Tuesday, March 6, 2018


The last movie shown during AMC's Best Picture Showcase was "Get Out".  I had seen this on HBO, but not on the big screen, and I was happy to see it again.

  • "I would have voted for Obama a third time if I could."
  • Bradley Whitford has been in three of the films nominated for Best Picture this year.  He's a good luck charm, too!
  • I don't think I ever want to go to a white family's bingo game after seeing this film.
  • "SEX SLAVE!!!"
  • I love Rod.  He knows what's going on and handles it.  Because he's TSA.
  • "You know I can't give you the keys, right babe?"
  • From now on, I might be offering ear plugs (or cotton) whenever I serve tea.
  • How fitting that the dad gets killed by a deer's antlers.
  • Wait.  That's her grandma?!?!?
  • "I mean, I told you not to go in that house."
I really enjoyed this movie.  I also enjoyed watching with Linda, whom was seeing it for the first time, because I enjoyed her reactions.

Congratulations to Jordan Peele for winning the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay, the first African-American to do so.

Monday, March 5, 2018

To Serve the Governed, Not the Governors

The fourth movie on Day 2 of the Best Picture Showcase was "The Post".  I held off on seeing this film because all the buzz was that it would be nominated, so it was finally time to watch!

  • Hey, that guy was the dad in "Call Me By Your Name" and the scientist in "The Shape of Water"!  Michael Stuhlbarg must be a good luck charm.
  • John Williams is so amazing with the different styles of music he creates.
  • Tom, Meryl, and Steven.  'Nuff said.
  • I remember how hard it was to try to remember a phone number and not forget it while dialing a rotary phone...especially when the numbers were 8, 9, and 0.
  • The shots of the printing press were cool, and they made me want to watch "Newsies" again.
  • The shaky camera was effective at showing all of the confusion and chaos in the newsroom.
  • "News is the first rough draft of history."
  • I did not like their hairstyles or their clothes.
  • "It was a tie-dye skirt."  That guy was funny...and Linda worked with him once!
  • Girl raked in the cash with that lemonade!
  • "It's no longer my father's company.  This is no longer my husband's company.  This is MY company, and anyone who doesn't like that shouldn't be on my board."  GO, GIRL!
  • The ending makes me want to watch "Frost/Nixon" again.
  • "Glad I never have to go through this again."  Uh oh.
I enjoyed that.  I'd like to see that followed by "All The President's Men", then "Frost/Nixon" in some kind of journalist/Nixon administration corruption marathon.

Next up: Get Out

Is It Better to Speak or Die?

The third film of the Best Picture Showcase Day 2 was "Call Me By Your Name".

  • Beautiful cinematography in a beautiful setting.
  • Rudy said that he has a crush on Armie Hammer because of this movie.  I had a crush on both of them during the film.
  • Oh, Europeans...with their acceptance and their culture and their smokiing.
  • "Is it because they're gay, or because they're ridiculous?"
  • We will NOT be having fresh peaches on Oscar viewing night.
  • "I see you've moved on to the Plant Kingdom."
  • So all that time, Oliver was just sitting in that tree?  Poor Elio, waiting for him.
  • "Later!"
  • "Right now there's sorrow, pain.  Don't kill it and with it all the joy you've felt."
  • Mom knew, right?  I thought she was the first to figure it out.
Lovely movie.  Lovely and heartbreaking and sweet.  Sigh.

Next up:  The Post

Never Give Up. Never Give In.

Day 2 of the Best Picture Showcase started with "Dunkirk".  I've previously posted about that film, so I won't be doing an additional post.

The second film of the day was "Darkest Hour".  These are my thoughts prior to the presentation of the 90th Academy Awards.

