Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Thanksgiving & Such

So, Thanksgiving was great. This year my mother was out of the country, so I missed her and her moist, delicious turkey. Aaron and I went South to spend the holiday with his mom. His mom is fabulous and I missed her a lot so it was fantastic to see her again.

We traveled to San Jose by train, which is always lovely, and met up with Sean who unfortunately went to the wrong station. Stranding us outside for thirty minutes in the chilly Californian night air. We stayed at his place for the night, where we watched Inception, then drove with him the rest of the way down. We took the 101 which is extremely scenic but also extremely curvaceous, forcing us to make several stops along the way to cure my vertigo. Still, it was a nice trip. The view along the 101 is primarily bay and mountains. Pretty cool for someone who grew up on flatland, far from any ocean.

Of note was a stop at a vineyard where we parked and lingered for a bit until I was confident in my ability to continue the trek. Seeing actual vineyards is nifty considering the only thing grown in Ohio is corn and cattle. Right as we got back into the car and drove off a cop showed up. I guess all of our meandering made the people at the vineyard nervous. Like we were going to make off with a carload of grapes or something. Haha.

Aaron's mom was thrilled to see us and we made giant deli sandwiches to celebrate our arrival. She introduced us to a new show called The Event, which is made by the same folk who brought us Lost, so it was pretty easy to get sucked into. Throughout the week we were there, we'd end up watching all of the episodes she had saved. And wanting more.

Monday I woke up with a touch of a sore throat and a hint of a headache. Nothing serious. That night Sean picked us up and we went to hang out at Jordan's. Where Aaron, Sean, Jay, and I got into a game of Twilight Imperium. Much to my dismay, about halfway into the game I developed a fever and as the night continued, grew increasingly more sick. Never one to ruin a good time, I stuck it out like a champ, but by the time we left Aaron had to scoop me up and carry me to the car.

By the time we made it back to his mother's house I couldn't stop shivering. I shivered through my warm pajamas, a sweater, gloves, four blankets, and Aaron's body heat. Nothing I did could make me feel any warmer. The tell-tale sign of a spiking fever. Tuesday morning I was full-blown sick. Not only did I still have a sore throat, headache, and fever, but I had also lost the ability to keep food down and my voice also. I sounded like a crotchety old woman. Though that was the least of my concerns. I was worried that I would be too sick for Thanksgiving! It was only two days away afterall. On top of that, I was worried I would be too sick for Thanksgiving and make Aaron and his mom miss out on Thanksgiving too. My worst fear, however, was that I would get better but Aaron and/or his mom would catch what I had and be too sick for Thanksgiving!

We had to cancel all of our fun plans for Tuesday, though our friends were understanding. Between Aaron's pampering and his mom's pampering, I felt considerably better by the end of the day. Two bowls of soup, a Gatorade, snuggles, and a cup of hot tea later. My fever broke that night and I was left with the headache, sore throat, and no voice. A considerable improvement, I'd say (if I could).

As a housewarming gift, Aaron's mom wanted to buy us a television for our new place. So on Wednesday, feeling a great deal better but still sounding like Betty White, we went to Best Buy to get a feel for TVs. It was good to get out of the house for a short while and we found a TV we really liked. As an added bonus, I was no longer worried that I would miss Thanksgiving -- or cause anyone else to miss Thanksgiving because of me. When we got back, Aaron made homemade butternut squash gnocchi which was amazing. No seriously, you don't understand. It was amaaaaaaazing.

Thursday was a day of comedy gold. We woke and got ready then headed for Aaron's mom's BFF's house where we would partake in a huge gathering of Thanksgiving delightfulness. Little did we know however that we'd been given the wrong address... So when we arrived at this little lime green house full of Latin-Americans, we were sufficiently confused. It smelled great and they were strangely more-than-willing to welcome us inside even though we were total strangers. As tempting as it was, we decided to find the Thanksgiving celebration we'd actually been invited to, so we took our carrot pudding and began walking.

