We’re counting down the hours until our dear friend, the divine Diane von Austin-berg, blows into town Saturday morning. Yay and more than yay. Adoration does not begin to describe our feelings for her fabulosity, her wonder, her grooviness, her willingness to over look my occasional shortcomings.
She and I go way back, to our misspent youths as lackeys on a daily newspaper at the University of Texas (hook ’em, indeed.) Actually, only I was a lackey, Diane wound up as News Editor because she can actually edit, a skill far beyond me, as these posts so often attest. We sort of drifted apart, but then collided, joyfully, at a wedding in Las Vegas where I was the matron of honor and Diane, as usual, was blameless. We have spent a part of each fall together ever since and they have all been fizzy vacations, let me tell you.
We’ve had extended houseparties in Ashland, Oregon to go to the Shakespeare festival there and we’ve had week-long times when we haven’t made it any farther than Berkeley. She’s been a great sport about invasions of my entire family suddenly jammed in on top of us and she was very supportive during a couple of bad spells when R Man was way sick. It’s a testament to her fabulousness that both R Man and I love her company; you know how unusual it is for a couple to both enjoy a friend.
She and I share a real passion for good coffee, which translates into Peet’s here, and for good food, so I’ve already made reservations at Chez Panisse, Slanted Door and Yank Sing, all of which I’m certainly looking forward to , but not as much as just cooking with her.
It’s rare to find someone who can co-habitate a kitchen with me. I’m shrill and tyrannical around pots and pans, knives and cutting boards, but Diane and I function effortlessly and it’s a joy. For months before she comes out, we email potential menus back and forth; this year, risotto with mint and peas as well as pan-seared scallops are coming on strong in our plans.
We also indulge our cut-throat love of thrift stores when together, but I am a mere piker compared to her mastery. That woman can walk in the front door, scan a rack of Walmart discards and emerge with the one Structure gray wool sweater in the whole place. In my size. On a day when sweaters are fifty cents. One can only bow down before her. There’s new junk shop on Sixth Street I have refrained from working until I can share it with her. Greater love hath no poofy-boy.
Did I mention Boggle contests? Yes, I have no shame about my complete nerdness. Boggle. I would kick her ass at it, except she cheats, if you consider knowing more words than me cheating, that is. Cheat, cheat, cheat.
The only problem is we never have enough time for all our plans, but that’s what next year is for.
62 hours and counting.