November 18, 2016

Happy Birthday to me. Not.


. . . Also, yesterday. I’m now officially even older than I was.  This keeps happening.  You’re just kind of getting used to being twelve or thirty-five or fifty or a hundred and three and zap you have to get used to being thirteen or thirty-six or fifty-one or a hundred and four.  And that’s not good enough either!  Fifty two more weeks and you’re fourteen or thirty seven or fifty two or a hundred and five! No wonder human beings are so insecure.  Stuff keeps changing.  It’s very unsettling.

So yesterday I didn’t ring the garage because I figured if there was any good news they would have rung me and I didn’t want avoidable bad news on my birthday.* But the hellmob and I had a variety of nice walks even if they were perforce in town, I gave myself the day off from hitting myself repeatedly in the head with a brick, I mean, working on story-in-progress, and I had dinner out with a friend.**  We had a really lovely relaxing delectable dinner*** and I don’t think I gave our waiter a nervous breakdown with all my searching questions about ingredients.†  I even had half a half glass of wine.††

And I came home, hurtled the hellmob for the last time, opened all my presents . . . and fell into a deep funk. This time last year Peter was so frail he stayed in bed and didn’t come to the birthday party in one of Rivendell’s little private function rooms.  We took turns ferrying him fizz and dainties. . . .

Life. Birthdays.  Crap.  But I have several excellent new books to read.†††

* * *

* I rang them today. They’re in negotiations with the old VW parts factory in Viti Levu for the pristine 20-year-old VW Golf pedal box kept in a glass case outside the CEO’s office as a particularly fascinating example of last century’s technology^. They will ring me when they have anything to tell me, like whether I’ll get my car back before the frelling end of the frelling year.  At least they’re not saying ‘buy a new car’.  Hey!  He doesn’t even have two hundred thousand miles on him yet!  A diesel VW ought to be worth 200,000 miles!

^ I have no idea why it’s particularly fascinating. I have no idea what a pedal box is.+

+ I mean, why would you keep your pedals in a box? Generally you want them out doing mobile, pedally things.#

# I know, I know. Don’t tell me.

** I think this was the first time I’ve been in a skirt since Peter’s memorial. I’ve almost forgotten how.^

^ Tights. Where do I keep my frelling TIGHTS?

*** I may have knitted between courses

† It seems like a great idea that restaurants post their menus on line these days^ and if you eat like I do you need to check ahead one way or another. It’s easier and less embarrassing to do it via google rather than get into one of those no-win conversations with a phone-answering member of staff who has probably heard of gluten-free and lactose intolerance^^ but by the time you’ve rejected several harmless-sounding possibilities due to the presence of nightshades or cereal grains you can hear the person at the other end of the line wanting to go into another line of work.  Immediately.  So I read up before I go anywhere and then I get there and . . . they’ve changed the menu.  The, one might almost say delicious, irony here is that this is likeliest to happen in the local-seasonal-footprint-conscious restaurants I’m likeliest to opt for.  This happened last night.  It will probably happen again tomorrow night when I’m having dinner with some other friends at another local-seasonal-patient-with-the-deranged restaurant.

^ especially if you’re some frelling import like me who can’t get her head around the idea that traditional British food means meat, stodge and gravy.  There are quite a few old-fashioned pubs in this area who are awarded lots of stars and fulsome acclaim on Trip Advisor where there isn’t a green veg in sight, where the side dishes are all things you can do with potatoes.  What seems to me even more bizarre is that you may be likelier to see aloo masala or onion paratha than a plain mixed green salad or, you know, Brussel sprouts or leeks+ or something you or your neighbour might very well have in your garden.++  I know Britain is now Curry Nation but until global warming gets a better grip we still can’t grow turmeric here.  And personally I’d prefer to go on importing our turmeric and not grow malaria here either.

+ You know, fresh local seasonal veg.  I also prefer to stay away from restaurants whose menus are advertising fresh asparagus in November.

++ It’s not looking good for the five# a day.

# Or seven. The latest seems to be seven.  And people are still eating at Macdonalds.  Oh but wait, they’re having a bedtime snack of broccoli with their hot milk, right?  And getting up in the morning to a ginormous platter of raw spinach salad with their hot caffeine. Come on guys. Vegetables are good.  Vegetables are friendly.  Vegetables have your best interests at heart.

