Wednesday, February 24, 2010

You can dress us up..............

This past Saturday, Ignacio and I had tickets (part of our subscription) to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.  We went to dinner at Tamarind, a local spot that serves many different types of Asian food.  I had sushi, and Ignacio had sesame chicken.  A dish he has loved since my friend, Don, left Ignacio leftovers years ago.

After dinner, we went to the fancy chocolate shop in our neighborhood, Canady Le Chocolatier.  We love this place and the owner, Michael, is such a gentleman.  After picking up a few chocolates, we ventured to Caribou Coffee for some caffiene to keep me awake for the performance.  It's not that I don't enjoy the performances, I just ALWAYS have a hard time staying awake during live shows.

We walked to Symphony Center, and made our way up to the heavens for our seats.  Our seats are in the second to last row.  That means, we have to hike up six flights of stairs.  I always stop at the restroom after the fifth flight.  I sit there, sweating, and gasping for air like I've just run a marathon.  I compose myself, and walk the last flight to our seats.

The seats at Symphony Center are so cramped compared to the The Goodman Theater.  Because our seats are at such a steep pitch, it feels like my knees are on each side of the woman's head in front of me, right next to her ears. 

The show started, and I did well.  I was awake and alert, and enjoying the show.  It was getting close to intermission, and Ignacio had a look of panic on his face.  I guess his stomach was starting to reject his dinner.  He got up during the show, and went to the restroom.  I knew I wouldn't see him again until intermission, because they don't allow patrons to enter while the performance is in progress.

Intermission came, and I hear, "Nat! Nat!"  I look, and it is Ignacio with two Oranginas (yum!).  I went out to have a drink and Ignacio told me his story.....

He went to the restroom, and was doing his business, when he noticed a long hair on the ground.  He immediately started to try to peek through the door of the stall, looking for urinals to let him know he was in the right place.  Nope.  He popped up, and ran out of the WOMEN'S BATHROOM, and ran in the men's bathroom to finish up.

Yup, all dressed up, at Symphony Center, and sitting in the ladies room.  You can dress us up, but you can't take us anywhere.

Friday, February 19, 2010

French February

Aimee picked Bistro Campagne for February's dinner. There were four of us in attendance: me, Heather, Beth, and Aimee. Nice and cozy.

We ordered wine, and I think that three of the four of us had french onion soup. I really can't tell you if it was delicious or not. My taste buds are on strike due to a bad cold.

Heather and Beth ordered fish, Aimee ordered steak, and I had the mac and cheese, french style. Aimee said her steak was too rich, but the other gals tasted it, and really liked it. I brought most of my mac and cheese home in hopes that my taste buds come back real soon.

I plan to come back to Bistro Campagne as soon as possible so that I can really enjoy the tastes and smells. After all, Paris is my favorite place on earth, and I'll take anything that will allow me to feel like I am there, if even just a tiny bit.


Julie was in town over the weekend, so a group of us went to Fuego for some Mexican fare.

Now, if I were given my choice for my last meal, I would have a tough decision to make. I LOVE guacamole, and I adore goat cheese. I could probably eat those things everyday but Sunday.

Susan, Heather, Julie, Aimee, Kim, Michele, Beth and myself were in attendance. Drinks (except for pregnant Julie), chips and salsa, and guacamole were first. Service seemed a bit slow, so that meant we ate a LOT of chips, salsa, and guacamole.

Fuego also served us with complimentary chicken soup before our meals came. When our meals finally did arrive, they were delicious, but we were a bit stuffed from all we had eaten prior. This is unbelievable, I know, but a few of us even took home doggie bags which is really unheard of for this group.

Unfortunately, Jodee couldn't make it because she was with her father. We did make a toast to Jodee's father's health and wished him a speedy recovery.

It's always a blast when Julie is in town. It's usually always about the food. But then again, when are we not 'all about the food'.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

I'm in the minority

According to wikipedia, 82% of women between the ages of 40 and 44 are mothers in the U.S. I am 41, and not a mother. I don't plan on having children. It wasn't something I consciously thought about; my life just sort of happened that way. And, I am perfectly fine with it. I have animals and nephews that allow me to 'take care' of them.
The fact that I am not a mom doesn't enter my consciousness much, but once in awhile at our monthly dinners, I feel like I don't belong. I would say that our monthly club matches pretty closely to the 82% of the nation. Sometimes, I just feel overwhelmed by talk of kids, schools, pregnancy, etc. There is absolutely nothing I can offer in the way of experience to these conversations.
It's weird how time shifts and lives change. We've been doing these dinners (before dinners, we had bunko night) for over 10 years. When we started, I think only one person had a child. Through the years, there have been many weddings and births. Lives have completely changed for people.
Not for me. Everything in my life is pretty much the same.
So, when conversations focus on kids, kids, and then kids, I feel left out. Is left out the right word? I think I actually feel frustrated.
But, is it fair for me to feel frustrated? At a dinner of 8 to 10 women, people can talk about whatever the hell they want, right? Right. And with most of the women having a common link: being a mother, conversations will naturally veer towards the common link.
It's just weird being in the minority now when I did not make any changes in my life; by remaining the same, I became different.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

DEADline #48

In my post about the things I want to do before I leave this earth, I wrote about Don and Marty in item #48.

