Monday, June 27, 2011

- Loving the Love

This weekend was Twin Cities Pride and you may not know this, but it's kind of a big deal.  Last year like 122,000 peeps showed up to watch the parade which in the midwest, is pretty huge.  Also, Minneapolis is the gayest city according to the Advocate.  I personally like the Daily Show's take on this news:


Target = seriously hardcore gay.

But here's the main thing about Pride: The outpouring of love and acceptance for ALL is mind numbing.  So many times I literally got goose bumps, and not just because it was only like 70 degrees and quite windy.  What got me the most?  The kids.  So many gorgeous happy kids walking with groups, waving rainbow flags, and running along the crowd giving high fives.  This new generation of little peeps that are being taught to love and let love seriously crushes me.  I got totally misty watching two young boys ride along on their razor scooters who were both wearing tee shirts they had painted to say "I love my two moms" on the back.  I mean...I just melted into a pile of emotional goo.

On the eve of what New York has chosen to do - seeing the sheer number of this new generation left me feeling full of hope that my "family" will be recognized as equals - sooner rather than later.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

- The Third Leg

So I had planned to post this a while ago, but I'm lazy.  I was "busy" before IFT and "exhausted" after IFT.  And now I'm exhausted again because I'm estupido and I stay up too late when I know good and well that I have to wake up early for work.   Anyways, my posts on California were always meant to be a trilogy - with the last installment paying homage to the third leg of our "tripod" from Cali.  

Allow me to introduce...
HERMIE.  Our small, black, compact Nissan Versa that serendipitously ended up being our rental car.  I say that because Karen and I knew we needed a rental car.  We knew (and were reminded several times) that it was a Holiday weekend.  We also knew that kayak.com said there were like 70+ rental cars available earlier in the day.  We didn't jump on those because Karen is a sweet innocent youngin' who would have had to pay underage fees and even though I was at the Pheonix airport which supposedly has free wifi my laptop was all "You are not connected to the internet".  So we decided to wing it.  (Side note: what is the past tense of "wing it"?  We winged it?  That sounds weird.)

Which of course means that when we arrived at the row of rental car counters at San Francisco no one had anything less than a midsize SVU.  Aside from that being a much more expensive rental, then the mpg's are like ridiculously low and I mean we're in California where gas is more expensive than crack.    So while waiting in line separately at like every counter and trying to figure out where the best deal was, we were also both on our phones trying to get a reservation and I guess I pressed "Reserve" right at the moment that Hermie was released from the car wash/clean up/whatever they do to turn rental cars over process.

This story is riveting.  I know.

Was it love at first sight with Hermie?  You betcha. (OMG my Minnesotan is showing).  We named him Hermie because we couldn't quite tell if his energy was male or female and it's a cute shortened version of hermaphrodite.  I refer to him as a him, because it's easier to use that pronoun and if I called him "it" that just wouldn't be very politically correct.  Neither would "he/she".  I think that Hermie is probably living his life as a male despite what's going on under the hood.  (Did you see the car pun coming?  This post is just getting more and more awesome).  

So Hermie spent the whole weekend with us.  All said and done I think we drove him about 650 miles and enjoyed every second of it.  Except for when I was whiney and Karen's eyes were on fire from her contacts.  He took us through some beautiful countryside on the way to Sonoma, and Yosemite - where cherry trees were abundant (or some kind of tree were, I guess cherry because every roadside stand was selling that and asparagus, and I'm like 98% sure asparagus doesn't grow that tall), through winding roads in the sun, rain, snow, and dark where he was attacked by numerous bats, to a Target in Pleasanton, and to and from San Fran where we drove on the longest bridge ever.  His brakes may have been a bit too sensitive compared to what I'm used to, but we were always safe and dry and warm with Hermie.

His only shortcoming was that his antenna was a really sad excuse for an antenna and we couldn't keep a radio station for more than a few songs.  Unless it was a Mexicali station.  Throughout all of this driving we received a complete tour of what American Top 40 has to offer and I have a few shout outs to these songs which we heard at least 10 times, and still liked at the end of the trip (which is really just miraculous):
Bruno Mars with his hand in his pants - I prefer the version with whistles
Katy Perry and her extraterrestial beats
Britney, although we never heard the remix
Ke$ha - our BFF and honorary member of the tripod and halloween costume for this year (don't steal that or I will throw glitter at you)
Whichever rapper it is that asks if I wanna kick it in the backseat and also asks the life-changing question: "I hear you got a baby, you want a new boy in you?"
In addition, we caught some retro tunes and "busted a move", caught a few seconds of the ever so rare Cher song, and proclaimed ourselves "Champions of the World" after Queen reminded us it was possible to have that title.