  • "It's not a gift.  It's revenge."
  • Chuchill likes animals.  Cute shot of him looking at the cat under the bed, and he feeds the Royal Doggie.  I love it.
  • "How do you manage drinking during the day?"  "Practice."
  • Must be nice to have Scotch waiting for you wherever you go.
  • "You cannot reason with a tiger when your head is in its mouth!"
  • "Will you stop interrupting me while I am interrupting you!"
  • "Those who never change their mind never change anything."
  • "'Up your bum'...sir."
  • Loved the scene when he talks to the people on the Underground, and I like that the King suggested he talk to them.  A true leader listens to the people he leads.
  • "All babies look like me."
  • "You are strong because you are imperfect.  You are wise because you have doubts."
  • If Gary Oldman doesn't get the Oscar for this, there is something wrong with the world.  Also, if makeup doesn't win, those other movies must be incredible.  I mean, I couldn't even see Oldman in there.  All I could see / hear / think about was Churchill.
  • Hey, that's Big Ben at the end of the credits.  Neato.
I enjoyed this movie.  I like that we saw it immediately after "Dunkirk", since they tied together well.  Somebody at AMC was thinking artistically when they thought up the order of films, and I'm grateful for that.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Through Love Comes Calm

The third film for Day One of the Best Picture Showcase was "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri".

  • It's Lucas Hedges again!
  • That turtle is cute!
  • "If I had some food I'd give it to ya. All I got is some Doritos, 'n' they might kill ya, they're kinda pointy... Then where would we be?."
  • "What?  Are you moving out?"
  • "Don't say 'What?', Dixon, when she comes in here calling you a f**khead!"
  •  "It's 'Persons of color'-torturing business, these days, if you want to know."
  • "I found it in a bookmark...in a book I was reading..about polio...wait, which one is the one with the horses?"
  • "I have to use the Little Boys Room."
  • The bunny slippers talking to each other.
  • "She has a Chardonnay migraine."
  • "I'm dead now, sorry about that."
  • "Because through love comes calm, and through calm comes thought "
  • "Penelope said 'begets'?"
  • "Well, who the hell else would it have been?"
  • I loved all of the leads in this, and I'm not surprised that they've all received Oscar nominations.
The last movie of the day was "The Shape of Water", which I had previously seen, so I won't be posting my thoughts about it again.

Day One done, looking forward to Day Two!

But Do You Like Me?

The second film for Day One of AMC's Best Picture Showcase was "Lady Bird".

  • Hey, I know some of those places!  (I occasionally go to Sacramento for work).
  • "If I lived in this house, I would definitely get married in the backyard."
  • "I like Jules."  Love her. She's so cute with her crush on the algebra teacher!
  • Munching on the communion wafers.  When I went to church this morning, I tried not to giggle during communion when I thought about this movie.
  • "You're gonna have so much unspecial sex in your life."
  • "BRUCE!!!!!"
  • I found when it happened that I really dry humping more.'"
  • "What if this is the best version?"
  • I loved Saoirse in this.  The part is perfect for her.
  • They mentioned Doritos!  I hit Linda when I heard it, and she giggled.
  • "Don't you think maybe they are the same thing?  Love and attention?"
I really enjoyed this movie.  Great humor, just like I thought a film by Greta Gerwig would be.

Next up:  Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Dress You Up In My Love

It's Oscar season!  Next weekend is the 90th Academy Awards, and yesterday was Day One of AMC Theaters' Best Picture Showcase.  First up was "Phantom Thread".

  • I think if Phantom Regiment ever performs a show based on the music from this movie, they should title it "Phantom Threadgiment".  Yeah, I'm silly.
  • That was a huge breakfast he ordered.  How did he even think at that point, "I'm going to eat dinner tonight"?
  • Ooh, his car is pretty.
  • "If you want to have a staring contest with me, you will lose."  Vickey Krieps did such a lovely job in this role.  I could see why Reynolds fell in love with her.  Why she for him, I'm not quite sure because he was such a jerk about a lot of stuff.
  • Dude is even less of a morning person than I am.
  • What is up with Cyril smelling Alma when they first meet?
  • The shot of the house in the country made the house look like some kind of toy.
  • I've decided that mushrooms will not be on the menu on Oscar night.
  • Man, what was their mother like?  Those two siblings are something else.
  • Why didn't Phantom Mom tell him Alma was poisoning him?
  •  "The tea is going out; the interruption is staying right here with me."
  • I did not like that wedding dress for the Belgian princess. I also didn't like his Mom's dress.  My favorite dress was the rose-colored one he made for Alma for the photo shoot.
  • Interesting amalgam of the cacophonous NYE music and the classical music when he arrives and finds her.
  • "Let me be unambiguous."  Lesley Manville was great in this part, and I'm glad she received a nomination for it.
  • I tried not to think of "Lincoln" when I watched Daniel Day-Lewis in this final role of his. He was just so tall and his legs seemed too long for the furniture that it reminded me of that a lot.  That's my fave DDL film.  Happy Retirement to you, sir, and congratulations on such a successful career. Three Oscars.  Wow.

