I can say with perfect sincerity that jumping out of an airplane was less stressful than waiting tables. And during that time, and for years and years afterwards, I would have anxiety-laden stress dreams about waiting tables. Anything that would make it awful, like I would dream that I had fallen asleep in the stock room and wake up thinking I had another goddamn Chicken Caesar to run ...and find myself halfway out of my bedroom before I realized I was at home. And this went on for a long time. I don't think I ever once had an Army stress dream. I've been responsible for websites with millions of hits a day, and not tossed and turned once - but waiting in tables? Fresh Hell, every day.
But it hasn't happened for a long time - you know, eventually wounds, even psychic wounds, heal. Until last night. Why last night? I have no idea, but there I was, waiting tables again and completely forgetting orders, trying to punch in orders and not knowing the codes for the foods, running to the bar and realizing I'd forgotten to order drinks. Stressy as heck, man.
Why? No idea. Hope it stops. I mean, it's not a big deal, as embuggerances go, table-waiting stress dreams is pretty minor. But it's an odd throwback from the ol' subconscious, and I hope it's not a harbinger of other long-buried crap bubbling up.
My father-in-law rigged a sail sun-shade next to a pop-up canopy on the dock, and we sat on deck chairs having cold drinks and snacks while the family took turns going on harbor tours on the hard-bottomed skiff they built. Blink and Bertie romped ceaselessly, only stopping to slurp down water against the heat. Our niece was charmingly adorable, exploring the boat, the skiff, the harbor, the dogs, and being amazed and entertained by everything - she was all smiles and giggles.
Even as we were giving gifts to the various mothers assembled, we knew it had been an especially fine day, and I commented that it was the sort of day we'd look back on in the future, burnished by nostalgia, as being a rare sort of perfect.
For me, a special sort of significance, but not one worth mentioning at the time; I've had precious few occasions in the past for a Mother's Day to be particularly worth celebrating. But no more, from this one and ever after, my soon-to-be-born daughter will have a reason to be grateful, to be proud, to be happy. Family can be awful botheration, it's true; but when you get it right, it is the foundation on which all other joys are built.
Yesterday we got it right.
We went to Catalina last weekend. The passage over on Friday night was my first night-sail. It was rough-going, I was exhausted; having gotten out of bed at 4:30AM that morning, and both P and her sister were sea-sick. They took dramamine and passed out, leaving D and I to steer the boat. Even Blink, normally blase about sailing, got a little sea-sick and barfed, a first for him. Once we got out of the worst of the pitching rough seas, and into the lee of Catalina, it was pleasant going, with a dramatic full moon impossibly large, looming over the horizon like a sumo wrestler lowering himself into a bath.
I steered the last couple of klicks while D readied for mooring. We had a hard time getting the ladies up to help out, and as a result the actual process of mooring was a bit of a fiasco. Fortunately the cove was almost empty, and we managed it, finally.
The weekend itself was a pleasure - I got in two dives, one at Lion's Head point and the other at The Dark Spot. We managed to see some interesting sea-creatures, and when we surfaced in Cherry Cove, there was P, her sister, and Blink all riding the same stand-up paddleboard, somehow.
The return home was less eventful, but I was grateful to be in my own bed at night. Poor Blink was so exhausted by the weekend that we couldn't rouse him out of bed Monday morning, and he slept until 2:30 in the afternoon.
We're trying to get all the little things done that will be hard to manage, once the baby comes, which shouldn't be for another four weeks, but one never knows.
This is the cover flap in progress for the manliest diaper-bag ever. It will be a leather portmanteau, covered in celtic scrollwork, with a seahorse celtic knot in the middle. The interior compartment will be lined in scarlet-dyed calfskin, and the sides will have secret compartments containing; pipe, tobacco, tools, money-clip, flask of scotch, knife, and a copy of Hemmingway.
It will be dyed a pleasing light brown color, antiqued to bring out the scrollwork, and thoroughly protected against water and other stains.
My two month migraine continues, almost unabated, though sometimes it's better for brief periods, which is at least a little bit of progress.
