I do not look this adorable IRL. Okay, the eyes are accurate. You might have seen her in a text if you're on my near friend list.
Affairs. That's what I liked with your father, husband, boyfriend, partner, and older brother. They look delicious in French movies with a morning croissant.
I gave them up. It was hard. I am not a puritan. This is not a pitch for monogamy.
But keeping secrets just about took me out. You can guess what saved me. After all this time, I still don't want to go back. They were relationships deeply mixed up with drinking. The last affair took me, first class, into recovery.
No judgement. You have to handcraft your life. Lessons are yours to learn.
There have been temptations over the years. In one case a long time ago, I waved my fist toward the sky and asked, why? Character building. Or so I'm told.
I've revealed a lot about myself. And I'm going to tell you more.
First, I'm not looking to fall off a cliff. I'm writing and have good work and friends. This is one of my too many dreams. I'm grown-up enough to accept if it doesn't happen. There will be a party at my favourite restaurant no matter the outcome.
I want to get married.
Before I wave farewell to this world. Throw my final fistful of confetti. I've been single for the better part of 60 years. That red flag is like the size that hangs at the Mall of America. You can see it for miles in the long lineup of cars. Not on my own the whole time. But...still...pretty...independent.
Have you been on dating apps lately? I'm a unique model to sell.
I laugh a little when I see "I can cook" in a man's dating profile. How to introduce my credentials. I know my way around restaurants. Swipe left if that's intimidating.
I'd like a man who's quick with a dishtowel like my grandfather, Harry. Looking hot hammering wood or pushing a lawnmower in grubby work clothes. I can do those things, too. Also, I hope he likes movies in theatres. Foreign films included. I once went on a first date with a man who sat through a Spanish film with subtitles that was more than two hours long. He liked holding my hand in the dark.
Curious...a good listener...smart…good character…someone who can make me LAUGH. All the better if he looks like Idris Elba, Daniel Craig, Bill Nighy, Dave Grohl, or Nick Offerman and talks like Trevor Noah or Sam Fragosa. Do you want to laugh more? Watch this BBC One Comic Relief clip with Daniel Craig and Catherine Tate. It's about dating. Thank me later.
I require some care. And can return it. If interested, please send a photo of you doing the dishes. Operators are standing by.
On the subject of dating, this CBC and BBC podcast on catfishing, Love, Janessa, is terrific. Ditto for this BBC podcast about the hazards of love bombing.
Loneliness is a treacherous companion.
That exquisite first note — is it an A major? I never learned to read music.
I smiled every time I played this song while writing. blushing
A Night at the Opera and A Day at the Races came out when I was 12 going on 13, in 1975 and '76. We'd never heard anything like it. Absolute magic. Dear Freddy Mercury. A peerless showman. His gorgeous talent in the concert footage from Montreal. What a polite Canadian crowd.
1981 - Montreal
It's Family Day in Canada. I'm saying that for anyone who wouldn't know. Is there anything better than a long weekend in February? Having two quiet Sundays.
Yesterday, I found this in one of Theo's cooking binders, a book she might have started while working on a canaller on the St. Lawrence River in the 1930s. In her handwriting is one of my mother's recipes (which may have come from the German book in Time-Life's Foods of the World series).
Theo was an instinctive cook and could produce fabulous food with a scant description. But here, she takes every word down. Knowing when getting a recipe right called for all the directions.
Love ran between Theo and my mother. There was complicated human stuff too. But until Theo passed at 93, they were in regular contact. My mother still thinks of Theo and Harry as good parents. They gave her a love she needed.
To hear my mother talk about this red cabbage recipe is to know how much she loves it. It's imprinted on her — that luscious feeling. The next time I'm out in Strathmore, I'll make it and serve it with thick smoked pork chops. Watch her smile.
How much time do we have left together? An essential question with aging parents.
In life, I had difficulty with both women. There were periods with my mom and Theo when we weren't getting along (my mom's rebound husband was a doozy). But I didn't doubt the love and support.
