California Country

Stampede Flags crop e.jpg

Texas State Flag, US Flag, and California State Flag – Feels like home!

Stomp, kick, step, step, step, kick, turn…

I tried to follow the line dance, but Californian style is much different from Texan style.  This was the Electric Slide, which is one I’ve known since I was a teenager, but the stomps and kicks were new to me.  In Texas, we do more shuffling.  Heather S. and I were at Stampede, a honky tonk in Temecula, California (north of San Diego).

Laughing, I continued to follow, failing miserably and admiring Heather’s grace. (Heather is a friend from work.)

“How did you learn to do all these dances?” I asked her later, out of breath, sitting at our table.

“I lived in Lancaster, on the desert, where there isn’t much to do.  So we’d go dancing three nights a week,” she answered.

Ah!  Nothing like boredom to inspire you to get off the couch and go to dance class!

Eva texted me, “Where are you?  We have a problem.”

I stood up and looked around, finding Eva and walking toward her.

“Steve’s driver’s license is expired, and they won’t let him in!” she told me.  “They say it’s a state law.  We moved, and I thought that he had updated his address, but I guess he didn’t, so we didn’t even realize that it expired.”

“Oh, no!  Well, you stay, and we’ll make it a girl’s night!” I implored.

She shook her head.  Country isn’t her thing and she didn’t really want to come out in the first place.  That’s fine, I wouldn’t go to a techno club if I could avoid it (which I regularly do).

She left and I texted Steve, “BOO!”

About an hour later, Renee arrived.  This isn’t Renee Raspberries, but rather, Renee Love.  She was friends with my sister Sue in high school, so she’s a fellow Texan.

“OhMyGod I almost couldn’t get in!  My license was expired!  Can you believe that?!” Renee said in a rush.

I laughed.  “What are the chances of that happening to two friends in a row?!  Steve and Eva aren’t here, because his license was expired!”  I said.  “How did you get in?”

“Get this!  I told the bouncer that I had lost my license about 6 months ago, which about the same time that I was here last.  I asked him to check the safe, and he said, ‘What’s your name?’  I told him, ‘Renee Love,’ and he said that the name didn’t sound familiar, but he checked anyway.  And there it was!  Look, I have it right here!” Renee held up her unexpired license.  She smiled.  “I’m so happy that I found it!  Now I can come back tomorrow night for my friend’s birthday party!”

I introduced Renee to Heather S and to our new friend Mila.  Mila had been alone at the next table, and when I realized that she wasn’t waiting for anyone, I invited her to join us, which she was happy to do.  Mila and Lauren S. weren’t drinking, since they were driving.  Renee had taken an Uber.  Let me tell you, Designated Drivers rule!

I surveyed the crowd and remarked to Renee, “They all look so young!”

“Yes,” she said, “They’re marines, you can tell by their high and tight haircuts.”

Heather saw an older man (50 years old, perhaps) swing dancing with a similarly aged woman, and hopped up to find their group.  Soon she was spinning around the floor with him, like a pro!

I’d like to tell you about the Marine who fell in love with me, and now texts me every day, begging me to meet him at Stampede for another dance.  However, that didn’t happen.

Maybe next time.  😉

“How do all these people know all these different dances?!” I asked Heather.  “I lived in Texas most of my life, and I don’t know all of these!”

“They learn them in high school,” Heather answered.  “When you grow up learning them, they’re easy!”

We watched the dancers – young, beautiful, some of them bored, others scanning the crowd who were watching them – as they went through the intricate steps as easily as walking down the street.  I realized that I either needed a lot of dance lessons, or I needed to find a new hobby.  Ya know, hiking doesn’t require fancy foot work; maybe I’ll stick to that.

“You should stay at my house next time!” Renee said warmly.  “Then you can both drink, and you can stay later.”

I didn’t have the heart to tell her that this wasn’t the right crowd for me.  I smiled and appreciated her southern hospitality.  Listening to her, you’d think that she and I were old friends, instead of her and my sister.  I guess that when you’ve known each other half your life, the details of the association matter less!

As it happens, I won’t be returning to Stampede any time soon, because I found out this week that I’m moving.  Sure, I’ve only been in San Diego for 4 months, but why not pick up and move again?  More about that in my next post!  (It’s good news, I promise!)

