Sunday, May 31, 2009


File Under: Fun

Sometimes everything just falls into place. This entire weekend did just that.

Friday night was a typical Jackhammer gathering. I met up with Steve, whose Chicago visit was winding down, but another night out was on his agenda. Steve lives part time in Miami and part time in Chicago so two weeks out of every month are spent here. Also joining us was Patrick, who has been MIA for a couple months. He had auditioned to be on "Big Brother" and was a finalist, so he was laying low, not only because he had a lot to do to prepare the application package, but because he'd have spilled the beans if he had been out drinking. Finally along for the ride was a new friend, Jim, who is Steve's neighbor. Our friend and bartender, Mark, took great care of us and we had hours of laughs. Working along side Mark was John, a bartender I've known for years and someone I consider a good friend. I haven't seen John in about a month and was surprised when he pulled a small package from his bag and wished me a Happy Birthday. He gave me a really nice leather rope necklace with some great beads on it.

Saturday was task day. I started off at the gym. I haven't been going as regularly as I like and I've been feeling kind of blob-ish as a result. I feel like I'm back to a routine and it feels great. Okay so I followed up my trip to the gym with a trip to Potbelly Sandwich Works, but at least I went to the gym. I then had the car washed, it needed it. Lastly, I stopped at Kiehl's. I love their skin products and use their facial cleanser and moisturizer. I received an offer to trade in my can of shaving cream for a tube of their shave product.

I fixed a great dinner. I cooked some grape tomatoes in olive oil with a bit of garlic and some fresh basil. I tossed in some whole wheat rotini pasta, then put a bit of parmesan cheese on top. Delicious! Later, I went out and met up with some friends, back at Jackhammer. My bartender for the night was John, and we spent a good part of the night reminiscing about our teen years, mine in Chicago, his in the burbs. It was a festive night with more laughs and good times.

Sunday, was a mix of tasks both in and out of the house. I began the purge of magazines that have been lingering in the magazine racks and also cleaning and reorganizing my storage room. Eventually I got outside and went to the gym and had another good workout. But it was so nice out, I decided to go and explore the neighborhood while getting some sun. I wandered down Clark Street, got some coffee at Starbucks. While walking, I was on the same path as a guy, both kept the same pace. It was odd but interesting. Eventually I struck up a conversation, and before I knew it, we were walking and talking...for an hour! At the end of the walk, we exchanged phone numbers.

Once home, it was back to tasks. I dug out the space bags and stored my winter blankets as well as some final winter clothing that I just picked up from the cleaners.

Over all, I'm calling it a very successful and enjoyable weekend.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

IML Weekend in Chicago

File Under: IML Festivities

IML stands for International Mr. Leather and it's a gathering of the leather community from around the world. In past years, Dan and Luis volunteered for the events at the host hotel and I spent time wandering around, taking in the sights. This year, both were very busy and couldn't commit to the long hours spent at the hotel. So, they took things in as spectators and we all went to the market together on Sunday afternoon.

I walked to their house. Just down the block from my home, this was written on the sidewalk. NO, I did NOT write it, but it made me giggle. Kids write funny things. :)

Dan, Luis, Polo, Steve and I piled into Luis' car and made our way to the Hilton Towers, this year's host hotel. As is typical of the event, the host hotel is closed to outside guests, those not there for the event. The sights one might see could offend. It's not uncommon to see men walking around in leather jockstraps, chaps, rubber outfits, or not much at all. It's really quite a sight to see the lobby of the hotel filled with leather men from around the world.

Below are some pictures from the market, where all sorts of fun things can be purchased.

The funny part about the afternoon was our arrival. We had already walked past assorted leather men in garb and by far we were the most out of place looking men in the lobby, dressed in jeans and t-shirts. Apparently I did my part in offending the stray couple that had wandered into the hotel. Perhaps they misunderstood and thought IML was some sort of International Mormon Lodge. The woman took a look at my shirt and was obviously offended. Do you find my shirt offensive?
I didn't think so. We all found the incident amusing, as did Doug, the owner of The Big Gay Ice Cream Truck.
After spending a couple of hours at the event, we left for another important task. Early dinner and Margaritas! YUM!


