Saturday, July 31, 2010

Day Four: Whew, I'm Full

Day four of the five in celebration of the fiftieth opened with a short bus ride to meet mom for a longer bus ride to the downtown area. Tickets in hand we trek to screen seventeen.
I hadn't revealed to mom that this will be my second time seeing "The Kids Are All Right". Today's trip wasn't really my idea. Well, going to the movies was my idea (sort of) but I didn't choose the film. "Kids" won by virtue of the fact that it was not an animated, mind-bending drama, slapstick-ish humor featuring guys, action-packed thriller starring Angelina Jolie. My mom doesn't "know movies" but she does have very definite ideas about what she doesn't want to see.
If you haven't seen it I won't spoil it for you. I'll say we both enjoyed the film (me more than she) and no, I never told her this was my second time. I ate my weight in popcorn, which was a tactical error since the second item on the agenda was lunch. Another short bus ride leading to tourist mecca, Navy Pier. I have yet to decipher my mom's fascination with this place, but I decided to play along and be easy rider. Whatever, wherever.
We ordered sandwiches (me: Pesto Chicken Panini and mom: Italian Beef) from Connie's took seats at an outside eating area and set about to enjoy the weather, the food, the people watching, and more. Dessert (for me) consisted of a cup of ice cream. We walked a bit (more) and then boarded a bus and headed toward home.
An outing with mom wouldn't be an outing with mom without a detour or two somewhere along the way. On this trip we detoured to a discount dry goods store and then to a grocery store. Deborah was not amused, but she's playing easy rider today.
It was an all day affair and for the most part quite pleasant.
Day five is not yet constructed save a previously postponed errand. The bulk of the day will be spent (I suspect) wrapping my head around fifty and all that these days have brought, meant. There will be organizing for the week ahead and the final verdict on the chocolate martini taste tests.
And oh yeah, my thoughts on Pretzel M & M's. Another treat gifted by the new recruit.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Day Three: D Day

Meet Daphne. Daphne fluttered around one of the surprises of the season last weekend while I worked in the yard. She hung around long enough for me to drop my tools, trek upstairs, grab the camera and snap her portrait. She's an honored visitor and I am glad she took the time to feast upon my work in progress.

On to day three of the 5 days celebrating my fiftieth year. This is D day as it is the actual date of my birth fifty years ago. Per my certificate (once again, note to self, get that thing laminated or something) I was born at 11:50 AM. I am the second of what tapped out at three, the middle and only daughter.

This day began with a hug, kiss, and happy birthday wish from my D before she left for her half-workday, as we have a lunch date for later. No work day for me so the rest of the morning progressed rather peacefully. A light breakfast and some email exchanges wrapped around a mostly quiet, contemplative time. And oh yeah, there was also Project Runway re-runs from . . . I don't even know which season, or cycle, or what da what. Not quite sure what held me captive . . .

D and I lunched at Carnivale. I've been wanting to give Carnivale a go since it opened a few years ago. I don't usually go to new (new to me) places for celebratory type outings, but I decided this time to adjust my playbook. I'm so thrilled I did. We arrived toward the end of lunch service, so it wasn't hustle-bustle. The food was great and the company, well, you know.

The outing (or the chocolate martini before and mojito during ) tuckered me out and I slept for a bit.

Now I'm awake gearing up for more celebration tomorrow. Mom and I have plans for a movie and a meal in big city. The current plan is to see "The Kids Are All Right" after some back and forth over who the heck is "that Jolie, do you know her?" And then, some rest.

In the meantime however, some cake, ice cream, and chocolate martini taste tests.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Day Two: Cake and Then Some