Don, Marty and I have been friends since the '80s. That was a lovely decade with the best hairstyles, EVER. I think I can probably write an entire post dedicated to Don's hairstyles over the past 20 years. Marty and I met in high school, and we both met Don at our dancing school. We weren't fast friends. It took a while, okay, a long while for us to become close friends. I may, or may not have been the hold out.

We had the best time at our dance classes and rehearsals. We practically lived at our dance studio for a couple of years. After Don and I went away to different colleges, we would still come home on the weekends for rehearsals for our shows.

Fast forward MANY years later, and Don lives in California and Marty lives in Arizona, and we are closer than ever. A couple of years ago we started a new tradition. Once a year, the three of us get together for a weekend at one of our homes. We rotate our location each year.

The three of us may not talk as much as we would like, but once we are together, it is mostly non-stop goofiness. Don and Marty are like an old comedy team, and they never fail to keep me in stitches.

A couple of years ago, Don sent Marty and me a song in an e-mail (I can't remember the song, but I KNOW that Don remembers). The song sent Don into a daydream of sorts. I can't remember the exact details of Don's daydream,  but after he got us started, the three of us just ran with his idea.

The three of us would rent a cabin for a week (and the whole dream has a sort of 1950's feel to it). We would drive an old pick-up truck and have to go to the little country store to pick up our staples for the week. We would be wearing overalls and little '50s dresses (I would probably be the one in overalls). We'd sit on our front porch swing and drink lemonade. We'd make pies (well, the boys would be doing the baking, I'd be chopping the wood) and we'd listen to the radio. We might even make up a little dance routine or two.

We'd be laughing, singing, and dancing for an entire week; my boys and me.

Anyway, that is #48.

Man, I love those guys.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Flatulence. It stinks.

Generally, I try to get to the gym at 5:30 in the A M. Okay, so there was a period of time that I wasn't getting there at all, but that is neither here nor there.

With my plantar fasciitis, I have finally found a machine that my foot can remain unmoved, and I can watch an episode of "House" for 45 minutes on my iPhone and get a nice cardio workout. Speaking of which, I am completely caught up with all seasons of "House" and I was trying to find a show that I could watch that would provide me with as much enjoyment as "House" has(because believe me, that show has made me laugh out loud, and cry while on my damn machine). I chose "Nip/Tuck". And, I must say, I am disappointed. Some days I am afraid that if people look over and take a glance at my iPhone, they'll think I am watching a dirty movie. Other days, I am just annoyed at the lack of communication and secrets on the show. Whatevs. I think I'll try "Damages" next. I've heard good things.

This morning, I mixed it up a bit, and worked out on weights. Then, I headed over to a spin bike to try out my foot. I wanted to see if all the stand up, sit down crap in a spin class would put too much pressure on my foot. Sorry to say, I don't think I have an excuse for not taking the twice a week spin class offered at 5:30 in the A M. Next, I headed over to my beloved cardio machine for 20 minutes of breathing heavy before heading home. When picking my machine, I am sure I am like 99% of people and if there is room, I never go right next to another worker outer. I picked a machine with empty spaces on either side of me. There I was doing my thing, watching WGN news (because they crack me up in the morning) on my individual TV screen, and then I was HIT! It hit me like a pie in the face. The guy on the machine to the left of me let one rip. It was NASTY. I had to turn my head to breathe.

Now, I don't know about you, but having to breathe through my mouth is bad enough, but equally as concerning, is when other people walk by, and they could possibly think that I am the offender. I try to make faces and point my eyes in the other guy's direction to let people know that I didn't cut the cheese. It was the other guy, I swear!! Not only was his gas lethal, it lingered for crying out loud. For a minute, I debated just hopping off my machine and heading home, but I continued to mouth breathe and hope for the best. Also, the news I was watching teased me with one of those: "after the break, we'll tell you about an iPhone app for reducing wrinkles", so I couldn't leave just yet.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

There's a lot to get done before my DEADline

I always wonder how I am going to get done everything I want to get this lifetime. There's so much to do, so much to experience, so much to learn, so much to see, and so much to taste.

A couple of years ago, I bought one of those Moleskine books, and my goal was to list the 100 things I want to do in this lifetime. Actually, I titled it "100 Things To Do Before I Go". A 'bucket list', so to speak. I was only able to think of 50 things my first go at it. My little book was lost for a bit, but then I found it a couple of weekends ago while I was doing the "massive 2010 clean out". I've managed to add a couple more items, and I'm sure now that my book is in my possession again, I'll be able to hit 100.

