at the door, and then being led through a dark bar to a door that had to be unlocked with an old key, beyond which we finally found our seats), but still, it was a fun night. The cocktails were good, the conversation was good, and I was toasting to 12 fabulous years with a pretty incredible man.
We started Sunday with a coffee date with Brieanne, my college roommate and fellow Francophile (we were in Paris together for our fourth year of college). It was fun to catch up, to hear about the exciting things in store for her as she expecting her first little bebe in November. Post-coffee, Shane and I headed over to Hayes for our brunch reservations at Absinthe. I’m not sure how Shane found this place, but O.M.G. My french toast was the best I’ve ever had – slightly crispy around the edges, but unbelievably light and fluffy on the inside. Sinfully good. Shane took a bite and his eyes got really big as he exclaimed, “It’s like a taste of heaven!”
Yum-my. But also super-filling, so after brunch, we were ready to do a little walking. We wandered around the neighborhood, and then made our way toward the new federal building, designed by Morhposis.
I think I was so high on sunshine and french toast that I wasn’t much in the mood for architecture-gazing, so after a quick spin around the block, we headed back toward the park in front of City Hall to find a patch of grass with our name on it. My college friend Chris came to meet us there, and the three of us camped out on the lawn for a couple of hours, chatting and soaking in the beautiful day. It was nice to put away the busy-body, sight-seeing side of myself, and just focus on good conversation and quality relaxation. I should try that more often.
One last stop for more sunshine-soaking at Yerba Buena, and it was time to head for home…
Au revoir, California. Hope to see you again soon.