The Sonia Show

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


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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

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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!

 


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Beer and Clothing in Las Vegas

Yeah, so, I went to Vegas, and I totally relaxed, you guys. See?

relaxing

Chilling at the pool at Palms Place with two other people (not shown). I guess the pool isn’t really popular in November.

I got a pedicure and a manicure. I lounged by the pool and read. I got a massage. I slept late. I ordered room service for breakfast every morning and listened to podcasts. Our room had a deep, long tub with jets. It was like a jacuzzi except it didn’t smell like chlorine, and I wasn’t forced to make small talk with some creep who’s looking for a little “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” action. I spent so much time in that tub. I entertained the idea of sending for the kid and the pets and moving into the tub. Sometimes I took a bath twice a day.

Get Up Offa That Brown from Golden Road Brewing.

Get Up Offa That Brown from Golden Road Brewing.

Every night, I put on a dress and met up with my mighty, mighty good man David for dinner. In the evening in the restaurants and casinos, all the women wore really low-cut tops or super-tight dresses with very-high heels. I did not. One night I wore a sweater dress with a collar and my saddle shoes. David loved the shoes so much that he asked me to wear them with every dress for the rest of week, which I happily did because they are cute and comfortable.

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Saddle shoes 4 eva!

We had some really great food. One night we went to “Top Chef” judge Tom Colicchio’s restaurant, Craftsteak, in MGM. I know what you are thinking, “Umm, what does your lame vegan ass eat in a steakhouse?” First of all, that’s a rude thing to say. Second, they made me a special vegan meal! I told the server I am a vegan, and the chef prepared me a special dish. That’s right. I’m special.

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Veggies for me and a steak for him. We’re happy.

The next night we went to Wynn’s casino and hotel, because we heard that the owner, Steve Wynn, is a vegan and has required that every restaurant in his casino and hotel have a vegan menu. We went to Lakeside, and I was not disappointed. I had the vegan “beef” wellington with asparagus, the Old Bay “crab” cake and a vegan carrot cake. It was the fuckin’ best!

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Gardein Beef Wellington with wild mushrooms, spinach, puff pastry in a vegan bordelaise.

The food was so delicious. I had a big glass of red wine. They were playing music that could have been right out of my iTunes. It was all Billy Ocean, Michael Jackson and Madonna with some Justin Timberlake in there. It was rad. I was so happy in that restaurant.

On our final night in Vegas we went to dinner with our friends Lon and Amanda at Harvest in the Bellagio, because we’re so fancy. While my vegan dish, a farro porridge with foraged wild mushrooms, black truffle, was yummy, everyone else seemed disappointed by their meals. However, there was a photographer taking photos, and we got the most amazing photo. We got a photo, and then we got a photo of us with our photo. That made the entire dinner worth it, if you ask me.

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It’s OK to be jealous of our picture within a picture.

We also saw the Cirque Du Soleil show, “O.” It’s a very entertaining show. I couldn’t help but wonder about the logistics of putting on such a crazy show. Also, what’s it like to perform in this show? Do you make a lot of money? Do you perform two shows a night for six days a week? Also, I wonder if they are all sleeping together? They’re all so flexible. I bet they only want to have sex with people who are as flexible as them.

So anyway, I didn’t really gamble that much. I played a little video poker. I lost about $20, but I got a free drink or two out of it, so that’s fine. The slot machines don’t pay out in coins in anymore. You don’t hear that clang, clang, clang of coins, and people don’t carry around big plastic cups. And, a lot of the slot machines are those video slot machines now, and there were a ton based on TV shows, including “Game Of Thrones,” “The Walking Dead” and “Orange Is The New Black.” All of them seem like strange choices for slot machines. If I started playing “The Walking Dead” slot machine I’d just remember that time that Carol’s daughter turned into a zombie and start crying.

We arrived Monday afternoon, and by Wednesday I was missing Calvin something fierce. I was watching videos of him on my phone. By Friday I was so over Vegas. I was tired of everything smelling like smoke, and I really wanted to see my boy. We had a really wonderful time, though. I think it’s just what I need to recharge a little bit, and it was long overdue.

