Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Evening Star: Shirley MacLaine on a fabulous rampage

This weekend's viewing is the 1996 sequel to Terms of Endearment and for the 40+ single woman, this is a must-see.

The Evening Star is all about the complex and irascible Aurora character (who was, to me, by far the most interesting character in Terms of Endearment) as her grandchildren reach adulthood.  How she copes and thrives; the men in her life and their functions within it.  This was interesting, and true to life, as it seems to me that mid-life women often have to compartmentalize the men in our lives -- you often can't count on one person for very much.   In my opinion, Shirley MacLaine's best role ever.

A favorite line:  "Men come and go, and if you're lucky, the good ones come and go several times."  I can second that; unfortunately, the bad ones often return as well -- much more frequently than one would like!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Rid of Me

Today's Saturday late-afternoon netflix viewing was the weirdest female empowerment movie I've ever seen:  Rid of Me.  Definitely not for Republican/suburban viewing.  And, extra points for including in the soundtrack the same 1960s Cambodian pop compilation that I've had for years : )

I guess that a particular interest of mine during the past five years has been the ways various generations of women cope with traumatic life events.  So here's one for the 30-somethings.

I ridiculously loved this.  Sometimes, you just need to see a frustrated woman go berserk and then figure it out. {tweet this}  And that's all I'm going to say. 

Friday, September 21, 2012


Today's hang-out-and-study-Spanish-grammar spot was an old favorite of mine:  Turquoise Restaurant, 2147 West Roscoe Street.

Don't pay any attention to the fact that the website looks a little tacky.  This is continental cafe atmosphere right in the heart of Roscoe Village, down to the efficient, but brusque waitstaff.  Perfect time to go: around 2pm, when the lunch menu prices are still in effect, and the place is almost empty. 

Get a table in the back, spread out your work materials, and order a Turkish raki to start out with.  Your waiter will pour a little water into your shot from an adorable pitcher, spoon in a few pieces of ice, and leave the ice and water at your table for further tweaking.

My personal menu favorite: the mussels appetizer, which makes a decadent meal, along with the generous loaf of warm, home-baked bread that appears at your table the minute you're seated.

Various sorts of Euro-sounds are piped in over the sound system; today it was French cabaret.  An especially wonderful spot to sit back and relax, and a perfect complement to the crisp and cool weather we've been having.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Masa Azul

Another low-key spot to try on a Sunday night that happened to have plenty of room at the small, but lovely bar:  Masa Azul at 2901 W. Diversey

Full disclosure:  I visited at 9pm on a Sunday night with a gentleman friend, but would feel equally at home to visit solo with a favorite book in tow.

Pictured at left is knowledgeable and affable owner Jason Lerner, who took time to chat and to suggest tequilas for us to try.  Tequila menu has dozens of varieties on hand, with fascinating differences in aroma and flavor.  Modern Southwest menu is fabulous, too, in case you're staying for dinner.

My favorite cocktail at the moment is the Horse with no Name, featuring (according to the menu) "Casa Noble Reposado, Jo Snow Lavender syrup, lemon, and bubbles"

And, if you don't know about Jo Snow, please visit the site of syrup alchemist (and cool person) Melissa Yen. 


Friday, September 14, 2012

Women of a Certain Age

For insight into the perspective of women at age 60, I'm enjoying the Women of a Certain Age blog . . . which decided to share, this week, the perspective of women age 29 v. 31!  Deja vu all over again : )

And, in case you're interested in the phrase "women of a certain age," check out this trenchant 1995 analysis of the description from the mordant pen of William Safire in the New York Times.  Replete with a sidetrack into "long in the tooth."

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Something's Gotta Give

I can't imagine that there's any over-40 woman who hasn't seen this film, but it's one of my favorites, and grows on me the older I get.

If you're a single woman of a certain age, you'll recognize the Jack Nicholson character as someone you've encountered on innumerable dates, and from innumerable online dating profiles (you know, the ones where old, paunchy guys photograph themselves on speedboats and next to sports cars).

Absolutely a hilarious film, and worth it just to hear Frances McDormand's gentle rant near the beginning of the picture.  Perfect solo weekend viewing -- reminding yourself why enjoying a weekend pursuing your interests at home can be way more rewarding than that potential coffee date (or, worse, dinner) with that silver, not-so-foxy old fox.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

surprisingly social weekend :)

Once in a while, I take things into hand and schedule weekend non-solo events.  This weekend was full of excitement, as I put together a facebook event with some of my students and friends, and enjoyed a friend's wedding the next evening (with lots of happiness and dancing to the DJ).  At the wedding reception, I even caught the bouquet :)~

So, when you're really tired of weekends on end with nothing but solo activities and/or tagging along like a third wheel among couples, hosting your own event is a way to feel a little more in control.  You can invite whom you want -- and, if it's a Friday night, you'll get some friends who work nearby and are on their way home, so it won't be all couples -- they'll meet up with their SOs later : )

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Halo Halo

Today's Sunday solo excursion was a late afternoon bike ride through Horner Park and the adorable Rockwell Gardens neighborhood over to Isla Pilipina, 2501 W. Lawrence Ave., to take away an order of halo halo for a leisurely stroll through Lincoln Square.

Even on Sunday afternoon, most shops and boutiques along the Lincoln Ave. drag are open for business, and it's a pleasant promenade for families among the flower-filled outdoor dining options, and past the bubbling fountain that fronts Cafe Selmarie.

Love Rockwell Gardens!  Friendly neighbors smile and say hello, and it's a hidden jewel amid the grittier surrounding big streets.

But what about the halo halo?  It's a combination of  crushed ice, gelatin, red beans, coconut strips, jackfruit,  evaporated milk, and purple yam ice cream.  Sometimes there's lychee or rambutan in it, and there are probably additional incredients that only a Filipino would know about!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Soul Kitchen

Following on the heels of my post on The Secret, here's Soul Kitchen, a fun 2009 German film directed by Fatih Akin that demonstrates what can happen when you make all the wrong choices, but end up learning something in the process.  Screenwriter Adam Bousdoukos based the story on his own experiences as the owner of a Greek tavern named Taverna, where Akın was a regular customer.

This is the perfect movie to watch if you've been ruminating on the past, thinking about mistakes and how you'd do so many things differently now.  You'll feel so much better about yourself -- no one can make as many bone-headed mistakes as these guys -- and you'll also see that no matter how many bad choices you make, it's still a learning experience!

If you'd like to see more of Fatih Akin's work, I also recommend his 2007 drama of missed connections juxtaposed against nexpected ones  The Edge of Heaven with the luminous talents of Hanna Schygulla and Baki Davrak.