As some of you know, I no longer bring meat into the house–it’s all vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts and seeds there. But I occasionally indulge while eating out. And for some some reason, today I had an all-too-powerful-to-ignore-or-resist hankering for a hunk of grilled meat. So I pulled up to the Green Truck, bellied up to the bar to avoid the table wait and ordered the Green Truck Classic Burger, described in their menu as “plain and simple as an old truck: lettuce, tomato, onion and our soon-to-be-famous house-made pickle.” (I added cheddar.)
Yum. No, double yum!
I kept furtively looking around to see if any of my vegetarian friends might have followed me inside. I was nervously poised to slam my meaty plate in front of one of the folks on either side of me at the bar.
Anyhoo, I savored every moment, every bite. (Do Not Tell Anyone About This! It’s Just Between You And Me.)
Well, when I finished, (and be forewarned, the rest of the story is probably TMI, so stop right now, if you like, and you will still have my burger story), I went to the non-gender-specific bathroom–I’m so 2014– before waddling back to the car.
There was the coolest retro sink inside.
And the typical cabinet.
But for some reason I glanced at the cabinet again …
… and thought, “I wonder what’s in that little cabinet? And if the contents are also non-gender-specific?”
(P.S. When inviting me to birthday or Avon parties, put some of those plastic child resistant lock things on your cabinets. I’ve never been able to figure them out.)
So, of course I reached up and opened the cabinet door. Wouldn’t you? No?! (I also opened a door in a huge hallway in the Biltmore House in Asheville some years back, and a piercing alarm went off, terribly embarrassing my family and friends. Me? When things like that happen, I just try to go to my Happy Place inside and block out externals. There might have been an “Alarm Will Sound” notice on the door, I can’t remember, but really, how often would the Biltmores have changed the batteries?)
Lo and behold, an alarm of sorts also went off when I opened the cabinet door inside the Green Truck’s non-gender-specific bathroom. Here’s what was scrawled on the inside of the door:
I walked out of the bathroom beet red.
(P.S. II: I was so taken aback by the message that I completely forgot to see what was inside the cabinet. If someone wouldn’t mind, would you rush over to the Green Truck, pretend to have to use the bathroom, and snap a pic or two of the inside of that cabinet so I can go to sleep tonight? Thank you.)
Summer is slipping away. Can you believe that Sept 22 is the First Day of Fall?! Would someone please tell Savannah’s daily temperatures that bit of info?
1. Even though it caused a catch in my throat, seeing the pics my daughter Emily sent of the grandtwins yesterday morning — September 11.
2. Actually borrowing an egg from my next door neighbor. (Is it okay to still do that?)
(Of course she put the egg in a cute tiny bowl she found in Italy.)
I paid Vivian back with some Werther’s Originals–Chewy Caramels in the same bowl. (Is that normal?)
3. This green lion who (which?) lives nearby in Savannah’s historic district.
4. Taking four-year-old grandson Gabriel to his first-ever tennis lesson.
Looking back at me, “Abu,” to make sure I’m watching.
5. And speaking of Gabriel, when I picked him and brother Daniel (7) up from school yesterday, G told us that he made a BIG picture of Batman in pre-K art class. When we got to his house, of course we hung it in the dining room.
After a few minutes, big brother Daniel, after pointing out that Gabriel had spelled Batman with an M (Matman), said to me, “Matman sure looks like a monkey to me.”
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
Here are five things I’m happy about this warm July Friday in South Georgia.
1. My newfound love of KALE–here sautéed with onions and garlic.
How else can you eat it? Anybody know?
2. Six-year-old Grandson Daniel pretending to be part of an Office Depot sales associates meeting yesterday. (He got bored when his mother and I were doing some shopping.) (And he has his grandfather’s sense of humor.) (I thought it was a lot funnier than the Office Depot folks did.)
Right after I took that picture, Daniel asked me if we could go look at speaker eggs. Huh? What? I’d never heard of such a thing.
How does a kid know about such devices?! When I asked him, he said that EVERYBODY knows about speaker eggs. I couldn’t decide if I was proud of him or wanted to spank him. A little while later, when he asked, “Abu, how old will you be when I’m twenty?” I knew I wanted to spank him.
3. Eating dinner in a balcony.
(At Sage. Historic District Savannah.)
4. Lying down in your bed at night, putting your head on your pillow, and going to sleep.
I’m Hot but Happy. 98 degrees yesterday here in Savannah (heat index way over 100); 95 today. Whew. But unless I’m having heat tremors, here’s what I’m happy about today.
1. Seeing Love listed as an ingredient on a product label.
But kale? KALE?? Seriously?
2. The surprising, intricate beauty of looking up in Savannah.
3. My good buddy Riboclavin …
… without a thermometer. Okay, so maybe he doesn’t seem to be enjoying his food 100%, but still, he’s sitting in the sun, getting a vitamin D boost.
4. As some of you know, my grandkids call me “Abu” (Cuban/Hispanic shortened version of grandfather) because I thought “grandfather,” etc sounded entirely too paternally old. Well, six-year-old Daniel and three-year-old Gabriel are WILD over Skylanders. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, DO NOT try to figure it out. It’s far too complicated. But the Skylander franchise is basically taking over the world, of kids. Anyway, I recently told D and G that a brand new, exciting Skylander figure had just come available on the market, AbuForce!
The three-year old bought it for minute until the six-year-old exclaimed, “No way, Abu. You’re joking again.”
“I am not,” I lied. (Why does that trait come so easily to me?)
“Prove it, then,” smart-mouth Daniel challenged.
“Okay I will,” I responded, having no clue how to do so, or even what I meant.
“When?” he asked, a little smart-mouthier.
“Tomorrow,” I easily answered.
Sometimes, angels come your way. I told my friend Robert about my dilemma. He laughed and said he might be able to help. It seems the U.S miltary has a program called Huggs-to-Go, providing dolls for children of service men and women deployed. The figures have a place at the face for pictures of dad or mom, etc. Since Robert is retired Army and currently works at Hunter Army Airfield, he somehow managed to get me two of the dolls.
I presented the AbuForce figures to Daniel and Gabriel the next day. Both, in shock that there really was an AbuForce, melted my heart with their excitement over my little joke.
And the following day, they brought unparalleled joy to my heart when they both told me that they slept with AbuForce.