And imagining that scent, the scent of a room full of old and well-loved books, it brought me back to the Wolfson Memorial Library. It had a huge downstairs library for children, and attached room full of young adult books. My mom used to take my sisters and I there at least weekly, and I poured over every one of its stacks, many time, mining out every book that I might read. That's where I found L. Frank Baum's Wizard of Oz books, the Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia, Lloyd Alexander's Chronicles of Prydain, and so many others.
I realized it had been way too long since I'd been in a room full of old books. Just Saturday I was in a book store, but it's not the same, new books don't have the same scent, the same aura at all - there's something about the thumbed over pages and broken spines, the card-catalog inserts and dewey decimal labels that make a library a special place, as near to sacred to me in both mind and heart.
Years ago the Wolfson was closed and moved to a community center that also includes the police station. The old building was for a while sold to some folks who had the sort of kooky but sort of cool idea to turn it into a permanent Renn Faire sort of place; they started a faux-medieval "tavern" in what was once the kids' library, and intended to use the upstairs as a combination performance center and knick-knack shop. Unfortunately it wasn't terribly well executed, the concrete building blocks were painted over and given an amateurish veneer to look like a wattle-and-daub wall. The menu at the restaurant was just meatball subs, fried mozzarella and frozen pizza slices, the kind of stuff you'd get at a snack bar. But a girl I knew was determined to see that crazy idea succeed, and so she'd bring along a wool cloak in her car, and every day on her lunch break drive over to the old library and get her lunch there.
On one hand, I loved the idea of such a creative, nerdy place...but putting it in the library that had been the portal to so many worlds, adventures and explorations - a surer guide to the universe than any TARDIS - seemed like an ignominious end to a noble career. Unsurprisingly the attempt didn't succeed, and not too long after they closed. I don't know what happened to the building after that - what is it today? Was it just knocked down and replaced with something modern and tedious?
I wish I could go back to that place today. At least I know before too long I'll have good reason to visit a children's library just as often, I can't imagine any child of mine not being a reader. I just have to find one here, in my new home, or wherever I fetch up, washed by the tides of fate.
And I know this - I need to smell some old books, and soon.
Then last night I dreamt I was on my way to a trade show for work. We had a 2:30 appointment, but at the airport on the way there, I had a problem. I was bringing a friend's puppy that I was watching with me, because the hotel said it was fine to bring the dog. His name was Joel. I had him on a little yarn leash, because he was so tiny. At the airport on the way to the hotel, I was chatting with a coworker and when I got to the top of the escalator we were on, I found with horror that the yarn was untethered and Joel had disappeared into the escalator! I was horrified that I'd find his mangled body and I called for help, running around trying to get an employee to help. When I finally found someone, I couldn't find the escalator, I wasn't sure which one it was. I then had a stress dream about missing the morning's appointment, never finding the dog, not being able to find the shower at the hotel, and not being able to check voicemail to see if anyone had found Joel. But - I'm happy to say, just before waking up, I remember going back to the escalator, shouting hopelessly for Joel ....and he ran up to me! Don't worry everyone, the dog was fine.
The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell me. I will not go back to sleep!
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- Current Location:US, California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, Vernon Ave, 631
Make bacon cups on the bottom of a cupcake tin.
Take one Emu Egg
4 Garlic Cloves, diced fine
1/2 a red onion, diced
2 shallots, diced fine
1 tsp white truffle oil
salt to taste
1 cup of shredded cheese
Pre-heat oven to 400F. Preheat a cupcake pan in there.
Get the emu egg out of the shell. Quite a project!
Put the egg, salt, seasoned pepper, savory and truffle oil in a mixing bowl.
With an immersion blender, blend with an up and down jerking off motion until it's frothy and substantially increased in volume.
Whisk in the shallot and garlic.
Put the heated cupcake pan on the stove on high, pour in a little olive oil to each cup. Heat until it's shimmering.
Pour in about half the cup of egg mixture.
Top with red onion and cheese. By the time you've done that, the egg mixture will be ready for the oven.
Put it in the oven, for about 10 minutes or so. Jiggle it occasionally, when the middle is just set, pull it out and let it rest for a minute.
Take the fritattatas out of the cups and put them in a bacon cup each.