Did Somebody Say “Get Me Away From These Douchey Danes!”?

Let me start by refreshing everyone’s memory:

My husband freaked out a little bit because I was sitting around crying being so kidless and fancy free, the Pookies being gone for this 12 day trip away from me. For the record, I was not crying because I had free time, but rather I realized how much of a grave mistake it was to allow such a trip to happen. I wasn’t ready for it. Neither was anybody else it would seem, for when I finally was given the dignity of some contact yesterday, I learned that the cell phone has – in fact – been uncharged and off for the whole week, the allergy medicine has been ignored, and teeth have not even been brushed. I’m also pretty down in the funks because I have been wanting to move home to Chicago for about 7 years now to be closer to my family and it’s just not happening, although that is another story altogether. In any event, I was a little loose around the edges, so Poor Nick did what any husband would do: he sent me away.

I’m going home today, and you’ll all see that it’s about 5 o’clock in the morning, and I’m up: blogging and listening to Tom Jones. You’d think that is a sign that this little mental health retreat isn’t working, when really it’s that the people staying upstairs were having a party. Around 3 o’clock I woke up to the sound of people wading through beer cans outside in the parking lot: yes, you heard what I said. There were about 50 Modelo and Bud Light cans strewn in the parking lot and someone was wading through them, looking for his keys.

Classy establishment, hubs.

In any event, I think I’m ready to head home. I realized that, while Solvang is the place for a mental health retreat, it’s also the place for overindulgence, douchey yuppies, and losing all your money to tourism and more tourism.

Last night my wine walk got cut short

I decided yesterday to do the Wednesday Wine Walk that the local-yolcals host to try and inspire business. For $20 you get a glass, a map, and five tickets for wine tasting at the participating wineries. Each ticket gets you two tastes.

I got through two places that were on the list, plus one next door that I had to pay separate for. All of them had (for the most part) the shittiest wine I have ever tasted in my life, coupled with a crowd full of douche bags and dogs walking around sniffing people’s assholes. When I got to the fourth, the fifth, and the sixth, I learned that the wine tasting event was being hosted by wine tasting rooms that did not even intend on being open until said event was over.

That’s right. I bought tickets that said “good for tasting until 7” and the last three places participating closed at 6. The most egregious was that the one I bought my tickets at earlier in the day was one of them.

Just yesterday I was thinking to myself that these people drink a lot. I mean, a lot. I know that in Europe people drink a lot more, but I’m really a “glass a day is good for me” kind of gal. Possibly they keep the alcoholism under control by never fulfilling what they actually sell.

So I went to get some dinner instead, and was too tired to cruise all the way to Santa Ynez as my plan was, so I just decided on this local brewery/restaurant that seemed pretty popular since people were crowded all around and inside it.

And then I realized something else.

All of the food here tastes like a fucking pancake

And I don’t mean a good pancake. I just mean some weird, fucked up pancake that is like the cross between powdered sugar and my Trailer Trash Mom’s asshole. Some of the food I had was good, like the ham and cheese croissant I had for breakfast yesterday, and the turkey sandwich I had the first night into town. But for the most part, everything tasted like that shitty pancake.

There are some things that should not have shitty pancake flavor. The chicken and mashed potatoes I had for dinner at that supposedly good brewery/restaurant is one thing that should not have tasted like shitty pancake, yet did. The salad I had for lunch yesterday too … probably shouldn’t have tasted like pancake. And that was like a spicy pancake, which just boggles my mind to even think about right now. At the time I was eating it I thought it was good, but then two hours later – as the taste of spicy pancake lingered in my mouth – I realized that something was wrong with that shit.

Everyone here thinks they are actually living in Denmark

I’m all for upholding your family heritage and everything, but for Christ’s fucking sakes people!

* Wearing those ridiculous Danish Maid costumes when it’s 100 fucking degrees outside just makes me hot.

* Slapping a Norwegian flag on everything from t-shirts to iPad cases does not justify marking up the price 190%.

* Speaking in Danish when you say you grew up in fucking Orange County is not authentic. Ever skede lederhosen your ass back to Anaheim!

So yeah, I’m about over this place. I’m ready to go home and return to my carefully crafted life of laundry, dishes, cleaning house, homeschooling, and wiping asses (literally, figuratively … you decide). Before the return of the Pookies on Monday, I have a few more things to catch up on anyway. As I sit here, with pancake taste in my mouth, shitty wine burning my gut, and every drunken wanna-be Dane outside wading through piles of aluminum beer can trash, I realize that depressed or not, in a funk or otherwise, it’s about time I ever skede lederhosen my own ass back to Camarillo.

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Did Somebody Say Aebleskiver Asylum?

Okay, I didn’t really have any aebleskivers; yet, of course. And I’m not in an asylum. But yesterday I started off my three day tour of this strange Danish town by sharing with everyone the story of how my husband sent me to Solvang, CA, on a little bit of a “mental health retreat” since I’m Pookie-less and in a bit of a funk these days.

Yesterday we established that if you have a case of the funks, Solvang can provide a fix through: (1) the eating and drinking; (2) weird, bizarro-shit; and (3) shopping.

Today the trip continued into this faux Danish town and all it’s glories.

#4 If the fix for a case of the funks is shopping (which we all know it is, and already established Solvang is good for), Solvang is the place for it.

I won’t go into the entire list of things that I purchased; although, I will say this: the majority of it was not for me. It was for my family. I got food, I got souvenirs, I got rosemary olive oil that may as well be gold for what it cost. And while just about everything in Solvang is overpriced, I am happy to say I found some pretty good deals regardless.

The one thing I got for myself that I must discuss at length, though, is something that I never thought I would find up here: a zebra-printed apron. I almost screamed in the middle of the shop when I saw it.