Party Pictures

File Under: Food, Friends and Fun

Friday night a group of us assembled at Dan and Luis' home to bid farewell to our friend Khan who has decided to move back to England. As we have proven on past occasions, we're more than capable of throwing together a party. Here's a sampling of what we dined on throughout the evening:

Lemon cupcakes. I took a page out of Sandra Lee's book and used a boxed mix to create something special. Vanilla cupcakes became lemon cupcakes with some lemon zest and extract. The icing was home made, with some zest and extract and yellow food coloring to give it a punch. Some were covered in coconut to add some visual and textural distinction.

Denise and Tina were in charge of the meat, vegetable and cheese platters and put together these gorgeous arrangements. I labeled the cheeses, as envisioned by Tina.

Our friend Steve showed up with an appetizer of bacon wrapped breadsticks. You can't go wrong with bacon. These were DELICIOUS!

Another cheese and olive platter.
The gathering begins in the yard. Ariel, in the black sweater, arrived with Khan, the guest of honor. Chatting with them are Preston and the lovely Tina.

Night has fallen and the party is well under way. Here we see Khan, Polo, Steve, Dan and Preston. I'm not sure what they're watching, but Dan looks just a bit worried.
Here our are hosts for the evening, Luis and Dan. No, Dan did not pass out, Luis is not reviving him.

The table, covered with food and wine, along with the remainder of the grilled pizzas made by Luis.

It was a pretty amazing late spring Friday night with good friends.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Memorial Day Weekend

File Under: Holiday

It's the first "official" weekend of Summer. It's supposed to be just a bit cool in Chicago, which is fine because it's also supposed to be pretty clear. The cool breeze will feel nice as the warm sun shines down.

Tonight I'm headed to a party at Dan and Luis'. Our friend Khan is moving and we're sending him off the way that only we know how. I've got my camera to record the event. I baked cupcakes for the party and I have to say they look quite lovely. They're lemon and very bright.

Tomorrow I have nothing definite planned. I have a faint desire to go to the outlet mall since Banana Republic is having a big sale. I do love the Banana.

Sunday I will trek down to the IML Market. It's always fun to see the celebration of the leather community, wander the booths and take in the sights. Adult film start are all too willing to sign autographs, though when one wanted to sign something for me last year and asked how to spell "Jim," I decided it was easier to just take a picture with them and move on.

No plans for Monday, it will probably be a good day to just catch up on housework.

Of course, all that could change. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


File Under: I'm Free!

Dancing With the Stars is over for the season. Desperate Housewives ended last Sunday. Brothers and Sisters ended the week before. I don't watch AI. Tomorrow night is the season finale of Ugly Betty. I've got no more shows to watch and I'm HAPPY.

I love my shows, even more since I got the big TV. But it's summer and I like coming home from work and not thinking "oh, I've got to watch DWTS tonight before bed." If I want to go for an evening walk, I don't have to rush back. I don't have to worry about the DVR filling up because I didn't watch a show.

I'm free. It feels great.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

DWTS - The Finale

File Under: Television Obsessions

The results are in.

3rd Place - Melissa Rycroft
2nd Place - Gilles Marini
1st Place - Shawn Johnson

A total shock, but I'm not terribly unhappy. I was over Melissa and pleased that she wound up in 3rd place.

Gilles was the better dancer, he should have won, he really should have but it came down to viewer votes and she had more. Good for her.

Leading up to it, all of the previous contestants came back to do their dances. Belinda did her Salsa and looked great. Very relaxed, definitely pleased that she wasn't doing it for a score. And no handstand this time.

During the Celebrity roast, Jeffrey Ross said that she looked like a galactic hooker. LOL

So, another season has ended. Back in the fall with another group of celebrities who may or may not be able to dance.

Stay tuned...

Monday, May 18, 2009

Dancing With the Stars - Season 8, Week 11

File Under: Television Obsessions

Tonight’s finals round includes a Paso Doble faceoff, plus the ever-popular freestyle. Both dances will be scored, total possible points for the night are 60. Let the competition begin.
Ahh…pretty as ever, there’s Belinda. :)

So tonight we’re seeing Gilles and Cheryl, Shawn and Mark, and Melissa and Tony. I see Melissa raided Edyta’s closet for tonight’s outfit. She’s in a bra and panties and a cape.

