Bureau: Oscar Sunday in Southern California
by Cyleste Collins
Well, it was Oscars weekend in L.A., and it was incredibly great (for me, anyway)! Friday night David's cousin Kari called. She was on the show Blind Date a few months ago, and we missed it. They were showing it again, she said, so we finally got to see it. It was truly painful. She's pretty sarcastic/outgoing/obnoxious/loud/speaks her mind, and the guy they picked for her was a total jerk. He kept saying the date wouldn't be a success if he didn't get laid, and (of course they didn't show this) he kept asking her to look at his balls, just to "show her"! What an idiot. When they parted and she gave him the obligatory hug, he grabbed her ass. Ick! I actually felt sorry for her.
Saturday morning David, Maggie and I walked to this Zen tea garden we go to every so often, Elixir, and just read and rested. It's a great place because there's grass and a fountain in the middle and all the tables are spaced far apart. It's so unlike everywhere else in L.A., where everyone is right on top of each other.
Later, we went to Kari's birthday dinner in Santa Monica. It was at this loud, raucous restaurant, Bucca de Beppo or something like that. The place is totally overwhelming, the waiters and waitresses are boisterous, and you order from menus on the wall. Each plate serves about six people. We went with one of David's friends, Mitchell, who is also a vegetarian, so we decided to split the marinara plate. When it came, we started eating it, and it had a funny flavor we couldn't place. Mitchell said it was "smoky." A few minutes later the waiter came by to tell us we were eating the wrong dish. The one we were eating had bacon in it. Ick! Mitchell shoved his plate away in disgust, and, truth be told, I was pretty grossed out myself, but I didn't throw a temper tantrum. It was an accident and you have to be forgiving, in my opinion. Kari's roommate Mike asked: "So what happens now?" I said, joking of course, we'd all be sent to vegetarian hell.
There were birthday songs being sung in the room we were in about every twenty minutes. It was soooo annoying. Shari kept saying they'd better come sing to her. When they finally did, she got up on a chair and sang at the top of her lungs, "Happy birthday to me!" This was while she was sober! When I'm around her, I feel like the quietest little rabbit.
Egad. Anyway, that was that interesting experience.
Sunday we got up early and headed down to San Diego. The weather was a little overcast and drizzly at first, but by the time we settled down into our chairs in the grass at Pannikin, our favorite coffee place in Leucadia, the sun was out and the weather was perfect. We had bagels and tea and a piece of coffee cake, and stayed there about three hours. We talked with a guy who had lived there his whole life and really couldn't imagine going anywhere else. He wasn't doing a job in his major from college though, so I guess there are drawbacks to living there. Anyway, I spent the whole time reading the paper and doing the Sunday crossword (I did pretty well, too!).
After Pannikin we met my friend from grad school Vinita for lunch at a restaurant I love, Taco Auctioneers in Cardiff by the Sea. Oh yum, they have the best quesadillas ever. After lunch we went to a dog-friendly beach in Del Mar. There were tons of happy dogs running in the sand and in the waves, ears flapping, getting dirty, chasing their balls. It was definitely dog paradise. We took Maggie off leash and got her to run in the water, although we didn't manage to get her to chase her ball. Well, she'd chase it but she wouldn't bring it back! Oh well. She ran like crazy all over the place, in circles, so happy!
Then we headed home and watched a bit of the Oscars before I went to yoga. Oh my, what a joke! I can't believe Gladiator got best picture! Whatever. I had an interesting experience at yoga. The class was much smaller than usual due to the fact that it was Oscar night. David commented about how empty the streets in West Hollywood were -- it was like Christmas! Walking through my neighborhood that night, you could see everyone's windows illuminated by the TV and hear cheers and moans coming out simultaneously from different directions. Very weird.
At the end of yoga class my teacher Jerry announced that he was changing his name -- to "Mother." I still can't get used to the idea. I think I'd be less weirded out if he'd changed his gender. He said he feels his role in this world is to take on a nurturing relationship with other people, and that's why he's changing his name. I'm interested to see how my yoga group at work will take it. They tend to be more conservative than either me or my classmates at his studio.
Anyway, I had yesterday off due to some sort of holiday and went to the place where I've been volunteering for the last couple of years -- they deliver meals to homebound HIV and AIDS patients. I hadn't been in for a while, so it was nice to see some of my friends again. My friend Mark and I got stationed to bake a cake, a white cake with peach glaze, 850 servings. I have to explain -- usually when I come in, I box up salads, desserts and hot meals, sometimes fix a salad, so actually making a recipe is this big honor -- it means they really trust you. Usually it's the women who've been volunteering for ten years who get to do that job. Anyway, so it was a very nice thing to be appointed to that post, and then the head baking chef, Derbeh, asked if Mark and I would be willing to do it every Monday. It's really exciting because it takes a lot more brains to bake a cake than to chop vegetables or separate rocks from beans. So I'm excited. I will definitely make it a priority to be there every Monday from now on.
Today I'm back at work. David and I are meeting for lunch, and this evening I'll go to yoga -- to Mother's class. Hmmm, still sounds kind of funny.
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