(No) Apron strings attached

Hostess

“Cooking is like Love- it should be entered with abandon, or not at all”- Julia Child

 Learning how to cook should be easy right? Many people cook every night, and different meals at that! I have watched friends meticulously plan monthly meals for their families as if they are working for a Michelin rated restaurant and going for that third star.  My friend Mandy may can cook you a delightful halibut chowder, slicing and dicing all while smiling : Isn’t this fun!

Typically, I just stand in the corner and  pour the wine….

My mother and (father) were very good cooks and although my mom worked full time and had three kids there was always something delicious (and nutritious) on the table. I was a picky eater when I was younger, and that seemed to carry on through my adult life. From ages 5 to about 7 I ate a white diet, meaning only things that were white.  Often my parents would set me free in the Sizzler Salad bar where I would fill my plate with pasta, parmesan, taco shells, white cheese, cauliflower and cottage cheese.  No growing child could sustain themselves on a diet such as this so eventually I gave in…learning to eat (and love) most things…I still to this day just can’t do red spaghetti sauce, but this is more because I feel like I have to hold on to some semblance of my former self.

My very first cookbook (I kid you not) was called “My First Microwave Cookbook”.  I was so good a microwave egg in a cup and microwave grilled cheese and at the ripe age of 7 I had decided that I was “master of the microwave”. Gleefully, I would make my little brothers egg sandwiches to take to school that McDonalds would envy. I would rush to put on my apron every time I heard the beep of the buttons.

Then came college- I would help my mom in the kitchen, but I was rarely needed to prepare a whole meal of food on my own. I would watch the vegetable cutting the searing of minced meat, but one year of living in the dorms and it was like I had lost any idea of how to cook. I wanted to cook…I really did!  I bought every Bisquick recipe leaflet I could get my hands on at the Safeway Checkout…I would read the instructions carefully- drooling over “Impossibly easy taco pie” and “Garlic Cheese Biscuits”…but cooking from this cookbook meant having endless supply of Bisquick and I soon found that these recipes were not only fattening but quite elementary.

As I grew out of what I would like to call the “Bisquick phase” of my life- I pretty much gave up my dreams of cooking- the recipes in Gourmet magazine were far too complicated and took way too much time

I mean do people really spend 5 hours cooking one thing?  I scoffed to myself.

I decided to put cooking on the backburner…I opted for easy microwaved options or the old standbys- pasta and sauce…or a salad.

The thing is…I really love to cook…I just don’t really know where to begin.

One day I saw it….

A beautiful Le Creuset Dutch oven. It was a lovely kelly green…it called to me from the back of Williams and Sonoma…I spoke to me more than the Microwave Cookbook, now tattered and covered in egg drips, more than my favorite heart shaped apron…I ran my hand over the sleek pot and peeked inside hoping that with it came some idea of what to make….

I held this cast iron Dutch oven in my hands for quite some time…I envisioned roasts, chicken tetrazzini (whatever that is), happily serving my friends and family my thought provoking and artfully prepared dishes.

I got this pot home and Jay and I stared at it lovingly-I got to work…

I poured a few table spoons of oil…

A cup of popping corn…

I closed the lid and began to shake…

Pop…POP…pop…

We smiled at each other with delight…

He said to me:

You’ll make such a good mom, you make cooking fun!

Later that day I sat down with my cooking bible: What to Cook and How to Cook it.

I opened the first page and decided…I would start with the first recipe… we all have to start somewhere right?

Wine-ing and Winning

When I was young I was highly encouraged to take up a sport.  Not being very competitive or taking much interest in being coordinated; that left me with few options:  Swimming or Golf.

Hot summer days I would try to make friendships with neighborhood kids who had pools and we would spend hours at time diving for rocks, pennies or anything else that would sink into the deep end of the pool. We would emerge hours later as the sun began to set, fingers wrinkled and hair turning green from soaking in chlorine. For most of my adolescence the thing that I had the most of were swimsuits, multiple colors, spandex sagging from daily wear.  They hung from towel racks in the bathroom almost a permanent fixture.

For many years I swam with the Benicia Blue Dolphins because I could imagine nothing better than being in the water for hours at a time.  I loved the silence of being under the water- truly the only place to feel “alone” as a teenager. I never really enjoyed swim meets- all that waiting around for 50-80 seconds of swimming against your peers only to be back on land again a few minutes later soaking wet.  I loved the long summer practices, gliding through the water…and on a chance night, the luxury of having a lane all to yourself… heaven was coming up for air and smelling Barbeques cooking in people’s backyards.  Still to this day I secretly love the smell of chlorine and cooking meat for that reason.

