Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Birthday Week Day Off

For those of you who know me well, you'll recall that I like to celebrate my birthday in a lengthy fashion. Why chose just one day when you can celebrate for a week (or more)? So although my birthday isn't until Wednesday, I declared my day off yesterday to be the unofficial start to my Birthday Week.

Yesterday was pretty bizarre, weather-wise: it was almost 60 degrees with bouts of pouring, sideways, driving rain. Deb and I braved the elements to walk to a wonderful breakfast at the just-opened Green Eggs Cafe with our good friends Steve and Sara:

We were all slightly damp, but the food more than took our minds off of our soggy clothes. It was amazing. Being the food-porn amateur that I am, I had to take pictures. (Shameless plug: check out my own food porn at my recipe blog, The Cozy Herbivore-- I add tons of new and delicious vegetarian recipes all the time!)

I had the Grilled Cheese and Tomato-Gorgonzola Soup:

Both Steve and Sara chose different variations of their French Toast:

And Deb had the Kitchen Sink breakfast, which consisted of, well.... everything, drowned in sausage gravy and served in a cast iron skillet:
I can't recommend that place enough! A truly delicious and perfect birthday week brunch.

After breakfast, Deb and I found ourselves wandering down 4th Street and made a stop in to one of our favorite places there, Philadelphia Eddie's Tattoo (Brace yourself, mom):

We had been thinking about a new tattoo for both of us for some time. Now I know, I know-- the first rule of couples tattoos is don't get one, for your relationship is sure to be doomed. But hey, we aren't really ones to follow rules and besides, even in the unlikely event we chose to go our separate ways, this will be something we will always remember and love.

We went back to the artist Bird, who did Deb's first tattoo and my fourth. He's a cool cat and a totally amazing artist.

Deb went under the needles first:

And then it was my turn. We got them on opposite arms, as I already had one on my left arm and Deb already had one on her right.

We completed our awesome day off with drinks and fun at Mel and AJ's, where we just had to show off our new ink:
It may be hard to see from a computer screen, but we got outlines of our beloved pup Hyde.

So my birthday week kicked off with a bang, and although I'm nursing a sore arm, I'm really looking forward to the rest of the festivities!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Insomniac's Theater

Last night.... err, this morning I had the opportunity to see an amazing piece of theater. The ever-wonderful Brat Productions staged an incredible production of Eugène Ionesco's The Bald Soprano.

One of the best examples of theater of the absurd, this play is set in a suburb of London and involves two couples talking in non-sequitars about their tedious lives. Their evening is interrupted by the appearance of a saucy maid and a slightly crazed Fire Chief. Ionesco intended for the 55 minute show to be performed twice, with the two sets of couples switching roles at the end of the first performance. Brat took his concept to the extreme-- the cast of their Bald Soprano performed (and is, as I type, still performing) the show back-to-back for twenty-four hours. No breaks, no replacement cast, no relief-- just an endless loop of absurd theater at it's best. Read their blurb on it here. The performances started at 8pm yesterday and will conclude at 8pm today.

My bestie Melanie was the stage manager of this awesome theatrical event, so of course we had to go and support her. Plus we heard there was going to be free beer. We opted for the 2am-4am time slot, and had so much fun that we actually stayed until 5am this morning to see the show for a third time.

This play is absurd to begin with, but to liven things up for the actors and the audience in this marathon, director (and all-around awesome gal) Madi Distefano orchestrated some pranks to keep the actors on their toes. Instead of a doorbell sound cue, Melanie had a variety of obnoxious buzzers and whistles. Madi went around and whispered to the audience a phrase to shout at the actors during the 3am performance, which the actors were both startled and amused by. The Fire Chief is an unpredictable character in the play already, but Madi upped the insanity by instructing him to come onstage at different points in the 24 hour period with a stuffed dog, with a burlesque dancer, with bananas, and oh, yeah, dressed like this at 4am:

The other actors rolled with the punches, pounding his drum for emphasis and generally keeping (mostly) straight faces about the whole thing.

Hey, don't get mad at me for taking pictures. Everyone else was doing it. I have never been a part of a theatrical experience like this. The audience was rooting for the actors in an immediate, visceral way. We stayed to watch them do the show the same way for hours, delighting in small variations, marvelling at the sheer endurance and skill of the performers.

Oh, and did I mention we got to wear our pajamas to the theater?