Next up: Lady Bird

Monday, February 19, 2018

This Is Me, Loving This Movie

Last month, my godbrother posted this video on facebook.

That's the moment I decided that I needed to see "The Greatest Showman" before it left theaters.  I had been iffy about it when I saw the teaser trailer.  A later trailer piqued my interest more when I heard a little bit of the music.  But this?  Hugh Jackman's love for this music and his commitment to getting it greenlit makes my heart throb.  So I went today due to the Presidents Day holiday.

  • Seeing Jeremy Jordan starting off the song in the video, I thought he'd be somewhere in the movie, but I guess he was just there to sing Zac's part.  I would have loved to see them singing together.
  • I did like seeing Zac Efron sing again, though.  Yes, I liked the High School Musicals.
  • The movie had me from the first four bars of the first song, "The Greatest Show".  I mean, come on!  The energy!  The lyrics!  The music! 
  • Then "A Million Dreams" had me crying, and I wondered if I should leave and get some tissues.  You know I'm a sucker for people trying to achieve their dreams.
  • Kid steals a loaf of bread, not knowing that later he'll grow up and become Jean Valjean.
  • " Well they're laughing anyway, kid, so you might as well get paid."
  • How did they get all those banners and flyers done?   It's not like they had Xerox (tm) machines back then.
  • Those were zebras leading their carriage, right?  Or probably painted horses because they were taller than zebras.
  • When Anne runs away from the theater, I thought to myself, "He needs to go after her and sing her a song!"  I liked that trapeze number, "Rewrite the Stars".  Beautiful choreography.
  • Choreography, BTW.  I love it when guys dance together.  I especially loved it during Jackman's and Efron's "The Other Side" with the chairs and the drinks and the bar.
  • "This is Me" has been nominated for an Academy Award, and rightfully so.  I love the message of this song.  I love the music.  I love how triumphant it feels.  I hope they perform it at the Oscars.  Actually, can they just perform all of the songs?
  • Looking at IMDB, I see that Alex Wong from "So You Think You Can Dance" was one of the ensemble dancers.  I'm going to look for him next time I see it, because you know I'll be watching this one again and again and again.
  • I guess Rebecca Ferguson didn't sing her own song.  Loren Allred sings it beautifully.
  • I like that shot of Charity's blue scarf blowing in the wind when they're on the beach.
  • "No one ever made a difference by being like everyone else."
I wish I could see this again in the theater, but I don't think I'll have time.  Got some Best Picture Showcase to watch soon!

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Wakanda Forever

Glenndy picked me up at my house so we could carpool to the El Capitan Theatre to see "Black Panther".  When we got to the parking structure, we saw Mox getting out of his car.  I tried to wave to him and say hi while knocking on the window, but he didn't hear me.  

Took these pics while waiting in line to
enter the theater.  There was a puff of smoke
on the screen between each image.

I picked up my tickets at will call and caught up with them inside.  The atmosphere was very different from times I've seen other films here.  It was LOUD.  This was partly due to the volume of the music being played by the DJ.  Yes, a DJ!  You know I love the organ they play here, but this was a nice contrast, and she played songs that I like, so I was bopping in my seat while we waited for the movie to start.

El Capitan Stage

Wish I could have captured her face,
but the spotlight on her was too bright.
Many people were dressed in African-style clothing and prints.  I felt all blah in my t-shirt and pants, but I have no African wear, so maybe I'll need to get some if there is a sequel.  The movie started late, as usual, but at least it wasn't more than 10 minutes late.  I mean, at least after we heard from the El Cap guy, telling us to stay until after the credits to watch an exclusive behind-the-scenes film.  We saw trailers for "A Wrinkle in Time", "Solo", and "Avengers: Infinity War".  It took a while for everyone to calm down.

