Flashdance

Get ready, folks, I’m about to hash out the details of this weekends trip to the Broadway musical, Flashdance.

First off, no matter what kind of outing I’m attending, I will likely have the shittiest seats in the house. Tigers baseball? Nosebleed. Trisha Yearwood concert? Nosebleed. (really? Is Trisha Yearwood really the first person who came to mind?) Broadway show? Nosebleed. Dueling piano bar? Back hallway.   Where is Trish these days?

In any matter, I couldn’t see the lead actresses face, but I could see her abs from the rooftop where we sat, so at least I left with absolute confidence that I need to do a couple more sit ups.

(okay, okay, sit ups in general)

Broadway is not for everyone. Personally, I was emotionally committed from the get-go and found myself sitting at the edge of my seat with my hands over my mouth, tears filling my eyes when Alex’s friend loses her standards in the world of dancing for money when she’s lured to work for the slimy C.C. at his new club down the street. A smile curled on my lips when Nick Hurley quit his job as heir to his grandfather’s steel mill after disagreeing with the way business was being handled.

Not to mention that part when Alex was doing her stripper dance and finishes with the whole water splashing all over her nearly naked body.  You know she got the entire audience feeling something with that number.

In it’s most recent reviews, the show has been getting slammed for being “too risque” and “sleazy” with all of the exotic dance routines. Oh, West Michigan. You are so sweetly conservative. This show is based on a true story, based on true events of a girl who worked in a steel mill by day and was an exotic dancer by night, with big dreams to become more. If they didn’t include the exotic dancing part – with skin showing and hips moving – the show would have suffered to get its message across.

We are only human, however, and I did hear negative remarks as we all shuffled our way down the crowded steps from our watch tower.

“That really sucked.”

“Thank god it’s over, that took forever.”

Wow, your detailed review is mind blowing. Please tell me how you could do any of those dance moves while belting perfectly on pitch – No? you can’t even carry a tune? In which case, keep your lack of respect for the arts at home. You already know if you’re an over-analytical asshole, why are you even here?

I didn’t say that to them, and really the only thought that came to my head was, yep, you guessed it, “haters are gonna hate.”

Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t think it was flawless. There were a couple parts I wasn’t sold on.

For instance, I’m not sure why the judges were so impressed with her audition in one of the final scenes. This is her big moment, this is her chance to shine, to prove what she’s really made of and change the course of her life!

#1 – She comes running in, late to the audition. What in the world could be her excuse? She doesn’t give one, just whines and pleads and tells them, “You HAVE to let me audition!” Bossy-pants, USA.
#2 – She falls on her ass within the first minute of wandering around the floor, clearly displaying that her nerves never get the best of her when it’s really down to the wire.
#3 – The rest of the audition is mediocre I suppose, but the judges can’t see all those back up dancers that she’s grooving with in her mind. I’m confused. Why did the judges fall on their faces with amazement? Does the competition suck in comparison?

In any case, they got me on my feet for a standing “O,” even though I was the sole human doing so way up in the Land of the Lost.

The next day I found myself at two different supermarkets with a friend, and at each one I managed to randomly burst out into the chorus of “maniac” several different times with the “running in place” dance move to go with it. I got stares, but sometimes you just can’t fight that feeling that comes over you.

Those guys can sing. So from me they receive a big thumbs up.

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I hope you chase your dreams today, just like Alex did in 1983

Cheers!

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The Avatar Survives Chicagoland

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How about we start out with an atrocious attempt at a city photo, shall we?  This was shortly after the city came into view and I proclaimed, “Sears Tower!” like a four year old who just spotted a pony.

The Avatar drove with new found confidence on her freshly adorned front tires and my friend, Blake, and I arrived safely to the city of Chicago.  Our hotel bedroom was a swing and a miss with this depressing view, but for what we paid, I suppose one is not to complain.  Now the price we paid for parking? Complain-able.  Sixty American dollars for less than 24 hours.

If only the whole original idea of taking the $20 train from Michigan City had actually worked out.

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Our moods could not be dampened.  We freshened up and though I brought a coat for every occasion, I opted for my most stylish, least winter friendly jacket.  Not smart.  The sun was out, however, and we took off down Michigan Avenue to find the adventures that awaited us.

Turns out the first thing that awaited us was a frothy beer, courtesy of Pippin’s Tavern, an old, homey dive right in the heart of downtown.  From what we could notice, it was a favorite spot for older gentlemen with nothing better to do than to drink with their buddies early in the day (no judgement), and also for businessmen, madly escaping the corporate world for a hot dog and PBR on their lunch break.

