Birthdays Boys and Paradoxical Sunsets

I could mull over the paradox that is “America’s Finest City,” or what I lovingly refer to as Paradise:

palm trees and NIMBY pettiness;

temperate climes and a questionable, tenacious city attorney;

luxury housing and chronic homelessness; or

cutting edge schools and an on-going disparity in achievement between African American and Latino students, and Caucasian and Asian students.

But I’d rather not. Well, not today, anyway.

It was the MS’s (Middle Son) birthday yesterday, and at his request, we moseyed on over to Joe’s Crab Shack to sit upstairs, squint and sweat in the setting sunlight, eat, drink, and listen to The MS’s good friend talk about techniques for meeting women. It seems he’s purchased quite a number of products on eBay on the subject and is very close to being a poster child of sorts, soon to hit the road and profess his new found wisdom. The MoH was enthralled, but only long enough to ask about the young man’s success rate.  Mmmm….numbers.

The RT remained mortified throughout the meal, especially since the MS’s friend directed a good bit of his commentary toward the RT, and encouraged him to “take notes,” because if he’d known at 15 what he knows today…well. The RT? A kid who couldn’t bring himself to walk down the “pink aisle” in Toys R Us when he was little? Uh, no. No note taking on the “how to snare women” lecture.  But graciously, the MS’s friend shifted his tutelage to that of something more closely related to the RT’s interests:  war games.

Before long, the two were discussing a way to profit from purchasing models, painting them, and then selling them.  Of course, with some financial padding from D-A-D to really get things going.  Great.  Headlines on Yahoo read:  “Teen makes fortune in garage.  You, too, can have a home-based business…”

But the MS was quiet — a rarity. He’s already familiar with his friend’s good-natured schtick, but still. It was his birthday and he’s been making his presence known verbally since he was born, earning him the nickname, “Cryin’ Ryan.” No, he’s never been a whiner.  Quite the opposite. He is much more quiet in his utterances now, but he always has something to say, always. Information, information, information.  So I found myself wondering whether he regretted inviting his friend, whom we all have known since the two were in junior high, and have enjoyed. Who knows.

Maybe he was mulling over being yet another year older. Uh, what about me, here?  Or rethinking Joe’s. They have been known to circle the table to howl a birthday ditty while urging the guest of honor to gallop around the restaurant, straddling a child’s pony on a stick. Really. Or, he could have been lamenting the lack of a Birthday Check at that point in the evening, which did surface later.

Perhaps it was the homemade card. Homely Mugs (No, it’s not snowing — that’s art.)

The MS’s Bday “Cake”

The birthday “cake?” (I had the peaches, okay? And those are blueberries, not raisins, so unscrew your nose. Besides, it’s not your “cake.”)

Note And the greeting for his arrival on our front door? (What’d you expect? Balloons? That’s so junior high.)

Aren’t you glad you’re not one of my offspring? It takes work to keep them humble, but they keep coming back for more.

We finished our dinner and beverage-ez right at the 7PM tourismo hour, walked across the street to the beach and headed toward Crystal Pier to enjoy the sunset. Various and assorted “night folk” were already gathering, others settling in for the night with blankets, bags full of worldly possessions, and a ragged novel in hand to squint at in the waning light. Welcome to my bedroom…Only one less than cogent fellow verbally accosted us, yelling something none of us could quite understand. But we weren’t special, because he seemed not to discriminate in his quest to let people know he was there. Yelling. And trying to get into the restroom, which was locked. So add that to my list above:

Blazing sunsets and incoherent drifters.

Yes, you might be able to see just why Paradise is a veritable paradox — a place where you never actually have to stick your head in the sand to be a card-carrying member of the “not my problem” club.

You can just allow yourself to be hypnotized by the pretty colors.
Sun Orange Glow in Paradise
Oh, and very handsome men. Whattahunkster. Nice guy, too. But he h-a-t-e-s having his photo taken, so this was a serious gift to me.

Birthday Boy

I’m surrounded by them.

Cheers, Dude.

But you won’t ever find me whining in the men’s room.





8 responses to “Birthdays Boys and Paradoxical Sunsets”

  1. loripea

    Happy birthday to Rino! I did remember it and I do remember how old he is because he is a decade baby like me. Happy birthday from Aunt Nancy!
    Yes, of course you knew. You always do. It’s one of your shining characteristics. And thanks, aunt nancy. I’ll pass your wishes along.

  2. Oh, happy birthday to the MS. Those pictures are gorgeous. Makes me want to actually visit the beach instead of just taking comfort in the fact that I know it is there. Sometimes it can be Paradise indeed!

  3. Ha! Look, I typed my own name wrong on that last comment. I am awesome. Hey! No I didn’t! It won’t let me enter the last letter. No more room. But there are other Mels…I guess I will have to settle for being from the Freak Parad on your site. Hrmph.

    Count this as one response for both comments, Mel. First of all, I don’t care about how you spell. You’re you. That means special. Really. And thanks very much for the wishes. I’ll pass them along. Yes, the beach is lovely. I practice learning how to love it. Go figure, huh? What do you think that’s all about?

  4. Ritzy

    Sounds like a perfect way to spend a birthday!
    Ahhh – and that sunset – beautiful!! Wasn’t one quite like that at LaHaina’s last Friday night… or was it the imbimbing that clouded my eyes instead of the skies??!! 🙂
    It was a great trip and I am glad to be back home too.
    Thank you for taking the morning to stroll along with me!

    Hey Ritzy! Glad to see you made it home to those beautiful boys safely. Yes, I can imagine you were glad to be back, and most likely very much missing your family. Thanks to you, too, for taking the time on your trip to say hello, chat, and take in the glories of Paradise — even if it was cloudy, right? Hope your photos turned out lovely. Do I get to see them?

  5. That sounded like such a great time! I dig Joe’s Crab Shack! hmm… between that and the photo of the “cake” I think I need to go grab a bite to eat!

  6. PS: Great looking family!

    Meleah, Yes, unfortunately, I like Joe’s as well. When the waiter came to pick up my plate, he took one look at the nearly licked surface and commented, “You didn’t like that very much, did you?” Uh. Nope. And thanks for the family kudos!

  7. Great sunset, sounds like a good time.

    Paradise would not be paradise it all really.

    Yes, Cooper, a good time. And I even had a bit o’ crab, remembering your not too distant “crabbiness.” Except the rest of what you say is, what? In code? Another paradox, perhaps?

  8. I remember when we celebrated my birthday there and I did ride the stick horse, but then, I love being the center of attn. Don’t I? Wish i could’ve been there with you, my lovely calm family. Where was the OS? Working? You did pass on good work ethics to your sons. Love Mom

    Hola, Momzer! Yes, I was remembering that pony ride of yours, too. You have to be tough to take on those occasions in life, and you’re really good at it. The rest of us just have to stand and watch, wondering why we’re so afraid. The OS was working, I suppose. I sort of forgot to mention it to him that we were going. You know, I’m so busy and all (snort) I didn’t even arrange the get together until the last minute. Put another check in the “mother who needs improvement” category. As far as the “calm” goes, they are all calm because I use up all the volts. Hugs and more hugs.

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