Oh my…Bruno in a banana hammock. I really didn’t need to see that.

First up, Shawn and Mark – coached by Bruno who told Shawn to bring more sharpness and aggression to the dance.

Next up, Melissa and Tony – coached by Carianne, who has told her to stop referring back to her cheerleader and ballet days.

Finally, Gilles and Cheryl - coached by Len. He danced with Gilles to show him how to sharpen his moves and work his “bum.”

It’s a group faceoff, so they’re all taking the floor so we can see their skills side by side by side.
Shawn looks good, a bit nervous but her footwork is nice. I’m not seeing the aggression though. Len said her chin dropped a few times. Bruno said she was strong. Carianne didn’t see emotion but said the dance was beautiful. 28 (10 from Bruno)

Melissa looked a bit off at the very start. Oh look a cheerleader kick. Nicely done though. Len noticed some minor errors but said it was nice. Bruno commented on her confidence. Carianne said it was great. 29 (9 from Len)

Gilles exudes confidence and power. Lots of power in his steps, good posture, nice arm moves. Len said it was not hectic like their last one, full-on and intense. Excellent. Bruno called him a leading man, self-assured and fabulous. Carianne said it met up to her expectations, flawless. 30

Time for the freestyle!

Ew…Shawn and Mark are starting it off in sparkly black jumpsuits with white sparkly masks. Creepy. Oh good they came off. I don’t quite get it, it’s supposed to be elements of dances from previous weeks as she said it would. It’s fun and wild but it’s a bunch of bouncing and spinning and gymnastics. Audience liked it though. Bruno liked it. Carianne liked it. Len pointed out the jive elements at the start, he lived it. Okay…guess I was wrong. LOL 30 (Bruno screamed “ELEVEN!”)

Melissa and Tony are up next. Oh grand…a hip hop number. Lame beginning. Quick footwork though. Hey, did you know she could do high kicks? I didn’t. Neat little trick where she went over Tony’s back then under his legs. A couple moves seem a little out of sync. Not fantastic. But I’m probably wrong. Carianne called the choreography disjointed. Len didn’t “get it.” He called out the cheerleader stuff. Bruno agreed with Carianne. Tony’s chest is really nice! 27 (I guess I wasn’t wrong)

Gilles and Cheryl…Gilles considers himself the underdog since he’s neither a gymnast or a dancer. Hey, it’s Flashdance! It’s sexy and fun, there’s dancing, and some pelvic thrusts. And lifts. They’re definitely in sync. Nailed it! YAY! Len said Gilles is a real dancer. Bruno said there should have been a bit more dancing. Carianne said she wanted more dancing too. Hmm… 28/30 (10 from Len)

The final tally is:

Shawn and Mark – 58/60
Melissa and Tony – 56/60
Gilles and Cheryl – 58/60

Tomorrow night is the 2-hour finale. ALL of the performers from this season will return to dance again. Yes, Belinda too. I believe she will reprise her Waltz. No handstand!!

My prediction is:

1st – Gilles
2nd – Shawn
3rd – Melissa


Friday, May 15, 2009

Doug's Big Gay Ice Cream Truck

File Under: Summer job

As I mentioned in a previous post, my friend Doug came across the opportunity to operate an ice cream truck this summer in New York City. Early on, he dubbed his project "The Big Gay Ice Cream Truck." It sounded fun and funny and well, Doug isn't one to just suggest something and not go for it, 110 percent.

He and his partner Bryan have been chronichling the journey, their blog can be found here. Learn all about the food worker's program they had to take, see their logos. a shirt. They're cute. I ordered one in olive green. I chose the truck logo. Tell them I sent you!


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

My Saturday

File Under: Colors of Spring
Saturday, I set out to the mall to buy my mom a Mother's day gift. Camera in hand, I decided to snap some pictures of the spring color that was in full view.
These first couple of pictures were taken in my neighborhood. Trees in bloom, the contrasts of the pinks and whites against the pale green was just too pretty to pass up.

