The Sonia Show

Writer. Podcaster. Beer drinker. Old movie watcher. Mother. Goober.


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A decade under the influence

Yeah, so, it’s been 10 years!

My mighty, mighty good man David and I are celebrating our 10-year wedding anniversary today. So much has happened in those 10 years. We created another human. We really leaned into that whole “in sickness and in health” thing, that’s for sure.

But the one thing hasn’t changed: We still love each other. We’re a team. We’ve always got each other’s back. We rarely argue because we know that our intentions are always good.

We always support each other. He doesn’t give me crap when I buy yet another dress for our already jam-packed closet. And I totally get it when another board game arrives on our doorstep.

“Me: I need to buy this dress with a wiener dog print.”
David: “Yeah, you do!”

David: “I’m going to buy this board game about trolleys that run over people.”
Me: “Duh.”

During these super weird and scary times, I take great comfort in knowing that I have this amazing partner in my life. Not a day goes by that I don’t thank him for no reason.

“Thank you.”
“For what?”

And then the answer is usually:

a) “For loving me.”
b) “For being awesome.”
c) “For being the best … around.
d) All of the above

We celebrate each other’s successes. We console each other when things are crappy. We drink craft beer and watch old movies. We talk about how much we miss baseball and our weekend adventures to breweries. We play Animal Crossing together and go on “dates” to the museum.

But mostly, we laugh a lot. We have a happy life.

Thank you, David, for marrying me.


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Super weird times

Yeah, so, weird times, huh?

2019: “I’m the worst year.”
2020: “Hold my beer.”

We’re all being safe here, and we’re all healthy. My mighty, mighty good man David always works from home, and my rad company issued a work from home order a few weeks before this went down. I’m super grateful for my job right now. They’ve been so amazing and supportive. They really look out for their employees. Honestly, I feel lucky.

My coworker Jian Wei made a Zoom date with Calvin to show him his model cars and introduce him to Snapchat filters.

But yeah, everything is weird. I’m worried, but I try to keep my worrying to a minimum. The last thing we need in this house is for me to start having anxiety attacks again. During the day I focus on work, and I really love what I’m working on. That helps. In the evening and on weekends, I’ve been distracting myself with baking, movies, and Animal Crossing. It’s working. Plus, I’m trapped in the house with my two favorite boys, my doggies, and cat. Could be worse.

We’ve been trying to support the local businesses that we love. You can order food for take-out, buy merch, or get gift cards. A lot of businesses are finding creative ways to stay in business. Help them out! Obviously, my list is super SF-centric, but my hope is it will give you ideas for your city.

The Good Hop – You can pop in and grab beer to go.

Ocean Ale House – One of our favorite spots in SF, Ocean Ale House is filling up growlers. They have food, too. They make David’s favorite burger in SF, and I love their market greens. And they usually have a delicious vegan soup, too.

Goat Hill Pizza – My favorite pizza in SF is still delivering, and they have their own delivery drivers.

Laughing Monk Brewery – Laughing Monk has tasty brews, and they’re always giving back to the community and donating to school fundraisers, etc. If you can, order some beer for pickup.

Faction Brewing – This Alameda brewery was turning into a regular weekend stop for us because they’re kid-friendly, have outdoor seating, and serve rad beer. They have bottles and cans for pickup.

Rosamunde – We were having dinner at Rosamunde every Friday before the pandemic. They have a wide selection of tasty sausages (including vegan options – duh). I also super love their baked beans.

Bird & Beckett – Instead of ordering a book on Amazon, I placed a copy of “Salt Water Flour Yeast” from Bird & Beckett, and I walked down the hill to pick it up.

And, of course, help all the animals! My favorites are Farm Sanctuary, Muttville, or SPCA.

Other random things we’re doing:

A weekly produce box – it’s an easy way to get fresh produce without having to go to the store. We use Farm Fresh To You, and occasionally Imperfect Produce.

Zoom happy hours with my favorite people:

I’m still recording with Margo for Dorking Out and What a Creep. We’re having a really great time. For Dorking Out, we talked about “Tombstone” and “Sleeping with the Enemy.” Over at What a Creep, we talked about Jim Jones, the Houston Astros, and creeps in romantic comedies.

I hope y’all are healthy and being safe. Wash your hands. Keep your distance. Stay home.


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I’ve got butterflies

Yeah, so, every year my mighty, mighty good boy Calvin’s school has a fundraising event. This year it was a masquerade ball.

It’s tough to wear a mask when you were glasses. I entertained the idea of buying a mask that clips on to my glasses, but I didn’t want to ruin my precious glasses. I settled for a mask on a stick. I didn’t feel that was festive enough. So then I got it into my head that I should put something on my head. I bought this headband adorned in colorful butterflies on Etsy.