Here they are: (and those that are blocked out, are things I've managed to accomplish)

  1. visit France (again)
  2. go skydiving (again)
  3. live abroad
  4. weigh my goal weight
  5. not live paycheck to paycheck
  6. be a fabulous foster parent
  7. be fluent in the French language
  8. be comfortable in my own skin walking into a room of strangers
  9. be a decent salsa dancer
  10. go on a special trip with my mother
  11. make a difference in a child's life
  12. go rock climbing
  13. be able to run 3 miles w/out stopping
  14. practice yoga faithfully
  15. visit Martha's Vineyard
  16. be a raw vegan
  17. be perpetually neat and organized
  18. get my sign language interpreting certifications
  19. go on an extended European vacation
  20. remove money as a concern
  21. go on another Country Walkers tour
  22. host a big, blow out bash
  23. zipline through a canopy
  24. have a home with a front porch and a swing
  25. go to Alaska
  26. live a toxin free life with a toxin free home
  27. own a home with a fireplace
  28. own an 'escape'/summer home/cottage
  29. take beautiful photographs (good enough to sell)
  30. go a month without TV (again)
  31. visit all 50 states
  32. truly live in peace in my heart and home
  33. have the visible baby biceps I've always wanted
  34. visit New York City
  35. stay in one of those huts on stilts on water (is it Bali? Thailand?)
  36. visit my Grandfather's mother's hometown in Poland
  37. make sure I can do the splits at every decade (40, 50, 60, 70, 80, 90!)
  38. be debt free
  39. walk along an east coast's coast with pedal pushers on like I've always dreamed about with Ignacio
  40. be my own boss
  41. go on an Outward Bound adventure
  42. live for me
  43. be a volunteer for the elderly
  44. have a special relationship with my nephews. Always.
  45. stop worrying about what others think
  46. ride my bike and take it on public transportation
  47. visit at least 500 of the 1000 places before you die
  48. rent an old house with Don and Marty for at least a week, living out the daydream we've created
  49. get a makeover that makes me look fabulous
  50. get my teeth straightened (again)
  51. go kayaking
  52. take guitar lessons
  53. always take dance lessons (ballet/jazz)
  54. live a life that my dad would be proud of
I think I need to get more imaginative with the next 50 things. Dream big, baby.

There is a lot to get done. At least I know if I don't get it all done, there is always my next lifetime.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Good Man

Last night, Ignacio and I went to see Hughie and Krapp's Last Tape at the Goodman Theater. Hughie is a two-person play starring Brian Dennehy and Joe Grifasi. Krapp's Last Tape is a one-man show with Brian Dennehy as Krapp.

We are subscribers to the Goodman.  Oh yes, we have a subscription to the Goodman Theater.  This is our second season as subscribers.  It's really pretty cool.  Chicago has so much to offer in the way of cultural happenings, and I am terrible of taking advantage of it.  Having a subscription to the Goodman is a good start.  A subscription package at the Goodman is really reasonable, and I enjoy seeing real live stars in the flesh.  I mean, Brian Dennehy for crying out loud.  Ignacio loves him, and that is probably why we got the subscription in the first place.  Mr. Dennehy seems like he is at the Goodman often.  And, we walk to the theater.  Doesn't get much better than that.

Sometimes, like last night, I'm not sure whether I should laugh or not.  The audience seems a bit more sophisticated and cerebral than I.  I mean, I'm sure they wouldn't be laughing til soda came out of their nose at one of my burp or fart jokes.  When I am at the movies, I have no problem laughing one of my rip roaring laughs, but in the theater, sometimes I have to think a little bit:  is this part supposed to be funny? 

One of the biggest problems I have with shows is falling asleep.  I am the queen of having something to munch on during movies, plays, and concerts so that I don't fall asleep.  [Which reminds me, I need to add a snack bag to my new car because for some reason, the Dan Ryan (I94) (which I thought was the DAMN Ryan when I was young) tends to put me to sleep when I am northbound on it.] 

Last night was no exception.  During the one-man show, I was struggling to stay awake.  Brian didn't speak that much, and there wasn't much action to hold my attention.  And, the problem with live theater, is that I am paranoid of driving the theater patron next to me nuts with chewing noises.  The theater is much more quiet than at the movies, and I am very self-conscious about my eating noises. 

Each time I go to the Goodman I am amazed by the stage set.  Hughie was set in a run-down hotel and as always, I was in awe of the set.  The floor, the fixtures, little details, the background noises from a passing train, not to mention the shadows cast on the walls from the headlights of passing cars.  I get sucked in every time. 

I enjoyed Hughie more than I did Krapp's Last Tape, but I love going to the Goodman and each time it's like a mini adventure.  I highly recommend a subscription.  That way you get to see every play for the season, and you don't miss out just because you never got around to purchasing tickets. 

Next week we go the Chicago Symphony Orchestra for our second show of the season.  Yup, we have a subcription to the CSO as well.  Damn, we are some cultured b!tches.