Fish Out of Water

Musings and observations about life from an East Coast native now living on the Left Coast in the California State Capitol since 2004. This fish has made her home in Madison, WI (7 years); Portland, OR (2 years); Las Vegas, NV (7 months); Middlebury, VT (3 summers); Marne-la-Vallee, a small town east of Paris, France (6 months); Middletown, CT (3 years); and Marshfield, MA, the fish's coastal hometown 40 miles south of Boston (17 years).

Location: Sacramento, California, United States


CA vs. The Bushies

California is far from a perfect state. Like Wisconsin, many of the rural and less urban parts of the state can be far too conservative for my taste. And although it's rather amusing sometimes to have a Guvernator who just happens to work out at the same club as E & I, it's also a bit disturbing when Ahhnold stumps for Bush's re-election or takes time off from state issues to attend the Golden Globes.

And yet.

I'm discovering that California has a pretty long history of independence, of challenging the federal government over issues that are critical to the state, to the environment, to CA residents. And I'm liking this aspect of Cali-rebellion.

Case in point: Attorney General Bill Lockyer has filed suit against the feds for the Hyde-Weldon Amendment that Bush signed recently because the language of the amendment threatens billions of dollars in state funding related to abortion providers and services. I especially love Lockyer's statement that "Equality for women is illusory unless they can make their own health care decisions," Lockyer said. "With the Weldon amendment, President Bush and Congress are denying women that freedom."

Well said! At least someone in the higher-up political realm is taking a stand against the egregious and ongoing anti-abortion and anti-choice policies and financial decisions of the current administration.

How many more days do we have to get through before the next election??!!


Stick With What Ya Know

On Tuesday evening, I had made reservations to celebrate our second wedding anniversary at Enotria, a nearby restaurant that has an excellent reputation for a great wine list and a very romantic atmosphere. In addition, we had a special offer for $10 off dinner for two and Tuesdays just happen to be 30% off wine nights, so this seemed all quite fortuitous and promising as a lovely and special occasion. And we had wanted to try Enotria, based on the good reviews we'd read and comments we'd heard.

Unfortunately, the reality didn't quite match the idea...

First of all, we were seated at a table for two back by the wine collection, which was cool in that we could look at all of our choices, but not so cool because E was directly in the line of fire of a heat vent. And I was blinded by a small track light that was supposedly focused on the wine. Naturally, we asked if we could move to be more comfortable. The server acquiesed, and we moved about 10 feet away to another table. Where we were promptly abandoned by our server without so much as some water to keep us occupied as we read and reread the short menu and made our wine flight selections.

When the server finally returned, we ordered our wine flights - Pinot Envy for E, Sweet and Sassy for me. When I placed my order, the server not-so-politely informed me that my selection was dessert wines. Nothing on the list indicated that these were all late-harvest versions of the varietals (Riesling, Sauterne), and since these varietals can also be in non-dessert form, both E and I felt the mistake was natural and didn't deserve the snooty response from the server. I changed my order to the Euro Whites, and we attempted to place our food order.

After a rather lengthy discussion with the server about garlic issues and which menu items could be prepared without garlic (not many, apparently), we ended up requesting a Plat de Fromage, a Mixed Greens salad for me, and Chicken with Linguini for E. By then, neither of us had a terribly fabulous impression of the restaurant or the service, and E suggested that for future special occasions we not try someplace new but rather stick with what we know and love. I agreed. He even asked if I wanted to leave, but I said that since we'd already placed our order, we should just stay and make the best of it.

At about that moment, the server returned (sans wine) to inform us that the salad dressing contained garlic and that the chicken in E's entree was marinated in something that contained garlic as well. We looked at each other and the decision to leave was made almost without even speaking.

I have never had so much trouble ordering at a restaurant before! I'm extremely good at finding items on the menu that can be made without garlic or whose sauce can be swapped or that are amenable to some other modification so that the garlic issue is no longer a problem. But not at Enotria. Not possible. No way. And not even much of an apology either.

So off we went instead to Michelangelo's, my favorite Sacto restaurant. We were seated promptly, our water glasses were filled promptly, our basket of bread arrived promptly even before we had finished making a wine selection. We queried about the garlic issue for the special entree and were repeatedly told "No problem" for that and every subsequent non-garlic request. Now that's how a restaurant attracts and keeps satisfied customers!!!

All in all, then, we ended up having a yummy meal at a great restaurant with wonderful service and fabulous food. The menu: bruschetta pomodoro (fresh tomatoes, basil, olive oil, goat cheese) to share as an appetizer, grilled shrimp & asparagus over farfalle for me, roasted lamb with pear and gorgonzola over linguini for E, mint chocolate chip gelato for me, tiramisu for E, and all accompanied by a bottle of Monte Antico (one of the first wines we shared at Barriques Wine Cave in Madison).

So the moral of this story is the title of this post - Stick with what ya know! Sometimes, that's really just the best way to assure a satisfying dining experience, especially if, like me, you require garlic-free cuisine.

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On a totally unrelated note, I seem to have temporarily figured out a way to add links to my sidebar, although I'm not entirely confident that the modification to the template will be stored appropriately, and I can't change the font of the title to match the others because the other items in the sidebar are actually gif images and not just text. Oh well. Guess it'll have to do for now, anyway.


Muffaletta Returns

Bridge Cat
One paw extends through the small opening
Between glass and wall, the furry face appears
Whiskers brush each edge
Cheeks press against the solidity to peer over the span below
Distance and height - unusual for one so close to the ground
Sweet panda face turns up to the skylight, blinks in the warmth of the mid-day sun
Streams of light glisten and bounce
Feline superiority confirmed

Explorer Cat
Open door beckons the ancestral senses
What's out there? What mystery lurks in the play of shadow and light on the patio stones?
Whiskers on high alert, she emerges into the foreign land
Walls to rub, earth to scratch, leaves and plants to taste and chew
Small creatures scurry in and out, up and around
Chased about the confines of wood and stucco and green
Digging to be done, scents to classify, sensations to collect and categorize
Adventures in nature recall the jungle cat of yore
As the black and white form continues her quest

Landing Cat
Paused and motionless between two worlds
Neither down nor up
The constant flow of transitional space
A unique viewpoint on human lives
Feet above, faces below
Motion and movement swarm about the furry form crouched aloft
Feline obstacle and detour for the humans
Forcing a pause and recognition as they ascend, a care and caution as they tread the steps
Reminder to slow down and enjoy each perspective
Coming in for a landing, both sky and earth equally worthy
Consider all facets in the gaze

Patrol Cat
Light staccato pads on the carpet -- the sentinel approaches
Door open, screen beckons, scents from outside tempt and tease
Ears back and golden eyes wide
Constant surveillance of the environs
Protect the companions who lie sleeping amidst comfort and warmth
Silent one stands guard
Ever-vigilant while the evening glides into dark
Assured of the tranquil night as it creeps by, the guardian seeks rest among the curves of dormant forms
But sensitive whiskers remain alert
To any stray vibration that disturbs the slumber


Incongruous Reading Material

On the black storage cubes masquerading as a coffee table: Living in His Forgiveness - A Bible Study for Post-Abortive Women by Sandy Day (given to me two months ago by my high-school friend C who was "saved" in 1998 and doesn't exactly support my current work with PPMM), and The Ultimate Guide to Anal Sex for Women by Tristan Taormino (who just happens to be an alumna from my own undergraduate alma mater, Wesleyan University, in Connecticut).

Could the contrast be any more stark??!!