  • I like the animation during the background story of Wakanda.
  • I also like the really cool black Vibranium sand.
  • "Don't freeze."  "I never freeze."  T'challa sees Nakia: "Hiiiiii."
  • When Daniel Kaluya's W'kabi has a stare down with T'challa, someone in the audience said, "Get out."  HA!
  • Another audience member was screaming when T'challa fell down the waterfall.  Like maybe we should have called an ambulance for her.  Girl, I get that you're into this movie.  Are you watching it in virtual reality and you think you're the one falling down?
  • Loved all of the costumes and the make-up, especially Angela Bassett's dress during the coronation.  That Black Panther suit is also really cool, with the African symbols in the pattern.  
  • I really liked the visuals in the scene when T'challa meets with his father, with all of the purple in the sky.  Actually, I liked all of the scenery, but this one stood out for me.
  • That scene reminded me of "The Lion King" when Mufasa was telling Simba about being a king someday.
  • Rhinos!  Rhinos with armor!
  • Dude, Killmonger, that's a lot of bumps on your skin.  What are those called?  They're not like ink tattoos.  How does one administer them in real life?
  • I have a new font to learn now.  Not that I ever actually learn them very well.
  • Wow, the Wakandan guard (Dora Milaje) kicks ass!  So cool.
  • I love that sister Shuri invents all of the tech and gets really excited about it.  
  • "The real question is What. Are. THOSE?!"
  • I would have stolen more than one flower thingy.  Hey, you're already taking one, might as well take another just in case.
  • I want this film score.  Very cool.
  • That's a car chase!  Loved the ending, though, with just the seat sliding on the road.
  • I prefer the black/purple suit.
  • "I will feed you to my children.  Just kidding.  We're vegetarians."
  • "Don't scare me like that, colonizer!"
  • "It's a Bugatti spaceship!"


I really like the panther medallion

W'kabi, Okoye and M'baku

Ramonda, T'challa and Killmonger

T'challa and Killmonger

My favorite: Ramonda

Close up to see the top layer of very
thin, shimmery fabric.  Gorgeous.

Shuri, Zuri, and Nakia 

Black Panther

 Great movie!  I look forward to seeing it again.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

On A Magic Carpet Ride

Pantages Theatre
Saturday, February 10, 2018

After spending a few hours at Cookie Con yesterday, I tagged along with Glenndy to carpool to Hollywood.  We had a yummy dinner at The Hungry Cat before going to the Pantages Theatre to watch "Aladdin".   

On the way in to the theatre, I helped a cute couple take pictures, and had to take a few pictures because he kept blinking.  They returned the favor by taking a picture of me, too.

Genie and Me

  I had pre-ordered an ornament of the lamp, and wanted to pick it up before going to my seat, but the lights flashed and I didn't want to miss the beginning of the show, so I decided to do that afterward.  Then we sat there for 20 minutes because the show started late, and I lamented that I didn't get my souvenir or go to the restroom when I could have done so because of the late start.  Oh well.  It gave me a chance to realize that the logo has the Genie on it.  Yeah, I'm slow like that.

Oh, it's the GENIE!!!

Just some background regarding my fandom of this show:  I love Disney's animated film, and Rudy and I love singing "A Whole New World" together.  I wish my hair was long enough to style it like Jasmine.  I also wish I had Jasmine's tiny waist, so I could dress up like her for Hallowe'en or like, on special days or random Wednesdays.  I loved the stage show at DCA's Hyperion Theater, and was sad when it went away.  I didn't know much about the new show they created for Broadway, except that the guy who played the Genie, James Monroe Iglehart, won the Tony award for Best Actor in a Musical.  (It was also nominated for Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical,  Best Original Score, and Best Choreography).  So I was looking forward to the show, despite a short review from Liz, whom saw it a couple of weeks ago.

