Monday, June 29, 2009

From Bathing to Bodega to Biscotti

Girls' Trip to Napa

Day 3: Sunday, June 21, 2009

It's SPA DAY! Lo & I brought our robes from the hotel because I was confused about the whole robe situation. We ended up using the ones at the spa, which were different because they had hoods. We had arrived early for our appointments, so we took a look around, placed our belongings in our lockers, and sat in the jacuzzi outside. A water aerobics class was taking place in the pool, and we couldn't go into the special Watsu pools because somebody was receiving their Watsu massage there. We were glad that we didn't choose that particular treatment, because anyone in the spa could watch you since it's outside.

When it was about time for our massage appointments, we slipped out of our bathing suits and went into the bath house. When we got there, we were advised that do the Bathing Ritual, which included a scrub shower, then sit in the jacuzzi, then the mineral pool, then the steam room, then the sauna before our massage. Well, we didn't allow time for that, nor did we have our bathing suits anymore because they were in our lockers. I wish that we had been told about the Bathing Ritual timing when we made our appointments, but I guess we were asking way too many questions anyway and perhaps our receptionist got distracted. Anyway, this was not the place for us to walk around nude, since this spa, unlike the one I'm used to, was co-ed. So we opted to just sit for awhile & munch on a little snack so that we wouldn't starve until lunch time.

My masseuse was Soledad. Lo & I had both chosen the Personalized Aromatherapy Massage, which was on special this month. Soledad had me complete a questionnaire while my feet were soaking. The questionnaire asks how I'm feeling at the moment, as well as what I'd like to feel like after the massage. I ended up choosing "Restorative," and Soledad blended together scents of Sage, Rose & Lavender. We then went upstairs and I received my massage and aromatherapy. Aaaaahhhh. The only problem I had was that my nasal passages were acting up, and when I was lying on my stomach with my face in the face cradle, I kept thinking I needed to sneeze or something, but the feeling always went away whenever there was a break in the massage process. Otherwise, it was very, very nice. When Soledad was finished, she advised me to be careful when getting off the table, and I'm glad she did, because my legs were kinda jelly-like, and I could have really fallen down hard if I had just gotten up without thinking about it.

As I was walking down the stairs, Krina was walking up the stairs with her masseur. Mo was already in the mineral spring. Soledad had recommended that I sit in the steam room for awhile, so I went in there and almost suffocated when the lavender-scented steam rushed in. Then I was hungry and went for the snacks again, which were baked veggie snacks, and had some tea. Later on, when Mo, Lo and I went into the steam room together, and Mo had the idea of placing our faces in the chilled washcloths, which really did help me breathe better, although it was awkward to talk to each other through the washcloths. Eventually, though, I couldn't take the steam anymore, and sat in the dry sauna for awhile. Mo & Lo joined me for a moment, but I think that I enjoyed it more than they did. I then went back to my locker to put my bathing suit back on, and joined Mo & Lo in the jacuzzi and pool. I did try the grapeseed scrub shower for a bit with my bathing suit on, which was awkward. Mo left, but Lo and I stayed until K came down to join us, and we marveled at our wonderful time. We figured that Mo was probably hungry, as were we, so Lo & I went back to the lockers to shower and get dressed for the day. I should not have used whatever gloss stuff they had available for the hair. Or I shouldn't have used so much of it, because my hair was just blech for the rest of the day.

We had lunch at Big 3, and Lo gave me the evil eye. I can't remember why she did that, but I'm sure I said something wrong, as usual. Funny thing is that Mo, Lo and I all had some kind of eye problem during the day after that. Mo had allergies, Lo's eye was really red (we think it was the pressure on her face during the massage, but who knows?), and I had a stye or something on my eyelid. OK, maybe it wasn't so funny as it was a little bit eerie. Lo cursed us, man! K & I both had the All-day breakfast (of course, because this is Sherry we're talking about, here) and I had some iced tea with lemon-flavored syrup. That was interesting-tasting.

After gulping up all of our food, we were ready for more wine tasting. K belongs to the wine club at Chateau St. Jean, so we needed to go there anyway to pick up her wine club selections.

*2007 Pinot Blanc Robert Young Vineyard (honeydew melon, toasty vanilla)

*2007 Chardonnay Cold Creek Vineyard – I convinced Mo to buy this so I could come over & have it with her. Yes, I actually liked a chardonnay! Not enough to buy it myself, but enough to want it again.

2007 Pinot Noir Sonoma County

2005 Merlot Sonoma County

2005 Syrah Durell Vineyard

I didn't buy any wine here for myself. Something was wrong with me! Krina talked me out of coaster thong wine holders, which I thought were cute, but she just couldn't see them working for me. She felt bad that she talked me out of buying something, but friends don't let friends buy things that they'll regret as soon as they unpack them at home. :)

The courtyard had pretty arches, and we took lots of pictures under them.

Sher in her favorite pose

We then went to St. Francis winery, mostly because we were kinda feeling the Franciscan theme.

Our server, Augustine, was entertaining and handsome, so we were happy to stay there for awhile. :) Augustine joked that he built the building, painted the grape painting, started drinking at age 4, but doesn’t till the fields because he doesn’t want to work too hard. I don't think he was telling us the truth that whole time, though. ;)

Augustine & his painting

The Meat & Cheese pairing was not available that day due to private event held earlier in the day, so, of course, Mo would not stop talking about the cheese plate that we couldn't have. Mo loooovvveees cheese.

I opted for the Classic Tasting (free with Visa Signature) which had all wines available through retailers.

*2007 Rose Sonoma County (crisp acidity, honeysuckle)

*2008 Sauvignon Blanc Sonoma County (nice summertime wine with notes of cut grass, citrus rind & grapefruit pulp)

2005 Merlot Sonoma County (spicy herb & vanilla, black fruit) Winemaker Tom Mackey was named Master of Merlot

2005 Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma County (black cherries, dark chocolate, spicy oak)

2005 Claret Sonoma County (Richness, backbone, cassis)

* Free tasting of 2003 Reserve Kings Ridge Vineyard Sonoma County (bought) YUMMMM! K bought a bottle for herself as well.

After making our purchases, we went outside on the back patio and enjoyed the scenery of our last full day in Sonoma.

K & Sher at St. Francis Winery

You can't see them very well here, but in the gardens were some Metal alloy oscillating pinwheels. I wondered if they were daisies. It was just so pretty there that I took a picture with my cell phone and it is now my new wallpaper on my phone. As we sat around and chatted, I arrived at my new pickup line: “I’ve decided there’s only one thing wrong about you. You don’t have me yet.” (Yeah, like I actually talk to people).

Out in front of the winery was a really pretty tree, which K climbed. I thought of doing the same, but chickened out. Perhaps if I had been as drunk as yesterday, I would have done it...and been in the hospital by dark.

K drove us around a little bit, and we saw signs leading to Bodega Bay, site of Hitchcock's movie “The Birds”. So we decided to check out some more scenery. APPARENTLY, Tippi Hedren is going to make a personal appearance on July 4 weekend. Darn. Missed it by *that* much.

Sher scaring away birds at Bodega Bay

Not actually by the bay, but inland, we took pics of the church & the schoolhouse shown in “The Birds”. Here is the church and the steeple, but there were no people. Except us.

After taking our pictures, we drove back toward St. Francis winery and decided to go to a nearby restaurant that was recommended to us: Café Citti Italian Trattoria. (Yes, we had thought of Sante for just one more time, but we needed a break). It was like a deli, where you order up front, and they bring the food to your table.

We all ordered Luca’s Garlicky Caesar (Slice of anchovy, lots of garlic bits). Mmmmm....garlic.

Our entrees were as follows.

Krina: Gnocchi with garlic cream sauce

Lo: Gnocchi w/Bolognese sauce

Sher: Linguini with White Clam Sauce made with wine, garlic & lemon

Mo: Mattagliati alla Citti -- Homemade Mattagliati pasta served with a tomato cream sauce w/sauteed pancetta and garlic (Mo ordered extra garlic, which I think she loves more than she loves cheese). Lo & I giggled as soon as she asked if they could add garlic to the dish when we were ordering our food.

Afterward, K and I ordered Homemade Almond Biscotti, which I had with Decaf House Blend. Mo & Lo had the Chocolate-dipped biscotti. Yes, they had chocolate, and I didn't order it. What the heck? Anyway, this was the BEST BISCOTTI I've ever had in my LIFE. I'm serious. I contemplated bringing some home to keep in the freezer, but then I'd actually eat it all, and that's just not good for me. It was soft, but not crumbly, full of almond goodness, and the perfect level of sweetness.


We closed the place down. The busboy noticed that it was Father’s Day and only women were at the table, & wondered aloud to us what happened. We told him that the fathers were spending the day with their kids.

