Once again, I’m in the unenviable position of being both tardy and forgetful. When was it that I went to the Art Institute with Tasneem and Kathy? How much was that black wool coat from Nordstrom Rack? How much weight have I gained since the summer?
But surely, there have been highlights. Yes, and they are listed, all too briefly, below. If I were cleverer, I’d write a long-ass voiceover like the one Victor gave in “The Rules of Attraction” to describe his grand tour of Europe. Which involved a lot of sex, drugs, and ice cream. My voiceover would be the same, only there would be no sex or drugs. Just the ice cream. Lots and lots of ice cream.
Thursday, 9/21: Went to the Art Institute after work with Kathy and Tasneem. Looked at tons of great art for free, spent lots of time in the halls showing “So The Story Goes”, and looking for cute boys. Afterwards, we had $3 martinis and snacks at Opera, I got all flushed and red-faced, and I got to see Tony & Tasneem’s new apartment with their fabulous view of, like, everything in Chicago.
Saturday, 9/23: Took Lisa to White Sox game. Tickets were cheap, as Sox had no chance of making it to the playoffs. I wasn’t put off by the rain until it started raining so hard that there was an actual rain delay. I found this quite cheerful, as I was able to gossip, take pictures, and eat lots of things that are bad for me. When the rain let up, the Sox came from behind to win. Of course, there was a huge storm on the way home. Lisa and I bought junk food, then brought it back to my house to share with Joe and Jacinda, who came over to hang out.
Sunday, 9/24: Lunch buffet with Kathy, Tasneem, and Lisa, who spent the night on the futon. Lisa got her finger caught in a car door, so getting food from the buffet was somewhat difficult for her. Afterwards, the ladies got their eyebrows threaded while I wished I had bushier eyebrows so I could get threaded, too.
Friday, 9/29: Saw Tortoise at the Empty Bottle with Khloé. We got tickets for the early show, so we line up outside (which I’ve never had to do for a show at the Bottle) and wait to be let in. There are lots of young earnest indie college boys types, cracking lame jokes and slapping stickers advertising their blogs or bands or both on the small windows that straddle the exit door. The place fills up fast, but Khloé and I get good spots right in front of the stage. The music is good, at times frenetic and tight and other times loose and hypnotic. Afterwards, there isn’t much to do but go home though I seem to recall wanting to get a taco at Arturo’s afterwards.
Saturday 9/30: Jacinda and I find Andrew’s birthday present at Rotofugi, where I also score for myself this hilarious cell phone charm. It’s not a charm so much as a wee rubber figure of a pink cartoon bear beating the crap out of a little cartoon man. For Andrew we got this hilarious t-shirt depicting some pigeons standing around a chalk outline of a pigeon. Seriously, it was hilarious. Maybe you had to be there. Because the buying of the present took about, dunno, three hours less than we thought it was going to, Jacinda and I had loads of time to kill before Andrew’s birthday dinner at Rozi’s. We went to Margie’s and ate ice cream and talked about stuff. Then we hung out some more, then drove up to Andersonville, first to collect Joe at the train, then to drive around and look for parking near the restaurant. Walking to the restaurant in the pouring rain was romantic, yes even for me. Something about the twinkling lights from warm, cozy houses and the sound of my footsteps on rain-soaked leaves. Dinner is lovely — Rozi’s sister Miriam is in town, and she looks after the baby so Andrew and Rozi can hang out with their pals. There are two long tables, with food and drink coming at us from pretty much every direction. Considering the clamor and excitement, the baby (wearing his first pair of pants! I guess he’d only ever worn onesies and been bundled up in blankets for previous forays out into the world) was not fussy or even bothered by much. Except when some of us would stand around and exclaim over how adorable and well-behaved he was. In which case, he’d look at us like we were crazy. That was pretty funny.