Old Orchard is a mall in the suburbs of Chicago. It's an outdoor mall, not very practical for a region whose residents spend months at a time wrapped in layers upon layers of wool, and only leave the house when they must, but it manages to be a successful mall. They do a beautiful job of landscaping it.
The tulips were in full bloom. Tulips are one of my favorite flowers. I always go out to Old Orchard in the spring to see the tulips. I was not disappointed with this year's display.

Pretty, huh?

Song Lyrics

...and now I've got to to turn my head
and start to pretend.
I've never seen you
You're someone I don't know.
Are you just another boy
that I met long ago.
You can talk about old times,
they don't mean a thing to me.
You're fading fast out of my memory.

DWTS - The Results

File Under: TV Obsessions

As predicted, Ty Murray danced his final dance last night. Okay, that's probably not true. I think next week all of the celebrities return to dance, or at least appear. Ty may take one last spin on the dancefloor.

The three finalists are:

Gilles Marini and Cheryl Burke
Shawn Johnson and Mark Ballas
Melissa Rykroft and Tony Dovolani

I hope it happens in that order, too.

Hopefully Belinda will be back next week. :)

Monday, May 11, 2009

Dancing With the Stars - Season 8, Week 10

File Under: Television Obsessions

Tonight, the semi-finals!

The remaing couples are:
Melissa and Tony
Gilles and Cheryl
Shawn and Mark
Ty and Chelsie

Tonight my DVR was my friend and recorded the program for me. YAY. Oh look, there's Belinda, top billing of course. :-)

Fast forward thru the pro dance stuff.

The four remaining couples will dance the Latin dance and the ballroom dance that they haven't danced. entire half hour before the first dance begins...

Melissa and Tony - Quickstep - I love the quickstep. Nice footwork. It's a pretty routine, remindes me of an old movie. Okay Melissa, we know you can kick good and high. You must have been a cheerleader. Oh yeah, you were. Wow...great finish! 10 from Len, 9 from the other two. 28

Gilles and Cheryl - Waltz - Aww...they brought Jonathan Roberts back to offer Gilles some pointers from a man's perspective. The word suave comes to mind. Nice long lines, smooth with the arms, his steps look clean. Bruno is standing to deliver his comments. Carrianne and Len are thrilled too. 30

Shawn and Mark - Argentine Tango - The flying sausage is trying to look sexy. She's got such an athletic body, it's difficult to watch her doing these sexy dances. Strangely, it's working. Her leg moves look great. This number is well choreographed. I always get uncomfortable when after she does something that sexy, they show her parents. Carianne said that she totally delivered the emotional content of the dance. Wow, Mark's wearing a lot of eyeliner. 30

Ty and Chelsie - Viennese Waltz - Ty takes Chelsie bullriding on a mechanical bull. It's cute watching him do the arm extensions because he still looks so stiff and awkward when he does them. Yet, he's so dashing to watch and he's charming. A couple gaffes here and there with his feet. Oh dear, when he spun her on one foot he looked so goofy. Len's always a gentleman with his comments. Bruno called it "chasing flys" and Len and Bruno are arguing. Carrianne called it a struggle. Wow...the judges nearly had a knock-down, drag-out. Tom handles them flawlessly and deserves all 10's! LOL 25 (a 9 from Len).

Now it's time for the visit home and interviews with people from their past. Fast forward...

Melissa and Tony - Cha-Cha-Cha - Some good moves I guess, but I don't like it. OH, there's the cheerleader kick again. Surprise. No boob slippage this week. Bruno said that she didn't sustain energy throughout the dance. Carianne agreed with Bruno, Len didn't feel it was up to her standards, said it was lackluster at parts. 27

Gilles and Cheryl - Salsa - Okay I watched Gilles' family story. I love him. Fast footwork and sexy moves, he's shaking those hips and that ass. Nicely done! Aw, his wife is so pretty. Carianne's dancing her approval. Len wishes he had an 11 paddle. Bruno said that Lil' Kim is hiding in Gilles' pants. LOL 30