It doesn’t appear that I missed much while I was away. Our president-elect is still a white supremacist man child. Oh well.

trumptower

#NotMyPresident


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Holy Halloween, Batman!

Yeah, so, my mighty, mighty good boy Calvin isn’t really into Halloween.

If we ask him what he would like to dress up as for Halloween, we usually get the answer of “No, thank you.” We pitch him ideas and he just says no. That’s fine. People might say, “Well, autistic kids are just not into Halloween.” I don’t think that’s the case at all. I’m sure there are plenty of autistic kids and adults who love Halloween. The truth is, everyone is different; autistic or not. Some people are just not into Halloween.

Calvin isn’t anti-Halloween. If we pick out a costume, a simple one with no masks or crazy hats, he will wear it. He loves seeing other people in their costumes. And, he loves trick or treating. He’s not really interested in eating the candy, which is awesome. He just likes going from door to door and saying, “Trick or treat,” and then looking into people’s houses. Hey, I get it. I like being nosy and peeking into people’s houses, too.

Calvin will say, “Trick or treat,” and then he will comment on something in the house. “You’ve got a fan.” “Your TV is on.” “There’s a cat.” And he always says, “Thank you.” He’s very polite.

So, the good thing about Calvin not being into Halloween is we can pick whatever costume we want. A lot of people probably don’t know this about me, but I super love group costumes. Until Calvin becomes interested  in Halloween or starts actively protesting Halloween, I’ve got someone to do group costumes with. Win!

In the past, we’ve been Curious George, The Man in the Yellow Hat and a banana. We’ve also gone full-Star Trek. This year, we’re representing the DC Universe: Batman, Robin and Batgirl.

batmanfamily

batgirl-robin

batgirl-batman

robin-catwoman

Robin & Catwoman

We will try to trick or treat tonight, weather permitting. After that, Calvin will go to bed, and my mighty, mighty good man David and I will open a few pumpkin beers (we’re big fans of Flying Dog’s Fear Imperial Pumpkin Ale), and we will watch 1963’s “The Haunting” or maybe 1959’s “The Tingler,” starring Vincent Price. We’ve been on a Vincent Price trip lately. We’ve watched “House of Usher,” “Theater of Blood” and “Masque Of The Red Death.”

This weekend, we went to two Halloween parties. My sister and her family held their annual Halloween party. Michelle and her husband, Tony, dressed up as the Joker and Harley Quinn, without realizing that we were dressing up as Batman, Batgirl and Robin.

dcfamily

Before I wrap this post up, I’ve got a serious question for you: Who wore it better?

whoworeitbetter

Happy Halloween, you guys!


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Short Bangs Are Better Than No Bangs: I’m Talking About Hair So Get Your Mind Out Of The Gutter

Yeah, so, I went to get my hair cut and colored the other day. My hair dresser had to cut quite a bit. My hair grows pretty fast and it’s really thick now. It’s thick and curly!

I love the cut so much, but she did cut the bangs a little short. She cut them short with the idea that they would be perfect in a week. If she left them any longer I’d probably be bitching that they are in my eyes. So, yeah, they’re kinda short.

I came home from my hair appointment, and I said something to my mighty, mighty good man David.

“I love the cut, but the bangs are a little too short,” I said.

“Well, considering the fact that you were practically bald this time last year, I think you can live with short bangs,” he replied.

“Valid point, sir!”

He is not wrong.

thennow

What a difference a year makes, right?


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We got dressed up and went to a wedding

Yeah, so, last week my mighty, mighty good man David and I went to Joe and Megan’s wedding in Columbia.

Joe is one of David’s oldest friends. They are practically brothers, and David has always thought of Joe’s family as, well, family. Joe was the officiant at our wedding. See?

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It was time for David to return the favor. David did an awesome job, because he’s an awesome guy. He opened the ceremony with the opening lines of Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy,” because it’s so rad. “Dearly beloved. We are gathered here today to get through this thing called life. Electric word ‘life.'”

officiant

The officiant of this wedding is hot! I mean, he’s good looking, but also, he’s hot. It was like 100 degrees that day.

