Wednesday, February 25, 2009


While some people are toiling under snowy landscapes, I have squirrels sitting on Buddah's head. And here I was complaining today that I had to wear long pants AND socks. I apologize.

Monday, February 23, 2009

A town so smart it's spelling starts With: C - H - I - C...Chic!

Trendy trav'lers tend to talk
Of London, Paris, Rome, New York,
Like only they were stylish and unique.
But out in the Midwest
Is the city I love the best:
A town so smart it's spelling stars
With: C - H - I - C...Chic!
Chicago, Illinois, is like a shiny toy.

On my first day in Chicago I bolted out the door to greet the glorious sunny day! It was all sunshine and unbelievably freezing cold air. Such a trick this climate plays on one so trusting from Southern California.

I traded text messages with blogging friend Michael Guy and made plans to meet him for lunch. I put the location of my hotel into my Googlemap on my iPhone and then the location of Michael. I selected "directions" and "by foot" and my map coughed up a very clear path straight down Michigan Avenue (that was on my list to do) and told me it would be about a 12 minute walk.

I looked outside, saw the sun and thought "sunglasses". I was also smart enough to check the weather forecast which said "high of 31°" and said out loud, "Oh boy! My new gloves!" and also grabbed my scarf and jacket as well.

I know what you're thinking, "Californian. Won't have proper winter attire." But I have not always been a Californian, and I have traveled to winter before. I also had on my secret weapon for winter weather, Cashmere Socks!

I made my way down to the street, exited the hotel, made the required, "brrrrrr" sound and buttoned a button on my coat. I was gonna' be just fine. I walked to the end of the block turned the corner into a shady zone, and that is when the wind blasted me in the face, blew open my jacket from the bottom and filled my every pore with a soul crushing ice.

Doing up EVERY SINGLE BUTTON on my jacket, I crossed to the sunny side of the street.

I had underestimated other weather factors such as wind and shade in my plan for the day. I made a brisk (and I do mean BRISK) walk down the bright side of Michigan Avenue and made it to Michael's in a googlemap estimate busting 9 minutes. (that included photos along the way.)

Walking in to Michael's apartment was surreal. I've seen so much of his home on his blog, I felt like I was walking onto a movie set. "I've seen this." "I remember that." "This is where you took that photo of your bare bum in the kitchen!" Like Carol Channing's dress from Hello Dolly or Julia Child's personal Kitchen, this apartment should be destined for The Smithsonian.

We dined at a the very chic Oak Tree Restaurant on the 6th floor of 900 N. Michigan with a view down on the 4th Presbyterian Church and a view up the Hancock Building. After lunch I tortured Michael with a tour of Bloomingdale's where we happened upon the strangest sight.
MAC cosmetics has launched a new line with Hello Kitty. On the left you can see what appeared to be the Hello Kitty executioner. A well built man in (very) low (plumber low) fitting leather pants, no shirt, a black leather whip and a black Hello Kitty head covering. Disturbing.

Michael gave me the grand tour of everything Chicago can sell. Ralph Lauren, Hermes, Barney's, Nieman Marcus, Gucci... you know, Friday after lunch browsing.

We parted ways and I went to my hotel to get ready to meet Carolyn at the Big Catholic Drunk Fest (see previous post).

On Saturday I got up with a list in my hand and a mission to accomplish. Michael had blogged about the recent restoration of the worlds largest Tiffany stained glass dome. It was high on my list of things to see while I was in Chicago and it did not disappoint.

The entrance lobby and grand staircase set the tone for what you are about to see.

The hanging lights in the room are awash in detail.

A dome so large, you can't fit it all into your camera lens.

A closer look at the center.

After the Tiffany dome, I headed to the Art Institute of Chicago. Besides making the mistake of waiting until Saturday to go view art with the masses, it turns out that February is "Free February" at the Art Institute and no one has to pay to get in. It wasn't just the masses that were pouring in to the place, it also seemed to include some unwashed masses. I'll be honest, after a while it wasn't just crowded in there, it was also a little smelly.