So here's to Hermie - the faithful third leg of our tripod without whom our weekend would not have been complete.  If we were signing yearbooks I would say "Thanks for the memories buddy - keep in touch!"

Sunday, June 19, 2011

- Fahtar's Day

Today a certain time will pass and Mamsie (If she hasn't read this yet) will call me to remind me to call my Dad because it's Father's Day and I need to tell him I love him.

Unfortunately, I'm still having vocalization issues so unless he wants to hear something of a cross between a 50 year old smoker and a pre-pubescent male squeak out something about how important he is (creepy) it's a no-go.  Google has helped me self diagnose myself and I'm pretty sure I have vocal chord nodules/polyps which will require 2 months of vocal rest and possibly surgery.

ANYWAYS, all craziness aside...I love my Fahtar.  And not just today because it's his day to feel all special about raising me and my brothers - but every single day of every single year of my life.  Hopefully I've told him that enough that he can feel how much I love and appreciate him from way up here in MinnesOOOOOta.
A Daddy's Girl from the get go.

Friday, June 17, 2011

- That Time New Orleans Tried To Kill Me

One time (this past week) I went to New Orleans for a conference.  Lots and lots of things happened because I feel like I was there forever.  I will tell you about them.

I had the best shrimp/alligator sausage "cheesecake" EVER.  I had a Jester - the strongest drink you can buy on Bourbon St. made with Everclear and Bicardi 151.  It cost $12.  It was my first and last Jester because some things only need to be experienced once.  I got sweaty dancing in the gay bar and lost my camera's lens cap and an earring.  I broke a bottle of hot sauce in a gift shop and bought another one.  That one broke all in my purse and left my phone, compact, cash and cards smelling like hot sauce to this day despite numerous washings.  I might have seen a "peep show", but I plead the 5th.  I had a tarot card reading where the guy knew I was seriously educated, my career was very important to me and is my main focus right now, and that I would find love within 1-2 years, and have at least a girl and a boy - the girl first - in the next 4 years.  True or not, I'm pretty happy with that.  Also, this night rocked my face off and I had the best time ever.

Woke up hungover which was a surprise to no one.  Slept in late and then walked around the French Quarter for about 2 hours during the day to learn that yes, it's still a party.  Even though I brought sunscreen I neglected to wear it and shade was scarce.  The Louis Armstrong park was closed.  I wore my new IFT shoes to the networking mixer and had no time to change after so ended up walking like 3 miles in them for the rest of the night.  Had an anticlimactic dinner where pizza was referred to as brushetta with lots of NC State peeps.  Went out on Bourbon St. for the second night.  Had more hurricanes and went to the karaoke bar.

Woke up hungover, obviously.  Too hungover to get to the conference before it was necessary for me to be there.  Saw some posters.  Drank some water.  Talked to lots of peeps on the Expo floor.  Drank some water.  Got an invitation to a balcony party on Bourbon St and my very first Bell Flavor party invite legitimately earned.  This puts me on "a list" so I should never have trouble accomplishing this feat again.  Sometimes being a grown up with a real job has perks.  Wore my hat out for the first time along with a tee shirt that says "Let's go back to Myspace and you can twitter all over my facebook".  At the Balcony party I threw beads at peeps and had raspberry cocktails.  We found a toilet chair on the side of the road and I took a picture with it.  No, I will not post that picture here.  Went to the oldest bar on Bourbon Street which was one of my favorite places I visited on this trip.  It was dark and smokey and had a piano player and I made a new BFF.  Got kicked off of Bourbon at 2 AM because it was Sunday and even the gay bars don't stay open any later.  Went back to my new BFF's and drank a gigantic drink while we sat outside and talked until the sun was nearly up.  Made it home after my morning paper was delivered.