Shawn and Mark - Jive - Cute start. She looks like Kitty Carry-all. Looked a bit out of step in a couple spots. It's making me dizzy. It's cute but distracting. I just heard Len say "put an 8 there." Judges picked at the performance. 26

Ty and Chelsie - Samba - He's not a latin dancer. He just seems to be a half-beat behind. Some of his work is really good but I think his nerves get the best of him and when he's standing still and just moving his feet, you notice it. Bleh...poor attempt at a Samba roll. Good butt jiggle though! Okay, he should not shimmy his chest. Ugh. Bruno picked a bit but was polite, Carianne was just kind with her words but didn't really comment on the dance. Len called him "Murray in a hurry." 23

So here's how they stand:

Melissa and Tony - 55/60
Gilles and Cheryl - 60/60
Shawn and Mark - 56/60
Ty and Chelsie - 48/60

It could be Ty's last dance, but the viewers saved him when in the bottom two with far superior Lil' Kim so it could be Shawn, or even Melissa. Stay tuned.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Mother's Day

File Under: Mom

December 1931

With my sister Georgette, May 2007
Today is Mother's day. Happy Mother's day to all of the moms out there who read my blog. Happy Mother's day to Z, aka my Mom.
Beth's blog, found HERE, inspired this post. I commented on one of her blog entries (sadly I can't remember which one) and it brought back memories from the 80's with my mom.
My oldest sister and I are almost 8 years apart. My mom didn't take a great deal of interest in my sister's taste in music, though she was fully aware that my sister liked "that disco music."
My mom drove me to school every day. On car trips, I always sat in the front seat (I was the kid who got car sick so I was put up front to curtail the urge to barf.) I controlled the radio. I listened to "Top-40" radio. Remember when that term was inclusive of everything popular? It wasn't just dance, or rock or country, it was a mix of all of those sounds. My mom became familiar with the songs I liked. And when I really liked something, I controlled the tape deck in the car, too.
Mom learned to like The Go-Go's. She knew their songs, knew the names of the band members, she could even tell me when she was someplace and heard one of their songs being played. And she knew the difference between The Bangles and The Go-Go's! She also liked Genesis, Billy Joel, Cyndi Lauper, Tina Turner, and The Thompson Twins. She enjoyed their song "Hold Me Now." She commented that the falsetto voice that sings the follow lines in the last chorus sounds like the Monty Python men when they used to do skits as women and speak in high voices. That image became forever solidified in my mind. She wasn't a big fan of Madonna (though she loves her in the movie 'A League of Their Own' - that's one of her favorite films), and like me, wasn't a fan of the hair bands. She did like Van Halen for some reason. Not sure where that came from.
To this day, my mom still recognizes those singers. Yes, it would be difficult for her to forget The Go-Go's. She has decided that Jane is her favorite (sorry, Belinda). Occasionally she'll watch VH1 Classic and excitedly tell me if she saw a video she remembered from back in the day. She even went so far as to scramble to video record a segment on The Go-Go's that was airing, she proudly said "I got most of it, I managed to get what Jane was saying, and the video they played, it was 'Our Lips Are Sealed.'" And to show her support, she even watched Belinda dance on "Dancing With The Stars," and booed when she was voted off, calling it "stupid and unfair!"
I guess I'm pretty lucky. My mom accepts me for who I am, she loves my friends, and she makes VHS tapes for me. Happy Mother's Day, mom! I love you!!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

That Band

File Under: Why, after all these years, they matter to me

This is a selfish post. I'm entitled to one ever so often. Read on if you wish.

I've been a fan of The Go-Go's for a really, really long time. The first time I saw them in concert was in 1982, on their Vacation tour. On Saturday April 25th, I saw them again, my 30th concert.

At first I would go to shows, stand there, dance, scream my little teen head off and pretend I was at the best party I'd ever been to. Then I got wise and started bringing a camera with me to shows. So I'd scream and dance and take blurry pictures. The best (blurriest!) were the ones snapped with my Disc camera. Remember those?? Digital photography came along and my pictures got a little better. Perhaps if I stood still when I took pictures they would get better.

