Last week I turned 35. The Irishman organised a wild Spanish themed fiesta (The Fiesta Dos Virgos!) at our house for myself and my fellow Virgo friend Karen. Karen said that she would cook some Pooky for my birthday and I freaked out. It turns out that she meant something porky, and was referring to an original recipe for Berza Chiponera, a bean, pork and chorizo stew given to her in 1992 when she was in Chipiona, Spain. It tasted much much better than it sounded!
Normally when I hold a party I’m running a hundred different programs simultaneously in my mind’s processor. Checking the progress of the various dishes in the kitchen, making sure the candles are lit, the entryway tidied, the powder room in ship shape, playlist weeded of the Irishman’s guilty pleasures and so on, all the time fending off the Leahy children from messing up my work. Someone once said that cleaning a house with kids in it was like brushing your teeth while eating Oreos. That person must have been a Virgo.
So it was a real juicy pleasure to do absolutely nothing before a party for once in my life except to lounge about in my bedroom with an eyeshadow brush and a cup of tea. The irony is that I think everyone almost enjoyed it more that I wasn’t being my usual anal, hovering party mistress self! I had a great time and I think the Irishman can be promoted to co-party organiser from now on, that is if he promises not to wear any more $4 girls outfits ferreted out from the depths of the op shop.
I love that my friends are such amazing cooks. Scallops, prawns poached in oil, stuffed mushrooms, gazpacho, homemade ice-cream, everything was made with such love.
Actually the food could have been takeaway pizza and we would have still had a ball. Our friends are amazing, period.
I’m very blessed to have this crazy Irishman in my life. He has pledged to fill my days with silly ideas, jokes and drama.
Sunday was Father’s Day so it was my turn to stage something festive. We kidnapped or dad-napped Mark and brought him to a secret location. When he uncovered his eyes, we were at the Puffing Billy station in the Dandenongs. The Puffing Billy is an antique steam train established in the early 1900s which ferried passengers from Melbourne to the rural towns in the Dandenong Hills. They had a 3 course Father’s Day lunch special in the first class carriages with lovely old silverware and starchy white tablecloths, which was pretty much the best thing you could say about the lunch other than the old world ambiance. “I’ve always loved boiled dishwashing liquid potatoes and plastic cream sauced fish!” crowed Mark mirthfully as we chugged past the sun-drenched hills and eucalyptus forests.
The kids had “the best day ever” where the highlights were being allowed a soft drink on the train, squashing pennies on the train track (with approval from the train conductor – only in Australia!) and paddle-boating around the lake at the Emerald Lakeside station stop. We actually managed to leave home with zero cash between all of us and while we were waiting in line for the paddle boat ($15 bucks), Sean found a crumpled $5 note in his wallet, I discovered $6.80 in coins at the bottom of my handbag and the Irishman did his part by lamenting loudly about our plight. So loudly and piteously that the bloke in front of us took out his wallet and gave us the remaining $3.20 that we needed and wished us a Happy Father’s Day. Best Day Ever! And Most Shameful Irishman Stunt!
Here is the ecstatic Irishman, full of good tidings to the world and to the charitable bloke in the boat behind him.
And my favourite photo of the day, Dylan and Sean sharing earphones and a sibling moment on the train ride on the way back home.
Happy Fathers Day to all the wonderful, strong, loving, funny dads out there! And thanks to my husband for my birthday party- growing old isn’t fun sometimes, but somehow you always bring out the funniest, best side of life there is, and for that, you are the Best. Person. Ever.