I am! I am! And so are Trudy and Pete.
P.S. Plan ahead-Milwaukee has plenty of taxi companies…don’t drive drunk!
Let’s get this party started with a little help from my short-legged friends and one of my favorite videos floating around the interwebs.
Thank you, sirs!
First off, my apologies in advance. This may find itself as the beginning post in an ongoing series. We’re approaching some delicate days here in the next few months. I promise to throw some fun stuff in here, too. Anyway, thanks for listening!
On March 16, 2009 I told them that I didn’t want to do anything. I took a glass of orange juice and a new book out to the patio and got comfortable. Short of a few Diet Dr. Pepper breaks (and the subsequent bathroom visits) I didn’t leave that chair until dinnertime. He had asked me to come out to the woodshed and work on a project with him. I said I wanted to keep reading, but did go visit after awhile. He was working on a Morris chair. When I asked if I could get moved up the waiting list even though I wasn’t getting married anytime soon, he said as he had a million times, “of course, Margo. If that’s what you want, that’s what I’ll do.”
I’m not sure if we went for Chinese (please see previous statement) or had chicken on the grill that night, but I do know it ended as I finished the book and needed to give him the social security number test after I woke him up in his chair. He let Tom out, and then as he had a million times, he sat at the end of my bed and we talked for awhile. No matter how tired either one of us were, there was always enough energy to squeeze in pontifications in those last, precious minutes before I came back home.
The next morning mom woke me up. She made a hot chocolate for me and went to get pretty. I did the same. While he waited for me to get out of the bathroom, he practiced his mandolin. What do you want to hear, Margo? How about Crippled Creak, Padre? Perfect!
I don’t need a photograph to remind me he was wearing a green shirt and the pants with a lot of pockets and no shape. I had on a white t-shirt and jeans. Mom was in a pink and black sweater set and black pants. We had a little time to kill, so we stopped at Steve and Tiffany’s to say goodbye and to take a photograph. How did we not take any pictures?? That’s what we had done a million times before. Miss the good photo opportunities and document the anxiety and sadness of the immanent parting of ways.
On the way to the airport, we stopped at the Red Robin at La Cantera. He was so proud of himself because he ordered a burger with BBQ sauce and pineapple. We also had onion rings and raspberry lemonades. We sat outside since I was coming back to Milwaukee, but it was pretty cold. As we had a million times before, we pulled up to the San Antonio airport and I got out to get in line. But for the first time, I told them a Morris drop-off was fine. I didn’t need him to park the car and come inside so we could all cry.
Instead we cried at curbside. As he got my bag out, I gave mom a huge hug and a kiss and an “I love you.” Then I turned to him and did the same. And then we all did it again. As he got in the car, he said as he had a million times, “make me proud”. I yelled back, “I always do.” I watched them put on seatbelts, honk the horn and drive away. I took a couple deep breaths of San Antonio air, set my shoulders back, and made friends as I waited in the security line.
That was the last time I saw my dad alive and awake. I’d like to say if I would have realized the importance of these moments that would have paid more attention to the details of the day, but it sure looks like the minutia stuck with me anyway. I would pay a million times to have that day back again. To almost fall asleep and have him appear at the end of the bed to discuss the meaning of life tonight and a hamburger for lunch to look forward to tomorrow.
A friend is going to join me in a commemorative burger and onion rings tomorrow. The new most-important-man-in-my-life will be around in the evening to contemplate life like we have a million times over the past 6 months. All is not lost. But holy schmit, I sure miss you, Padre.
Oh, Coquette Café. Where have you been all my life? You, with your perfect linens and pretty waitstaff. Your favorable wine list and the funny little breads. And your desserts…oh, your desserts.
Last Friday night, the man introduced me to a new (to me) restaurant in the Third Ward, Coquette Café. Interestingly enough, it does have new ownership. Randy said it hasn’t changed at all, so I take that to mean it has been heaven all along.
At 8pm we managed to walk right in and be sat at a table with a view into the dance class across the street (dinner and a show!). Our waitress was knowledgeable, but unobtrusive. We started with a glass of wine, Soupe à l’Oignon (that’s French Onion Soup with Melted Gruyère Cheese for y’all non-Francophiles out there) and a piece of bread that was served in a paper bag. Yeh, I don’t get that either. The bread was a little dry, but the soup was outstanding. There were enough onions in the homemade beef stock that it almost had the consistency of a stew. The bread was the perfect size and both it and the cheesy crust allowed themselves to be cut with the soft side of a spoon so we didn’t have to slurp up the soup. (That doesn’t mean Randy didn’t. I think if his tongue was long enough, he would have licked out the bowl!)