My love of swimming translated to many things- I was able to work as a lifeguard and swim instructor through college and the discipline that it gave me has helped to shape my reality- but as I started to discover that I wanted to go into business I began to realize that swimming wasn’t going to help me much. Unlike golf- you can’t take a new client for a swim- you can’t race your colleagues in a pool- so my mother encouraged me to take up a “business sport”. I tried to take up tennis and most of my tennis partners would become exasperated- most of the tennis balls would end up off the court or stuck in a tree- golf seemed logical- but would go to the driving range alone never finding a group to play with in high school.

In college-Always a little before my time and growing up close to the Napa Valley area I discovered Wine. Wine was sophisticated, and sophisticated people knew about wine. Wine tasting trips taught me probably more than I needed to know and this turned into a short stint as a Winery volunteer where I educated people on the beauty of Pinot Noir.  Swirling that glass and taking the first sip is always like diving into the pool.

While sitting at my favorite wine bar waiting for Jay to arrive an animated dapper- looking Frenchman approached the sommelier and began to test his knowledge of Grenache. My ears perked up, having taken a recent interest in this hard to grow varietal that has made a grand debut in recent years. I tried not to show too much interest – sensing my boredom and obviously someone who wanted to share his knowledge, “Frenchy” or Claude as I now know him sauntered over, glass in hand.

Do YOU like Grenache?  He asked

Oh…. I thought- Game on.

Yes- but it depends on the region, now if you are talking about a varietal from Rhone, not particularly… I prefer Grenache blended with the Argentine grown grapes, but you may not agree.

He looked at me as if I had just yelled “FORE” over the grassy knoll.

After Jay joined us, a bottle of Grenache later we discovered that Claude owned one of the largest Bordeaux wineries in France as well as the seats we were sitting in. He explained to us as he got older more and more of his friends spent their days on the golf course- he said “Wine is the new golf” Proudly declaring what I always secretly thought- Wine is something that doesn’t take much coordination, you don’t need an expensive set of clubs to drink it, you don’t need a foursome (sometimes you just need a “one-some”).  Like art, wine is debatable, no one wins, no one looses…but a complicated bottle between you on a table can help to set a contract in stone.  

While thinking about wine a quote from Ernest Hemingway popped into my head “Wine is the most civilized thing in the world”.  And that is something both Jay and I agreed- the trophy wife training continued.

Dreaming of Disneyland

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It has been a *cruel cruel* summer.  Let’s be honest this TWIT (trophy wife in training) has some days found it hard to stay motivated.  Jay has taken to chasing me down the hall with a Mason-Pearson hair brush most mornings and we had to have a serious talk about how the “Summer of Sarah” has taken a little bit of a toll on our waistlines. 

I explained to Jay that actually getting to the gym has remained a priority buuuut actually working out while there has not *wink*.

So getting back on track…. Every girl needs a push- Jay just gave me a shove.

While sloowwly walking to my Zumba class I tried to recall the last beach vacation I had….I flashed back to a memory of a Hawaiian vacation me in a once piece Speedo at 17….Wow, I really need a vacation. Nothing gets a girl on a juice cleanse faster than the idea of being in a itty bitty bikini.

The phone rings and it’s my friend, Ruby…she must have read my mind.

“Do you want to go on a quick beach vacation with some of my friends?”

I don’t hesitate and quickly tell her yes and hustle my bustle to Zumba.

She has invited me to join her 6 other Mommy Mafia friends on an extended weekend in Capitola and when I arrive I realize that everyone is just as giddy I to be on vacation.  To leave sports practices, making meals and other general wifely duties far, far behind.  

On the outside looking in I begin to worry about what I might have in common with these other women who seem to lead much different lives than I: Mothers of children, wives with husbands…successfully trying to navigate through social pitfalls. Knowing that I am much different and also know thing that we will spend the next 4 days together- I decide to stay quiet, watch and learn.

I am delighted to report that we together narrowly missed being in a bar fight (yes a real live one), danced on top of a bar (yes a real bar), enjoyed a few great dinners over wine and spent many days blissfully sitting on the beach…talking and talking and talking. 

