Friday, May 30, 2014

not your typical Memorial Day

Every year, on Memorial Day, I have a dinner party.  At that dinner party, I honor the people that I love, who have died.  I have done this for many years.  I cook the food of my grandmothers.  I think of my dear friend Leo.

This year I did nothing for Mark's birthday.  I mean, literally NOTHING, other than saying a weak "happy birthday", because I just wasn't feeling well enough.

He went to some comedy shows the next week, but still.

So when he asked to have a party with his friends, I said SURE!

I had been dying to impress his foodie friend for ages, with a chicken gallantine, so this was a great opportunity.

Besides, our social lives over the years have been dominated by my friends and my preferences.

The problem with this plan?  I have been feeling like complete dogmeat... but that is where my people came to the rescue.  An old friend, a professional chef, who I had recently, in a moment of nostalgia reconnected with on Facebook, and a newer friend from People's Coop, came and cooked their asses off (mostly in the form of grinding a shitload of meat by hand, and even sharpening my knives- Thank you Victor, you totally rule!) We wound up having a beautiful day, cooking and laughing, and boning whole birds.

The results were pretty awesome- I wound up blowing the doors off with a country pork pate with pistachios , a chicken liver mousse and the gallantine.
The day of the event Mark got nervous and bought a giant ham.
We were meated up, yo!

I also made a special cocktail, an herby vodka lemonaide, which was a big hit (see case in point: my friends drink wine.  They are strictly wine drinkers, but this crowd burned through a lot of cocktails and beer!).

We had three tables going.  Had this been my thing, everyone would have been in one room, at one table, but I bit my tongue, because I was just the facilitator, man! 

Gallantine with garlic mayonnaise! Lentil pate with walnuts, roast potatoes, country pork pate.  One of our friends brought their father along.  A charming man in his 70's who was impressed by the Charcuterie... "My grandfather had a meatshop, before becoming a minister.  My other grandfather was a farmer.  I grew up with amazing cooks in my family.  I grew up with hunters, and gardeners and people that made things" Is what I told him when he asked how I knew how to do "all of this".  All of this is just what we do.  Not trying to be cute.  It is just a thing.  I cannot imagine opening a can, I said.  That would just be weird.  That would just not be good. 

dancing lady

He invited the softball team families!

30 napkins

30 cupcakes


Rolf and Victor grinding 7 pounds of meat, and fighting sinew, they were rock stars!

Cheesecake as a sheetcake, you say that 10 times fast!

Vampire weekend

So it's been well documented, my feeling shitty.

I am feeling shitty, with a little rattiness thrown in.


Done in. 



I had this and that and a madly expensive surgical thing in November and aside from being nearly $5000 poorer I remain steadfastly worn out. 

Today we brought out the big guns.  

I went to the university oncology and hematology folks, because my family doctor felt that I needed a closer look. 

I am not a big fan of doctors and for good reason, having been treated rather badly by many over the years. 

Things weren't looking too hot for this appointment yesterday, when at 2:00pm I got a call from the office saying that Dr. Blah, Blah had a conflict and they would need to reschedule.  


Me getting time off requires a minor act of god, so there was just no way I was NOT going to have my appointment. 

I had arranged child care. 

Dog care. 

Work Coverage. 

And I was bloody well going to be seen! 



high water. 

So I went.

I saw a different doctor.  A tiny, powerhouse of a woman, doctor, and her giant, well coiffured  intern.  

They were amazing.  


They had read my file, my history, through and through.  

All the jumbles and confusions and tests and ultrasounds and ins and outs. 




It was amazing to feel known, to feel heard

I was offered two choices, a "slow infusion" with almost no risk, but taking 8 weeks,


A fast two week, four hour infusion, that carries a risk of anaphylaxis.

but you guys can revive me, right? 

yes, we can revive you, I mean we are doctors and nurses.  

So you can totally SAVE me, right?  If you can SAVE me, then I totally want the fast thing.  
I hate needles, a lot, the eight week thing sounds terrible.

That made the doctor laugh out loud.  

A full on belly laugh.

The very pregnant intern also laughed.  

Her giant belly shook with delight.  

Her elegant hair also shook.  

I was tempted to inquire who had done such a magnificent job on her bob, but it felt somehow tacky.  

So with a tiny handshake, we agreed on the fast track, and then a bone marrow check, just for good measure, in August.  

Saturday, May 3, 2014

In Memory

I attended the memorial for the friend, daughter, sister that committed suicide in February, today.

I have been in communication with the friend that has taken on the role of custodian for the mother. 

We have spoken and texted and e-mailed. 

Here is my dirty little secret- I never visited her in assisted living, even though I had been rather dedicated and faithful in the past.  I had been a fixture in her life, ever since her son, my dear friend, committed suicide in 1985. 

Then I failed.  

I chickened out. 

I am that big of a coward.

How can you go on when both of your children are dead?    

That is what I asked my custodian friend. That is what I asked myself.  I didn't come up with a suitable answer.

The service was beautiful. 

I wept the whole time, leaning on my friend J, who I have known since 6th grade. 

You never talked

Is what I said to him, of our youth. 

I never talked, until I was 20.  I never really talked.  

Is what he said of our youth. 

There was a punk rock icon in attendance. 

We talked about choosing a school for your child. 

We talked about how weird it is to be old. 

To have time pass.

We talked about people we knew in common. 

I had forgotten to eat, so by 3:00pm I was an inarticulate, dry mouthed mess.

I like your dimples. 

Is what the mother of the two dead people said to me. 

We talked about art for children.

Are you still teaching?

I am director at a fancy preschool and kindergarten, with 170 children. 

She likes impressive things. 

She likes people to be accomplished and beautiful.

a little stinging is normal

Freyja and Rolf went foraging for nettles yesterday, while I went to the doctor.  It was part nature study, part nanny.  All excellent.  They returned with an impressive haul, that I will freeze for the bad times.