Friday, July 31, 2009

Things Will Be Great When You're DOWNTOWN!

So. As of today, the Todd and I have been together for seven years. Granted, there was a breakup in there if you are being technical, but who likes technicality in matters of the heart? So, seven years. Wow. That’s longer than quite a few marriages I could name. We’re like Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell, except with much less collagen and no Academy Awards.

Did you know Goldie Hawn won a Best Supporting Actress award in 1969 for her role in Cactus Flower? From Laugh-In straight to the Oscars in one fell swoop. Now that is what I call a good career trajectory. And she gets Kurt Russell out of the bargain, and any man who voiced the lead character in a major Disney film (The Fox & the Hound’s Copper) would win my heart, too. Anyway, Kurt and Goldie have been together since 1983, so they have a good twenty-six years on the Todd and I. Let’s not look too far ahead, though, because it makes me nervous.

Last weekend, the Todd was home for the first time in three weeks and we decided to celebrate our anniversary a bit early. This was a serious, serious decision. We are, perhaps not “foodies” because that carries sort of a food snob connotation, but most definitely food lovers. You would not think our tiny little town would have much of a choice between restaurants, but you would be mistaken. Our Main Street area has five great, great little places to eat. Ou’ La La, where I recently hosted the baby shower for Nicole and Amelia, is a sweet little coffee shop with a killer dinner menu as well – often featuring the fabulous Tessa playing with Main Street Trio. C’Sons is a brand new place across from Ou’ La La. It’s all new and sparkly and the menu changes every day. And they have this fun covered porch balcony thing that makes me feel very L.A. Then, of course, our friend Tulla has not one…not two…but three restaurants, all with different specialties, all within walking distance from each other.
Tulla’s Bayou Bar & Grill is (obviously) all about spicy Louisiana food. Venucci, Pete’s favorite, is all Italian, from the Chianti to the Cannoli. Finally, The Basil Leaf, the flagship restaurant, is billed as Upscale Contemporary. I mean, really, how does one choose?

I will tell you how one chooses. One goes to the Basil Leaf on Tuesday with the fabulous Brennan Sisters to make sure your allotment of Fried Green Tomatoes with goat cheese and white wine sauce (Mmm!) is met for the week and then you try out the new place, C’Sons. (Get it? SEASONS. Ha ha!)

Y’all. You just don’t know. We both wanted to get really dressed up, but his idea of dressed up and my idea of dressed up varies a bit. Example: at Chuck the Girl’s wedding, I had to be onsite early, as I was giving a reading. So after the wedding, all the guys took off their jackets because the reception was outside. The Todd kept wearing his…buttoned…way longer than he normally would have worn it. I knew something was wrong.

“Why don’t you take your jacket off?”
-- “I don’t want to take my jacket off.”
“Why don’t you want to take your jacket off?”
-- “I just don’t want to take my jacket off.”
“Dude, it’s hot. The guys are all playing football (Note: That’s right, we played football. It was the greatest wedding ever.) and you’re sitting here all sweating.
-- “I can’t take my jacket off.”
“What are you talking about?”
-- “I sort of left my dress belt in Atlanta.”
“What do you mean you…..Oh. My. Word.”

Ladies and Gentlemen, nothing says dressed up like a belt emblazoned with the Grateful Dead bears.

So we both dressed up – somewhat equally – and went out on the town. It was great. I had Wild Mushroom Ravioli with a red pepper coulis and all sorts of yummy goodness cooked within. The Todd had the Fried Alaskan Halibut with, I think, claw crabmeat, hollandaise sauce, grits and asparagus. I hate stuff that swims, but he said it was pretty much awesome. We were seated at a low table, which was really good, as the Todd was rocking his skateboard shoes with dress pants and a tie. This is how we roll, peeps.

It was fabulous. After dinner we walked around downtown on a useless hunt for Tiramisu. Venucci makes a killer Tiramisu, but it was sadly not on the menu that night. So we settled for a stroll around the square and an ice cream cone. There was supposed to be a post-dinner showing of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, but we were just too full to watch it! We postponed Harry until Sunday and, now that I have seen it twice, I have some serious bones to pick with that screenwriter. But I will wait on that, for the moment.

