I turned 41 years old on Friday.
It's not a particularly noteworthy birthday, and being in mid-May, like it always is, my birthday tends to be surrounded by tons of other events. My various family members were scattered, so Graham and I chose to have a quiet dinner out. Originally, Graham was supposed to work, but the event got moved to another night, so the evening was ours to do with as we wished.
We went to the Backstreet Cafe. I'd chosen that particular restaurant because it was featuring a seasonal artichoke menu when I made the reservation, and artichokes are among my most favorite foods. Sadly, they'd changed to a tomato menu by the time we got there. Still, I ordered a special halibut in artichoke sauce and fried green tomatoes with crab, so I was able to get some of my beloved artichokes. It was slightly disappointing, as that was the only thing I'd really planned for my birthday, but I splurged on one of my favorite Zinfandels, and I was with Graham in a nice restaurant, so it was ok.
Afterwards, we went to get ice cream and see Godzilla. A perfect 'stina movie. Lots of sight gags and opportunities for me to jump. I was sadly lacking in much Godzilla background, so I went in pretty blind, aside from knowing some of the very basic facts. We enjoyed the hell out of ourselves, and it was the first time in recent memory that we actually saw a movie the day it opened. Pleasurable, pleasurable evening.
The next day was spa day for me and the puppies. I spent two hours getting a pedicure and then my hair cut. And afterwards, we took the pooches to the dog washing place for a bath. It was a desperately needed bath, though Fusilli was a pain in the butt about it. He actually doesn't mind baths in and of themselves. He minds that Celosa is getting extra special attention by whoever is bathing her (in this case Graham), and he's not RIGHT there to supervise. He spends the whole bath whining about it and pulling to get closer to her. It's exhausting.
Later, we met my sister and her boyfriend on the lawn of the Menil and enjoyed watching the city celebrate one of the last non-hot weekends of the year.
Sunday, we lounged around the house a bit, getting the tent ready for our Flipside. And then we decided to go to the beach. Graham is decidedly not a beach person. And strangely, I don't have that many memories of going to the beach with my family. But I used to go to Galveston all the time with my best friend and her family when we were kids. We'd spend hours there, playing in the surf, walking up and down the beach, getting burnt. Since we were both pretty good swimmers, no one particularly worried about us in the water, and we were more or less on our own for hours at a time. Her mom would pack sandwiches from Antones for us to eat at lunch, and we'd get Baskin Robbins ice cream on the way home. In later years we'd spend time on the other side of the island, in Galveston Bay, at sailing camp. Almost all of my Galveston related memories are good ones.
Graham had been to Galveston a few times, but only to to the town side, and we never went near the water. As a town full of history, it's right up Graham's alley. Lots of old buildings, lots of neat things that happened in them. The last time we went, in February, I think, we ate at Guido's, which has been open around 100 years.
This time, we went past the Seawall, and we turned on the first public access we could find. I normally go past the state park, but since we weren't planning on sticking around for very long, I figured less time driving and more time on the beach itself.
The beach we found was a little ghetto. Cars were parked directly on the beach, and the seaweed was piled so high that there wasn't any sand between the cars and the water. Music was blasting from competing sound systems, and people were grilling meat stuffs, drinking beer, playing ball, playing in the sand. A few solo cup sand castles were in mid-construction, and there was some first class flirting going on between girls in bikinis and boys pretending not to notice. It wasn't yet so hot that you felt like you were baking, and the water hadn't taken that bathwater temperature that it usually has in mid-summer. It was even a pretty green-blue rather than that green-brown that a lot of people associate with Galveston.
Graham and I took our blanket and walked about a half mile up the beach, away from the cars and the crowds and the flirting. We found a space past the parking but before one of the first subdivisions of massive beach houses that are just waiting for the next hurricane to blow them away. And we laid out our blanket and continued what we'd been up to for most of this idyllic weekend. We talked.
It's so nice to be with someone with whom I have a such good rapport. We just enjoy each other's company so much that it doesn't really matter if we're in a romantic restaurant or a silly monster movie or domestic chores of washing our dogs or with my family or stuck in traffic or alone on a sandy beach on a perfect spring/summer day. We continue conversations until we can't talk anymore, and then we start new ones. If Graham had chosen how we were going to spend our weekend, he probably wouldn't have put a trip to the beach on there. But we could have been anywhere and still had an excellent, excellent time.
We hung out on the beach for about an hour or so, and after dipping our toes in the water, we walked back to the car, laughing at the kids and telling each other stories of when we were kids. We got stuck in the sand getting out, but some helpful strangers pushed us out again. Nothing really was going to mar our weekend. Our trip home was relatively uneventful, aside from a quick trip to Buc-Ees, and witnessing a very slow moving rear-ending. And then, after a quick stop at the grocery store, we headed home to Fusilli and Celosa, who told us they would have liked the beach very much.
It was a great way to start the new year.