  • Genie (Michael James Scott) was great.  He was funny and at times, like in "Friend Like Me", his jokes were so rapid-fire that I missed a couple of them.  
  • Adam Jacobs was my favorite performer in the show.  He originated the role of Aladdin on Broadway, so it is a special treat to see him with the tour.  
  • I did not think Courtney Reed's voice fit for Jasmine.  I didn't think she did very well with "A Whole New World.  This puzzled me because she originated the role on Broadway. I wish it had been played by one of the Jasmines I like from DCA.  But I don't have a genie to make that wish come true.  Also, I'd spend my wish on something else.  Stupid No Wishing For More Wishes rule.
  • Yay!  "Proud of Your Boy"!  Last time I heard this, it was Brad Kane singing it at the Hollywood Bowl.  I cried then. I cried this time, too.  
  • "Proud of Your Boy", along with all of the songs featuring Aladdin's buddies Omar, Babkak, and Kassim were in Ashman & Menken's original score, and I was really happy to hear them in this production.  I knew the songs from the release of "The Music Behind the Magic" compilation.  I enjoyed this element of the show immensely, mostly because it provided for lots of choreography with male dancers, which is always a plus for me.
  • The set of the inside of the Cave of Wonders was quite spectacular.  I loved all of the glitz, and it made so much sense, because everything is supposed to be tempting the Diamond in the Rough.
  • I enjoyed Reggie De Leon's portrayal of Iago.  He reminded me of my friend Ferdie D.
  • Interesting to see the onstage costume changes, like the one they use for Elsa in "Frozen" at DCA.  
  • Abu!  I missed Abu when I saw the show at DCA, and he's not really in this rendition either, but at least we got to see his picture.  "He's got 95 white Persian monkeys."
  • Sad that they didn't include "To Be Free", but I guess that's OK if I didn't like this actress' voice.
  • Eek.  "A Whole New World" didn't sound good with this Jasmine because she was a bit pitchy.  How are you going to be pitchy in the most famous song from this show?  I also miss seeing all of the different buildings they fly over.  I also miss seeing the carpet flying above the audience.  There also wasn't a cute Magic Carpet personified in the show, although they were selling keychains of the tassel.
  • Loved the slow motion bit during "High Adventure", especially when another guy just walks on stage normally.  
Afterward, I picked up my ornament and bought a CD (for the buddy songs and Aladdin) and a charm bracelet.  I thought of buying Adam Jacobs' CD, but didn't buy it until today when I saw it was also available online.

I think the show I saw was more kid-friendly than the one Liz saw, because it didn't include the jokes she talked about.  I look forward to listening to the score (yes, even with that one voice).  Heck, if it bugs me that much, I'll just listen to Lea Salonga's version and be happy again.

Shall I Compare Thee To This Play?

Sometimes plays are adapted into movies.  Sometimes movies are adapted for the live stage.  Such is what happened to my favorite movie, "Shakespeare in Love".  I love far too many things about the film for any adaptation to be better in my eyes, but I was curious to see the play when it was performed by South Coast Repertory on the Segerstrom Stage.  The play opened on my birthday, which would have been a fun day to see it, but I had other plans.  So I convinced Liz to come with me, later apologizing that I didn't realize we had scheduled to see it on the same night as the Super Bowl.  Oops!

We arrived early and had a quick dinner at Panera after I picked up our tickets at the box office.  When we returned to the theater, I realized that we had front row seats!  Thank you, Goldstar!

