Pastime With Good Company
The drive to Milwaukee was uneventful. I caught the end of the reggae show on WORT and part of the African music show before I lost the signal. So I tuned into the local NPR station. Miss Pamela had given me directions to her place and I also had some from Mapquest. Of course, I followed neither of those and ended up at the Palomino, Pam's favorite watering hole. I knew I was close. So I pulled over and checked out a map. I made it to her place in short time.
When I arrived, she was putting the finishing touches on her hair - she was dying her bangs purple and pink. Miss Pamela dyes some part of her coif every week or so. Once she rinsed, we hugged and chatted for a while. Then we headed out to say hi to her hubby, Bill, who was at work. He told me that it was my responsibility to keep her out of trouble...From there, we went to a grocery/deli/bar store called the Bean & Barley, I think, where we had burritos and a beer. For dessert, I raided their chocolate bar shelf and got me some mighty tasty dark chocolate. Then it was off to the Palomino to meet E27.
We took a couple seats at the bar and order pints of Lakefrom Wiess. I'm not a huge weiss bier fan but it was excellent. Miss Pamela and I supped beer and chatted. We reminisced about high school, talked about how I felt about my father's death, about music, et al. It was funny because Pam always thought I was cool in high school. I was the only kid with long hair, wore a trenchcoat and, in general, didn't fit in with any clique. And now, 17 years later, she's the alterna-chick and I'm Mr. Geek. And it's fun for this nerd to be seen in public with a trendy, beautiful woman.
At one point, there was a tap on my shoulder and I turned to find Paul. He is my friend Melissa's ex-boyfriend and a really cool guy. I hadn't seen him in several months, if not a year, so it was good to see him again. He was wearing a Supersuckers t-shirt who happen to be one of Pam's favorite bands. We chatted for a while and I gave him my email addy so we could keep in touch and meet up when I'm in Milwaukee again. A little while later, a couple friends of Miss Pamela's walked in - Lorraine and Paul...? I'd met them on a couple occasions previously and we remembered each other. So we moved from the bar to a table. I found out that they had moved from Milwaukee to Cambridge, which is about 20 miles east of Madison. It's where I bowl. Finally E27 showed up. It was the first time I'd ever met anyone in person that I'd gotten to know over the Internet. He was really funny and we got along famously.
As we were all sitting there drinking and talking, I felt exceedingly lucky. There I was with great company. A close friend whom I'd known for ages as well as a couple newer ones and even one that was brand-spanking new. Plus I fortuitously ran into Paul. I didn't have to deal with any bullshit, was with fun people, and felt very comfortable with everyone. Things just seemed right - life just seemed good.
At some point, Miss Pamela, E27, and I took off for the party where I'd meet several people I only knew from the Net and some of whom, presumably, would be frauleins that I'd seen nekkid. A bit of an odd prospect. When we got to the guy's place, Miss Pamela and I piled into E27's car where he pulled out a pinch hitter. I abstained as may need to take a drug test soon but those two indulged themselves. Going inside, we found that there were only a few people there. Now, my memories are a bit hazy but it was humorous. Most of the people there were in their early 20's while Pam, E27, and I are in our early 30's. We kinda stuck to ourselves but we did chat and socialize with the other folks there. I got my picture taken with one of the hottie models over at SuicideGirls - Monet. It was very odd because Pam had shown me some pictures of her in the buff earlier and there I was having a beer with her. A woman from Madison, Wren, and her boyfriend eventually showed up too. She had submitted a photoset and was accepted as a model but her pics had not yet been posted. Personally, I find her to be very beautiful although she could stand to gain a little weight. Her audition pics were at the site so I was familiar with her. These women were a lot smaller than I thought. They were both about 5'2" and scrawny. Looking at their pictures, my mind created impressions of what they were like in real life and I found that they didn't totally match. But they were both really nice people. Hell, everyone there was really cool.
I was drinking that tasy Lake Louie beer and then hit the Capital Blonde Doppelbock. Needless to say, I got pretty lubed. At some point, I fell down. I blame the floor for not having been level. Or something. So now my elbow is a bit sore. I don't remember leaving the place, the drive back to Pam's, nor going to bed. So it must have been a good night, right?
Pam had to go with Bill to Racine to help a friend of his move at 9:30 so she was up pretty early to shower and get ready. So I was up too. The 3 of us drank some Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee and ate some of the spicy cheesebread I had brought. Miss Pamela was not in good shape and bowed out of the moving project. I took off around 9:30. The drive back to Madison was alright. I listened to NPR the whole way. I caught a show about the English language which was really neat. People would call in about the origins of various phrases and whatnot. Then they brought on the classics prof who, along with his wife, have been translating Dr. Seuss into Latin! (I have their translation of Cat in the Hat
.) It was really cool to hear Latin being spoken! After that was a program on all things culinary. They talked about wine and mushrooms. The wine bit was interesting but I'm not a big fan of the fungus.
I swung into town and stopped at Toad Hill, unsurprisingly. I had me a free drink comin' so I got a cardiac special and sat down by the register and read the Arts & Leisure section of the New York Times while chatting with The Caffeinatrix and Miss Vicki. The Caffeinatrix's nephew, Jack, was running around behind the counter and she would lift him up to help make espresso. And I got to meet The Caffeinatrix's sister as well. I'd heard about her but had never met her previously. Then, as I was sitting there, Jolene stopped in and I talked with her for a brief time. When she said goodbye to me, it seemed like she was ready to start laughing. Then The Caffeinatrix came over and thanked me for letting her get to know me better. It was then pointed out to me that my pants had slipped down quite a ways and a bit of my butt was exposed. I quickly corrected this. The Caffeinatrix said that Ron had inquired as to my whereabouts so I should call him.
