Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Long 4th Weekend

It felt like it started Thursday night, even though J had to work Friday. But, she came home at a reasonable hour Thursday & we took the kids to Red Robin for dinner. Then, we went to see Batman Begins. I was looking forward to it, since I like the Batman story anyway, but this movie was even better than I expected. I loved all the detail & backstory. It was much meatier than your average superhero action movie. J & the boys were bored for the first part of it, but they ended up liking it, too.

Friday, we closed on the sale of our rental. I am so happy to have that monkey off our backs. I just called to cancel the insurance & it felt so good to say we'd sold it. We got more than we asked for it, too. J had to go back to work after the closing, but after the boys left, we had some less-harried time together. We stopped by The Winds to see if they had any tables available. The hostess did some rearranging & soon we were seated on the patio, menus in hand. Our waitress turned out to be a gal I did shows with in high school. She is newly back in town. The food was fabulous: insalata caprese & roasted figs with goat cheese & Nueske's bacon for appetizers, Spanish-spiced skirt steak on mashed potatoes with a side of lemony broccoli for our main course, and panna cotta with cold rhubarb soup for dessert. I ended up eating the whole order of panna cotta. It was gorgeous when it arrived, luminous white in the midst of pink & surrounded by fruit pieces. However, J tried one bite & said it reminded her of cold, slimy llama snot sprinkled with vanilla in sweet pink water with mango & kiwi. Jesus!

Saturday morning, we ended up getting mesmerized by the idiot box & watched the most unexpected shows: Pimp My Ride and Punk'd. What the heck is wrong with us??? Actually, they were pretty amusing, I hate to admit. After we roused our silly selves, we had lunch at Texas Roadhouse (great ribs!) & then went shopping for Lilith's 58th birthday gift, a 5-Senses Basket. We found a picnic basket & added a Putumayo Women of Africa CD (sound), a verdigris leaf candleholder (sight), 3 green scented candles with leaves impressed into them (scent), a box of Baci chocolates (taste), and a soft lilac throw (touch). We stopped on the way to pick up ice cream for our potluck contribution, then went to Lilith's.

We had a wonderful time visiting. We met Lilith's sister, Dennie. Their mom was there, along with Lilith's son, Sven, & daughter-in-law, Becca, accompanied by their sons, Kyle & Mick. Mick was just born at the beginning of May & it was the first time I got to meet him. He is adorable & very, very good. Hyacinth came & we urged her, again, to join the Uppity Book Women. Lilith's roommate, Aimee, was there with her son, Heaven. Suzette came with her beautiful Julia & Terrie with Emma. There were a bunch of other townies there, lots of little kids running around playing. Paolo was in town from Massachusetts & brought his guitar, flute, & sax with him. Carl, who I hadn't seen in about 13 years (and who wasn't speaking to me last time I saw him) came up from Cincinnati with his wife, Debra. I wasn't expecting to see him, so it was a little weird for me until he noticed me & treated me completely normally. Debra is a nice girl, pregnant with their first child. It was interesting talking to all these people from the past. When Paolo & Carl played "Troubled in Mind", a shot of oddness ran through me, astonished to hear that old, familiar tune again. But, otherwise, it managed not to feel like some kind of weird flashback & we had a good time.

Sunday, since we had a guest pastor, we decided that church was dispensable for that one day. We stopped at Dino's for coffee & somehow ended up at The Winds for brunch, once again ensconced on the patio. I was reminded that 4th of July weekend tends to be reunion weekend for the alumni of our high school when I noticed Jamie F. seated across the patio from us & Greg B. at the table next to us. He doesn't look like he's any more pleasant or any less shallow than he used to be, so I didn't even bother speaking to him & I don't think he recognized me. He reminded me of all the corporate wankers I know.

But, brunch was fantastic. I loved my papas locas, home fries smothered in black beans, jack cheese, steak, & scrambled eggs, with salsa & peppers. But, even more, I loved J's shrimp & grits. I didn't want to eat up all her brunch, but it was one of the best things I've ever eaten. It was very lemony & the cheese grits were so creamy that it didn't even register that I was eating grits. I generally regard grits as vile & inedible, but this dish was astonishing. I want more! We also had some fresh cherries. Love summertime!!!

After brunch, we went to the rental to get J's dissertation & photo albums. Unfortunately, she was unable to wrestle them out from the loft. They may be lost, although I did call the buyer & ask if he would call us when they pull that stuff down & are about to toss it. I hope she can get her important things back. He sounded kind of grumpy about it, but maybe he will call. I would do it for someone who sold me their old house. I wish she had just taken that stuff with her when she started renting the place way back when.

We stopped by the craft store & the plant before hitting the antique mall in search of gifts for Graham. We found some really cool old magazines for him & scads of vintage linens, hankies, hats, & china that I loved. I restrained myself admirably.

After the kids got home, we played outside. I had hit upon the idea of doing a Batman theme night. We rented some Batman movies & were even able to find a Batman Slip 'n' Slide for them. We got that set up & they loved it! J grilled some bbq pork chops while I read & the boys whooped & hollered. We also bought a badminton set & they played with that, as well. When it got dark enough, they ran about the yard with sparklers & snapped poppers against the front drive. We had dinner outside by candle & tiki light, then went in to watch the Batman movie with Jack Nicholson as the Joker. Then, to bed!

Monday morning, I got up early & wrote my review. Then, we took the kids to the pool for the day. When they'd gotten bored of swimming, we took them home from burgers & hot dogs & more Slip 'n' Slide time. J & I had a nap, then we headed out to the fireworks in my hometown. We parked at Lilith's & walked over to the park, spreading our blankets on the hill. It was fun to watch all the people, little kids with sparklers & glow sticks, adults with big grins & pet dogs (poor things). The show was wonderful. My favorite was one that looked like a waterfall. Afterward, we ran into Diane & Shirzad, with their kids. Diane told me that she's expecting a third on Christmas Day! They had only planned on two, but how exciting! They have bought a home, too. I'm happy that things are going so well for them. I stayed up too late after the fireworks, petting J to sleep & then reading some of Graham's novel. I am over halfway through...it's very cinematic.

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