Well into day two of five toward celebrating birthday number FIVE-ZERO and I tell you, it couldn't have been a better day two. Actually, since Michael is out of town, Dani at work most of the day, and considering I am single, I suppose it could have been better, but it has been pretty danged good.
This day didn't start with cake, but cake features prominently. But, I'll get to that later. I'd like to send big, HUGE, hugs, and kisses to a cache of friends, they know who they are, and I'll speak to take more prominently later, but for now...y'all ROCK!!
I remember telling someone, sometime that I didn't cry when I'm happy (don't -usually- cry much at all) only when I'm sad, but I shed tears today, of pure joy at the warmth and friendship exhibited by the ladies. I repeat, y'all ROCK!!
Now, about the cake. Mom ordered me a cake from a local grocer / baker. And to paraphrase a line from "Total Recall" , I asked her not to, but she did anyway. And as little related to my mom is easy-peasy, I ran into a big of a snafu when I went to pick up said cake. Yes, I had to pick up my cake because my mom is mobility challenged and getting back to this particular store which isn't on a major transpo route, would have proven . . . challenging, I offered / agreed to pick it up.
I got to the store after having consumed 1/2 of a kick-ass chocolate martini and proceeded to the bakery (after making a stop in dairy for half n half, I'll explain in a bit) where I presented the order ticket AND receipt. The clerk / baker who came over just after dusting some powdered sugar on some one's something or another, took the ticket and went to get the cake. Upon her return, the following exchange:
Clerk (to her associate, other clerk or OC): How much dis cake?
OC: $6.99
Clerk: but this is a two-layer, a'int they $14.99?
OC: yeah
Clerk: she's charged for single layer, $6.99
OC: yeah, the lady said she wanted single layer, paid and then called back and said, "get my baby that bigger cake."
Clerk: so she owe a difference...6.99, no..8.99, no...6.99 no, wait. . .
ME: HOLD UP... LET ME SEE THE RECEIPT. (half a choc martini voice)
Clerk: The receipt a'int gon tell you nuthin' see---it say one layer, but see, this a two layer.
OC: yeah, the lady called back said, "get my baby that bigger cake."
Clerk, yeah, so the difference is ... ME: WAIT..
My Aside: Mom didn't tell me I was going to have to put something ON the cake, she would have mentioned that (no matter how faulty her memory might be getting--she wouldn't have -made- me pay for my own birthday cake. Nope. Never.
ME: Well, let me call her because she never mentioned that to me, in fact she told me specifically that she'd gotten a small cake because, "really, you don't need that much cake" (a dig about my weight. Don't you love moms?).
Clerk: You know what? Fine. Here . . ::paid sticker on the cake:: Happy Birthday.
Me: Thank You.
Of course, I proceeded to muss the cake a bit during the bike ride home, but it is still mostly intact and still very much chocolate with yellow flowers and a "Happy Birthday Deborah" scribed on top. Cute.
Back to the chocolate martini. I hadn't, prior to today, tried a chocolate martini. As many of you know I haven't even been a martini drinker all that long, having been introduced to them by my former girlfriend.
Well, in addition to the tirimasu cake, the newest recruit gifted me with the ingredients to, in her words, "make the perfect chocolate martini." Those ingredients being, vanilla vodka, G*diva chocolate liqueur, and B*iley's Irish Cream. She hadn't included a recipe, but I figured it couldn't be too difficult. Still, a quick Internet search and suggestions from fb peeps indicated that in addition to the ingredients I had on hand a smidgen of half and half is usually part of the chocolate martini mix, one even suggested a dash of cinnamon.
I emailed the newest recruit* and discovered that she is not a fan of the half and half. She offered her recipe and suggested I try it a bunch of different ways to find out which is best for me.
So, I am. Today (so far) I tried her recipe with kick-ass results. Yummy. I will have another with a dash of cinnamon. My run to the store to pick up the cake afforded the opportunity to pick up some half and half. I won't try that concoction until tomorrow, maybe.
But, over the next few days I will try chocolate martinis several different ways to find the right fit. Something tells me every which way will be just fine and dandy.
Day two coming to a close and so far, so all good.
*much thanks to newest recruit. She also rocks.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Day One: It's About Cake

Well into and about to eke out of the first of the five day fiftieth birthday celebration I'm finding myself thinking, over and over, about cake.

I began day one of five going back to where it all started, mom's and she wasted no time talking about cake. In fact, this entire month many of our conversations led back to cake. She: what kind of cake do you like? Me: I Like ALL cake. She: ::raucous laughter:: ALL? CAKE? Me: Well, sure. I. Like. Cake. Sure, some are more favorite than others, but it there is cake, I'm there.

What is particularly funny (read: weird) about this conversation is that I don't recall any birthday of the previous 49 (ok, I have long forgotten the first . . . oh, 9 or so, but . . . ) that didn't prominently feature chocolate cake. Chocolate is my signature flavor. I wondered about her query and she replied, "I don't know what you like."

Me: Huh???

Mom and I talk every few days (the daily talks falling by the wayside) and see one another once a week (two, at the most) and short of perhaps knowing my preference for types of under-garments, whether it is brunettes, red-heads, or other that revs my motor, or if I prefer peanut butter over jam on my toast, she knows me. Or, should.

However, since coming out to her last Thanksgiving she's made this, "I don't know what you like" statement a few times. She's inquired as to my preferences over types of clothing, jewelry. skin products, beverages, and more. Partly, I see it as a function of aging (hers and mine) as her memory falters and tastes do change sometimes over time. But, partly too, I'm sure she is of the mind that if I could be gay and she not to have known this very fundamental thing about me, then she doesn't know anything.