We went back to the hotel and packed up Krina’s stuff with the wine. Lots of wine. The trunk was drunk. Since K had to work in the morning, we said our goodbyes to her and she went home. Mo hung out in our room for awhile before going back to hers.

What a strange day. I liked a chardonnay, I didn’t buy wine everywhere, I turned down chocolate, and I wasn’t drunk by 5:00. WTF? I guess that means that our vacation was winding down. Sadness. But at least my last taste of the evening was that wonderful biscotti.

Next up: Spending the day in Burlingame

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Give that Girl a Cigar -- she had 18 wines today!

Girls' Trip to Napa

Day 2: June 20, 2009

The nice thing about a leisurely vacation is that you can sleep in as long as you haven't made any appointments. Lo & I pretty much made breakfast out of our yummy sweets from last night's dinner at Sante, along with the coffee from the room. Lo was unhappy that there wasn't any cream, but the sweets pretty much made up for that. We got ready for our day and met Mo & K in the lobby, and decided to also make our spa appointments for Sunday. The spa lobby was quite interesting acoustically, as the ceiling was domed, and we could hear people's conversations from the other side of the room, almost like they were wearing microphones. At first, we thought that there was some talk going on in a conference room, but it turned out to just be a guy talking to his companions across the room.

We took a winding road in to Napa due to a NASCAR race taking place in Sonoma this weekend. On our way, I called our friend Charlie from high school to try to set an appointment with him on our way back to San Jose on Monday. Happily, he was available!

Our only set appointment for the weekend was at the Culinary Institute of America / Wine Spectator Greystone Restaurant in Napa. Jenn had taken me here for my birthday a few years ago, and I really wanted to return last February, but wasn't able to do so because I was ill. So this was my chance!

The Gals in front of CIA

On our way up the steps to CIA, Mona said that she heard that there were bats there, then pointed to something flying around, claiming that it was a bat. I thought bats were nocturnal. The other gals were kinda skeptic, too, and we realized as we got closer to the building that it was actually one of the swallows that made their nests on the building. Had it been a bat, I would have been way more excited about it.

We decided to sit outside so that we could take advantage of the beautiful weather. We agreed to have the Today's Temptations for hors d'oeuvres – Beer Battered Smelt, Carnitas Tostadas, Scallions wrapped with Rib Eye, Foie Gras on Crostino, and Vichysois w/potato chip garnish

Krina with the Tasting Tray

I enjoyed everything on the tray, but I was the only one that enjoyed the foie gras, so I pretty much ate at least half of everyone else's portion along with my own. The smelt was too fishy for the other two gals, but just right for Mo and me. We all enjoyed the other dishes, especially the vicchysois.

I wasn't quite ready to drink yet, due to the winding drive, so I had a non-alcoholic Navarro Gewurztraminer Grape Juice, which was quite yummy.

I had the Crab Lump Salad on Paprika reduction sauce for my entree, with a Side of Haricorts Verts in Browned Butter w/Hazelnuts. It was quite delicious, and everyone shared in my enjoyment of the haricorts verts. Lori had the Lamb Kefta platter, which had lamb kebabs on baba ghanoush, falafel w/ tzatziki, & toasted pita bread. Mo & K shared the Free Form Ravioli w/cheese & greens. Everything was wonderful.

Lori with her Lamb Kefta platter

After rolling ourselves out of our seats, we walked to the gift shop for some souvenirs. The gals busied themselves by looking at little button pins w/cute rebus sayings for the kids. I bought a CIA cheese board, a real zester, and a metal plaque with an Apache blessing:

"May the sun bring you new energy by day.

May the moon softly restore you by night.

May the rain wash away your worries.

May you walk gently through the world and know its beauty all the days of your life."

I thought that this was a nice commemoration of our trip, since our high school mascot was the Apaches. :)

We made a quick stop at Ehlers winery because Mo had a question about her wine club, but the lady kicked us out because she was busy preparing for a private tasting.

We then went to our first official winery for the trip: Castello di Amorosa

Mo & K at the Castello

I opted for the Reserve Holiday Tasting with Chocolate Tasting (8 wines including Reserves plus chocolate). Mo & Lo opted for the regular tasting. We enjoyed yummy thin breadsticks between wines, and Lo conversed with Paolo, our server, in Italian. I didn't get to taste chocolate until getting to the red wine, and I was happy. Mo & Lo got a free taste of dessert wine, thanks to Lo's knowledge of Italian and the fact that they had to wait for me to finish 3 more wines than them.

For my trip reports from the weekend, I will list all the wines that I tasted, and have placed an asterisk beside those that I enjoyed. The items after the wine name are part of the description from the winery menu.

*2007 Anderson Valley Pinot Grigio: citrus & green apple, honeydew & lemony taste, goes good w/mild cheeses and seafood

2008 Gioia Rosato Di Sangiovese: berries

2007 Dolicino Anderson Valley Gewurztraminer: lychee

2005 Napa Valley Cabernet: black cherry (Mo liked)

2005 Reserve La Castellana Napa Valley “Super Tuscan” blend: Cab, Sangiovese & Merlot (tasted with milk chocolate)

*2004 Reserve Il Barone Napa Valley Cab: 100% Cabernet (dark chocolate)

*2006 Reserve Il Passito: Semillon/Sauvignon Blanc (had with sea salt dark chocolate)

Il Raggio Del Sole (Ray of Sunshine) Muscato Cavalli

I really liked the Il Passito, so I bought a bottle of that, along with some sea salt dark chocolate. The chocolate is just the perfect balance of salty and sweet tastes. Yummmy.

Mo, Sher & Lo at Castello

K then drove us to Franciscan. Our server, Roxanne was serving up the flights pretty quickly, since they would be closing in an hour. I got tipsy there because of that, thank goodness I didn't drive for any of this trip!

*2008 Sauvignon Blanc: Lychee & Citrus (bought)

*2007 Fountain Court: Lychee (bought 1 for me, 1 for Lo’s b-day)

Cuvee Sauvage 2006 Chardonnay Reserve (As with most Chardonnays, I did not enjoy this one)

Clos Vineyard Reserve 2005: 78% Cab, 22% Malbec

Free taste of Magnificat (signature wine): Cab & Merlot

OK, so now I've bought 3 wines, and knew that I'd buy at least one more. Perhaps I should have bought the Airline Shipper carton back at Castello.

Then we went to Rubicon. The place looked familiar to me because I’d been there when it was called "Coppola." It is still owned by Francis Ford Coppola, but they changed the name to its flagship vintage. On the way into the estate building, I tried the chocolate wine sauce with a cookie: YUM. You know, I have some of this stuff at home. I should really make something with it. Or just dip everything into it. Our server, Harla, was very friendly, and didn't rush us. I decided to have the Flight of Reds.

*2006 Pinot Noir

2005 Zinfandel

2006 Merlot

*2005 CASK Cab (bought) Mo & Karina’s fave & the reason we were there

*2005 Rubicon: “Point of No Return” per Julius Caesar

By the end of this tasting period, I was way drunk, and couldn't even drink a cup of water without spilling it. I decided I wanted a cigar, which they had on sale, Coppola's brand, in their shop. I went outside for some fresh air and watched people playing Bocci & didn’t know what was going on. I also called Cindy so that she could enjoy my drunken state, but she wasn't available, so I left her a drunk message that she later stated she would keep forever & play for everyone. After the gals were done making all of our purchases (I couldn't even stand in there anymore without searching for a chair), we sat outside for a spell, so that we could rest and enjoy the nice breeze. A lady wanted to put away the table & chairs where we were sitting because they were closing. However, when Mo went inside to have my cigar clipped, she noted that the guys inside had no qualms about leaving the furniture outside for awhile. So we sat until we got our acts together and left. You just can't rush these things, lady. Sorry.

We then went back to Sonoma and drove around Sonoma Square before returning to the hotel. After Lo and I changed our clothes, we met back up with the cousins and went back for our second night at Sante. Mo hadn't asked for Morgan when she initially made the reservation, but we asked for him at the host podium anyway, and they politely obliged. We were seated in a different section, but Morgan still served us. Adam, the actual server for the section, was a little offended at first, but we didn't care much because we wanted to talk to Morgan again. Besides, he wouldn't be offended for very long. We're very nice people who sometimes deserve to be shoved in the corner for our behavior. Anyway, Morgan saw us, and told me my room number when I said hello. Oh, he DOES remember us. Quite a bit, thank you. Josh, our runner from last night, welcomed us back. We must be memorable people. Yeah, it was yesterday, but sometimes people have really short term memories.