I knew that everyone would be all mardi gras, so I decided to do my own thing, which turned out to be butterflies. I have no explanation for why I choose butterflies other than I think the headband is really pretty.

Also, look at my mighty, mighty good man David … isn’t he so creepy dreamy?


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Listen here

Yeah, so, I’ve got a few things for your listening pleasure.
My mighty, mighty good man David and I are on this week’s Storied SF. You can listen to Part 1 here, and part 2 is riiiight here. In part 1, we talk about how we met and how we ended up in San Francisco. In part 2, we talk about my cancer battles, getting married and raising an autistic son in San Francisco.

Image from Storied SF and film photography by Michelle Kilfeather

We recorded at Barebottle Brewing, which is one of our favorite breweries in San Francisco, It was really fun to record. You should listen to it.
But wait, there’s more!
In honor of Valentine’s Day, Margo and I decide to talk about one of the greatest love stories of the 90s, “Point Break,” starring Keanu Reeves and Patrick Swayze. If you think that’s an unusual choice for Valentine’s Day, you should really watch “Point Break” again.
You can listen to our “Point Break” episode of Dorking Out riiiiight here.


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Dorking out about Mister Rogers and summer movies

Yeah, so, there’s a couple of really good Dorking Out episodes you should listen to … if I don’t say so myself.

My mighty, mighty good man David and I dork out about the new documentary about Mister Rogers, “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” We have a lot of thoughts and feelings about it. Spoiler alert! I sobbed repeatedly throughout the movie. It really is good for the soul. You should see it and then listen to us talk about it.

Another recent episode features the return of listener favorite Margo D. from Book vs. MovieThe Best Neighbors PodcastNot Fade Away and Fit Bottom Girls.

We talk about summer movies. I don’t mean movies coming out this summer. I mean, movies that remind us of summer. It was a really fun conversation because we got to explore what summer means to us. Plus, it’s always super fun talking to Margo.

If you’re expecting a movie list filled with obvious picks of “Jaws” and “Star Wars,” think again! We acknowledge those movies, but we made a rule that those movies could not be on our lists.

So many of my picks were because of my time working at the movie theater. Shout out to my people from Regency Cinemas in Pleasant Hill, Festival Cinemas in Walnut Creek and Chico Movies 10.

So anyway, they’re really good episodes, and you should listen. You can listen to us on our website, or you can find us on Apple PodcastsGoogle PlaySpotify and Stitcher.


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My Totally Boring Dream Story

Yeah, so, I had a dream the other night … Hey, where are you going? I get it. Dream talk is boring. Come on. It’s a short story.

Anyway, in the dream, my mighty, mighty good man David said I was stupid, and he was going to divorce me.

“You fooled me for a while, but you are really stupid. I will be letting the zoo know that we are divorcing,” he said.

So, just to be clear, in my dream, it was David’s top priority to let the zoo know that our family membership status would be changing.

I told him about my dream the next morning.

“Well, you don’t want to mess with the zoo people,” he replied.

And now, whenever we have a disagreement David says, “Oh that’s it. I’m calling the zoo.”

 


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Beach Talk

Yeah, so, we are back from our annual family trip to Santa Cruz.

In the past there was a big group of us, but this year it was just the three of us – just us MansTracys. The truth is we always end up doing our own thing anyway. My mighty, mighty good boy Calvin usually has his own autistic agenda, and it involves finding all the ceiling fans in the area. It definitely doesn’t involve going on roller coasters at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, which is fine by me. I don’t want to ride that stuff, either.

We started our trip with a stop at the Roaring Camp Railroads to ride the steam train. If you have a kid who loves trains, this is a must-do. The steam train winds its way through a redwood forest and stops by Bear Mountain, where everyone can get out and do some exploring.

Come on, ride the train.

Two bumps on a log.

When in Santa Cruz we like to stay at the Dream Inn, because we’re so fuckin’ fancy. Actually, I’m pretty sure we’re the opposite of fancy, but we do love staying there. It’s right on the beach, and it’s got a heated swimming pool. Every morning we order room service for breakfast and eat on the balcony.

Meh.

After breakfast, we usually walk the wharf, stopping into every shop and restaurant that has a ceiling fan. We usually tell the hostess, cashier, etc., what we’re doing and why. “He’s autistic, and he loves ceiling fans.” I realize that we don’t have to tell them, but I think it’s a good idea. This way, if another autistic person comes in, they will recognize it. Maybe it’s a silly thing to do, but I think it helps raise awareness.

We walked the wharf a few times a day, so all the employees in the shops and restaurants started to recognize us, and they always had a smile for Calvin. He’s really into naming shapes right now, so we walked the wharf and listed shapes: “square, circle, oval, rectangle, parallelogram, rhombus, star, arrow, heart.”

