I have been back in Woodstock, Illinois only a short time now, but I will say this; the town has made some welcomed advances that really seem to perk up the town and yank it out of the past. It can only cling to the fact that the movie Groundhog Day was filmed here for so long, and I’m glad to see that new businesses have sprung up, with more good ones to come (and not one big-name-chain store, that I’m aware of, thankfully).
Starting first with the Woodstock Square; I now go here often, whereas in the past, I would only go for Starbucks — and that was a rarity because I have never been a fully-committed Mermaid drinker. But now there’s the Woodstock Yoga Lounge and it’s lovely warm-tone-walled studio overlooking the square-shaped park and I adore the teachers; they do a nice job of keeping the classes fresh, because we all know that yoga can get boring quickly.
I am enjoying taking a combination of the beginning and Level III classes to mix it up; it’s a great way to start the day. Looks like there will be some classes taking place outside at Emricson Park later this summer, which I look forward to as well. Worth mentioning as well; a few of the women have been more than welcoming to me, because sometimes when I breathe and bend and stretch, I cry for no reason. This does not make me a freak, or so I am told.
And for those moments when I feel hunger pangs, I have a few delicious options right on the Square as well; Expressly Leslie; a Middle Eastern vegan restaurant that first started in Caputo’s in Lake in the Hills and then reached out the Woodstock Farmer’s Market a few years ago. It was clear the demand was high for her delicious falafels and other Middle Eastern delights. I asked my mom several times if she would like to try a falafel with the hot sauce…. “No.” My mom bored me to tears with her habits. I digress.
These days Leslie is is not only a very popular lunch and dinner destination in Woodstock, she also has live music on Friday nights AND it’s a BYO. A WHAT? Woodstock has a WHAT? Yes, it’s a BYO establishment in Woodstock, Illinois, and if and when the weather ever lightens up so that we may enjoy evenings on the sidewalk cafe,we can now bring a bottle of something special to enjoy that music on the sidewalk cafe.
Last week it was the Kishwaukee Ramblers (good music made by nice people) and I found myself tapping my toes to their folksie tunes. It seems fitting for the ambiance. Yes that’s a harpsichord!
My other go-to eating haunt on the Square is Taqueria La Placita. Many of the scenes in Groundhog Day take place in the Tip Top Cafe, which is now this taco joynt, but over the years it seems whatever restaurant moved into that spot, it never survived more than a year or two. It’s one of those locations that always has high turn over; we have all seen this; some locations just have bad chutzpah.
However, La Placita is CRUSHING IT. They are quickly becoming my all time local favorite, even though they are so many Mexican joynts in the area now — loco! But it’s probably because the food is really awesome, I mean really riquisimos, they even have nopales, gorditas, huaraches, carnitas every day, breakfast all day and honestly the best aqua de jamiaca I have tasted, outside of my own (it’s not overloaded with sugar, you can literally taste the jamiaca!). I ate a whole bowl of their salsa just this afternoon — it’s that good. Oh yes there were a few chips involved as well.
So life in Woodstock is good, eh? When I lived here before, I honestly hated the place so when I knew I was headed back here, I made a vow to myself that I would find the good in Woodstock and make peace where I could. This task has been made that much easier for me because of the new additions to the town — and I am committed to exploring new places out here as well. Each weekend I have checked out a new park — I had no idea there was a glacier park in the county, as well as countless wetlands and waterlands to explore (today I was in Bates Fen Nature Preserve, as well as Highlands Park — both very beautiful — and waterlogged.). It really is not the worst place in the world; my soul is being fed well here. My commute to work is a killer, but my smartphone project ended this past Friday, so we’ll see what happens from here.
I have also been meditating with the Buddhist Monks over at the Blue Lotus Buddhist Temple and it is slowly revealing layers of the onion to me. The first time I went here was right after I signed my mom into hospice, which is just up the street and I needed some silence. The temple obliged. I have no idea how long I will stay with them, but so far they have been so lovely and helpful because they honestly don’t give a damn about dying. Which is not to say that’s all we discuss; it’s more about not getting too over whelmed by anything and living a good, proper and honest life. And not forgetting to breathe ….
Bhante Sujatha even suggested I unfollow people on Facebook and Twitter and outlined his reasons why. All solid reason; I agreed and hit that almighty unfollow button. Remember, we don’t have as much time as we think.
I am making peace with Woodstock and it is taking good care of me. For this, I am gleefully grateful 😀