I used to have to go to museums and museum gift shops for my job. (don't ask.) It is not glamorous nor enjoyable to do art tours on a mission with limited time. I am far too adept at walking past art quickly as if I am checking it off my to-do list. With as many people in the building, I quickly fell back into "work mode", pulled out my map, chose my highlights and made a brisk tour. All the while telling myself that I would return a different time, having had less coffee and more food, check my coat and breathe slower.

I was really surprised to see so many people taking photos of the art. Well, actually I am used to people trying to take photos of the art and being told they are not allowed to. Here, they seemed to be encouraged. So I took this one:
(It's significance being that I plan to see this view in person on April 2.)

I was out of the Art Institute in about an hour. I took a tour of Millennium Park and snapped some fun pics.
Cloud Gate a three-story, 110-ton steel sculpture that has been dubbed "The Bean", above the ice rink.

Crown Fountain.
Transparent glass block bricks are used to build two 50-foot (15 m) towers standing at either end of a long, black granite plaza. Behind the glass bricks are LED video screens. When the screens are illuminated they show the faces of nearly a thousand individual Chicagoans, which showcases the vast diversity of the city. Playing on the theme of historical fountains based around gargoyles with water coming through the open mouth of the creature, each video includes specific moments where the person purses his or her lips and water spouts from a point in the display, such that it appears as if the person is spitting the water out.
It was FAR too cold when I was there for water to be flowing. It even spit a few snowflakes out on me as I wandered the park. I was loving that.

Detailed faces of the front of a building along Michigan Avenue.

I traded some text messages with Michael and we agreed to meet on a street corner back in his 'hood and grab a bite. He escorted me to The Drake Hotel where we dined in the Coq d'Or. You gotta' love that name. Michael shared that the bar opened its doors the day after Prohibition was repealed and has remained a Chicago landmark since.
After lunch we toured the display case of famous faces who have stayed or dined at the Drake. We had a special moment of silence for Princess Diana and then I pointed out that the tiara she had on in her photo was the same as the one I sent to Carolyn. (Okay, Diana's was probably more real diamonds.)

It was Valentine's Day and we had dinner plans that evening. I had to rush off (shopping) so I could get ready for dinner in a few hours. When I returned to Michael's house I was treated to a special audience with none other than Michael's BGF. Since we never see photos of him over on Michael's blog, I will protect his "reputation" on mine as well.
BGF and I get our photo taken in Michael's boudoir, or as we remarked, "So this is where all the magic doesn't happen."

We went out for a lovely meal and then I did my best to drag these two sticks out for a cocktail. They kept telling me there was nowhere close. Nowhere to go that wouldn't require a long cab ride. Nowhere we could go and still allow the two of them to be home and in be before 11.

Then BGF cracked, "Well... there is one bar still nearby..."

And suddenly Michael went off on a rant of epic proportions on how he has never, would never, could never, will never be seen, step foot in, darken the door front, lay eyes on, or be located anywhere near, adjacent to, spotted at, found dead in, or even hear a whiff of scandal to be caught in a rat hole such as the bar (he dare not even say the name) that BGF was suggesting.

Well that had me hooked.

Here is the conclusion on Michael's rant:

Upon entering Michael immediately knew someone (a former neighbor) seated at the bar. Michael turned to BGF and I and cursed us both, "As long as I breathe on this planet I will never be able to live down the fact that you have drug me into this god forsaken hell hole and now there are witnesses!" Then he glided over, all smiles, to graciously greet his former neighbor.

During our second cocktail (okay, just me, Michael was too afraid he be poisoned), the Fire Marshall stopped in to check the patron count and occupancy limit (26 patrons/max occupancy 36). I told Michael that his worst fears had come true. His mother DID have a tracking device on him and now he was about to be hauled off to jail. He went white as sheet and I thought he was going to faint. I had a great time (I love being the youngest one anywhere) and the drinks were a blessing on my budget (like the clientele, so cheap!) but all good things must come to an end and soon it was after 11 pm.

Michael, BGF and I walked out and I threw an Oscar worthy performance trying to convince the two of them to stay out with me. From their respective religious upbringings I couldn't believe that both could be so immune to the guilt I was shoveling out. BGF literally ran from Michael and I, and then Michael hailed me a cab, told the cab driver where to take me, threw me in it, locked and closed the door so I could get back out and steal him away with me.

