March 10th, 2009


Taking my mother to dinner.

Last night, my mother came over to do the final run-around errands before my trip to New York -- I leave tonight, and get back to California on Sunday. This required going to a surprising number of stores, as Target didn't have pencil cases (K-Mart did), K-Mart didn't have my anti-snap hair goo (JC Penney's did), and nobody seemed to have my kitty litter (we eventually found the correct brand at Safeway). I proposed dinner. She proposed Italian. So I took her to my local hole-in-the-wall Italian cafe, Pasta Primavera, which is one of those incredible little strip-mall joints that looks like it should be full of roaches, and tastes like it's full of Heaven.

Now, I frequently tell people that I come from a carnie family (which I do); this should give you an idea of our general position on 'fancy cuisine.' Kate says my favorite Indian place is the equivalent of In-n-Out Burger, and she's not far wrong. So it was a real treat to watch my mother attempting to navigate her way through the menu, which did not include the word 'spaghetti' anywhere between its covers. Now I know how Kate felt when she was first starting to take me out for Indian.

We eventually wound up with roast asparagus, red peppers, and caprese salad (basil, tomatoes, and mozzarella cheese) as a starter, while I had the mixed seafood linguine, and Mom had bowtie pasta with chicken breast in a Gorgonzola sauce. Also, there was bread and salad. Mom had never encountered a) caprese, b) Gorgonzola sauce, or c) a pleasant waiter who kept bringing her more cheese before. So that was fairly awesome. And after she stopped burning her mouth on the pasta -- which was admittedly approximately the temperature of molten rock -- she was really pleased with everything, and that was even more awesome. I really appreciate being able to take my mother out and introduce her to nice things. Especially since our mutual standards are low enough that we both remain pleasantly easy to satisfy.

Mom had never heard of tiramisu before. She looked suspicious when I ordered her one, which is a totally reasonable reaction, given some of the things she's seen me eat. Then she got her first bite of the stuff, and promptly made the 'oh my God why did no one tell me this existed' face. I win at feeding my mother.

She's on the last of the Jig the Goblin books (by Jim Hines, who seems to be her new favorite author -- CURSE YOU, JIM, SHE'S SUPPOSED TO BE MY BIGGEST FAN), and is loving them completely. This is the first fantasy she's read for years. I think I can probably control her actions for months by threatening not to get her a copy of The Mermaid's Madness when it comes out. Because manipulating your parents is always good for a laugh.

I have given my mother tiramisu.

All is right with the world.

Travel status.

Bags, packed, ready to go. I'm traveling with the big orange suitcase and the little pink camo bag; the big orange suitcase contains my Little Red Riding Hood bag, so that I can decant my vitals once I actually get to New York and need to start looking presentable. I'm both packed lightly -- I can pick up my suitcase! -- and packed thoroughly enough that I should be able to survive until Sunday. I'm starting to think that I should win an award for traveling. I'm also starting to think that I should set up a 'go bag' with an assortment of travel-size cosmetics and such, just to simplify the packing process. This proves that I've been traveling a lot lately.

Directions to all the places I'm going, researched, printed out, in the planner. I have an...unfortunate...tendency to just assume that I'll be able to find my way places, and to forget silly little things like 'walking maps' or 'exact street addresses.' This has resulted in my becoming lost in some really fascinating locales, and would be fine if I didn't actually feel the need to get where I was intending to be. My time on the road is limited, and my appointments really don't allow for my finding a way to walk from Manhattan to Maine. Even though I'd really, really like it. (I may be one of the only people in the planet who finds the idea of walking from Maine to Denver to be one of the more pleasant side effects of the super-flu.)

Wool trousers, hemmed, picked up from the dry cleaner. This 'having clothing that needs to be tailored if it's going to fit correctly' thing is very new and strange to me, and I'll be doing my best to avoid it as much as possible. That said, having pants that fit is awesome, and having wool pants that fit when I'm about to go to a state that's still having winter is doubly awesome.

Manicure, accomplished. I have Don't Be Koi With Me nails. This delights me.

I have my laptop and all the notes and edits I've been wanting to process, and I'm flying Virgin America, which means in-seat power is my sweet, sweet companion from take-off to touch-down. I'll be in New York from tonight through Sunday; I may or may not be online at all during that time, but the safe assumption is 'not.' I definitely won't have much time to be answering comments or playing around with my email. Please be patient if you need me for anything, and I'll get back to you just as quickly as I can.

Road trip! Don't burn down the Internet while I'm gone.