Monthly Archives: May 2012

C’est la Vie: A Memorial Day Weekend Recap (Saturday)

Due to Friday night’s shenanigans, the four of us took a while to crawl out of bed and get moving on Saturday afternoon. We had bananas in the room from our sneak peek at breakfast before bed and at one point while we were trying to wake up, my sister threw her peel at me and it “octopussed” my face. And stuck. This induced a fit of giggles that would last until one of us finally left the room. At around 1pm we emerged, blinking against the sunlight and headed for the Red Line to take us downtown. A friend who lives in the city asked us to meet her at Bloomingdale’s so that we could all go grab a much-needed day-drink. Hangovers were on the brink and that is not somewhere we wanted to go in 90 degree weather. I had my head down, furiously texting and trying to figure out where we were going while I walked and was completely unaware of my surroundings. Which is how I ended up kicking a bird. The ladies have dubbed me, “Kaira Kicking Bird” in light of the strange Apache man and my abusive behavior. After walking in circles downtown (as usual) we finally found my friend and learned that she was running late for an engagement and would just be pointing us in the direction of lunch and drinks. Ok. Not wanting to have wasted all the energy it took to find her, we took her advice and headed to Dublin’s Pub for lunch and beers. Again, accidentally keeping the established Irish theme.

After our life-saving beers it was agreed that none of us wanted anything to do with sightseeing or the throngs of slow-walking people on Michigan Ave, so we headed back to the Red Line station and then the hostel. On our walk we discovered what appeared to be the stoop I fell asleep on when I was in Chicago for a concert a few years back. I’m a functioning adult, I swear.

The sleepy-time stoop

We went back to our room to freshen up (reapply anti-chafing stick to our inner thighs) and decided to go sit out on the patio and drink some wine. It was a nice day. In the shade. We found our gaggle of Irish friends outside and joined them for what would be another marathon night beginning with drinking games. There’s no reason to go fight crowds of “dude-bro” guys and girls in the uber-expensive bars when there’s a built-in party where you’re already sitting. I mean, is there? Since we were running low on booze, two of the girls and three of the guys went to the liquor store where Honey Badger, Tiger and Bear learned about the famed “dirty thirty” or, “dairty tairty”, as they would say it. While we were sitting around and drinking through our fatigue I noticed two men walk past us and out the gate. I gave the girls the “eyebrow of appreciation” so they would take note and we all nodded in agreement. The second of the two had beautiful eyes, but they were both pretty. This prompted the “Gay or European” version of the “Drunk or Southern” game my sister and I invented in Florida last year.

Kings with Irish rules.

The patio closes at 10pm to avoid (unsuccessfully) noise complaints from the residential neighbors so we moved the party inside and attempted to find some space. No luck. I went in as a scout before 10 and ended up being distracted by the two guys from previous paragraph lore. They invited me to play Foosball (hate that game) and I of course agreed. I learned that they were Lars from Germany and Valter from Switzerland. I wouldn’t have the answer to my “Gay or European” question until speaking with them on Facebook when I returned to my boring real life. (European). The rest of my group straggled in and we all eventually took over some poor people’s table, including a new Irishman named Jon and a Czech whose name I forgot. Because he was boring. The pretty boys (I’ll just call the German and Swiss men the “pretty boys” from now on) were in and out, until one of them went to sleep and the other sat next to me and tried to convince me to go wake him up for about half an hour. Nope! I refuse to be a hostel (hostile) stalker.  

At some point while we were drinking and hanging out in the common area a singalong erupted. This was possibly my favorite moment of the weekend since it involved an obscure (to Americans) 90s girl group and a pop song. Amazing. I can’t even remember how it came up, but someone started singing the song, “C’est la Vie” by B*Witched, an Irish girl group from the 90s and suddenly every Irish girl and guy in the place was joining in. It was phenomenal. Of course, they were impressed that we American girls knew the words and I was just happy that someone else at all could sing them. My biggest regret in life is not getting that on video. We went on to discuss more British or Irish groups such as Westlife and 5ive and I was in teenybopper bliss. This feeling of bliss would later be replaced by annoyance at whoever kept playing one verse of a song and then stopping as soon as the crowd joined in. I mean, come on! We can only hear “Don’t Stop, Believ–” so many times before there’s a piano-mutiny.

At this point in the festivities, it was probably around 1 or 2am. My sister has a tradition within our MDW tradition of wearing a pair of unflattering boxer briefs and jogging around unsuspecting spectators. It makes them uncomfortable and it makes us laugh. This time, she decided to steal a pair from Bear’s suitcase and keep them as her own. She came down with them on and they looked deliciously disgusting, as expected. She did her requisite jog (with a soft J) and then decided to just keep them on for the rest of the evening. Wearing only tiny boxer briefs is hilarious in the wee hours of the drunken morning, but not so much when the sun comes up and normal humans start their days. Which is what happened. Somewhere in all the underwear-confusion, I think I robbed the same cradle again. But he started it. Again. Since there are still several hours of events to discuss, I’ll have to save “Saturday and a half” for another post.