Funny thing about me, in a crowd, I am the life of the party, Mr. Entertainer, chatty Cathy to everyone who passes by... but alone in a nightclub by myself I am a complete wallflower. So I went to "Boystown", did a bar crawl, I think I wandered through 4, maybe 5? There was no cover charge anywhere so it didn't really matter. Then I grabbed a slice of pizza (okay 2 slices - but I put the second one in my pocket to eat back at the hotel) hailed a cab and went back to my hotel to sleep.

On Sunday I woke up wishing I had stopped at one piece of pizza. Bleah.

I made my way back to Michael's and we went for breakfast. We compared notes on what a lightweight Michael is and he reassured me that I was "entertaining" and not too pushy trying to coerce him into going out later than he wanted. BGF phone and he was walking to the gym right past where we had finished eating. We met up and walked him to school. Then Michael suggested we go to the Museum of Modern Art and when we got close I told him my brain just wasn't up for that much work on a Sunday. So we veered off course and went to the Ritz for coffee. The atrium lounge is on the 12th floor and has a brilliant view of the skyline, the Hancock building, the lake and the light snow that was falling. I imagine it would be even more impressive at Christmastime at night with a good think layer of snow and all the twinkling lights below. To be fair, sunshine and snow was a fun combination as well.

We parted ways both swearing we would go home and nap as we had even MORE things planned for later in the evening.

Around 6 (ish, I am from California you know) I met back up with Michael, BGF and FofBGF. I felt like it was third callback for the role of "fun out of towner" and this would be my final audition. We headed out to Sidetracks for what was promised as a rousing evening of SHOWTUNES!

Now I have been to my fair share of video bars where they play showtunes and there may be a few who sing along, a few with a witty remark, even sometimes a little audience participation for a clip or two... This was the culmination of all those other bars put together. For example, take the entire 20 minute all singing all dancing extravaganza of ship videos featuring the Broadway cast of Titanic the Musical, segued to Maureen McGovern singing "The Morning After, theme from Poseidon Adventure" over a montage of clips from that movie which flowed into Barbra Streisand on a tugboat singing "Don't Rain on My Parade". The amazing part is that EVERYONE in that (very large) bar was singing along. As if the Chicago Gay Men's Chorus had unloaded 3 buses out front. And then when Shelly Winters gets stuck in The Poseidon Adventure, the entire bar chanted together "Push, Push, Push!" and when Barbra Streisand gets off the train to run down the dock to the tug boat, the whole crowd shouts, "RUN BARBRA! RUN!" and then stomps their feet until she appears on the boat. I was in heaven.

I had one more item on my "meet and greet" list from the blog world. Frontier Psychiatry. He agreed to come out on Sunday night and make an all too fleeting royal appearance.
The red bars in honor of London Preppy who never showed his full face on his blog...

Michael, BGF, and FofBGF peeled off to go get food and I remained at Sidetracks yacking away to Frontier about all the things that 14 year old girls like to yack about. He tried to convince me to watch Gossip Girl and I sent him emails from my phone telling him which old movies they were playing on the video screen that he would love to see in their entirerty. I think we wandered out to the street around midnight both of us suffering a slight loss of hearing and completely hoarse. Each of us grabbed a cab and headed home. Thankfully I did not have a pocket full of pizza.

Monday came all too soon and my time in Chicago was up. Carolyn made a grand gesture and came to see me for lunch and drive me to the airport. Although now that I think about it, perhaps she just wanted to show me an additional full length fur coat (black mink, thank you). When she asked me what I wanted for lunch I told her on my list was "true Chicago-style pizza" where upon she rolled her eyes and said, "Everyone claims Lou Malnati's is the classic Chicago deep dish pizza, but for me I think it's Gino's East. So I'll take you there." It's right off Michigan Avenue and as we were seated Carolyn mentions she is unhappy that she is certain to be taken for a tourist. When the waitress asks us how we are, I announce "I'm good. I'm from out of town," pointing at Carolyn, I continue, " and she is NOT a tourist!" That out of the way we get to the task at hand, EATING.