After we walked the wharf, we would go to the beach. We had a great time just playing in the waves and walking along the beach. During one trip to the beach, Calvin and I held hands and walked along the water until we ran out of beach. I got a little teary. The two of us have faced a lot of challenges in the past few years. Calvin received his autism diagnosis about the same time I was diagnosed with breast cancer for the second time. But here we were, walking on the beach together – healthy and happy.

Beach boy.

After the beach, we would head to the pool. Calvin loves to be in the water, and he’s getting braver and braver. He’s been working on his dog paddle, which he calls “dog piddle.” The Dream Inn has a nice pool. It’s packed with families, and there’s a bar (beer!) and a taco stand.

Pool boys.

One afternoon, we were in the pool, and employees came around and told us that we needed to get out because they had to clean the pool. It turned out someone dropped a turd off at the pool.

“Hmm, maybe setting up a taco stand next to the swimming pool wasn’t the Dream Inn’s smartest decision,” I told David.

“Mr. Hanky decided to go for a swim, too,” David replied. “Howdy ho!

Some folks nearby overheard David, and they started cracking up and talking about Mr. Hanky. It wasn’t long until we could hear the Mr. Hanky impressions going around the pool.

So, yeah, that was pretty gross. And I was so, so, SO thankful our kid wasn’t responsible.

We did walk through the Beach Boardwalk one day, but Calvin didn’t like it. He thought it was too loud, which was a change from last year. He loved walking through the boardwalk last summer, looking at the lights and watching (but never riding) the rides.

This year, he was more interested in watching the boardwalk from the comfort of our room. He referred to the boardwalk as “hockey island.” “Hockey Island is too loud.” “Oh, Hockey Island is closed.” Pretty impressive “Inside Out” reference.

We also hit a few Santa Cruz breweries, including Seabright Brewery, Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing and Humble Sea Brewing Company.  We got the Easy Money IPA and Blur IPA from Seabright. Very drinkable and perfect for the beach. I had the Devout Stout, because I’ve been drinking a lot of IPA lately, and I was ready for something dark. It was delicious, but the real winner was David’s Dread Brown Ale. We got a couple of growler-cans to go. On our way out of Santa Cruz, we stopped at Humble Sea. I got a stout based on Girl Scout thin mint cookies, and David got a northeast-style IPA, and both were pretty good. I was really impressed with all three places. They were terrific, comfortable spaces that were all dog and kid friendly. I’m always surprised by how kid-friendly other restaurants and breweries are outside of San Francisco. Other cities recognize that human beings have children, and that’s a part of life. San Francisco would prefer you get a sitter. Personally, I think some of the breweries in San Francisco could learn something from the ones in the East Bay and beyond. Children are a part of life. Get with the program.

So anyway, we had an awesome time on our trip, but it was nice to come home. We missed our animals. Toby spent the week with my mom. She told me that he really missed me, and he spent a lot of time staring longingly out the window. Our neighbor took care of Kubo for us. She said she’s not really a cat person, but Kubo has won her over. Kubo did the same thing with David. I think it’s her super power.

One of the smart things we planned with this vacation is we got back on Thursday, so we have Friday, Saturday and Sunday to recover. Most of the time, after a vacation, we feel like we need another vacation to recover from our vacation.

I’m so glad my double chin decided to photobomb our nice family pic.


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Weekend Getaway: Portland

Yeah, so, we went to Portland.

My mighty, mighty good man David had to go to Portland for work, so I flew up on Friday to meet him for a little weekend away. I left Calvin in the car in the parking lot at the airport. Don’t worry, I left the window cracked. I’m not a monster.

I kid. He stayed with my mom and had the best time ever. Grandma is his best friend.

So, yeah, I flew up to Portland, and I’m almost embarrassed to admit this, but it was my first-time ever flying on a plane by myself. Also, I’m 46. I know, I know. It’s pretty ridiculous.

Look, Mom! I’m going to fly on the plane like a big girl.

I downloaded the new “Mystery Science Theater 3000” on my Kindle, and it turns out it was the perfect length for the flight. It ended right as we were landing. I was completely entertained and distracted the entire time.

We had an awesome time in Portland. It’s a great city. There was a ton of tasty beer and everywhere I went there was a variety of vegan options. And not just the “I guess I’ll get the fries and the salad” variety, but full-on vegan options. Even a divey bar would have nachos with a vegan cheese option. Heaven!

Our friend Caitlin showed us around on Friday, and we went to a vegetarian restaurant Harlow, where I discovered jalapeno cashew cheese that I will absolutely be trying to make myself. We also went to Breakside Brewery, where I had a couple of really good IPAs, Rainbows & Unicorns IPA and Lunch Break ISA. I also bought this rad hat, which David is modeling in this photo.