I get that. But, gay or straight, I. Like. Cake.

Yesterday I got the surprise of all surprises when my newest recruit gifted me with the cake of all cakes, tirimasu (among other things, which will be addressed in another post). She and I were talking and as anyone who has had more than a 15-minute conversation with me may have discovered, talk came 'round to my mother.

I mentioned the cake conversations and that led to the admission that tirimasu was a favorite and dang it if newest recruit didn't bring one for me. And yes, of course I shared with the guys.

Her bringing me cake (and stuff?) WoWsome, that.

During my visit with mom today she handed me a receipt for the cake she'd ordered. I'm to pick it up tomorrow afternoon. It is a chocolate cake with yellow flowers, according to the receipt.

So, it appears day two of the five day fiftieth birthday celebration will have cake in the mix. Good thing I. Like. Cake.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Too Close, A Little Comfort

Few things relax and soothe me like a spin on my bicycle. Even when running errands, the time on the bike transports my mind to a much better place, making the dealings with bank tellers (and greeters) various retail counter personnel, and even rude and 'get the hell out of my way' motorists somewhat better, easier.

The Saturday of the my aunt's eightieth birthday celebration there was a morning of errands. They were all in town so I strapped on my helmet and set off on my bicycle.

Moving along at a leisurely pace, several blocks, about a mile into the trip toward the first of three errands, I approached an intersection along with a silver mini-van. While scanning the field, checking the signals, on-coming traffic, and various other possible impediments to my safe passage through the intersection I see what the mini-van clearly does not.

A green wagon (and older S*b*r* O*tback) traveling at a high rate of speed on the cross-street from me and mini-van. Me and mini-van had the green light. Clearly, the green wagon did not realize this and proceed through their own red light.

In my head I am screaming NO! NO! NO!! At some point the NO came from my mouth. The impact of the silver mini-van hitting the green wagon rocked both vehicles. The exploding sound of the air-bags deploying is a sound I won't forget anytime soon.

Did I mention I was but a few feet from the rear bumper of the silver mini-van? Well, I naviagated a safe stop, got off my bike, and retreated to a safer distance.

By this time (seconds, though it seemed much, much longer) the driver of the mini-van had exited the vehicle and screamed to all the passengers (her kids, I discovered later) to GET OUT! GET OUT! The older kids helped all the younger ones out of car seats, seat belts and the like.

One of the older (maybe seventeen?) kids, cleared and van, one foot shoeless, and got on the phone, calling the police, I presumed.

The other older child helped all the younger kids (there were 7 altogether) away from the van and onto the sidewalk, lawn of the house on the corner. The driver (mom) had exited the van at this point and followed the younger kids onto the lawn, clearly shaken. I approached, asked if she was ok, if the kids were ok, and she nodded yes, and reached for an embrace.

I obliged, for that seemed like an excellent idea.

The residents of the house had come out to see what the commotion was all about and as a couple of the younger kids were crying, attention went to them first. But all were tended; chairs, blankets, cups of water, and offers of food were extended. Later, the family was given bags for the possessions retrieved from the van.

During the usual post-accident fray; police taking reports, fire disabling the horn, dousing sand on oil, gas, and anti-freeze spillage, and paramedics seeing to all possibility injured I spied that Margaret donned a rainbow ankle bracelet and that her kids (which I noticed immediately, I just didn't know immediately there were all her kids) were another kind of rainbow, at least three different nationalities represented.

I say "usual" like this is a regular occurrence for me. It is not. In all my years of urban travel, bike and auto, I've never been thatclose to an accident of that magnitude. Of course, I've seen some aftermath, mangled vehicles on the side of the road and such, but never a front-line witness, with pictures and sound.

The good news, no one from either vehicle (the driver of the green wagon was the only passenger) was physically harmed (save a scratch on Margaret's left hand) the kids, well-tended by emergency respondents and neighbors, had all regained their composure, happier after the all clear to retrieve toys and keepsakes from the van was given.

I realized this past Saturday, when donning my helmet, about to embark on another round of errands, that I hadn't been on my bike all week. I realized that one of my three errands this Saturday was the same destination as the "accident Saturday" and that I deliberately traveled a different route.

I realized that Margaret's second embrace was as warm as the smile on her young daughter's face as she complimented my socks, as I was saying my good-byes, to move on with my day and how that memory has lingered.

I realized that if I go another fifty years without hearing the crunch of metal (or whatever the hell cars are made of these days) or the sound of air-bags being deployed, that would be just fine with me.