After I made it home, I tried to take a nap but failed as Pete was shampooing the carpet in the hallway. So I called Ron and got the lowdown on the get-together at his place that evening. Then I checked email and went up to SuicideGirls to leave some "it-was-nice-to-meet-you-last-night" notes. I was pleasantly surprised to find that Wren's photoset had been posted. She is a cutie. Without meaning to sound sexist, I must admit that I think her breasts are very beautiful. And she's got these flame tattoos on her chest that go down to just above her areolae. To top things off, she even had some pubic hair which, as regular readers know, is something I find very attractive. (On women, that is.) So I got my shit together and headed over to Dogger & Mel's for Miss Regan's baptismal party.
Approaching the house, I spied Dogger's dad, Gary, out by the garage having a choke. I parked and went up to him to say hi. He extended his condolences on my father's passing and told me that the baptism had been called off as Miss Regan had to be taken to the doctor. She was fine now so the party went on. Going inside, I found people milling about everywhere. Dogger's brother, Opus, was there with his wife, Old Man Standiford was there, plus various relatives of Dogger & Mel that I hadn't seen in years. Mel's father, Ed, was feeding Miss Regan. He was a hoot at their wedding. All tanked up, he went around and bought everyone who stood up in the ceremony drinks while thanking us profusely. I took lots of pictures and caught up with the folks whom I knew. Carol, Dogger's stepmother was there too and she gave me a long hug and her condolences. It was funny because she and I didn't get along too well when I was in high school but now it's actually nice to see her.
We were out on the deck smoking when Gary came out to announce that Marv had arrived and that he was beat to hell. I stepped into the kitchen and found him standing there on crutches. Christopher was there as was Connie, their mom whom I also know. Apparently Marv was standing outside the Paradise waiting for a cab on Saturday night when a brawl spilled outside and he got caught up in it. Some bruises and a broken ankle. Ouch! Bryn, a cousin of Dogger's was there too. I first met her when she was about 12 years old and here she was all grown up and married.
Once more, that felicitous feeling came over me. I was with good friends and various members of their families whom I knew. In a very real sense, all of these people are my extended family. I've known several of them since high school and Gary and Carol knew my dad. It was something I really needed - to just be surrounded by familiar faces. I've been very reflective, very pensive since my father's death and being there made me feel comfortable and wanted.
Around 4:30 I took off for Ron's.
I did a really half-assed job of parallel parking in front of his house. OK - really bad, actually. So I left it as it was and went up to the door and knocked. The outside was exactly as I thought it would be: stuff everywhere. Ron answered the door, brought me inside, and led me to the dining room. He and Beth have a wonderful old house. Wood floors with wide trim. I love old houses! Seated at the table were a couple familiar faces. Beth, of course, and Dave, whom I had met a couple months previously. Dave's wife was there too. She was from Hungary and gorgeous. Beautiful big brown eyes that drew you to her and a sexy accent to boot. Also there was a friend of Ron's - Anna, I think, and her boyfriend who was from Africa. They were all putting together a calendar for the Peace Corps that was going to have recipes from various countries on it. And so they were going to try them out before unleashing them on the rest of the world. Oh mama, they were good! Bulgarian eggplant, an Ethiopian stew made with potatoes, cabbage, and carrots, a lentil salad, and a green leaf salad with crushed peanut. For dessert there was Armenian nutmeg cake. To drink, I had some Monkey's Tail which was a Chilean drink of milk & coffee laced with various spices like clove and nutmeg. It was awesome!
We chatted as we ate. Anna had been in Bolivia while in the Peace Corp and her boyfriend, being from Africa was exceedingly interesting to talk to. I feel like a complete maroon not being able to recall his name. But I have a hard time remembering English names so I hope no one holds this against me. The guy is a huge jazz fan and he talked about various South African jazz outfits. He's going to burn some CDs for Ron and copies shall, no doubt, make their way into my hands. After dinner, Anna and her boyfriends had to leave. The rest of us retired to the living room. Ron put on some music and we talked as well as poked around his vast library. He has books everywhere. Mostly on shelves but there are also piles of them randomly scattered around the house. Then Ron pulled out some homemade booze from Hungary that Dave and his wife had brought. (I can't remember her name either. D'oh!) It was like brandy but made from pears. And it was very, very good. Very potent too.
Dave and his wife left about an hour later but I decided to hang out longer. I got a chance to see Ron's stereo system which made me very jealous, I can tell you. Beth, who is the cook in the family, showed me her industrial-strength stove/oven which also made me jealous and we traded some cooking talk. When I eventually did leave, I had in my hands a book on jazz recordings as well as a tape deck and speakers on loan.
I had a really great time. Everyone was super nice, there was great food and conversation too. Some more new people in my life. It was a fabulous weekend. Friends new & old, good food, conversation - it's hard to describe just how much fun it was and how much I needed a weekend like this one. And to top it off, I got to see and hang with some hotties.
Today I wanna offload the pictures I took over the weekend, scan the classifieds, and have paperwork to sign and mail. I was at Toad Hill earlier. Big surprise, eh? The Caffeinatrix and I did the crossword puzzle and Ron moseyed in so we chatted for a while too. I feel extraordinarily lucky to have the people in my life that I do and I'm incredibly grateful for this. So many wonderful people that color my life, that, to a very large extent, make me what I am. Despite all of the negative things going on right now, this past weekend was a reminder of all the good things I have in my life. And this weekend should be fun too. I am going to go to Minneapolis on Friday to hang out with Jeffrey. Then on Saturday I'm off to Eau Claire to see my stepsister and stepbrothers.
Only 1 thing left in my life to shore up...