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Two wildly overpriced beers later, we stepped back into the sunlight and mainstream America took us over store after store.  We even went crazy with a couple clearance purchases from Express.  New white tank! Woo! I was elated with my purchase, and I know Blake was giddy to add a new v-neck to his collection.

If I can be perfectly honest with you, we were freezing, and entered each store with the sole purpose of warming our chilled bones.  What I was really on the lookout for was a place to eat, somewhere I had never been.

Taiyo Japanese won out and I mean seriously won out, with the best spicy tuna and decent california roll lunch combo.  A split of Prosecco to accompany, please.

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Shopping I do fairly well.  Eating? I do that borderline professionally.

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We stopped at a few more stores, blah blah blah, and met up with my sweet and funny friend, Ashley, who resides in Chicagoland, for dinner and post dinner drinks.  I have no photos in which to comment on from here on out because I left my phone at the hotel.  (I was over it after a quick meltdown, plus we were about to chow down on steak, so that cheered me up immediately).

Delmonico steak was my mouthwatering choice.  Yes, a 22-oz. bone-in ribeye, and it didn’t stand a chance.  Blake picked out a bottle of Spanish wine for the table and boom, I was in perfectly marbled cow heaven.  It didn’t even matter that it was cooked medium plus as opposed to the medium rare I ordered, it was that good.  And yes, I did help Blake finish his steak also.  I’m telling you, Mama loves food.

Toward the end of the meal our server was discussing with us where we should go next.  Pops for Champagne was his recommended spot and with way too much excitement I flung my arms in front of me and squealed, “That’s the place I pointed out on the way into town!” Amidst my freakout I managed to knock over my (empty, thank my lucky stars) wine glass and splatter a couple droplets in Blake’s direction.  After a quick glare from his end and multiple apologies from mine, we were off to Pops.

They were pretentious, but the mood was cool and hip, which is why they put us in the far back corner away from the public eye. I should’ve shown a bit more cleavage, I suppose.

Next up was Untitled, a favorite spot of Ashley’s, and rightly so.  We entered through a nondescript door and down to an underground, 1920’s themed jazz club.  Offering more than 280 American Whiskey varieties, I’m pretty sure Blake crapped his pants (the way one craps their pants when they’re elated…).  The live band played funky and fast jazz and the dancers clearly practiced their moves nightly.  We stuck to chair dancing, which is something Ashley and I do well.

10:30 rolled around and we decided that we were not cool enough to make it even to midnight.

I insisted on pizza back at the hotel.  And I mean, vehemently argued that it was an essential component to our Chicago experience.  Blake gave in and ordered a $30 pizza.  When he ran down to the lobby to retrieve it, I fell asleep – out cold.  Blake ate a corner piece before crashing.  So when in doubt, ignore my late night requests for food.  It’s always unnecessary.

The next morning came too early as I awoke to the smell of mushrooms and crust, and we had to get back to Grand Rapids for a work meeting.  We left with plenty of time and were almost out of the city until we missed an exit and ended up driving through the scarier suburbs for a half hour, with Blake’s GPS never quite realizing where we were.  We couldn’t speak to each other for a bit due to anger fueled by dehydration, hunger, and pride, but we managed to find our way and barely, just barely make it to our meeting on time.

what is it with me not being able to leave a city without a detour?

It was a good and necessary getaway.  I love Chicago, and for a bit I was thinking it needed to be my next spot to live.  I was antsy in Grand Rapids and wanted to get out again, but I think my problem is that I need to find happiness where I am now, in life – mentally, emotionally, physically.  Here.  In Grand Rapids. 


As I drove into my own city, I felt a sense of relief.  My heart, as spazzy and indecisive as it can be, is in West Michigan.

 

Waiting Room Rant

When you are sitting in a quiet waiting room, one of the most annoying things anyone could possibly do is talk incessantly on their cell phone. I will never understand this lack of public manners. Is that really comfortable? I know your entire conversation! It may be as mundane as the one I’m listening to right now, but whether or not it’s enticing, you are literally driving everyone else into an itchy fit of anxiety with your solitary voice echoing through the room.

Others choose to read a book or the paper, sip coffee, some choose to quietly punch away on their laptop (oh hey! that’s me) and others are perfectly okay with leaning their head back and closing their eyes to soak in the quiet that Loudmouth to my left is completely disrupting.