During this time I learned that childbirth is absolutely terrifying, you probably won’t remember the first three years of your child’s life because you are so sleep deprived, but you will come out on the other side still okay and still able to have just as much fun as you did when you were 25.

Together we shared stories of life telling each other tales from the other side of the fence.  They spoke of deepening partnerships with husbands and what to do when your teenager wants to drink at a party, I told stories from the city and what to do when your ladysitter has left you at a party.

Sitting with these women on the beach I started to feel relief. We weren’t that much different than each other, and I realize: If you lose motivation its ok- you might have been running in the wrong direction the whole time anyway. There is no blueprint to the perfect life.

As one of my newfound friends and I go to the beach bar together she offers to buy the round. I giggle as she pulls out her “Disney” Visa card to pay for 7 shots of tequila.  She laughs right along with me- we are all just dreaming of that next vacation, right?

Coming Clean

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Beads of sweat drip down my forehead. It’s hot and it is wet.  The heat is burning my lungs and I believe that we are almost finished. She stands over me wearing nothing more than her undergarments. She says with in a forceful tone: Turn Ovaahr  Prah-eeese!  She grabs my wet legs and flips me-I flop over wet like a fish at the Tsukiji Market in Japan. I start to wonder why this is necessary. She takes a bucket of hot water and dumps it on me. She asks with a toothy grin: Water ok?

No, I haven’t found myself in a new S&M club.

As part of the TWTP I have decided to knock out new cultural event for the month as well as work on my beauty routine- and I have ended up at the highly regarded secret Korean Day Spa in Japan town.  It is apparent by the outside of this building that “westerners” are not to find this place; red Korean letters mark the spot.  Our cab driver insists that this is NOT a spa but a school and doesn’t want to drop us off.  I insist that this was the address that we were given and have to practically jump out of the car.

I have convinced my dear friend “Ruby” to join me but neither of us knows what to expect. Clean, but no frills- we are handed a towel and a robe without much more direction.  We strip down, hit the showers and get in the hot tub- we giggle as we talk about the things we have done in our lives for beauty.

I am a self- proclaimed beauty product hoarder.

If there was ever an apocalypse in my town- I could have the whole neighborhood covered in the make-up department. “I have gizmos and gadgets a plenty” – battery operated eyelash curlers, eye shadow pallets for every eye shape and color, serums and creams that claim to turn you into Cindy Crawford. I this reoccurring nightmare of going on a vacation and forgetting my make-up essentials… I am scrambling at a Walgreens to find anything to put on my face.  I more than make up for this each day by stockpiling.

I remember the very first time my mom let me try make-up. She signed us  up for a “Day of Beauty” at the Lancôme counter at Nordstrom and this 14 year old girl….COULD NOT BE MORE EXCITED. I knew that by getting my make-up done by the “experts” I was going to look so amazing and maybe…just maybe…Eddie L. would notice that I was so much more than a 7th grader with braces…I was a glamorous, fabulous, somewhat French woman that he would fall madly in love with.  I sat down in the big chair,  I let the woman in the black smock (who I take note smells strongly of Tresor) have her way with my face…she applied very mysterious creams, pinched my cheeks, applied mascara and taught me how to line my lips to make them fuller. At the end of our session and with much pleading for my mother to buy it for me- I was presented with the most beautiful gold toned lipstick. This lipstick was my prized possession, it was my badge of honor I would wear it and everyone would see that I was glamorous, fabulous and somewhat French! I was a WO-MAN. 

Later in the mall a friend saw me and exclaims with a wrinkled nose-  “what’s wrong with your face”…..somewhat deflated….I still wore that lipstick with pride until it was worn down to a tiny nub…I still have that case neatly tucked into my keepsakes drawer- reminding me of all the dreams that came with that purchase.

As a woman now- I cannot say that I am much more beautiful for having these products because as a friend points out- “You have to use them, Sarah” – Truth. So instead of spending the thousands this summer at Sephora I am trying a new beauty treatment a month.

To my friend’s surprise there are many treatments I have never tried before- So within this month I have had a Thai Massage (interesting), had my Britney waxed (Painful), had my super 80’s acrylic nails taken off and gotten Shellac (sad).

So here I am in my birthday suit- getting the Korean scrub down- Lee is  in her undergarments is armed with two scrubbing mitts and is bound and determined to take off that first layer of skin she proclaims with much joy:  Ohh you feel like baaa-bby!

