Sunday, September 6, 2009

Gigi's Birthday

We had a little dinner party here at HQ last night to celebrate Gigi's birthday. My favorite part about this party is that Gigi did all the cooking. She even bought all the groceries at the new Whole Foods across the street. She did the dishes, too. All I had to do is vacuum.

Today I wound up snacking on Tums. Maybe I ate too many left-overs in one sitting or maybe the organic whole milk from Milk Thistle Farm I drank with the cake was a bit too rich for my constitution. I doubt it was the two pieces of cake.

I still can't see my way clear to boycott Whole Foods. I'm a Trader Joe's shopper myself, although I occasionally shopped at the original Whole Foods in Austin back in the late 70's when you could get weed from the guy at the fish counter. We didn't get our weed there, however. The Man from San Antone bought Colombian by the pound which was much more economical especially since he sold a bit to his friends to cover the cost of the pound.

Even in the beginning, Whole Foods was too expensive for ordinary shopping. This new Whole Foods opened when I was installing Velvet in the dormitory at Tree Hugger U. Last weekend, Gigi talked me into going into Whole Foods with her to get a cup of coffee. I was surprised to find a number of apparently single men in my demographic wandering around the salad bar area. Gigi merely said, "I rest my case." Who knew Whole Foods was a pick up joint? Regardless of potential dates in the prepared food section, I maintain that shopping at Whole Foods will render me broke.

I'm already broke. That's why I never shopped at Whole Foods in the first place and why I am loyal to Trader Joe's.

I got an email the other day from Greenpeace saying they had succeeded in convincing Trader Joe's to start selling fish that are more sustainable. Greenpeace is bent out of shape about something else at Trader Joe's now - and they are working on it. I figure that anyone who is really pissed off about Whole Foods' CEO John Mackey mouthing off about health care reform needs to pressure that grocery store the same way Greenpeace pressured Trader Joe's. Boycotts aren't particularly effective when a large percentage of the boycotters aren't customers anyway because the store is too dang expensive.

Actually, I was pissed off about this Whole Foods moving to the neighborhood because now there are no affordable options within a few blocks of my apartment. I like it when there's a sale so you can get three cans of tomato sauce for $1.00. You can't get jack shit at Whole Foods for a dollar. You can get some particularly tasty treats when you feel like splurging. I particularly like those spicy pecans and the chocolate covered almonds. Nevertheless, I wasn't happy about this change to the neighborhood. I wasn't happy about the thirty story apartment building either.

A few months into the construction project, John Mackey was caught trying to manipulate the price of somebody's stock when he was purchasing their company - or something like that. It caused quite an uproar among the Masters of the Universe because they felt John Mackey's behavior was unethical. This episode occurred before the economic clusterfuck when Masters of the Universe pretended to be solid citizens who cared about the public welfare. John Mackey responded by saying (paraphrase), "You believe what you read on the internet? HAHAHAHAHAHA."

Once I heard that, I was proud to have the Whole Foods across the street like an Austin Outpost here on the Upper West Side - even if it is a yuppified lifestyle company like Starbucks.

Gigi outdid herself with the dinner. She served prosecco with the appetizers: Egg white and asparagus quiche, heirloom tomatoes, miscellaneous cheeses and some delightful, savory crackers. Polenta pizza with pancetta, spinach, mushrooms, caramelized onions and Gorgonzola.

Then Swiss Chard lasagna with fresh tomato basil sauce for dinner and an outstanding Cotes du Rhone. And of course the cake. It was a delicious cake from Make My Cake just up the street on West 116th, but Gigi wasn't 100% happy with it because someone took the liberty of adding a flourish of big, white flowers around the border of the cake. She specifically wanted a yellow cake with chocolate frosting because it represents her racial heritage. Gigi's mom is part white which makes Gigi High Yellow which is why she wanted a yellow cake, and she wanted chocolate frosting to represent her dad and her black self which people often overlook on account of she's so light skinned. All those fluffy white flowers undermined the personal symbolism of the cake. That cake wasn't cheap either and to my way of thinking, nobody should be taking liberties with a special order cake. It was too late to pitch a bitch about it, though, so Gigi valiantly persevered.
I don't pretend to understand the significance of the light skinned/dark skinned sister thing any more than I relate to the torture of getting my hair straightened. I refuse to be one of those dumb ass white women who think she knows about the black experience because she has read a couple of novels by Alice Walker.

