Make Me an Artist and Let Me Drink Wine

I don't have an artistic bone in my body.  I can't sing.  I can't dance, unless you count the adult ballet classes I used to take.  Actually, I was kind of good.  I can't draw, and I'm not crafty.  I can't do anything Pinterest worthy.  Maybe I can write, but that's about it, so when MJ organized a painting class for date night at Pinot's Palette in Liberty Station I was pretty sure it would be a total fail.

Maybe it's paint my numbers.  It has to be, because when I saw what we were supposed to be painting that night I just knew there wasn't any other way it was possible to get people who haven't held a paint brush since middle school art class to replicate a beautiful painting.  Painting the walls in your house doesn't count.  There was no overlay, nothing to trace.  We showed up to rows of blank white canvas and I figured that whatever I did would look like kindergarten finger painting.   My fate was sealed.  There was nothing else to do but drown my sorrows in a glass of wine...or two.

I was too busy drinking and nibbling off of the fancy meat and cheese platter MJ prepared to pay too much attention at first, but eventually I hit my stride.  It went a little something like this.  Sip wine.  Brush paint onto canvas.  Sip wine.  Dip paint brush in water.  Blot.  Brush strokes on canvas.  Sip wine.  Mix black and white paint.  Flip the canvas upside down.  Sip wine.  Add a little bit of white paint to the blue paint.  Eat cheese.  Brush strokes.  Blend.  Sip wine.  Sip wine.  It was so much fun! 
Mine on the left, the one I was copying on the right.  I added more leaves after MJ pointed out my bare branches
The trees were the scariest part, because they would be the center piece of the whole thing.  After adding the first set, MJ's canvas looked really good.  Mine was still looking pretty hopeless, so I drank more wine and persevered.  The music was pumping.  Nothing classical for us budding Picasso's.  It was all Biggie Smalls and Justin know, for inspiration.  By the time we got to dotting on the leaves I was having a lot of fun, and really excited to that it wasn't going to be a hot mess.  All it took was two hours, wine, and step by step instructions to make me feel like a legit artist. You don't have to have any talent whatsoever.  They tell you exactly what to do, you do it, and you will have a decent painting.  It's brilliant!  I'm actually pretty proud of my painting, and I still can't believe I did it.

Now.  What to do with our masterpieces?  They are not allowed in MJ's room, because the contemporary Neo-Classic aesthetic clashes with the Buffalo Bills motif, but I must find a home for them somewhere in our house.

16 First Date Don'ts

I meant to post this a few weeks ago, but I went off on this tangent about how I fell in love with MJ at Souplantation on our 3rd date, and it turned into that post instead.  Then, we went to Temecula Wine Country, and I blogged about that, then work got busy and I was too tired to even read blogs let alone write a post, then the longer you go without blogging the easier it is to...not blog.


I listen to this radio segment called Second Try or is it Good-Bye? on Channel 94.1 that usually comes on during my commute to work.  I don't even get mad about traffic those days because it means I won't miss the conclusion.  If I hear the first part I have to know what happens! The basic idea is that people who have been jilted after a first date call in to see if the radio station can find out why, and/or try to get them a second date.  When it first started, I couldn't believe they were going to embarrass people like that on the radio.  So cringe worthy! So awkward!  I mean, how sad for a person to hear why another person doesn't like them and never wants to see them again blasted over the radio.  I certainly wouldn't have the guts to call in for that information and be publicly rejected.  It's still very awkward when people get all defensive or if it turns into an argument, but I've gotten used to it and now I just  look forward to the juicy details.

I am very fascinated by relationships in general, which is why it's no surprise that I love Married at First Sight.  Never mind how it's gone off the deep end.   I find it so interesting to see how relationships are as unique as the individuals themselves and how each person introduces personality and viewpoints that have such a huge impact on whether the relationship works, or doesn't even start.  First impressions are huge and some things are deal breakers.  The track record is not good.  Most people don't get second dates.

