May 14th (Insert Year)

Tonight is the eve of my birthday, and no I’m not telling you my age. I have been thinking of the many spots in Chicago where I have spent my birthday. My earliest birthday destination my have been Showbiz Pizza. Basically Chuck E Cheese, I think they bought out Showbiz. I remember the robotic animals, game tickets and pizza of course. Was there a funny smell?

When I turned 13, I convinced my mother to take me to the Hard Rock Cafe in River North. This was a feat-to ask her, on a weekday after teaching crazy-ass kids all day to take me downtown to eat. I’m actually starting to feel guilty now. And guess what, when we finished eating, she realized she had a flat tire. It got remedied somehow, we were home by 10pm.

I’m sure we hit Pizza Hut a few times, but no specific memories come to mind. I am sure I hit the golden arches before my tastes became too discriminating. Two years, 8 and 10 I had parties at my house, so I may not have had dinner out.

My sweet sixteen was okay. That was not a girly phase for me, although from photos, my friends had a great time at my house. We did go to Lansing to see The Crow, but I can’t remember any meals from that day.

When I was eighteen, I was mad and I ate a hot dog for dinner. I think I had to face the injustice of eating it on bread too. I I could not believe that my mom was putting off a fancy birthday dinner for another day. “My birthday is now and we must celebrate it NOW” is how I felt. I even wore a dress to school, which I never did and my friends forgot it was my birthday. We eventually went to the Medici on 57th.

In my college years, my birthday fell just days after moving out for the Summer. I met up with friends one year at Taza on Wabash and Monroe. It was an “all kind of chicken” kind of place. I was partial to their chicken pesto sandwiches.

When I turned 21, I went out with my brother and cousins to the House of Blues. I had crawfish etouffe, a daquiri and after I got home I threw up. But it was a great night before I high-tailed it to the bathroom. Life lesson-no booze and seafood. I still stick to that today.


Portugese Panties

The other day, I was looking at my black spring jacket hanging up while I was at the salon. It sharply dawned upon me that the jacket is twelve years old. I shook my head in disbelief-I believe that is the only article of clothing that has withstood twelve years of me. Fashions, as well as my weight changed, but this rather plain but versatile jacket had held on. I should give it some kind of cerificate or something.

The jacket and I were united in March 2003 in San Francisco. It was a Sunday and the city’s St. Patrick’s Day parade was being held on Market Street. I had been wearing the shell of my Columbia winter jacket, which did not breathe at all. That must have been the reason for my being ready to ditch it. We were in front of a Ross store-still unknown to the midwest at that time. I picked it out rather quickly and went on my way. I did some mild bragging when I returned home that I got this cool jacket at “some store called Ross in San Francisco”. Little did I know Ross would eventually follow me to Chicago.

A year later it accompanied me to London. It even shows up in a picture at the Tower bridge and a red phonebooth in Oxford. Last year it went to Germany and still carries the remnants of Currywurst sauce on a sleeve.

What I want to impart upon you is to try to pick up a useful, long lasting item or two on your travels. With wearable items, they will surely get noticed and you can proudly inform everyone of the (possibly) far-flung location it was found in. It will also mean more and prove more handy than a t-shirt or knick-knack ever will.