Sunday, July 7, 2013

Sort of like Disney

I haven't decided whether this weekend was really good or really bad.  The best I can do is describe it as like a trip to Disney World: it had its magical moments, like when you're about to poop your pants at the top of Splash Mountain, but they didn't come without the two hours you spend in line getting there.

As far as Disney worthy magic, I'm only exaggerating a little using the word magic because (in my world, at least), that's one of the few words that appropriately describe this...

... the most elaborate Bloody Mary bar I have ever experienced.  Bloody Mary's just so happen to be my favorite drink (unfortunate, really, unless you're trying to channel the "alcoholic soccer mom" vibe) and this weekend, I hit the absolute mother lode.

One of my friends from the running group I've been going with invited me to try out a different group with him on the Fourth of July.  The group, which focuses on strength and stretching to complement running, sounded pretty cool as it was; still being the semi-new girl in town, I'm always excited about meeting new people, and even better if they run.

But when he told me that, because it was a holiday, the group was going out to a tapas bar called Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba afterwards... I was sold.  I had heard about this place from Erika, who is all about tapas, but had never gotten a chance to try it.

In addition to trying some interesting (but delicious) Spanish dishes in good company, I was treated to an experience that I'm sure will only be topped by birth of my first child: the special, brunch Bloody Mary bar.

Basically, they brought me a cup of vodka...

And then it was up to me to fill it as I chose.  The bar had the standards: tomato juice, celery stalks, and hot sauce.  But then you also had your choice of bacon, roasted pumpkin seeds, tomato and mozzarella skewers, olives... I mean, this place had steamed shrimp and pearl onions.  It was no joke and I was not laughing; I was in the midst of the most heavenly art project of my adult life.

Needless to say, my Fourth of July morning/afternoon was fantastic.  But like I said, the weekend had its version of Disney lines.  After a long shower and a longer nap, I realized that evening that I didn't have any plans.  And only having a handful of friends here, that didn't change; everyone I might have done something with was either with family, out of the city, or out the state entirely.

So my big Fourth of July bang was a trip to WalMart to rent Silver Linings Playbook, upon which the clerk made sure I was actually over 17 and old enough to rent an R-rated movie.  Yes, I spent the greatest American holiday being carded for a movie rental.  Awesome.

Even though the self-respecting 22 year old in me was kind of ashamed, there was a small part of me (specifically, the tired and dehydrated part regretting my refueling choices after my hot and humid 8 AM 8 mile run and subsequent strength and stretching workout) that was secretly glad that I had no choice but to veg out all night.  Twenty-two going on sixty-five: that's me.

Overall, though, I'd have to say that the up's outweighed the down's.  Even though my Fourth of July didn't include a bushel of crabs (as my dad so kindly reminded me that his did), it had its perks:

I got some quality tanning time in at the beach with J. K. Rowling's latest book (which I'm finally getting to read after a girl at work lent it to me).

I also went to a festival called Taste of Lakeview, a mini neighborhood version of the Taste of Chicago (which is apparently a big deal).  

It was a great way to spend part of an American holiday weekend.  And even if sangria, seafood paella, churros, and Blink 182 cover bands don't say "Happy Birthday America," you can't deny that "The Heart Attack" hits it on the nose:

Chicago really does always have something up its sleeve.  In West Palm, never in a million years would I find myself in a swinging hammock chair, sangria in hand, alternating between hearing Billy of EZ Hang Chairs's pathway into the hammock industry and giving our highest swinging chair approval rating to potential customers.  But I guess that's just a day in the life here.

It definitely wasn't your traditional Fourth of July holiday, but it wasn't too bad.  Even though I would have preferred the real Disney World (which would mean that I was most likely on my way to Cristina's wedding), my little version of a Disney vacation was good enough for me.

Have a great week everyone!  Here's to hoping it doesn't involve too many "Disney lines"! ;)

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