During our talk with Morgan, we learned that he was born in Hay Fork, CA (is that enough of a hick town name for ya?), but grew up in Sonoma, so he was used to the non-city life. Adam, however, is a San Francisco boy and loves the city life. So already we had a difference in server personalities. Lo was talking about a guy named Andrew that she used to date, which was not the same guy she dated that had fuzzy dice hanging on his mirror. K didn't know what we were talking about, and interpreted it as "Lo had a crush on Andrew Dice Clay." So then Adam approached our table, and we told him about Lo's crush. Lo was mortified, and she didn't even know who Dice Clay was. She then talked about needing creamer in the room, and Adam playfully misinterpreted it as "You want me to rub creamer on you?" We just wanted creamer to go, but they didn't have that available.

We ordered our food finally, and Sommelier Eric came by, saw that we had a bottle of CASK from Rubicon, and approved of our choice.

Complimentary Amuse Bouche: Mushroom soup with crème fraiche, and sautéed mushrooms in sauce au fis on crostini

Mona had been talking about having cheese since we arrived, so she, Lo and K shared the Cheese plate with 7 different cheeses, blanched almonds, apricots, and prunes

Krina ordered the halibut again because she liked it so much last night. I wanted a lighter dinner so that I could have dessert. I had Mache Lettuces with beets and sautéed strawberries in champagne vinaigrette.

Sher's salad

Krina noticed that a couple sitting nearby was unhappy with everything that Adam served. It was never the right temperature, and they kept sending stuff back. Now, I'm all for people having their food done the right way, but I can't imagine that ALL of their dishes were not prepared properly. Especially in this restaurant. Anyway, so Adam asked us how we were doing, and Krina teased him that everything was just not the right temperature. He picked up on the sarcasm and enjoyed our table more than he did the others, of course. Especially with us single gals flirting with him and Morgan the whole time. Hey, it got K a free glass of wine so that she could catch up with the drunk people at her table, as well as a friendly good night greeting at the end of the evening.

Sher, Morgan and Krina

For dessert, I ordered the Chocolate Soufflé with chocolate sauce, which was nice and warm and gooey on the inside. Mo ordered the Raspberry soufflé with Pistachio sauce. We actually renamed it Shrek sauce because it was green.

Raspberry Souffle with Shrek Sauce

This time, we all got our OWN boxes of chocolates. They love us. We said our goodbyes to Morgan, and he had Adam escort Krina out, so that she could take her glass of wine with her.

Krina and Adam

It was too smoky at the fire pit, so we brought our cigars to Mo & K’s balcony to enjoy. Since it was my first cigar, Mo had to tell me, "Suck it Hard" while trying to light it. Lo mentioned later on that she didn't think I ever needed anyone to tell me that. Lo cracks me up.

Some Drunk Girl

After getting my fill of cigar smoking, I went inside to join the gals and we watched "CSI Miami" to understand why Mo likes the colors of the set. We eventually turned it to "Get Smart" and watched before we decided to go back to our own room.

I just kept thinking that I had cigar smoke in my hair. Thank goodness we'd be going to the spa tomorrow, so that I could have nice things for my olfactory senses to enjoy.

Next Up: Spa & Sonoma Day

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Let the Wining & Dining Commence!

Girls' Trip to Napa
Day 1 -- Friday, June 19, 2009

About a year ago, Mona, Lori and I decided that we needed a Girls' Trip to commemorate our 40th birthdays. Our first idea was to take a culinary cruise in the Mediterranean, but life got in the way, and we ended up planning a trip to Napa instead. Mo invited her cousin Krina to join us, too.

I picked up Lo in the morning, and we met up with Mo at the airport gate. Much to our surprise, Mo was wearing braces! APPARENTLY, we hadn't seen her since March, because that's how long they've been on her teeth. Oh. Our plane was delayed about a half-hour due to a scratch on the door of the plane. Southwest needed to confirm with their corporate office that it was still OK to fly, and we were on our way. Krina picked us up at SJC.

While in San Jose, we visited the Winchester Mystery House. The structure was incredible, and Mary Winchester, we were told numerous times by tour guide Wayne, was quite the genius and Bill Gates of her time.
View from 4th Floor

She had the house designed with central air/heating, she had a bathroom with a shower that would spray water on all parts of her body at once, and she had plenty of money for all of the beautiful stained-glass windows that were situated throughout her house. Her favorite number was 13, as evidenced by that shower room with 13 windows, and by her penchant for daisies. Did you know that a daisy usually has 12 petals, but a Perfect Daisy has 13? You do now. :)

My favorite: The Daisy Window

Wayne was a fun tour guide, although he freaked me out when he laughed, especially when we were about to enter the seance room. Lo had a little bit of trouble understanding him due to a slight speech impediment, mixed with an Eastern US accent.

Wayne in one of the bathrooms

I was impressed with Mo's knowledge of history, as she asked him intelligent questions that were also interesting. The tour that we took was a mile long, including steps, which were mostly only a quarter of an inch high, due to Mrs. Winchester's arthritis. We really enjoyed our tour. I would have bought earrings if they had made any with the daisy design, but they didn't. Why don't marketers consult me before they put out souvenirs that nobody is going to use?

We met up with Mo's stepson, Kenneth, for lunch at Le Jardin. The restaurant served mostly tapas, and it was outside, between 2 street blocks. I had some sangria, which was refreshing, but still didn't beat the sangria we made at my house on Sangria Night. Kenneth pulled what Mo calls an "Eremita" and dropped food on floor. This actually became a point of humor several times this weekend, as we pulled many Eremitas throughout the trip. No, Kenneth had not been drinking at all, unlike the rest of us. We talked about celebrating Kenneth’s 21st birthday, with different options of entertainment. I don't know about y'all, but I never planned my 21st birthday with my parents and their friends. Kenneth was being quite the sport.

Mo, Lo and Sher at Le Jardin, Happy to finally be on Vacation!

We went to Krina’s house to split to 2 Hondas, because Krina would need to leave our trip earlier than the rest of us. Krina & I took a detour to San Francisco to pick up something from her cousin, and during the ride, the "hot DA" called to tell her that she had helped him to get a guilty verdict. We're proud of you, Krina! You definitely need to go out for drinks with him to celebrate. :)

We drove up to Sonoma, checked in to the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa. Lo and I checked into our room, where there was a bottle of Kenwood table wine, which Lo opened with expertise, although she had never opened a bottle of wine before.

Look how perfectly she opened that bottle with a corkscrew!

Sherry starts with the Wine drinking -- Thanks, Lo!

After unpacking our bags, we walked down to the lobby to confer with Mo & K about dinner. After speaking with a couple of hotel staff workers, and checking out the menu, we decided to have dinner at Sante, a restaurant inside the hotel. Sante boasts to be the only AAA 4-diamond restaurant in Sonoma, whose Chef Andrew Cain was formerly the sous-chef at the well-known restaurant French Laundry. When we arrived at our table, we saw beautiful chargers, which, we learned, were hand-blown in Colorado and custom made for the restaurant. Our server for the evening was Morgan, who pretended to remember Krina from when she was there with another friend & had lobster mac and cheese and stayed until they closed. At least I think he pretended. I don't know. Morgan was very friendly, and when we mentioned our flight, he said that he wanted a Zombie for his backyard, and not a Yeti, from the SkyMall catalog.

Sommelier Eric Henson approached our table, and we asked for his advice. All of us except Lo are red wine drinkers, but Lo hadn't yet met a red that she enjoyed. So we asked Lo to be our taster for the evening. Eric brought over a pinot noir, and Lo thought that it was bitter. Eric was doubting her because she had previously said that all red wine was bitter to her, but he really thought that this wine should have been OK for her. He tasted it himself, and AGREED! It had been corked or something, because he also made that "eew, it's bitter" face. Lo ROCKS! Then he brought over a nice, smooth 2007 Rochiole Pinot Noir from Russian River. All of us at the table enjoyed the wine, including Lo, who did the tasting this time also. Have I told you that Lo ROCKS!?

We were served a choice of slices of Sourdough Bread or Fig & Walnut Bread with Organic Butter, French Butter and Sea Salt. Some of us opted for both, but I stuck with the Fig & Walnut bread. It was delicious. I had never put sea salt on top of my buttered bread before, but it was quite nice.

We then received a Complimentary Amuse Bouche from the tasting menu: Chilled Asparagus Soup with Crème Fraiche, and Maine Lobster Remoulade. It was quite tasty. I'm not usually a fan of asparagus, but I liked this soup, and the chilled factor made it very refreshing. The remoulade was wonderful. I could have had just this stuff all night, but that wasn't the point.

