ladies night

In case you were wondering, my week 2 of Couch-to-5K was supposed to start Monday or Tuesday, then possibly end Saturday morning. Sadly, I’ve totally bagged this week for some reason so I’ll probably be restarting week 1 this coming Sunday. Please, no ridicule.

I think I might have been exhausted. Last weekend was crazy busy. So busy that I, um, have been slacking this week like I usually do. A run-down is below, so you can judge for yourself as to whether or not this week of sloth was, in fact, justified. I know the answer is probably no but hear me out!

Friday, April 23: I went to work, came home, and went to bed on the early-ish side because I knew I’d have to get up early on Saturday morning to do workout 3 of week 1 of Couch-to-5K.

Saturday, April 24: Still, though, I got up later than I intended. The morning was on the misty side. I laced up my shoes, this time wearing socks. I didn’t want another blister like the one I got from workout 2.

When I got to the trail, I saw a bunch of folks wearing pale blue bibs running south and then turning around to head north around the south end of Belmont Harbor. I’d stumbled onto a run for a charity devoted to the fight against Crohn’s Disease and Colitis. I stretched as best I could on a grassy patch, trying to figure out where I could get on the trail without getting run over by what appeared to be a group of serious runners. There were a lot of couples wearing coordinated running outfits. Assholes. I should probably put “Eleanor Rigby” on my jogging mix at some point. Is there such a thing as running music for spinsters?

For workout 3, this is what I went with:

  1. Scott Matthews, “Passing Stranger”
  2. Appollonia, “Sex Shooter” – Seriously! I love this song.
  3. Bee Gees, You Should Be Dancing
  4. Talib Kweli, “Get By”
  5. Whitney Houston, “I Wanna Dance With Somebody”
  6. A Tribe Called Quest, “Scenario”
  7. Sylvester, “You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)”
  8. Soul II Soul, Back II Life

Eventually I found myself hugging the right-side of northbound side of the trail, ending up near Irving Park. My five minute cooldown walk took me off the trail and back to the bus stop in front of Charlie’s on Broadway. I would have walked home but I had to get home and get ready for voice class.

Voice class was fun. Gwen wasn’t big on me singing “Daddy Could Swear (I Declare)” by Gladys Knight and The Pips. Which made me kind of sad, I have to admit. Over this past sessions she’s handed out a lot of songs that would make good candidates but none of them have piqued my interest yet. If I had my way (ha!), I’d be into the following songs. Whether or not I could pull them off is, frankly, irrelevant. I’m fantasizing here!

Nancy Sinatra, “Don’t Let Him Waste Your Time” — This is gorgeous, no? Note to self: listen to more Nancy and Jarvis.

Peggy Lee & Judy Garland, “I Like Men” — Saucy? They got it.

Magnetic Fields, “Papa Was A Rodeo” — Obviously.

After class, I dashed up to Timeless Toys to get a present for baby Coco, who was turning 1 on Sunday. Her parents were throwing a party, and I wanted to bring something awesome. Timeless, of course, came through will all manner of cool toys and clothes. I ended up getting her a bath toy that is basically a miniature water fountain. I almost got her a wooden cube, into which you’d hammer in wooden blocks and spheres through the appropriately shaped hole. But would Coco’s parents necessarily want their child armed with a mallet? Okay, it was the cutest baby mallet in the world but still.

I know what “soporific” means.

Home for a bit and then a facial at the Aveda Institute. Last appointment of the day so it was super quiet in the spa. I nearly fell asleep. The facial was awesome, of course. Also it’s only $40. You should go especially if you are like me and obsessed with poking at your face in a mirror or worried about sun damage or are just worried about life.

I had scheduled my facial a bit on the late side, so I couldn’t go home and change before meeting Nadine (visiting from Philly), Libby, and Jacinda for dinner at Avec. I mean, I could, but that would have meant taking a cab and I wanted to save all my money for eating and drinking. Because I know my priorities. The bus downtown smelled like, well, the bus, but my face still smelled like Aveda so I was shielded from the smells of the CTA.

Once downtown, I realized I needed cash and a place to change into something a little cuter for dinner. Enter the Chase Tower on Clark and Madison. I got cash, changed into these sandals, put on the necklace I bought myself for my birthday this year, and proceeded to put on some makeup and try to salvage my hair. I like to think the tinted windows of the ATM lobby shielded me from looky-loos but they probably did not. Worse than my hair, my phone pretty much went kaput so no texting or calling the other ladies to make sure they were still coming. I’d have to pretend like it was 1999, the last time I did not have a cell phone, and just live in ignorance.

