Sunday, October 18, 2009

Munchies, Music, and Menopause

Before I get into today's Etsy shop features, I wanted to share a little bit about the dinner and concert the Great WOO and I went to yesterday on our Sweetest Day date... Dinner first! We like to try new restaurants when we go out to eat and yesterday we decided to visit Jimmy's of Chicago in Gilbert, AZ.

My husband Al (the Great WOO) knows I still get homesick for certain dishes from my hometown and one of those is a good Italian combo sandwich. For anyone who doesn't know what a combo sandwich is, it's a section of Italian bread loaded with Italian style beef and a link of mild Italian sausage soaked in Italian seasoned au jus and garnished with a mixture of lightly sauteed sweet green peppers and hot sport peppers. Just like any other regional dish, there are variations, but this is the way these sandwiches were served in "my neck of the woods" of Chicago's far south side and in various other areas of the city. So I was pleased when we got to the restaurant and there was my "combo" on the menu! I was even more pleased when I asked the waitress whether the sandwich came with red sauce (a marinara-ish tomato sauce) and she said no, that it was served with Italian au jus. The restaurant just received the first of its positive points in my book.

Needless to say, I ordered a combo. The only downside at this point was that they didn't have sport peppers, so I settled for some hot giardinara. Al ordered a veal parmigiana with Vesuvio potatoes and a salad and we decided to splurge and order an appetizer of stuffed mushrooms.

The mushrooms were spectacular - stuffed with a seasoned mixture of ground sirloin that was delicious, moist but not greasy like so much Italian food can be. Our entrees arrived as ordered and I have to say that the sandwich was really, really good...and very, very large! Normally I would have split it in half and taken half home, but since we were headed to a concert, I opted to eat as much of the beef, sausage and peppers as I could, enjoying a few bites of the au jus soaked bread (ok, I confess, that's really the best part!) as well. I tasted a couple of the fries that came with the sandwich, but I honestly didn't want to waste tummy space on fries when the rest of the meal was so delicious!

Al enjoyed his well sized veal parmigiana and potatoes - his seal of approval came in the form of stating that the parmigiana reminded him of the way he used to make it in his restaurant days - and anyone who knows him well, knows that he is a connoisseur of good eats! Since this was a special date for us, we capped off the meal by sharing a dessert of homemade cannoli - which although I couldn't eat more than a bite of (partially because I was so full and partially because it was dusted with cinnamon - something that I can react badly to in its pure form) was possibly one of the best cannoli I've eaten here in Arizona.

So, if anyone lives in the Phoenix metro area and wants to try a great little Italian restaurant, head on over to Jimmy's of Chicago for a laid back sports bar atmosphere, a friendly and attentive staff, reasonable prices, and great food!

With our appetites sated, we headed on to our next destination. I don't know how many of you are American Idol fans, but we are! Back in 2005 (season 4 of AI) the finals of the show pitted Carrie Underwood against Bo Bice. Carrie went on to win that season as well as to achieve superstardom in the country music industry, while Bo, described as a southern rocker, went on to explore a unique blend of classic rock and southern blues winning him a gold record. Health issues and a series of hospitalizations and surgery for intestinal problems had put a damper on his career, but he is once again touring smaller venues. Since we had both enjoyed Bo's performances on AI, as well as his albums, when we heard he was coming to the area, we had to buy tickets!

We were not disappointed. I personally prefer smaller, intimate concerts as opposed to some of the larger venues and in this case, we were seated about 12 feet from the stage. Bo is a very personable young man, with an incredibly beautiful voice and his energy onstage was strong and true to his style and his back up band is great! I personally thoroughly enjoyed the hour and a half show and all I can say is that if you like southern rock in the flavor of the Allman brothers, or Marshall Tucker, you will love Bo Bice. Definitely, definitely worth a try!

Ok, on to the final theme of the day, now that I've finished with munchies and music. Menopause. That wonderful time of life filled with hot flashes, mood swings, insomnia, and... umm... shoot, what was that last thing... OH YEAH... forgetfulness.

Granted, not every woman has these issues when going through "the change" - and for those of you who breeze on through with nary a symptom, remember that there are hundreds of thousands of women around the world who are ready to scratch your eyes out. Just kidding! We wouldn't actually scratch them OUT... but the reality is that most women, including yours truly, end up dealing with some if not all of these symptoms.

In my own personal case, I'll admit I've been pretty lucky when it comes to hot flashes - they're usually more like warm flushes, although going from night sweats at 4 am to freezing through most of the day can be somewhat frustrating.