I’ll leave you with this image…

The Crack: A Memorial Day Weekend Recap (Part 1)

My sister and I and a few of our closest friends have an annual Memorial Day Weekend tradition of getting the eff out of Grand Rapids. Usually we opt for a rural setting and camp or rent a cabin in a beach town. This year we decided to try a city-cation in Chicago. I had stayed at the Getaway Hostel before and thought it would be a great place to meet some new people and sleep for cheap while we ventured into the city. What an understatement.

Friday’s pilgrimage out of GR started with a surprisingly quick drive, a great playlist and a LOUD car. We made it to Skokie, parked the car at the CTA station and hobbled under the weight of our luggage to wait for the train.

Soooooo Heavy.

We had just set our millions of bags down on a bench when a grisled looking man with a long feather earring sidled up next to us. (My first thought was: “feathers are SO out”). He made a comment about being weighed down to ship out and used that as a self-segue into mentioning that he was ex-Marine (Vietnam). He then launched into a monologue about being Apache and described what his braid, feather and general disregard for our interest (or lack thereof) meant. We smiled politely, mumbled some things about “thanks for being a soldier” or whatever and watched him hobble away on what I assume was a peg leg. We would run into him later on the train when he all but begged us to sit by him, told me I had beautiful eyes and bid us farewell with a “goodbye pretty lady”. Weird dude. I ended the debacle by stating, “Great, I’m sure the Apache Vietnam vet will be the only guy to hit on me all weekend”. Wrong.

The train ride into the city from Skokie is kind of lengthy, which gave us time to discuss all of the things we planned to do over the weekend. Navy Pier, Millenium Park, Mag. Mile shopping, Lincoln Park Zoo, North Ave. Beach party, Belmont Music Festival, etc. We did manage to wander down Michigan Ave. at one point, but that’s as far as we got on our list of things to do. When we finally arrived at the hostel it was late evening and we were starving. The front desk had messed up our reservation and tried to charge an extra $100 for the weekend. Nope. We hashed it out for a bit and in the end we ended up paying $60 less than I had intended. That money would later be used to buy a half-gal of Sailor Jerry. Oy. Once we freshened up we headed out into the wilds of Lincoln Park and Clark Street to find some food. We wandered into an Irish Pub and unknowingly began our strictly Irish-themed weekend.

The plan all along was to sight-see during the day (one of us hadn’t been to Chicago since she was a young teenager and wanted to be a tourist) and just drink/hang out at the hostel at night to save some cash. We stopped at a liquor store to grab some Solo cups and some Jager (Jager makes friends) and headed back to the common-area of the hostel. We were surprised to find that we were the only ones in there, but were soon joined by a delightful Japanese man. We introduced him to Jager and “Ride the Bus” and I made an accidental WWII faux pas.  Next, three Irishmen wandered in and we asked them to join us as well. We had problems pronouncing one of the Irishman’s name, unable to give it the “grrr” he requested, so we just decided to call him Tiger. Since he was Tiger, his friends became Bear and Honey Badger. Because Honey Badger don’t care. The next several hours are a haze of familiar drinking games with “Irish rules” and new faces and accents. Our lonely foursome became a table full of people by the end of the evening.

Tiger, Honey Badger and Bear

Somehow, I ended up deep in conversation about the political climate of Ireland and the existence of racism, religious head-butting and other non-fun things with Tiger. We learned a few new phrases, such as “What’s the crack?” (What’s up?/What’s going on?) and really enjoyed ourselves. Do NOT mention the words “UK” or “Protestant” to these boys, even if you’re discussing what they’re not. I learned that! The timeline of the evening is a blur, but I do know that it involved meeting Alaskan Tony (creep), Irish Tony (amazing), Mexican Alejandro (Ale-Alejandro), Italian Tiziano (quintessential), Spanish Miguel (uh…), Colombian Jose (too young to hang out with us) and…I’m sure some others.

Jager makes friends.

At one point, we had an impromptu beatboxing show performed by D.J., one of the wonderful staff at the hostel. He was great. His new, longer nickname would become “D.J. (suck it J.T.)”. That good.