So today, I'm owning having come from them. We are blood.
Theo and my mother on either side of my dad on their wedding day. Look at my dad in his Navy suit.
Standing above my grandmother is Pete Polino, my godfather. Just writing his name makes me smile. He was my dad's best friend. The stories about those two as teenagers are full of hi-jinx and adventure, and are hilarious. Pete's mother and grandmother were serious southern Italian cooks. You know why my dad hung around.
Happy Family Day.
Burt Bacharach. He made songs for all the best voices.
I spent time Saturday morning with a friend who's in a squeeze. Life is ripe. We're equals and have both been through it. Getting the call to be with them is an honour. They've done the same for me. Do you know the place where our conversation ended? Right before we parted ways? Gratitude. For the problems. And the scrabble for solutions.
One of the beautiful things to come out of the awful pandemic is the culture of mending. We're increasing the beauty of broken, holey things instead of throwing them away. I know of someone who's learning kintsugi. Look at these gorgeous, darned socks.
It's the same with humans. People change. Learn hard lessons. Shine in new ways.
That includes me.
Personal freedom is knowing I am not for everyone. And everyone is not for me.
Sometimes things line up like magic. I heard this song Tuesday night on a radio program. And today, it's a perfect fit.
I hope to be
Who I believe in (I know)
Do you know the scene in the restaurant in As Good As It Gets where Melvin (Jack Nicholson) is making a complete mess of seducing Carol (Helen Hunt)? The one where he finally spits out, "you make me want to be a better man."
I think about that sentiment occasionally about people in my life. I might never tell them they make me want to be better, but they do.
It's how I feel about Voula sitting across from me — like Euphrosyne ("Joy"), one of the Greek Graces.
We're close in age. In the same place, creatively. Have big projects. And are full of fresh power.
I have been growing a circle of support. Smart and loving people who want me to succeed. A place to turn to when I want a truthful and caring read on me and the work. The line-up is solid gold.
Voula's in it.
I admire her enthusiasm for colour, her jewellery, her humble and generous spirit, and the way she puts food and words together. Metaphorically speaking, she has a Ph.D. in hospitality. You should see the illustrations she sends me by text. I have a front-row seat to her artistic expression. The talk between us about work and life is mature and honest.
Talk about feeling perfectly cared for. It took us too long to get to Famiglia Baldassarre. We both have had the pasta retail. But nothing beats the shop on Geary Avenue. Look at the food. The service is *chef's kisses.* Do yourself a favour and line up. If you're coming from out of town, you don't want to miss it. The pasta is miraculous. Close your eyes, and pretend you're in Milan, Florence, or Rome.
The Sound of Philadelphia for Voula. Harold Melvin & The Bluenotes and The O'Jays. Memories of Soul Train. Eleven-year-old me dancing my way to happy.
60 is the new 60.
Tomorrow. February 6, 1963.
My parents with Christopher, my older brother. The adoration in their faces. So in love. It was the same with me.
My father getting off his motorcycle after working a shift at Union Carbide in Welland — May or June 1962. My mom waiting with a bad case of baby fever. At 60, there's nothing gross about knowing a good time was had. The story's a gift my dad left me.
today I want to remember my parents. My father used to say, "The only time I feel old is when you have a birthday."
(I still have that chin.)
What follows is cliché.
Anything that broke me into pieces (with some exceptions).
What I've had to put back together, clean up, or abandon.
Life's fine print. And the agree button.
What I'm most grateful for.
And the love and help that made it possible.
The no-end work of existence.
I hope I've told you enough about how grateful I am you're here, reading this.
I am not a coal miner's daughter. But as soon as I heard Loretta Lynn's voice, I knew she was it. In the Grand Ole Opry performance, she looks like an angel. I love the sound of a banjo so much.
© Deborah Reid, 2021 - 2023. All Rights Reserved.