All in all, it was a lovely evening, and has been a lovely seven years. And will, I hope, continue to be just as lovely, because I can think of several more restaurants that need to host our anniversary dinners.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Don't hate on the octopus.

Back in my babysitting days, I used to have pregdar. I don’t know if you have heard about pregdar, but it is a really handy superpower giving one the ability to detect pregnancy at a very early date. I could always tell when one of my families was going to increase their ranks before I was supposed to know. I don’t know what it was. It could be that pregnant people so often unconsciously touch their bellies. It could be that they have some weird extra pheromone only dogs and Jamie can smell, I don’t know.

I can tell you that the magical pregdar ability faded when I stopped babysitting on a regular basis. And I used to miss having that particular superpower. It would have been useful (and possibly even profitable) in college. Like, maybe, right after Spring Break. I could have been the Oracle of LaGrange College.

Now, however, I am only too happy to be free from the pregdar. If I still had my pregdar, that sucker would be continuously beeping. Think of a cell phone that is just before losing all battery power. You know that little “boop boop boop” that sounds every five minutes or so? That is what my life would be like with pregdar.

Everybody I know is pregnant. People had warned me. They all said as soon as the bridal showers stopped…the baby showers would begin. And they were right. In fact, I just gave my first baby shower as a hostess, for my friend Nicole and her soon-to-be-here daughter Amelia. Paisley and I hosted and it was tres chic, if I do say so myself. I even made a diaper wreath.

But that’s only the tip of the ol’ iceberg. Pregnancy is running rampant throughout my group of friends. Scads of them. Three in my book club alone! (I hear Dave Matthews singing “Don’t Drink the Water” somewhere.) In fact, just a few minutes ago I got an email from another friend who is newly pregnant and due in February, but I am not going to tell you who Mystery Preggers is. I hate it when people ruin a surprise like that, don’t you?

And I am so happy for all these friends and so excited to meet all these new little people! And of course, this means I get to discuss baby names – glorious, glorious baby names!

But, secretly…well, secretly until I decided to put it in a blog…I am a little sad. Not so much sad as raging, out-of-control, green-eyed jealous. I have become the main character in a bad Lifetime movie. The one who looks longingly at large amounts of white eyelet and gingham. Who seriously considers buying a fabulously tacky octopus dress because maybe someday……you know?

I mean how cute is this? How fun would this be? My kid would be the anti-Lilly!

I was recently pleased to find that this crazy biological clock thing is not just happening to me. A friend summed it up like this, “There used to be a time when once a month I would think, ‘Whew!’, and now I find myself thinking, ‘Damn!’” I think there is a lot of truth in that. The funny thing is that we really aren’t “allowed” to think it. For example, my friend chose to remain anonymous because she did not want her boyfriend to see her name attached to the above statement. I don’t have to worry about that, because the Todd is just about as computer literate as Fred Flintstone. I love the man, but if he could make it work he would still use a rotary telephone. He doesn’t even have an email address. (Hi, honey!)

For some reason, my friend and I and women like us – even as women in our early thirties - are not supposed to think about or talk about having children while we remain unmarried. And that extends to our respective boyfriends. The Todd and I talk about having children in the abstract….like, “Hey, honey, does the name Jemima make you think of pancake syrup?” or “Hey, Babe, if we ever have a son, will you swear you will never make him wear one of those girly looking rompers?” (Answers: No and….perhaps.) But if I went home and said, “Honey, I think it’s time we bought an ovulation kit.” the Todd would turn 17 shades of green and probably have to lie down. And that’s not even a tiny little piece of what the folks would do. They would totally forget that I am nearing middle age with a quickness. They would act as though I had been found in the back seat of a car on prom night.

In reality, I know that this is not the time for us to have a baby. Not until the Todd can keep it to, maybe, five shades of green. We’re just not ready for it practically or financially. So, Mom, when you read this, I promise I am not pregnant or planning to be so anytime soon. But that doesn’t mean I don’t long for it sometimes.

So, now I am back to trying to stifle the baby jealousy. And I think I do a pretty good job, usually. I haven’t been caught in the nursery section of Walmart in at least six weeks. And I am happy for all my pregnant friends – absolutely, incandescently, radiantly ecstatic for them. But there is always that little piece of me that really, really wants to buy tacky octopus dresses off Etsy.