It’s Callaghan’s Birthday!

My birthday two months ago happened to fall on a blog Friday, so I felt I should address it. I said that I was 48 and still not wearing granny panties. Today, two months later and also on a blog Friday, it’s Callaghan’s birthday, so it’s only fair to report that he’s 47 and not wearing granny panties yet, either.

“What would your birthday reflection be as you turn a year older?” I asked him at dinner last night. Because, you know. Deep thoughts about life.

He considered for a minute, then said, “I came to the United States because of my two wives.”

I’ve known him for almost eight years, so I didn’t blink an eye.

“The first time I came to live in the States, it was because I married Magali,” he went on, speaking of his first wife. “The second time, it was because I married you. If I never married you guys, I never would’ve come to the United States. I would still be in France.”

I said, “You were a Russian mail-order bride.”

– because I was thinking of one of my co-workers from 10 years ago. The guy who got himself fired because he spent work hours shopping for Russian brides on his work computer, right out in the open in a common room. He met the woman through the online catalog, brought her over, married her, and then convinced our boss to re-hire him. He came back to work and his bride went to sell fancy perfume at Dillard’s. As far as I know, they’re still happily-ever-after. No green-card marriage there!

That’s one of my favorite love stories.

But my very favorite love story is ours. And today is the day that Callaghan can stop telling people that he’s two years younger than me. He’s only 14 months younger, and now you can see that on paper.

I went to meet him at his workplace yesterday. Before we went to lunch, I took some pics of him with a couple of bikes he’d recently finished. Here’s one:

 

Callaghan at work (with the Triumph Trophy SE he recently finished)

Callaghan at work (with the Triumph Trophy SE he recently finished)

 

Then we went to dinner later and we took this selfie with unfortunate lighting, which is the best kind of selfie:

 

Callaghan's birthday commemoration selfie. That probably sounds more formal than it is.

Callaghan’s birthday commemoration selfie. That probably sounds more formal than it is.

 

Happy Birthday to this crazy, hilarious, unpredictable, dreamy guy!

LUCHA LIBRE! It’s what’s for entertainment (the night before your birthday).

Lucha Libre – Mexican wrestling – has to be the most colorful and entertaining type of combat sport I know. Like all wrestlers, a luchador is an athlete and an entertainer rolled into one. Luchadores are known for wearing masks. They’re known for launching themselves into the air. Lucha Libre is hella fun to watch!

A Mexican cultural tradition, it’s natural to see Lucha Libre in Arizona. When a $5.00 ticket deal for a Lucha Libre event at a local venue hit my inbox last week, I snapped up a couple and asked Callaghan after the fact (if he wanted to go). I suspected he’d love it, so I just went for it, thinking I could justify my impulsive decision with the It’s my birthday weekend and this is what I want to do reasoning. The event was on Saturday night. My birthday was on Sunday. Luckily, Callaghan was stoked about our impromptu plans. Lucha Libre tickets five bucks each!

So we headed over to the AZ Event Center on Saturday night, and today I’m coming at you with another gazillion images. I took the interior pics from my seat and with my cell phone, as usual, so the usual disclaimer about the photo quality applies. I wanted to capture the personalities of the luchadores and the fun they were having!

 

[TALC at Duelo de Dominacon LUCHA LIBRE, AZ Event Center, 2015]

[TALC at Duelo de Dominacon LUCHA LIBRE, AZ Event Center, 2015]

Me with Callaghan on my birthday eve at the AZ Event Center. We were tired, but... Lucha Libre!!

Me with Callaghan on my birthday eve at the AZ Event Center. We were tired, but… Lucha Libre!!

