A group of college friends usually gets together for Christmas. This year, we couldn't find a good weekend before Christmas, so we got together last weekend, over the Martin Luther King weekend for dinner and drinks, and then a little football on Sunday.
The cast of characters isn't always exactly the same year to year, but there is one constant: This hasn't been the kindest of weekends to try to bring a rookie into.
- One year, one guy's date stole another guy's cell phone.
- Last year, there was the infamous "Juicebox Marie" incident (HERE).
And while she's not a newbie to the group, this is Cora's first Christmas party with them.
She needn't have worried. She sailed through un flying colors.
Saturday, Gwen had a friend come over, and Cora and I got dressed up and hopped on the "L" to meet up with everyone down @ Jeanine's condo in the Loop. When we got there, we arrived with Steve & Jeanie. Laura & Johnny B. were already there. Jeanine lives in a great building, just a few blocks from my office. And right by Miller's Pub, where we went to dinner.
We all laughed and had a good time. Especially Cora and Gwen!
Just a little B(.)(.)B honking between bloggers. (For those of you who are unaware, Gwen is the one who started me blogging, and is therefore the one responsible for my happy, happy life now.)
We headed around the corner to Miller's Pub, a classic Chicago eatery, filled with celebrity photos, and the charm of a day almost gone buy.
At the restaurant, "Z-Man" showed up with his new girlfriend. I will call her "Berkeley Barbie".
And I will call her girlfriends "mesmerizing".
Trying to be respectful of my wife and women everywhere was difficult when presented with those across the table from you. But I can imagine that life's a little hard for the girl that every other girl wants to hate, the instant she walks into the room. When you're 20 something, 6'1 , thin, built, blonde, and studying to be a doctor in Berkeley (Not UC Berkeley, I think it was "Joe's College of Medicine in Berkeley. I was distracted, okay!), life can be unfair.
A few fun facts she shared:
Leaving the subject of Barbie and B(.)(.)Bs behind, we had a great dinner filled with good conversation. Only one bit of food went airborne (and Johnny B. failed to catch it in his mouth). Steve told us about being on Dr. Oz, and how he might be back on, or on Weekend TODAY. And he's talking with MythBusters, but he doesn't have high hopes.
After dinner, we headed out into the freezing night to a new bar that just opened up a couple of blocks away.
Turns out, it was 9 blocks.
It was freezin' @$$ out there.
And there was a line to get into the bar.
So we dove into a bowling alley to warm up for a while. That's why I didn't use the flash on the picture above. I didn't want to flash any of the people bowling. (Barbie didn't seem to have that concern.) I had a diet Coke. Cora had a hot chocolate, and as everyone else planned the next destination on their bar tour, we hopped into a cab and went home, hugged our daughter, put her to bed, and crashed ourselves.
It was about 11:30. And I didn't feel old.
The next day, we met a bar called "Clutch" for brunch and to watch some football as the Bears and Seahawks squared off. The bar is an old gas station / garage with an industrial theme. And some R to NC17 rated bathrooms. We brought daughter Gwen to meet blogger Gwen. (It was decided that if she had to use the bathroom, it would have to be the Men's room, since while she would be embarrassed by all the pictures of B(.)(.)Bs on the walls and ceiling, she wouldn't be learning about "other topics" in the Women's room.
The food was pretty good. They had the thickest cut bacon <—that Johnny B. had ever seen. And despite what you may have heard, bigger isn't always better. Tasted like a gamey piece of ham steak, over cooked.
My burrito was good, everyone else seemed to enjoyed their food, too. And Johnny B. really seemed to love his breakfast burger (with the burger) and an egg, and two halves of a glazed donut for the bun.
We watched the first half of the football game, but decided to leave at half time. We needed to run some errands and get some groceries, and get back to the real world.
Then Jeanie gave Gwen a light up rubber ducky…