Yesterday was our 5th Anniversary! There was a point last year when that seemed like a milestone we might not reach. Weird thing about stress, when there's no specific source that you can address directly, it can turn inward and devour you. If 2002 went in the books as a down year in the marriage market, then 2003 has definitely been a bullish run with no signs of slowing down. The key to the metaphor is you have to be in it for the long haul. Market timers should just stay single.
In light of the recent move, we decided to keep it simple this year. A night out without the kids, no gifts exchanged. Less celebrating the past, it was more like welcoming the future with open arms.
We started out at the International Center of Photography to check out the Cuba on the Verge exhibit, an amazing collection of photographs of the real Cuba, full of decay and beauty, hardship and adaptation. One picture, of a couple sitting in their extravagant living room, perfectly told the story of a highly-educated Cuban middle class turning to tourist-related jobs in order to survive. The couple in the picture had turned their home into a bed&breakfast because their professional degrees were useless. Doctors and engineers work as waiters and cab drivers. Grisel has a great poem about people that romanticize Cuba while seemingly knowing nothing about the hard lives of the majority of its citizens. I thought about it while looking at the pictures, thought about how some people would dismiss the stories they told, resting the blame solely on US policy (which is definitely A culprit, but not the ONLY culprit) while ignoring the number of people jailed and/or executed for doing some of the things they take for granted every day. Like reading a poem critical of the government, for example.
Afterwards, we headed downtown for dinner at Esperanto. Excellent, excellent, excellent! On the corner of 9th & Avenue C, opposite the northwest corner of Tompkins Square Park, there were plenty of your stereotypical East Villagers hanging out. Starting with Mojitos, my new favorite hot weather drink (the real deal, not with mint syrup), we settled in for one of the best meals we've had in a while. The bread and peppered oil were annoyingly delicious and I was afraid of eating too much of it before our food came. The Calamares a la Parilla appetizer was perfect, the squid nicely grilled but still soft enough to practically melt in your mouth. The avocado was just right and the mango dressing on mesclun greens could have been a side dish on their own. For entrees, Salomé had the Carne Asada and I experimented with the Feijoada. How many different ways can you say perfect? Her steak was nice and crunchy on the outside, moist on the the inside and tender as hell. The fried yucca that came with it was lightly seasoned and fried a nice golden brown. The Feijoada - a National Brazilian dish, according to the menu - was basically a chorizo stew with rice and spinach on the side. I mixed it all together and cleaned my dish completely, using the fried yucca to sop up the last bit. For dessert, we had coffee (probably not Fair Trade, unfortunately) and split a coconut sorbet that was, well, perfect.
By the time we left Esperanto, satisfied and a little tired, it was packed inside and pouring outside. We hopped a cab crosstown to 3rd & Sixth and, huddled under a tiny umbrella, walked two blocks over to Pink Pussycat. A little awkward at first as I am definitely the more reserved between the two of us, but once I relaxed it was kind of fun checking out the toys and videos and stuff. Some of the things were a bit out there, like the vibrating rubber mouths, vaginas and , um... what the hell is the plural of anus? The foot-long dildos were a bit much, too. I mean really, where the hell do you fit those things? Their video selection was rather lame and made me think Fish should offer library cards for his collection! Among other things, ahem, I bought a button with a picture of a smiling Dubya that says "A village in Texas has lost its idiot."
From there, we headed home, picked up the kids and called it a night. Happy anniversary to us. And many more...! :-)