Friday, November 19, 2010

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Fun & Busy Weekend

Andrew & I started the weekend off at a beautiful wedding on Friday night. Thank you, Margo, for inviting us. We felt so honored to be there.

Saturday, I finally had some quiet time. Andrew was working, so I was at home resting, listening to the Hawkeye game, doing laundry, cursing the Hawkeye game, loading up my new gigantor recycling bin, pleading with the Hawkeye game, and actually cleaning some house because I was so sick of the Hawkeye game. I'm over it now. We'll get 'em next week. But, you know it's bad if I'd rather clean house than listen intently to the game.

After a nice dinner at Top of the Rock, Andrew & I went to see The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee at the Sondheim Center. It was another wonderful Way Off Broadway production. The show is hilarious, and it made me look forward to being a guest speller next Friday night. I don't plan on getting a single word right, but it will be fun to be on stage with good friends and new friends alike in this great show. After the show, my adopted little bro Stephen invited us out to Torino's with the cast & crew. It was a lovely evening.

Today, bell choir played at church. Andrew & I left right after that for Ottumwa. We went to see the movie Red. Now, this is my idea of a movie. It had everything... great stars, dynamic action, and tons of laughs. I was completely entertained. Why can't every action movie be like this? I think this was a movie for everyone. Well worth the money. Or, I should say, well worth Andrew's money. :) I'd also just like to say, for the record, that Helen Mirren is a goddess among mere mortals.

After the movie, we ran a few errands at the mall and at Target (oh, Target, I'd give anything to have you in Fairfield), and wrapped up with a nice dinner at Applebee's. Now, I'm procrastinating starting my school work. But since I have a ton, I better get to it. Hope you all had a great weekend too... my only complaint is I wish it had been longer!!!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

I Adore You, Michael Ball

Andrew & I were talking about Les Miserables. We both agreed that Colm Wilkinson is our only Valjean. But, also for me, there's only one Marius, and his name is Michael Ball. Oh yes, his name is Michael Ball. All that voice and dimples too. Sigh...

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Chicago Weekend

Andrew and I made the most of my 3-day weekend after parent/teacher conferences, and we escaped to the Windy City. We stayed at the Ambassador East Hotel, a grand old monument to glory days gone by, and I mean that in a good way. You could just feel the "see and be seen" quality of the Pump Room, and the whole place just had a stately, dignified charm. It was fairly reasonable, pretty close to everything we needed, and it had wireless internet access, unlike the modern Marriott where we stayed in California!

My mission for Friday night was to eat Ethiopian food. I'd eaten Ethiopian food with college friends many times, and I was hungry for it! If you've never eaten Ethiopian food, I highly recommend it. It combines Middle Eastern/Indian flavors with the fantastic experience of injera, a bread that is also your silverware! I'd researched a place called Ras Dashen, and it totally delivered. DELICIOUS!

The next morning, Andrew and I set off for Michigan Ave. We hoped to find a sports bar along the way where we could catch the Hawkeye game vs. Indiana. We were decked out in our Hawkeye finery, of course. A guy walking his dog called to us from across the street, "Hey! Where are you going to watch the game?" We struck up a conversation, and it turns out he was an Iowa grad in sports medicine. He told us about a place across from Second City where we could watch the game. That's how we found Wells on Wells... a Hawkeye bar in the heart of Chicago!

Andrew outside Wells on Wells

me inside Wells on Wells

Our dear Hawkeyes almost gave me a heart attack (if the Hawkeyes didn't give me a heart attack, my Grilled Cheese from Hell might have... 3 kinds of cheese and actual mozzerella sticks in the sandwich!), and I was going to be pretty ticked if they didn't pull off a win after I'd spent over 3 hours of my getaway weekend sitting on a hard stool in a pub watching them. Luckily, and by the seats of their pants, they came through. We were more relieved than anything, and we went to sightsee on Michigan Ave.

We caught a quick bite at the Original Pancake House, where I finally got to try the Dutch Baby that I'd seen on Food Network. Andrew wasn't impressed. I liked it!!!

Then, for the highlight of the weekend. We drove to the Steppenwolf Theatre to see our friend Claire Wellin play Mayella Ewell in their production of To Kill a Mockingbird. This is my favorite book of all time, if you didn't know that. I also read it out loud to my 8th grade GOAL classes every year (we're on Chapter 3 right now). The whole production, from the set to the actors to the adaptation, was stellar. Andrew & I were so proud to know Claire. We've seen her on stage in Fairfield with Way Off Broadway many times, and it was so cool to see her making it big in Chicago. She was sensational... such emotional range! We were also super lucky to meet up with her in the elevator before the show, so we got hugs too. Bonus!

We took our time getting out of Chicago on Sunday, having a leisurely breakfast in the Pump Room. Before leaving the city, I wanted to see the Bean in Millenium Park. If you have never stopped at this sculpture (it's official name is Cloud Gate), you NEED TO! It's fascinating, amazing, incredible, mind-boggling, beautiful... how many more adjectives do you want? I could probably come up with a thousand! I had seen it on TV and in friends' pictures. I'm so glad I've seen it in person now. It's wonderful. It was fun seeing it and also watching other people experience it... I could have done that all day! The day was so beautiful, it was hard to believe we were in November. If you ever have some time to kill in Chicago... head to the Bean.

Cloud Gate, aka: the Bean

Trying to take our picture in the Bean's reflection... not as easy as it sounds...

Another try...

Finally, someone took pity on us and took our picture!

Reflecting on our trip... literally!

It was a quick weekend, but it was totally worth it. I feel recharged for the week and for the month of November. The holidays will be here before we know it... crazy thought!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Random Harumphing

* These election results + stress of parent/teacher conference week + PMS = harumph. I'm not a happy camper.

* Seriously. Has anyone really looked at where our country is headed? Extremists! On both sides! I'm so freaking sick of it and them and all their bickering and biting and intolerance and general idiocy. Where are the rational, decent, normal people? And why don't they ever run for office? Harumph.

* My desk is a pigsty, and I have conferences in my classroom tomorrow night. Harumph.

* I think I sprained my hand from the touchpad on my laptop. Harumph. Does anyone know if that is that even possible?

* I'm growing about 4 planetoid zits on my face in various conspicuous locations. Excellent impression for meeting the parents of students. Welcome to my classroom. I have leprosy. Harumph.

OK. I'm done for now. I'll go have a big cry and then get on my Scarlett O'Hara. Tomorrow is another day...
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