Three occasions

Three occasions, the first deprecable in intent, though with some charms in the local execution of it; the second earnest in aim, but distressing in its commercialization and its substitution of a day’s dose of sentimentality for any lasting celebration of mothers (plus, it interferes with Ann Daingerfield’s birthday):

May 7-9: Palo Alto’s celebration of Cinco de Mayo on 5/7  (it has to be on a Saturday)

Mother’s Day on 5/8 (the punctuation of the name is merely the one I fancy; don’t get all riled up about it)

Ann Daingerfield Zwicky’s 85th birthday — she died in 1985 — on 5/9 (this is Arnold Zwicky’s Blog, so you get my occasions)

And then three sub-occasions:

family breakfast (a weekly event, this week a three-generation affair for me, Elizabeth Daingerfield Zwicky, and Opal Armstrong Zwicky) on 5/7

Masturbation Day on 5/7 (a major celebration in my one-person household) (I put the responsibility for the choice of date on Good Vibrations in San Francisco, and specifically on Susie Bright, though she will probably demur)

AMZ’s return to Sacred Harp singing on 5/8 (only via Zoom, but still)

Now, the accounts, in the 21st-century counterpart to the epistolary novel: a story told in Facebook postings and e-mail messages (both edited by me, with commentary from me).

Aric Olnes on Facebook on 5/5 (the calendrically accurate Cinco de Mayo): Happy White Excuse Day, celebrated to alleviate guilt for their unexamined racism against Latin Americans while enjoying the cuisine of northern Mexico.

intervention: my 5/8/22 posting “The chirosexual moment’ [chirosexual ‘having to do with manual sex, with hand jobs’] on Masturbation Day (5/7) and Masturbation Month (all of May), with symbols for the occasions:


Rod Williams following up about Cinco de Mayo on 5/8: Always one of those cringe holidays where cluelessness and commerce collide.

— AZ > RW: Indeed. Hard to know how to take it. Well, the food is nice, though usually not particularly authentic. Palo Alto’s Cinco de Mayo celebration is on a Saturday, so this year we had Cinco de Mayo on Saturday [an event that includes a concours d’elegance — fabulous antique automobiles — and a children’s band parade], Mother’s Day on Sunday [at breakfast, EDZ explained briskly what she wanted for Mother’s Day, but never got: a list of things beginning with paid maternity leave and the funding of child care], two jarring occasions making up a whole jangly weekend.

I made the mistake of going out with my heavy-duty outside walker to try to have a nice late lunch on Saturday, but was defeated by endless places not serving lunch on Saturdays and other places with hour-long waits for a table and still other places, old familiar places, that had simply vanished. Got back home after an hour and made a lunch at home that was so late I called it dinner.

(On the plus side, I ended up walking a mile and a half on Saturday, which is more than I have walked in 4 or 5 years; my temporary remission continues!)

Then on Sunday, since I can sing again, at least for a while, I did two hours of Sacred Harp singing — via Zoom — and the second hour was absolutely fabulous.

So a great weekend overall, with nothing Mexican or maternal in it.

e-mail AMZ > EDZ at the end of the day on Monday 5/9: Today’s news is that I celebrated your mother’s 85th birthday with a lunch at Tai Pan [Hong Kong-style Cantonese food in Palo Alto, a few blocks from my house]. The lunch that has been my standard Thanksgiving meal for some time.  Appropriate because it consists of things that she and I enjoyed at Peking on Mystic in Medford MA, during the three years before you were born. Sichuan hot and sour soup, Sichuan dry fried green beans with pork, Singapore vermicelli (rice noodles) = Singapore mei fun. Given the state my body is in right now [all my senses sharpened, my desire for umami tastes hugely heightened], it tasted absolutely fabulous.

And the half that’s left over will get folded into a soup [mirepoix base, beef broth, lots of miso, some bean thread, plus Louisiana hot sauce, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, Mexican hot spices, Japanese rice flavorings] that will make at least one more meal. [The making was a project for all of a long morning today, Tuesday 5/10, and the soup — enough for two quite substantial meals — with its very complex blending of tastes, is a great success.]

Tai Pan was almost empty when I got there (early), so I was well attended to. Then it filled up about halfway, so that the second half of the meal was in a pleasantly populated place with diners chatting happily in English and Cantonese. This could hardly have been better. (And they took the $100 bill that the ATM gave me when I got money for my traditional barbershop haircut (refreshing the buzzcut), beard and mustache styling, and shampoo last week.)

I was briefly baffled that the short and pleasant walk there from my house was such an ordeal just a little while ago.

intervention: the ADZ birthday photos:

(#2) Infant Ann Daingerfield (5/9/37) and her father, Keene Daingerfield

(#3) Infant Elizabeth Daingerfield Zwicky and her mother, Ann Daingerfield Zwicky

— AZ to Facebook Tuesday 5/10: In the mail: a refund on my 2001 California income taxes! Modified rapture: it’s for $1.00. So tomorrow, a walk to the San Mateo Credit Union ATM to deposit the thing. Morning exercise, I guess. [Follow-up: the sky was beautifully cloudy, but it seemed cold, and I restricted my outdoor adventures to quick stabs at labor in my little garden. Maybe tomorrow. I mean, it’s one goddam dollar.]

On another front: I walked to the mailboxes to get my mail today, entirely on my own two feet, unsupported by walker or cane. Remarkably tiring, and I walk like a zombie (not an Egyptian), but I did it. Staying close to some fencing all the way, in case I needed support (it’s extremely important that I not fall down, because my bones are brittle from the medications I’ve been taking.) Fortunately, none of my neighbors were out to witness this performance, which must have looked pretty foolish and inept.

Greg Morrow in response: It’s great that you’re making progress on your mobility. Stay safe!

AZ > GM: I don’t think I’ll get to open-field walking, ever, but it would be nice to learn to walk like a human being (which I haven’t been able to do for, oh, five years or so).

4 Responses to “Three occasions”

  1. Robert Coren Says:

    I remember a number of delightful meals (well, I remember that they were delightful, but I have no memory of the actual food) at Peking on Mystic, back when it was the only (or nearly only) non-Cantonese Chinese restaurant in the Boston area.

    • arnold zwicky Says:

      Despite the fact that Peking on Mystic was, in a sense, the only game in town at the time, the food was varied and splendid, and the people who ran the place were devoted foodies. We had an introduction to them by a Chinese-American linguist; they were willing to talk with Ann about the preparation of the dishes, to help her learn how to reproduce some of them at home (well, not the Peking duck, no rational person does that at home, though we did have detailed instructions in books), and to offer us specialties not on the menu (because they were too adventurous for most Americans). Extremely happy memories from nearly 60 years ago now.

  2. arnold zwicky Says:

    A correction from EDZ:

    The May Fête parade is not a Cinco de Mayo celebration. It is always near Cinco de Mayo because it’s on the first Saturday in May, but it’s just a Palo Alto parade (I expect it was originally about May Day).

    So it was. I was confused by my recollection of the food trucks from (oh dear) many years ago, which included a truly fine Oaxacan truck. But it seems that over the years, the trucks have offered not only Mexican, but also (among other things) Korean, Japanese, Hawaiian, kebabs, soul food, lobster sandwiches, and ice cream. We are culinarily multicultural. (It’s also true that in my mind Mexican food trucks are the default food trucks; food truck calls up the image of tacos, burritos, etcétera.)

  3. arnold zwicky Says:

    Just to report that while the Post-Birthday Soup was fine yesterday, it was amazing for lunch today. It’s that well-known soup and stews get better when they’re refrigerated overnight effect.

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