we popped out of the cab and were instantly hypnotized by the sheer beauty swimming in a cultural soup at the crown fountain. indian, mexican, asian, african american...all the children running, splashing, laughing - what a sight for the eyes, an incomparable song for the ears. and the skyline, how do you describe the beauty of the chicago skyline at sunset on a warm and perfect july night? as the energy of our surroundings swirled around us, our ears perked to the tune of "lady" as can only be sung by dennis de young just a short walk across the park at the pritzker pavilion. we thought, no, no frigging way!! but there he was, crooning out a tune that instantly took me back to the steamy backseat of my boyfriends car during my sophomore year as a carmel high school fudgie. and it was him, them, STYX in the flesh!
after gathering the details of "is this really happening, yes it is, what time does it start, we have to hurry back to get our seats" nans and i scouted out reinforcements (food, drink) in preparation for the show. our thought was to grab take away, but we instead opted for the draw of a cool watering hole - pazano's. three beers, a "vegas bomb" shot, a basket of calamari and a platter of the best damn quesadillas later we were prepped, primed and ready to rock. and rock we did. singing, dancing, swinging the flame of a bic lighter over my head (thanks to the guy behind me who heard me say "now all i need is a lighter nans!!), dancing, belting out come sail away, domo origato mr. roboto - the evening was, indeed, "the best of times."
and we weren't even expecting it. we just popped in the car with a plan for nothing more than a walk through the park and a quick bite to eat. but it was a night i'll remember FOREVER.
flip side, fast forward. after a WAY less than favorable experience (back in may) at a local restaurant on the lake in wauconda that's located in a big yellow house, and which recently added a huge new tiki bar deck to draw the thirsty to their bar stools to empty their wallets on over priced drinks, i was personally invited by the operations manager to come in and enjoy a meal on the house. this gentleman promised me that he wanted to give me "a most positive dining experience." his words were "come enjoy dinner on the house, bring your friends back so that we can make things right with you."
well, after a very trying day for the hubby, i wanted to treat him to a nice meal on a gorgeous night. today he went on his first job interview in more years than we can even remember. this is in attempt to be reemployed after losing his job of nearly 26 years. i thought hey, let's go celebrate your awesome interview, let's do something romantic. let's have some fun. so we went to that said restaurant in the big yellow house on the lake. the one right on 176. long story short, the manager forgot the promise he made to me. and then he remembered. and then he forgot to tell the manager who took his place after he left for the day. and i ended up embarrassed, treated EXTREMELY poorly by the said manager and vowing to myself to NEVER set foot in that place again. the confusion, the bad energy, all of it made for a most unpleasant experience and certainly not the nice, celebratory plans i had in mind for my husband and i.
i shake my head when i think of how nans and i were in the city all weekend long. china town, south side, north side, hotels, restaurants, cab drivers, wait staff, bus staff, housekeeping...and NOT ONCE were we treated in the same poor sorry ass manner as we were at the local restaurant in my own home town. pa-fricking-thetic!! everyone we encountered during our visit to the city of big shoulders treated us like a friend, like family, like their home was our home. i remember when that (local) restaurant was owned by the mers family. you were NEVER treated like that. you were family. you were served a great meal, and you were made to feel welcome. not the case now, certainly.
that said, back to our visit to the city. we saw authors: eloisa james, marjorie liu, debbie macomber, laura caldwell, cathie linz, nevada barr, richard peck, carrie host, and so many more. we raked in loads of free books by pulitzer, newberry and caldecott honor authors. we toured china town, eating like asian royalty. we laughed our asses off, walked everywhere, drank it all in like a tall glass of water after a stretch in the desert. a perfect weekend - fave friends us two - making a memory that'll last a lifetime. and then that concert. who knew? and only, ONLY in the city of chicago!! the only bad thing was that I FORGOT THE BATTERY CHARGER FOR MY STUPID CAMERA SO I DIDN'T GET ANY PICTURES!! except the one above. and that was the sky, a kiss from above as we sailed away...
so the story goes
my best friend and i.
the title of my post? an inside joke between two friends.