Halfway through our main course I remembered to take pictures. I had the Casserole of Sautéed Eggplant with Tomato Concasse and Parmesan Custard that was so unbelievable I had to just stop talking. The eggplant was so rich and the custard so creamy. It was like eating a bowl of eggplant parmigana without needing a fork or knife. So delicate for such a hearty dish. Heaven. Randy got the special of the evening, a Jamaican spiced tilapia with unique grain served risotto style and sautéed greens. While he enjoyed his meal, I think we both liked mine better.
Then it came time for dessert and I ordered the chocolate mousse, because, well, that’s what I do. Randy ordered the crème brulee. The desserts came out, I tucked into my mousse and asked Randy if I could try his. I honestly don’t think I’ve ever had crème brulee before. If there’s a chocolate option, I always go that route.
Well, holy hell, have I been missing out all these 29 years! You know how I said above that if Randy’s tongue was long enough, he’d lick his soup bowl? Well, it was only because the waitress took away the empty dish that I did not use my finger to get every last ounce of fresh vanilla bean custard or miniscule shard of burnt sugar. Oh, the burnt sugar that tasted like perfectly roasted marshmallows fresh from the fire. My eyes may or may not have rolled into the back of my head at this point.
So anyway, if you get a chance, may I recommend the delightful Coquette Café at 316 N. Milwaukee Street here in Milwaukee for a night out on the town? Or as a place to pick up a cooking class or Day in the Kitchen for your favorite person with a birthday coming up….whatever.
The Man introduced me to a fun thing that AMC theaters does every year. The Saturday (or this year Saturdays) before the Oscars, they show all the movies nominated for Best Picture. Last weekend was sold out, so we created our own movie marathon at home. This means I missed out on Avatar and Precious. So please keep that in mind with my picks below.
UP: I actually laughed out loud and cried real tears. That’s the sign of a good story and characters developed enough that we care about them. The animation was impressive (again, given that I didn’t see Avatar.) Hope it wins Best Animation.
District 9: Best use of unnecessary gore and F-bombs. We also watched the producers cut where he said he had no intention of making a political statement by setting the film in South Africa, so so much for that angle. If I would have been in a theater, I would have walked out when (spoiler!) the main dude ripped off his own fingernails. Not a fan.
A Serious Man: I know there are always Oscar contenders that I just don’t get. Perhaps it’s my lack of art appreciation, but this film was just odd. And on top of the oddness, it just seemed like a takeoff on American Beauty. They also had a ridiculous about of F-bombs and hair-washing. Strike out!
This is the point that I’m reviewing movies we saw in the theater. Thank goodness. These were all 100 times better than the other three.
An Education: A very well done movie about a very hard time to grow-up female. Sure, our main character was given all of the food, clothing, and (eh, kinda) love she could need throughout childhood, but when a man came to sweep her off her feet and keep her dad from having to pay for college, her chances of an education were lost. At that time, many parents (my grandparents included!) thought women only went to college for the MRS degree and/or to become a teacher or nurse. No choices. How scary. Ignorance is bliss and these women knew everything.
Hurt Locker: First World Problems. This movie reminds the viewer that all we dare bitch about are only First World Problems. How dare we. This film is a fantastic display of the realities of modern day war. (Or at least I assume it is close to truth.) These men (in this film, just men) deal with SO much and then we expect them to come home to live normal lives. Crazy. Anyway, this film was superbly acted, edited and directed. Additionally, this was the only movie that had an appropriate amount of F-bombs. That would be every other word out of my mouth if I lived in their world! This is my pick for best movie of the year.
Up In the Air: I’ve been looking forward to this movie since it came out. It showcases George Clooney, the joys of racking up frequent flier miles, and a pretty accurate display to how the meetings I put on end up. It is an interesting time to give the main character a career in firing people. Rumor has it some of the people who lost their job in the movie had lost a job in real life. Spending the day with George Clooney would almost be worth it! There is an interesting twist in this movie that honestly shocked me. Added bonus: Sam Elliot would play my dad in a movie, so they win extra points for giving me 3 minutes with a mustache and crinkly eyes reminder.
The Blind Side: This movie surprised both Randy and I. Given the story (that everyone already knows), we were expecting some major cheese. But instead of weepiness, I came away from this movie inspired. This family (and the school) did something because it was the Christian thing to do. How many of us can say that? They were fortunate enough to be able to afford all the things necessary to raise another child, but it makes you think…what could I do to be like them?
Inglorious Bastards: This is exactly what I expected from a Quentin Terantino movie. I don’t like Quentin Terantino movies. The end. (If I would have written this directly after watching the movie, that would have been my review. The more I think about it, the more I think this was a good film. The gentleman who won supporting actor (yes, I’m feverishly writing this so its posted before the Best Picture is announced!) did a great job. So did others. (Yet for the record, I have never seen a movie where I’ve enjoyed Brad Pitt ‘s acting. This did not break that streak. I have spent the whole day trying to say “Nazis” like he did though…) The music, film editing, and even clothes selections were very interesting. If you can stand gore, you may enjoy this film.)