Wednesday, June 07, 2006

What I Did During Summer Vacation

Well, here I am in the US again. I've been here since the evening of May 28, the day my visa expired. Brandi picked me up at the airport, and then we hit Trader Joe's for cereal and coffee creamer, and after that we went to Chevy's so I could get a Mexican food fix. The food was OK, but the margarita didn't appear to have any alcohol in it, although it was flavorful. Back at Brandi's we chatted awhile and then watched most of Pirates of the Caribbean, which I'd never seen (Johnny Depp is soooo cool). About 1:00 a.m. we called it a night.

Me, I was up at 7:15 a.m., because my body was a bit confused about what time it was. I dinked around online until Brandi emerged from her lair, and Lisa showed up around 11:00 a.m. Bless her heart, she'd gotten us some adorable key rings engraved with 1986-2006 - we've been friends for 20 years this summer! Lordy, I can't believe how fast time has gone by and what we've been through over those years. We did a lot of reminiscing during our day together, laughing and recalling some of the very stupid things we'd done, surprised that we'd managed to live through some of it! Spent the day shopping, eating, and talking, which is what we do best.

I went home to Fairfield with Lisa Monday evening, got there in time to say hi to hubby Steve before he went to bed, having to face an early morning awakening. Visited with the cats, Pooh and Max, then Lisa and I both zonked out. Again, I was up early, which was fine because I got to chat more with Steve as he was readying himself for his day. After Lisa woke up and got ready, we took off for my dad's place in Auburn, stopping at the numerous outlet stores along the way to buy things on my shopping list and to have some lunch.

Spent Tuesday with Dad and Berti, had a piece of pie from Baker's Square (yum), and on Wednesday morning picked up my rental car, a bright red little Chevy of some sort. Had breakfast at the Auburn airport with Dad and Berti then headed off to Chico, arriving there at noon. Hey, I didn't forget how to drive! I don't drive like I used to, though. I never went more than 5 mph over the speed limit, and I never felt any urgency to get where I was going. I guess living in Taiwan has calmed me down a little. I also didn't yell at the other drivers when they did stupid things.

First stop in Chico was City Hall, of course, to see my former co-workers. I'd only told a few folks I was coming, because I wanted to surprise everyone, and it was great to see the shock on the faces of the unsuspecting ones. Spent awhile there saying hello, then went to lunch with Krista, sharing half an Upper Crust chocolate dipped hazelnut biscotti with her (I was too full from breakfast to actually eat lunch). Then back to City Hall to catch the ones who had been at lunch when made the first swoop. Tried calling Weiwei on the cell phone that Steve Hogue had gotten for me, and the darned thing didn't work. I could hear the gal on the other end, but she couldn't hear me. So, I just went over to Weiwei's office and made plans to meet her at home after work.

Did some shopping, mostly clothes for my fat ass, which won't fit into anything in Taiwan. Let me tell you, it's a shock to see how grossly overweight Americans are. When you live in it day after day, you get numbed to it. But after a year in Taiwan, surrounded by tiny little Asian guys and girls, it's a different story. Listen up folks: America has a problem! Most of those I saw aren't just chubby, they're morbidly obese! OK, I'm definitely overweight, but I'm small compared to a huge percentage of women and men I see here. Wake up, folks, and stop super-sizing everything. And get out of those cars and try walking somewhere every now and then. I was so appalled by the sight that I decided right then and there that as soon as I get back home, this extra weight is coming off. I figure those little Asians are looking at me the same way I'm looking at the 300 and 400 pounders here, and I don't want that. OK, off the soapbox.

Had a lovely, healthy meal at Weiwei's, some salmon with a great salad. Boy, she and Bob are good cooks. Enjoyed talking with them about all sorts of stuff and really enjoyed getting to sleep on my old couch again! Oh, how I miss that couch. I always slept there instead of in my bed, because it was way more comfortable. I should have paid to ship it to Taiwan, dang it. Weiwei had to work Thursday, but Bob was around in the morning, preparing for a hang-gliding trip, so I got to spend more time with him.

Then more shopping, at Winco. I got 22 bags of David & Sons sunflower seeds! I love those things, and they're way healthier than potato chips when one needs a salty snack. Got some Reese's Peanut Butter Cups to bring back to my friends, since they're almost impossible to find in Taiwan, and bought a couple other things that are cheaper in the US or completely missing in Taiwan. After that it was lunch with the City gang at a nice little sandwich shop. I got to meet Steve's fiancee, Dinah, who is just a doll, and my former boss, Trish, came along, too. I guess most everyone was busy doing other stuff, because it was a small group: Cindy, Cris, Annalisa, Krista, Trish, Steve, and Dinah. So, I went back to City Hall afterwards to pass out some of the presents I'd brought.