View from our seats

  • We were so close to the stage that when the actors went down the steps and stood at the corner of the stage, they blocked my view.  I didn't mind, although I was a little worried we'd be casualties during the fight scene.
  • There was too much emphasis on Christopher (Kit) Marlowe's influence on Shakespeare.  The play starts with him giving advice to Will, and this advice continues throughout the play.  I almost felt like this was Marlowe's play at times, which irked me.  Was the playwright trying to make a statement?  Did they feel like Shakespeare never did his own work?  I get that he was known for stealing people's material, including Marlowe's, but that is not the point of this story for me and it seemed intrusive.
  • Despite my thoughts about Kit's influence, I did like the comedy during the balcony scene between Will and Viola as Kit feeds lines to him a la Cyrano de Bergerac.
  • I also liked the chemistry between Corey Brill (Kit) and Paul David Story (Will).  They played off each other well.  
  • But here's the thing:  I liked their chemistry more than I liked that between Will and Viola.  That's not how this is supposed to work, at least not for me.
  • Carmela Corbett does a fine job as Viola, and brought humor into the part, which I enjoyed.  I just didn't actually buy that Will and Viola had the kind of love about which Shakespeare was writing.  Perhaps part of that was she took a different approach in the boat scene when she recited my favorite bit of dialogue that starts with, "Tell me how you love her, Will." 
  • Why so much emphasis on the sonnet?  Why not more emphasis on the balcony scene?  In the film, when Viola and Sam rehearse the balcony scene, and it is edited so you see Will and Viola falling in love as they recite the lines to each other, I see the cast falling in love with the play itself.  This didn't happen at all during the play because we didn't see that part of the rehearsal at all.  I understand that this would be difficult to achieve because Viola would need to be in two places at once, but its absence was probably the reason I didn't connect to the play.  Also, I'm a hard sell on this story because of my love for the film, but I really did approach it with an open mind and an open heart, ready to like it a lot even without my beloved Joseph on the stage.
  • The music took me out of it, too.  While the musicians played the heck out of those 16th century instruments, I could have done without the singing.  I understand that this wasn't a musical, and it wasn't a choral concert, but the singers need to learn how to blend so I don't have to hear shrill voices.  I kind of giggled during these bits because I was uncomfortable and wanted to cover my ears.  Sorry.  
  • They had a dog! His name was Spot.  You know what happened, right?  Someone said, "Out, damn Spot."  <giggle>
  • There were a few other additions from some of Shakespeare's other plays, which I enjoyed.  I can't remember any of them, though.
  • Elyse Mirto played a wonderful Queen Elizabeth, and I loved the way she chastised Bill Brochtrup's Lord Wessex.  
  • Ew, I didn't like that Lord Wessex was trying to mac on Viola when he was alone with her in her bedroom.
  • I also liked Nick Gabriel's portrayal of Ned.  So very hammy.
  • The costumes were amazing!  Congratulations to Costume Designer Susan Tsu on such magnificent outfits.  I wanted to take Viola's boots from her.  Queen Elizabeth's gowns were every bit as royal as they should be.  I wish I could have taken pictures of all of the costumes so I could remember them forever.  Play Nurse's hat was outrageously large and I wonder how he didn't have neck problems every day, but it was comical and I loved it.  Also, what was up with Burbage's enormous, um, codpiece?!
So there you go.  I loved the costumes more than the adaptation, and I thought all of the actors did a great job.  I could have done without the folks behind us talking to each other when one didn't exactly hear what an actor said and the rest of the audience laughed.  I thought of buying a copy of the script so I could compare it even more in depth with the movie, but nobody was actually behind the kiosk to sell it, and then it was closed after the show.  So how do they make money off those items?  I don't get it.

Liz said she thought this adaptation was sadder than the movie, and she wanted to see the movie again.  I don't concur, but that's because my usual emotional self just didn't feel it here.  I'll need to watch my movie soon so I can love it all over again.  Don't get me wrong: I didn't hate the play.  My bias is just too great to overcome in this case, but I am glad that I saw it.  

Performances ended yesterday, but if it is performed again in the area, I hope my friends see it and tell me what they think, too.  Thanks for attending with me, Liz!

See Ya Next Time, Sonoma

Sonoma 2018
Day 4
Tuesday, January 16, 2018

I woke up and finished packing before going to hotel breakfast.  Glenndy met up with me and Cindy wondered why some of the food was outside, as the climate was kind of damp and drizzly.  I guess they didn't have enough room inside the building and they wanted to ostracize the people that wanted the healthier options of hard-boiled eggs and smoothies?  

Double N helped me carry all of my and Linda's wine downstairs, and we went to Bodega Shipping Company, which was near the hotel and was recommended to us by Alan at St. Francis Winery.  The parking lot was small, and so was the shipping office.  We saw lots and lots of bottles waiting to be shipped, so I guess Alan isn't the only one that recommends this place.  We decided to have the wine shipped to Double N's office so he could receive it when it arrived, since I probably wasn't going to be home.  Bye, Bottles!  See you in So Cal!