That is…. the truth dear Lee….

….I do feel like baaa-bby….I again giggle to myself…all those years wanting to be a WO-MAN….and now all I want to do is get that baby skin back. She splashes me with water again and towels me down with a motherly love. I don’t mind today…. being the baby again.

Camping is “In-Tents”

(There is no picture because I do not allow photos when I go camping)

Her recommendations for a campsite were totally unsuitable! There were no outlets. And there was dirt, and bugs, and it rains there. So anyway, we’ve found a place that’s much more us: the Beverly Hills Hotel.”- Troop Beverly Hills

I know- I know- you are thinking…. “A true Trophy Wife should be well versed in the city as well as the wilderness”.  This leads me to this:

Over the years I have gained a reputation. I like nice things, what can I say?

 It might have started when my dad would whisper in my ear while I was napping as a baby “Hold out for the big rock, Sarah” or it could have been on one of my first trips to Nordstrom’s as a young 3 year old with my Grandpa where I saw my very first Couture “Gunne Sax” gown  by Jessica McClintock. I knew when I saw the layers of lace and ruffles that I would someday have a few dresses like this in my closet. And I one day did- I got five of them one Christmas and I wore those dresses EVERYWHERE- School, Church, Swim Practice…..

My boss recently has taken to calling me “Silver Spoon Sarah” as my restaurant and happy hour choices are continuously out of the company budget guidelines.  I recently pitched an idea where we hosted a meeting at the Swank W Hotel- he said “I’m going to stop you at the W hotel…..why can’t you have this meeting in a park?” I wrinkle my nose and shake my head in dismay- “We cannot have a meeting in a PARK!”  I consistently devour magazines, read blog posts and online reviews seeking out the very best of the best in life.  I’m not sure where it comes from it’s just something within me.

People who know me understand this about me…and also understand that anything outside of this box is hard for me.  This is why my friends and family think it’s fun to take me camping.

I do not know why people like camping so much. Really. I don’t get it.

My friend Mandy May shares my affinity and says “Camping is fun if you like to pretend you are homeless”.

I have had many horrific camping experiences in life- like the time a boyfriend wanted to take me camping in college and he forgot all of the food….nothing like trying to catch crawdads in the river to eat for breakfast, lunch and…. dinner. Or there was the time we went shore camping and they failed to tell me that you would have to do your business behind a tree. There was also the time it rained… the…. whole… time and we couldn’t get a campfire started.  Oh yes, let’s not forget the time I went camping with my family and a bear (yes, the kind that goes “roar”) ripped into a car and took all of the food. I really feel like camping is a man’s evil ploy to get women to come along and cook and do dishes…because often I am left holding the dishtowel thinking:

 “THIS IS NOT THE OREGON TRAIL!” 

So, all in all, I have every right to have hesitations about camping.

But…..

I still feel super guilty every time a friend sends out an email saying they have reserved a campsite and sign you up for a meal time. 

“It will be fun” they say…. “I’ll take care of everything” they push….

Oh, if I had a dollar for every time someone said that…Eventually,I talk myself into it- “It will be fun” I say to myself.

About a month ago my enduring, sweet brother Ry invites me to go on a camping trip with him and some friends, he promises that all I will need is a sleeping bag….”are you sure” I ask with much hesitation. “Yeah! That’s all….I’ll take care of the rest!” he says with the enthusiasm of Davey Crocker….  I am trying to do new things, I need to be savvier in the Wilderness, and maybe this can count as a cultural event….

So I order a sleeping bag off Amazon- a Zero Degree Mummy bag should do the trick, and I take the day off work. My brother promises to pick me up around 7:30 and we will make the hour drive to Santa Cruz- set up shop and be in business by 9:00pm…..

10:30pm, Friday, and I am still waiting in my apartment with a bag and a sleeping bag.  The phone rings “Let’s go!” he says.  I am nervous at this point we won’t even be hitting the wilderness until 11:30 pm….and I am not sure how to set up a tent in the daylight.  Luckily my brother has taken care of almost everything- he quickly sets up camp like a seasoned boy scout and I’m in my tent in no time- me and my sleeping bag- just no pillow and no mat to sleep on… at 12:30.