The nice thing about my digital camera is that I can now capture video. I've become really good at standing still and keeping the camera stable. I've been able to compile some great song clips that capture the band doing just what it is that makes me a fan.

The show on April 25th was special in a lot of ways. The House of Blues was strangely lax on their "NO PHOTOGRAPHY" rule. So, I'm going to share the fruits of my labor with you, and share a little story with you about each.

My first video was for a song called "Forget That Day," a song that was long rumored to be the one that broke the band up in 1984. Jane wrote it, wanted to sing lead on it and it was decided that Belinda should. Jane's backup vocals are prominent in the original recording. They haven't performed the song live in 25 years. Jane explained that they don't get together often enough to record new songs so they like to treat their fans with some of their lesser-performed songs from their catalog and this song was chosen. Excellent choice because the performance was haunting and beautiful. The lyrics are so sad. Mind you, I had just decided that it was safe to take video so I only have the second half of the song, but you get enough of a feel for the song. My lens setting was a little close and once taping starts, it's fixed for the entire recording.

Charlotte is the blonde, off to the left, she plays keyboard and lead guitar. Gina's in back, on drums. Kathy works just to the right of Belinda, she plays bass. Jane is the little firecracker off to the right, on rhythm guitar. As you'll see later on, she's very active and moves around a lot on stage.

This next clip is a song that Jane brought to the band. She recorded the song "Cool Places" with new wave band Sparks. A couple years ago, The Go-Go's added it to their set. It's a true duet between Belinda and Jane, and they have fun performing it. Check out Charlotte's groovy synth in the song. Totally 80's! And in the total rockstar move, after Belinda finishes her strut at the start of the song, she gets behind her mic stand, turns and tosses her hair with a flip of her head. HOT!

They often bring to each new "tour" a remake, and this time they did their own version of the Rolling Stones song "Mother's Little Helper." This showcases the talents of the entire band. Dig Belinda's ittle walk during the instrumental bridge. LOL

This next song is one they've been performing in concert since they began as a band, it's one that they made their own. "Walking in the Sand" was originally done by a girl group called the Shangri-Las and when the Go-Go's introduce it, they always pay homage to them, giving credit where credit is due.

(note to Joy, if you watch this video, notice that she's swiveling her hips, she learned that on DWTS! Len would be proud.)

Finally...I promise this is the last one, is their song "Our Lips Are Sealed." This was a hit for them back in the winter of 1981. It's one they have to do in concert and one that they enjoy doing, as evidenced in this video. Forgive the opening couple of lines, Belinda was having problems with feedback in her monitor so she was distracted and off-key. She gets right back into it. BUT...the part of this video that totally sums them up for me is after they last line is sung and the band just jams for another minute or so. Belinda's banging her tamborine, Jane, Kathy and Charlotte are bouncing around on stage and they play with one another. It's the fun that I saw the first time I saw them in concert, 27 years ago. It's the fun that brings me back again and again. It's my happy place. :)

(note the extra lyric in the live version. This was written into the original song but not recorded on the album. They always perform this version in concert)

Well, if you made it this far, whether you watched the videos or not, I thank you. I don't expect that a light bulb will go off above your head and you'll suddenly be a life long fan. I just hope that perhaps you'll find it cool or it'll make you smile. And smiling is good.


Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Belinda and Jonathan - House of Blues

File Under: DTWS-a-Go-Go, again

In a previous post, I spoke of seeing The Go-Go's at the House of Blues in LA. Belinda's "Dance" partner, Jonathan Roberts joined the band on stage to dance with Belinda. I posted my video from the show, which did not include the introduction. I found one that does. Belinda brings Jonathan out and when she points, she's pointing at my friends and me, we're holding up our 10's. Also, this is better video of Jonathan, who's just so darn cute. So, watch the video, see the fun that the band has, especially when they bring a guest on stage. :)

Monday, May 4, 2009

Dancing With the Stars - Season 8, Week 9

File Under: DVR Malfunctions

My DVR did not record Dancing With the Stars tonight. I came home and have been able to watch the last couple of dances. I saw Lil' Kim's first dance while I was doing laundry but missed the remainder of the first round. I got home in time to see the last three dances of the second round.