Woke up hungover - do you see a pattern?  Barely dragged myself to my own poster presentation.  Ended up sitting in a beanbag chair for most of the time I should have been standing in front of it.  Whatevs.  My poster may not have had the best content, but I will say it was definitely one of the best looking ones there.  Afterwards went to a symposium about sodium reduction because that's my job.  Spent more time on the Expo floor.  Went to an Ajinimoto party where I gave someone my business card.  Changed clothes for College Bowl.  Was still cold so I changed clothes again.  Drank jack and coke and nearly cried when NC State lost in the first round because College Bowl is my jam and my single regret from grad school is never competing...so I get into kind of really into it.  Went to dinner at Mother's and had "debris" on a gigantic sandwich I managed to eat about three bites of.  Met up will all of NC State and had a tequila shot with my department which was the beginning of the end.  Went to the Bell Flavor party.  Had an interesante time.  Biggest regret from the night: Not pinning my bangs back because by the end of it they had totally fallen apart in a hideous way.  Made it home by 2:30 - my earliest night yet.

Woke up hungover.  Had an 8:30 symposium to make it to but it didn't have any new information in it so I ended up sleeping through it.  Saw a much better one at 10:30.  Did some relaxing before spending some time on the Expo floor for the last time.  Thoroughly tired of schmoozing I was going to head back and nap when I learned that I won an iPad 2 from the Ajinimoto party.  Obviously Karma loves me and now I'm too excited to sleep so instead I just stare at it for an hour because I'm not quite sure what to do with it.  Wear my hat again to the student party and drink Rum punch because I mean, it's not like I've been making great drinking decisions, so why stop now?  Dance, have a heart to heart, have someone tell me I changed her life by telling her about the importance of a well fitting and structured cup bra, and then end up on Bourbon St. at the karaoke bar again, which is surprising because usually I go for the piano bar.  After, we eat more pizza and head home for the last time.

Woke up hungover, but it's okay because it's the last time.  Drag myself through the motions of getting dressed and packing.  At the bell desk run into some new friends and have brunch at Brennen's where we see the grand bananas foster presentation that has alluded me during my previous days in NOLA.  Mosey back afterwards and have a crazy old lady read our tarot cards where mainly I learn I'm too pretty to be single and that I should change my criteria to open myself up to some new people.  I look doubtful as I'm not taking "a beard" and "six feet tall" off my list.  Try on masks and look in gift shops before making it back to the hotel to lay in the sun for a hot minute before cabbing it to the airport.  Fly out with this feeling: This trip has blown my mind, but I can't wait to sleep in my bed and see my dog.

So New Orleans: I came, I saw (mostly the French Quarter, and in massive quantities), I partied harder and enjoyed myself more than I thought my 28 year old butt could handle, I met some new awesome people and got to spend time with some of the best friends a girl could ask for, I was professional and made some great contacts on the Expo floor, I wore heels and was hungover for 5 days straight, and I left with two massive blisters, some shameful dark circles under my eyes, and without a voice that has yet to return.

Until the next IFT NOLA, because I simply don't think I could handle you again a moment sooner.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

- Thoughts on A Plane

Is it really necessary to announce during the safety recording that we are on a non-smoking flight?  Who doesn't know this yet?  Is there really anyone flying in today's day and age that would think they could just pull out a cigarette and light it?  And is there anyone addicted enough to tamper with a smoke detector in the bathroom just to get their nicotine fix?  I just don't think that is relevant safety information anymore.  Also, I don't think it needs to be a lighted placard next to the seatbelt one.  There has to be something more important that could go there.

I really see no logical reason that I cannot listen to my iPod shuffle during takeoff and landing.

My seat cushion can float.  It is floatable.  It can be used as flotation device.  I don't understand why we lose the a in the float for the last one - but then again it's English...so I guess it sorta kinda makes sense when you look at it in the way that our language regularly doesn't make any sense.  

Monday, June 6, 2011

- Marmot Hunting

This trip to California was built around a trip to Yosemite.  As soon as I found out Karen would be working there this summer I started hinting that I would like to visit and experience Nature.  Nature is not normally Karen's cup of tea, so I gently introduced this idea.  When discussing it I called it "fake" Nature because it would require no camping, no going to the bathrooms outdoors and in fact, it would involve mostly being chauffeured around in a car and then every now and then stopping to look at something pretty.  When I was home for Graduation Karen said these magic words to me:
"Laurie, I will do nature for you".
One of the best graduation presents ever.