So, Texans, and my other friends, if you ever find yourself in Temecula, California (‘bout an hour north of downtown San Diego), check out Stampede.  But be prepared to learn some new moves, ‘cause these fellas boot scoot a mite bit differently than back home.  Y’all come back now, ya hear!



Baby Fever

“Please, go see my baby,” my friend told me.  She was dying.  “Make sure my baby is ok!”  Her hand clutched my arm, weakly.  I could tell that she meant to squeeze me, but I barely felt it.

“Of course, yes, I’ll go now,” I promised.  I stayed by her side a moment longer, wondering if this would be our last conversation.  Her once-thick black hair was streaked with gray.  Her beautiful Chinese complexion was now too pale.  Even her proud cheekbones and once-bright eyes were shadows of what they once were.

Then I went to the nursery.  I don’t know, but I convinced the nurses to let me hold the baby.  Usually they’ll only let the parents take a child, but an exception was made.  I picked up the fragile little dress with the baby inside it.  She weighed next to nothing and kept her eyes closed.  Her spastic arm motions were the only indication that she was alive.  Still, I fell in love with this little human.  She had her mother’s slanted eyes and a healthy complexion which was reminiscent of her heritage; it would darken in time.

I knew right then that I wanted to adopt this baby girl.

Then I woke up.

“What the hell was that?!  Where did that dream come from?” I asked myself.

I didn’t know.  None of my friends have had babies recently.  One Asian gentleman at work, whom I do not know well, had a baby boy recently.  Another friend adopted a boy from China; but he is about 5 years old, and that happened weeks ago.  Then why was I dreaming about a baby girl?

“You’re pregnant,” one of my friends said.

I snorted.  “That would be a minor miracle,” I answered.

This past Saturday, I spent time with my nieces and nephews at the annual company party.  It was like a carnival, with petting zoo, pony rides, water boats, snow cones, and more.

Which prompted Keith to say, “There!  Your dream was in anticipation of spending so much time with the kids.”

Except, they’re ages 2, 5, and 8 years old.  That’s a far cry from being a newborn.  Plus, they’re of English heritage, which is a far cry from being Chinese.

Is my biological clock still ticking, even though I have two kids?  Two GROWN kids, by the way.  I can’t imagine starting over now that they’re finally (mostly) self-sufficient.

If so, if my bio clock is still ticking, how do I turn it off?!

Other News

Monday night, I went walking with a neighbor.  I made the mistake of telling her that we could go as far as she liked, because I just returned from Seattle and I’m feeling strong.  2.5 hours later, I finally got home and stumbled to the shower.  She claimed to be a housewife, but I think that she may be a robot.  Or one of those cheerful aerobics instructors that has so much energy and pep that you want to be them and strangle them at alternating times.

My point is, my legs are sore and I lost 2 lbs in one day.  I’m going walking with her again, as soon as I recover.  Somehow, hiking Mount St. Helens was easier.

Then last night, a friend from Austin came over for dinner and a movie.  When I offered to cook enchiladas, he texted, “OMG You are a goddess!  Can I get you anything?  A cask of amontillado?  My beneficiary paperwork?”

I wrinkled my nose at my phone.  “The Cask of the Amontillado” was a short story by Edgar Allen Poe, wherein someone was tricked into the catacombs with the promise of tasting the liquor.  His friend then buried him alive behind a brick wall.  I’m pretty sure that my friend wasn’t offering to kill me.  I’m pretty sure that he just meant, that he’d bring me wine.

As for the beneficiary paperwork, well, he may have thought that he died and went to heaven, but that was just my amazing enchiladas.

No, Nadia, that’s not a metaphor.

Tonight, I’m taking a class in swing dance.  Why?  Why not?  Ha!  But seriously, one of my acquaintances invited me and it sounds fun.  I was told that there is always a good mix of guys and gals, so I shouldn’t worry about coming alone.  I have taken different dance classes before: ballet, salsa, and swing.  The swing class was about 8 years ago.  It was fun, until one guy threw me around the dance floor and almost dislocated my shoulders, so I learned the importance of having a good partner.  And with my dating history, finding a good partner is the problem.

Anywho, I’m looking forward to tonight.  “Wake me up, before you go-go!  Don’t leave me hangin’ on the line with Jo-Jo.  Wake me up, before you go-go.  Take me dancin’ tonight!”