^^ I haven’t given you the gruesome details of my ‘food poisoning’ the other week, have I? My medical herbalist, whom we will call Gundred, both because she deserves a name and because ‘medical herbalist’ is a daunting phrase, persuaded me that goats’- and sheep-milk products were worth a try.  Non-cow dairy would contribute to Building Me Up and it would be a nice boost to variety in my diet.  Well I like the yogurt and I like kefir a lot+ but the cheeeeeeeese. . . . . I had no idea I loved/missed cheese this much. AHHHHHHHHHH.  Eating cheese again is like the first thing that has made me happy since Peter died.++

So one of my visiting friends and I went to lunch at one of the local pubs who is Used to Me. And lo they had changed their menu—local and seasonal, you know—to include a root-veg salad I could actually eat without asking them to hold half the ingredients and substitute the other half.  The salad included feta cheese.  I adore feta cheese, I (now) eat it at home regularly (wheeeeeee).

I put my friend back on the train and went home and felt sicker and sicker and sicker and every bone and muscle in my body turned into one big throbbing ache and I had dancing anvils in my head. And I thought WTF, this is my dairy allergy. I tried to think of anything else that might have done this to me, failed—but the dancing anvils were having a somewhat negative effect on my thought processes—and eventually in despair googled feta.  Where I was informed that it was, indeed, goats’ and/or sheep cheese, but some evil ratbag Northern Europeans sometimes made it out of cows’ milk. Which is pretty clearly what happened to me.

It’s taken me frelling weeks to recover.  Everything hurt and none of the bendy things bent properly, so for example closing my hands on a bell rope or a berserking hellterror who wants that other dog to know that she is the meanest SOB in the valley was both unpleasant and perilous.  But when the frelling eczema started I panicked because this was a good two weeks after the incident and I was afraid my body was rejecting the goats and sheep too. Noooooooo. But the eczema has subsided . . . and I’m still eating cheese (and yogurt and kefir).

But my point is I don’t torture waiters for fun.  I’m pathological for cause.+++

+ And since I have to make my own it had better be worth it. Although making it is kind of fun.  It’s like a school science project.  You mix the weird stuff together and then you put the result in a jar and wait to see what happens.

++ The high doesn’t last, of course, but for the few minutes I’m actually eating cheese the world cannot touch me.#

# Barring the hellterror getting the refrigerator door open~ or one of the hellhounds climbing the garden wall. Because they can.  I hope they can’t, but I wouldn’t put it past them.  Reasons the hellmob are never in the garden unless I’m out there too.  Especially now we’re surrounded by little yappy dogs. Arrrrrrrrrgh. Although the ones we share walls with are fine really.  Damien is on the other side of the cul de sac.  And the hellmob isn’t in the Lodge’s garden without me either.  They probably could get over that wall, but eating Damien would probably give them food poisoning.

~ I Live In Fear

+++ As part of Birthday Celebration Week we were going to go to one of the big national gardens that plants for year round interest as they say, not to mention tourist money.  But we had thunderstorms and horizontal rain today in unpredictable bursts, so we went to a film instead.  I’ve seen three films in the last six months.  I hope you’re impressed.  Hey, I could do a film review post.# Today’s was ARRIVAL.  And never mind what I thought of it—I’ll tell you that in my film review post—it more or less begins with our heroine being told she has ten minutes to pack before the big guy takes her off to a top-secret-clearance military encampment.  This is one of twelve top-secret-clearance military encampments all over the world, pitched next to twelve alien spacecraft which have materialised out of nowhere and seem to want the natives to talk to them.  Our heroine is a hot shot linguist.  But I was thinking, if some big guy knocked on my door and said, I Am Going to Give You the Chance of a Life Time, you have ten minutes to pack, I would say, wait, can you GUARANTEE 100% fresh organic food to a strict schedule, to include barrowloads of dark green leafy things, no cereal grains, no nightshades, a hearty dose of chicken liver every week, ditto oily fish, goats’ and sheep cheese and some funny beverages including green tea, kefir, kombucha and coconut water?##  No?  Well, nice try.  See you round.

It’s a good thing I had lots of adventures when I was younger.

# And while I’m at it, remind me to rant at you about the new ROH staging of NORMA. Snarl.

## And adequate accommodation for three hellcritters.

†† They didn’t have organic fizz so I had to settle for organic red. Never mind.  The novelty was shocking enough.  And after nine dry months three sips was about my limit.  But hey, I wasn’t driving.

††† And a box of vegan organic chocolate. How fabulous is that?  Except for the fact that I don’t eat sugar. Drat.  Okay.  Wait.  I figure on the three-sips-of-organic-wine standard these will last till my birthday next year


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