#5 If the fix for a case of the funks is bizarro tourism crap, Solvang is the place for it.

I originally planned on hitting up the miniature pony farm to see the cute 34 inch ponies, but that got scratched after 15 minutes of driving around looking for it to no avail. Instead, I returned to the downtown area of Solvang and went to the Hans Christian Andersen museum.

The museum, itself, was a little drab. It’s a little larger than a room and has a bunch of old copies of the guy’s books, plus a doll house and a head bust of Andersen, himself. Below the museum, though, is the Book Loft – which had tons of amazing books I spent about an hour looking through. I could have spent more, but I was getting hungry.

Later in the day, I went to the Old Mission Santa Inez. The mission nearby where we live sits on a busy street, and is always noisy. There is a garden in the center of it, but “peaceful” is never something I envision it to be. Old Mission Santa Inez on the other hand, is a quiet gem nestled above rolling hills and vineyards. There is an awesome outdoors Stations of the Cross installation; and there are benches that you can sit on to just relax.

Clearly this mental health thing is working, because while I was sitting in the quiet outside the mission, I realized that this is the first time of true quiet I’ve had since my vacation almost six months ago, to Chicago. What is wrong with that picture? Everyone’s lives are busy. When you have kids, there is always noise (except when the kids are in bed). But I think in our house, we go beyond that. Something is always on – be it a radio, a cd player, a computer, or a TV. We never just sit and enjoy the quiet together.

This has got to change or I will for sure be admitted to Aebleskiver Asylum, and for longer than just a few days.

#6 If the fix for a case of the funks is gambling away all your life’s savings, then Solvang is the place for it.

I didn’t actually gamble away all our life’s savings. I only gambled thirty bucks. And I lost it all.

There is an Indian Casino just a few miles North of Solvang, and I’m familiar with it because my mother used to come up here all the time to gamble in the middle of the night with her boyfriend; and also because on my birthday this year I came up and won about 300 dollars on Keno.

No such luck this time. At 30 I gave up. During the day, the place is also filled with tons of old people smoking cigarettes, so 30 minutes and 30 bucks was about it for me.

So now I’m heading out again – for some more of #1 (the eating and the drinking). The credit cards are going to have to rest now, and my liver will pick up the slack. On the third Wednesday of the month, Solvang has a Wine Walk – $20 for a glass and 5 tasting room tickets. After the Wine Walk I’m going to venture up to Santa Ynez (the town) to eat dinner. Much like Solvang, Santa Ynez has it’s own theme – only rather than Danish, it’s the Old West. Who knew in the middle of wine country you could find so much weirdness?

Did Someone Say Funky Pea Soup?

So if you aren’t following me on Facebook, you’ve missed some of the fun that has gone on in my terribly mundane life these last few weeks. Most importantly, you missed the part where I had a little bit of a meltdown because Pookies is on this 12 day trip away from me and we are going on 6 days now incommunicado. That, in combination with my general unhappiness with life as is (I want to move back to Chicago so bad I can taste the pizza) led to my husband worrying so much about my mental health that he decided to send me on a three-day jaunt to Solvang.

I’m fairly certain the decision to do so either came because (a) he knew I was about to get a visit from Aunt Flo and would be particularly bitchy in addition to all this other mental drama; or, (b) considered it to be far cheaper than sending me to a funny farm with straight jackets, rolling meadows, and electroshock therapy for a few months.

Okay, I don’t really think I would need shock therapy, but I do feel pretty in a funk these days.

So today was Day One of the mental health fix.

#1 If the fix for a case of the funks is eating and drinking, Solvang is the place for it.

For those of you that have never been to Solvang, CA, it’s kind of like a faux Danish town. It’s in the middle of wine country and the fresh, local, and Danish food is a big attraction. But it isn’t just the Danish food: it’s any food.

Dinner tonight was at Pea Soup Andersen’s, where I had a turkey sandwich and mashed potatoes. Unlike the rest of the people in the restaurant, I ordered my gravy on the side, which I was thankful for because the serving-size was a full crock.

Did you faithful blog followers get that? A fucking crock of gravy.

#2 If the fix for a case of the funks is doing a bunch of weird, bizarre-o shit while drunk, Solvang is the place for it.

There is a lot of Scandinavian heritage stuff everywhere. Every corner has a fucking windmill on it. And Hans Christian Andersen is their town hero. It’s a little weird. A little local-yocally. But it’s good if you need to get away and slow down so your brain doesn’t fry completely.

After rolling into town, I got everything settled into the hotel, which also has a windmill on the front of it. I drove around a bit, made a little bit of a plan for tomorrow, which will include: visiting the Santa Inez Mission, checking out the 34 inch miniature ponies on the pony farm, wine tasting on the Solvang wine walk, going to the Hans Christian Andersen museum, shopping at the All-Year-Long-Christmas store, and making candles in the candle shop. I’m also going to the casino and thinking about getting a pedicure at the nail salon with a large head bust of Andersen himself in the window.

Could this get anymore random?

#3 If a fix for a case of the funks is shopping … well, we all know that a fix for the case of the funks is shopping, and Solvang is the place for that too.

Tonight at Pea Soup Andersen’s, I picked up: strawberry-rhubarb jam, pumpkin pancake syrup, cinnamon honey, wild blueberry muffin mix, and 9 cans of pea soup, tomato soup, and pea-bacon soup. Tomorrow will no doubt include more shopping. My biggest fear is that I just got my TOMS catalogue and there is a TOMS store in town. That could equal major damage to the pocketbook.

 

I’m heading off to bed soon. Another part of my funk is that I’m sleeping more. I’m considering it a good thing for the moment simply because when my little sweetsies gets back next Monday life will again get crazy in the kid-way.