Amuse Bouche

Our appetizers were Mac & Cheese with Maine Lobster & Truffles, and Escargots with Sweetbreads. Since we had forgotten what was actually described in the menu, Mo thought that she had tasted corn, but they were actually the Sweetbreads. Now, all of my foodie friends, don't be alarmed, but a couple of us didn't know what sweetbreads were, and I didn't want to describe them incorrectly. Morgan advised us that they were actually the Thymus gland from veal. Whatever it was, it was delicious. As was the Mac & Cheese. Y.U.M.

My main dish was a Filet of Red Snapper with Dungeness Crab wontons, sugar snap peas, baby bok choy, in lemongrass sauce, or soup, or something. (I can't remember what it was called). The Snapper was delicious, the wontons were tasty, and I ate all of my vegetables, and wanted to slurp up the soup. It was wonderful.

For dessert, I asked Morgan, "What is a Financier, besides an Accountant?" He explained that it was a type of cake, and this one was made of almond flour. Being a fan of almonds, I ordered the Almond Financier with Lemon & Thyme Ice Cream and Blueberry Reduction. It was beautiful, although my picture didn't do it justice, and on top of it was a sugared lemon slice as garnish. Yummy.

This is a picture of Mo's dessert: I don't remember what it is, but doesn't it look scrumptious?

Afterward, we were given a yummy box of sweets for us to share in each of our rooms. It contained a truffle, jelly candy, meringue cookie with filling & a lavender-flavored marshmallow. We were too full to eat it before we went to bed, though.

We said our goodbyes to Morgan, after making sure that he would be working the next evening, in case we ended up there for dinner again. When he asked if he should have it charged to a room, I blurted out my room number before realizing that I just needed to write it down on the bill. Oops. REALLY! OOPS! Morgan laughed, and said that he'd see us all for Lobster Mac N Cheese tomorrow.

We parted ways with Mo & K, took a gander at the firepit at the hotel entrance, and went back up to our room. It actually took a little longer that it should have because our elevator door takes FOREVER to close. I mean, what if someone was chasing us? Oh, that's right. We're in Wine Country. If anything, people would be stumbling after us, and we could just walk over their bodies to speed up the stairs. :) Of course, if we were stumbling, too, that would be a different story. Perhaps there will be stumbling tomorrow.

Next Up: Wine Tasting in Napa (Told ya -- stumbling)

Friday, June 26, 2009

Oui Oui, Queen Sherry

Rockapella at Lewis Family Playhouse
Sunday, June 14, 2009
Rrrrrancho Cucamonga, CA
7:00 p.m.

Back in December, when I had an extra ticket to Rockapella's holiday show, my friend Adrienne agreed to take my ticket when I saw that she liked to hear Christmas music a cappella. To my delight, she was also able to attend the re-scheduled non-holiday show. You know how much I love bringing first-timers! Other attendees for the 7pm show included some of the ones from the 4pm show (Wendy, Jeff, Karla, Barb, Cindy, Gordon), as well as Aura, Mox and Linda. This was Cindy's 1st same-day viewing of 2 performances. Welcome to the club, Cindy!

Some of the guys had changed their shirts since the prior show. I had been happily ignoring pants until Adrienne asked me whose pants I normally look at, and when I told her it was Scott's, I then concentrated on them for most of the show.

Scott is Manny Ramirez.

Scott asked how many folks actually live in Rrrancho Cucamonga, I guess because he wanted to see who lived in his favorite-city-to-pronounce. Since he knew that there was a likelihood of Lakers fans being present in the audience, he kindly updated us with the score of Game 5 of the Finals during the evening. It was 80-67 at this point, advantage Lakers. (Whoo HOO!!!) He said, "It's almost over. It's only the 1st quarter." Kidding. He had his iPod on one of the stools so that he could follow the game for us, and thanked us for attending instead of watching the game.

JT's throat mics "pick up the rumble underneath Rancho," according to Scott. Kevin smiled at me. :)

Got to Get You Into My Life
Adrienne asked me why Kevin and John don't wear earpieces but the rest of them do. I have no idea. I need to ask them sometime.

Stand By Me -- John smiled at me when he sang. :)
Scott said that John has toured with Phil Collins, Tina Turner and Julie Andrews. All at the same time. It was an amazing concert. Kidding.

Use Me -- Scott started his version of the stomping with "One, then two...I can't stop." He said that the audience had the Cucamonga beat. Except for Adrienne, but at least she didn't clap loudly and throw off the rest of the audience.

Kevin said, "We're really glad we made it this time. We made it just in time for Gloom June....(In December when they missed the shows), we go there (to the airport) really early because it was very cold and it was blizzardy outside and the plane wouldn't start....It was a little bit chilly when we got here the other day. June in Florida is at the 90s and 100s every day. We heard that you guys also get a lot of rain here." ;) He then talked about the fishing trip with his daughters, and said about the Hammerhead Sharks, which "go around with eyes out on the ends, saying, 'Oh, yeah, come on over here...yeah, man, you think we can't see you?'" He used a different voice when imitating what a Flounder would say: "Uh, hello, can you flip me back over?" He said that he took his wife "down to check out the boardwalk and I'd never been under one before, but I learned a lot there." I guess he wanted us to use our imaginations as to what he learned, although I'd love to hear what he would have actually said.

Under the Boardwalk

Tell Me What You Want
Scott checking his iPhone: "Lakers by 11 with 37 seconds left." YAY!!!!! He talked about singing a cappella, and "when it's bad, it's like .... it's like about what the Orlando Magic feel like right now."

California Sad-Eyed Girl
Scott said that Kevin toured with Les Miz. Kevin: "Oui Oui." (Laughter ensued). Scott: "What?!" Kev: "OuiOui." Scott: "Aaaah." Scott said that there were a lot of fans (of theater) tonight, should have done one of the songs from 'Annie'. (looking at Kevin) You have the hair." Kevin responded with "I'll leave out your hair stuff later." Scott said, "I shouldn't have said anything." Scott said that George was once part of the group that became BoyzIIMen, and the audience was, like, "Ooh." So George glared at us. Kevin had his comeback when talking about Scott: "I think he did the tour of 'Legally Blonde'."

Scott said that the Lakers won 99-86. WHOOOOO HOOOOOO!!!!! Happiness for Sherry.

Scott talked about records as "vinyl things that go around and you put a needle on the thing and music would miraculously emanate." He talked about the Mills Bros most popular song, and Adrienne said to me, "Don't tell me they're going to do 'Paper Doll'." I nodded and smiled. She loves this song.

Paper Doll I am totally loving Geo's glissandos!

Rock the Boat
Scott asked, "Y'all havin' a good time?" (Cheers from the audience) Scott responded in a high, hoarse voice, "Me too."

Jingle Medley -- Adrienne was incredulous at the Preparation H songs, saying to me, "They did NOT." I told her to ask them afterward. I like JT's little "pop" sound at the end of Folger's.

My Girl -- John picked a gal named Adriana (oh, so close!), who was sitting next to Mox. John said to her, "Come on up here with your cowboy boots." Adriana lives in Long Beach. Kevin: "I like Long Beach. It's easier to say....I'm from Hope County, FL, we wear boots there. Is that real lizard?" Adriana is studying French. Kevin: "A French major? Did you like my 'Oui oui'? (much laughter) That's different. I'm sorry, that was not a come-on, I promise." Kevin does say the darnedest things. Kevin thought that Mox was her boyfriend, and asked for his name, which she didn't know. He asked her if she introduced herself. I just kept on giggling. Kev's song for her: "Oh, Adriana, how I love your cowboy boots." (In the background, I think it was Scott singing "oui oui.").

Ain't Too Proud to Beg -- Yay! She danced! John tried to get his butt over there between her, Scott and Kevin. When Geo approached him with his crazy high voice, Scott said, "Excusez moi..." Afterward, Scott said, "What a beautiful girl. Tres Jolie." Kevin was impressed and said that Scott is an International Man of Mystery. They asked her to speak a little bit of French. She said, "Kevin ne parles francais tres bien." (Just so you know, I noticed that she left out "pas", and I wasn't a French major. Translation: "Kevin does not speak French very well." She never translated it for them, though.

People Change

George said, "You know, every now and then, a man wants to sing like a woman. (laughter) Is that just me? Fellas, y'all know when you're alone at home and you get in the shower and think of Whitney Houston?" and then went into his rendition of "I Will Always Love You."

Papa Was A Rolling Stone

Where in the World is Carmen SanDiego? I was looking at Scott with the dancing and the low squats, thinking, "That man is limber."


Scott then said that they sang a Christmas song at the last concert, and asked if we would like to hear one, too. Then he couldn't think of what to sing. "What was on that list?" I just love that they read that list.

They decided to sing "Rudolph", but were worried because there is an evil key change in the middle.

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer The key change went well, and Scott gave the thumbs-up sign.

