Thursday, December 24, 2015

Always Second Choice

It's like I'm living at the beach.

Because all my windows are open, the warm, humid air outside keeps rolling into my apartment, the result being that every floor, every wall, every mirror and window is glistening. A wacky breeze periodically rattles the shades.

Everything looks and feels damp, not that there's anything wrong with that. My hair has given up.

Walking back through Carver yesterday, I encountered two guys standing under an open garage door, arms crossed, enjoying the warmth of a gray, rainy day. But when I said it felt beachy, one guy disagreed. "It's a few months too late for the beach," he says. I'm not that picky.

Anytime is a good beach time to me.

I'm pickier about movies, so while the rest of the world is busy seeing "Star Wars," I saw "Spotlight," a well-acted film based on true events that showed the actual work of tracking a news story and not just a Hollywood scratch-at-the-surface take on the often-grueling work.

Says the woman who's never been any sort of investigative journalist.

This week is already feeling like a blur, let's see, there was Richmond Ballet's "Nutcracker," resplendent with fresh costumes I didn't recognize, a glamorous new sleigh and at least a couple of sets I don't recall ever seeing. The overall effect was lovely and succinct, touching down at two hours including intermission.

Out on the sidewalk at 4:00, we navigated treacherous puddles to set our sights on Castanea for a nosh to accompany a little holiday Cava. With the staff a bit less than punctual, the chef ably filled in as bar man, pouring our bubbles and being amusing before returning to kitchen duty to make our bacon-wrapped dates and bruschetta with chicken liver mousse.

For the record, my first time at Castanea without eating gelato.

Holmes calls to say, "I wanted you to know you weren't my first choice," and explains that someone has dropped out of his birthday dinner, so he'd like to invite me to the all-family gathering at Belmont Food Shop.

Walking into his house, immediately it's a party. His nephew, affectionately known as L.A. Ken (for his post-RVA adopted home), joins us to pre-game and for the walk over under ominous skies thundering and lightening like it's August.

"I don't think it's ever thundered on my birthday," Holmes observes to himself as he helps Beloved maneuver around a puddle.

As many times as I've been to Belmont, I'd never eaten on the special event side, so I couldn't resist looking around. "Being nosy?" our server Andy asks upon discovering me in the pantry. "This is where I hide."

Explaining that I'm the only non-family member at this shindig, Andy's there for me. "You just tell me if you need anything stronger." Rose was plenty because the apple doesn't fall very far from the tree and with Holmes as colorful as he is, well, so goes the fam.

Aunt Martha told me she saw Frank Sinatra in Pittsburgh in 1943 when she was 16, before she knew what the big deal about Frankie was. She confirmed for me that girls did indeed scream through the show. Erica and I found that we were kindred souls when it comes to photography: take a zillion shots and cull the herd. Simple. Brother Jerry told me that I should have been Holmes' first choice to invite to the party. L.A. Ken posed the question: Kurt Cobain or Jim Morrison?

Belmont never disappoints with food and tonight's shrimp with poached endive and avocado, short ribs with barley and root vegetables and chocolate silk pie did nothing to change my mind on that matter. Bonus points were awarded because instead of the usual 20s and 30s music, they had on the Beatles, the birthday boy's musical bedrock.

And while I'm taking a tally, let's not forget about all the holiday goings-on.

Dozens of cookies have been made, presents have been wrapped, nog has been repeatedly sipped. Despite the oddness of the weather, I'm ready now to join the Whos down in Who-Ville in singing, "Welcome Christmas." And Spring, apparently.

It's all good. I don't think I've ever worn a sundress on Christmas Eve. And shiny walls are festive, no?

1 comment:

  1. What a great ending for your day!

    And girlfriend, you are never anyone's "second" choice!

    much love and many thanks for my small thoughtful treasures - the best kind of gifts.

    Merry, merry Christmas dearheart, and have a wonderful adventure out west!