As of June 7th I am officially old. The big three-oh. I have survived 30 winters. Go me.
I woke up Saturday morning to sunshine & birds singing. S took me with him to a former co-workers' farm; she has asked him to come work a few hours a week while she & her husband go fishing in Alaska. S is excited; being inside the cafe all the time has been hard after working outside for years-- he goes stir crazy sometimes.
The farm is a lovely secluded place at the base of a rocky hill, with creek frontage. It was cool in the morning when we got there, swallows flitting over the hay field that had just been mowed. The word aftermath indicates a field that has just been mowed. "Math" means "mowing" or "mowed"-- philomath means love of mowing. Anyway.
We stayed long enough for her to explain all that needs doing, then took a back road towards town, enjoyed the cool morning air after a week of intense record-breaking heat.
Since we hadn't eaten breakfast, and it was getting close to noon, I suggested the buffet at Taste of India, which is one of our favorite restaurants in Eugene. Lunch is cheap; they always serve chicken korma, sag paneer, basmati rice with raisins in it, tandoori grilled chicken, nan. We drank chai tea, and talked about the movie Frida, which we had seen on Friday & had found to be a very good movie on many levels. S & I don't watch tv and we don't see movies very often, so we tend to be ruthless critics, but Frida was good.
When we returned home, it was nearly time for me to go to a dance workshop with Astryd
at the Eugene School of Ballet.
She. Kicked. Our. Asses.
It was two and a half hours long, and I was able to keep up, but she showed us some hip isolation moves that I know the beginning students in the workshop had never seen, much less tried to do.
It was hard, and it was hot. There were puddles of sweat on the floor. Two of the older students sat down halfway through the workshop, and by the time it was over, we were all ready to collapse except for Astryd. Felt great though, and I can still feel it in my hips and thighs from the quick steps and level changes. Makes me want to bare my teeth in a wicked grin.
After the workshop, S took me for a quick meal of shrimp kebab at the little downtown market, and at 8 we went to the coffeehouse, because Astryd was scheduled to perform at 9. We moved tables, set up lighting, got the rug in place, cleaned glasses & mugs, made sure we had change for the register.
Astryd came and danced at our coffeehouse; it's been a while since I've seen her dance outside of class. She is mesmerizing. She wore this peridot green bejewelled costume that was custom-made for her when she was performing in Cairo, and she didn't stop moving for 20 minutes. She doesn't ever look awkward or unpractised-- all her moves are so smoothe, so clear. I once had a music teacher who told us he wanted to see daylight between the notes, and that is how Astryd dances; there is an energy, a focused clarity to her movements that I have never seen another dancer acheive. She enchanted us, played with us, flirted with us, and even after 20 minutes she left us wanting more.
Once she exited, J came up to me and said, "You need to go up front now." I went walking out the front door and there was nobody there, so I turned around & J was laughing, gesturing for me to sit in a chair where Astryd had just performed. No, uh-uh. My aunt finally got me up there, and announced that it was my birthday, so there I was, sitting all by myself in a chair on the rug, lights shining on me.
I sat some more.
I pretended to look at my watch while everyone looked at me.
I wagged my eyebrows, crossed and uncrossed my legs, held up three fingers and said, "I'm this many."
Some giggles, and then (finally) in the alley by the cafe came the sound of drums, zills, riq, and mizmar, boom boom boom boom they all came marching in, Astryd leading the pack of musicians, and following them was my husband with an enormous cake, ablaze with 30 candles.
The musicians & dancer surrounded me, & S knelt in front of me and indicated I should blow out the candles. I made a wish and I blew out every last one, and sat uncomfortably for a few moments, then made the decision to get up & dance. I sought out all those girls I've known & danced with for years from the little audience, and they joined me in dancing to the loud live music, up there on the rug with Astryd and her band.
It was truly a surprise. It was the first surprise party I have ever had, and I teased everyone involved about it being a conspiracy. Sneaky people.
Sneaky people who wanted to make a spectacle out of me.
Sneaky, conspiratorial people who love me.
Life is good.
Remember to make a wish.
Remember to dance.