We ordered the four cheese deep dish pizza with bacon added (I am who I am) and we are notified that it will take 45 minutes to prepare.

OMG. So worth the wait. I had two pieces (and I may still be digesting them) and Carolyn had one piece. She took the rest home to serve her family dinner that night.
I promised our server I wasn't getting her face in the photo, just her chest.

I had an amazing time. So amazing I got sick on the flight home. You guys wore me out and I will probably never recover. I can't wait to come back in the summer and show off my super tan legs.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Come Sail Away... to Chicago

So a year ago, my blog friend Carolyn attended an evening out that sounded too odd and too good to be true. In a fit of jealousy, I told her, "What are the dates for next year? I'll bet it would be fun to go and pick out the drunk gay Catholics. I could fly in."

From their website:
Street Scenes is Carmel Catholic High School’s largest annual fundraiser. For one weekend a year, the entire school is transformed into a themed party with live bands, a casino, food and drink from popular area restaurants, comedy clubs and the famous Student Show in the Carmel Catholic auditorium. The student show is professionally produced and choreographed, presenting four shows per night.
Oh that doesn't even BEGIN to do it justice!

I guess I need to back it up just a bit, I flew in on Thursday night and Carolyn picked me up at the airport. I told her I would know how to find her because I was certain she would be wearing her tiara. I had secretly brought MY tiara to surprise her thinking wouldn't that be funny, the two of us standing in the airport baggage claim with our crowns all a glitter. I got off my plane, walked briskly to the escalator down, carefully unzipped my bag and placed my tiara on my perfectly coiffed hair. The older ladies on the escalator down next to me, leaned over and said, "Honey, it suits you!" I replied that I was using it to my advantage to find a friend I was meeting in the baggage claim area. She looked forward at a handsome young man holding a large bouquet of red roses and said, "I hope that's him!" She must have been so disappointed when I breezed past him and found a woman to grab a hold of.

So there is Carolyn, sitting, waiting for me... WITHOUT HER TIARA! Don't worry I got even with her, I gave her a great big hug (and she is not big on hugs, large or otherwise). Flush with the excitement of meeting someone you have corresponded with over two years back and forth, we blabbed and blabbed and stole glances at each other to see if the other person was what we were expecting.

My luggage arrived and we headed for the parking lot. Here is your first notice that you have landed in Chicago, all the parking levels at the airport are named after sporting teams from the Chicago area. Carolyn told me she almost didn't park where she did because she hated that team.

We drove in to The City, went to my hotel (did her husband know she was checking into a hotel in the city with a stranger she had never met before, "Oh yeah, Tony says Hi.") and I invited Carolyn up to my room to watch me unpack. Apparently she found that quite a show as she later kept telling people, "He put stuff in the closet, ON HANGARS!"

And then like old sorority sisters we flopped on the bed on our stomachs and tried to decide where to go get a meal while we talked about just about every topic imaginable.

Via we decided on a restaurant called Avec. "Avec's attitude is communal and lighthearted, and the exuberant party crowd." Translation: you will be seated at a dining table for six with 8 people and have zero privacy to discuss all things personal that you had planned on speaking about (like my two children that I gave up for adoption and are now state senators who pay me to keep quiet [how else could I do all this travel?], you know that kind of stuff).

We confessed to our waiter that we were virgins (in this restaurant) and he guided us to some signature dishes:
  • Chorizo-stuffed madjool dates with smoked bacon and piquillo pepper-tomato sauce
  • Shaved brussel sprouts with fennel, dill, Parmesan, red onion and brown butter vinaigrette
  • Bucatini pasta with housemade Italian sausage, neck sauce, tomato, fresh herbs and reggiano
TASTY! I am not a huge fan of Brussel Spouts. But we had been having a discussion on brussel sprout salads for a few weeks around the house and I decided to try it based on Carolyn saying she really liked brussel sprouts. All the food is served family style and I had two helpings of the salad. The stuffed dates wrapped in bacon.... oh my god, I'm going back for those. I wish Lyle had been with me so he could have dissected the dish and recreated it at home. Yep, that good. The Bucatini pasta looked exactly like spaghetti, until you bit into it and discovered it was hollow. We skipped out on dessert and went back to my hotel to yack it up some more.