When we returned to the hotel, we got the rest of our stuff and checked out.  We decided we had a little bit of time to spend somewhere before boarding our flight, so we went to Old Town Sacramento and walked around. I wanted to find the candy store that I go to whenever I'm there, and we went to three other stores before we got to that one.  I bought salt water taffy in the first store then realized I could have bought it in my favorite store, but oh well.  They had interesting flavors like candy corn and maple bacon and chicken & waffles.  I got some of each of those, plus some others, including my favorite: peppermint.  Double N pointed out to me that they had Abba-Zabba and I had to get some because we had just been talking about it with Bro and V.  V has never had A-Z before, so I needed to get her out of her sheltered candy life.  We also went to a big toy and collectibles store and I found some stuff for other people.  I also found stuff for me, but didn't buy anything.  

We went to the airport and ordered lunch.  They were so slow that we barely had time to eat half of our food.  Our plane wasn't full, so we didn't have to all sit together, and both Double N and Cindy got window seats.  Yay!  We all ate the rest of our lunch on the plane, but my fries were cold by then, so I didn't finish.

Due to the landing time of our flight, we encountered traffic on our way home from the airport.  Ah, back in LA.  

Our trip was over, and I am left with delightful memories of our Murder Mystery-esque weekend.  Thank you to my friends for spending time with me.  I know it was quite a pinch out of your pocketbooks, but I appreciate you all greatly for accompanying me on this adventure.  I love you guys!

He Did It

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Wandering Through Wine Country

Sonoma 2018
Day 3
Monday, January 15, 2018

We decided that we needed to go to Black Bear Diner for breakfast at least once while we were here.  How could we not?  The restaurant was across the street from our hotel!  Weff, Glenndy, and I walked across the street, and you know I had to get pictures of us with bears. 
My Bear Friend Family

Even the bench seat has paw prints!

We were seated in the back where there were no other customers.  I swear I hadn't warned them about us beforehand.  I was hoping that somebody would order a ginormous bear claw, but none of us did.  I didn't need anymore baked goods in my luggage.  Neither did Cindy.  Our server was very stealthy and was labeled "Ninja Server" because he'd get things to us very quickly and very quietly.  When he asked Cindy what kind of bread she wanted, she had to think for a while because she already had to choose a few things regarding her meal.  Wendy whispered, "biscuit" a few times, so she ordered one.  She then called Wendy her hypnotist on Twitter and I didn't understand until at least 12 hours later.  I'd like to attribute it to a hangover, but that's not true.  Just regular lameness.  While we waited for our food, I walked around and took more pictures around the restaurant.
Basically the goal of this weekend

We're in Black Bear Wine Country!

Our huge plates of food arrived.  I ordered pancakes with my breakfast, and got them!

Yes, I had more tea.

Sauce offerings shown with my cup of tea

I appealed to the girls again to get a bear claw, but they still declined.  I had to try!  We walked back to the hotel and said our goodbyes to Weff, so they could go catch their flight.

Double N actually looked at the book of wineries in the hotel room, which I had suggested everyone do the night we arrived, but nobody did at that time.  He found a couple of wineries with the wine types he wanted to try, so we headed out for more wine tasting fun.

Our first stop was at Anaba, (pronounced with the accent on the first syllable, like "Annabelle", but not like the creepy doll.  That doll totally ruined me because my cousin's little girl, Annabelle, is such a cutie).  The tasting room was quite small, so Cindy didn't have much shopping to do.  She did see blankets that looked cozy, but she later learned that they weren't for sale: they were to use when you sit outside.  Well, that's nice!  They're also burgundy colored to hide the fact that you've spilled wine on it.  Smart!  

Double N and I did the 6-wine tasting flight. 

1) 2015 Turbine White Rhone-Style Blend, Sonoma Valley*
I liked the notes of citrus in this one.  It was like a Sau Blanc.

2) 2014 Chardonnay, Sonoma Coast
3) 2014 Cardonnay, Sonoma Coast, Dutton Ranch
4) 2014 Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast
This one didn't look as transparent as the one at St. Francis.