Up On The Roof/Wonderful World Scott smiled at Adriana as he sang "don't know much about the French I took," and did it with a French accent.
A at her first Pella show

Meet and Greet
I introduced Adrienne to Scott and told him that this was her first show. Adrienne asked him if I get a toaster for bringing the new person. I said that I don't need a toaster: I'm just happy that he remembers my name. Scott sweetly said to me, "How could I forget your name? You're the Queen of Superfans!" Yes, people, I have a new title, and I'm lovin' it. Thanks, CSL4. We asked if the Preparation H songs were actually sung, and Scott said that they did sing those songs, although they were a bit more technical with the medical terms.

I told John that he rocked on Zip. He didn't know what song I was talking about, so I had to say a little more before he got it.

I told Geo that when he did that bassy, yummy sigh, Adrienne did it, too.

I told Kevin about Gloomy Bear and the story behind him. He asked if, at this time, he was "Juney Gloomy." I like it!

Cindy talked to him and said he told a different story tonight than on Friday, as she knows from reading my blog. She said to him that her comment was "Ron Jeremy has 8 testicles?" Kevin cracked up. He said, "Ron Jeremy has nothing on me."
JT: "He has nothing on Ron Jeremy. I've seen his movies."
Sherry, Cindy & Adrienne simultaneously: "Kevin's?"
JT: Ron Jeremy's.
Sher: How do you know?
JT: He's got nothing on Barry, though.
Sher: How do you know THAT?
JT: Stop. Don't go there.
(I just love teasing JT).
Sher to JT: Can I take a picture of you (Rockapella) later?
JT: No. You have to give me a dollar.
Sher: OK. I've given you dollars before, inadvertently (I meant indirectly).
JT stuck his tongue out at me.

We gathered around to take pictures, and when it was mine and Cindy's turn, I gave JT a dollar first. He gave it back afterward, so I gave it back to Cindy, and she gave it to Mox. It was all just nutso.

Sher & Cindy with Rockapella

The guys got distracted talking to other people, but Scott still made an effort to come over to hug us goodbye. Sweet.

Glenn, Cindy, Mox and I went to the Yardhouse for dinner/dessert and watched highlights from the game. LAKERS ARE THE 2009 NBA CHAMPIONS!!!! WHOO DANG HOOO!!! As Glenn said, "It's good to be Sherry today."

My version? "It's good to be Queen. Of Superfans."

Thursday, June 18, 2009

DLR LotD 06/18/09

Disneyland Resort
Line of the Day
Thursday, June 18, 2009

"WHOOOOOOO!!!!" -- Kobe Bryant, repeatedly and excitedly, on Main Street

(Full trip report to follow one of these days)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

I've Got All My Brothers With Me

Rockapella at Lewis Family Playhouse
Sunday, June 14, 2009
Rrrrrrancho Cucamonga, CA
4:00 p.m.

One of the fun things about seeing Rockapella multiple times in a week is that they tend to remember stuff that their fans have said at the prior Meet and Greet. The fans also remember most of what was said the entire show as well as the MnG, and much of it is usually blogged somewhere. :) After Friday night's show in Mission Viejo, Karla decided that we should actually write the set list that Scott kiddingly told us to write for him. A couple of us collaborated, and she printed it out for placement on the stage at the start of the show. It was mostly Christmas songs, with a couple of oldies (like "Bodyboard") thrown in for good measure.

I met up with my seat partner, Kathie, in the restroom. I didn't mean to, but it happened anyway. Kathie has seen Pella shows before, but was quite surprised when I pointed to our seats. Yes, Kath. Those are ours. Front. Row. Center. (THANKS, Wendy!!!!). I had a bunch of friends in the audience that night: Cindy, Glenn, Liz, Jordan, Karla, Wanda, Gordon, Wendy, and Jeff. It was nice to see everyone there. I think they were glad they went to this show, they could mock me for the rest of my life. :)

As Rockapella entered the stage, Karla made a note of placing the set list in front of them. We were so close to them that I wanted to just reach out and touch Scott's shoes. Because I could. We giggled as each of the guys noticed the piece of paper on the stage, all wondering what the heck it was, and even asking each other if they'd seen it.

They were dressed the same as Friday night, but sounded even better. Most likely because the sound system was better, but probably also because they had been treated to a full day of rest between shows.

Tonight: Scott smiled at me! So I said "Hi!" and Kath giggled.

Scott said, "The Lakers are gonna do ... something ... tonight. (Sherry & others cheer loudly) A lot of us are from Florida, so we have mixed feelings." He kept looking at the set list, trying to figure it out. Unfortunately, the font was too small to read without actually picking it up. He did, though, ask how many people had been at the show on Friday. Perhaps that was a hint to us that he might actually know why that paper was on the stage.

4U4Now4Life: I love this song. I can't help but bop to it, even when I listen to it in the car. I turn up the volume really loud & haven't a care in the world who sees me. Apparently you can see my joy from the stage, too, because Kevin and George were both smiling at me during the song. HI!!!

Scott said that Rrrrancho Cucamonga is the most beautifully named town in all of America. He didn't roll his r's as much as he usually does, but it still makes me giggle. He said that he couldn't remember why they couldn't make it to the December shows, thinks it may have something to do with a hangnail, and they just CAN'T sing that way. :) He asked who was seeing Pella for the 1st time, and someone was there in the 2nd row. He said, "You're up a little close for the first time. We'll try to be gentle."

Scott then briefly introduced the guys and noted their voice parts. He said that they found Jeff in L.A. on Venice Beach. JT shook his head "no." George is made up of nothing but testosterone, which is completely evident when he rolls up the bass line. Then, of course, the Girls Sing.

ZIP: Go, John! I love his solos during this song.

Got To Get You Into My Life: I like the background vocals of "Gotta Getcha Getcha." They kinda look like they're driving cars during some of that choreography.

Stand By Me: It's amazing how John changes that up every time. A true performer, wanting the returning fans to hear something a little different, and making sure his creative juices keep flowing, even while singing the same songs for every show.

Use Me: Scott's high note was awesome. YEAH! Kevin and John started with the stomping, and Scott tried to do the same (this is the same as in previous shows, but I could actually hear what they were saying since we were up close and they were not holding their mics). John said to him, "Now, you're doing something different....Don't hurt yourself now." Funny.

Kevin said that since they missed the shows in December, it's been "quite a wait. We're singing different songs tonight. There are probably people out there saying, 'We thought that we'd hear Christmas songs!' (Kevin clearly has no idea what that paper is doing on the stage). I heard about the June Gloom. I'm gonna bring that to Florida and call it 'June Doom'." He talked about the weather in Florida during the summer, saying that it rains every day at 3:00 p.m.

Then Kevin said, like he did on Friday night, that when they come to California, they see their CA fans, and they're like family. And he looked STRAIGHT AT ME. I giggled and waved a hello. He said to me (Yes, in front of everyone in the theater), "You know I'm going to pick on you ALL night long, right?" Then he proceeded to tell the story. "The other night, I said that we get to see our family, and I pointed over here and over there and she said afterwards 'You pointed to her and her and you IGNORED me!' So here we are. WE are FAMILY." Thanks, Kev. I'll go crawl into the orchestra pit now. Oh, man, I love him, though.

Kevin said, "I don't know how Scott doesn't remember what happened last time. We had a 7-hour wait at the airport, because the plane wouldn't start." They had 2 shows the day before, then hurried over to the airport in a blizzard. "We were actually kind of hoping that it wouldn't start because we didn't want to fly in that weather. But we did make it the next day's show."

He said that he wasn't going to tell the octopus story, because some people were there the other night and said, "Um, I'm taking my grandma to the show on Sunday..." What? Grandmothers don't know about testicles? ;) He talked about the fishing trip with his daughters, still, though. One of his daughters is 10 years old (to which daughter usually replies "I am not, Dad, I'm 10 and three-quarters!"). "When you're almost 11, every day counts." He talked about the flounder "floundering all over the boat." Oh, it was his daughter that said that "God didn't finish that fish!", not his wife. He said that he could picture her having nightmares that night, saying, "No face! No face! No mouth! No eyes!" Poor little thing.

Under the Boardwalk: "You can almost taste the flounder and french fries they sell" Again, boys. The carousel is not the same as the ferris wheel. Good Golly.

Here Comes the Sun: Geo sang his low note to Karla, and made all of the front row completely swoon.

Scott said that they'd been doing that song with symphonies, like the Boston Pops. When they sing with backup, it's fine. But a cappella is much more difficult because it's just them. "When it's bad, it's's like... bad flounder." Kevin then described the flounder a little bit more, with the two eyes on one side, and the other side with no eyes or face. "It's very odd, it's probably like a little mistake. It's probably saying from underneath, though, 'I'll bite you!'." I love the voices that Kevin assigns to different things/people.