Anyways, I didn't exactly think Nature would be occurring so soon, but sometimes you just can't fight the way things cosmically fall into place.  A 3 day holiday weekend = a theoretically perfect time for Nature.

After spending the day in Sonoma we watched The Girl Next Door, drank our Tar-jay box de vino and I looked up weather conditions in Yosemite.  Now this was a bit more difficult than you would think.  While in Sonoma we both used the Weather Channel app on our phones to see how long the rain would last.  Except according to the Weather Channel - it was NEVER raining in Sonoma...it was always partly cloudy with a 30% chance of rain.  This was slightly inaccurate since it rained the whole 5 hours that we were there.  So, when the Weather Channel said that Yosemite would be 50 with a 30% chance of rain/snow (up to a 1/2" of snow accumulation) I was skeptical that it wasn't painting the full picture.  The National Park Service referred me to a weather site that showed a high of 41 but made that rain/snow thing seem a bit more imminent.

Still - we were going to be in the car, so if it was cold we could deal because we had heat!  And if it was wet, that heat would dry things out.  I might have glossed over the chance of snow when relaying this info to Karen.

This was such a foolproof plan that I then focused my attention to what kind of wildlife is thriving in Yosemite at this time.  Black bears?  Meh.  Mountain lions?  Whatevs.  Marmots?  Adorable.
New life goal: find a marmot in Yosemite.

I woke up early because I was all excited about the awesomeness of Nature.  It took us like forever to get there because well 1) it wasn't that close anyways (~3.5 hours according to Google Maps) and 2) the last 20 miles looked like this:
From here.

And I mean that sign was very accurately used.  For the ride up the weather was perfecto.  To prove it here is a picture taken at an overlook shortly before the park entrance.
Our hair looks nice.

But then we get here:
And it automatically started to rain.  The drive in is really pretty and we see some amazing things...
Sweeping canyon view
Same river, view with waterfall in the back.
PS - Waterfalls are at their best in late May because of all the snowmelt.  Also, how do you stand in front of a waterfall and not look gooberish?  What do you do with your hands?

The rain is steadily increasing.  Mountain views are hidden behind deep layers of fog.

We decide that we're going to go all the way south past Yosemite Valley to see the big trees (Giant Sequoias) in Mariposa Grove first.  This waterfall is at the fork in the road:
For some reason this waterfall is called Bridalveil and I remember that.  The first view is from a distance, the second is after a walk up that goes closer than this even, but also drenches you from the spray and we were already wet enough.

On our way down the rain continues and we start to see snow on the ground.  Enough snow that some people have pulled over and children are building small snowmen and throwing snowballs.  It starts to become more prevalent and is covering the evergreen trees and it's quite beautiful to be in the midst of a winter wonderland.  Then the rain turns to snow.  Heavy snow.  Wet snow with big flakes.  And they just don't stop.  It starts to accumulate on the car and all I can do is laugh because - I mean, really?

We are almost to the big trees when we run into trouble.  There's a T intersection at the southern entrance.  We needed to go straight to get to the trees.  But Park Ranger #1 stops us and only gives us the option to go right - which is exiting the park.  So I stop and tell Park Ranger #2 that I don't want to leave the park, I want to see trees.  She makes me pull over and comes to tell me that there are too many people in the park and they are making people leave...but 10 minutes ago she heard there were 36 parking spaces at Mariposa Grove and we could try to enter and see what Park Ranger #3 says.  Park Ranger #3 just waves us on in like it's a party and everyone is invited.  There are like 87 free parking spaces when we get there and it is still snowing pretty heavily by the time we get out of the car.
Within 5 minutes we are soaked and our hair is all lank and we look like drowned rats.  Allow me to demonstrate:
Notice that I changed my shoes.  My poor Toms got absolutely soaked on the short walk up to bridalveil because the uphill path was somewhat of it's own waterfall.  Plus a lack of socks is unacceptable when it's snowing.

We decide that if you've seen one big tree, you've kind of seen them all and head back to the car to get warmed up and move our party to Yosemite Valley.  As we get close to the car the snow stops and the sun peeks out.  Go figure.
At the T intersection Park Ranger #3 waved us straight ahead to Park Ranger #1 who turned out to be one of those miserable people that obviously hates her job and extends that hate to all others in her vicinity.  She basically jumped in front of my car to stop me and told me that I had to leave the park.  When I asked why she told me that there had been an accident and that the pass was closed ahead and they were only letting people in that had reservations to stay in the park.  I sensed she was impossible so I left the park and pulled over to the side to see what Park Ranger #2 had to say.

