Measured Extravagance

07 May 2004 - 4:08 p.m.

This year, my birthday will fall on the same day as Mother's Day and Lag Ba'Omer, which means that all sorts of people will have extra reasons to celebrate this coming Sunday whether they know me or not. The mind knows it's just coincidence, but the inner ten-year-old thinks it's nifty anyway.

An early birthday package arrived in the mail earlier this week (thanks,D!) - a Dar Williams book and Mary Chapin Carpenter's new CD. I've been playing "What Would You Say to Me" multiple times on my car stereo (and not just because the line "Time only goes one way" seems awfully appropriate in noting another year has passed). . .

As for actual birthday plans, Nashville doesn't boast a wealth of options when it comes to dining out Sunday evenings - that, and Mother's Day (plus the end of the Vanderbilt school year) means the restaurants will be crowded anyhow - so I loaded up on Vidalia onions at this morning's produce sale (along with twenty heads of garlic - time to pickle another batch - plus tomatoes, potatoes, bananas, and apples...). I'm thinking an onion-bacon or onion-olive tart would go well with a roast chicken and a riesling. . .

I'm also completely disinclined to deal with any more traffic after being stuck in it coming and going to lunch at the Old Hickory Grill, out near the airport. Man, is it ugly out there, and today was like driving on the New Jersey Turnpike - I could see downtown from my car, but damned if I could figure out how to get there from whichever benighted stretch of strip malls and construction detours I was passing by.

Lunch was very pleasant, though - catching up with an old friend I hadn't seen in four or five years. (Hadn't seen pictures of him in the interim, either - I'd had no idea his hair had gone gray, which was a bit of a shock when I caught sight of him. On the other hand, it looks quite good on him - he's still one of the most handsome men I know, and a pleasure to talk to, with the conversation ranging from corporate culture to whether Vanity Fair should count as three books (*).

Speaking of classics, one year ago I quoted Miss Manners: "The lady you love thinks of herself as Jo. Don't ask Miss Manners how she happens to know that."

(*) I forget the author, but there was a column in The New York Times Book Review eons ago which proposed that Russian novels ought to count as multiple books when tallying books-read-per-year, what with all the rereading one has to do to keep track of all of the characters.

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