 

From Bout 1:

 

Bout 1 [TALC at Duelo de Dominacon LUCHA LIBRE, AZ Event Center, 2015]

Bout 1 [TALC at Duelo de Dominacon LUCHA LIBRE, AZ Event Center, 2015]

Bout 1 [TALC at Duelo de Dominacon LUCHA LIBRE, AZ Event Center, 2015]

Bout 1 [TALC at Duelo de Dominacon LUCHA LIBRE, AZ Event Center, 2015]

Strolling around the audience…

 

Bout 1 [TALC at Duelo de Dominacon LUCHA LIBRE, AZ Event Center, 2015]

Bout 1 [TALC at Duelo de Dominacon LUCHA LIBRE, AZ Event Center, 2015]

Bout 1 [TALC at Duelo de Dominacon LUCHA LIBRE, AZ Event Center, 2015]

Bout 1 [TALC at Duelo de Dominacon LUCHA LIBRE, AZ Event Center, 2015]

Bout 1 [TALC at Duelo de Dominacon LUCHA LIBRE, AZ Event Center, 2015]

Bout 1 [TALC at Duelo de Dominacon LUCHA LIBRE, AZ Event Center, 2015]

From Bout 2 (Las mujeres! – female bout):

 

Bout 2 - Las mujeres! [TALC at Duelo de Dominacon LUCHA LIBRE, AZ Event Center, 2015]

Bout 2 – Las mujeres! [TALC at Duelo de Dominacon LUCHA LIBRE, AZ Event Center, 2015]

Bout 2 [TALC at Duelo de Dominacon LUCHA LIBRE, AZ Event Center, 2015]

Bout 2 [TALC at Duelo de Dominacon LUCHA LIBRE, AZ Event Center, 2015]

Bout 2 [TALC at Duelo de Dominacon LUCHA LIBRE, AZ Event Center, 2015]

Bout 2 [TALC at Duelo de Dominacon LUCHA LIBRE, AZ Event Center, 2015]

Bout 2 [TALC at Duelo de Dominacon LUCHA LIBRE, AZ Event Center, 2015]

Bout 2 [TALC at Duelo de Dominacon LUCHA LIBRE, AZ Event Center, 2015]

Bout 2 [TALC at Duelo de Dominacon LUCHA LIBRE, AZ Event Center, 2015]

Bout 2 [TALC at Duelo de Dominacon LUCHA LIBRE, AZ Event Center, 2015]

Bout 2 [TALC at Duelo de Dominacon LUCHA LIBRE, AZ Event Center, 2015]

Bout 2 [TALC at Duelo de Dominacon LUCHA LIBRE, AZ Event Center, 2015]

Bout 2 [TALC at Duelo de Dominacon LUCHA LIBRE, AZ Event Center, 2015]

Bout 2 [TALC at Duelo de Dominacon LUCHA LIBRE, AZ Event Center, 2015]

Bout 2 [TALC at Duelo de Dominacon LUCHA LIBRE, AZ Event Center, 2015]

Bout 2 [TALC at Duelo de Dominacon LUCHA LIBRE, AZ Event Center, 2015]

From Bout 3 (two Mexican dudes vs. two American dudes):

 

Bout 3 [TALC at Duelo de Dominacon LUCHA LIBRE, AZ Event Center, 2015]

Bout 3 – Mexico duo vs. United States duo! [TALC at Duelo de Dominacon LUCHA LIBRE, AZ Event Center, 2015]

Representing Mexico:

 

Bout 3 [TALC at Duelo de Dominacon LUCHA LIBRE, AZ Event Center, 2015]

Bout 3 [TALC at Duelo de Dominacon LUCHA LIBRE, AZ Event Center, 2015]

Representing the United States:

 

Bout 3 [TALC at Duelo de Dominacon LUCHA LIBRE, AZ Event Center, 2015]

Bout 3 – Mexicans in green, Americans in black shorts [TALC at Duelo de Dominacon LUCHA LIBRE, AZ Event Center, 2015]

(These two were the only Americans on the fight card.)

 

Bout 3 [TALC at Duelo de Dominacon LUCHA LIBRE, AZ Event Center, 2015]

Bout 3 [TALC at Duelo de Dominacon LUCHA LIBRE, AZ Event Center, 2015]

Mr-Mexico Luchador!

