Saturday, March 27, 2010

It's Wine O'clock Somewhere, or Commence Chapter 30

I think it's about time to tell the tale of how I rang out the twenties and brought in the thirties with a costume party, some live jazz, and a new song to be added to my Christmas Eve playlist of favorites.

First up: Masquerade, themed "famous pairs." Here's Pull The Prick Out and me, getting ready. I'm surprised this came out at all clear--we'd had a shit week and lots of wine by 7.00 Friday night. (Photo taken at 7.01 Friday night.)

We packed a (really large) backpack full of alcohol and trekked over to Squash's apartment, where every single stick of furniture had been removed to make way for what seemed like 800 people in about 400 square feet of space.

Joliet Jake and Elwood Blues: We Hate Illinois Nazis

My personal favorite (or second favorite, right after the Blues Brothers, of course): One person as both Sonny AND Cher!

PTPO made amazing (also read: really f*ing strong) concoctions of tequila, lime and something else and quite possibly a fourth ingredient but buggered if I can remember anything about anything.

And that's all I really have to say about that, I think.

Anyhoo, six days later was the big Three-Oh, which started out nicely by me sleeping off staying awake until 5am the night before reading Diamond Age and listening to French news podcasts (omg who AM I!)

Then it was off to the Paris mosque for hammam, where I sat in the second-hottest room (I got one foot in the third room and thought it was going to melt off my jambe right on the spot) and sweated and warmed my way up from the inside for hour upon glorious hour. This was followed by a spot of thé à la menthe in the dimly lit welcome room surrounded by murmured conversations of the other ladies-in-repose and the white noise of water running through the fountain in the middle of the pillared, vaulted space.

To fill in the hour or so before dinner, Pain Quotidien came to the rescue with a bowl of creamy coffee and a brioche aux raisins.

Dinner was a DELICIOUS salad niçoise, bottle of wine (it's wine o'clock all day on birthdays, I'm just sayin'), and a chocolate yumminess for dessert at a cute little restaurant near Ile St Louis. Squash, PTPO and I segued to the next event by strolling up Blvd St Michel to a jazz club, where we cheered on a group of cute old Frenchmen playing New Orleans style tunes.

Le Petit Journal Saint Michel

And then, of course, no self-respecting birthday celebration is complete without crepes aux nutella!

Best. Crepes. EVAH.

And the next day, wrapped in one of my favorite expletives and a short story about a toothbrush by way of apology on being a day late, the one and only DT, known in some nefarious circles as the Ramblin' Mand'lin, emailed me a song he'd composed for my big day. (N.B.: I would never stoop so low as to beg ask him to do this for me. Nor would I follow up to give him a week's notice-reminder out of paranoia he'd forgotten.)

It is, ironically and yet undeniably aptly, titled "It Is What It Is." I push play, hear the first bare notes of mandolin and see ... 

... winter, the darkening skies, the chill wind with a spattering of cold rain, the hunched-shoulder half-run to your front door as you struggle with your errands-bags and finally manage to shut the door behind you and lean against it with trembling knees in relief of the warmth you can now feel seeping by degrees into deeper and deeper layers of your every cell. You might have just had a shit day, but right now it all falls away and you take a deep breath and unzip your coat and your sleepy lazy cats curled up with the sleepy lazy mastiff-named-Murdoch raise their heads (b/c they can't be bothered to move from their comfy spot on the doggy tummy and as much as the doggy loves you she's so excited that the cats are hanging out with her she doesn't want to move either) and see you beeline for the kitchen to put the kettle on for tea. (Was that a half-smile you let slip when you decided on vanilla roobois with a spot of agave nectar?) 

Putting away groceries and other things you had to go out in the cold for before the blessed relief of warm chez toi, the snow that held off as rain all day finally starts to fall intermittently in small, goopy-wet flakes, nothing too serious. You are a bit melancholy, but not quite sure why, and yet it's not the melancholy that turns downward into depression, just the melancholy that, when it dissipates (which it's sure to do when Murdoch and the kitties finally rub against your legs after admitting they love you too much to leave you alone in the kitchen and you remember there's a Castle marathon on TV tonight), leaves you feeling even more acutely the happiness that was lurking just under the 'choly. You have miles to go before you sleep, but these next few miles will be friggin fantastic and lazy--miles of cozying up in your favorite big sweater cooking ratatouille and Trader Joe's cornbread.

There's even a perfect kK tangent at the end of the song. You think it's over, and then just as you're mentally prepared for the next song on the list to start, there's a little afterthought that pops up and catches you off guard in a "yar, nope, not finished yet, there's plenty more good stuff where that came from ... whatcha think, will I leave you hanging this time, too?" way, and then it's done, nothing left it wants to say. And leaves you to retreat inward to process your own thoughts for a while. Or screw the inner monologue and LET'S GO DANCING.

There's no denying it's a perfect addition to my Christmas Eve playlist. The imagery might change with another hearing; there are no words, so it's perfect for personal, depending-on-my-mood interpretation, which as you know is the ONLY WAY I ROLL.

Now I am going to pour a generous splash of cognac (happiness-in-a-can-baby!) into a glass that was once used to house the deliciousness we call nutella (happiness-in-a-can-baby!) but has been emptied (probably in one go, by me), rinsed out and recycled as part of a glasses set that, without the nutella labels, really does look like a stack of regular ol' water glasses. 



Once that incredibly arduous task is done, I am going to sit back, relax, and watch the rest of Supernatural season one. Dubbed. In Chinese. OK, just kidding, in French.

Anyway, now that I'm 30 my life experiences and level of bizarreness have maybe quite possibly developed into something resembling inner wisdom. I don't really know what that means, but as les Blues would say:

It's 106 miles to Chicago, we got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it's dark, and we're wearing sunglasses.
Hit it.


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