Where, where, where do I start?

I cannot possibly recount everything we did in California since we went to about 5 kajillion places. Highlights, only in the order upon which I remember them:

1. Aquarium in Monterey. We saw lots of otters frolicking and playing with balls and penguins standing in the faux sun with their beaks in the air. I touched a bat ray and wasn't stung. The most beautiful exhibit had to be the jelly fish--even though they gross me out a little because they are so alien looking. Do they have eyes? Brains?

2. Sea lions. Shawn kept calling them fat Henri's. In fact, any animal we saw that was even slightly fat, he compared to a Henri.

3. Trying on clothes at Buffalo Exchange in the Haight district. I know that is totally lame to go a Buffalo Exchange when they have them here, but I am in love with thrift store bargains, as you know.

4. Seeing the big fat round moon through the telescope in San Fran.

5. HDTV (sorry--shallow again, but we got to watch several episodes of the new Laguna Beach and another show called True Life where the kids had gay parents and this other one featured three horrific brides).

6. Riding the trolley cars, taking bikes across the Golden Gate Bridge and stopping to see how effective it would be to commit suicide by jumping, taking the ferry--all the modes of public transportation.

7. The Elephant Pharmacy in Berkeley where you can rent movies and buy slightly overpriced good-for-you organic items.

8. The Wacky store in L.A., ditto Dave Eggers pirate story in the Mission, ditto the World Emporium thing somewhere else (Shawn would remember where. He almost bought wind chimes and outdoor lights and a dining room table. I almost bought chocolates with kitty cat heads engraved on them. Go figure).

9. Dinner with Chris and Liz and Chris' brother Steve and Shawn in L.A. Best food I had on the entire trip. I also sort of enjoyed going to the bar afterwards--same place where a scene in Swingers was filmed (see #1 under "didn't like" for why I wasn't having the most fun ever and enjoying the aging lounge singers).

10. Having a glass of very cheap and slightly bad wine with Zena at 4 p.m. outside of the same cafe in L.A. where some famous authors used to go to write at the litter round tables. We were approached by a swaying guy in his late 50's who wanted to talk to us. Zena told him we were having a very important conversation. I said, Yes, we're both pregnant and trying to decide what to do about it. He continued standing there. I said, On top of which, we're alchoholics and drug addicts. He said, Huh. Who are the fathers? I said, We have no idea. Could be any number of people, really. He then advised us to think long and hard before we had the children. Finally, he left.

11. Our lovely, lovely shower in L.A. that had two showerheads--one that sprayed above your head and one that sprayed at waist height. The room also came equipped with a gorgeous basket of lotion, shampoo, conditioner, body wash, a sewing kit, Q-tips, and a shower cap.

12. Meeting the real live true bachelor from Season 3 and our favorite, Andrew Firestone at his family's Firestone Vineyard where we went for wine tasting. I didn't want to go (had no idea it who was associated with it), but Shawn insisted and we walked in and I noticed this really cute, familiar looking guy and then the woman pouring the wine told us who he was. I immediately became self-conscious and tried to hide it by refusing to look in his direction, as though he would interpret this as not being star struck even as Shawn was obviously trying to take the Bachelor's photo with me on the side. We met Andrew's lovely dog, Tucker and I looked like a goofball b/c I kept talking about and petting the dog and insisting I wanted to get my picture taken with Tucker because I had earlier been positively reinforced by the Bachelor who spoke to me when I was first petting the dog. Just afterwards, we went to the smaller winery next door (b/c it was a package deal) and met this absolutely adorable woman who was pouring the wine and she turned out to be his girlfriend.

13. This would go under the bad category if it didn't have a better outcome. I lost my cell phone on the beach at one of the places and the next morning, Shawn said we should go back and at least look for it. I was like, No way we're going to find it on the flipping beach. We went anyway and he dialed the phone. A guy sitting on the peer about ten feet away from him answered. He'd found the phone earlier and picked it up--even tried to call some of the numbers to see if he could figure out the owner. Shawn gave him $3.