I don’t think I was the only person who took a CTA bus to Avec that night. I was certainly in a select minority, though. Other diners all seemed to turn up in shiny SUVs they handed over to the valet, or in taxis that zoomed down Washington Street. Most folks arriving at 6pm seemed dismayed to learn there was a wait. I didn’t mind. After the two hour wait for food at Big Star the previous week, I was not mad. I used the remaining battery life on my phone to check into the restaurant on Foursquare and was rewarded with the Foodie badge. I was really excited because, well, I am a nerd for food and for Foursquare.

I’m a foodie fool for Foursquare.

I didn’t order a drink while I waited. When my phone finally died for the evening, I scanned the room. A long wood paneled room, the bar on the left with long wooden tables on the right. Some people chose to wait outside in the mist, drinking champagne. Which, when you think about it, is a rather glamorous thing to do. So I have to remember that for next time.

I didn’t have to wait long for Nadine and Libby (who I haven’t seen since Nadine’s wedding in 2005, OMG), and then for Jacinda who arrived mere minutes after they did. Also, Jacinda got rock start street parking in front of the restaurant. Take that, valet! I couldn’t tell how long we did wait for our table but it was worth it. The wine list made no sense to me. I know nothing about wine. As I explained to Libby when we were seated, I just like to read the groovy names, all French and Spanish and Portuguese, and sound them out to myself.

I didn’t write down then what we had for dinner but the menu (conveniently posted on Avec’s web site) remembered:

  • Wood-oven braised pork shoulder with chestnut-bacon dumplings, butternut squash, kale, puff pastry and fresh herbs
  • Chorizo-stuffed Medjool dates with smoked bacon and piquillo pepper-tomato sauce
  • Housemade orange and fennel pork sausage with toasted potato bread and apple mustard
  • Wood-grilled sturgeon with shaved beets, roasted ramps and cilantro vinaigrette
  • Daily Selection of Salumi With garniture Assortment 15

Oh, and there was some lovely salad with fennel. Also, Jacinda ordered the rosé and I drank some really fantastic red from Portugal. Dessert was the rhubarb tart with ice cream, and an order of chocolate bark.

Conversation-wise, it’s probably a good thing I don’t remember many of the particulars. I have a bad memory, so the forgetting was not due to alcohol. Conversation centered mainly around careers, school (we all attended college together), different cities (Nadine lives in Philadelphia, and Libby spent time in the Bay Area and Seattle before moving back to Chicago with her partner), family. Of course, things got a bit more spirited when the topic turned to, well, boys. There might have been some yelling. I maybe blame that on the wine (it was really good).

As much as I would have liked to stay there forever, there were other people waiting for a table. And as it began to rain in earnest, everybody was squished indoors. Can I say that Avec, much like other small fancy restaurants popular with foodies and socialites alike, is a hard place to be if, like me, you are kinda fucking fat? Just saying.

Things were considerably more comfortable at Skylark. We got the seating area near the entrance so we had two love seats, an armchair, and a coffee table to spread out. Our waitress let us run a tab instead of collecting money after each round as it was not terribly crowded or busy. When whiskey and gin are involved, the talk moved pretty quickly, from boys to the University (in particular, our experiences with its various counseling services) and then back to boys. Not surprisingly, I did not have a lot to say on the matter. But I was happy to be learning so much from three really spectacular women.

Sunday, April 25: On the Armitage bus to Khloé and Jeff’s, I wrapped Coco’s present in pink and orange tissue, then carefully placed it in a large plastic gift bag. The tissue had to be unfolded so at times on the bus when I held the delicate paper in front of me it looked like I was trying to read it like a newspaper. Which, strangely enough, was not the craziest thing I saw on the bus that morning. There was the caramel complected man who looked like a lady. And a woman of indeterminate age who limped onto the bus at Western wearing a brace on her left leg. She spoke loudly into an ancient cell phone about how she’d be unable to work until Tuesday. I was kind of sad to get off the bus when I did but I had a party (and a whole lot of brunch) to eat.

The birthday party for Coco was a brunch buffet. A ton of Jeff’s relatives showed up, and his brother Brad looks so much like him I would have sworn there were twins. Children EVERYWHERE. I felt very tall because of this.