D.J.’s Williams Sandwich

As the evening wound down, I found myself sitting at one of the tables with Tiger on one side of me and Alejandro on the other. They were both trying to secure my affections for the evening and it was hilarious. I kept calling it a love triangle and exaggeratingly looking from man to man, exasperated. My sister tried to help by telling Alejandro I wouldn’t be able to resist if he spoke Spanish. Tiger answered by speaking French. Again, hilarious. I think I just ended up getting up and walking away but the events are a little hazy after all those Irish rules. At some point I did rob the cradle a bit and introduce my face to Tiger’s in the TV room. Oops. At around 5 or 6 am, the four of us trudged off to bed to sleep and prepare for the events of the days to come.

The Bee’s Knees

Today is supposed to be ridiculously hot (for Michigan) and in preparation I decided to shave my legs this morning and wear a nice, flowy skirt. Shaving my legs is a huge undertaking since I’m incredibly hairy, as I’ve discussed before. Nevertheless, I managed to scrape away the dense brush and make it to work on time and feeling comfortable.

Upon entering my air-conditioned office, however, things took a turn for the worse. I realized that my (sort of) smooth gams had already given up and bristled to the point of visibility. What a waste of 10 minutes in the shower! It’s mid-afternoon now and I’ve just about completed my transformation back into grisly bear. I am attractive. Always. But especially with glowingly pale, hairy legs sticking out of my too-big purple skirt. Oh yeah. Hot.

I guess it wasn’t the bee’s knees I wanted to write about, but rather the bear’s.

Bettie Reads Mommy Porn (After Everyone Else)

Oh boy. I recently jumped on the latest book bandwagon and read the first installment of the “50 Shades” series, “50 Shades of Grey”. Refreshingly, this series is not intended for young adults and doesn’t involve a love triangle of any sort. Unless you count some of the hardware Mr. Grey stores in his “red room of pain”. Blossoming from what I believe was Twilight fan-fiction, “50 Shades of Grey” follows the story of a recent English-Lit grad who enters into a relationship with Christian Grey, a gorgeous, charismatic and disgustingly rich business tycoon. Grey also happens to be into BDSM, a dominant-submissive sexual relationship involving, but not limited to, bondage and punishment. Intrigued yet? I was too. Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey are such vom-inducing “romance novel” names that it was hard for me to take it seriously at first. However, once my brain started to form a picture of Christian (a combination of Dr. Troy from Nip/Tuck and Zac Efron from…life) I was able to enjoy the story.

Dr. Christian Troy (coincidence?)

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After reading about the book and the sensation it was causing amongst housewives and moms, I knew I had to see what all the fuss was about. I expected page after page of raunchy, gratuitous detail, but what I got were a few unanticipated layers. One of which is the story of how the smoldering Dr. Grey became the insatiable “dom” that he is. Plucky Ana digs at his inner psyche and pushes his buttons throughout the book. She manages to reveal a few key pieces to the puzzle, but fails to get the whole story, which is more frustrating than reading an erotic novel as a single gal. Trust me. The bits that graphically describe their (many) sexual encounters are nice and deliciously descriptive, but the real story is in the “why”. Spoken like a true chick, right? That’s why they call it “mommy porn”. It’s got a story that actually holds up between the sexcapades. If it didn’t, every woman in America would have put the book down after the first chapter.

Several things in the book were scoff-worthy to me, however. I couldn’t help but roll my eyes at the sheer “thesaurusness” of the dialogue. Have you ever heard someone say “envisage” rather than “envision”? No. You haven’t. Because it sounds pretentious and fake. Ana, however, uses the word about 400 times throughout the book. I think I pulled a forehead muscle from all the eye-rolling. I’m not an expert on erotic fiction, but when it comes to the dirty details I’d kind of like to be able to get wrapped up in the scene. When the author refers to the vagina as the woman’s “sex” every time steamy Mr. Grey gets his hands down there, it kind of throws me off. I’m not sure what I’d rather they call it, actually. But something. “He slid his hands down my stomach and rested them on my sex.” You giggled, right? It’s silly. Can we take a vote and decide on a better, more swoon-worthy way to put it? Vagina is too clinical and the slang words are a bit crude for my taste. I’m open to suggestions.

A lot of the internet flack for this book comes from those who say that it sets feminism back a few giant steps. I disagree. BDSM isn’t about gender submission. It’s about the precarious exchange of power. There are PLENTY of women who make a great living as dominatrix(es?) and plenty of men willing to submit and snivel under their leather boots. This book just happens to follow the story of a male dom and a female (would be) submissive.  So…there.

In the end, I was annoyed that I didn’t have the last two books to complete the series and sate my wild imagination. The book was good. I cried, I squirmed, I smirked, I was mildly uncomfortable…it was a whirlwind. If you see me wandering around town with a riding crop, steer clear. Unless you’re into that sort of thing. Sir.