my oh-so-normal life

Location: California, United States

There are no random acts. We are all connected. You can no more separate one life from another than you can separate a breeze from the wind. (the five people you meet in heaven)

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Campfire Girls

S picked me up at the airport, and so the adventure begins. We stop by her house, have an Old Fashioned, and go to an Indian restaurant. We love all kinds of food, and this food is excellent. (BTW, one of my favorite things about S is that when she sees girls who are too thin, she yells out, “Eat a sandwich!”)
We had talked about making a campfire during the week, but the logs at my house are wet. What are we to do? We head to 7-11. No firewood. Then to Food Lion. No firewood. Then to Lowe’s. No firewood. S had gone into all the places while I parked illegally. I was staring at a large printed sign at a hot-dog stand place that said, “Try our Reuban.” I couldn’t believe the spelling and wanted to make fun of it when S showed up. Mainly because I knew she’d laugh. I’m wondering to myself if she’ll find firewood and if we’ll be able to have our campfire. Then I see a guy walking out of Lowe’s with a 2 x 4 over his shoulder and think, “We’re having a campfire.”
We go to the lumber section and have Cliff cut us four cheap pieces of wood into 16 logs. This is perfect! Or maybe we’re just crazy. It’s hot and humid, and we’re building a campfire. Crazy, perhaps, but not completely insane. (At least not yet.) To offset the heat, we make frozen margaritas and peach daiquiris. We grab our drinks, lather on the bug spray, and break open the Packers chairs next to the campfire. Life is good.
Does It Get Any Better Than This?"

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Book Club
The Sixty-Something Social Circle

The more things change, the more they stay the same. During my youth (childhood?), I spent a lot of time babysitting my little brother. We lived in an area of town that was somewhat remote from my elementary school, and all of my friends lived within walking distance of school. I rode the bus. Unfortunately, there were no girls my age on my street at a time when age is a much bigger factor. So, while I babysat my brother, I spent a lot of time with the adults.
Flash forward many years… I go back to where I grew up, and I know two people my age who live around town. Two. I meet a couple of people over the ensuing months, but I spend the vast majority of my time with my mother’s friends. I love them. They’re crazy. I joke about joining “The Sixty-Something Social Circle” and AARP.
I was invited to book club several times, and I’ve attended a few meetings. In August my mother was supposed to host. Only it turned out that she would not be in town. I told everyone not to worry about changing the venue, we could still hold the meeting at my parents’ condo. I was told I only need to have the liquor and the place, two other people would be the cooks.
August’s book was Water For Elephants. Extremely entertaining. The basic synopsis is an elderly man in a nursing home remembering his youth when he worked on a circus. I bought peanuts in the shell and those orange circus peanut candies. I made lemonade and bought vodka, tequila, and a case of wine. There was CC, gin, and whisky already in the house.
The cooks showed up at 5:30 p.m. with a sign to hang on the door that said, “Sunnyvale Nursing Home.” One of the cooks went to spike the lemonade and asked me if that were all the vodka I had. I said yes. She picked up the brand-new bottle of Three Olives and started pouring it into the lemonade. “When you originally asked if that were all the vodka I had, I thought you were talking about that bottle,” I said, pointing to an almost empty bottle of Absolut that one of their friends had left the last time she’d visited. “No, I meant this one.” I twist the bottle in her hands and say, “But, this is 1.75 liters.” “But we drink A LOT!”
And so the evening went. The cooks donned scrubs and gave me a lab coat. People began to show up and were assigned a roommate and an affliction. For some reason, there were a lot of people who did something in the nude. Hmmmmm. Even though there were many women whose affliction was something in the nude: painting, cooking, singing, etc. I don’t remember having to cover my ears too much and yell, “Child present!” as is sometimes necessary when the conversation begins to wander….
So, the more things change, the more things stay the same. Well, maybe not exactly. I certainly don’t remember that much alcohol. Or better said, I know I wasn’t drinking alcohol. Maybe this whole situation just improves with age… like wine.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Penicillin Experiment
a.k.a. Following in the Family Footsteps

Some vivid memories from my youth are intertwined with memories of rotten food. I know that sounds bizarre, but there are many episodes which fall in that category… bizarre. I have removed many penicillin experiments from my parents’ fridge, cleaned up spilt God-knows-what that my mother later tells me had been there for since autumn (and it was summer when I cleaned it), throwing out 6-month old soup and cleaning the pot because my mother really liked that pot. One of my favorite memories is standing around the kitchen island with my brother, and we’re trying to figure out what to do for the night. He suddenly exclaimed, “I know what we can do. Let’s go through the cupboard and check the expiration dates on the food in there.” I guess it’s difficult to understand if you haven’t lived through it, but it just is what it is.
So, I spent last weekend in Norfolk after a three-week absence. And I found cheese, left over from an appetizer at The Wine House, sitting in the fridge. Covered in mold. Ugh. I showed S, and she grimaced. I wish I had a picture, but you might lose your appetite.

***M, are you grossed out yet?