A few phone calls later, we were at the right place. Snacking and merry-making with people we actually knew as we awaited the turkeys. This was one of the first Thanksgivings I haven't shared with my own mother, but the company I was in made me feel like family. Obligatory disclaimer: not to say it wouldn't have been made even better had my mommy been there! <3

Friday we lazed about until midday and then went to visit Aaron's great grandmother. My headache had finally subsided but the sore throat remained and brought with it a cough, so I was very conscious about touching anything or getting too close. We were supposed to go see her on Wednesday, but I was too sick then, and afraid that I would get her sick. She's super old. The last thing you want to do is make a super old person sick. She's a funny lady though and her house is full of antiques and old photos. If she'd been up to par (her words, not mine), I bet she would've had some fascinating stories to tell. Despite not feeling so well herself she joked that she was older than the three of us combined. We didn't stay too long, wanting to let her get some rest after a busy week of visitors.

We stopped for lunch at a delicious Cuban restaurant that I can only wish was closer to us up here in Sacramento. On our way back we went by Trader Joe's and stocked up on a few things. Mostly sweet things (of course). Aaron's mom and I each got an Amaryllis! Since Black Friday is a whole lot busier in a state that has more people than cattle in it, we did our sale-shopping online. Got some good deals, though I forgot about our need of an A to B USB cable and a 56/57 HP ink cartridge, so I ended up having to make-due on those at full price later.

Saturday we had to say goodbye, always a difficult thing, and begin our journey back North. Aaron's mom loaded us up with things to take with us, as mothers tend to do. Not that it's a bad thing, quite the contrary as she has really good taste. Sean arrived around eleven and we were on the road not long after. We took a different route back up, avoiding the curves for a more straight forward return to spare my stomach. We met up with our friend Will and his wife Ari. After some chit chat we went to this quaint yet strangely busy cafe called Aroma and had lunch. The mystery of the busy-ness was soon laid to rest when our food arrived and I realized how magnificent it was.

After lunch we continued on home. We got in late, so Sean stayed the night. Unfortunately it was rather cold and as the first true test of our central heating, we realized it wasn't working! It was too late to bother with it, so Aaron and Sean opened up our broken small-space heater and got that working again and we all just huddled around it playing Texas Hold'em until bed time.

Sunday morning we went and had a mighty lumberjack breakfast at a local restaurant called Lumberjack's. Outside there is a big statue of a lumberjack and the sign has a lumberjack with a fork and and axe on it. Pretty win. The food was fantastic, though our waitress was quite flighty. I asked for pancakes and she just assumed I wanted a small stack instead of a full stack. Why? I'm small? I don't know. Then when it was time to go, she asked if I'd like a box for my remaining pancake. Not one, but two of us said, "Yes." So she picks up my plate and goes away. We presume she's going off to, you know, put my pancakes into a box but after a few minutes we realize she probably took my food away and disposed of it. So when she comes around again Aaron asks.

She acts like she's never seen us before and is all, "She never got her pancake???"

We're like, "..." So she goes back to the kitchen, has them make me a whole new pancake and brings that out to us in a box. Derp-a-der? Finally it's all set right, we realize we probably tipped her way too much, and go home. We hang out for a bit. Talk some Eve Online. Talk some Twilight Imperium. Then Sean hits the road so he can make it home before nightfall.

Overall, even though I got horribly sick, it was a really fun week. The sore throat and cough have managed to maintain their hold on me, even now over a week later. Hopefully that'll be gone soon.

In other news, gamer weekend this weekend! The heat is fixed! And Intruder Cat has officially intruded! It's been so cold, and he's been on our doorstep so often, that we decided to just start letting him in. That way we can be sure he's safe and warm at least a few hours out of the day. We give him a nice hearty meal of kitten chow (full of vitamins he's probably lacking), fresh water, and pettings. He follows me around like a shadow, which is super cute considering he's a little cautious sometimes -- probably because he's not used to people being nice to him. Eventually I'd like to give him a bath and brush the mats out of his fur.

