Sorry for not contributing to my O.B. too much lately, as I've been doing some writing for DCFUD.com, helping people move, going to weddings (more on that later), cooking for 18,000 people, and trying to avoid gaining weight and getting fired.
And who says I never learned to juggle!?!?
First, writing for a food blog has had some unintended consequences. People who don't really know me suddenly think that I know every restaurant in North America, have dined at every pricy place in DC, and then express shock when I have no idea what they're talking about. Certainly, I've heard of the big famous restaurants in a few cities, and ones ran by celebrity chefs, but when somebody asks if I've eaten at Le Pigtaille Rue in Des Plaines, Illinois, I'm going to wonder what they're thinking. How often do I get to Illinois, let alone Des Plaines, and why would I eat there when all of Chicago would be at my whim? And, if I'm dining at Citronelle or 1789 every night, why the hell would I be in Des Plaines?
And I just made that name up...Le Pigtaille Rue. Street of Pig Taille...my French is rusty, and I figure such a weird, obviously-fake name will allow me to avoid any nasty lawsuits.
Also, I'm somehow suddenly an expert on all things related to food. Cooking tips, grocery stores to use, caterers, where to dine while travelling in Europe - all are fair game once you mention you food blog. I think it's sweet that folks want my opinion, but it's just that - an opinion. I'm not able to recommend a restaurant in Paris France or Paris Texas, but I can suggest one near Paris, Virginia. The Inn at Little Washington. Quite tasty. But while I can cook, I'm by no means a chef. I made a fine Thanksgiving spread, but still can't make reliable pho. Phooey.
For Thanksgiving, I had about 20 or so MeetinDC folks over at Chez Ray. I made a 15-pound turkey, about 10 pounds of stuffing, green beans, corn, Chaimisu (tiramisu made with chai liqeuer called Voyant) some cookies and some Guiness Bread. I also attempted pho, which was a worse botch than anything Scott Norwood could have done in the Super Bowl 15 years ago.
A couple of days after the Cookathon 2006, my old friend Scott Appel got married to his girlfriend of the past few years, Maisie. She's a sweet gal, and she's got to be tough to put up with Appel. The wedding itself was lovely - a gorgeous old mansion at a golf course in Prince George's County, Maryland, and the weather was amazing. 60 and sunny in November? A lot of June Brides would kill for those picture-perfect conditions.
Seeing some old friends from school has definitely kicked in the ole' "life assessment" gene. Tim is married, building a house in southern Pennsylvania, and has a kid. Andy is divorced after two years of wedded blish-ish. Darren's married and seems to have found somebody who can more than ably take his crap. Matt brought a lovely young lady as his date, and has been mentioning that he might be ready to settle down. And Heath...Heath had a date. Rock on, Kubiack!
And, then there's me. Not quite as old as Tim or Darren, a little older than Matt, Heath and Andy, and about the same as Scott. Where am I in the whole dating/marriage world? Do I even BELONG in that world? How did they get there? What am I doing right...or wrong...or both?
As I watched Tim, a man responsible for one of my favorite memories and, one of my scariest, serve as Scott's best man, I was struck by how much he's grown up. So responsible, such a doting father. He looked at his (admittedly) adorable little girl, and he had such love in his eyes. His best friend just got married, and he held his world in his hands. She giggled, and promptly farted when he set her down.
Like father, like daughter. Daddy's little girl. Woe to be the first grab-hand guy to find the young lady attractive in 2018!
And he wanted to leave the reception so the bridal party, including the groom and bride, could go back and watch the Maryland Terrapins play a football game. Some things never change, such as the love of the Terps' athletic program by their supposed in-state rival Towson (State) Tigers.
Wedding Crashers we ain't.
In all this I decided something. I'm not those guys, never have been, and never will. Using friends as life post markers is useless. So what if somebody gets married, reproduced and divorced before you? The real question, and one that can only be answered internally is - are YOU happy? Not the 12-year-old planning your life away in a dark bedroom, dreaming of adulthood. Not the 18-year-old college freshman looking to turn college on its knees. Not the 23-year-old postgraduate who realizes their degree is utterly useless in the real world. But the you of right this very second.
Are you happy?
Would the 12 year old you think of you as a role model? The 18 year old? The 23 year old?
I might figure out the answer...when the 38-year-old looks back at the latest 5-year plan.