Sunday, 10/1: There’s no reason why I should be up so early on a Sunday morning, but the PAWS Walk/Run for charity had me standing in a wet and muddy field before 8:00 am, looking like a fool in sweatpants that were maybe just a little too snug around my belly. There were loads of dogs, communing with their owners and with each other. I tried not to fall on my ass in the mud. Joe and Jacinda brough Doolittle, who bewitched many with his sheer beauty (if not grace). The walk was over before I knew it, and we spent the rest of the morning cheering for the dogs competing in the costume contests, or demonstrating their speed and agility in an obstacle course set up by K9 University.
Monday 10/2: I’m in the process of trying to get rid of stuff I no longer need (though it’s up in the air about whether or not I still want the stuff). Adrienne comes over with some Popeye’s, and relieves me of a pair of jeweled sandals, a Puma bag, and perhaps something else. But I cannot for the life of me remember what. Yes, the chicken was that good.
Saturday, 10/7: Maria hired some movers to come for the last of her things. Purple couch, the big TV (which I miss the most), the dishrack (which I have come to love like a boyfriend), and furniture, books, and miscellaneous stuff out of her storage space. These guys were, I don’t know, not well looking — they looked out of sorts, which makes sense considering they drove all the way from North Carolina, and had to make it to New York by early Sunday morning — but they managed to get everything out and loaded into their wooden trailer. They dropped me off at the Damen entrance to the expressway as they took off. You know, there is nothing quite like stumbling out of a dirty white van by the Kennedy to make you feel like some sort of teenage runaway. It was kinda glamorous in a sad way until I noticed motorists in their SUV’s looking at me like I’d just turned a trick for cigarette money. I was a bit late to Hot Chocolate, where I was meeting Celi and Nate, in town for Nate’s cousin’s wedding. Joe and Jacinda were already there, talking to Nate and Celi, when I ran up, looking all sweaty and flustered, as though I had just done something immoral for cigarette money. Ha. The Hot Chocolate staff had some juggling to do to get us all seated, with room for Andrew, Rozi, and the baby. Nathan, by the way, has this awesome blanket — it has his name and a monkey on it. I covet it. It was the perfect size to just throw over your feet for an afternoon nap on the couch. After brunch, I think I did nothing except, well, nap on the couch. Molly and I went to a housewarming down Western Avenue, where our former neighbor Sweta and her sister Shruti live in one of those new constructions that I think are just plain ugly. The inside, though, was kinda sweet — front and back porches. A dishwasher. A fireplace. Two bathrooms. Okay, so one of the bathrooms only had a shower, but still. Two showers. I think I still like my apartment better. Not enough that I’m going to buy it from the guy who eventually bought the building in which I live (more on that later), but enough. So what if I get no breeze in summer? Or that I frequently want to drop flowerpots on the heads of people who insist on having loud conversations on the corner, right under the living room windows where I can hear everything. I don’t know what’s worse — that the conversations are loud or that they tend to be dull enough that they’re not worth the trouble of eavesdroppping.
Sunday, 10/8: I saw “School for Scandal” with Kathy. And there’s not much more to say about that. While hanging with Kathy is always a treat, the movie was beneath us. It wasn’t even awful — it wasn’t very memorable. I feel like I forgot what the movie
was about and who was even in it almost as soon as it was over.
Wednesday, 10/11: I saw “Half Nelson” at the Music Box with Ramone. Brilliant evening all around, from the movie (Ryan Gosling in a great turn as a drug-addicted middle school teacher) to the company (Ramone is always fun) to the snacks (real butter on the popcorn). But why was it freezing that night? Ramone and I ended up splitting a cab home.
Saturday, 10/14: Molly and I had a wee potluck. I made chicken with garlic and apples, forgetting to make white meat for Jacinda. Jacinda brought spaghetti squash and salad. Khloé brought a salad and chocolate cake. I think I might have baked a cocoa cake. Oh, and there were spinach balls. I need to start keeping my moleskin notebook on me, as I don’t remember what we talked about that night. Only that we laughed long into the night.
Sunday, 10/15: Oakbrook with Kathy. What was she shopping for? Tights. And I prowled the racks at Lord & Taylor, but nothing spoke to me. Well, nothing that I could actually afford.
