My life is lacking two things in particular lately; Joel and Music.  

Date night simply does not happen in the Parisienne Farmhouse.  You have to be able to afford a sitter and the entertainment let alone your bills before you can even think of date night.  Our last date was last November.  
But, when the Ravinia calendar came in the mail this past spring I scanned it for fav’s like the Gypsy Kings and Allison Krause and instead my eyes landed upon “Pink Martini” for Sunday, June 21st.  We were all in the kitchen and upon taking it in I began to jump up and down like a 17 year old pleading with Daddy to buy her a prom dress, “Please take me to Pink Martini, Please Please Please take me to see Pink Martini!!!!”  The look on Aidan’s face was sheer amusement and the look on Joel’s was one of “Oh crap, I see no way out of this one.”
But a way came.  I got a call to do a Baptism photo shoot and attached to it was a $300 paycheck.  I had to say yes and “au revoir” to seeing, next to Paris Combo, my favorite group and my favorite venue:  Ravinia Festival.
Then the call a few weeks ago, the mom of the baby had become ill and the ceremony had to be reschedule for later this summer.  I called Mamie (One Gram) to see if  she could sit et…voila, things began to fall into place.  Including a little extra cash that could be irresponsibly used for a date night!!!  WOO-HOO!
If you have never been to Ravinia Festival and you live anywhere within 1oo miles of Chicago you are really missing out.  And, if you will be traveling to Chicago anytime during the summer you must make it a priority for no matter who the evenings entertainement is, Ravinia is a magical place.
Pink Martini just happened to make it even more magical.  
All the “man” things fell into place, the typically horrendous traffic on Lake Cook Road was very light and with only an hour til curtain we drove right into the seemingly empty lot with no problems or delays.  Joel was thrilled and I was relieved to see him begin to de-stress.
We found a wonderful patch of grass, (in fact the same spot where we sat with Aidan as a newborn four years ago to hear Allison Krauss) and we set up our picnic.  Olives, Double Cream wonderful Blue Cheese, Sushi like California rolls, Fois Gras, a Baguette with a Shiraz and Creme Brulee thawing in the cooler bag for dessert our table was decked with a vintage tablecloth and a candelabra on loan from Mom.  It was out of a dream but a kind older lady chastised me for remembering everything but the fresh flowers.  I was mortified.  She was so right, with a garden full of them how could I forget???
Our little spread brought so much attention as for some reason the evening seemed to be low on romantic glamour when I scanned the thousands of other picnics.  People have been known to go ALL OUT for Ravinia but we seemed to have the best tablescape around.  We counted at least 30 people that commented to their spouse or complimented us as they walked by.  Three or four even took our photo.  We didn’t care, we were in a world all our own.  Let me explain,
Have you even gone on a date with your spouse and you know it’s going to be the last one for awhile and there is that pressure to give compliments and be “romantic”.  
  It’s a disaster every time.  Well, miracles do happen because there was none of that Sunday night for us.  Everything was perfect.  With all the stress of the last two years and the recent stress on our family from Momma being such a wreck  – well, we needed Sunday night.
Michaell Fienstein was the opening act.  WOW.  He sang the most wondeful arrangements of Frank Sinatra songs and then we waited for Pink Martini and it seemed like we waited and waited.  I was beginning to get tired.  Then, to satisfy the crowd Michael Fienstein and Thomas Lauderdale from P.M. came out and played a little ditty they have worked on earlier in the day: Rhapsody in Blue.  
HELLO?  It just so happened they each knew it and could perform it flawlessly for us “spur of the moment”  – Double WOW.
Moments after they were done, Pink Martini took the stage and opened with…BOLERO!  The lighting was blue and mysterious (I walked to the Pavillion to see one of my all time favorite songs being played that’s how I could see) and the song did not disappoint.  Bolero has been a favorite song for me since my dad introduced it to me as a child down in the basement on our record player.  I would listen to it over and over again.  But to hear it live…sheer magic.
And our course that was the beginning of a night under the stars for us.  We held hands and only broke our grasp to applaud with vigor!!!  Pink Martini is the most incredible bunch of talent from Bolero to their encore; Brazil, I don’t think the smile, I mean it made my face hurt smile ever left my face.  Chyna is exactly the kind of singer I wanted to be, singing exactly the kind of music I wanted to sing.  It’s amazing to watch her work.
I have put a sampling of their music on my playlist way down at the bottom of the screen and have a great live performance of the song “Una notte a Napoli” for you here.  Thanks for reading about our wonderful evening and if you didn’t love Pink Martini before hopefully after a few minutes you will!!!  You may want to scroll to the bottom of my screen to hit “pause” on the playlist.