I Left My Left Ventricle in San Diego

Six months ago, I planned my first-ever vacation alone for my birthday to San Diego — but I wasn’t going to be alone when I got there.

This trip was a reunion six years in the making to see my very best friend.

And it was F-word epic.


Vacation began just after toddler drop off when I took a long, hot shower. Complete with a hair conditioner mask, face mask, moisturizer. The works.

In the background, you’ll see my inability to choose a paint color for my bathroom.

I packed my bag in the Mari Kondo manner of folding. Sort of.

Ignore the painter’s tape…
Years of traveling for work has taught me to fly light.

My Uber dropped me off at the airport two hours before my flight, which turned out to be completely unnecessary. 

No line. Super nice TSA agents. Great airport amenities. #iflywichita

I waltzed through TSA and skipped hanging out at my gate because the Wichita Eisenhower Airport houses River City Brewing Co.

Hey, I was on vacation.

On my way to San Diego, and they were out of the Hoosker Don’t. Of course.

Southwest doesn’t have a direct flight to San Diego, so we had a layover at LAS. There was a group of women on the flight who were staying in Vegas.

For a bachelorette party.

And the bride was on the flight.

And this happened.

I love Southwest.

My layover was about two hours, and we made good time in the air, so I spent a while in the airport — which, turns out, is just like the city.

Everything was so colorful. And lit up. And ringing. And omg.

So… I “gambled.”

I have no idea what I’m doing.

After a net loss of $10, I continued to fully enjoy airports on my way to San Diego.

Things to which I cannot say “no:” Chicken Tortilla Soup. (Also a hazy IPA.)

We landed at SAN at exactly 7:10 p.m. — fully enjoyed airports and on-time flights this trip — and I raced out of the terminal to find my ride.

Because, again, I hadn’t seen her in six years. When I found her, we hugged for 45 minutes.

OK… that’s hyperbole. But there was much hugging.

So now begins our epic adventure.

vin de syrah hidden bar san diego




Like Alice’s cake, the stairway down to Vin de Syrah in San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter shrunk us down to fun size.

Ideal for over-sized booths and perfectly sized beers. Drink me!

We entered a secret door, hidden by a wall of shrubbery and spent the first hour of our San Diego adventure catching up, drinking beer and more hugging.

My love.

At home, I finally got to meet her pibble.

He snuggled me every night and even cuddled up with me under the covers.
I mean LOOK at his sad old man face and tell me he’s not perfect.

Friday, February 7

We went to New Zealand.

Just kidding. We went to brunch at Dunedin.

And, yes, we took pictures of everything.



Delightful, if small, Bloody Mary — spicy.
Potentially the most delicious breakfast burrito I’ve ever eaten. I mean, it had tots in it.

Then, it was time for best friend tattoos.

Yes, I said tattoo.

No, I can’t show it to you.

Why? It’s not internet appropriate.

I mean, just imagine it’s on my left ventricle.

Hers is, too.

Black Anvil Tattoo Shop is in North Park. Ask for RJ.
This is RJ.

We had time to kill before our dinner reservation, so we planned to go to Coronado. But there was no parking for the ferry, and no one wants to drive over that bridge, so instead we found more beer.

Again, vacation.

Brew30 houses San Diego brews in the biggest Hyatt I’ve ever seen. Seriously, it was unnecessarily large.

While it wasn’t a hole-in-the-wall or something with a sunny patio we usually frequent, they did have a ton of beer on tap.

And we really like beer ‾\_(ツ)_/‾
Latitude33, Ballast Point Rotation, Belching Beaver and Modern Times.
Beer beer beer beer beer ♪

Now, it was time for dinner…


I love this gargoyle.
An IPA with my bae.
Outdoor pre-dinner beer seating.
I don’t know who these people are. They were just in the way of me taking pictures.
If I lived in Escondido, I’d never leave this place. Seriously, the brewery is a garden!
Obligatory bathroom selfie. Yes, it’s obligatory.
Obligatory Stone gargoyle photo. Yes, it’s obligatory.

Saturday, February 8

When I woke up Saturday, there was still a sweet, snuggly pibble on the bed — who didn’t move even a little bit when I got up.

Saturday breakfast took us to A Delight of France, and there were so many delightful things — including the coffee, and the crepes, and the almond croissant, omg guys the almond croissant.

It was the size of my face. And maybe two other people’s faces.
I said, “Do something French,” and this is what I came up with. Je ne sais pas. Je suis une stupide américaine… qui parle francais… un peu.

The highlight of Saturday? Escondido’s For the Love of Chocolate Festival. If not beer, why not chocolate?

And beer.

Because there was both.

Glass blowing lessons were the goal of tickets — not for me, I don’t live there, but for my bestie — but we did not win the golden ticket.

Didn’t stop us from hanging out at the glass blowing place…

Play with fire, indeed.

…and checking out all the art…

Sculpture that would not survive Kansas.

…but eventually we left and wandered off the beaten path…

“I just want to be an eagle!”

…and found our kind of brewery.

The Jacked Up kind.

We’re now members of the Society of Jacked Up Individuals. I have the sticker to prove it.

Back on tour — with shopping bags, stickers and swag in tow — we made it to Little Miss Brewing.

…and I had a severe, slightly embarrassing, sympathy nerd moment for my husband.

Let’s be clear:

1) He was not there.

2) He was a political science major, and he enjoyed studying about Russia and WWII and one of his favorite books is Darkness at Noon.

Note: I just had to get up and go ask him, “What’s that book about Russia that I won’t read?” because I couldn’t remember what it was called.

3) He’s a nerd.

4) I’M a nerd.

5) The entire bar is decked out like a Russian spy novel from WWII.

6) I spazzed.







At this point, I don’t even know what we were doing. But there was beer.

7) Pretty sure his response was “neat babe.”

Saturday, February 9

On my last full day in San Diego, it rained. I argue it did because it was sad I was leaving the next morning at WAY too early.

Ashley took me axe throwing for my birthday.

I wasn’t “nervous.” It’s just… I have poor depth perception.
The first several axe throws ended like this.
But I got better.
She is…
…a pro.
I think we’re ready for the zombie apocalypse.

SoCal Axe Throwing is hooked up to Wild Barrel Brewing.

So, yes, we had more beer.

We went to dinner at a nearby ramen shop and feasted. Last night of vacation? I’m eating my weight in ramen and sushi.

And drinking Japanese beer. Because it’s still vacation.
At Mirin Cafe where the motto is “No Ramen No Life.”

On my final night in San Diego, we hung out, hugged more and went to bed unfortunately early.

Sunday, February 10

Because my flight left at 8 a.m.

I left my left ventricle (which is a euphemism for an inside joke that I don’t have 20+ years to explain) in San Diego.

It won’t be another six years until I hop on a Southwest flight and see her again… however, it might take six years to burn off the beer calories.

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