Sunday, December 6, 2009

My kind of town

One week ago, a mandatory furlough left me craving economic stability. I never imagined I'd make a fortune as a backup dancer for a big cheesy hunk of burning love.

Just kidding...though the photo above really did take place over my week without pay.

I spent most of the time in Chicago, the city of my birth. My extended family still lives there. The Elvis photo was taken during a 90th birthday party for my great-aunt Betty. Yes, after nine decades on this planet, she still wanted to celebrate with an Elvis impersonator.

Here, my sister and I pose for a quick photo with the guest of honor, who showed up in full force despite flatlining 24 hours before the party.

Believe it or not, my vacation didn't only consist of close encounters with Elvis impersonators. We also enjoyed sightseeing, museums and shopping.

Alan came along, too. It was his first time in Chicago, as well as his first time meeting my extended family. We didn't break up after the entire Sorich clan held hands and danced to "Can't Help Falling in Love," so I guess I should be happy.

The above photo was taken beside "The Bean" at Chicago's Millennium Park. Since you can't really see either of our faces, feel free to believe I pulled a random stranger beside me and told him to pose as my boyfriend.

Probably the best part of the furlough was learning I didn't have to return the plastic lei I received while dancing to "Blue Hawaii." OK, not really. The best part of the week was seeing my family, the Californians I think about every day.

When pay cuts and furloughs began to dominate my profession, I thought I wouldn't survive.

However, watching somebody mark nearly a century of life reminded me you won't come away with good stories if things are always easy.

I hope when I'm 90, I'll celebrate by remembering the times I overcame challenges -- prevailing not by abandoning my goals, but by putting faith in the value of hard work and dedication.

A Lady Gaga impersonator wouldn't hurt, either.