Staying in 

But there’s a problem: My patriotism peters out around 80 degrees.

And it will most assuredly be north of 80 degrees this weekend (unless my appeals to the Sun God Ra have finally been answered).

So, last week, I was going on about vacation, and this week, I’m backtracking. Shut the doors, close the blinds, and hole up this weekend for some indoor, air-conditioned fun. Your non-smelly armpits will thank you.

Just because I’m going all Recluse Rita this weekend doesn’t mean I’m shunning the outside world completely. Bring the outdoors inside at A Date with Iris (4201 N. Western; 604-5959). They’ve got this whole “Enchantment Under the Sea” theme going on (I swear, those girls have the best window displays in the metro), and that makes me think cool, watery thoughts.

There were some absolutely gorgeous orchids in the cooler when I stopped in, plus some lovely peonies. I missed mine this year while I was in Italy. I compensated for it by being in Italy.

For those flowers, check out A Date with Iris’ cool and varied vases, like the Amtico vases painted cream, red or green. If you’re in the baking mood, you can’t miss the super cute, colorful aprons by local crafter Amy Compton — she’ll even custom-make an apron, if you’d like.

And on the “making” trend, why not use a weekend inside to create some amazing jewelry (or attempt, in my case)? The Spiral Beadery (4327 N. Western; 525-5454) has everything you need to get crafty.

Spread out in shallow terra cotta bowls, in drawers and behind cases, you’ll find beads, charms, pendants and more. There’s everything from exotic metal pendants to chunky wooden beads, to tiny, delicate beads made of ceramic, glass and clay.

If you need instruction, The Spiral Beadery leads classes and even has some work stations available (call ahead).

Finally, games. I may loathe video games, but dammit if I don’t adore board games. Little Shoppe of Games (5109 N. Shartel; 463-6565) has a varied, unique stock, from adventures and strategy games to social games and cards. There’s even a whole shelf of horror games with titles like “Zombies!!!” and “Last Night on Earth.”

Another fun title that caught my eye was “Kill Doctor Lucky,” which is like “Clue,” but the opposite. The objective: Try to kill the good doctor. Also look for titles like “Settlers of Catan,” a game people tend to love, but which I have left unopened in my closet for more than a year. Lame, I know.

If you’re not sure what you’re looking for, the people at Little Shoppe of Games can help you pick out something new to try.

Now all you need are some restaurants that deliver on speed dial, and your long weekend in the great indoors will be set.

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