We don't want to keep him full time until Neelix has arrived and settled in. Just in case they don't get along, we don't want him to feel like he's been thrown out again. If we can keep him, in the future, he'll need to go to the vet. I want to make sure he's healthy, for his sake and Neelix's if they're going to be pals.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Flowers & Sushi

Aaron was late from class the other day. He rides to school since it is so close, and there are many vehicles between our apartment and the college. Naturally as a woman, I worry. Turns out he was just being the sweetest ever and stopped by a florist on his way home to buy me a flower. A huge orange lily to be exact.

Some girls like roses. They are expensive, smell nice, and are pleasing enough to look at. However, all flowers smell nice and are pleasing to look at. So that just leaves you with expensive. The price of an object cannot be correlated to how much someone cares for you, though. The fact that tulips and lilies are my favorite flowers (as is the color orange), and he always remembers that -- means a lot more to me than the cost. The fact that he doesn't need an official holiday to treat me to nice things means even more. He brought me a flower he knew I'd love simply to show his appreciation of me. He is the best.

Then, last night, we went on a sushi date. There's this adorable little place right up the street from us that we'd been meaning to try, so we finally did. It was really good. Though its hard not to be tasty when it comes to sushi. We started the meal with vegetable tempura, then unagi and tako, followed by a caterpillar roll. For dessert we had green tea and red bean ice cream. Sooooooo yummy. Couldn't have had a better time.

And of course, we ended the night playing video games together.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Creepy Stalker

A handful of weeks ago I decided to head to the used book store down the street. Aaron had just gotten home from class and he decided to stay in, so I headed off to the bookstore by my lonesome. It was a lovely afternoon so I didn't mind the walk alone, even though I prefer his company. Little did I know what was in store for me just around the corner.

I had just crossed the parking lot when I noticed a man talking to some woman about a kid. She left and when he approached me, I only stopped because I assumed he had lost his kid and needed help. Turns out instead, he just wanted to talk to me. No harm in that, the people in our new place have all been very neighborly and welcoming, so I thought nothing of it. At first.

He asks me my name, tells me his, explains he had bought cookies from one of the children near by and asked me which he thought he should bake first, the chocolate chip or the peanut butter. I'm like, "Uh... both?" Though easily the correct answer would have been to bake them both together so they would be peanut butter-chocolate chip.

He then goes on to ask if I was attending the college nearby and what classes I'm taking or would be taking. A little intrusive of a stranger to ask, but not altogether unheard of, so I mention I plan on taking ASL in a year or so and he exclaims that he's been learning ASL for a while now and that we should get together to study. I explain that it'll be a while until I attend, if I even do for that matter, and he instead offers the use of his Sign Language books.

I'm a little hesitant about taking anything from a stranger out of a weird sense of debt, but he's pretty insistent upon it and invites me inside. Red flag goes up and I mentioned that I really ought to be heading to the book store since it closes at six, and he waves it off and assures me it'll only take a moment. Reluctantly I follow him towards he door to his apartment, though I don't plan on going in. Especially since five steps forward he tells me how careful I should be, because there are, "Many bad men out there." Additional red flags, are they even needed?

I hover abouts the doorway, where his dog is lounging so it doesn't seem too impolite and he goes in to get the book. I hear him call out that he won't bite and he's got nothing to hide so I should, come in. Cautiously I tip toe a foot into his apartment, knowing the woman across the street saw me do so and that the door behind me was still open. Immediately I notice the over-grown tomato plants obscuring the view into/out of his window. He must have been able to tell that I found it odd, because he started explaining straight away that they used to be even bigger, but when new management took over and did their walk-throughs, they made him trim them down.

