Earlier on Thursday, our mailman had delivered a care package from Debbie, who reads Peter's and my blogs regularly. This box contained treats for the dogs — note to self: an entire chicken-leg treat in one sitting engenders copious poop in a tiny chihuahua — some wonderful natural grooming products, and — ta da! — the gorgeous shirt that Debbie has been working on for me as part of Peter's mens shirt sew-along:
I chose the fabric myself several weeks ago, and I couldn't be happier with how the shirt turned out. Not to mention the fastidious attention to detail in Debbie's sewing and packing. Don't you love how she pinned and papered the collar, just as they do in fancy clothing shops? Not pictured is the glittered tissue paper the shirt came wrapped in. Debbie seems to take great pride in every tiny aspect of her work, which is something you rarely see these days (outside of certain venues like MPB), and something that I value highly. Take a look at the personalized embroidery she added inside the collar:
|If your computer screen is too small to make out the words, it says: HANKO * NYC * 2011|
|Try to ignore those Ken dolls in the background, trying desperately to upstage me. But even in their new mod get-ups, they're no match for me in the Debbie shirt.|
|The darts make my upper back look huge — in a good way! Maybe if Debbie could put darts in my skin, I wouldn't have to work out nearly as much.|
This new shirt is most definitely my favorite non-MPB garment I own. I've already worn it twice in one day. First, I paired it with some skinny Helmut Lang khakis (the over-long thrift-store pants needing alteration that inspired Peter to buy his first sewing machine, but that's another story at another blog) to take a friend/student out to lunch for his birthday at Markt, a local Belgian cafe I'm currently mad about. Actually, I didn't know it was Justin's birthday the next day until halfway through the meal, but I'd already offered to pay anyhow. It seemed like a good deal, since I got to look at this throughout the meal:
|Happy Birthday, Justin!|
I promise you folks, this kid's gonna be huge on Broadway someday soon.
Belgians really get the concept of comfort food. Everything is rich, pleasantly simple, and exquisitely presented. (For instance, every diner who orders coffee gets it in a personal mini French press.) I chose the Belgian "salad," which purported to be "garnished" with "bacon." All these quotes represent my (happy) misconceptions: the dish turned out to be a bit of lettuce and perfectly boiled new potatoes smothered in a half a kilo of chewy pork fat diced into tiny cubes. Heavenly! Justin ate the daily sandwich special — beef with caramelized onions and melted gouda on a toasted baguette — which came with enough frites to make my gall bladder gurgle from across the table. I kept wondering how he was going to get through the jazz dance class he was headed to straight from the restaurant. I guess when you're 22 years and 364 days old, you can get away with that sort of thing.
I also wore the Debbie shirt (with my skinny American Apparel jeans and the RTW corduroy jacket I got into trouble for buying last fall) to the opera last night. I actually was not feeling up to the opera — I think I had a little cold or something — but I had seat research to do there which had to happen soon, so I went for one act of Tchaikovsky's Queen of Spades. Before the start of the opera, I hopped around among various sections of seating to see what the stage looked like from the different levels. I am just about to renew my Met subscription for the 2011-12 season and am thinking about upgrading my seat assignment.
I can't afford the best seats at the Met. Or even the second-, third-, fourth-, or fifth-best ones. Even the next upgrade from my current, relatively inexpensive seat will add $250 or so onto the cost of an opera season. But I am tired of missing all the action that occurs upstage left from my partial-view seat, so I am treating myself to an upgrade, probably to a front-row seat in a box in the Grand Tier (2nd balcony).
I am currently in a frame of mind to carpe diem, because we recently found out that a man we'd had dinner with at a French bistro last Friday — a friend of my aunt and uncle's whom Peter and I didn't know previously — had a heart attack and died 5 days later (last Wednesday). This experience reminded me not to take my existence for granted, to hold every moment precious, and to strive to make every experience special. R.I.P., George, and thank you for sharing one of your last meals with us and for helping me to value my life even more.
I encourage each of you to take a look around you and treasure the loving people and happy experiences in your life. Do a little something each day that feels celebratory — don't save up that saffron for a "special day" — today is special enough.
P.S. Happy birthday also to my sister Sara, who has made my life feel like a celebration for 42 years now.
|Happy Birthday, Sara!|