When we were little, B and I danced in the living room for our babysitter, flourishing hairbrushes and belting out "Material Girl" and "Like a Virgin" with abandon.
Many years have passed since we were that unselfconscious.
B arrived from New York City late Thursday night with two colleagues from the Jewish hipster magazine where she is associate editor. They're here in Chicago until tomorrow, ostensibly to cover Pitchfork and drum up some magazine subscribers.
She arrived on my doorstep wearing a denim jumper with suspenders, high-heeled suede boots, and a plaid blouse, and assured me she is at the height of a bizarre fashion the kids are calling "hobo-chic." Perhaps embarrassed that at the early hour of 11pm, I was wearing a matronly robe and my husband's slippers, B paused a moment before flinging her arms around me. Then she pointed to her shoulder, which bore a freshly peeling tattoo of her initials in Sanford font.
In one of our rare moments together in the last few days, my formerly shy and nerdy sister clicked through the angst-filled photos of her 987 Facebook friends to point out who among them she has dated in the last month: a bartender, a photographer, a journalist, and a documentary maker. For my belated-birthday gift, she brought me earrings made of bullet casings.
Although B's visit is technically "a business trip," I was looking forward to a weekend of getting to know this strange, tattooed person and finding my little sister again behind her navy nail polish and loops of gold chains.
This has not happened.
First, her colleague D found himself unexpectedly homeless for the weekend, so he ended up on our floor. Then, "for the sake of journalism" B had to attend random all-night parties with Pitchfork band members, so she has left the house early each morning and returned home around 2am, by which time F and I, fuddy-duddies that we are, have already been asleep for approximately five hours.
Since Thursday, our apartment has been overrun with suitcases, bedding, and boxes of magazines. I could not help feeling put-out and put-upon as I handed over my house keys and told B to have a good time at the second late-night party in two days. Our robust, OCD cat Barry kept me up all weekend because he doesn't like when strangers invade his living-room, and I spent yesterday in the waiting room of Marvin's auto repair while the car's electrical grid was re-wired--only to have it die again at 9:30 (half an hour past my bedtime!), just as I squeezed between two mac trucks in Pitchfork's VIP parking section.
As I waited for B and her colleagues, a man toting a cart of kegs yelled at me for parking the defunct jeep in front of his mac truck. So, running on little sleep and a lot of stress, I wallowed in self-pity and looked forward to this evening, when I would have the apartment to myself.
B and F will be at Pitchfork until 10 tonight. So far, I rented two movies, bought a parsley plant, visited the grocery store, and put in a load of laundry. Now begins the relaxation. I exchanged one of F's punk CDs for Like a Virgin and whipped up some banana bread.
Note my new parsley plant and the requisite whiskey bottle among my banana bread clutter.
After such a hectic weekend--before the start of an even more hectic week--I thought I would be relieved to have the apartment to myself for a little while. But as the apartment throbs to the first unmistakable beats of "Material Girl," I can't help wishing B were here so we could dance together in our pajamas, once more with abandon.
At least she'll have some banana bread to take with her on the plane.
Mom’s Banana Bread
From Cooking Light, November 1996
4 loaves, 4 servings per loaf (serving size: 1 slice)
* 1 cup sugar
* 1/4 cup light butter, softened
* 1 2/3 cups mashed ripe banana (about 3 bananas)
* 1/4 cup skim milk
* 1/4 cup low-fat sour cream
* 2 large egg whites
* 2 cups all-purpose flour
* 1 teaspoon baking soda
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* Cooking spray
Preheat oven to 350°.
Combine sugar and butter in a bowl; beat at medium speed of a mixer until well-blended. Add banana, milk, sour cream, and egg whites; beat well, and set aside.
Combine flour, baking soda, and salt; stir well. Add dry ingredients to creamed mixture, beating until blended.
Spoon batter into 4 (5 x 2 1/2-inch) miniature loaf pans coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 45 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool in pans 10 minutes on a wire rack; remove from pans. Let cool completely on wire racks.
Note: To make one 9-inch loaf, spoon batter into a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray; bake at 350º for 1 hour and 10 minutes. Yield: 1 loaf, 20 servings (serving size: 1 slice).