He then starts telling me plants can grow year-round so long as you tend them right, and I agree, because out here in California that's very true. If you keep a plant warm enough in the chilly months and well nourished enough, they need not enter a dormant phase. He hands me the book, and I kindly thank him, hoping to now head on to the book store, even going to far as to tell him that. Not quite yet!

He goes on then to introduce me to his dog. An Akita he rescued several years ago after his Lab-Retriever finally had to be put down. Her name is Sierra. Like the mountain, he says. I'm like, okay... It apparently dawns on him that I was walking to the book store, because he asks me why I'm not driving there. I explain that I don't own a car and prefer to go places that I can on foot. He get real close to me and I can tell, awkwardly, that he planned to hug me before thinking better of it and instead shakes my hand, complimenting my morals.

Which leads him to the story of why he no longer owns a car either. He's a born-again Christian sort of fellow and he used to visit all the local churchs like Paul or Peter or some other Bible character I cannot recall at the moment. But he did so in a white Bronco which lead several of the other church-goers to look down on him for, "thinking so highly of himself and riding in on his white horse," in reference to his vehicle...

So long story short, he sells his car to a pastor. I tell him then that I really have to go, as it has been forty-five minutes already and the book store closes in ten minutes. He stops me and says he wants me to use the ASL book to decipher what he says first. I mentioned again more expressively that I really do need to go, but he again insists it will take only a moment. So he signs something, I'm oblivious and the book isn't helping (since most ASL books don't without proper instruction). I realize I'll be here all night at this rate and throw in the proverbial towel. He then says he was saying, "I want something with you."

Mentally I'm thinking, "Oh, ffs!" But outwardly I'm more composed and polite about it, explaining to him that I'm already in a relationship and quite happy. You'd think that would be enough, but he then goes on to like... give me instructions on how to proceed in dating him should I want to and break up with Aaron.

We could only be friends for the first month, nothing romantic. And! If Aaron and I are living together, that's at least five months before he will date me. If Aaron and I were to get married and then divorce, I could not date him for a year per every five years Aaron and I were married.


Yes, these were actual words coming out of his talk-hole. I smile and nod and then, one final time, insist I have to go now. Finally, I'm free. I have to run to the book store by this point because it is so close to closing time, and once I get there I only have a few minutes to quickly peruse what's available. A shame, because there is a ton of great old books to sort through. I grab a couple nicely bound old prints and head out. By now it is growing dark and weird guy's behavior has made me nervous, so I call my mom as insurance on my way home.

As expected, he's waiting outside for me when I get into the parking lot. I assume surely no one would be so intrusive and creepy as to interrupt someone obviously in the middle of a telephone conversation... but he does. He stops me to tell me a story about some Christian radio show he had listened to some time ago about star crossed lovers. The entire time my mom is in the background, on the phone asking, "Who the hell is that? Is this the creepy guy? Was he waiting outside for you?" Etc., etc. None of which I can answer while he is RIGHT there.

I smile and nod some more, and take my leave, finally making it home to tell Aaron all about my experience and how I'm never leaving the house by myself ever again.

Just you wait. There's more.

Yesterday I was doing laundry, while checking the drier to see if it was finished, the same guy comes running up from across the complex shouting my name. I'm like, "???" and peek out of the laundry room window only to realize who it was. I instantly wish there was a back door, but alas there isn't so I just had to be trapped in the room with him.

I'm dreading this conversation but he starts it off with an innocent, "How goes the ASL?" To which I can only reply honestly, that I haven't had the time to start. Then he hits me with he creepy, full force.

"I've been walking this way with Sierra the last couple of weeks trying to see if I could find out where you live."

Not only is he completely socially inappropriate in most ways imaginable, he's also been trying to stalk me for two weeks straight. Since the day he met me. Creeper! To make it worse, the whole time he's talking to me he is obstructing the exit so I cannot leave, and I just so happen to have a laundry basket with underthings in it. Sigh.