A really fun thing to do in a metropolitan area at night is to turn off all the lights in your hotel room and stare at the people in the neighboring buildings to see who is doing what. I guarantee that if you look long enough you will find some other pervert doing the same thing back at you. God knows we did.

On Friday evening I got myself all gussied up to head out for the main event, Carmel Catholic High School Street Scenes. Carolyn had guided me away from my super preppy outfit of embroidered wool pants with a patterned shirt and tie to a very sleek dark blue shirt with dark blue tuxedo pants and black patent leather shoes. I will tell you in advance, I was already over-dressed. Our plan was for me to take the train to Palatine, be picked up by Carolyn and go meet a friend for a smart cocktail pre-Street Scene.

I was quite the metropolitan, hotel to cab, gave cab exact instructions word for word that I had been told, cab drop off at train station, tell ticket agent word for word where I was headed. $4.50, so cheap! I even got a schedule so I would know when the last train headed back to the city (12:30 am). Then I texted Carolyn and told her when to expect me. Look at me! I'm a fully functioning adult on a train. I'm a big boy!

I was told which station to depart the train and that we would meet at the Starbucks. A very obvious Starbucks. You can't miss it, Starbucks. It's big. Its Green. It's STARBUCKS. Famous last words.

Let's go to our map below:
The long blue mark down the middle of the map is the train I was on. We exited the train into the middle island, away from the actual station.
A. I got off and stared at a vacant street. Cold slight wind blowing. Hmmmmm...
B. People were dispersing. I saw nothing one direction, so I walked the other way (follow red dots). Saw nothing and felt a twinge of "Oh shit, wrong stop?" Then saw people massing back up near where I started, obviously waiting for train to move so they could cross tracks. "A Ha! Station is 'over there'!"(follow orange dots)
-No it was a parking structure. I moved through parking structure and began looking for Starbucks. (follow yellow dots) Ironically, I am about as far away as I could get from it by now. Also though I have been sending out text messages, my cell phone is no longer finding a signal.
C. I wander, wander, wander, then think I see the green glow of Starbucks and I begin a near sprint towards it when I hear, "JIM!!!!" and there is a crazy lady in a full length fur coat running after me. Carolyn! (she had been looking for crazy me in my silver puffy coat that I was NOT wearing) (now follow green dots to...)
D. The actual Starbucks location
E. Our car.
Success! The happy couple reunited!

Carolyn had a full evening planned, first her husband also met us at the train station (he has a blog I enjoy as well!) and her oldest daughter came along (to see the crazy man from California who would fly to Chicago in February to go to a school fundraiser) as well.

We paired off leaving Carolyn's husband and daughter at Starbucks and we drove across kingdom come to meet a friend of Carolyn's at work.
Best cleavage contest?
Best tan contest?
Damn that Laura is a true competitor!

And then we visited at the restaurant bar until Nancy arrived fresh from a revitalizing wake.

At last I win the tanning competition!

We leave the restaurant and stop off at Carolyn's house (breaking the first rule Lyle had given me, but by now I knew I wouldn't be murdered by an axe wielding maniac, if anything it would be more likely a hostage situation from that movie "Misery"). This way Nancy got to change into jeans (hey, I wore D&G tuxedo pants!) and I also had an opportunity to meet Carolyn's youngest daughter, cat and two beagles. That house must be a hopping place, there's even a Barbie townhouse to play with!

At last we were headed to the justification of the entire crazed plan. Street Scenes at Carmel Catholic High. Doors open at 6:30 and only the earliest get prime parking in the lot. The rest of the schmoes park somewhere off site and have to be bussed in. Due to my late train arrival (I was obsessed with my hair and ironing my shirt) and Nancy's wake (seriously, can't you grieve just as much tomorrow?) we were well behind schedule.

We pulled up and surprise, they were letting cars into the lot! No surprise, there were NO SPACES available. By now it was SNOWING and I was delighted. I love to visit weather I would never live in, like snow. It's gorgeous, especially when you know you fly out in two days. But we didn't care, we circled the lot looking for any early departures (so far NOT ONE) and sang along to Britney Spears Womanizer, "You say I'm crazy? I got your crazy... You're nothing but a, Womanizer!" And then by the power of Britney, someone pulled out of a spot and we were parked in the main lot!

