02 March 2010


House and Garden magazine

This is were I would love to be. Somewhere in Provence with sunshine and wonderful food.

But, I'm here. Finally well and striving to find the right balance in daily living.

The weekend was full with preparing for and entertaining friends on Sunday evening. Shrimp cocktail, hot spinach dip, and a creamy bleu cheese spread were the treats (tortilla chips, fresh carrots, yummy crackers, and apple slices rounded it out), with a light and lemony cake for dessert. A good time. I labored over the spinach dip--using fresh baby spinach sauteed with olive oil, garlic, and onions instead of squeezing the juices out of frozen. Don't think anyone noticed. I've decided spinach dip has run its course. Oh well, we are enjoying the leftovers.

Yesterday was a full dance card. An opthamologist appointment, The Last Station, and dinner at Carlucci's near O'Hare with my cousin. The eyes are good, the movie was good, and dinner was lovely.

I don't ever mind going to a movie alone--except the one time I was the ONLY person viewing the movie--and I had a few hours to kill between the eyes and the stomach. I enjoyed The Last Station. Can Helen Mirren get any better? Really lovely costuming and cinematography. A very interesting view into an earlier century--intellectualism, piety, familial ties, and all the conflicting agendas that come with the bunch. Also, James MacAvoy does an outstanding job, as does Kerry Condon playing the gorgeous and inticing Masha. Those two younger people are gifted actors. Their eyes expressed as much as the dialogue--full of life and meaning and emotion.

It's been a long time since I'd been to Carlucci's, and it was a very convenient destination for our dinner plans last night. Just a brief drive from my cousin's hotel, the traffic was light, the winter sky very dark; a seemingly dark and quiet winter Monday night. So quiet that I was reassured that I'd checked the website to make sure Carlucci's is open on Monday nights.

The restaurant is in a development of office buildings with a Marriott, and just off Des Plaines/River Road. After parking, we walked into the building and down a long hallway to the host station, confessing immediately we had no reservation. The host didn't flinch as she immediately showed us to a great table in a full-to-the brim restaurant! It was packed. And a bit noisy. It took me aback.

We adjusted quickly to the noise level, and settled in for the evening. Obviously, business travel is alive and well. Most tables had 5 to 8 people and all the tables were full. I asked the waiter if this was a typical Monday night crowd and he said, "Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and  Thursday."

BZ and I both chose the Veal Marsala and it was wonderful--the balance of Marsala in the sauce was light and flavorful, and the wild mushrooms were perfect. Later I reflected that a small nest of angel hair pasta would have taken it over-the-top. Of course, the entire menu was ala carte and pasta is a side dish... When you're on a corporate credit card (we weren't) details like ala carte don't matter. As it was, after my side dish salad I was unable to eat more than half my entree.

The evening was about catching up and sharing conversation. We never run out of topics and it's nice when BZ's life drops her into the Chicago area so that we can stay connected.

Today is exercise and reading. I do love my home and having options to stay here and wallow in the ambience CA and I have created. Life is good.

Tomorrow or Thursday I will drive to Michigan with JL and spend a few days living life with her. CA is very busy all week with soccer start-up--forming the teams and organizing the practices. His days are peppered with substitute teaching in math and his evenings are long, so he won't miss me much.

No comments: