but first, my day with the chilluns yesterday was so fun and very untaxing and stress-free. they actually went down for a TWO HOUR nap! i had to rouse them because they were sleeping so long, which is a bit of a feat because little miss is notorious for resisting napping. the key is to really tire them out beforehand. first i gave them both haircuts and then i packed us up some healthy lunches and snacks (peanut butter sandwiches cut into start shapes, a banana, an apple, water) and we took the subway and then the bus to riverdale farm. we were originally going to go to the science centre and friend H and baby D were going to accompany us, but they've been felled by a little cold and the science centre seemed a little buckshot on my own.
so little miss was terrified by the animals and the little sir was completely enthralled and they ate their healthy snacks and we shared some cookies baked by the farm and then on our way home we stopped at the park and they played for another hour and then we walked home. on the way there, i had let little miss hold the ttc child's tickets and on the way back, i gave them to the little sir. he was SUPER STRESSED about it. i put them in his pocked and then i noticed his little wee hand poked into his pocket, feeling for the tickets and he was kind of tense. he stayed that way until he gave them to the ttc bus driver! lol! so cute!
then i put them in the roomie's bed and made the room really dark and blocked them in and removed distractions and they conked out. s-dawg came over, we ate dinner and shared some cupcakes and then watched treehouse until my mum came to pick them up. it was super fun and very easy going - the older they get the easier they are to handle.
s-dawg also insisted on making me watch this video that he had posted on my facebook wall and i had ignored (i'm the worst for clicking links to stuff sent by other people). people, i eat my recalcitrant link-clicking ways. this is the second coming of christian the lion AND it features my favorite les miz song and it's so perfect that of COURSE i was tearing up:
i can't embed it, you'll have to click through. AMAZING. so so so good. this is totally the kind of human interest story that people need in this time of recession and totally kicks the pants of like, sanjaya and clay aiken or whatever crap north american barfs up. BEST! BEST EVER! 25 MILLION views! another blow struck on the sincerity come back trail.
okay, chicago times.
i forgot to mention that on day 2, while lugging our 10lb tres leches cake around (they're heavy because of all the milk they're soaked in), with the dotytron in an increasingly heightened state of anxiety over the structural integrity of the tres leches, we walked through a bit of pilsen (initially in an attempt to find MORE tres leches!) and hit al's no. 1 italian beef sandwiches - which are supposed to be chicago's answer to the philly cheeseteak, even though the two couldn't be more dissimilar. the chicago beef sandwich has more in common with a florentine bollito sandwich. the meat is clearly sliced paper-thin, then braised to a dissolving tenderness and then piled into a very soft, tissue-textured bun (that you can request "dipped" or not dipped - judging by the pictorial evidence above, we clearly picked "dipped".) we requested hot peppers, to the beef was liberally sprinkled with chili flakes and what looked like bits and pieces from the braising liquid - celery, onions and the like, that were just barely holding their form. it's a messy, undignified affair to eat, but an utterly transporting experience on the palate, the french dip you always wanted but never had.
the major factor that made us abort the secondary tres leches pit stop and go for beef sandwiches instead is that we ended up in a bit of a rough neighbourhood - which is fine, no biggie, ordinarily. and it wasn't even THAT rough...just a little coarse. however, we passed a demo'd lot between two buildings that rank of feces - human. and there was a car on blocks covered with a tarp and the only conclusion that you could come to was that someone was using that as their domicile and lavatory and it kind of made us decide that we should cherish our one tres leches cake and just have a snack somewhere else instead (the dotytron's leg was also hurting - remember the explanatory note that began the chicago chronicles.)
then we went back to the hotel, rested, hit publican and then hit this jazz club, the green mill, which had been owned by al capone way back in the day and was way up north in the suburbs of chicago. chicago is mostly known as a blues town, a jazz town, and a town of libertarian, neo-classical economics. we obviously had to hit a jazz bar at one point. the green mill was kind of awesome, especially for someone who isn't naturally inclined to love jazz and has been gradually brought over by osmosis. it was LIVE in there. we showed up at minute because they have a band that places from midnight until FIVE AM for a $5 cover. amazing! the dotytron chose wisely because the band had a hammond b-3 player - one of the factors that will make me more inclined to like whatever jazz happens to be on is the presence of hammond, wurlitzers and rhodes - i'm more of a rhythm section fan at the best of times and generally tune out the saxophones and trumpets.
another factor that makes me like live jazz is if the show is LIVE. i'm used to ENERGY at shows - the dotytron's constant criticism is that i want things to be too boombastic when we go out and hear live music. jazz shows in toronto featuring the most boringly middle-class, aged, restrained, and fogey audiences i've ever seen everywhere. it's VERY off-putting. people don't talk, but sit in silent reverence and then unleash a scattered pitter-patter of polite clapping. it's egregious. this music was supposed to be COOKING! the thing about the green mill was that it was like a rowdy, raucous bar with people listening to tunes. the late night band was more of a be-bop thing (i think) and there was a great energy in the room. the same thing in new york. when we caught this jazz legend, ron carter, at the museum of natural history. it was still a museum audience, but A - there was WAY more ethnic diversity in the crowd, and B) even though it was still museum town, the audience was still more lively and engaged (purely subjective, but my powers of perception are unparalleled.)
and so ended day 2, with a sleepy cab ride back to our hotel, which apparently turns into a nightclub at some point, completely with skanky chick hostesses tottering on stilettoes in the lobby.
day 3 will have to be a separate post and the rundown on alinea will get it's own self contained review.
today i was supposed to go to the inaugural meeting of my knitting club, which consists of friend H, baby D (by proxy), friend M, and H's other friend M, a dude who's interested in sock knitting, but H and baby D, as previously mentioned, are sick so that go kiboshed. it's supposed to be a bit rainy, too. we're having the dotytron's parents and his sister over for dinner tonight so i'm going to do some prep for that, do some knitting, and my exercises and do the grocery shopping. i have a billion photos i should be putting in albums but i ordered the albums to my sister's house so i'll probably just organize my recipes and do some general, mild tidying and dinner preparing.
there's a party at my dodgeball peeps' house tonight - a little mixer to celebrate the upcoming season - i might stop by for a bit after dinner with the parental units and be sociable.