Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Fun, Fun, Fun

The summer festivities have already begun, and I am totally psyched. Let's go in order:

1. May 19-20. Erin and Miko are getting married on the 19th. The party promises to be an absolute blast. There will be lots of cool people there and a good number of Miko's family and friends from Turkey. I can't wait to party with them. A number of us have taken rooms at the hotel, which means we can kick the party up a notch or two. I've been telling people I'll be slowly awakening on the 20th, surrounded by empty bottles of raki.

Actually, the 20th happens to be my birthday (which we don't dwell on much). Don, my bud/co-worker from the West Coast, has already planned that we'll be sleeping late, then meeting up with a couple of friends for a birthday lunch/hangover cure. He actually changed his flight plans so we could do this. What a sweetie!

I should get home in time for a small celebration with pals Sharon and Gary. We will then schedule a meeting of "The Birthday Club" - Sharon, Gary, Susan, Charlie and me -- which includes dinner out and a great time.

2. May 27. John and Patty's annual Memorial Day bash. They do it up right. We're talking two Weber grills in constant use, a hot dog machine, four frozen drink machines (Mudslides, Pina Coladas, Margaritas and Vodka Lemonade), and John's special Mojitos. Lots of great food, beverages, friends and family, I'm bringing my friend Dianna, as she can definitely party with this group. Good times!

3. June 7-10. Girls' Weekend in Bethany Beach, DE. It doesn't get much better than this. There is NO sales tax in Delaware, and they have incredible outlet centers right near our base. Great crab cakes, french fries on the Boardwalk (salt and vinegar required), and a great group of friends. Yay!

4. July 4-8. An extended 4th of July holiday break, courtesy of my employers. No plans yet, but you had best believe there WILL be stuff going on!

5. July 19-22. MAJOR Girl's Weekend in New Orleans! Dianna and I will fly from NY and meet Kelly, flying up from Florida, and check into our Penthouse suite right smack in the French Quarter. It will be very hot and humid, but that's OK. There are plenty of places to dive into should the heat get oppressive. We'll stock our full kitchen with lovely nibbly things and wine so if we really need a break, we'll have sustenance. The Penthouse has three bathrooms, with Jacuzzi tubs, so we can cool off nicely. (Not to mention a sweet entertainment system, so I'll bring a few DVDs just in case.) The battle plan is to go out in the mornings and explore (take the St. Charles streetcar through the Garden District, perhaps a tour of the Garden District, check out Jackson Square, play on Bourbon Street, visit Marie Laveau's House of Voodoo, and so on), have lunch, then back to the Penthouse if the heat becomes annoying. Take a Jacuzzi, a nap, then venture out for dinner. Kelly and I have been there before, so we have our favorite restaurants. One night, we'll do Kelly's place (Mr. B's). Another night will be my choice, The Court of Two Sisters. (My true favorite is Galatoires, but it's one of the few places that is sorta dressy, so forget it!) Dianna hasn't been to NOLA before, so I'm going to suggest she choose either K-Paul's or The House of Blues. Even though we're not there during a holiday, there will likely be a parade at some point, so we'll get our beads as we stroll the Quarter, beverages in hand. I think we'll have to go to Acme Oysters for lunch so we can have some fun with Dianna (who is NOT an oyster person!). We will also have to go to Cafe DuMonde one morning for its famous chicory coffee and beignets, but avoid the restroom which is (if you can believe this) worse than the bathroom in "Trainspotting." Foul does not even begin to describe it. We'll probably meet up with my cousin Christine for drinks one night and if we play our cards right, maybe she'll give us her Garden District tour, which is great. She knows all the hot spots in NOLA. And it will be hot, but we'll be surrounded by luxury, so we don't mind one bit. That's the way (uh-huh, uh-huh) we like it (uh-huh, uh-huh).

6. August (dates to be determined) -- road trip to New England to visit clients with our sales rep, Jerry, a fun guy indeed. A nice break from the tedium of office life, and a chance to see some nice people. There are worse things I could do.

That's it -- one of the busiest summers I can recall planning, and certainly one of the most enjoyable. Throw in a few half-day Fridays to get a jump on the weekend, and there you have it: Karen's Excellent Summerfest 2007. And on to Munich in October! Laissez les bon temps roulez!

Friday, May 04, 2007

"Health, health, health, darling..."

That was one of many of my favorite lines spouted by Edina (Jennifer Saunders) Monsoon on "Absolutely Fabulous." It was especially funny considering she did the exact opposite as far as her own health was concerned. Along with best pal Patsy, she chain smoked, drank like an aquarium of fish, did whatever drugs were readily available, and so forth. Patsy once stole a case of Champagne from a store and claimed that she did it because she was an alcoholic, so it wasn't really a crime. The two of them were the '90s British version of Lucy and Ethel.

I went to the doctor the other day, concerned about some gastrointestinal distress I'd been experiencing, and was given a battery of tests. Amazingly, I passed all with flying colors. Ultrasound showed a strong and healthy heart, confirmed by an EKG and some kind of breathing test. The blood results came in today, and doc said, "Everything's great! Even your cholesterol is 180! See you in six months!" So, this distress is not the result of something more serious, which is a good thing, and can be treated with OTCs. And reduced stress (yeah, right).

This was especially puzzling to me, as health has not always been on my top ten list. However, I am working with a trainer once a week, who has also been consulting with me about the food that I eat. I have added things like red and pink kidney beans to my diet and cut back on fried foods, which do not agree with my guts. (Sadly, I recently found out that White Castle cheeseburgers are no longer my friends...talk about gastro distress!) I have never even tried a cigarette (eww, that smell), take only prescription and OTC drugs, and stick mostly to red wine, so perhaps that all has worked in my favor. I am the embodiment of the French Red Wine Paradox!

Frankly, the only thing that is skewed is my weight, but one can be both overweight and healthy. One thing at a time. Right now, the most important numbers are all good, so that's what matters most. Other numbers can be gradually dealth with.

So, tonight I will celebrate with a fine steak from Ottomanelli's and a lovely bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon! Here's to health!