Yes, this is us at 4am, eating donuts and drinking coffee AND beer. (l-r Deb, Melanie, AJ, Lauren). Melanie got to take a break from 4am-10am, lucky girl. The actors weren't so lucky.
So a huge thank you to Madi, Melanie and Brat for a truly magical theatrical experience.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Look For Me

You never let me down, Neko.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Let's Never Do This Again

Well, folks, as most of you know, it's been a rough couple of weeks. But things have calmed down quite substantially, so I am keeping a bravely optimistic face and saying that it's all somewhat behind us now.

On New Year's Day I got a call from an old friend. It was one of those phone calls where you can't understand a word the other person is saying-- only that they're really, really upset. Once I determined that no one had died, I let her talk and cry for a while before I figured out that she was telling me things were going very badly in her marriage. She needed to get away. So she did, to Philadelphia, the week after New Year's. We cleaned out the spare room, borrowed an air mattress and stocked up on ice cream and tissues. It was a good week, relatively speaking-- I hope that my old friend felt loved and supported and taken care of. There was a lot of girl talk and girly movies and eating fattening food. I had hoped that the time and distance would help her marriage, but alas. I got word a few days ago that it was pretty much over, he was moving out and that things continue to be terrible and hard for her.

The day after my old friend left, I was struck with a terrible stomach virus. It was the first time in four years that I called in sick to work. Too bad it was no fun-- convalescing as close to a bathroom as possible does not a relaxing day make.

But my physical woes were small potatoes compared to Deb's-- the very same Sunday I was sick, she returned from the dog park with hives spreading all over her body. She took a Benadryl and went to work, but still felt awful and was actually having trouble breathing. She went to the emergency room Sunday afternoon, and they put her on a nebulizer and pumped her full of more Benadryl, sending her home that evening. Monday morning she woke up, rolled over in bed and the hives returned. She spent all of Monday in the ER, and they released her late that night. A few hours later she was having so much trouble breathing that I had to call 911. This time the hospital kept her overnight, aggressively treating her asthma, but pretty much ignoring the obvious allergy attack.

She was released Tuesday evening. We had planned an evening dinner at Horizon's Restaurant for my birthday with a few friends, and despite my hesitancy, she insisted that we go and that she meet us there. Off I went, with Mel & AJ, Lindsay & Carrie and Amanda. Deb was late, and lots of time passed without an update from her. I got worried. I called her, and our friend Julia answered. Apparently she and Rachel, another friend of ours, had been walking down the street when they just happened to come across Deb. She was sitting down and was not able to talk. She was having trouble breathing again. They managed to get her home, but Deb's breathing did not get better. I rushed home just in time to jump into the ambulance with her.

(Side note: my friends are utterly amazing. From Amanda McKenna jumping up, getting our untouched food wrapped and rushing home with me, to Melanie & AJ taking Hyde to their house for three days, to one of my friends at the restaurant paying for my meal and refusing to accept reimbursement or to even tell me who it was, to Rachel & Julia's quick thinking and level heads, I just can't believe how lucky I am to have such wonderful people in my life)

This time the ambulance took Deb to a different hospital, which actually made all of the difference in the world. They kept her at the hospital from Tuesday-Friday and worked aggressively to find out what was wrong. Now we still haven't really figured that part out yet, but the good news is that they were able to get rid of the hives and Deb has had no other breathing issues since. (Fingers crossed!) So she has an appointment with an allergist soon to try to really pinpoint the issue, but right now she is controlled, healthy and heavily medicated.

And then two days ago we got word that my wonderful sister-in-law Maria's godmother died in a terrible and senseless accident. I met this woman at Maria's shower, and I remember her as a joyful, giving woman with the biggest heart. She leaves behind a young family and a circle of people who's world is a little dimmer without the light of her smile. My heart goes out to my Puerto Rican family in this terrible time. Te quiero.

So needless to say this has been a very long, very emotionally draining week. But the fact that I have a chance to breath a little, to post this blog, and to come down a little from Red Alert is a good thing. Now I just need to get some sleep....

Saturday, January 2, 2010

New Decade's New Year

Happy 2010! I hope everyone had a safe and fun New Year's Eve.

Deb and I eschewed the traditional Walnut Street Theatre party this year to hang with our good friends Dan Kazemi, Jenn Rose and Steve Pacek. We had a blast!

Dan and Amanda posing as arty-farty party people:

Even Steve's dog Amos got in on the festivities!

This is how Amanda and I drink whiskey:

New Year's with my baby:

Jennie Eisenhower, big glasses and a goofy grin:

Jenn Rose, ladies and gentlemen:

It was really nice to have drinks with our dear friends, to celebrate this new year and this new decade and to hope for a bright and beautiful future.