She tells me that the pass won't re-open until "hopefully tomorrow".  I find it a bit hard to believe that an accident could shut a national park down for a whole day.  But since there is no way in from this entrance we are faced with a completely new predicament.  We are exiting the park about 50 miles south of where we entered it and there doesn't seem to be a clear path back to where we started.  Park Ranger #2 has printed out maps to help people like us and she suggests a path that that will take us near another entrance to the park farther north.  I decide to take the detour and when we get closer see if I can call someone and figure out if that entrance is open.

Then I proceed to get grouchy and launch into full on complainy mode.  I mean this is all quite unfair.  I built this trip around a visit to Yosemite and now I'm here and I've been kicked out because they let too many people in and the way I see it, that's not my problem.  I am being unfairly punished and I feel like the rangers were completely insensitive to the fact that not everyone who visits is there for several days.  I didn't have the option of coming back tomorrow, I had TODAY, and I wanted to see Yosemite TODAY.  Whine whine whine.  Talk schmack about Park Ranger #1 (and #2 for good measure).  Whine whine whine.  Realize I'm whining a lot and shut up and sit quietly so Karen can take a nap.

As I near the fork in the road that leads to the other entrance I tune into the radio station on the signs to see if I can get any info.  It is completely unhelpful.  I notice there is a Visitor's Center so I pull over.  On my phone's browser I manage to find a phone number for Yosemite that has a recording saying all entrances are currently open.  I go into the center to check what information they have.  As of 45 minutes ago the entrance we are near was closed.  When I ask why she informs me that there is a lot of traffic "because it's a holiday weekend".  Her tone suggests that maybe I didn't know it was a holiday weekend - so I tell her that I understand it's a holiday weekend and there are a lot of people there, but that I don't think it's fair for me to admitted into the park and then be kicked out through no fault of my own.  At this point I am quite whiney and might nearly cry over the thought of it ending like this so I ask if they have a direct number to a ranger station because I would like to call and complain.  They do and they actually give it to me.

Park Ranger #4 says that the entrance is open and we are welcome to come, but there might be a wait to get in.

I drive like the wind and there is no wait.  Park Ranger #5 at the entrance tells us that because of all the people in the park it could take up to an hour and a half to get to Yosemite Valley, but we have come this far and battled for this long, so we decide it's worth the 'ole college try.

There is no traffic.  I guess these Park Ranger scare tactics and the weather deterred a lot of people.  But by this time, the rain has stopped and there are patches of blue sky showing.

See:
The sun even starts to shine and it the light bounces off the rocks in this completely magnificent way and it's like the Yosemite I always dreamed it would be.
We never found an info center and the maps they give at the entrance aren't as detailed as I would have liked.  Neither is the signage within the park, so it's not always obvious what you're looking at.  This is what I could figure out:

Upper and Lower Falls.
This is Sentinel Dome.
Here is El Capitan.
Here is a Bear Trap.
woof
This is pretty.
This is the money shot picture I took of us.
This looks like a different day entirely with all the blue sky.
I'm not quite sure where Half Dome is, so we missed that.

This is the same river from the beginning of our trip, but in the evening sunlight.
The fog is covering the waterfall.  

At around 8:00 we called it a day and exited the park from the same entrance we originally entered.  We stopped at Buck Jackson's - one of those awesome side of the road diners where everything is greasy and delicious and ate a ridiculous amount of food plus coffee because we were tired and there was still quite a long drive back.

And that is the epic story of how I left Minnesota at the end of May and went to California and still got snowed on.

Also, I never saw a marmot.  Karen and I figured that those little buggers are smart and they took one look out their burrows and saw the rain/snow and decided to hole up with a six pack, a roaring fire, and a Criminal Minds marathon.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

- My Summer Arsenal

This is the sunscreen I used last year:
Some may think SPF 70 is excessive, but I'm starting to think it's minimalist.  So, yesterday I upgraded to this:
Because I'm not playin' around sun.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

- Pairing it With Something

I am not caught up on sleep...or cuddling with Ems.  In fact I'm probably worse off since my allergies have gone ahead and kicked the dead horse that was my sleep deprived self.  Silly me thought that since I'd made it through April and May and Minnesota never had crazy pollen like North Cackalacky I was safe.  I will never make the mistake of this assumption again.