 

Mr-Mexico Luchador, end of Bout 3 [TALC at Duelo de Dominacon LUCHA LIBRE, AZ Event Center, 2015]

Mr-Mexico Luchador, end of Bout 3 [TALC at Duelo de Dominacon LUCHA LIBRE, AZ Event Center, 2015]

From Bout 4 (tag teams – trios):

 

Bout 4 [TALC at Duelo de Dominacon LUCHA LIBRE, AZ Event Center, 2015]

Bout 4 [TALC at Duelo de Dominacon LUCHA LIBRE, AZ Event Center, 2015]

Bout 4 [TALC at Duelo de Dominacon LUCHA LIBRE, AZ Event Center, 2015]

Bout 4 [TALC at Duelo de Dominacon LUCHA LIBRE, AZ Event Center, 2015]

Bout 4 [TALC at Duelo de Dominacon LUCHA LIBRE, AZ Event Center, 2015]

Bout 4 [TALC at Duelo de Dominacon LUCHA LIBRE, AZ Event Center, 2015]

Team 1:

 

Bout 4 [TALC at Duelo de Dominacon LUCHA LIBRE, AZ Event Center, 2015]

Bout 4 [TALC at Duelo de Dominacon LUCHA LIBRE, AZ Event Center, 2015]

Bout 4 [TALC at Duelo de Dominacon LUCHA LIBRE, AZ Event Center, 2015]

Bout 4 [TALC at Duelo de Dominacon LUCHA LIBRE, AZ Event Center, 2015]

Bout 4 [TALC at Duelo de Dominacon LUCHA LIBRE, AZ Event Center, 2015]

Bout 4 [TALC at Duelo de Dominacon LUCHA LIBRE, AZ Event Center, 2015]

Team 2:

 

Bout 4 [TALC at Duelo de Dominacon LUCHA LIBRE, AZ Event Center, 2015]

Bout 4 [TALC at Duelo de Dominacon LUCHA LIBRE, AZ Event Center, 2015]

Bout 4 [TALC at Duelo de Dominacon LUCHA LIBRE, AZ Event Center, 2015]

Bout 4 [TALC at Duelo de Dominacon LUCHA LIBRE, AZ Event Center, 2015]

Bout 4 [TALC at Duelo de Dominacon LUCHA LIBRE, AZ Event Center, 2015]

Bout 4 [TALC at Duelo de Dominacon LUCHA LIBRE, AZ Event Center, 2015]

Bout 4 [TALC at Duelo de Dominacon LUCHA LIBRE, AZ Event Center, 2015]

Bout 4 [TALC at Duelo de Dominacon LUCHA LIBRE, AZ Event Center, 2015]

Bout 4 [TALC at Duelo de Dominacon LUCHA LIBRE, AZ Event Center, 2015]

Bout 4 [TALC at Duelo de Dominacon LUCHA LIBRE, AZ Event Center, 2015]

Loved these guys!

We picked up a free poster on our way out:

 

Great night of Lucha Libre! [TALC at Duelo de Dominacon LUCHA LIBRE, AZ Event Center, 2015]

Great night of Lucha Libre! [TALC at Duelo de Dominacon LUCHA LIBRE, AZ Event Center, 2015]

I did capture some high-flying action shots, but with the technical limitations of the cell phone camera, they’re not great – some luchadores came out blurry, while others were straight-up unidentifiable blurs.

Okay, I’ll include a few of them, because why not! These are all from the first bout:

 

Bout 1 - Action [TALC at Duelo de Dominacon LUCHA LIBRE, AZ Event Center, 2015]

Bout 1 – Action [TALC at Duelo de Dominacon LUCHA LIBRE, AZ Event Center, 2015]

INCOMING!

 

Bout 1 - Action [TALC at Duelo de Dominacon LUCHA LIBRE, AZ Event Center, 2015]

Bout 1 – Action [TALC at Duelo de Dominacon LUCHA LIBRE, AZ Event Center, 2015]

Bout 1 - Action [TALC at Duelo de Dominacon LUCHA LIBRE, AZ Event Center, 2015]

Bout 1 – Action [TALC at Duelo de Dominacon LUCHA LIBRE, AZ Event Center, 2015]

Bout 1 - Action [TALC at Duelo de Dominacon LUCHA LIBRE, AZ Event Center, 2015]

Bout 1 – Action [TALC at Duelo de Dominacon LUCHA LIBRE, AZ Event Center, 2015]

Bout 1 - Action [TALC at Duelo de Dominacon LUCHA LIBRE, AZ Event Center, 2015]

Bout 1 – Action [TALC at Duelo de Dominacon LUCHA LIBRE, AZ Event Center, 2015]

Bout 1 - Action [TALC at Duelo de Dominacon LUCHA LIBRE, AZ Event Center, 2015]