When I left the hotel, I opted to not bring my fabulous new Gucci scarf. The blue one went better I told myself and besides, what if it disappeared at the coat check. Imagine my look of horror as Carolyn coat checked her full length fox! We got our tickets, met up with MORE friends and we were out of the shoot, off and almost literally running.

Now something to take note of in the following photos. This is a high school. They shut down classes a week before to transform the hallways and classrooms into something other than a high school. All the lockers are covered over. Classrooms are cleared and facades are placed. It's crazy!
Our first clever decor of locker disguise.

Our first dirty pose of the evening.

Not our last dirty pose of the evening.
(Nancy took direction very well as I posed her to accentuate her "ample assets")

I am just disgusting. Aren't I?

And then we found our favorite place. I lost my map so I can't tell what it was even called. But their T-shirts had a drawing of a martini on the front with the words "I like it DIRTY" so I felt very much at home. They had an amazing piano man and the room was poppin'! They were also serving Chocolate Martinis. If I were the type of person to sit when I go out, I would have made myself a very nice nest in this "Biology room".

Piano man, meet Nancy and Carolyn.
Nancy and Carolyn, meet Piano man.

I have to give a BIG SHOUT OUT to Bev and Crystal. Crystal was the person who dragged Carolyn to this event last year and introduced us all through that experience. Bev has children who ACTUALLY attend the school, so she had a vested interest in the success of the evening. I promise I bought A LOT of drink tickets. Oh, I guess they could be used for food as well....
Bev and Crystal say, "Hello Kitty, meow!"

No Kitty, that's a bad drunk Kitty!

We wandered, we drank, we ate corned beef sandwiches, we wandered, we drank... They also have numerous shows in other rooms and auditoriums that we didn't stop and see. My theory was we'd have to sit and be quiet and wouldn't be able to visit during those shows and they probably didn't have bar service at them either. So we stayed out and kept our spirits high.

Carolyn was enjoying a pickle when she was accosted by a man who wanted a kiss. I thought, "She must know him." She thought "He must know someone." Turns out he is a random pickle kissing bandit. That sounds kinda gay to me.

I live in Los Angeles. I don't get out much. This was my first ever trip where I got out and met the spirit of the Midwest. Everyone was kind, generous and open. All the cliches you hear seem to come true. And just as those cliches rang true, so did a few fashion faux pas.

In the background, I swear the woman on the right is looking at the woman in the middle going, "A mullet? Seriously? With a perm?" Now I'm certain she is a lovely lady. But sometimes lovely people get caught in a rut and they don't know how to get out. Stacey? Clinton? Can you come back with me next year?

Probably around this time is when i stick my foot in my mouth. All the way up to my ankle. I am standing at the pastry counter. I am spending all my last tickets on pastry to go. Anything I can find. And somehow one of my friends (was it Crystal?) asked me if I was always so "on" and may have made a comment that I could run for office... And I said, "Well, I did come here tonight with an idea to PRESS THE FLESH..." (wink, wink, wink, wink...) very loudly.

At which point the little old lady turned to me, extended her hand and said, "Well I guess you can start with me. I'm Sister Mary Nancy."

Which of course brought on the quick flush of the face, a shake of her hand and a mumbled, "Oh, do you work here? How many of these events have you been to?" I could have sworn either her twin or her lesbian wife was right next to her wearing the same sweatshirt. You'd think that would teach me, but since we're all old friends, of course you know I just thought, Well that will be funny to tell later!