Anyways I've got my IV of Zyrtec and Nyquil all hooked up now so I would like to talk about how much I like wine country.

Actually, you know what?  I've only hung out with Wine Country twice now, but I think it's pretty safe to say that I love wine country.  I think the feeling is mutual but I should probably go back at least once a year for "relationship maintenance".

When Karen and I picked up our smokin' hot rental car (more on him later) we also grabbed this fantastic book with all of these coupons for 2 for 1 tastings at like every winery.  We chose to hit up Sonoma because she has family coming into town and they're headed to Napa.  I actually like Sonoma more - I'm not quite sure why, it just seems a bit more quaint...a little more my jam.  Don't get it twisted though - I would never turn down an opportunity to drink wine in Napa.

The ride up was gorgeous with sunshine and pretty clouds and rainbows but as soon as we got into Sonoma it started raining.  And it never stopped.  But here's the thing about drinking wine: you can do it when it's raining outside!  So while it messed up our hair and made our pictures horrendous, we forged ahead and made our first stop at Kunde.  It looks like this:
 Weird smudges on lens courtesy of raindrops.

You know, gorgeous.  Our tasting here was free and they had some pretty yummy stuff, including a port that came with a chocolate truffle and pretty much made my day.  Kunde has caves and I really wanted to go on a tour, but they were only offered on the hour and I didn't want to wait around and waste valuable wine tasting time.  They also have horseback rides through their estate and a mountaintop tasting which I feel like would be worth a trip back when the weather is a bit nicer.

From there we went to Ledson because it was right up the road and Jaclyn told me to go there and sometimes I do what people say.

It looks like a castle.  All fancy schmancy and stuff.
But don't let appearances fool you.  This guy started it - and if that shirt doesn't look like a tacky hotel shower curtain I'm not sure what does.
Also, we saw this note on a thermostat.
I'm not sure what a Dinning room is, but I'd prefer to eat in the Dining room.  I did not care so much about the A/C, but I would have appreciated them lighting the double sided fireplace since it was like 60 and looked like this out the back door, which was left open:
In between gullywasher downpours.

Also, I think it's a fair assumption that the people that work in tasting houses pouring the wines are somewhat knowledgeable about said wines.  Our girl, while pouring a pinot noir we'd chosen, said that it was perfectly suitable to drink by itself, or you could (wait for it) "pair it with something".

Oh really?  I can drink this wine with something? Why whatever do you mean?  That is such revolutionary advice I'm not quite sure what to do with it.  Karen and I laughed for 2 days straight remembering those wise words, and based on her advice we paired a lot of things with something.

Homegirl wasn't only just a wealth of knowledge, she was also a pretty heavy handed pourer, so after sampling 6 of Ledson's wines we decided to stop and eat.  After shoving a ridiculous amount of cheese and garlic fries into my mouth, most of the tasting houses had closed so we headed back for a quick Target run to buy things, specifically, a box o'wine...because we're cheap and let's face it, my palate is just not that sophisticated.

We felt our 2010 Tar-jay box de vino would be best if paired with something so we found The Girl Next Door on tv and settled into our stretch pants.  Geez I love leggings almost as much as I love wine country.  Also: if you haven't seen The Girl Next Door, or seen it recently, I highly recommend it.  It is fantastically entertaining and I feel it never got quite the credit or acclaim it deserved.  The three guys in the movie refer to themselves as a tripod which inspired Karen and I to spend the rest of the weekend hunting for the third leg of our tripod in exotic Californian places like Yosemite...

Edited to add: Even though I poke quite a bit of fun at Ledson, I would like to state plainly that all 6 wines we sampled were fantastic and the grounds/house is really quite beautiful.  They are a boutique winery that doesn't distribute so you can only get their wines through a visit, which would be time well spent in Sonoma.  They also sell some really yummy marinades and mustards that we sampled in the shop on our way out.  And even though our pourer wasn't the best, she was quite entertaining...and to be fair, we weren't asking too many questions about the wines and serving conditions.  We were too busy sampling and spilling a basket of bread sticks and leaning on the bar so it kept shifting away from us.  To her, we were probably a couple of "homegirls" as well.