Bout 1 – Action [TALC at Duelo de Dominacon LUCHA LIBRE, AZ Event Center, 2015]

And…

 

Bout 1 - Action [TALC at Duelo de Dominacon LUCHA LIBRE, AZ Event Center, 2015]

Bout 1 – Action [TALC at Duelo de Dominacon LUCHA LIBRE, AZ Event Center, 2015]

Bout 1 - Action [TALC at Duelo de Dominacon LUCHA LIBRE, AZ Event Center, 2015]

Bout 1 – Action [TALC at Duelo de Dominacon LUCHA LIBRE, AZ Event Center, 2015]

Ka-BAAM.

Also, here’s a short video clip of the bout between the Mexican duo and the American duo, which Callaghan let me post on his YouTube channel:

 

 

The Americans are the ones wearing shorts. They ended up winning, by the way.

Awesome night of entertainment!

It was King James in the Locker Room with the Football

Happy Birthday to Callaghan! We would have celebrated all weekend, but he came down with a case of food poisoning that knocked him on his behind pretty good, the poor guy. We canceled everything and holed up here at home. It’s a relief to see him feeling better again. Food poisoning, ugh.

One thing about Callaghan: he has a unique gift for enriching my life and keeping me on my toes with his often random, always unpredictable, documentary-inspired thought ramblings (of the likes I haven’t shared with you in a while).

Here’s one from recent days… he was in his studio, listening to a documentary about the history of the British monarchy, and I’d just wandered into the room:

“I don’t understand about the NFL,” he said in his usual out-of-the-blue way. “Don’t you think that, knowing the percentage of the population that’s gay, it’s weird that anyone would be shocked that some footballers are gay?”

“Football players,” I said.

“What?”

“Football players play in the NFL. Footballers play soccer. And I agree… it’s beyond me why anyone would care whether football players are gay or straight.”

We’ve had variations of this conversation before.

But I was perplexed, as I often am at these moments of interaction with Callaghan.

“What led you to think of gay football players in the NFL?” I wondered out loud. “You’re listening to a documentary about the British monarchy…”

“OH, I don’t know, I guess I was thinking about it before because of that one guy… wait, oh yeah, it IS because of the documentary! It’s because of King James the First.”

“The documentary said that King James was gay?” I didn’t bother asking whether the documentary said that King James was in the NFL, as I’d already arrived at the conclusion that he wasn’t via my keen powers of deduction.

“No, the documentary didn’t say he was gay.”

“Then why…”

“Well, yeah, King James was married, but he didn’t really care for girls… he wasn’t famous for having affairs like the other kings were. I guess that was my train of thought. And then I thought about them in the locker rooms,” he explained.

“Locker rooms?”

“…and they did say that he preferred male company. They didn’t actually say he was gay, though. But yeah, that’s what got me thinking about football players.”

That clears up that mystery!

 

King James I

King James I

 

And now that it’s Callaghan’s birthday, we can go back to being consecutive ages again rather than appearing to be two years apart. (He enjoys saying that I’m a cougar, but being older than him by 14 months does not a cougar make.)

Scenes from a Birthday Weekend

Friday was my birthday, so I thought I’d inundate this space with some pictures! Surprise! heheh.

First, a brief reflection: I’m now 45. Honestly? The only way I feel different is better than ever. I’m grateful to have no health complaints, I’m happy to finally have a use for the cute reading glasses I got in France, and I’m eager to set off down whatever path the New Year unrolls before me. I always loved how my birthday blends into the New Year, being at the end of December… I never thought of my December 27 birthday as being “unfortunately” lumped into Christmas. It’s all about the New Year, as far as I’m concerned.

Recently, I broke open a cookie fortune and got a fortune that catches my current drift splendidly:

 

The fortune I got a week or so before my birthday.

The fortune I got a week or so before my birthday.

 

Oh, the magic of a fortune cookie! “Creative energy is up – capitalize on it.” Yes. Yes, that is true, and yes, I will!

So, we spent the weekend at some favorite local haunts. First, Callaghan took me out on a lunch date. Deciding where to go was easy – I just wanted to satisfy my craving for Pita Jungle’s certifiably to-die-for lentil fetoosh salad. (The spellcheck wanted to change “fetoosh” to “fetish,” which is pretty clever. That salad has some serious addictive properties.)