Gigi's old now. She's 31. It would be possible for her to be the illegitimate bi-racial daughter I brought home from the University of Texas at Austin to a scandalized Houston suburb which is precisely what she and Velvet like to tell people. As soon as my father met Gigi at Velvet's graduation he threw his support behind this fiction - and now some people actually believe I have a 31 year old daughter. I'd snatch her and Velvet both bald headed for saying such a thing, except I myself enjoy saying stuff about Velvet's sister the pole dancer. I expect my father enjoys that too. My mother stoically ignores us all.

Gigi and I also went to see Julie & Julia as part of the birthday celebration on Friday night. Cute movie that carried a reminder to bloggers that people may not like the way they are portrayed on the internet. I felt a twinge of guilt watching that, but just a twinge related to HCW and Cretin - not a bit of guilt regarding Buzz Kill which probably supports Velvet's assertion that I am maniacal, but enough about that.

Saturday morning, I went with Gigi to Yoga class. Back when Velvet was a little kid, I regularly took exercise classes from a woman who was part of the Isadora Duncan dance company and she included lots and lots of yoga in the class. So even though this class was only the second time I'd ever officially taken Yoga, I was familiar with many of the moves. Fortunately, I stretch on a big, green ball in the living room all the time and was flexible enough to hang tough in the class. It was so fun and so relaxing and so all together wonderful that I spent some of my spousal support on a 10 class card - which I got for a 20% discount. As it happens, I pass right by this yoga studio when I walk home from work every afternoon. I'm looking forward to incorporating yoga class into my weekly routine.

I sort of miss Velvet, but not much. To tell the truth, I'm enjoying the clean, calm quiet in my home. Every now and then, get overwhelmed by a wave of fear and anxiety because for the first time in my life, I have total discretion over my time. For years, there have been layers of other people to consider before I focused on my own goals. I could make time for Grad School easily enough but that goal was work related, which had to do with contributing to the financial support of our little family. Having time to focus on goals I've set for myself - purely because I want to accomplish them for my own reasons - is making me feel guilty. And then if I don't work on my personal goals, I feel guilty for that too.

Gigi says to remember that Velvet has only been at college for ten days. It's a little early yet for me to have a whole new life completely wired. It's hard though, as I hear the theme song to Mary Tyler Moore in my head and see her tossing that beret into the air. These days, I bet Mary would have been laid off from the station. She would be struggling to make ends meet as a freelancer with no insurance.

Becoming mindful of my breath, I am grateful that the benefits kicked in immediately at my new job, so I am once again insured and am saving for retirement.

Blessed Be.


Gail said...

Hi Trish-

It sounds to me like you are embarking on a great adventure - finding a course - a path or two or three and exploring - with friends and food and feelings and work and blessings and a few curses and it is all yours to line up, put in place and step up and on and forge along.

Love you girl

PENolan said...

And the weather's nice.
Doesn't get much better

intelliwench said...

Ooooh, you had me at "polenta pizza."

Yay for the yoga class - I'm up at 5am to take Tai Chi twice a week, since I don't have to be a responsible parent in the mornings. (Of course now the dog wants breakfast early EVERYday.)

It's very liberating to consder all the possibilities that are possible now, isn't it?

PENolan said...

I swing between invigorated and overwhelmed. It's time to make a new "to do" list, that's for sure.

Utah Savage said...

I hate Whole Foods too. It's the only place Z will let me buy food when I'm trying to find things she can swallow.

God I wish someone would come and cook like that for me. And wash the dishes too? You are so lucky.

I have a yoga studio in the neighborhood, but I don't feel like yoga. I'm starting to walk again. I know, baby steps. But I've been so inactive lately. Well, lately for a couple of years. Now I have a little dog. She's easy to walk and it's perfect weather for an evening walk.

PENolan said...

Evening walks are great - unless you have to dodge some of the neighbors who want to visit ;)

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