The next day we are visited by the ranger- I have also forgoten to mention that none of my camping trips are complete without a visit from the ranger,  as apparently, everyone I have ever gone camping with seems suspicious. A neighboring camper thought that our cooking stove was a Bong and immediately alerted the ranger station. He laughed and apologized for his visit. That night as I settled back in to my tent I start to drift off…I wake up in a cold panic…..I hear something outside-

RIIIIIIP….scratch scratch….THUWUB….THUUUUNK……

I am alone as my brother and his friends have gone down to the beach to play the guitar.

I quietly open the window to my tent to see about 30 silver eyes glowing back at me….15 raccoons are having Thanksgiving Dinner with all of our food- one is holding two eggs in his paws, the other is ripping into the coffee, there is even one who is trying to bust through the Tupperware because he has a hankering for some pasta salad….I slowly sink back down into my tent and say…I AM NEVER CAMPING AGAIN.

My brother comes back…

WHY didn’t you stop them!!!  He says

I quickly retort- OH yeah, so I can get rabies and save the two eggs that were left!

The next morning we are left with no choice but to clean up after the raccoon raid and head back to civilization to find food- We stop at the Beach boardwalk order fried Twinkies, and buy tickets to ride the Gondola.

As the Gondola sways over the beach I am struck by how utterly quiet it is up here…I am able to look out over the trees, the ocean and really enjoy the wilderness from this vista point…I think to myself as I eat my fried Twinkie-

Ahhhh Nature….you aren’t so bad from up here.

At least this Trophy Wife gave it the good old college try.

….again it’s the finer things in life.

 

 

Locks of Love

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“Let’s talk about chicks, man”….let’s talk about my chicks. 

There is a point in friendships with girlfriends that goes beyond drinking cocktails at happy hours, sitting on each other’s bedroom floors doing make-up together before “hitting the clubs”. There is a point in your friendship that goes far beyond buying a hideous bridesmaid gown and dancing to the Macarena at their wedding. There is a point in your friendship that goes beyond the times spent in the gym together trying to lose those last few pounds and trading clothes and shoes that look waaay better on them.

Don’t get me wrong- this is all real stuff that we do with our girlfriends, but there is a point that takes you far beyond any TV show about “friends” and how we are supposed to treat each other. 

You don’t realize that when you sign up for a girlfriend that you aren’t just getting a shopping buddy or someone to hang with by the pool- you are getting so much more than this…it is a twisted, messy, complicated relationship, your mother-didn’t-prepare-you for, a mafia-like experience that can shape your life more than any boyfriend can.

As a young Girl Scout we sang a song that I never really realized until now- made sense.  (I get you- Girl Scouts- you are actually preparing us for the future!)

“Make new friends, but keep the old, some are sliver and the others are gold”

We used to sing this song at the close of each meeting in a tight circle, fingers interlocked, a bunch of seven year-olds, sweaty from playing on the playground, hands covered in glue and brownie bits. None of us really wanted to be friends, but our moms signed us up and we went to the same school. So as small green and brown clad girls we sang this song- every Tuesday together.

I have a tight group of girlfriends- as my friend Mandy May would say “I would help you burry the body”…I know I can count on these girls.  Yes, a lot of these friendships were born out of happy hours, we spent many nights on dance floors together, we have borrowed each other’s shoes and purses. I am proud of the fact that over the years I have memorized these faces from doing their make-up, I know who can wear eyeliner a certain way and know exactly how to make a certain friend’s eyes look bigger with a certain eye shadow. Recently, while doing a friend’s make-up I realized (in a good way) how her face has changed in the past five years, smile lines growing deeper, crinkles around her eyes more noticeable- from nights of laughing and crying together.

I thought to myself “I know this face as much as my own”.

This is where friendship gets deeper.

One fall day one of my gals- Jules, calls me in tears.

 Jules and I have been friends for years- a friendship that formed it’s bonds through cocktails and the gym…and yes, I danced at her wedding.  We became so close that at a garage sale she was getting rid of the fabulous hair piece that she wore in her wedding. I told her she couldn’t get rid of it- I would take it and if she wanted it back someday she could have it.

I answer the phone and she tells me that she has just miscarried her  child…I have answered just as I get on the BART train to the city- I scramble for the door, without her asking- I know I need to be there. I arrive at her house-I’m not sure if I even can do anything- not able to comprehend what it is like to lose a child.

BUT I can be a friend.

That day we lay in her bed, and embraced each other…we didn’t talk- we just cried.

I hear the song in my head- ringing in childlike melody-

 “Make new friends but keep the old…”

and I know that we are now Gold friends.

