Had a fabulous New Year with laughs, fun, new friends and auld acquaintances. The best part, I hadn't planned to do anything so I just went with it when it landed in my lap. I bought prosecco, wandering the aisles along with other last minute revelers, everyone in good spirits looking for spirits. A Hispanic man in front of me wearing a gas station attendant's uniform bought two bottles of Cristal, and I looked away when his credit card was declined, and then the next one was. Finally, one went through, and I was wondering if that champagne would look so good once the bill came. But, for the night he'd get to be the man of the hour. Perhaps, that moment of glory will be worth every penny. After mingling at Shannon's, we went to Nolan's and everyone was in cooperative good spirits. Free New Year's hats and glasses of champagne were passed around to boisterous guests ready to leave 2009 behind. It was cooperative fun, with tables of people mingling with others, laughing, dancing, pretenses down. Hugs and kisses when 2010 nudged 2009 out of the way at midnight. After the bar, I drove everyone back to Shannon's, laughing at the three adults crushed into the back of my Volvo. My tolerance was high that night, but just to be safe I had Dennis, one of the bar owners, perform a sobriety test on me before I left. AAA was offering tipsy tow that night, and I was ready to make the call if needed. Back at Shannon's, more laughs, food and I finished off the Prosecco... from the bottle. We took turns loving Bono the chihuahua, who fell asleep in the crook of my arm.
My sister Joan came in for two layovers, the first we went to the beach and walked around pristine Santa Monica. It was an unusually gorgeous day, even for California. Warm enough for me not to need a jacket even though I had one on hand. That is, until the sun started creeping toward the water. During the gorgeous sunset we took pictures of each other, then asked an Armenian guy who was armed with a really nice camera and also photographing the sunset if he would mind taking a couple shots of us together. It worked out for all, as we took pictures of him with his camera, the lemon ball sun melting into an orange sherbet behind him. Strangers acting cooperatively and enjoying the novelty of new company. This is one of the photos he took of us with his camera, and was kind enough to email to me.
On her second layover, we hit Venice. I forgot how strange Venice is, a magnet for the odd, eccentric and many times disturbing. People with wild eyes and hair, wayward boys with loud mouths, bragging to each other about their latest fight, homeless teens whose signs read, "I need some fucking cash. Have a nice fucking day." And, all the medical marijuana you could possibly want, including a doc in the box ready to prescribe. We shopped, talked and avoided the hustlers, and were luckily cloaked by all the Alabama and Texas fans walking about, their shirts advertising their team and that they were tourists. We talked to a few guys in a bar who were Texas fans at a place we stopped to drink cocktails before dinner. That night, we ate at Nyala, a fantastic Ethiopian place in the Fairfax district's Little Ethiopia. And of course, Joan dug my new wheels.
A couple months ago, I went to Canele, where Andre Royo was the guest chef. Canele is his wife's restaurant in Atwater Village. I went by myself, because every single last person I asked, including two neighbors, had plans that evening. Turns out, it was actually better that way. They sat me at a large table where multiple parties were eating, and me being me, I make friends easily. Mostly, there were industry people, but really cool industry people, not tools. I think Andre just attracts that type. Canele was wonderful, with a decor and feeling that I can only describe as bohemian elegance, and the food was wonderful. I had a planned dinner, which included a "Sloppy Andre," wonderful pulled bbq pit beef, tender and soaking the bun. And of course, I ordered a Prosecco. It was one of those special, unique experiences that come from saying, "what the fuck" and rolling with it. It was great to get back in touch with someone from "The Wire," especially Andre, who is absolutely hilarious. After the hug, I said, "You play a good meanie!" He said, "I DO play a good meanie!" I was referring to a character that he played on "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" who was the polar opposite of the lovable yet tragic Bubbles from "The Wire." He came and sat with us during part of the dinner and had us in stitches.
Lastly, I'm taking the unemployment thing well, as I thought I would. I've already paid two months of rent, bills and two months of car payments, making me set until March. I was smart enough, upon getting the layoff news to alter my W4 to have way more deductions. This way, I'm getting the most out of my last paychecks and severance checks. I have plenty of money left over from those payments, so when the next one comes I'm going to pay rent and car through April, giving me a good solid three months of those out of the way. And, that's before even touching unemployment money. I also may have a freelance gig coming up next week, so that will put me in the coveted double salary zone for that week. As I was when I had the job, I'm just preparing for anything. And, still have the extra money to get my hair properly done.
After all, a girl must have her priorities.