The evening is winding down and I have been informed that we no longer needed to worry about me catching the last train back to the city (oh yeah, it left at 12:35 am... about 7 minutes ago) because Nancy had GRACIOUSLY offered to remain sober and be the designated driver ALL THE WAY BACK TO THE CITY.
This is what sober looks like at 1:00 AM

This is not what sober looks like at 1:00 am

As the party winds down and the bars are packed away, there is a scent of something familiar in the air... PANCAKES!
We get in line with every other drunk who bought too many tickets and plan on buying pancakes. This takes about an hour. AN HOUR FOR PANCAKES. This school needs to hire the Kawanis! We took our pancakes and sat in the cafeteria which had the lights on. Strange, moments ago this was Mardi Gras Way with frozen daquiris and a mardi Gras parade complete with a guy in a Burger King costume head, atop a two story scaffolding on wheels, draped with fabric, throwing beads to the people below. None of the people I was with would flash their boobies to attract teh beads. Nancy said hers were big enough as is. As you can plainly see, she was right, check out her beads.
Everybody loves Pancakes!
(mullet woman is secretly stalking us in the background...)

This may have been what we said on our way out to the car...

When we emerge from the party five hours later, the parking lot of 250 cars is down to four. Ours being one of them. While Nancy starts to clean the windows I put on an impromptu fashion show in the snow. I mean come on, how often am I going to have access to a full length fox fur coat?

Then I finished sweeping snow off the car and offered numerous times to crash on someone's couch so they didn't have to drive me back into the city. And even after we were in the city I offered to let the ladies crash in my room so they wouldn't have to drive back in the snow, but they didn't take me up on it.

Carolyn is in charge of the guest list for next year. Friday or Saturday work better for you? I am seriously thinking of a return engagement and who knows, maybe I will convince Lyle to come along as well?

I promise, I'm telling EVERYONE I came.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Mama warned me

When I told my mother I was going to Chicago she asked, "Why?"

I explained that for over two years I had been thinking of going to Chicago to see some friends.

"Oh, where do you know them from?"

... uh, my blog?

And then, though I am an adult, I got a very polite lecture on internet security and stories of people who meet others via online and that people are not always who they seem to be.

Being a very good son, I listened carefully and made a mental note to just do whatever I wanted anyway (it was like I was 17 all over again).

I shared my mother's concerns with Lyle and he surprised me by agreeing with her. "You can go, I have no problem with that. But you have to promise me you won't go to their houses." And like a good husband I listened very carefully and made a mental note to just do whatever I wanted anyway (and not tell him, especially if I wound up dead by an ax murderer).

But I am back and everyone I met in Chicago was a revelation. So amazing, so generous, so kind. I feel like summer camp has ended and I can't wait to go back to make more newspaper hats and talk about the boys in the other cabins.

I plan on sharing a few photos, and understand that some people aren't real big on showing their faces but I hope this one time no one will be annoyed with me.

From their tans, you'd never guess that Carolyn and her husband Tony live in Chicago. From their blogs I pictured them much younger. But just as my mother warned me, you never really know people until you meet them face to face. But they were so amazing and I am eager to show them around Los Angeles whenever they'd like to fly out. We could even go to the beach!

From Frontier Psychiatry's blog I had assumed he'd be younger as well. Closer to recently out of college. What he is doing in an office tower in Chicago is unclear to me when he has so many obvious talents that could make him a living, such as trend spotting, writing and perhaps piano moving (if this photo is any indication of his hidden strengths). Thanks to him I will soon be addicted to Gossip Girl and shall curse his leather girded loins.

And then there is Michael Guy. I think he was my first blog friend ever. I feel like I know him inside and out. Though it was a surprise that he wasn't actually joking when he told me he was a 350 lb black woman, his essence, his words and spirit remained in spite of the packaging. I mean we all talk about inner beauty and Michael embodies that to me. In spite of his size, he obviously knows how to bring the bling and work it fierce!

I know it seems odd that all these people were somehow not quite what I'd expected, and yet I found no fault with any deception. But then maybe that's because all along I have been hiding my own true self on this blog. I guess it's time to let you know what Carolyn, Tony, Frontier and Michael all learned this weekend as well, yet still accepted me.
I am actually a 15 year old Japaneses girl.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Draft Stormy

Something large is in the works...

Have you seen all this yet?

I want her to run. I want her to win. I want to know a Senator!

Wednesday, February 04, 2009


Anyone remember this post from September?

I'm headed there. I left at 5:15 this evening.

I may be unusually quiet as I plan on reading books and laying in the sun and doing relatively nothing.