Saturday, July 30, 2011

The rest of my Chicago trip was fine. Mostly relaxing, a little bit exhausting.
I love being a tourist sometimes- especially in my own city.
I found out some friends of ours are climbing Mt Kilimanjaro this fall. Well, allright then. It turns out her dad did the climb many years ago when her mom was pregnant, and her mom has never forgiven him for going without her. Now the whole family is going. It would be an understatement to say that this is an outing I would likely see my family making together.
Let’s see… anything else? Not really. Chicago was lovely, I ate a lot, the end.
I swear I'm gonna catch up.

The weather has just been so gorgeous lately that I can't bring myself to spend much time at the computer.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Me: Can I help you find something?
Customer: Whenever I find a wine a like, it always disappears.
Me: Okay, can I help you find something?
Her: It's called 750. It's a Chilean Pinot Grigio.
Me: You're the second person who has asked me this. I don't know what you're talking about. What else can you tell me about it?
Her: (Looking exasperated)It has a thing right on the label where it says it's for the 750 Chilean Revolutionaries...
Me: And you bought it here?
Her: (Emphatically)Yes! It was over here, and then it moved over there-
Me: Do you mean St. Rita 120?
Her: No. It was 750. It's a Pinot Grigio, and it's really good. ANd it's not very expensive.
I go get a bottle of the 120. It's a Sauv Blanc.
Me: This?
Her: No.
Me: Are you sure? Because it says here on the lable that it's for the 120 mChilean Revolutionaries who fought-
Her: Oh. Maybe I'm wrong. But it was Pinot Grigio.
Me: I don't think they make a Pinot Grigio. If they do, I have never carried it. What color was the label?
Her: It was orange.
Me: Let me go check the catalog.
I do. They don't. I return to her.
Me: They don't make a Pinot Grigio.
Her: But I know it was. I don't like Sauvignon Blanc. The bottle didn't look like that. I was a different shape.
Me: Was it Chardonnay?
Her: Maybe.
Me: The Chardonnay is in a different bottle and it has orange on the label.
Her: That must be it.
Me: Do you want me to order you some? I can have a bottle here for you tomorrow.
Her: No. I don't want to be that much trouble.
When we got back to my parent's house, my dad was outside sitting at the table under an umbrella and reading the paper. A pizza was ordered, and my other sister would pick it up on her way home from work. That all went as planned, and I even got to see my very busy nephew (24 years old and two jobs and enough energy to still have a social life, gods bless him). It was lovely.

At half past midnight I got back out of bed and drove to the airport to pick up my friend A. I have known A since I was fourteen, and we haven't seen each other in several years. She lives in San Diego now, but her mom still lives less than a mile from my parent's house. She was on West Coast time, and so immediately suggested that we go out for a drink. Having already been in bed, I was not in any shape, physically or visually, to be in a bar. A shame, really, because if I'd had the energy I'm sure it would have been amusing. We got together the next day instead, did a bit of shopping, had lunch, and then went to a bar- one that neither of us had been in since we were legal to drink.
We went to her nephew's baseball game after that. He is fourteen and timid and sweet. A's sister was there, sitting amongst the other moms, shouting and carrying on. The coach for the opposing team was saying mean and inappropriate things to his players, and had apparently been doing so the whole time. When we walked up, he was yelling to his shortstop:

"If I wanted a paraplegic out there, I would have got one!"

A and I looked at each other in horror. The man was at least twice the weight of a healthy person his height, and he was spilling over a five-gallon bucket in every direction as he sat menacing his players from the first base line. When they came off the field, he grabbed his pitcher, a baby-faced boy who was maybe twenty pounds overweight, roughly by the arm and told him not to be "So lazy."

"Did he just say lazy?" I remarked, perhaps louder than I had intended. "That guy hasn't seen his dick without a mirror in a decade, and he's calling these kids lazy?!"

A and her sister nearly fell off the bleachers laughing, and then her sister proceeded to go down the line of other mothers and repeat what I had said. Things did not get more polite after that. (And I had only had one beer!)All of this is to say that: A)It's probably a good thing that I don't have children; and B) Sports do not necessarily bring out the best in me.

Later that night A and I went into the city to T's place. T has recently broken up with a girlfriend that he had actually moved in with. His old place was small and cramped and bachelor pad-like. It was fine, but the new one is really, really great. We spent the evening having drinks and swapping stories in his living room. They are the last two in our particular circle of friends to remain single, so I really enjoyed their dating horror stories. Mostly I enjoyed their company, and the all too rare comfort that I take in the presence of people I have known for more than half my life. I do miss Chicago.