The afternoon was spent visiting my African Gray parrots in Magalia at their new home with the Moore's. They remembered me, and I only cried a little bit when I saw them. Spent an hour there talking with Ann and playing with birdies, then went to see my former roommate/hairdresser, Terri, hoping she could fit me in for a haircut. She couldn't, but we made an appointment for Monday. Then back up to Magalia to ex-hubby Mark's place to visit with him and Nancy for a bit, finally getting to see their wedding and honeymoon photos. Back to Weiwei's for a quiet evening with her.

On Friday I made the rounds of the used books stores and got reading material. Picked up a few more clothes and stuff, had a great lunch with Earl at Smokin' Mo's BBQ. Oh my, that place is good. Back to City Hall to visit a little more with folks, then off to Weiwei's to unload the car. She'd gotten off work early, so we had more time to visit before I left for dinner with Lesley and Karen at Casa Ramos, the best Mexican food around, with margaritas that pack a punch! After dinner we hung out at their place, Lesley and I watching "Shaun of the Dead" and Karen watching sports. Weiwei was still up when I got back to her house, but we made it an early night with plans for shopping during the day Saturday.

But Saturday morning was breakfast at Hometown Buffet with sisters Wendy and Jenny, my friends from Windy's Chinese Restaurant. I'd shocked them by showing up Wednesday afternoon, and they'd insisted we meet for breakfast at their favorite place. We only had a couple of hours, since they have to work at 10:00, but it was great to see them again. I hope they'll come to Taiwan to visit me.

Picked Weiwei up and we took off to do some errands for her, finally getting around to Trader Joe's, my mostest favoritest grocery store :) I had to control myself there, because it would have been way too easy to buy more than I could carry back with me. Ran into Grace from Peter Chu's Restaurant there and had a nice chat with her, and she said next time she goes back to Taiwan, she'll be calling me.

I packed everything up Saturday afternoon and headed downtown to wait for Wendy (my postal friend) at my old coffee shop, Has Beans. One of the regulars was there, an old guy who I think must live at the shop, and we talked about all sorts of stuff until Wendy was off work. We had dinner at a Thai place and then spent the evening watching TV at her house. Sunday we met up with Rose for lunch at Chipotle and hung out yapping for a few hours, then Wendy and I went to Circuit City and Barnes & Noble before heading back up to Paradise. Her friend Anita had been gone all weekend, but she wanted to meet me, so when she got home around 9:00 p.m., Wendy and I went back down to Chico to visit with her. We had Sierra Nevada beer, pizza pretzels, and good conversation. Anita is a bundle of energy, and I wish she'd bottle it and sell it so I could have some. Got back to Wendy's at almost 2:00 a.m., and poor Wendy had to go to work in the morning.

I spent my Monday morning reading the new Stephen King novel I'd bought at B & N, then went to Taco Bell for a couple tacos and a handful of hot sauce packets to take back with me. Then up to Terri's for a haircut, which she graciously did free of charge because she's so cool. After that it was a two-hour drive back to Auburn and then dinner with Dad & Berti, which I tried unsuccessfully to pay for but lost the battle with Berti. We stopped by her son's place for a very short visit, then hit one of their favorite bars for wine (them) and beer (me). Back to Dad's where I sank gratefully into bed.

This morning it was return the rental car and then back here to Dad's. We're taking off in a couple of hours for Thunder Valley, the Indian casino by Roseville, where Berti will supply me with some gambling money and (hopefully) some of her eerie luck. That woman just doesn't lose. She has the magic touch, and please please please oh powers that be let some rub off on me today to pay for all the stuff I bought on this trip!

Dad's taking me to Fairfield tomorrow afternoon, and Lisa and Brandi will take me to SFO and see me off. Well, OK, they'll dump my butt there and go home, because my flight is at 1:30 a.m. on Thursday, and they won't hang around that long! But I'll get to see them one more time, so that's totally cool. My friend Aaron told me this morning that he'll pick me up at the airport when I get back at 5:10 a.m. on Friday, bless his heart! Sure beats trying to get three 70-pound suitcases on the bus myself, since those damned drivers won't lift a finger to help. And maybe all the chocolate I'm bringing back as gifts won't melt!

Back later with a report on my gambling adventure. Hopefully good news, too ;)


aetherwellen said...

Sounds like you're having an awesome time back home! :D

Cris said...

Somewhere from the Pacific, Hurricane Marla quickly blew through Chico and off again. Was great seeing you, even just for that short time.

PS - I think Triggerfish Twist is the best Dorsey - it's the one that starts with the family from the midwest moving to Florida...