Mood swings? Arrgghhh... imagine PMS without the relief of the "M". At least when my periods were regular, I knew what to expect and could plan (and warn my loved ones) appropriately. And just when you think you're through and done - after 5 or 6 months of nothing, and of course right after you've pitched your stash of feminine hygiene products, you realize that Aunt Flo will show up when and where she feels like it, without announcement, and stay for as long as she darn well pleases.

Insomia? I just deal with it by staying up until I'm exhausted - although there are times that I swear the clock is mocking me as the numbers change from 1:xx to 2:xx.

The forgetfulness is the most frustrating thing for me. Yes, I have looked for those glasses that were sitting on top of my head, those car keys that turned up in the purse section that I had just looked through for something else minutes before and those names and words that suddenly elude me. I haven't fallen into the practice of what I used to call "the litany" when my mom was going through the change - she would run through the entire list of family members name before finally hitting the right one for the person she was talking to (she still tends to call me by my sister's name, Diana, although for some strange reason, she doesn't call Diana by my name, Karen... go figure.)

I keep holding out hope that every month will be the last month I have to deal with PMS and periods - especially since I was one of those lucky young girls who hit puberty on the precocious side at 9 years of age - and even tho I'm turning 51 this week, I'm not holding my breath. I know I'm in good company and try to look at the humorous side of things - Mother Nature really does have a sense of humor when it comes to these things if you look at it from the right perspective. There are positives - heating bills are lower, you can't worry about things you can't remember, in my case my migraines are much less frequent, and the insomnia gives you more hours in your day! And some creative Etsian's have even found a way to make money from this wonderful time of life. I spent some time this morning browsing for menopause related items (although I kept getting sidetracked and forgetting where I was) and I'm happy to share some of my favorites with you here!

This fun Women's T-Shirt w/Gift Bag from HomeThreadz says it all!

Just in case you're not familiar with Dammit Dolls, I'm going to make you go to TheDammitDollStore to read the description for this Insomnia Dammit Doll - definitely a new favorite of mine! Nuff said!

And I must admit that this one is my absolute favorite - The Change pin from oneeyedcollie allows you to give everyone fair warning!

As a closing note, I wanted to share a bit of my favorite menopausal humor with you... this joke has been floating around for years and it's still so timely!

Q: How many women with MENOPAUSE does it take to change a light bulb?

And do you know WHY?
Because no one else in this house knows HOW to change a light bulb! They don't even know that the bulb is BURNED OUT!! They would sit in the dark for THREE DAYS before they figured it out. And, once they figured it out, they wouldn't be able to find the light bulbs despite the fact that they've been in the SAME CUPBOARD for the past 17 YEARS! But if they did, by some miracle of God, actually find them 2 DAYS LATER, the chair they dragged to stand on to change the STUPID light bulb would STILL BE IN THE SAME SPOT! AND UNDERNEATH IT WOULD BE THE WRAPPER THE STUPID LIGHT BULBS CAME IN! BECAUSE NO ONE EVER CARRIES OUT THE GARBAGE! IT'S A WONDER WE HAVEN'T ALL SUFFOCATED FROM THE PILES OF GARBAGE THAT ARE A FOOT DEEP THROUGHOUT THE ENTIRE HOUSE! IT WOULD TAKE AN ARMY TO CLEAN THIS DAMNED HOUSE!

I'm sorry.... What was the question?

;) Happy Sunday, Happy World Menopause Day, and of course, Happy Shopping!


Splendid Little Stars said...

I just came back from a week in Phoenix. Too bad I didn't know about the restaurant then. But, no doubt, I'll go back to Phoenix at some point.
Glad you had a fun evening yesterday. Your menopause humor is uproarous!

Anonymous said...

Busting a gut with tears in my eyes, RU an excellent writer or what!!!

Going through exactly the same thing with one exception, I don't freeze during the day!

Hubs calls me a heating blanket. I just give him the "men"opause eye.

Have to leave the covers turned back of the bed when I get up in the morning so it dries. Before I knew this, our old mattress had actually mildewed under the mattresss cover...yucky...

Gave away all of my products too, months and months ago... then last week had to go buy tampons, while I kept mumbling out loud, I can't believe I had to buy these things again!!!

On meds for depression and anxiety... doesn't help the P_S in fact I think the combination with wine makes it worse ...

Go figure?

How did the "men" get off so easy? The wind blows and thats foreplay to them, while I grit my teeth and think of all of the things us women go through that start with "men".

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