California Sad-Eyed Girl

Scott said that when he wrote the song, he just needed 5 syllables for a place, and chose "San Bernardino," which elicits giggles whenever we sing it in California. So I thought, "Wow. It must be some, it's like a dump or sometihng. But it's nice! We drove in and there are beautiful mountains, a nice drive. You've got a few strip malls, but come on! I'm gonna sing it with pride now."

Scott gave more insight into the guys' joining the group. "Kevin came to L.A. with Joseph and Jesus." "George was the sexiest, funkiest Frankenstein in Universal Studios/Osaka." Kevin talked about Scott's beautiful hair and tiny waist, to which Scott responded by modeling his suit and waving like a beauty queen.

Scott then talked about how much he loved the Mills Brothers, and much of the audience acknowledged the MB greatness and clapped. Scott said, "You know the Mills Brothers. I'll talk about the Mills Brothers in Korea, and they're like (silence). That's how it is there."

Paper Doll: I like the response to the lead's line of "I must have had a million dolls or more" with "I'm guessin' he's roundin' up." I also love all of George's glissando/scoops. Heck, I love the rhythm section throughout the entire song. I'm sure that the high voice have always been singing the above-mentioned line, but I've been too busy listening to Geo & JT to notice. It just happens that I was seated on House Left and the melodic voices are right in front of my face.

Rock the Boat

Jingle Medley: Scott said, "I remember coming to L.A. to film that commercial (Taco Bell) and how shamelessly we took that money. It was a DARK day." During Preparation H, JT pointed to Geo's butt for the last note. After they sang the Dr. Pepper jingle that deprived them of their royalty checks, Scott said, "That's the best song we ever sang."

My Girl: Diana got up to leave the stage as soon as "My Girl" was done. Kevin said, "We are not done with you yet! (taps the stool) Please, Diana." He introduced Diana to the guys. "This is Jeff. He does speak." Diana said she was nervous, right before Geo tapped Kevin's shoulder and said, "Back." Kevin: "Huh?" Geo: "BACK." Then he did his sexy greeting. Kevin said in his high voice, "It's all right, G-man. She likes the high voices." Then he turned to the audience and asked us, "Why you laughing? Is that funny to you?" Kevin asked Diana if husband Pete would hit him. She said, "Maybe." Kevin asked if Diana is from RC, but she said no, she is from Riverside, and Kevin said, "That's a lot easier to sing." He asked if she was scheduled to come one of the Christmas shows. She said that it was supposed to be their Christmas outing, and looked somewhat perturbed. Diana is an Accountant, and her husband is an Equipment Operator. Kevin said, "Oh, a smooth operator." He then sang a song called "Diana and Pete the Smooth Operator." "Oh, Diana, you've got Pete, he's a smooth operator." "That's it." I remember Kevin's songs being a little bit longer than that before. :)

Beg: When she was allowed to get up, Diana tried to leave the stage again, but Scott was blocking her way and dancing at her. Afterward, he said to the guys, "I think she really enjoyed dancing with me." Kevin said, "She's statuesque. Next to her, we look like we're midgets." This prompted Scott to start singing "The Lollipop Guild" from The Wizard of Oz.

People Change

George said, "I imagine myself singing like a woman. Not just any old woman: Whitney Houston. I've got that bright white light shining at me, it reminds me of that note in The Bodyguard." After he did his rendition of "I Will Always Love You," he told us about his teacher advising him to squeeze his butt cheeks together to reach the high notes. "Luckily, I have my jacket on. I need a few seconds to release. So if you just keep laughing, I need a little time." "My job is to walk cool, look cool, sound cool, and make the ladies scream." YOW! "That actually worked!"

Papa Was A Rolling Stone: Geo looked at me after "Mama just hung her head and she said", so I just had to join in with "What?"

Where in the World is Carmen SanDiego?



Scott said that on Friday night, he received some requests that they sing a Christmas song at this show since they had missed them. Karla picked up the set list and gestured to him. Then they realized what the heck it was, and read some of them aloud, saying "This is an entire other show!" Yeah, well, so? We want to hear an extra show! :)

Angels We Have Heard on High: This must have made Wendy very happy, because it's her favorite song that they sing at Christmas. Of course, since they hadn't sung the song in 6 months, they couldn't remember what key it was in. Scott said, "If it's in G I'm in trouble, if it's in E George is in trouble." As he played with the pitch pipe, Scott realized. "F. It's in F." They sounded wonderful. Love "Angels come and they won't go home" and the whole "thunder in my heart" thing. Thanks, guys, for indulging us!

Up On The Roof/Wonderful World: It's nice to be able to hear JT's singing voice up close. It kept me from crying. I had been listening to the soundtrack of Bro & V's wedding day, and this song (Pella's rendition) was the music for their 1st dance. I always picture my brother's face on the happiest day of his life, dancing with the girl of his dreams whenever I hear Rockapella sing this song. And I'm crying again as I write this. Sheesh.

Great show, even with my mortified moment. Yes, Kevin did smile at me several times after that moment, and it was so many times that I forgot to write them all down. Thank you, Kevin, for being absolutely, perfectly, YOU.

There was no Meet and Greet afterward, due to the short time span between shows. A bunch of us went to the food court for a bite to eat, and then, to continue a new tradition, I needed to take a picture with Will before the next show. APPARENTLY, I was subconsciously fondling his leg. Must have been dreaming that it was Joseph. (Not the Dreamcoat one that Kevin came with, along with Jesus).

Sher and Will

Monday, June 15, 2009

10, 4

Last night, the Lakers won their 15th NBA World Championship. OH, YESSSSSS!!!

I didn't watch the game live. I know what you're thinking: "You? The born and bred Lakers fan? What could you possibly be doing instead of watching a potential championship win?"

One word: Rockapella.

Blog posts will follow. I also had another backup plan of watching drum corps, so June 14 was sure to be a day where I was fulfilling one obsessive need or another. :)

Scott from Rockapella was kind enough to provide updates during their show, and when he said that the game was over and the Lakers had won, I was even happier than I had already been from seeing my guys. Just way too much excitement going on at once!

I watched the game this morning, along with the post-game coverage that I had already watched when I got home. So indulge me as I wax poetic about this particular win, won't you?

I look at the faces of these men, and I'm really, really happy for them. Phil Jackson has become the winningest coach in basketball history, with 10 championships and more playoff series wins than anyone else. His coaching techniques and guidance have brought all of these teams through whatever drama was thrown at them, and he has watched his star players grow from selfish me-types to team leaders as he's given them assurance and honest direction. Congratulations, Phil.

Derek Fisher. D-Fish. Mr. 0.4. He is the heart of this team. He's been there with Kobe through all 4 of their rings together, and their close friendship was evident as they hugged each other tightly at the end of the game. His inspirational speech to his team during the Denver series gave them the motivation and fire that I had never seen in them before, and I absolutely knew that if they could keep playing with that passion, the championship would be theirs. I was happy to see his smile in game 4 after he made that 3-point shot. That's one of the images I'll keep in my mind about this series.

Trevor Ariza. Without all of his amazing steals, the Lakers could have gone fishing a while ago. But with every one of those steals, he gave his team hope and the drive to make the most of the talent they all had in one place.

Pau Gasol. The Spaniard. (That totallly makes me think of "The Princess Bride," but I digress). His moves are amazing, taking advantage of every assist, giving his team the big man they'd been needing since Shaq left.

Andrew & Lamar. The "other" Bigs. When Odom was on, he was unstoppable. He played even when his back was hurting him, knowing how much this all meant to his team. Thanks, L.O., for stepping up at all the right times. Bynum is still learning, and he's still young, but I see the potential for greatness. He just needs a full season of play, man.

That bench. The personnel that could not sit down during most of Game 5, they were so excited. Their efforts were never unnoticed, as they kept up the intensity while the starters could rest or sit out awhile due to foul calls. This bench was deep in talent.

Most of all, though, I'll think of this win as Kobe's. He has finally silenced the notion that he can't win without Shaq. He's matured from that cocky kid that was drafted out of high school into a real team leader. I remember thinking that he was selfish and a pain in the butt kid, and I also remember thinking that once he learned to be patient and grow up, he could be one of the greatest ever. He has proven that now, with those incredible moves, those impossible shots made, and the unselfish plays. It really is fitting that the new Wheaties box is a picture of the entire team instead of just Kobe: without each other, they would not have reached their goal. He's gone from the drama with Shaq and his personal life into being a mature man with a beautiful family that stayed by his side as soon as the clock went to zero. I just loved how he was holding his daughter, even up to the point where he accepted his Finals MVP trophy. When he was being interviewed by the Inside the NBA guys, he said that he didn't think he would ever stop smiling. Ah, yes. The determined scowl of the playoffs has turned into the smile of true happiness and satisfaction. Congratulations, Kobe. You deserve the accolades.

