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So, last night — actually, very early this morning — I was delivered my annual dose of disappointment in the form of the Chicago Cubs’ final loss of the season.

It always happens: The Cubs always lose their last game of the postseason because, as we all know, the Cubs never win the World Series (100 years and counting, now) … and only the team that manages to do that ever wins its last game. When it comes to the postseason, anyway.

Bah, humbug!

And the day started out so promisingly (is that even a word?) …

Tennis at 10 a.m., and though I didn’t play particularly well — I had getting-it-over-the-net and keeping-it-on-the-court issues, combined with my usual not-moving-my-feet issues (my serve was coming in pretty good, though!) — playing tennis with this particular foursome (Diane, Amy, Sarah and me) is always fun. And the weather was PERFECT: I told myself (and maybe the others? I cannot recall) that it was the kind of day that made you feel like you wanted to go outside and do everything.

(Looks like today might be another one of those days. Durn those Cubs for keeping me up so late and leaving me bleary-eyed this a.m.!)

After tennis, a swing by the ATM and Taco Hell for some crunchy tacos and a Pepsi, then home to get cleaned up. I had a couple of hours before Diane, Cindy and I would be heading out for dinner and a movie (not necessarily in that order), so I thought, how about a drive to the lake to check out the fall colors? (They’re not quite there just yet, but in a few days, they just might be spectacular!)

We went to see Beverly Hills Chihuahua, which I must give an enthusiastic two thumbs — er, perhaps two paws! — up.

I knew I’d get roped into seeing this movie as soon as I saw the first preview, in no small part because of the fact that the dearly departed Chico was, indeed, a Chihuahua. I had about the same level of excitement regarding this movie as I’d had about Live Free or Die Hard, whenever that was (last summer? this summer? I’m having total brain fog at the moment; I think it was last summer), and, wouldn’t you know it, once again I was very pleasantly surprised. And entertained: No deep thinking involved, just a simple plot, cute doggies and lots of laughs — and I’ll even admit, I got a little teary-eyed in a couple of places.

Dinner at 17th Street Bar & Grill was not the greatest, primarily because I deviated from my usual pork BBQ sandwich and opted for the pulled chicken. BIG mistake: The chicken was dry, and not even extra sauce or spice rub could render it edible. Fortunately, the baked beans (almost every kind of bean you can think of, with a sweet, sassy sauce!) and the potato salad (I swear there’s some form of ranch dressing in there!) were tasty, as usual, so I managed to fill up on those.

Back in town, I went out to the high school to see the Best of the Beatles: The Pete Best Band performing. Starring — you know — Pete Best: The Beatles’ original drummer. The guy who got fired and was replaced by Ringo Starr. The guy House mentioned on last week’s episode of House, M.D. when he and his assistants were doing differential diagnonsense (that’s a Girl, Interrupted reference for those of you who aren’t paying close attention!).

Can you imagine being young and in a band with all your “mates” (isn’t that what they’re called in England?) and being told you’re not good enough — and then having the band become the phenomenon known as the Beatles? Arguably the best, most popular band ever? (I’m torn on whether they were or not; perhaps this will stir some lively debate for the “Comments” section of my bloggie?)

Anyhoo, apparently, Pete Best is actually the second Beatle ever to visit Benton. George Harrison visited his sister, Louise, who resided here, during the 1960s. Unbelievable!

To be quite honest, the show was pretty good. The Pete Best Band did a nice job with its own music and, of course, some Beatles tunes, including my favorite, “P.S. I Love You” — which surprised me so much that they were halfway through it before I realized, hey, they’re playing my favorite Beatles song, and started singing along:

As I write this letter (o-oh)
Send my love to you (you know I want you to)
Remember that I’ll always (yeah-ah)
Be in love with you …

I didn’t stay for the whole show, so I’m not sure if they got around to playing my close-second-favorite Beatles song, “Here Comes the Sun” … but I did get to hear a guy playing that song on an acoustic guitar a couple of weeks ago when a busload of senior citizens came to town for the day, so I’m actually quite good on live Beatles covers, thank you.

I left the concert just in time to hit the couch early in the Cubs-Dodgers game.

Sadly, I probably shouldn’t have bothered because, much like their first two games against LA, the Cubs just didn’t have it. In no small part because the Dodgers played so well, but mostly because the Cubs really weren’t in the game.

Heck, let’s be honest: They really weren’t in the entire series.

Still, they had a great “regular” season, winning 97 games, including both the games I got to see in person. A bitter ending, true, as their postseason losing streak reached nine games (counting last season’s sweep by Arizona and dating back to the NLCS debacle in 2003 … but even that postseason wasn’t a total loss because I got to watch two of those National League Championship Series games on a big-screen TV alongside some of my favorite pals from college in the Tropicana Hotel in Las Vegas), but I still say having a competitive team to watch throughout the summer is worth going through the inevitable heartache when the Cubs actually do make it into the playoffs.

On that note, how about a couple of photos from the concert?

Not sure who that guy in the dark suit is, but he caught my eye from across the gymnasium because he was doing this sort of slide-step dance to every song performed by the Pete Best Band.

This is the best dish I’ve cooked in quite some time:

Linguine with Peas & Mushrooms
(This made 1 heaping serving.)

Linguine (fettucine or spaghetti can be substituted, I suppose … or probably any other pasta you happen to have in the cabinet)
3 to 5 tablespoons of salted butter (hey, I never said this was a low-fat recipe!)
5 or 6 sliced white “button” mushrooms
2 or 3 small handfuls of frozen sweet peas
1/4 a medium sweet onion, sliced fine (or is it “finely”?)
A clove or 2 of garlic, minced (I used about a full teaspoon of minced garlic from a jar)
Salt and pepper
Parmesan cheese

In saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add onions, mushrooms and garlic; saute for 5 minutes. Add peas and cook on low heat for another 5 minutes. Salt and pepper liberally. Set pan aside. (I prefer the mushrooms to be slightly softened but not mushy.)

Cook a serving of pasta according to instructions on the box. (I ALWAYS cook too much.) Drain pasta water and add a teaspoon or so of butter to pasta. Add mushroom-and-peas mixture to pasta. Allow to simmer for 5 minutes. Serve with freshly grated parmesan cheese on top. (I prefer this kind of cheese; freshly grated truly DOES make a difference, even with “standard” parmesan!)

I found a few of these mushrooms in my back yard today. Not sure what variety they are, but I always assume any mushroom in the “wild” is poisonous. (Heh, like my back yard is wild!) The tops of these were about the size of a dime.

Mushroom at Morning

Later, Delra and I had mushrooms (a non-poisonous variety, of course!) with our pasta salad and what she proclaimed as “the best steaks ever” (ribeyes I marinated with a little olive oil and some season salt and then grilled).

Steak Lunch

Meanwhile, I think I might have poison ivy. And, as usual, I have absolutely no idea where I may have gotten it. Needless to say, I am not happy about this at all.

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