It was a great weekend. We got to visit with friends that we haven’t seen in a while. Plus, we had a reason to get dressed up all fancy and shit, and we love that. There was drinking and dancing – all good things.

weddingbw

We’re so fancy.

We had a wonderful weekend in gold rush country. We didn’t pan for gold. I guess we were feeling lucky; however we did ride shotgun on a stagecoach. #humblebrag

stagecoach

We didn’t bring mighty, mighty good boy Calvin to the wedding. I asked him if he wanted to go.

Me: “Do you want to go to a wedding where you have to sit still and be quiet, or do you want to go swimming with Grandma?”

Calvin: “Go swimming with Grandma.”

calvinraft

 


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Old Movies, New Beer podcast: Snow White

Yeah, so, mighty, mighty good man David and I finally go around to recording a new installment of “Old Movies, New Beer,” and this time we have a guest.

Oh la la. Our podcast is so fancy now. We have guests and shit.

One of my oldest friends, Chris Smith, is our first-ever guest, and we chat about Disney’s first full-length animated feature “Snow White.”

snowwhite-hipster

Smith and David are big Disney buffs, so there’s a lot of interesting discussion about the history of Disney and the creation of “Snow White.” We also have really fun discussion about what are favorite Disney movies are, and which Disney princesses are our favorites. Our choices will shock you!

I know I’ve been writing about a lot of podcasts here, and it’s about to get even worse, so consider yourself warned.

This episode of “Old Movies, New Beer” is just a taste of what listeners can expect from my new adventure in podcasting, “Dorking Out With Chris & Sonia,” which is launching really soon. It’s kind of a spinoff of “The Pop Show” podcast we do for Assignment X, but it’s a little bit more of a deeper dive on pop culture, entertainment and anything people like to dork out about. This podcast is not just about movies, TV shows and comic books. We all dork out about something whether it’s board games (ahem, David), craft beer, writing, music, vintage clothes or even sports. I’m really excited about it. It’s going to be a lot of fun, and I think you will like it.

My apologies if the blog has been podcast heavy. None of this will affect your regularly scheduled The Sonia Show, I swear. I’ve been writing this blog for more than 13 years. I’ll still be writing about assy things here until the day I die, which will be a very, VERY long time from now – thank you very much. But, if you just can’t get enough of me – awww shucks – there’s even more of me to love. Wait, that came out wrong. Ugh. You know what I mean.

 


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Old Movies, New Beer podcast: Batman v Superman, sort of

Yeah, so, because I just love listening to the sound of my own voice, I have another podcast to promote this week.

Mighty, mighty good man David and I are talking about “Batman v Superman,” Old Movies, New Beer-style. In other words, we watched 1966’s “Batman,” based on the Adam West TV series, and 1978’s “Superman: The Movie,” starring Christopher Reeve. Plus, we’re drinking Blood Orange Ale by Flying Dog. Get it? Flying Dog! So fuckin’ clever, right?

running

You should listen to our podcast, because:

  • What started as a discussion about “Batman” and “Superman” turned into a discussion about superhero movies – what we expect from them; which ones are our favorites; and other deep thoughts.
  • It’s fun
  • We get drunk

You can listen to the podcast on our website OldMoviesNewBeer.com or find us on iTunes riiiight here.


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The Seven-Year Itch

Yeah, so, I can’t believe it’s been seven years since I went on my last-ever first date.

Then.

Then.

Now.

Now.

Happy dating anniversary to my mighty, mighty good man David!

I don’t even know what else to say. He’s my favorite person. He’s the best husband, father and friend a girl can ask for. I’m fuckin’ stoked that he agreed to be introduced to me seven years ago by a mutual friend. I can’t imagine what my life would be like without him. I’m sure it would really suck. I’m sure Calvin can’t image what his life would be like without David, because Calvin wouldn’t exist. I wouldn’t have agreed to have a baby with anyone else, so you’re welcome, world!