February 2: Adam Gopnik’s Salinger article made my night (see link in previous post). And so did the elderly man I rode the elevator up with in my condo building; he noticed my pile of mail (which contained The New Yorker) and smiled a little, but didn’t say anything. And right before we reached my floor, he quietly said “That’s the best part of my week, right there; coming home to a new New Yorker.” The way he said it was so genuine…with a hint of loneliness. He held the elevator door as we name-dropped our recent favorite articles and told me to have a lovely (he said lovely!) evening and I kicked myself for not asking his name. Keeping my fingers crossed for another encounter, and for my new neighbor to have lovely evenings every evening.
February 3: A great yoga practice, tonight. Challenging and relaxing all at once. I’m lucky to have a number of excellent yoga instructors near my home. Tonight’s offered plenty of time for meditation at the beginning and end of our practice, and she eloquently shared some thinking points for the class as we sat in silence: on creating intentions for ourselves, instead of goals or lists; on setting aside our weeks (past and future) and focusing on the present; and on asking ourselves to fill in the blank for the following statement: I will be happy when ______. I think I would have felt overwhelmed/taken aback by that question in any other setting, but for some reason, sitting in a dark crowded room in a pool of sweat, feeling strong after an hour of really hard work, I welcomed the chance to (begin to) formulate my answer.
February 4: More pizza, tonight. Wood-fired this time, with too many creative combinations to choose from (which just means lots of return visits, in the future). La Madia’s wine list is crazy impressive, and our waiter was incredibly generous and helpful (and maybe a little bored)…he kept bringing tastes of his favorites for us to try, all night long. Definitely regret not writing names down, but a few favorites that I can remember included an Argentinian Malbec, a Pinot from Oregon, and a few Cabernets from California. Our table in the front lounge was right next to the fireplace; a perfect winter setting for long conversations with a long-time friend.
February 5: I love nights out in Chicago. Happy hours with work-folk; watching your party’s number gradually increase as you collect more friends, old and new; compliments from strangers; lots of good music; and lots and lots of dancing. (Old Town Social is a new-ish addition to the ‘hood. I’m proud of it, and love showing it off (not that it’s mine, but still). Their “concept”: Unassuming, understated simplicity. What makes a bar a great bar, a timeless bar, is its ability to create an ambiance that evokes an emotional response. At Old Town Social, we aim to offer a handcrafted response to the basics. A focus on the simple yet overlooked aspects of a neighborhood bar. In today’s current climate, a night to celebrate life’s simple pleasures…is indeed a rare gift. Good work, OTS.
February 6: More “city at night” shots. Lots of lights reflecting in lots of different places. Lots of gratitude for this place. A random recent favorite jam has been Adele’s Hometown Glory. She’s reflecting on her city and her past and her people and I love it. Someone sees her walking slow and asks if she needs help (direction, perhaps); she replies “no, and thank you, please madam; I ain’t lost, just wandering”. Perfect. She likes “it in the city when two worlds collide“. Me too; every single day. And she repeats over and over that “the people I’ve met are the wonders of my world“. Amen.