It's beautiful outside, the sun is shining and the new big next-door dog is not in his backyard to vociferously bark and growl warnings against me; EMU's Sunday Best has (hopefully momentarily) shifted away from swinging tunes to desultory guitar strumming alongside a mournful accordian. I'm tempted in many different directions for this Sunday, but why not begin with a blog post?
Another week passed in an excessively stressful and long-houred fashion. By Friday evening, I was exhausted and downcast; but knew I'd only be more discouraged by just going home. Luckily Ginger was up for a lazy night out. I plugged myself into my ipod and plunked down on a doorstep until he showed up. To start, we drove to Chela's. On a selfish tip, I don't even want to say nice things about this new Mexican place, because it's busier every single time I go -- and I have gone 4 times in less than two weeks. There are already 24 reviews on Yelp and one friend, who definitely knows Mexican food, professes to have gone there 20 times and never been disappointed. Compatriot said she wasn't blown away, but is open to going again; on my end, I can't stop going. It's inexpensive, the flavors are fresh and good and somehow most things don't have tomatoes, which I am allergic to. Maybe it's the last part, which makes me so excited -- a cuisine that felt shut off to me, for so long, I can now totally eat! Neither of the two sauces have tomatoes; and combined, they deliver nice heat and flavor notes. Their shredded beef Barbacoa is salty and fine and lovely in either the soft corn tacos, quesadillas or Tortas. They also have potato poblano tacos. I don't taste the poblano so very much, but the creamy potato filling in its soft shell is such a nice surprise, and (naturally) takes to the added sauces quite well. It's comforting there. A little voice says: "If you cut out most of Starbucks, it would be fine to go here every week..."
So anyway, we show up to a full parking lot. The small interior is crowded with a nice cross-section of the community. People are picking up takeout as if they have also already worked the restaurant into their schedule. The young super-talkative counter woman says, "I feel like I have waited on you guys before, I love that!"
The owner says, "Have you tried our flan?" Not yet, I say.
"Now you have!" he hands me a dessert container. Yay, bonus treat! Clearly I need to cut out that Starbucks.
We settle in to wait at a small table next to the register. I can barely uphold my part of the conversation. Luckily, there's good people watching. A young picture book Latino family sits by us: serious, pretty mother; father who is stern when he needs to be, plus one young girl and boy. The boy is adorably boisterous. He so, SO wants to get at the (house made) limeade, but he is foiled by the dispenser's height and his lack of hand strength. He makes an impassioned appeal to his father, who rebuffs him. The empty cup variously becomes a horn, a hat, something to punch his frustrated fist into. He also swings around and punches a male teen's leg as he walks past; the guy is surprised, bemused; the boy stares up at him, his mouth agape. The teen gives him a wide berth when he leaves with his food.
Several newcomers come in as we are waiting and eating; some ask what we have. I eat too much. But it so lovely. What next? The potential movies start too late, I only slept 4 hours Thursday night. "I don't think I even have energy to beat you at Othello," I say.
"Oh ho! I have it in my trunk~~~" We decide to go to the Alley Bar. Next to Ginger's car a pale aqua swoopy little BMW Z4 is parked. A tiny, corn husk of a woman leaves Chela's before us. I'd place her in her late seventies/early eighties. She has a bob of fly-away white-grey hair and large moony glasses. She unlocks the door and slides the sportiness away.
We exchange glances.
"Life. Is Not. Fair," Ginger declares. "...It's probably her son's." Or maybe she has wanted such a car for decades. Mid-life crisis guys can't account for ALL sports car ownership, can they? "NOT what I expected..." I concede.
A small orange cat with huge ears has sauntered onto my deck and has been struck still by my night-gowned presence at the dining room table. The astounding fact of my existence! Once she regains the ability to move, she uses my outdoor table and chair set as a shield, in order to gain information. She pops her head up and stares at me intently, before darting down again. She looks terrified. In the normal course of things, I am rarely so impressive and incomprehensible.
We walked down Liberty. "It's going to be crowded," Ginger complained in advance. "It's going to be loud."
"If only they had sofas." I said, "That would be SO. Nice."
It was not crowded. There were only a couple guys substantially upping the noise level. There was a leather sofa underneath the window sill and an overstuffed olive chair with fuzzy crimson floral shapes next to it. David Bowie's Fame was playing into the gloom. Well! "The baseball game is on!" There was a tender note to Ginger's voice. My Silver Smash was nicely tart. Perfect.
Ginger trounced me the first game. It felt off from the start and only got worse.
I turned to melodrama. "In my current state, it's hard NOT to take this as representative of my life~~"
"HelllOOOO EMO!" sang Ginger.
"Screwed, whichever way I turn! AND I did part of it myself!--"
"EEEEEMMMMMOOOO" Ginger sang even more loudly.
Our second round came. We were excited. "You might be my favorite customer EVER," the waitress said to Ginger. "No one has ever clapped for their drink before."
The second game ultimately went in my favor. I marked my first triumphant move with a festive shadowboxing in his direction.
He peered at me: "Time for you to CALM THE FUCK DOWN, Spaz."
I made another good move and grinned at him helpfully. He glowered. "That'll DO pig, that'll do."
It was feeling much better. While I won that one, he delivered what was one of the best moves ever, within our collective games; I think he snagged 12/14 pieces of mine in one feel swoop; and we both agreed it was an unusually spirited game on both sides.
How wonderful to be able to separate from the week's unpleasantness and to get a bit of respite!
Yesterday I pulled 50+ prints of "What is Eaten, What is Known," so I can actually edition the designs I made for the Edsel and Eleanor Ford House "Grimmly Inspired" exhibit*. Yay! Felt exhausted and productive.
*HEY!! Apparently I got a "story award" nod in the exhibit! And Laurie Longo, local artist who has had a cool Red Riding Hood project going for years, snagged top honor for the exhibit! Go Laurie!
|Prints drying, every which way.|
|inked block. absence of horse.|
And then! Compatriot arrived in the evening, with a late birthday cake plus The Big Lebowski. Sigh. She also brought White Russian fixings, but we were all sugared out.
|Looks similar to the Persian Love Cake of yore, without the candied rose petals|
|Swoopy saffron-rosewater whipped cream frosting (yes, same word used for car and frosting)|
|And inside, chocolate cardamom cake. Lovely!|