1. Happy Chinese New Year 2014! The Year of the Horse. (The new year starts today, Jan. 31!)
2. Speaking of celebrations, as some of you know, the #%*! birthday of Yours Truly occurred earlier this month. What you don’t know is that, for some reason (which I should probably discuss with my therapist), I HATE being sung Happy Birthday to at restaurants. It just SO embarrasses me. I turn beet red. So when daughter Amy suggested La Parrilla for my family bday celebratory meal, I IMMEDIATELY said, “NO!” (probably too loudly) because of the huge sombrero …
… which must be worn as ALL the staff gathers round and screamingly sings, “Feliz Cumpleaños a ti!” I quickly chose another restaurant where I knew they did not serenade patrons.
And my %+&! bday passed by without the public festive vocalization.
Tonight after the gym, I went to La Parrilla for chimichanga. Feeling brazen, I ordered a mojito. And as required by restaurant rules (as opposed to simply glancing at my graying hair), the friendly, delightful waitress Kimberly asked to see my ID. I smiled and showed her my driver’s license, to which she seemingly sincerely and joyfully replied, “Oh! Happy late birthday!” I thanked her and went back to seeing how much salsa I could get on one tortilla chip.
A delicious meal later, I heard clapping hands, MANY thunder-clapping hands, and looked up to see a sea of La Parrilla employees–waiters and waitresses, the hostesses, the bartender, the manager, cooks, dishwashers, janitors, the owner, the business partners, the accountants, the CEO, the CFO, most of the diners (okay maybe I’m exaggerating a little, but not much) –walking (skipping?) from the other side of the restaurant. I thought to myself, “Whew, gosh, somebody’s in for it!” but smiled and pretended to join the revelry as the loud little army marched forward. I looked around to see who looked bithdayish. I spotted a chubby man with long dreads, eating a tamale but looking up and grinning at the clappers. “This is kinda fun,” I thought, ready even to clap and sing a tiny bit. The guy looked so happy.
But then, the musical marauders didn’t turn toward tamale’s table. They stopped at mine! Total confusion. But then it happened. The big sombrero …
… gingerly landed on my head (placed there by the CEO, I think). And louder than loud: “Feliz Cumpleaños a ti!” over and over.
But to my utter amazement (and probably because I wasn’t expecting it and it happened so quickly) I found myself actually ENJOYING the impromptu celebration.
So when the crowd left my table (looking winded and exhausted), but while tamale was still gazing (a little envious, I think), I threw the sombrero down on the floor and expertly performed the traditional Mexican Hat Dance.
That showed them. And I thought it was a good way to thank Kimberly, as I sat back down to enjoy my complimentary sugary sopapillas.
3. Another great winter soup, made with (among other things) beet stems and beet greens
4. Fun time with grandtwin Matthew.
5. Making it through the South’s winter storm.
Grab joy this weekend. It’s there for the taking!