I realized that though it could have been very much worse, it will take a few bike before the soothing, relaxing feeling begins to work a way back into my consciousness.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Seventy, Eighty, Ninety, and the Brother

Most of mom's siblings gathered with other family this Saturday past to partake in an eightieth birthday celebration. My uncle, who is in his seventies (he's the only one of the group who doesn't discuss his age, I know he's older than my mom, but younger than the birthday girl) shared several of his many memories of his older sisters and life as their little brother. This is my uncle with his younger sister (my mom, who is seventy). The elder stateswoman, my 90 year old aunt with the new 80 year old celebrant, marveled at how tall all her sisters seem. At one time my aunt Betty towered over her younger sisters. Not so much anymore. Still, trust when I say she still possesses the largest personality.It was a grand celebration, with grand eats, and grand peeps. I'm sorry that the two other sisters (75 and 68) couldn't be in attendance, but it was a last minute gathering.

Diane, my aunt's only daughter, pulled the thing together hastily, waiting while her mom recovered from double by-pass surgery some weeks ago. All birthday celebrations are special, especially among this group, but this one had an air of something more. They were all in supreme story tellin' mode.
To my seventy, eighty, and ninety year old aunts (and uncle) and the baby aunt, Rose, happy birthevery day. Cheers!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Happy End O Day

There, underneath the bank of mailboxes is a carton, a delivery. The presence of the carton doesn't come as a surprise as there are eight other families in my building and there is often one delivery or another. I approach my own mailbox, insert the key, and remove the contents all the while checking out the name on the carton.

Bust my buttons, it is MY name on the carton! I hadn't ordered anything and when I do, I rarely choose my home address as the delivery option. I bend to pick up the box, all the while scanning the mental Rolodex of possibilities. Who has shipped me a s-u-r-p-r-i-s-e?

The excitement builds as I scamper (ok, not quite scamper) up the stairs. Once inside the unit I greet the fur babies, head back to my room, drop my bag and my pants--to change into shorts. Damn, it's HOT. Out to the kitchen to grab a glass, fill it with ice and then water, all the while my mind is spinning about what might be in the carton.

A few sips (ok, gulps) of water later, I address the carton, work the tape, finding it stubborn. I scan the area for scissors, a knife. Ah, KEYS.

Finally the tape is removed and the flaps un-flapped and inside . . .

The best belly laugh I've had all week.

You see there is a study being conducted. I'd forgotten I had agreed to participate. The instructions that came with the packages directed me to PLEASE START USING THE TOILET TISSUE IMMEDIATELY And so, I removed the packages from the box, carried them to the bathroom, removed one roll, stored the others, and re-placed the current selection, with the study selection. The research has begun.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Decisions, Decisions

Five: I know I'm biased, but my son is a very interesting, thought provoking man. And funny too.

Some decisions we make. Some, in effect, are made for us. M's current living situation was a bit of both. Much like moving back home, a series of events led to him deciding to go full tilt boogie with the pursuit of acting. Acting has become his "day job."

Since securing an agent in Feb./March he has added several items to his résumé, including some screen work. He is currently in rehearsals for a couple of plays, and will return to town with only a couple of weeks to lead into rehearsal for the next play on his calendar.

A flurry of auditions have led to his being "in the running" for roles in some major productions later this year and being in the enviable position of having to turn one or the other down due to other acting commitments.

M is not in able to fully support himself on acting gigs alone. Yet. But, he is building his résumé and I am absolutely certain that some day in the not too distant future . . .

Ah, but I'm his mom and I am biased.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Pinch Me, Pinch Me Knot

My co-worker's husband came by for a visit. She introduced him around, gave him and tour. He and I chatted a bit. After he left she told me that he commented about my age (and such). He said, "I thought Deborah would be older from your conversations. She's not that much older than you, is she?"

I'm twelve years older than my co-worker.

I was feeling pretty good until I got smashed by a hot flash. Though, flash is not really accurate. 'Tis actually a building of heat. More like a slow burn. Smoldering. And then sweat. Not, copious amounts of sweat, but certainly more than I've experienced my entire previous life.

An adjustment.

Speaking of slow, check out my take on speed dating. And while you're there, visit the other writers. Some kind of wonderful stuff happening over there where the queers write.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Five for FridaySaturday Sunday

1. Tomato, Basil, and Pasta Salad (this variation) was one of a few contributions to today's meal.

2. Dani is all about outdoor cooking, so she handled all of that bit.

3. She did so on a borrowed grill, which she arranged, because, yes, she is all about grilled meat/outdoor cooking.

4. I'm sweating* so, I'm having one of those moments, or it is hot (for real) or both.

5. Hot Dog Eating Contest. Precisely when did that become such a spectacle?

*historically, I'm not much of a sweater.