The weekend also involved:

–A pedicure with Callaghan. Well, initially it was going to be just me, but shortly after we got there, he found himself getting his feet rubbed, too…the ladies there were quite persuasive, but it took little arm-twisting to get him in the chair next to mine. As the forty minutes of expert and intense foot and lower leg pampering and massaging wound down to its conclusion, he looked over at me and exclaimed, “Wow! I can’t wait for your next birthday!” I think he enjoyed it.

 

My Big Lebowski-inspired nail color selection

My Big Lebowski-inspired nail color selection

 

The deep, shimmery greenish-black nail polish I chose is OPI’s “Live or Let Die,” but it should be called “YOU WANT A TOE? I CAN GET YOU A TOE. THERE ARE WAYS, DUDE.” (Though this polish is darker than the Big Lebowski Nihilist Chick’s.)

–A detour through Papago Park on our way home.

 

Papago Park - one of my favorite places!

Papago Park – one of my favorite places!

 

Callaghan and his shadow

Callaghan and his shadow

 

Me and my... cactus!

Me and my… cactus!

 

–Also, after several months of Homeland deprivation, seven episodes suddenly became available… so we holed up for some serious binge-watching.

 

Ronnie James settled himself on Callaghan's legs to catch up on Homeland with us.

Ronnie James settled himself on Callaghan’s legs to catch up on Homeland with us.

 

–And there was the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl game on the 28th…

 

Sun Devil Stadium bore the banner of the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl for the show-down between Michigan and Kansas State on the 28th.

Sun Devil Stadium bore the banner of the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl for the show-down between Michigan and Kansas State on the 28th.

 

–We didn’t go to the game, but we went to sit on the patio at Rúla Búla for a little while…

 

At Rúla Búla, December 28, 2013

At Rúla Búla, December 28, 2013

 

On our way out of Rúla Búla, I glanced up at one of the T.V. screens and winced on behalf of Michigan, because I’m partial to the Wolverines, and man, that score was painful. Final Score: Kansas State, 31; Michigan, 14. Oof.

At least the Wolverines and their attending fans got to hang out in paradise for a couple of days. I’m here to tell you, there’s hardly a sight as gleeful as a Michigan fan skipping down the street in Tempe, Arizona WEARING SHORTS AT NIGHT at the end of December!

–Strolling home, we admired Mill Avenue’s holiday lights, which always stay up until after New Year’s:

 

Holiday lights on Mill Ave

Holiday lights on Mill Ave

 

…and here we have my beloved mill, street-side:

 

The street-side building of Hayden Mill at night.

The street-side building of Hayden Mill at night.

 

I guess if I could marry any building, it would be that mill, haha!

 

Walking by the light rail station at 3rd St.

Walking by the light rail station at 3rd St.

 

–And, of course, there was the Ronnie James.

 

Ronnie James birthday hugs.

Ronnie James birthday hugs.

 

It was a lovely weekend, and I’m ready for 2014!

BEWARE – Serial Plan-Ruiner Running Amok in France

I can’t believe it’s already April. I can’t believe it’s already April fifth. The last time I wrote here, it was still March, and it doesn’t even seem that long ago! But there’s a lot of craziness going on right now. I’ll come back to that later because what I’m sharing with you right now is a story per Callaghan’s request. Last week, we went down to visit his family and friends on the French Riviera via covoiturage ride-sharing, and afterward, Callaghan was all, like, “YOU HAVE TO WRITE ABOUT THIS.” (The last time I wrote about covoiturage, I praised it for its entertainment value.)

This is our story about being epically late because of someone else.

The idea behind using covoiturage for transportation is that a driver can get you from Point A to Point B because he’s heading the direction you’re going. It’s basically hitch-hiking, but you organize the ride in advance, online. Passengers are picked up and dropped off at designated points along the way, and the whole thing is based on scheduling… if you’re driving south to Cannes and you want to make a little money, you post on the covoiturage site that you’ll be cruising through Valence at 2:20 in the afternoon. If anyone in the area wants to catch a ride, they can meet you there.