The buffet table was beautiful. It almost broke my heart to be the first person to ruin its beauty by, you know, eating. Almost broke my heart. I ate a freshly made waffle, sausages, the most perfect scrambled eggs, a half bagel with lox and cream cheese, and a doughnut. Also some pasta salad. Yes, it was a diabetic’s dream come true and worst nightmare. But I swear when I checked my blood glucose later it was in the 130’s, so not bad at all.

When I wasn’t eating, I was running my mouth and making videos. Like this one:

Note to self: I need to stop talking so much.

And this one:

Khloé made Coco’s dress. Adorable! I want one just like it.

There was a yellow cake with custard, frosted with buttercream, which I did not have. A few folks cleared out after cake, so they missed Khloé opening presents for the baby. A few little girls stood about thisclose to Khloé while she went through the packages. They looked very intense, like maybe they were hoping she’d give them a present to open themselves.

Later that night, I curled up at home with some roast chicken from Chicken Hut and “When Love Is Not Enough: The Lois Wilson Story” on CBS. This movie told the story of Lois Wilson, the wife of the founder of Alcoholics Anonymous. Naturally, it was totally depressing. That and the Hallmark commercials showing at each break had me crying like a baby. Actually I was holding on pretty well until this commercial aired and then I just gave up and let the waterworks go.

Other tidbits from this week

  • I bought these completely impractical sandals at Target. I love them. Of course, I haven’t tried to really walk in them yet so that could be why.
  • “Treme” and “Justified” continue to be awesome. The wake/memorial for Chief Albert Lambreaux’s Wild Man was breathtaking and heartbreaking, and the cold open of “Justified” was probably the best cold open I’ve seen in a while. Except for maybe the cold open of the pilot for “Treme” — “Play for that money boys! Play for that motherfuckin’ money!”
  • I’m still into “Glee” but plots and premises continue to be problematic. Also I would like to see more of a story featuring Tina (aka “Asian”) but I guess I can’t have everything.
  • Jujubee came in third on “RuPaul’s Drag Race”, with Tyra Sanchez winning it all. I think it was Project Rungay who wrote my favorite recap of the season 2 finale:

The fact of the matter is, you could sit Tyra and last year’s winner Bebe down with Ru’s makeup artist and in an hour you’d have two exact Ru doubles without even having to think about it that much. Ignore the racial aspect of this point. We’re not saying that. What we’re saying is Ru places all the importance on glamour and beauty and far less importance on talent. If that’s the case, why have a whole season? Beauty pageants only take a couple of hours to do. Save us all the time and pick the prettiest one that reminds you the most of you, Ru.

This show has a great opportunity to teach the uninitiated about the world of drag, something that Ru has said to be one of the goals of the show. Well Ru honey, you’re shooting yourself in the foot here. You’re narrowing the definition of drag down. It doesn’t include the fat girls or the funny girls or even the girls with talent. In the end, you keep giving it to the prettiest girl.

  • Brittany of “Glee” continues to be my spirit animal.
  • Tumblr lets users recommend each other to be featured in its directories. I wrote this desperate grab for attention plea for my promotion in the “Personalities” category.
  • I have no deep thoughts to share on Arizona SB 1070 but know that I think it totally sucks. Also that it sucks that other states seem to be keen on drafting their own versions of the bill.
  • This story about a woman biting off part of a dude’s ear after he insulted her by calling her fat makes me sad.


Filed under food & drink, friends, health

4 responses to “ladies night

  1. Jasmine,

    I am so excited for this running program for you and wish you the best of luck! I hated running , then loved running, then hurt my knee again and have not been able to run since. Hopefully I will be able to soon cause I really miss it.

    If you decide to run by distance (I was doing this because the streets in Tinley Park were a 1/4 mile apart), this website is great –

    Still enjoy your blog and hope all is well otherwise.

    Matt D.

    • Hi Matt! Thanks for sharing that link – I love it! I only wish I’d tried this jogging thing when I was younger and not quite so large. My knees are already unhappy with me, and it’s only been a week. I wonder if switching to an elliptical trainer would be easier.

      Things are good elsewhere. Thanks for commenting, and please say hello to Diane and Sully for me!

  2. Elisa

    “Scenario” is also on my running playlist.

  3. You can do the running, I know you can. I did take glucosomine when I started running/walking and it seemed to help. It is rough when you’re, ahem, not as small as some. I know that all too well.
    Even if you just start by repeating week one until you can really do it, it will be progress.

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