I came to my favorite car repair service spot this morning for a quick oil change before scooting away to wonderful Chicago for a desperate attempt to escape Grand Rapids for a night.

I pulled up and notified the nice young man, “Oil change and tire rotation, please! Also, excuse the mess, I wish I had a reason as to why my car is such a disaster, but as it turns out I’m just the most disgusting person alive.”

Fifteen minutes came and went faster than reading a chapter from Harry Potter before my name was called. I couldn’t help but exclaim, “Serious? Gosh, I love you guys. You are always SO fast!”

The look he was giving me was one of trepidation, he let out an intimidated and very fake laugh/sigh. Something was wrong.

My quick oil change turned into “your front tires are illegal to drive on,” and $300 later, I no longer have the shopping endeavors planned in the Windy City as I did twenty minutes ago.

Loudmouth has finally left the building and I heard the room let out a united sigh of relief and even saw some grins and shaking of heads. Thus, declaring my previous assumptions to be true. Also, a gentleman from my parent’s generation just received a phone call, to which he reacted by standing up and walking in the next room. These are times when I’m not wholeheartedly in love with the generation I was born in to.

Did I mention the discussion I heard on the radio a few days ago, where nearly every caller agreed that it is best to not say “no no” to your children and instead strive to avert their attention elsewhere? And does anyone else see how completely stupid that is?

Think, for a minute, if everyone was raised in a fashion where we never heard the word “no.” We would crumble and fail so quickly in this world of adulthood where hearing the word “no” comes about in our everyday lives. I’ll go ahead and say it, even kids need to hear “no,” or you are likely raising your sweet child to be an entitled asshole.

Tires still aren’t on, but I can only do a waiting room rant for so long.
I’ll tell you all about the Avatar’s Chicago adventures very soon, and if your kid tries to touch a hot stove I hope you yelp out “NO NO!” so loud.

Cheers!

How to Date Yourself

I like being single. This may be contradictory to many posts or even thoughts that run through my head, but in truth, I do like being a single girl.

That’s a good thing, because I happen to be single a lot.

In my singlehood, I have realized the importance of being comfortable with solitude. One thing I’ve committed to doing for myself during my days (months…years) of being single is to take myself out on dates.

It’s something that was utterly lonesome and awkward in the beginning.  I would do simple things, like go get coffee, and force myself to sit with a newspaper or a book.  I would look around anxiously to see if anyone noticed how pathetic I seemed, so alone with no one to sit and sip with me.

(boo-hoo)

Soon, it became easier, and I found myself easily enjoying a sandwich after a solo outing to the mall.

(woop-dee-doo)

Eventually, I was taking myself to movies, out to nice steak dinners, shows, museums, wherever I wanted.  I would dress to impress [myself] and go out on the town.

(Now we’re talkin’)

Just the other week, I started my date at a favorite coffee joint before hitting up the local bookstore where you’re encouraged to buy a book (new or used), then grab a beer, and then enjoy said book and beer by the fire.  I was planning on topping the night off with a filet mignon at a snazzy restaurant downtown. (No, not my place of work).

My beautiful, sweet cousin works at the coffee place I speak so highly of, so when I stopped in I told her about my date night plans.  She got a kick out of it, and when she asked where I was taking myself I found myself beginning my response with, “Well, we’re planning on…”

…as in “we,” as in “more than one person,” as in “I might be slightly losing my mind.”

She graciously joked and lightly teased me about it and then proceeded to make me an insanely frothy, smooth, and perfectly balanced cappuccino.

There are many women who have questioned me anxiously after learning of my “dating habits.”

Don’t I feel embarrassed sitting all alone?

Don’t I notice the stares of others feeling sorry for me?

No, not anymore.

I’ve learned to immerse myself in a book, in the taste and smell of food, wine, coffee, with the characters and plot in a movie.  I’ve learned to hear my thoughts and allow myself to use that time to listen to what my crazy heart has to say.

As far as everyone else is concerned, they can look away if they don’t like what they see.  I’m out to enjoy time with myself and I won’t let a random stranger gawking deter me from doing just that.

Our relationship has blossomed really nicely, and I am excited to get to know myself more.

…and I’d like to strongly encourage you (without your significant other) to do the same.

There’s a quote from the movie Alice in Wonderland (the new(er) one) that I love:

“Have I gone mad?”

“I’m afraid so, you’re entirely bonkers.  But I’ll tell you a secret – all the best people are.”

Cheers to you and yourself! (more-so to me and myself, let’s be honest)