Thank you, Lakers, for an entertaining season. Thanks for giving it your all, and for allowing us to watch your dreams come true. You've made this Lakers fan a happy, happy gal! A crying one, but at least they were tears of joy for her happy, happy team. :)

Sunday, June 14, 2009

DLR LotD 06/13/09

Disneyland Resort
Line of the Day

Saturday, June 13, 2009

"I could stand on a street corner with my Bluetooth and advertise myself as the Blue Light Special." -- Dodie, at Catal

Saturday, June 13, 2009

An Octopus' Garden at S.C.

Rockapella at Saddleback College
Mission Viejo, CA
Friday, June 12, 2009

It's been almost 6 months since I've seen Rockapella. So when I tell you that I'm going to see Rockapella 3 times this weekend, you should already know the level of insanity that is in Sherry's heart. My vacation started last night with me already being happy about the big Lakers win. But today was the official start of not having to be at work. What a wonderful day it turned out to be!

I went to Green Papaya to get my nails done. Since one of my nails is breaking, I asked the gal to cut my nails really short, which made me feel like a little girl, so I also had her paint them bright pink. I felt like I was playing with Barbie makeup it was so silly. I also asked for a Lakers shade of purple on my toes, and they look really cool. I didn't get my car washed because it was drizzling throughout much of the day. That turned out to be a bummer later.

I drove down to Saddleback early, in order that I could avoid traffic, which I did most of the way. That El Toro Y is not fun, but I did see a limo and wondered if the Pella were in it. They weren't, though, which I realized as I watched them pass the exit that they should have taken. I found the parking lot and I was the only one there, so I passed the time by calling Bro, trying to call Angela, and then getting a call from Jeff about dinner. As I was leaving the parking lot to look for dinner options, I saw a red minivan drive up, and some people kicked a soccer ball around.

As I drove around, I saw this sign, which just makes me smile, thinking of how perfect it was for today.

So while I was driving around, Jeff called again, and I told them to meet me at the parking lot, and we'd all go to dinner together. When I arrived, the red minivan was there, the people were playing soccer, and they saw my car and pointed excitedly at the license plate. So, of course, I stopped and talked to them. This is the point where I really wish I had washed my car.

Jenn, Claire, Izzy, Dom, Tom & the RKAPLLA

It turns out that the 5 of them are from England and are driving around the States on holiday. Dom had been talking about Rockapella because he'd seen clips on YouTube, but had never seen them live. Since they were in SoCal at the same time as Pella, the friends decided to take him to Mission Viejo and surprise him for his birthday by getting him a ticket to the Rockapella concert. He thought that they were just going to the beach, and then they ended up at the college and he was quite surprised. During all of this conversation, I was on the phone with Angela because she had returned my call while I was driving up to the parking lot. So she got to hear them, including Dom's "hot British voice." They were really friendly, and Rudy & Jeff pulled into the parking lot, too, so we all talked for awhile. They had started in Seattle, rented the minivan, and drove down through the Western states, seeing lots of stuff like Yosemite and San Diego. I was really excited that Dom was seeing his first show, and offered to introduce him to them at the meet and greet. He was, like, "They're going to have a meet and greet?!" Just too cute. So we found out where he'd be sitting, and said that we'd meet him later. The others hadn't decided whether or not they'd go to the show, and said that they first needed to find a place to sleep. We tried to convince them as much as possible, and went off to dinner.

Dinner as at Carrow's, which wasn't the greatest, but at least we got to sit down and eat and chat for awhile before returning to the theater. Karla had brought former student Nicole, who was seated next to me. As we were entering the theater, I spotted Michael and son Brandon, whom I haven't seen in quite a few years. Wendy & Jeff ended up sitting next to Rudy. He and Jeff had the seats that Liz and Joe were supposed to sit in, but they were picking up their daughter from college. I was really excited because it had been way too long since I'd seen Rockapella, and I was about to see them from Front Row Center. OH, YES! Rudy was floored when he saw where we were sitting, despite the fact that I had told him earlier. He said, "When you said 'Front Row Center', I didn't think you meant FRONT. ROW. CENTER.!" Jeff explained to me that Rudy didn't realize that we'd be in spit-on-our-faces range.

Rockapella took the stage. Jeff, George, and Kevin were dressed in shades of gray, with George wearing a red shirt underneath. Scott was wearing a mini-houndstooth pattern suit, which sounds weird but was actually very nice. His black shoes were quite shiny. John was wearing a blue suit with a rust-colored shirt, which matched his shoes.


Scott said, "We're here to replace Miss California."

4U4Now4Life: The guys pointed to JT and sang "He can't stand his girlfriend." He used to sing that part himself.

Scott said that they could actually fill a couple of positions. They heard that there was a left field position open for the Dodgers, which would be fine with them since they're all 'roided up. "That's how George does it. George has to cut his hair continually in order to not look like Manny Ramirez."


Got to Get You Into My Life

Stand By Me
I could see JT in the wings, wiping sweat off his face. It must have been hot up there.

Scott said that John was on "The Tonight Show" with Phil Collins.

Use Me: Scott is a goofball wacko. He was just especially goofy with the dancing tonight. "They got the beat in Mission Viejo. Vi-e-jo! Vi-vi-vi-e-jo!"

Kevin said that it had been a long time since they'd been in California, but whenever they come back, it's like visiting family. Then he gestured to Karla to my right, and Wendy to my left, and completely ignored my face. Whatever. (He later overheard me saying this to Scott and said, "I didn't ignore you!") So he asked the audience, "What's up with the weather?" People responded, and he said, "June Bloom?" Laughter. Perhaps I should bring Gloomy Bear on Sunday to show him what the weather can do to a bear. Anyway, he said, "I'm not sure if I should tell you this story, but we're family right?" and apologized in advance if he would offend anyone.

Kevin went fishing with his family, because he wanted to teach his 9- and 11-year-olds to fish. They didn't want to touch the bait, so he baited the hooks for them and let them catch the fish. He said, "We caught so many types of fish. We caught a Hammerhead Shark (!), a Flounder (to which his wife said, "Wow, God didn't finish that fish!"), and octopus. So later on, they were eating dinner, and Kevin's mom called. She talked to his daughter who said, "Yeah, Grandma, you should have seen the octopus! It had so many testicles!" When Kevin got back on the phone, his mom said to him, "WHAT are you teaching your child?!" So Kevin said to himself, "I'm going to go to California and tell them this story." This turned into an awkward segue of him talking about seeing the beach and "I saw in my peripheral vision: this Boardwalk." This word must be the cue for the other guys to get back on stage, as Scott walked back on and asked Kevin, "How many testicles do you have?" Kevin smiled at him and tried to continue his segue, saying that the boardwalk underneath is ... "dirty and smelly." OMG, Kevin is hilarious.

Under the Boardwalk: George still does not get the fact that a "carousel" does not go "round and round" vertically. We tried to show him from our seats, but he just smiled at us. Kevin sang "Me and the octopus, yes, I remember it well."

Tell Me What You Want
Scott said that when a cappella goes bad, it's ... pretty bad.

Here's our favorite song to sing in California. 'Cause it's got that word in the title.
California Sad-Eyed Girl (which made Rudy swoon)

Scott talked about the guys. Kevin said, regarding his career, "Thank goodness for Andrew Lloyd Weber." To which Scott responded, "You know, I've never said that before, but you just did, and you're right."

Kevin said, "Not only does Scott have great hair (Scott smiled and said 'Thank you'), and a voice that only puppy dogs can hear, and a 28-inch waist..." Scott mouthed "26." Kevin said, "Oh, did I just insult you and give you a bigger size?" Scott said, "I'm a ZERO." Kevin: "Zero Petite." OMG, that was SCOTT in the Ann Taylor fitting room? ;)

Scott said that it's funny that whenever they sing California Sad-Eyed Girl in California, they hear giggles in the audience when they sing "San Bernardino." He asked for suggestions of places with 5 syllables. Someone said "Mission Viejo." He tried to fit it into the song, then said, "That 'Ho' part bothers me. We'll sing it somewhere outside of here, and people will ask, 'Did he just say Ho?'"

Paper Doll: Bass part seems even more wicked than ever, but that may be because I hadn't heard it in so long, at least by Rockapella (I have the Mills Bros rendition on CD). I turned to Rudy afterward and said, "I LOVE THEM!!!" Yeah, Sherry? We couldn't tell.

Rock the Boat: Scott's dance "I call this 'The Viejo'." When Scott went off stage, he took off his jacket. What is with the silver bracelets?

Jingle Medley: Scott: "We didn't want ayone to know because we ahd a very wholesome PBS children's show and didn't want them to know about the seamy underbelly of all of this." During the Mounds portion, Scott looked like he was grasping...ummm... a couple of mounds. Chest mounds.

My Girl John got a guy named Keith to get up so that he could sit next to Keith's wife of 14 years, Leilani. After Geo did his patented low-voiced "What's going on, baby?" Kevin turned to Keith and said, "Whatcha gonna do about that, Keith?" Kevin called Leilani's shoes "Boat shoes, because they're made out of cork. So if you lost them, they'd just float back. I've got fish in the brain. Toenails! Look at her toenails, guys! They have little flowers!...This is a special song, it's called 'Leilani with the Cork Shoes'. We don't get to sing it much." (He is too damn funny). "Ooh, Leilani, how I love your painted toenails." And that was it. Nice fake at giving her back to Keith before singing...

Ain't Too Proud to Beg John tried to get into the Butt Dancing with Scott, Leilani and Kevin. Scott said that they'd better not mess too much with Leilani. Her husband's a large man. (To Scott, everyone is, really).

People Change

Geo said that he "came in a day early, went to Hollywood, by the Chinese Theater and I was Whitney Houston. You know a man needs to make a buck or two. So I was there with my wig on and a man came and said to me, 'You don't look like Whitney Houston.' I said I can sing like her." So he demonstrated, then said, "Funny thing is, Joker only gave me 50 cents." He then said that during the last song, he asked himself, "What is it that I really do? I know I'm supposed to sing Bass. But what else? I think I'm a pillow that the other guys can rest on easily." I like it, George! More Pillows for Pella!

Papa Was A Rolling Stone Hmmm, some nice new licks.

Carmen: There were graphics in the background, with a ? and a sketch of Carmen SanDiego and the Earth. They also showed that during the Matt Lauer thing, which threw the audience off.



Then lots of requests, including way old school, like "77" and "Bodyboard." Scott later told us that Elliott didn't want to sing "Bodyboard" anymore because he "found...something..." and didn't want to sing about a stripper. Interesting.

Zombie: So Kevin stops the song in the usual place, and Scott, in Zombie mode, growls and approaches him, but Kevin still doesn't move. Scott says to him, "Is there something wrong, Zombie Kevin?" Kevin: "I have too many testicles!" Scott turns around and says, "Good night, everybody!" and pretends to leave the stage. When he returns, Scott, from behind Kevin, kinda bends to look underneath Kevin. We are all laughing hysterically. After the song was over, Scott pointed to Kevin's pants, perhaps to allow his testicles to bow as well. OMG, that was awesome.

Meet and Greet
So I got in line with Dom and Rudy and Jeff, and most of Dom's entourage had decided to see some of the show, so they were in line, too. I freaked out Dom and said, "So what are you going to say to them?" He had no idea. He was shaking, he was so nervous. But he did well, as his friends told the guys about everything. Here is Dom finally relaxing a little bit and talking to the guys.
Scott listening to the beautiful British accents:

I got to talk to Fred for a little bit, who took advantage of their tour break to vegitate a little bit. I hugged him despite his holding juice and a banana.

Karla and Nicole had also met someone that was attending their first Rockapella show. She was scheduled to see them in Rrrrancho in December, and can't make it on Sunday, so she was happily surprised when she saw an ad this morning about Rockapella being only 8 miles away from her house!

Nicole, Mary and Karla

I was happy that Jeff and Rudy could make use of Liz's tickets. Although I missed Liz, I may not have been able to meet Dom and his friends. Serendipity.

Rudy and Jeff by cool Pella poster

I got back into the line to get my program signed. JT came over to say hi, sign stuff and give me a hug, saying that it was a pleasure to see me there in the front row, as always. I said that it was a pleasure to be there, as always. A little while later, Karla said that I was holding up the line by talking to Scott too much, and she wasn't able to get to the other guys for their signatures. She didn't realize that actually, there were other people in front of me that had held up the line much longer than I had been talking to Scott, but whatever. She had Scott sign her poster, and started talking to John. Then she held up the line by talking to the other guys. So I said, "Fine, I'll just sit here. Scott only takes up half of a seat anyway." I was kidding, but Scott moved over, and let me sit with him. See?

I tried to talk Kevin into going on Twitter, and he said that he was on Facebook and I should just go there. I said that he could do both. I don't have time for yet another site. He looked at me and said, "That's what I'M saying! I don't want to update one then have to go to the other, or forget the other one, then everybody gets mad because I've ignored them on the one site." I told him that he could update both at the same time. We left it at that, but y'all on Twitter need to back me up.

After I got my signatures, I asked Jeff to take a picture of Aura and me. But first, a shot of the new shoes:

Pretty, huh? Got 'em on sale at Kohl's.

Aura and Sherry

I didn't think that Aura would make it to the show, because she was in Cerritos at 7:15 p.m., and the show started at 8:00. She got there late, and tried to get a ticket, but the box office was closed, and the doors were open, so she walked in and watched the rest of the show. YAY!

After the pictures, I went back to see what else was going on. Wendy, Jeff, Karla, Nicole, and Mary will still talking to some of the guys, so I joined them. I mostly talked to Scott, except when Kevin interjected to tell me that he didn't ignore me. Scott and I talked about his meeting wife Lisa and WDW. He was basically one of the only straight guys there, so he had great odds in meeting the girls. He immediately took a liking to one of the "Kids of the Kingdom" girls, and he said that they met in May, got engaged in August, and got married in February. (Or some other month that was before the next May). I thought it was cute how he talked about her, and how fast the courtship went. He said, "When you know, you know. I didn't even think that I was ever going to get married, and then I met her." C.U.T.E.

We also talked about son Jesse and his drumming. Jesse will be going to Jazz Band Camp this year, but needs more of a challenge with his level. So I talked Drum Corps again, and told him that the Cavaliers drumline would be really good for his skills. He said maybe next year, and we were going to talk scheduling of DCI camps but got interrupted.

He talked about Natalie and their new dog "Princess," whom Natalie just loves to stylishly carry around in her bag (Princess is a chihuahua/dachschund mix, so she's little). APPARENTLY, Princess also has a stroller, which I do not understand, since the dog can walk, right? I guess that's what bugs me about the bags, too. But Natalie feels so stylish, and has pink clothing and everything for the puppy, and Scott seems to love all of it, too.

Scott was wearing a shirt that said "1916 Purple and Yellow." I had Aura ask him if he was wearing it for the Lakers, but he hadn't realized it, and is now going to say that he wore it on purpose. When he was talking to Karla about baseball, he realized that he forgot to bring his Rrrancho Cucamonga Quakes shirt to wear to Sunday's meet and greet. Bummer.

At one point, Scott was kind enough to ask how I'd been, and I babbled about the furloughs and their impact on my vacation calendar duties. He's so nice to listen to a bunch of nothing. I did tell him that I'd be going to Napa next week, and he thought, "We're not going to Napa next week." I said, "I know you're not going to be there, but I'm going anyway. It's weird!" I had no idea that he was thinking the same thing, but that's funny. I also mentioned my upcoming visit to see the Bro, and he mentioned that he did meet Bro. I should have mentioned that Brady was the one that interrupted their show.

I asked Scott if he had seen the video from Rockapella Epic Fail day. He said yes, that it was great, and that he lost it because his email went nuts and erased everything. I offered to send it again, and he said yes, because he could then watch it every day. :) Karla told him that it's also posted on my blog so he could just see it there, and he was, like, "How often do you blog?" I said, "Well, there will be something up there when I get home tonight." So I guess I'll send him the blog address when I send him the video. (If you're reading this, HI, SCOTT!).

Scott said that someone sent him a link to a YouTube video showing them singing in Japanese. He couldn't remember the title of the song, so he started singing it, and then I sang along with him, and realized that I hadn't ever heard it sung in Japanese, since it's not on any CDs (I said "albums" cuz I'm old). He said that it wasn't on albums, but it WAS him singing.

Found it!

I then asked the gals to join me in our request: I asked Scott to sing a Christmas song at the Rrrancho shows. He seemed amenable to it until we started requesting a whole ton of songs. Then he said, "Why don't I have you guys write the set list and just give it to me?" Sorry. I only asked for "Snowstar." Because I've never heard that live. But the other suggestions were good ones, too.

So we left Scott and Kevin so that they could go eat their dinner. It was nice to be able to talk to them for a long time, since we hadn't seen them in several months. I'm glad that I only have to wait 2 days to see them again.

Or, OK. 37 hours. I need to go to bed.

Thanks, Pella, for enabling me to meet new friends, catch up with old friends, and tell English folks that you ARE my friends.