He then clarifies just to make sure I did in fact have a boyfriend. I say yes, because... I do. Then he starts asking if any of the people outside are him. One by one. When I say it isn't the man in the baseball hat he says, "I thought for sure it was that guy in the hat, because he keeps checking you out. I guess it's just cause you're pretty though." When I decline that it is the guy watching us from across the street he says, "Huh, he must just be keeping an eye on you to make sure I don't do anything bad."


His friends show up to relieve me of him (not fast enough) and he asks them if I can go along. I don't know where they're going, not that it would make a difference. He then touches my arm after they agree and says, "Heh heh, just playin, I see you're doing laundry." and gives a nod to acknowledge my basket. I uneasily ebb by him and make a retreat to our apartment, but only after I was sure he'd gone and wasn't observing from afar.

This is why I lock myself -in- the house.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Hard Cider

Aaron and I drove down to San Jose with Josh to meet up with Melina (not to be confused with Milena) and hang out at Sean's for Halloween weekend. A formula for super fun.

Sean's cat was remarkably nicer than the last time we'd seen her (back in March), where she would growl and attack people as they walked innocently by her. She only having two outbursts of feline anger. At times, she would even approach you and let you pet her. Granted only for a few seconds before got nervous and/or ran off.

We met up with Melina, Joshua (not to be confused with Josh), Chris, and Kayleigh in San Fransisco at the gigantic mall downtown where we congregated in Borders like true geeks. From there we went on the prowl for sushi, which lead us several blocks away to some itty bitty sushi bar on one of those steep hills you can only find in San Fransisco where we met up with another pal, Stephanie. I'm not exaggerating when I say it was a tiny place, our group of nine took up nearly all of the tables, but that added to the charm of the place.

After having our fill of sushi, Japanese beer, plum wine, and warm sake we concluded that it was time for ice cream. Coldstone was reputedly fantastic, so we headed there. Sean and I racing down the hill nearly into on-coming traffic. Sean won, but only because I was afraid I wouldn't be able to stop myself before plowing into the side of a car. At Coldstone I got a giant scoop of Watermelon sherbet with rainbow sprinkles mixed in. It was delicious, but after-the-fact I determined I should have also gotten chocolate chips.

While lingering outside of the ice cream shop, it was decided that we should meet up at Chris' apartment to watch 300, drink some American beers, and hang out. After driving uphill what seemed like an impossibly long time, that's exactly what we did. This is where we met Abbey, Chris' roomie, who thought my name was, "Totally intense!" and asked what sort of human I was. She was also mesmerized by Aaron's hair. Not that I can blame her. He does have amazing hair. Then we returned to Sean's to pass out until morning came and it was bacon time.

Halloween morning it occurred to us that we had a costume party to attend in a handful of hours, so we raided Sean's closet for last-minute costumes. Which was surprisingly fruitful, yielding masks, cloaks, and all kinds of random costume bits. We ended up with December (a creepy masked man in a suit), a guy with a burlap sack over his head, a lumberjack, and a cloaked woman with claws that we dubbed, "Or Something." Pictures were taken but not by me. So you'll have to wait to see them.

The party itself was fabulous. Joshua made this excellent spiced rum cider and served it out of a Jack-o-Lantern, which was totally my drink of choice for the night. We played on the Wii, then several rounds of I've Never followed by many hilarious games of Twister. Twister as an adult was totally more fun than I recall Twister being as a kid. Maybe it was the alcohol. Or maybe it was the fact that it was a bunch of adults dressed in costumes playing. Either way, it was great.

When the party finally died down, we headed back to Sean's house and went to sleep. Though it could be argued I went to sleep on the ride home, as I fell asleep in the back seat with my head on Aaron's lap. The next morning we went to some quaint little diner for breakfast and some much needed (albeit not good) coffee, before saying our goodbyes and heading back to Sacramento. All in all an A+ vacation.