We also had dinner at a vegan restaurant, Blossoming Lotus, because David and Caitlin are nice people. I got the chickpea chana masala curry, because curry is one of my faves, and it was delicious. We ended the night with drinks at Horse Brass Pub with David’s friends Collin and Siri.

On Saturday, we went to Blue Star Donuts. Voodoo Doughnuts is super famous, but we were told repeatedly that Blue Star Donuts is a local favorite. We were not disappointed. David got the creme brulee donut, and I got a vegan blueberry one. Yummers!

After that, we went to 10 Barrel Brewing, and I had the milk stout, which was pretty darn good.

We had evening drinks with our friend Kirk and his girlfriend Emily at the White Owl Social Club, which is such an awesome place we didn’t really want to leave for our dinner reservations. But we’re so glad we did, because we had an amazing dinner at La Moule. As you can tell by the name, mussels are kinda their thing, so I decided to be a bad, BAD vegan for a meal and get the Korean mussels, which had miso, ginger, kimchi, garlic and sesame oil. It was good stuff. Honestly, I could have just eaten a loaf of crusty bread and dripped into the broth.

I can see why so many San Franciscans have moved to Portland. It’s very San Francisco-ish, except cleaner. Maybe that’s because of the rain?

We had such a good time. Big thanks to Caitlin for giving up her Friday to show us around, Collin and Siri for meeting us at Horse Brass, and Kirk and Emily for introducing us to the White Owl. Thanks, you guys!

 

 


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Six Things I’m Loving: Chef’s Table, SF Beer Week And More

Yeah, so, I’ve been stupid-busy at work. Don’t you hate it when you have to work at work?

On top of being swamped at work, where I just celebrated my EIGHTH year of working there (WTF?!?), both my mighty, mighty good man David and I caught a nasty cold from my mighty, mighty good boy Calvin. If you listen to this week’s Dorking Out, you can hear how congested I was earlier this week. It’s so sexy.

So, yeah, I’ve been swamped at work; our president is a raving lunatic who is going to get us all killed; and I had a cold. Good times.

Let’s talk about something else. It’s time for another installment of six things I’m loving right now.

Daily Skimm

Being outraged about everything that is going on is a full-time, but I already have a full-time job. Good buddy Kate recommended Daily Skimm to me, which sends an email newsletter every morning that summarizes the most important news stories of the day. It’s super helpful, and makes reading a lot of bad news a little easier … a little. I highly recommend it. You can sign up for it riiight here.

SF Beer Week

sfbeerweek-2017

On Friday, David and I used Urban Sitter for the first-time ever (which worked out great – Calvin had a great time and was instantly comfortable with her) and went to the SF Beer Week Opening Night Gala, like we always do. Just in case you don’t know what that is it goes like this: You pay $80; you get a glass; you get to drink unlimited beer from more than 80 breweries. It’s awesome. We tried some really great beer. Favorites included a milk stout from Seven Stills, Shadow Of Their Eyes from The Rare Barrel and The Vastness Of Space from Cellarmaker Brewing Company.

Chef’s Table

You guys! Season three of Netflix’s “Chef’s Table” drops on Friday! Man oh man, we love “Chef’s Table” in this house. As “Top Chef” fans, we have found this show to be the part of “Top Chef” we loved the most with all the manufactured drama and stupid challenges. Each episode of “Chef’s Table” features a different chef. The second season was set entirely in France, but the first and this upcoming third season feature chefs from all over the world. We learn why the chefs make the kind of food they make. We learn about the process. And then you get to watch them cook. It’s rad! The cinematography is beautiful. We find the show incredibly soothing, and it is a nice break from all the news about how our country is basically a raging dumpster fire right now.

Abstract

So, well we wait for new episodes of “Chef’s Table,” we started watching this other documentary series on Netflix titled “Abstract.” It’s basically “Chef’s Table,” but with artists. We’ve watched the first two episodes: one was about an illustrator, and the second episode was about the man who designed Air Jordans for Nike. This is totally a David series, and I wasn’t sure I’d be into it. But, it’s surprisingly interesting. You learn a lot about their creative process, and as someone who fancies herself somewhat creative that interests me.

Gin

We went to Bourbon & Branch, a speakeasy in San Francisco, with a group of friends for David’s birthday. It’s a real speakeasy. You have to make a reservation, and you get a password and all that. I’m not really a cocktail drinker. I’m a beer and wine drinker. But I figured a nice place like Bourbon & Branch would be a great place to try some delicious cocktails and figure out what I like. “I’m not a cocktail person. What should I get?” She has obviously heard this question before and immediately suggested a cucumber gimlet, which is made with gin. You guys! It turns out I like gin! I also had another gin-based drink, which I think was called Gypsy. I honestly can’t remember, because gin.

gindrink

San Francisco Giants

Baseball season starts April 3. I cannot wait. Baseball, save me!