Tuesday, 10/17: I went to see the New York City Ballet with Khloé, Greg, and Marla. The entire company was in town for the week, and the night we went the program was all Ballanchine. The night itself was a tribute to him so who was there? Ballet legend Maria Tallchief who, though she is tiny with age and moved slowly, still had impeccable posture which was hard to miss. After a night of culture and stuff, we stuffed our faces with burritos and tacos at Arturo’s.
Saturday, 10/21: I braved the pouring rain and several fashion emergencies to attend the DMSF “Homecoming” fundraiser. I went through about five different outfits before deciding on a black blouse paired with the silk skirt I wore when I was in Jacinda’s wedding. It looked kinda hot. I didn’t feel super-hot, but I had fun eating the odd piece of chocolate covered fruit from the dessert buffet. Drank gallons of diet Coke. Gossiped quite a bit with a couple of the other board members. There was a content to elect a homecoming king and queen, a silent auction. I didn’t hit the dance floor until it was almost time to go and the DJ started playing house.
Sunday, 10/22: I met Lisa at the Bleeding Heart Bakery for tea cakes and girl talk. I liked the bakery, which is vegan-friendly but not in the way that ends with me paying $3 for something that tastes like the kibble you buy for animals at a petting zoo. But you can only sit in a bakery for so long, so off we went to see “The Queen”. Kathy met us and can I say? The showing was old fogies central. Okay, so the movie is about Queen Elizabeth II in the week after the death of Diana, Princess of Wales. What about that storyline doesn’t appeal to the young folk?
Tuesday, 10/24: Jacinda came over for dinner. I made this coconut chicken recipe I found on the Kraft web site, which means one thing: Shake n’ Bake. And I’m not ashamed to say it was delicious.
Thursday, 10/26: Jacinda and I went to the Pizza Metro on Ashland, as Lisa’s stitch n’ bitch was cancelled by her venue. I am not ashamed to say that I did not share my delicious dinner. Which was okay, as Jacinda was completely enamored of her gnocchi. Thankfully, I did not have to share my pumpkin flan, as Jacinda had one of her own.
Friday, 10/27: I cancelled the costume party, but I still had company. Really, I just wanted to eat a little candy and have some fun, so I showed “Harry Potter & The Goblet of Fire” and made butterbeer. There is no such thing as Harry Potter, but that didn’t stop me from finding about five different recipes for the stuff on various Harry Potter fan sites. I went with the easiest one — butterscotch sauce mixed into cream soda. Only nobody could find cream soda so I used diet root beer. It was still good.
Saturday, 10/28: I came in to work, which was nice. So it was a beautiful fall day, but I was rather productive. And it was quiet. I like quiet. I felt like I earned my supper, and was fortunate to have an invitation to Khloé’s autumnal feast. I can’t remember the last time I ate so much or so well. Sea bass, which I’d never had before. Pumpkin soup. Strawberry, sun-dried tomato, and goat cheese salad. Asparagus, walnut, and wild mushroom risotto. Brussels sprouts and orange glazed carrots. Lamb and lentil stew. Spaghetti with meatballs. Triple chocolate cake. Apple crumble and homemade maple ice cream. Carrot cake cookies. And of course we all took home leftovers. After dinner, I lay on the floor of Khloé’s husband’s Jeff study. Nathan was there too, fussing a bit in his basket. Khloe’s friend Will came wearing a curious costume, as he was attending a costume party after dinner. Leather overalls. A long fur coat. Copious amounts of eyeliner. He pulled it off, though.
Sunday, 10/29: Yay! Annual trip to Bengtson’s pumpkin farm with Joe and Jacinda. At the end of the day, though, I was much poorer, having spent all my money on food. Which you would think was impossible, given how much I’d had to eat the night before, but dammit. The smell of chili dogs and popcorn and pulled pork was too delicious to resist. The farm itself was fun — lots of children, small and not so small, in costume, posing adorably next to the last pumpkins of the season for their parents, who held digital video cameras in one hand and roasted turkey legs in the other. There were a lot of teenage mothers who traveled in packs, settling their squeling children down with personal pan pizzas while they snuck behind the haunted barn for a smoke. In the car on the way to and from the farm, I told Joe and Jacinda about my hatred of overused phrases like “take it to the next level” or “the total package”. Which I hear a lot in the trashy shows I watch on basic cable, the most notable offenders being MTV and VH1 programming like “True Life” — remember that guy who got the calf implants? The guy who was so subtly referenced in the second season of “Entourage” when Johnny Drama was trying to get calf implants?