I voted 10 times for Lil' Kim. She deserves to be in the finals. I'm thinking Ty will go home tomorrow. Mind you, I don't know anybody's scores. Just guessing

Happy Times

File under: The return of Buddha

Notice the similarity?
My tummy is back. Realistically I've only gained 7 pounds since my low last December but one of the traits I gained from my father's side of the family is that we carry our weight right around the middle. Even at my thinnest I still have a tummy. Right now, its back to being a belly.
The good news is that this means I'm really happy. Food is a social thing for me. It's all about having a good meal with friends or going out for drinks after work. I can still do that, I just need to keep it in check and make wise choices.
So, it's back on the diet. I guess I got carried away with the snacks, assuming that I was active enough to absorb the extra calories. Apparently not. OR I could just go find another relationship causing me sleepless nights and loss of appetite. Naaah!!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Birthday Weekend

File Under: 42…so far, so good.

My birthday was on Saturday May 2. I turned 42.

Age is just a number. I’m not sure what 42 is supposed to feel like but I don’t think I feel it. I certainly don’t act like it.

The fun began Friday night. My friend Steve met me out at Jackhammer and he quickly announced “he will not pay for a single drink tonight.” I didn’t. I don’t know how many I had but there were a couple shots, too. When it was time to wander home, sometime around 2, I didn’t feel drunk, just very happy.

Saturday, I met my friends John and Vince for lunch in my neighborhood. They brought me flowers and a giant Hello Kitty birthday card, with a little something tucked into it. They also bought me lunch. It was fun spending time with them.

I went home and prepared a dessert for the evening. I’ll explain the evening that was ahead.
Dan asked me to pick the theme, and he would organize a small casual gathering of our little group. Each of them would prepare a dish. I chose Italian. I was told that I didn’t need to bring anything, though it was suggested that Luis is really fond of my chocolate ganache tart. It’s easy to prepare so I decided to bring it.

I arrived at the house at 7. Luis and Polo were prepping a couple dishes. Dan’s lasagna was in the oven. Denise arrived soon after, carrying an antipasti platter. Tina was noticeably absent from the festivities as she had family matters to tend to in Ohio. However we managed to have a good time.

Drinks were poured and the night of food and fun began. Denise’s cold platter was fantastic. We did a good job of emptying it in a pretty short period of time.

Next up was Luis’s contribution to the meal. He served grilled shrimp skewers with a light pesto sauce and pork meat balls with another delicious sauce. Those who know us know that we’re not shy and in a short period of time those dishes were cleaned. It was necessary though because we had to make room on the table for Dan’s famous lasagna. A creation that stands close to half a foot tall, filled with mushrooms, sausage, ho-made sauce and cheese…lots and lots of cheese. It’s fabulous.

We took a breather once the main course was done. Luis and Polo went into the kitchen and after a bit of whispering and some giggling, there was a bright glow coming from the kitchen. Polo came out, carrying a cake, stuck through the top of it was a rather large “sparkler,” which I believe was really a highway flare. Polo had his arms outstretched, Luis was about 2 feet behind him, looking kind of shocked. Polo set the cake on the table and we all jumped back. I heard “blow it out!” come from one of them. I tried, but all it did was scatter burning embers, causing us to jump back from the table and let it sputter out. Once the smoke cleared, we assessed the damage. A couple spots on the table, some singed eyebrows and watering eyes. Yet, we persevered and ate cake and it was delicious!

We sat in the dining room, talking, and laughing until close to midnight. It was a nearly perfect evening. Perfection would have included Tina.

I must share with you the present that was made for me by Dan and Luis. This sums up our friendship and our group of friends.
How cool is that??

Today was a very relaxing day. I went to the gym, then walked around my neighborhood for a while. I ran into Dan and Luis who were having lunch. The restaurant they were at had its windows open, they were seated next to the window. I was invited to join them, but was enjoying the weather too much to go inside. I was also intent on walking for a while as I need to step up my exercise routine. That’s another post. :)

I’m pretty damn lucky to have such an amazing group of friends.