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10:04 a.m. - 2011-04-25
Grateful Table

I apologize for starting out with the weather, but in the hour I've been up there's been sun, a fierce downpour (for about 3 minutes), peeking sun, a whoosh of very chilly wind, and now it's back to being greyly overcast and warmish. Some years we jump immediately from winter into summer. As in needing the furnace on a Monday and turning the a/c on by Thursday. No open window weather at all. This year, however, we've had an actual springy spring with all the clichéd stuff. March roared like a lion. So far April has been showers. The temps have stayed mild. So much so that despite having a bazillion flowers open and perfuming the place (crocuses, daffodils, hyacinths, and violets by the millions) the trees are just now starting to wake up. Only a scanty bit of tree sex on the cars and driveway so far, but I'm sure within a week or so everything out there will be sporting a uniform coating of the yellowish-green residue of trees on the make. Something Mick bitches about bitterly, but I point out to him how difficult it would be for humans to have babies if we were rooted to the ground as trees are and to cut our arboreal friends a break. They're just trying their best to have kids too, and they can't get busy in the backseat of a car.

Anyway, I thought I'd put the weather report down for posterity so if next year we get one of those winter-to-summer expresses and everybody grumbles about how we don't have spring anymore I shall go through my archive and say, "On the contrary! The spring of 2011 was everything a spring should be. So shut up your butt and turn the a/c on high, okay? I'm shvitzing like a pig here."

Yesterday's dinner was so much fun! As always, seeing Miss Steph was wonderful. Another thing I am grateful for with the coming of better weather I can haul my heinie across the bridge and up to Steph's fairly often now without worrying about getting zapped with a blizzard. LA don't do snow driving. At least not if I can avoid it.

So many uppy things to say about yesterday I hardly know how to write them down so I don't sound like a manic cricket.

Steph-Mom is a delight. And so stylish and pretty! I can see why Stephanie is such a knock-out, she comes from good stock. But besides being easy on the eyes my pal's mom was excellent company. Lively and involved. Mick came away with a bit of a crush on her. Considering how shy my He-man is, this is really saying something. Usually he's in agonies of self-conscious propriety and yet before the meal was half over he was running his mouth just as easily and funnily as the rest of us were. Of course he adores Steph and isn't shy around her anymore, but I had a sneaky he'd clam up with a stranger at the table. Ha! Not a bit of it.

MIL enjoyed our company too. I spoke with her this morning and she couldn't stop gushing about how much she liked my friends and how cool it was that we all just meshed together so easy-peasy.

At dinner Steph was looking around to see what had changed and noticing things she hadn't on previous visits. I was pleased when she recognized the subject of the painting that hangs above the china cabinet in the dining room. It's a painting of people praying at the Western Wall aka: the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem. Many previous guests have asked why I have a picture of guys taking a leak hanging in my dining room. Explaining that the men in the painting are davening and NOT peeing against the wall always gives me the giggles. But my learned friend recognized it for what it was right away. Another reason I love this woman. She was also very impressed with the drawing Anna had made of my house. I framed it and it has pride of place on the dining room sideboard. My life is stuffed with talented brilliant friends.

And generous loved ones. I got not one, but TWO new charms for my Pandora bracelet yesterday. Mick gave me a bunny charm and MIL gifted me with a bead with silver wire flowers on it. Gorgeous the both of them. With the new additions my bracelet is weightier and is moving differently on my wrist. I can't imagine how much it'll weigh when it's full of charms and beads. Or (eek!) how much its total worth will be, those Pandora charms ain't cheap.

I was showing off my bracelet at the table yesterday and Steph said her sister has one too and we had a good laugh about how Pandora bracelets are THE hot new Kool Kids accessory for middle-aged women. A tribal mark. 'We Who Buy and/or Given Pricey Trinkets'. It's like the pointy hairdo, only women of a certain age need apply. I've gotten into at least a dozen conversations about the Pandoras already. The bank manager, a secretary at Wolf's school, in line at the deli, the lady in the next chair when I got a pedicure a couple weeks ago. We hold them out to each other and examine each other's charms and coo over them. It's like sniffing butts or something.

One dopey thing happened yesterday and it made me appreciate how lucky I am to have finally surrounded myself with kind loving people. The second lasagna overflowed some and dripped a load of sauce and cheese on the bottom of the oven. I made a mental note to scrape it out when the oven cooled but the company started arriving and I forgot. I turned the oven back on to bake the rolls and the whole house immediately filled with smoke. Seriously the living room was as cloudy as a pool hall. We ran around opening more windows and turning on fans. MIL taught me a cool trick about dumping salt on the burning stuff that cut the smoke back by a huge amount. Whew. I apologized for the smoke and for being a forgetful doofus and everybody reassured me it was no biggie and not to be upset.

I thought about how it would have gone if it had been the ex and his family in the house. First they would have all charged into the kitchen laughing and pointing fingers. Then when I tried to explain they'd have twirled their fingers next to their heads, "Yup, LA's a cuckoo!" "What a dimwit!" "Jeeze, how stupid can you be?" Then someone would have started the fake choking and they'd all jump in clutching their throats and staggering around pretending to gasp for air. If I showed I was upset or embarrassed the harassment would get louder and nastier. Hoping to make me cry they'd have hounded and howled and mocked for the entire day. Then every stinkin' time they came for a meal afterward they'd start in. Gleeful, "Hey LA, you gonna burn the place down again?" "Hiya, Smokey! How long til dinner's charred enough to serve?" "Can't wait to see what you set on fire this time! We made bets in the car. My money's on the coffee maker."

I shit you not. They'd have never let me live it down. Meanest assholes on the planet, that crew is.

Whereas yesterday my guests and family were very nice. Understood that stuff spills sometimes and a leaky lasagna and a smoky oven do not make me the world's biggest idiot nor was it something to try to torment me over. With MIL and Mick's help we got the air cleared in 5 minutes and nothing more was said about it. We sat down to eat and had such a good time we were still at the table four hours later. Laughing and talking. Swooning over Steph-Mom's fantastic cannoli cake. Trading recipes and stories. The nicest, least stressful, happiest holiday meal I ever had.

Know why? Because I was finally sharing the table with my REAL family. Good people who I love and who love me back.

Ain't it great? ~LA

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