Friday, 6 November 2009

Retail Therapy

Here is a quick and inelegant update on Life As Rebekah.

I am currently in Ghent, Belgium, being utterly spoiled by my dear friend Filipe. 
Filipe is a high-end sort of DNA-sorting biologist who creates perfect mice for a living. I've known him for a very long time, we get along like we came from the same mold. I am not sure why he likes me so much, but he is very good for me. 

Meanwhile, back in Moratinos, Death came to the Hen Hut. Paddy went to feed the girls this morning and found the mortal remains of Gladys behind the roosting perch. She's been huddled back there for a day or so, feeling unwell, and apparently gave up the ghost sometime in the night. 

I told Paddy to bury her deep in the garden bed, where I already have the ground loosened up, and where she can give her all to the enrichment program. But he'd already tied her up in a grocery bag and laid her respectfully in the Dumpster. Sic Transit Gladys.

Aside from all that, it seems Paddy's enjoying a few days of quiet solitude out on the meseta. 

And I am indulging in the joys of Retail Therapy, here in a fine old European city. 

Many of you know already how I feel about shopping. I deeply loathe shopping, especially shopping for clothing. It has to do with body image and high prices and peer pressure, and my conservative Protestant upbringing, and having a thick waist. Living where I do, I have little need for fine clothing, and I rather like it that way. But we have tickets for a big, fancy guitar concert on Saturday in Brussels, and I didn't have a thing to wear that was not black or frumpy or out of season. Filipe, a born hunter-gatherer with a highly evolved shopping gene, generously offered to show me round the local emporia. I needed a nice dress. This was the only way. 

We set out yesterday afternoon, fortified with a hearty Belgian lunch of blood sausage and red cabbage and Wittebier. It took for freakin' ever, but I finally found a knockout silk dress that does not make me look overly embutido, (sausage-like) and a pair of cool 1942-Paris-style shoes to match -- soft black leather pumps with two little buckle straps across the front. (I shall have to re-learn how to walk on heels!) 

I bought another dress as well, a plum-colored cashmere sheath that is bit more reserved, and a dressy blouse to liven up my churchgoing. (Filipe says I look "Presbylicious!")  It was very draining, but fun in an odd way. Except for a few unpleasant moments at the Tommy Hilfiger store, I can look back on it with a smile. At least until I have to put on pantyhose. And totter from tram to train from Ghent to Brussels in Those Shoes. And I haven't even thought about accessorizing...Heavens, I left my pearls at home!

Today it's Domestics Day. Dick, my Camino friend from Holland, is coming here within a couple of hours, and the three of us are hosting a dinner party this evening. We will spend the afternoon sipping Medoc and trussing a goose (which I am sure is really a Muscovy duck) and roasting a loin of goat and pounding an innocent octopus into casserole. Last night I roasted pumpkins for soup, and made a savory sort of dinner roll with the extra pumpkin pulp, to go with it all. This is my Thanksgiving feast for this year, see. Except I think I am the only American. 

We have orange-red roses on the table-end, and jazz on the radio, and good company and an apartment full of amazing food aromas. Life is really, really good.  

(What I need most at this moment is a long nap, but alas I am no longer in Siesta country.)

I need to bring Patrick here, as he'd like it very much. It is very civilized. I will bring him home things we can't find in Castilla y Leon. Things like nice 80-percent chocolate, and washcloths. And a squeegee. 


Laura said...

Poor Gladys...Paddy's sentimentality is overwhelming.

I love the shopping story - can I ever relate to that! Enjoy getting dressed up. Last time I had to wear heels I wore flip-flops and carried the heels in my purse until I was in a place where I no longer needed to walk.

Sounds like you are having a wonderful break from village life.

Kiwi Nomad 2008 said...

" a born hunter-gatherer with a highly evolved shopping gene".... I wish I had found a way to use such a phrase in my human genetics exam last week.... I indulged in some of the same kind of therapy after the exam ;-)

M.A. said...

"Presbylicious!" Can I borrow this gggorgeous word?

Sis Mart said...

I'm a TOTAL Non-Shopper as well. I'd rather be horse whipped as Johnny's Mom would say. We're missing you so much. Me the most. I love you sis.