Friday, 11/3: Lisa had me over to her adorable apartment for dinner. Neither of her roommates were home, so I felt free to poke my nose around (okay, just the kitchen and living room) between dinner and the movie we watched on DVD. By the way, “Monster House”? Holy shit, it was genuinely scary. And not just for a cartoon scary, but for real scary. It was delightful.
Tuesday, 11/7: You citizen types voted while I stayed at home and read incoming news about Britney and Kevin Federline splitting. Also, I watched the live episodes of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report.
Wednesday, 11/8: 24 hours after getting divorce papers filed by his pop star ex, Kevin Federline played a show at the House of Blues. Tickets were being given away, so I ordered some and brought Lisa with me. The place was full of wiggas and wannabees. It was my worst nightmare and dream come true all at once. I recapped the evening here. Please read it and leave comments attesting to my brilliance.
Thursday, 11/9: A few weeks ago, Lisa formed a stitch n’ bitch group that would meet Thursday evenings from 7 to 9 at the Bleeding Heart Bakery. The bakery cancelled again, so Jacinda and I ended up getting coffee and dessert at the Alliance. The bakery is in two parts, with the counter in one storefront and a room on the otherside of a doorway where you can go and eat your goods. The room was like the library — serious looking people hunched over laptops or dogeared paperback books. Everything was stained with coffee, imbued with the sort of smugness you sense from people who know how to pronounce “Proust” but have never actually read him. Jacinda and I talked, quietly, but we still got dirty looks from a girl sitting behind me. Or so Jacinda says. I was too much of a wuss to turn around and stare this girl down. Also, I had a sandwich to eat.
Friday, 11/10: Another show with Khloé, this time OK Go at th
e Logan Square Auditorium. I was late meeting her, so I didn’t get to squeeze up front with her. Didn’t get to scream and wail at Damian Kulash’s feet, or try to catch Tim Nordwind’s eye. I stood coolly at the back, drinking a beer. I think it was an all-ages show, as I’d never seen to many tweens at a rock show in my entire life. Squadrons of girls (never boys) in homemade t-shirts that said things like “I Love Tim ‘A Million Ways'” in glitter pen. Kids who wore chipped blue nail polish and skechers, dancing like the band does in their infamous video for “A Million Ways”. I had to laugh, not because I was above it, but because I wish I had bothered to each myself that dance. I should have made myself a halter top which read “OK” and put Khloé in a tube top decorated with the word “Go” so we could pogo together in non-ironic bliss. The weather was awful that night, though we could walk back to Khloe’s house without too much trouble. Getting a cab at 1:00 in the morning, after dessert and conversation, was quite another. I settled down in Khloé’s guest room, and in the morning I stuck around for a long leisurely breakfast of crepes. Delicious.
Sunday, 11/12: Have you been to Ina’s yet? Ina’s on Randolph? If not, please go immediately. They make perfect omlettes, which I discovered this day with Cathern, Rozi, and Khloé. There were loads of people waiting for a table but we had a reservation. There is nothing I love more than walking into a restaurant or a bar past a line of people. Bitchy, yes, but I get a real, true thrill. Because it’s not enough for me to get what I want. Other people have to be denied. I know — AWFUL. Afterwards, Cathern left us, and so we killed some time before the “Radio vs. Theatre” smackdown by walking through Millennium Park. The smackdown, held at the School of the Art Institute in what amounted to a really nice lobby, pitted Ira Glass (so cute) against some local actor who had sideburns so fluffy that he looked like the Notre Dame mascot. Being in such close proximity to Ira Glass made my heart beat like I was some crazed teenager screaming for David Cassidy. So nerdy and cute and he watches “The OC”! When he was talking about how he was namechecked in a recent episode by Summer, arguably the show’s best character, he looked like he got a pony for his birthday.