And here you have it, 16 things not to do on a first date as discovered by single people of San Diego.  Single or married, it's a fun read.
1.  Don't talk excessively, non-stop and exclusively about Music.  This probably goes for anything.  It's okay to be passionate about it and excited that you share something in common, but if she has no clue who you are because you made her listen to song after song on your phone and sang a few of them at the top of your lungs you are probably overdoing it. YES
2.  Don't hate excessively on the restaurant that your date chooses.  You never know if it is owned by one of her family members.  Even if it isn't there is no need to make your date feel bad with a running commentary of everything you hate about it. NO
3.  Don't hate excessively on children, even if you are out at night in an adult atmosphere.  I get it.  As a single and ready to mingle kind of person, riding an elevator in your skin tight party dress with a few toddlers is probably not your cup of tea.  A comment is no big deal, but refrain from complaining and expressing how insulted you are over it the entire night.   Kids are part of the world and your date may be part of a gigantic Italian family with kids everywhere, and very accepting of them even if you aren't. NO

4.  Don't order any fun foods that might might get attention at restaurants.  Stay away from sizzling fajitas or big ass Margaritas the size of your head or else your date may think that you are an attention monger just like his ex girlfriend. NO

5.  Don't wear too much over the top make up when he's already seen you at the gym looking perfect as ever au natural.  If you show up with fake lashes, show girl make-up, tons of jewelry, and a short tight dress he might feel like he's dating an entirely different girl than the one he asked out. YES

6.  Don't make too much money and choose a restaurant for the first date that is way out of his price range.  If he's a barista, and you are a lawyer it is not going to work.  He's tried it before and he knows that at some point your friends and family will be talking crap behind his back and he doesn't want to go through that again. NO

7.  Don't spit on the ground excessively.  I think a gal can understand if you are sick with a cold or just happen to have a bit of phlegm that can't wait, but do not spit consistently throughout the date.  It's really a turn off. NO

8.  Don't stalk your date on every form of social media and then talk to him about things that you would only know if you had done that.  It might make a cute story after  you've  been together for a while, but on your first date.  Creepy.  When you express concern over this don't be surprised if he says, "Well, good luck dating people who don't like you." NO

9.  Don't insist that your dog is basically the same thing as a child. Don't claim that you understand her struggle as a single mom because you are single and  you have a dog.  If she insists that it's actually different, don't dig in your heels and say that it's the same exact thing, because you also have to get a babysitter when you go out of town or on a date. NO

10.  Don't talk about all the hot guys you've dated. Name dropping is also not necessary.  You might think it is making you appear more desirable and amazing, but it gives the impression that you are superficial, and it makes him feel insecure and like he couldn't possibly measure up to the hunks that have kissed your lips. NO
11.  Don't invite your ex boyfriend to join you while you are on your first date with another guy, if you happen to see him sitting alone at the bar. NO

12.  Don't assume that just because you blew up the bathroom with your unexpected and totally inconvenient post dinner poops after she invited you into her tiny apartment for a drink that she never wants to talk to you again.  She and her roommate were not laughing at you, and don't  find you the most disgusting person on earth.  They actually had no idea that it even happened.  YES

13.  Don't drop your phone in the toilet, switch to a temporary flip phone, and lose her number. YES

14.  Don't be "just a bartender" when your date is only interested in men with an established career or actively pursuing an established career.  You might find out later, that he is actually in grad school and change your mind when he calls into a radio station to find out why you didn't want a second date, but by then it's too late because he's already extremely offended by your attitude.  NO

15.  Don't spend half the date talking on the phone to your twelve year old daughter who is perfectly capable and self sufficient.  He may think that you don't have room in your life for a man right now.   YES

16.  Don't deny being a smoker when you pick him up in your car that reeks of cigarette smoke.  All the mints in the world won't hide the taste of tobacco when he goes in for a good-night kiss.  Smoking can be a deal breaker and even though you say you would be willing to quit for the right person, you've already shown yourself to be a liar.  NO

Only 5 out of 16 got second dates proving once again that first impressions really are everything.  Make it count. 