Months later…

I arrive at the hospital to see her- and to hold her new baby boy.  

We look at each other with tears in our eyes, its been a long journey.

I show her the pictures of a photo shoot that I had done recently- I’m wearing her hair piece in the photos.

She laughs- “That’s my hair!”

I wear them as a tribute to her- they are like the “Locks of Love” that symbolize that our friendship is now gold.

Let’s have a Kiki

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“A kiki is a party for calming all your nerves
We’re spilling tea and dishing just deserts when they deserve.”- Scissor Sisters

Living in the city affords you many things- Walks to the Golden Gate Bridge on a perfectly clear weeknight when tourists are long gone, access to free impromptu concerts in the park, friends calling on Wednesdays to go have wine at a restaurant opening.

There are also things that you become very good at while living in the city- Running carefully in heels to catch the bus, having friendly (yet guarded) conversations with cracked-out neighbors who spend their days on the stoops outside, and dancing really well with a jacket tucked under your arm at a club- because it is just never really warm enough in this city for club attire.

Contrary to popular belief, while living in the city, the speed of life becomes a little bit slower, I take time to talk to people more, chatting with neighbors in the laundry room. Getting places takes a lot longer so that quick trip to the store becomes a day long adventure with many twists and turns and stop offs along the way.

San Francisco is also rich in history and living with Jay has given me much insight to the Gay community and opened my eyes to things I would have never known about living in my sweet suburban neighborhood. I mean did you know about water sports? Me neither….

If you are so lucky to have a Ladysitter like Jay in your life you will understand.  This means that you will never leave the house without your shirt being ironed, he has found new ways to increase the volume of my hair (I often receive picture text messages of different hair styles usually with him saying “Now, this is what I’m talking about!”), and if I’m lucky on a Saturday I’ll get coffee from downstairs hand delivered to me in bed.  Jay has three house rules (that mainly pertain to me) 1. Never wear flats 2. You must always listen to house music 3. We must live like “Old Money Republicans”- therefore never pay fees at ATM’s and use coupons at the grocery store. Having a Ladysitter also means more serious dance parties at home, where he will outdance me.

This last weekend it was Jay’s birthday and any celebration at our house means we end up in the Castro at some point. I welcome this as this week the men in my life are being nothing but “Hound-dogs” and I need to take my dance skills from the living room to a real dance floor. We take our evening to a club known for its hot and heavy dance floor “Badlands”- the music thumps and it is hot and sweaty, prompting some patrons to dance shirtless. There are a few other women in the club and I liken it to “Mommy Wars” as we coolly look each other over to see who we brought with us and what we “brought” tonight.  

I’ll be honest, sometimes a visit to the Castro for some might mean a night off from “Bringing it” wearing your favorite sweatshirt and taking on the observer role but being from our house- this would never be acceptable.

At first the dance floor is intimidating- lots of well groomed men who can dance really well…It might as well be a set for “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” and I feel like I’m about to audition for “DTV” and of course being one of just a handful of girls here actually wearing heels- there are a thousand eyes on me….well ok- on Jay too- he is a good looking guy, tall and built…I quickly understand that he is going to get a lot more play than me this night and relax…I’m going to dance my face off and I don’t care!

…A few margaritas later….

And I realize that I am a much better dancer than I thought…

Jay yells at me from across the dance floor “I am so glad we signed you up for those #Zumba classes!”

Then Ru Paul comes on and girrrrl…..(I watch a lot more Drag Race then I think)

And-

 I clear that dance floor.

Now, after all the indoor dance parties, and S-Factor dance lessons I feel I am pretty stable in these heels even after a few margaritas. Jay is a little taken aback by my forwardness; some of the boys start to emulate me thinking that I have started the latest dance craze. One shirtless Asian boy who had been dancing with a silver-haired fox sees me as immediate competition and we start to fiercely dance for our lives. This is a heated dance battle with no winner…we both finish the song- exhausted…he throws his arms around me and says:

“Girl, congratulations on your body!”

I laugh at him…he asks me if I have a husband and kids at home- I’m not sure whether or not to take offense, but he must be feeling my Old-Money Republican vibe…

I think about this journey- it isn’t a race…being in the city means I’m allowed to slow down and enjoy more…this time is about creating some memories…

I laugh again and answer-

“No- but when I meet them I am going to have some gooooood stories to tell them”.