The day started out taking my mother to the beauty shop at Atria for her 10 a.m. appointment. The beauty shop is not open on Fridays, but Lucy, the beautician, made an exception and came in especially for my mother, so she would look good when I take her to lunch with her friends in San Rafael tomorrow.
The transformation was striking. She's been looking like the Wicked Witch of the West for weeks now. Her old self would be appalled at how she looked going to meals at Atria. But once she got her hair washed and set and her curls brushed out, I loved how happy she looked. Sadly, it is obvious that she will never be able to do this by herself again. The beauty shop has moved upstairs and it involves (a) knowing that it's upstairs, (b) finding the elevator, (c) knowing which button to push, and (d) navigating TWO hallways to get to the place. It was blatantly obvious that my mother was incapable of doing any of those things, so I guess I'll be taking her for hair appointments from now on. It takes about an hour from start to finish and I read in the shop for awhile, but the chair was uncomfortable, so I moved to the couch outside and that was better. Now that I know how long it takes, next time I might get something done while she's in the shop.
She can't retain the fact that we are meeting her friends tomorrow, so each time I mention it to her, it's like a fun new surprise all over again which, other than being tedious for me is kind of fun watching her get excited about it.
After a long nap that left me completely disoriented for a few minutes (I thought it was morning, not afternoon), I got a bunch of stuff cleared up on the internet and then we headed off to Elk Grove to our Mexican daughter Marie's restaurant, Todo un Poco. She had invited us to come because she knew it would be a slow night for her and she would be able to visit more. She was hoping we could come this day because her mother is visiting from Mexico and though we never have chats (there being a language barrier), we do smile and laugh and hug.
The restaurant doubles as a unique art gallery, and Marie sat us in a corner under this little unassuming portrait of Zapata.
The restaurant is filled with such amazing paintings, some with a touch of humor, such as this pairing.
Marie got us settled with two bottles of wine and 2 glasses each, figuring we would do a wine tasting of two different wines. I told her that as the designated driver, I would only drink a little. She brought us menus to choose our meal, but in the meantime she went off to get "a few appetizers."
This included meat balls, some Mexican gnocci, a spaghetti dish with cilantro and something I couldn't quite identify, but which had mole sauce. When we had eaten our fill of these, out came a bowl of paella.
Then she asked if we were ready to order dinner! We told her we had just eaten our dinner, so she brought out fried bananas and churros.
...AND cookies her mother had bought that afternoon. We were stuffed and she sent us home with all the leftover paella. And a bottle of wine.
We had a chance for a long visit. This girl, who came to us, very nervous, at age 18 in 1989 has had the most extraordinary life, has accomplished so much, has so much about to happen to her. The walls of her restaurant are filled with accolades for her restaurant, which has been "restaurant of the year" a couple of times, and Marie was Elk Grove's Citizen of the Year in 2012. I am proud that we were a part of her "coming of age," and of pushing her out the door to go do something for herself.
It was 11 when we got home (after stopping to buy cottage cheese for the dogs) and I have to get off to sleep if I'm to leave early tomorrow to get my mother to her luncheon. I suspect that in familiar surroundings, with old friends, and with her new hair do, she will be more like her "old self" for a few hours. I am very much looking forward to experiencing that.