Friday i went downtown with my sister J and my parents. We visited Navy Pier, which is not exactly the kind of place I would normally go, and certainly not the kind of place I would recommend to a sane person who was visiting our fair city, but occasionally we like to do touristy things. We went on an architectural tour by river. It was fascinating and fun. Afterward we went for a drink at Jimmy Buff3t's M@rgaritaville, which brought to mind a particular Far Side cartoon. I was uncomfortable and hot, the bar smelled like- well, like every shitty dive bar I've ever worked in smells in the middle of the day, which is to say stale beer and piss. Top that with bartenders in Hawaiian shirts and terrible music blasting from multiple large screen televisions, and you have a good idea of why I might not have chosen the place. Anyway, it was amusing, and I exchanged multiple texts with the b.h. and chalked it up to one of those Life Experiences.
After Navy Pier, we drove over to Little Italy and got a tartufo, which is gelatto dipped in dark chocolate. Fabulous. Then we drove back to the South Side, where I changed clothes, swapped cars, and picked up A in just enough time to race out to my other sister's house to meet a bunch of friends for dinner.
We stopped at Tr@der Joe's for snacks and beer, which was a terrible idea because we were both hungry. Then we got to the house and ordered pizza. We stayed up a lot later than I had imagined I could. A and I spent the night (sans my sister and her husband, who were away at his family reunion in Ohio) and drove back to my folks' house the next day. Saturday we barbecued, and Sunday I flew back.

Monday, July 11, 2011

I flew to Chicago in an aluminum can loaded with screaming babies. This is what happens when you fly in the middle of the day, I suppose. The good news was that thanks to the diligence of the b.h., I was able to sit by myself at a window seat. I shoved me earplugs way down into my head and covered my ears with headphones, and I was asleep before the plane took off.
Chicago was hot and sunny when I arrived. My sister picked me up at the airport and we went immediately to a great little pub in her neighborhood where I enjoyed a veggie burger and a Cane and Abel. I slept like a corpse that night, and woke up to find that my mom was on her way to meet us already.
She arrived with a box in hand containing two cannolis and two eclairs from the Italian bakery around the corner from their house. I immediately pounced on a cannoli. it was all I could do to slow down enough to actually savor it. Real cannoli is a work of art, and it is something sorely missing in my life in Vermont. When we went to the car, I climbed in the back, and my mom opened the front door.

"Oh, shit. Son of a bitch."
"There's smeech (one of her favorite words) all over the seat. Shit." I peered over the top of the seat and, indeed, the drivers seat was smeared with what appeared to be chocolate and cookie crumbs. I handed her a handi-wipe thing from the back.
"Thanks. Oh, god dammit! You know this means it's probably all over my pants, too. Here, look. See if it looks like I shit my pants." She turned around. At first I didn't see anything.
"No, I think you're allrigh- oop, no." I burst out laughing, collapsed onto the back seat, and eventually choked out the words
"It definitely looks like you shit yourself."
A series of colorful words and phrases followed. I assured her that it would be fine, that we could just drive directly to a store and get her a new pair of shorts. My sister came out and we regaled her with the details. We all laughed for another five minutes and then finally got on the road. Twelve hours in town and already my stomach hurt from laughing.
Our plan was to visit an arboretum outside the city. We stopped on the way at a T@rget. My mom got new shorts and my sister and I each found a sundress (muumuu) in anticipation of the ridiculously hot week. Mine is black, but since I make every effort to avoid the sun I figured I would be okay. Then we went to the arboretum. It was easy to find, but not to navigate. When we parked, we stopped in the gift shop, then walked about two minutes, then drove to the other side where the fragrance garden was, then decided that it was hotter than hell, so we left. Kind of hilarious but I'm glad we're all old and wise enough now to just know when to cut our losses. If it had been ten degrees cooler, or if it had been less crowded, or if there had been fewer mosquitoes, we might have lasted a bit longer. As it was, I do not regret bailing.
We went back to Oak Park for lunch, and then mom and I headed back to her house.

Friday, July 01, 2011

We found out about twelve hours before leaving that our friends D and A were joining us on our Boston trip. We had already booked a hotel ($100 on pricel1ne- a steal for that city), and when we got there we were thrilled to find that it was a big 2 room suite, so we all had some privacy. We went straight out to get some dinner at the Cambridge Brewing Company, which was fabulous. We sat outside and the weather was gorgeous and the food and beer were excellent. It was one of those times when everybody just ordered any and everything they wanted, and we were all sharing food and reveling in the whole experience. Outstanding. After dinner we went back to the hotel to park. We decided to take a cab to the Centro-matic show, since none of us was particularly interested in staying sober or trying to navigate Boston at midnight. (If you've never been, suffice to say that where drivers and roads are concerned it makes Atlanta seem like Mayberry.)
The club was small and a bit dingy, which is exactly how I want a rock club to be. The bartenders were surly at first but seemed to warm up as the night wore on, and the beer selection was better than expected.
I can't describe how good it was to see the band again. Big, warm hugs were exchanged, friends were introduced (theirs was a guy who turned out to be a very Big Wig at a very important Restaurant Group, which was an interesting coincidence), and some catching up was achieved. I don't have to tell you how fantastic the show was. It always is. If you haven't seen these guys, make an effort (and check out the video on this site). You'll be glad you did. I also talked to Matt, the drummer, about camera lenses. This conversation saved me five hundred dollars that I would have wasted on the wrong lens.
The next day we all split up and went exploring in the city. The b.h. and I spent out time looking for/at the Freedom Trial and hanging out in the public garden. It was one of those eighty-something and sunny and very breezy days that exemplify the glory of summer. Even a blown tire on the interstate on the way home couldn't spoil the mood, though it did delay us by about two hours.
Barring that, I can't wait to do it all again.