14. People watching and making snide remarks about everyone in the room to make ourselves feel better for not being more famous or beautiful in L.A.

15. The Japanese restaurant we ate in on the last night in CA. Shawn begged me not to order chicken for the 100th. Instead, I got cow tongue. They brought it out along with a little mini fire thing and you cooked it yourself to your liking.

16. The Musee Mecanique where we put quarters into slot machines and saw old mechanical toys and machines and we also went into a photo booth and did that thing where you take four pics in a row and I liked every single one of them.

17. Even though it's touristy, I liked the Hearst Castle. All I kept thinking though was wow, this would make an awesome Sim house!

18. The boardwalk in LA with all the crazy people and performers and the veggie burger we ate there.

19. Driving up the winding streets of Beverly Hills and speculating who lived behind the many iron gates. At first, we were going to do a mini tour recommended by Lonely Planet, but then we realized they had stuff like, A House Where Burt Reynolds and Loni Anderson Used to Live In. I was hoping we'd see Jennifer Aniston jogging or Angelina Jolie doing yoga and blood sacrifices on her front lawn, but no such luck. We did see Slash, the guitarist from Guns & Roses standing on the street for a photo shoot, but that's about it for the celebrity sightings.

20. The Lonely Planet California guidebook which we followed like it was the Bible and it only ever once led us astray (see #5 under "didn't like").

21. The monarch butterflies Zena took me to see--she explained that they only rest on three continents in the world at certain times of the year and so we were lucky to see them.

22. The apt. in San Francisco with its claw-footed tub even though I could never have such a tub because I know I would fall every time I stepped out of it since the sides are really high and you have to practically straddle them to get out.

23. Shawn teaching me how to play Suduko. It's very absorbing.

24. The hippie coffee shop where they say hippie things to you on the way out. The woman said to me, You are courageous. I was very proud of myself for being so brave.

Didn't like:

1. Tripping over my inappropriate uncomfortable sandals on the way the the restaurant in LA. and falling on the street so that I now have two skinned knees--the last time I had skinned knees was in seventh grade. I look like I had a roller skating accident. I was so so so embarrassed b/c I did that in front of Chris' cool brother and looked like an idiot.

2. Shawn having a cold the entire time and having to hock up snot every ten-fifteen seconds.
3. Feeling in LA like everybody sizes everybody else up with narrowed eyes to see if they are recognizable stars, agents, writers, producers, millionaires, or duds.

4. The aggressiveness of the homeless people. That sounds so horrible. It is horrible and bourgeois but particularly in San Francisco and Berkeley, there were tons of homeless men. At one point, a homeless guy jumped out at me from behind a tree, crying, Boo! I screamed and said, Please don't ever do that again. He apologized. Did he think we would then give him money?

5. Walking at nearly a ninety degree angle from the ground up the hills in San Fran.

6. Our hotel in Cambria (?) that was more like a hostel because there weren't bathrooms in any of them except for the luxury suite. We decided to take that one (for $119). Absolutely the only reason it was a suite was because of the bathroom--everything else was crap.

7. The floor in Santa Cruz. Ditto the crack addict who showed up the next morning wanting a haircut. Ditto letting a pet rat crawl on me--that was an ick later because at the time, I was trying to act all cool like a rat on my neck was normal. Later, I had to go into the bathroom b/c I was having PTSD.

8. The chattiness of some of the people in CA. That's when I realized that I am truly an East Coaster now, because I don't like trying to make small talk with strangers. The kid at the coffee shop would not stop making inane comments for the forty-two seconds I was in there. I learned that he was from New Jersey, that he thought it was a beautiful day, that the oranges for the juice were the freshest ever, that I could have soy milk if I wanted, that he would pour the coffee out and give me another flavor if I didn't like the hazelnut, and that he hoped I'd have a great day. I was almost nostalgic for the bitch who works at Rocket Cat.

9. Being delayed in the Ohio airport for four and a half hours on the way home. Same with the three hour time difference which caused serious jet lag on the way out there and on the way back.