When You Can't Make it to Napa

What do you want to do for your Birthday?
I don't know.
It's in two weeks.  What do you want to do?
I don't know.
Then I'm planning something.

The next day I said, consider your Birthday planned, and that is how we ended up in Temecula for a surprise Birthday mini getaway.

I took Friday off because he was off Friday, his Birthday was on a Monday and I can always use a five day weekend.  We hit the road much later than I planned for two reasons.  One, I have packing anxiety.  I packed the night before, but I get this anxiety about forgetting something which makes it hard to leave the house, because once I leave I can no longer throw any last minute items into my suitcase.  Two, somebody waits until the last minute to do everything.  Hint.  That somebody is not me.  Then, he realized he forgot his wallet the minute we got on the highway so we had to turn around.  I should have set a specific time, but I didn't because we really didn't have specific time commitments. 

We got there later than I wanted to, but once we made it we had so much fun.  Like, every single moment was perfection and my only regret is that I got a little more wine drunk than I should have and that we didn't stay an extra night.
Temecula Wine Country
The weather was looking kind of sketchy, but by the time we got into Temecula it was all sun.  We were able to check into our room at South Coast Winery and then, immediately go to the tasting room for our four complimentary tastings.  The second stop was Ponte Winery next door.  Mainly, we were hungry and needed something in our bellies.  We were going to eat then taste, but found out that they had wine flights in the basement lounge so we did it all at once.  We got two wine flights.  We did not need two flights of wine because each pour was a big old glass of wine.  I drank it all, and it did me in, but it was seriously the best wine I've ever had in my life.  I'm partial to sweet wines, which were all amazing, but even the non-sweets were so good.  We went back the next day and took home two bottles. 

I was feeling it.  Even MJ was feeling it.  The yummy burger and chicken sandwich we ordered and split wasn't enough to fully absorb what we were putting down.  We absolutely did not need a 3rd tastings after the huge pours at Ponte, but I planned on three wine tastings and I wanted to do them all.  It was a short walk to Wiens Family Cellars where they do six tasting per set.  We looked at each other. 

Should we split it?  
No.  Let's get our own.  

We did not need our own.  Going into the Jacuzzi right after that allowed the wine to completely marinate my insides.  I brought games, our little Bose sound bar, and cheese/salami/crackers for us to enjoy that night with wine, but it was not happening.  I took a shower and dropped into bed like a pile of bricks.  I will say that being wine drunk feels a lot better than being Tequila drunk.  It was more relaxing than anything else, and I felt fine, but I was so sleepy.  We did get to enjoy the room for a little while in the morning in our matching complimentary white bathrobes, which feels so decadent by the way.  I don't know why, but there is something luxurious about prancing around a hotel in white robes.

The next surprise was the spa.  I haven't had a facial in a million years (not really, less than 1) so I went with that, and I booked a massage for MJ.  It was the perfect way to end our time at the winery.

At the Grape Seed Spa
I really love staying at a Winery.  When we checked in we got a bottle of wine and from now on, I would like a bottle of wine anytime I check in anywhere!  Also, there aren't any silly no alcohol rules.   The winery is there to make wine and people are there because they love it, so you can drink it anywhere you want without feeling like a party animal alcoholic.  Napa is on the must do travel list.  We haven't made it there yet, but Temecula is really the next best thing, since it's right in our backyard just an hour away. It's beautiful and serene, and there is some really good wine to be had.  There are many more wineries out there to visit and we'll definitely be back.  MJ was really happy with his surprise, and we had a great time.  Mission accomplished.

I got so caught up in the planning that I never got around to securing a gift.  I finally asked him.

What do you want for your Birthday?
I don't know.

I should have known better than to ask.