Friday, 11/17: I got into work at 6am so I could leave at 2pm. I left at 2pm so I could get a much-needed facial at the Aveda Institute. And I was so glad to be there. Really and truly. Work had been exhausting me all week, and all I wanted was someone to deep-clean my pores. I also got lucky as my esthetician, Anna, was hilarious. She was two months away from graduation and moving to New York. We talked about her boy problems, and how she loves doing extractions. All that crap out of people’s pores is like gold. But, you know, really gross. Afterwards, I made it to a matinee of “For Your Consideration”, which was disappointing as far as Christopher Guest/Eugene Levy movies go. But it’s still worth seeing, if only because Catherine O’Hara is brilliant. Even with her lips full of collagen, she’s a stitch. Or maybe because, which is probably why I crack up everytime I picture Barbara Hershey in “Beaches”. After the movie, I caught up with Lisa over noodles at Penny’s. Our waitress had flawlessly applied eyeliner, which seemed to go unnoticed by others but trust me to pay such close attention to the eye makeup application techniques of my fellow man.
Saturday, 11/18: Jacinda and I caught up with Gretchen at the DIY Trunk Show, which to me is the start of the holiday shopping season. Two big rooms, one a theater and another a gym, actually, at a field house in Wicker Park, packed to the rafters (well, if there rafters) with well-meaning hipster boys and girls selling yarn. Handmade iPod cozies. Jewelry made from bottle camps and typerwriters repurporsed into table lamps. I tried to get into it, but I found that there was missing a level of craftsmanship that made me long for what might have once been referred to as “storeboughten”. I wanted to be able to say I had no trouble dropping $65 on an A-line cotton skirt appliqued with techicolor cowgirls, but I did, so I didn’t. I bought food, some earrings as presents, and little else.
Tuesday, 11/21: Cynthia and I walked to the Merchandise Mart to drop off some food for a citywide food drive. For our trouble, we got some fresh air, exercise, and a coupon for a free sandwich for Potbelly’s. Man, I love doing charitable works. Especially when there are sandwiches involved.
Wednesday, 11/22: I came home to an empty apartment, loaded down with butter, eggs, and chocolate. Molly was in Michigan, joining the rest of her family at her sister’s house. I had brownies to bake for Thanksgiving dessert. So of course I spent the evening lying on the couch.
Thursday, 11/23: I watched the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade until I got bored (approx. time elapsed: 37 minutes), then baked brownies. Did some laundry and examined my pores in the bathroom mirror. What am I thankful for? I made a list, which you can read here.
Friday, 11/24: Coming in to work on the Friday after Thanksgiving, when most other people in the US are practically rabid with Black Friday shopping fever, is not bad. It’s quiet, the markets close at noon my time, and I catch up some paperwork and writing. Anyway, Cynthia and I cut out early to see “Casino Royale”. Though we arrived at the theater with about 10 minutes to spare, we still had to sit close to the front of the theater. The place was packed with adults who either had the day off or, like us, were playing hooky. Everyone looked gleefully guilty, and then pleased when the movie begin. BTW, believe all the hype — the movie was fun and well-paced, and Daniel Craig was great. When the lights came up, there were a number of ladies who looked hot and bothered, fanning themselves with flattened popcorn bags, muttering words like “bathing trunks” and “tuxedo” as they sauntered out of the theater. I was, quite literally, spent, and happy to go home to a weekend of doing absolutely nothing.
Massive Attack – Unfinished Symphony; B. B. King – How Blue Can You Get; The Beatles – Two of Us; T. Rex – Children of the Revolution; Righteous Brothers – You’re My Soul and Inspiration; French Kicks – Close To Modern; Sufjan Stevens – John Wayne Gacy, Jr.; Wilco – Student Loan Stereo; Sylvester – You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real); Lady Sovereign – Random; John Lee Hooker – One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer; Spoon – The Guestlist / The Execution; Ambulance LTD – Stay Tuned