5) 2014 Pinot Noir, Santa Lucia Highlands, Soberanes Vineyard
6) 2012 Late Harvest Roussanne, Sonoma Valley, Landa Vineyard*
Ah, the magic words!  "Late Harvest"!

Double N was disappointed that the 2014 Turbine Red Rhone was not on the tasting menu, since that is supposedly their signature wine.  Our server said it was usually on the menu for members, but said if he tipped her, she'd open up a bottle.  Which she then shared with others in the room anyway.  Well, thanks, Double N!  He liked it enough to buy a couple of bottles.  I bought a bottle of the Late Harvest Roussanne.  I thought of also buying a bottle of the white rhone blend, but I had already bought a Sau Blanc the previous day, so I decided against it.  

Our server happily took a picture of "Mr. Banana" with us and wished me a Happy Birthday when I told her why he was there.

I see you there in the background, Photo Bomber!

We then went to Shug Winery, and saw that they had a path we could follow and learn about vineyards.  
I wonder who gets to sit on this bench

I'd like to return here in the Spring to see this view

Part of the path was between vines, and they had recently pruned some of the branches, so we had to be careful not to get caught among the brambles.  

I'd like to see this tree with leaves,
but this is cool already.

Little House on the Lake

Made it!
Yeah, I know I didn't get that whole barrel in the picture.

Double N wanted to try some wine, so we went inside the tasting room.  It was tiny, but they had more stuff to look at than the other winery did.  I tried a bit of the Sauvignon Blanc, which I liked.  None of us bought anything, but we did learn that there are river cruises in Europe with wine tasting.  There were no prices, so I think we should be able to go for free.

We decided to have lunch in Napa, and went to Don Perico.  I had the albondigas and a shrimp enchilada.  I could have used less tomato in the soup, and the shrimp in the enchilada was a little salty, but it was fine.  

We walked around the area and I got all sad when I saw the Napa Valley Opera House because I know the inside isn't what it used to be, although I'd still like to see Rockapella play there now that it is owned by Blue Note.  I'm glad that Joe's Bar is still there, too.  I wanted to go to Morimoto to get some little dessert, so we walked by the water.

Are these windchimes?

Ohhh...Rock Paper Scissors!
Seriously, I just got that.

Sadly, Morimoto no longer has a dessert case up front to purchase yumminess, so we just took a look at the menu before going back to the car, and traveled to St. Helena.  Unfortunately, St. Helena Olive Oil company no longer has a store front, and their inventory was greatly affected by the fires (the owner and her home are fine).  So their skin care annex is no longer around, either.  I was happy to see Woodhouse Chocolates was still there, and bought some goodies.

I bought one of those chocolates
the cherub is holding.  YUM.

But how can I eat the pieces after people have been
touching them during the game?

Because Unicorn

We then returned to our hotel to get ready for dinner.  We walked to yet another side of the town square to El Dorado Kitchen, inside the El Dorado hotel.  When the host gave us our menus, he said, "Happy Birthday" and gave us menus with the same greeting on top.  I had stated on the Open Table reservations that we were celebrating a birthday, but this was the only restaurant that acknowledged it, so kudos to them!

 I ordered the Schug Sauvignon Blanc because I liked it earlier today, and it was on their wine list.  Yes, I thought I was done drinking, too, but it was our last dinner and I was OK by that time.

This is Double N's drink.
It was prettier than mine.

Amuse Bouche
Corn chip with hummus, cucumber and

Cute butter dish.
Bread in picture for size.

Seafood Paella.  Awesome.  

Banana tart with caramel, pepitas,
 and Meyer lemon ice cream. 

Everything was delicious.  It was a perfect meal to end our Sonoma dinners.  At one point, we heard a popping sound and couldn't figure out what was being tossed into the hot oil.  Our server informed us it was the Brussels sprouts, which were also tasty.

And then there were three

We walked back to the hotel.  It sprinkled a little bit while we were still inside the restaurant, but it had stopped when we left.  I lit the Duraflame in my fireplace one last time, and relaxed, thinking of our wonderful weekend.

Good Night, Sonoma!

Next up:  Travel Day