Friday, November 30, 2012

Wild Weekend for the ‘Wood Gang

Chris Isaak Nov 12Not this coming weekend...the past one. I’m a little behind!

At the risk of screwing up the Space-Time Continuum, I’m going to work backwards on our weekend.

On Sunday, we headed down to Indianapolis for a Chris Isaak concert. We’re both big fans, and it was the third time I had seen him (I don’t know how many times Ken has seen him, but he got to see Chris in San Francisco before he hit it big), but we had never had a chance to see him together. We weren’t disappointed. The venue was the Egyptian Room, AKA the Murat Theatre, at the Old National Centre downtown. I lived in Indy for seven years, and had never made it to the Murat before, so I was happy to finally get there! It’s a beautiful venue. More about Chris in a moment.

We stayed at a bed and breakfast called the Nestle Inn (pronounced like the verb, not the chocolate company). I found it online, and it’s a beautiful old home with very nice rooms and amenities. They have a gorgeous and comfortable library, and I noticed one shelf full of books about Frank Lloyd Wright, so I was impressed. It is on Massachusetts Avenue, which is the heart of the arts and theater district. When I lived there from ‘89 to ‘’97, it was kind of a rough area, but they have really developed it into a vibrant place with lots of galleries, theaters, and pubs. It’s right by downtown, so would be a great place to stay if you’re going to a Colts or Pacers game, too. We ate at a place called The Rathskellar, which is also in a historic building, and serves German and American food. The food was yummy, the portions were huge, and the place is gorgeous, with lots of dark wood and a really nice atmosphere. They had a live band playing when we were there, and it was sort of gospel-tinged Christmas good that they had me dancing in my chair!

Nestle InnThen it was onward to the Murat and Chris Isaak. As I said, he didn’t disappoint. He looks fantastic, sounds even better, and we had a total blast! He played several songs from his latest CD, “Beyond the Sun,” which was recorded at Sun Studios in Memphis and features songs from famous Sun Studio artists like Elvis, Jerry Lee, and my favorite, Johnny Cash. Chris did songs from each of them, including the highlight for me, “Ring of Fire.” At one point, Chris came out into the audience, and ran by where I was dancing over by the wall...I patted him and he grabbed my hand, so I can now say that I touched Chris Isaak and he touched me back. *swoon* Chris and his band are great performers, open and funny and obviously having a good time playing music and grooving with the audience. It was such a treat to see him again and be reminded of how much we love his music. We listened to him all the way down and all the way back, and had a blast.

We were only there for one evening and left around noon the following day, so we didn’t have time to do anything in Indy other than eat and go to the concert. My friend Jim and his new wife Sarah were at the Colts game, so it didn’t work out that we could hook up...but I told Ken that I would love to go back for a weekend this summer and spend a little more time there. It really is a great city that has done a lot to rehabilitate downtown since I lived there. It’s one of the Midwest’s sports meccas, hosting several basketball tourneys and one Super Bowl. I look forward to going back and seeing my friend after quite a few years. Ken is going down for a business trip in the spring, so it’s possible that I could tag along. We shall see. Anyway, just a great visit, great concert, and great city! I love you, Indianapolis!

ND #1Now, let’s back up to Saturday. We had an ND hockey game in the late afternoon, and were hoping to see the whole thing before we headed over to Brothers Bar & Grill by the ND campus to watch the ND-USC football game. Usually we watch away games at home, because we get a little loud and crazy (and I get super nervous), but we decided to be out and about to watch this particular game. Because of what was going on with the BCS (both Oregon and Kansas State had lost, ND was ranked #1, and if they won, they would be going to the national championship...still with me?), this had the potential to be a really great game and a really great celebration, so we decided to spend it with other loud and crazy fans. After the second period of the hockey game, I was checking Facebook and saw that Brothers posted that ESPN was there to film crowd reactions, so when Ken got back from a pit stop, I said, “If we want to get a decent seat, we should probably go now.” So we did, and sure enough, ESPN was there, and the place started filling up fast. We were lucky to get two bar seats in front of a TV!

If you pay any attention to sports at all, you have seen that Notre Dame did indeed beat long-time nemesis Southern Cal to go 12-0 on the regular season and maintain their #1 standing in all the polls. The crowd really did go crazy, because we knew this meant that we’re going to the national championship. Ken ran over by the ESPN cameras and shouted “We’re #1” and “We’re going to Miami!” and we just about died of laughter when we got home that night, watched SportsCenter, and saw him on there. That night, Ken booked a flight to Miami and a hotel room for a long weekend. Now it’s just a matter of getting tickets. I will say more about that as we find out more, but I think we have a pretty good shot at getting a couple. Keep everything crossed for us!

This isn’t going to be a cheap endeavor, and I initially balked at going...but Ken said, “When will we get a chance to do this again? There’s no guarantee.” That was all it took to convince me. To see our team go 12-0 and play for the national championship, and to think of how much my Dad would have enjoyed this season and about how we would have talked about it at length...okay! We’re going! 

More to come! In the meantime, here was the scene at Brothers after ND clinched the win AND a shot at the championship!