So this guy said. And we replied, “Sure! We’ll meet you in Valence at 2:20pm! We need to get to Cannes.” We chose that particular guy’s ride because the time he’d advertised was going to be perfect for getting us to the birthday celebration dinner on our agenda.

Maybe we brought the shenanigans upon ourselves when Callaghan pulled up the posted photo of the vehicle, and we laughed because it was a white van that looked like it should have the words “serial killer van” painted on the side in black block letters. And when we found the photo of the driver, we laughed again because he looked like he belonged with the van.  Do not laugh at the photos of your driver and his vehicle. He will know, and he will get his revenge.

As it turned out, the driver wasn’t hiding bodies in his van. But he was three hours late.

There were four passengers already in the van, and they were all alive. The front seat held a rat (in a cage) and a girl, who were not together. In the middle row sat a woman and a young guy – they weren’t together, either. Callaghan and I climbed in to sit in the back. (We were together. Ha!) We settled in and cracked open our iPad to watch Zombieland again, which seemed strangely apt for the circumstances.

“C’est le Magic Bus!” said the driver, whose name was Alex. Magic, indeed!

The first passenger to depart was Middle Seat Lady. Instead of dropping her off somewhere along the route, Alex exited the highway and meandered around to a specific bus stop in Le Teil. Callaghan was furious.

But since we still weren’t late enough, there was the second passenger drop-off. Front Seat Girl was moving back in with her mother. We exited the highway again and pulled right up to her mother’s doorstep in the middle of Aix en Provence.

This was now looking more like a limousine service than covoiturage. It was also looking like a house-moving service. And like a van with undead people in it. With a rat in a cage, and a driver who’d only gotten two hours of sleep the previous night (true story).

In Aix en Provence, Callaghan and I stood back on the sidewalk to stretch while Alex, the girl and her mother unloaded her things into the house.

The third passenger off the van was the rat, who had come down from Paris. This one was okay… Alex cruised into a rest area in Fréjus, where an old couple sat waiting in their car. (They had my sympathy, because by then, it was 10:30pm. I know I’d be annoyed if I had to sit on the side of the highway at night for five hours, waiting for someone to bring me my rat.)

And half an hour later, Alex took Middle Seat Guy to his stop in Mouans-Sartoux.

That left us. Callaghan, seething mad, asked the driver to drop us off in Grasse, instead of in Cannes, as planned. We’d missed our restaurant celebration, and we were by then entitled to our own special drop-off request. Plus, there was no one left to inconvenience, so it didn’t matter.

We got down there a total of five and a half hours late.

The next day, Callaghan checked the covoiturage website and found an explosion of negative driver reviews for Alex from the hapless passengers of the last two days. People were furious. For two days, from Normandy to Nice, Alex had plowed down through France in his white serial killer van, scooping people up anywhere from three to five hours late and pissing them off. There was only one good review, and that was from the girl he’d helped move to Aix en Provence. She was thrilled with the service she got – as well she should be, since she got personal door-to-door moving service for practically nothing!

I still think Alex might be a serial killer, though, since something about him did kind of set off my serial-killer-dar. Or maybe I was just imagining it because I’m watching The Following right now, and I’m obsessed.

My Birthday!

I don’t feel 44 today… maybe because I haven’t hit my proverbial mid-life crisis yet. How does it work? Do I have to wait until I turn 45? That would mean I have a whole year left to plan, which is good because there’s a lot of stuff I can do, and I’ll probably change my mind numerous times. My list will need revisions. On the other hand, I’m kind of impatient; you spend your whole life inching toward this unique opportunity to do things you can get away with because you have this ready-made excuse.

Here’s my mid-life crisis list so far:

-smoke clove cigarettes and contemplate the philosophical ironies of my existence.

-set myself up as a psychic in a small old house. Live upstairs. Work downstairs.

-Adopt an ocelot.

-Make a sex tape with Callaghan.

-Listen to Def Leppard at night in the glow of a blue light bulb.

-Use my martial arts background as a springboard to a venture in mud-wrestling.

-Go the traditional route and buy a fancy sports car, leave my wife for a younger woman and make my kids call her “Mom.”

-Marry a French artist and move to his country, giving up half of what I own and leaving behind everything familiar to me. Start a career as a blogger. Oh, wait….