Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Another pilgrimage, sparkly rocks, and toy surprises

The trip to CA we took this past weekend was a bit more laid-back than our usual frenzy of scheduling visits with friends and family around whatever occasion has us in the Bay Area (usually a holiday, but also might include a graduation, a reunion, etc.). I didn't even hear back from two people I called to let know we'd be around, so we mostly decided to take things easy. We stayed the first night at QIR's (she of the ever-open futon and tiny fruit) and had breakfast Friday morning at the Homemade Cafe with her parents who were visiting for a QIRSis event. After breakfast, Hulk and I meandered around Telegraph avenue, marveling at the sunshine and lack of snow on the ground. No snow! Temperatures above freezing! and the sun was out, hooray!

My mom was scheduled to have furniture delivered (the demise of the couch finally spurred her to buy new living room furniture years after she'd wanted it) Friday morning so we decided to do some Berkeley stuff before heading up to the 'dale. Of course, no visit to Berkeley would be complete without the stop at Berkeley Bowl. It was the emptiest I'd ever seen it - when we got in line, there were only two people ahead of us!

Anyhow, some photographic evidence:

Unfortunately, the Bowl does not sell banana phones.

Some kind of vegetable that resembles a bumpy green crawdad.

Impressive fungus

Even more impressive fungus. Scale kindly provided by Hulk's thumb.

After we bought our rosemary potato bread and our chocolate-covered pistachios, we headed north. My mom called at least 18 times to confirm plans, reconfirm plans, change plans, etc. as we decided to meet in Santa Rosa because she and her friend wanted to go to the gem show. Yes, this meant beads and baubles and jewelry and overwhelming sparklyness. On the phone, she hinted that there would definitely be jewelry I'd want to try on, "just to see." Hmm, what kind of jewelry, mom? So we went to the gem show and my mom bought me some amber jewelry that she wanted to buy me and Hulk and I wandered around and looked at other jewelry. We saw a lot of gaudy stuff and a lot of beautiful stuff and this one vendor actually took the time to show us some of his more unusual inventory, like rings made from stones that you don't normally see set into rings, and some old estate stuff (a size 3 cocktail ring and a size 11 solitaire - that lady must have had a big finger!). He explained how star sapphires worked, something I'd always wondered about. And I got to see some interesting stones in unusual colors, like that sapphire that comes in reddish-pinkish, very striking and beautiful (though not my thing, personally).

By this time, I was way past Unfed and into About to Keel Over so we took my mom's friend back to her house and went to Round Table Pizza in Healdsburg, a California chain that I'd talked up for years. Hulk got to try his first Round Table pizza and I got to take my first trip down memory lane, as I hadn't been in there in at least 15 years. And it still looks the same inside - same jukebox, same video games, same party room with big screen TV. The only difference? In the very last bite (the crust) of the very last slice of the pizza we all shared, I found a big piece of wood. I thought it was a mushroom baked into the crust, but no, it was a partially-blackened piece of wood and I bit right down on it. Luckily, it didn't hurt, and the manager was all apologetic and gave my mom a coupon for a free pizza for next time.


Monkey McWearingChaps said...

The bumpy vegetable is called bitter melon or karela. It's used in Indian and Chinese cooking-I write about it all the time.

Monkey McWearingChaps said...

oooh, was the sapphire the padparascha? That's my favourite colour, actual.

MLE said...

Yes, it was beautiful. I just never wear that color so couldn't picture wearing it on my hand all the time. But I'd love it in a necklace or some earrings or something.

Anonymous said...

I didn't get your call until Saturday night! And then figured it was too late! And then we had to, you know, "tend" the cable box. Good thing there will always be a next time.

(Does Round Table still have their dessert pizza? I used to get those in SLC all the time as a kid.)

MLE said...

Yep, I just figured y'all were busy and that we'd hang out next time.

I didn't notice much about the Round Table menu, as I was about to pass out. The pizza we had was good, though. Portabella mushrooms, red bell pepper, and garlic chicken, I think. I inhaled it too fast to really pay attention.

Monkey McWearingChaps said...

I want a coloured sapphire as an engagement ring-either a pink, padparascha purple star or a yellow.

Actually this is the ring I want

I like the setting and the stone.

But, if I marry some po ph.d I'll just settle for a platinum band. No gold though, I inherited a pound of the stuff at birth.

MLE said...

I love the way star sapphires look but they're always really expensive when set (especially one that big!) We saw some beauties at the gem show, though no purple ones. We did see a beautiful steel blue spinell that rocked. If you're ring shopping for a colored stone, it might be a good idea to shop at a gem show, because they sell loose ones, too, and also the rings were at least half the price of the ones in most jewelry stores. Plus, they were way more interesting than just the standard cultured emerald, ruby, blue sapphire, and amethyst.

Monkey McWearingChaps said...

Truth be told, I'm probably just going to settle for a band. I love jewellry but I'm not too attached to the thought of an engagement ring.

I just have a fantasy ring I think "oooh pretty" but I'm not real tied to the idea of getting one.

I suppose I just feel that I'm at the beginning of my career and I'd HATE it if the tradition went the other way and I was expected to buy something like that because Jeebus Christ, after rent, student loans, bills and savings I have, seriously, about $200 in my bank account and I just feel guilty demanding that of a man. Though in my case, I AM expected to pony up a ring for the guy at engagement...but most desis very rarely ever wear them. I think my brother's is sitting in my mom's safety deposit box with her jewellry.

Yank In Texas said...

oooh sapphires. i want a sapphire for my ring. i love them. the boy has been good in getting me lots of silver but well... i kind want my ring.
i've seen the bitter melon before, just couldn't remember what it was.

Palanivel Raja said...
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