you’re invited! to a pity party! in fact, you can just stay home because that’s where the best pity parties are!

so the weekend before turkey day was actually quite a good one for f2fb!  i got to see f2fb friend #261 kristan schmidt who is the director of walkabout theater in chicago.  we didn’t see a walkabout production, instead we saw “ask aunt susan” at the goodman theater.  the goodman is great chicago theater.   they have several shows running on any one night, they have a bar and a gift shop.  they were especially hawking items for “a christmas carole” which has just opened*.  the goodman building had been a xxx-rated movie theater when i was a teenager.  now that there’s the internet there’s no need for that sort of theater.  ain’t progress grand?

my great grandfather fritz leiber, sr., was a shakespearean actor who often appeared in chicago. here, he is pictured on the movie set of "cleopatra" with his costar theda bara

kristan is friends with seth bokey the playwright and the show was terrific.  and very deep.  so much social commentary that i was a little lost.  after the play, there was a talk back session with the director.  i went out to the bar and got me and kristan a drink.  that’s when i discovered that it’s uncouth to bring your plastic glass of wine into the theater.  i felt like a late stage alcoholic.  or at least that people were looking at me like i was one.

it was great to catch up with kristan. she produced a play eastman was in six years ago. she has had twins since then.

the next night,   i went to the mary-arrchie theater to see the work of f2fb friend #262 carlo garcia who directed “red light winter”.  chicago is a town of great theater diversity.  the mary-arrchie is what some might call “storefront” theater or, to be very precise, “right over the liquor store” theater.  the door to the theater warned that “nudity, strong sexual content, violence, and drug use” would be part of the production.  it was a lot of sin to fit into an hour and a half and it got fit in quite nicely.  and i didn’t realize that the custom of the theater is to purchase a bottle of something at the store and forget glassware.  during the second act, one audience member dropped her cabernet sauvignon and the bottle rolled towards the actors.

tickets for red light winter can be purchased at and christmas carole tickets can be purchased at -- please don't get the two plays confused!

but then i had a set back.  my sunday friend cancelled.  and so did the one for monday.  and wednesday.  sure, it was the lead up to thanksgiving and people’s schedules were tightening.  and then i think the worst thing happened:  the self-loathing kicking in.

i’ve made some mistakes with this project.  some that probably will make it difficult to finish this by december 31.   so i had a big pity party. . .

you're invited to a pity party! must wear pajamas. must not answer phone. must not go outside. must repeat "life is hopeless". exaggerate the importance of physical maladies. be afraid of everything outside of your house. and a few things inside your house.

it was my joseph who called me at thanksgiving.  it is an element of this pity party that neither of my two boys would be coming home for the holiday.  joseph said i was allowed the rest of the day.  then it had to stop.  eastman called me and repeated the same thing.  so today i am taking off my pajamas and wearing something else.  oh, and i have my lunch set up with f2fb friend #263. . . .

a pity party is easy to set up.  hard to take down.  but the first step for me is to forgive myself and open the front door.  the whole reason for the new years resolution is so that i don’t end up one of those reclusive old ladies with seventeen cats and a collection of all the winnetka talk back issues since before the last world war whose house no kid will approach for trick or treating.

3 responses to “you’re invited! to a pity party! in fact, you can just stay home because that’s where the best pity parties are!

  • Bonnie

    One day pity parties are okay. I had one too, yesterday, but I did get dressed because I had to walk the dog. YES, I got a new dog when I got home from India. This one doesn’t sit down half way around the block, but likes to walk for miles! Today is his turn for the pity party as he is no longer fully male. His name has been changed from George to “Boy George.”

    Remember, too, that we voted and if you make the effort and the other person cancels, it goes down in the record book as a success, Your intent and willingness to leave the house counts as a score! Also remember that no matter what the actual final count is for the year, this whole project has been a raging success. You have been through some incredible situations and soldiered on. No one can take this year away from you. Revel in it!

  • arlynnpresser

    you are so sweet, bonnie! and one of the great surprises of this year has been the renewal of our friendship! and i’m glad you got a dog. whether a george or a boy george!

    i am hoping at the end of the year when we tally up everything it will be not be for lack of will that i miss any particular friend, it will be circs. beyond my control. and we have to have a spa day in january. very soon. you pick the place. oh, i’m sorry, a tim crawford day!!!!

    much love from winnetka!

  • Sigridur Magnusdottir

    You are doing so well Arlynn! and you are a winner – no matter the number.

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