Weekend Recap: That's Amore / by LD

Ok. Let me say this straightaway: This blog will contain language, folks.

Yep. Of the potty-mouthed, dirty sailor type.

So you've been warned. 

And if you haven't run screaming for your Bibles or for the hills or for a bar of soap by now, then settle on in and hear me out. Because it's worth the trip, y'know what I'm sayin'? 

Speaking of trip, amongst the varying bits of fun I've had this weekend (and believe me, there have been puh-lenty of bits. But more on those later. Or in other posts.), one of the highlights came at 11 a.m. this morning when Jess, Tyler and I took a jaunty Sunday morn' stroll down to Newport (and by 'stroll,' I mean, I drove, so there was a lot of yelling and a lot of highly condescending banter between myself and other inferior drivers on the road, i.e. everyone) to go on a gondola experience with Mike Ruffino.

Mike is a gondolier for the summer--I know, some summer job, huh? I mean, you could be serving those venti caramel half-caf frapps with no whip and extra self loathing, but that's just less impressive. And a guy like this...

...Can't help but be impressive, you catch my drift?

So Mike is still an in-training gondolier, and part of his practice is to take his friends out on rides so, as he puts it, "If anything happens, it's okay."

Okay how, exactly?


Our Sunday morning float was going along swimmingly, if you can excuse the terrible puns, with the sun and the sea and the general mood doing precisely what it does to make California such an undeniably cool place to live. 

Jess, Italy, 1955. La dolce vita.

Palm trees. Bridge of Sighs. Ok, whatever.

We were nearing the end of our ride and we saddled up to the strand of dock to our left, with a hulking three-story yacht, fully decked out in khaki-and-pastel-colored wedding guests, bride, groom, and penguin-suited waitstaff, to our right. The aptly-named Athena was tied to a flimsy dock on her right, and while we pulled into our narrow destination we started noticing something odd: The Athena was beginning to drift, her moaning, bloated white exterior moving in excruciatingly slow motion in our very direction. Maybe it was the sun, or perhaps it was the relatively cinematic turn of events happening before our eyes, but none of us, not Tyler, not Jess, nor I, were terribly nonplussed about the whole thing until Mike muttered under his breath, "Oh, shit."

The Athena inched closer, her swooping, shiny hips swaying closer and closer to our itty, bitty gondola.

"Oh, shit..." Mike said again, this time a bit more urgently.

Again, The Athena closed the gap between our tiny vessel until it was mere inches from the lacquered edges of the gondola.

"Oh SHIT!" Mike spat, vehemently this time.

"Should we get out...?" Tyler ventured calmly, unsure of what to expect.

Mike's voice reached its fever pitch and he, in all manners of urgent levelheadedness, intoned: "Get out, NOW."

Well, you don't have to tell me twice. We leapt out of the boat with the agility of gazelles (if gazelles were wearing floral dresses and bright yellow floppy hats and actually stumbled against the dock, eventually crawling out of the gondola with floral-clad asses in full view of the wedding party aboard The Athena, that is) and from our strand of safety we watched Mike successfully edge the gondola away from the hull of The Athena (you fat broad), with but two inches to spare, and out into the Newport Bay. 

Sigh. Of. Relief. 

And while Tony Bennett crooned from the battery-powered CD player aboard the gondola, I thought to myself, "Whennn the moon hits the sky like a big pizza pie--wait, I'm really hungry. Wow. Uh, I could eat my bright yellow hat for lunch."

So Tyler, Jessica and I bid Mike adieu (or, more appropriately, "Ciao!") and headed for our favorite Indian restaurant on 2nd Street for their unlimited champagne brunch. Afterward, we got lost in a new candy store in Belmont Shore and napped the afternoon away, capping off the evening at Janelle's house for a vegan-friendly and entirely delicious family dinner. 

La dolce vita, indeed.

Mike takes us out onto open sea

Nothing but class

He's Italian, ladies, and yes, single.

In Belmont Shore

The bountiful vegan feast

Mike and I(ke)