Dec 26, 2010

he wants to talk about what?!

the other day over lunch, my sister and i attempted to get caught up on a recent episode of "desperate housewives" while the kids were glued to cartoons in the other room.  they had finished their lunches and were absorbed in whatever was happening on cbeebies, so we took the chance to put an episode on the computer and enjoy it while we ate.  not far into the show, my niece came sneaking in the room, wanting to be with the girls and watch mummy's tv, not cartoons.  giving in to her sweet desire to hang out with us, we let her stay and she climbed into my lap. 

not 2 minutes later a certain scene came on during which one of the male characters is arguing with his wife and says "why don't you ever talk about my penis?!" in indignation and frustration.  as soon as the words were out of his mouth, it was like slow motion - i looked over at my sister who was already looking wide-eyed at me and my niece piped up and said, "well, why would he want to talk about his penis?!" as if it were the most asinine thing in the world. 

thank god she was sitting on my lap and not facing me because i started laughing so hard, i wouldn't have wanted her to see my reaction.  it wasn't normal, amused chuckling, it was that silent, heaving laughter that makes your whole body shake, especially when you're trying not to do it.  credit to my sister for smothering her own giggles and answering rather calmly and nonchalantly, "i don't know.  that's pretty silly, isn't it?"  my niece agreed and started giggling.  at that point neither my sister nor i could contain ourselves and erupted with cackles, tears welling in our eyes.  

needless to say, the show was turned off and my niece returned to more child-friendly programming, but it sure made for a good laugh.

Dec 23, 2010

the truth about christmas

after multiple years of visiting my sister and fam in the london area, i've finally worked out why they keep inviting me back each christmas.  last night as i stepped back and surveyed the dining room table loaded with presents i had just spend the better part of two hours wrapping, i realized i've been recruited each year to fly over and act as bartender/sweatshop present wrapper.  they don't even pay me!  i have to work in terrible conditions - big table upon which to wrap, unlimited paper and supplies, constantly filled wine glass with music playing in the background.  if i'm very good and don't ask for bandages for my bleeding papercuts, they may throw me a scrap of chocolate or a bailey's and coffee.  sometimes my sister or brother-in-law actually pops in to check my progress and has a word or two with me, usually cracking the proverbial whip to ensure i'm not slacking off.  my parents are even in on the deal, sending loads of unwrapped gifts over here, knowing i'll do all the wrapping for them.  jeez.

and the bartending!  man, oh man.  the nerve of them to think i'll just swoop in, fight through my jetlag and produce perfect cocktails on demand.  i tell you, being supplied with cases of wine, ingredients for cosmos and other drinks, bubbly and beer is just terrible.  terrible and inhumane, i tell you.  i mean, who can be expected to drink night after night while enjoying delicious dinner after delicious dinner, all prepared for me?  really, they should look into better treatment of their guests.  i mean, they only keep the kids from jumping on me until about 9am - don't they know i sleep til 10?  ugh.  i really must complain to management about these conditions.

until then, i'll put on my elf hat, mix a drink and wrap away.  maybe next year they'll look into getting me an assistant.

Dec 21, 2010

you say tomato....

the other day, my niece was pulling things out of her school bag, showing me the cards she had received from classmates, the christmas art projects she had made and the treats and small gifts she had been given by her teachers.  as she produced various things from the bag she announced to me what each item was.

her:  "and this is a santa card i made with cotton and paper"

me:  "oooh, lovely! well done!"

her:  "and these are cards from sam, nancy and olivia"

me:  "very nice of your friends to give you holiday cards!"

her:  "and this is a reindeer notebook.  and a rubber."

me:  "oh, how nice - wait, what?!"

her:  "i said it's a rubber.  anyway, here's another--"

me:  "hold on.  one second.  what is that last one again?"

her: (sighing with exasperation and annoyance)  "IT. IS. A. RUBBER."

me:  "i'm going to need to see this."

and she proceeded to toss me the item in question.  a rubber, indeed.  apparently here in england a rubber is what the kids call rubber erasers.  dirty, dirty tia get your mind out of the gutter!

Dec 17, 2010

say it like it is

over dinner wednesday night, my first evening here in the UK with my sister and her family....

me:  so i heard all about my niece's new boyfriend after she got home from school today

my sister: she's four. there's no way he could be her boyfriend.

me:  well, she said he was.  not sure what that means to a four-year-old exactly.

my brother-in-law:  well, aren't you glad you managed to get a boyfriend before your four-year-old niece?  that would have been embarrassing.

me:  yeah.... thanks for that.  more wine please.

Nov 23, 2010

quiet contemplation

i woke up unusually early this morning, before the alarm even went off.  it was still dark in my room and i layed there for a while, listening.  aside from the whir of the ceiling fan and the intermittent rush of the train passing in the distance, it was quiet.  no honking horns, no television, no construction noise from the project going on 6 days a week next door, not even any stomping from the heavy footfalls of my upstairs neighbor. 

as i lay there enjoying the quiet, i started thinking about my life and the things i'm thankful for.  it is, after all, thanksgiving week, and it seems appropriate to reflect on things like this right now.  so here's my short list, in no particular order....

- wonderful friends and family
- my upcoming trip to london for christmas
- the fact that i am gainfully employed
- my latest round of cardio testing that showed my heart is returning to normal functioning
- being happy in a relationship with a great guy
- living in a city with many things to do and see
- opportunities i have to travel
- my sister's visit to the states in early december

i hope you all have many things you are thankful for this holiday season!

Nov 18, 2010

dream a little dream

everyone who knows me well knows that i have ridculous dreams.  i'm talking dreams so weird, detailed and long that i often wake up feeling like i've gotten no sleep at all.  sometimes bits of the previous night's dream will come back to me throughout the day, allowing me to piece together the crazy events of my sleep, as has been the case today.

last night i was having a lovely dream about being on vacation in costa rica, staying in a little hut on the beach (i'm sure it somehow had a/c and a full bar) and doing things like body-surfing in the ocean and hiking through the jungle.  ok, stop laughing - you know it was a dream if i was doing those things and not lying on the beach, half drunk with a cocktail and trashy novel in hand. 

in the midst of my vacation paradise dream, my dream-self decided it was time to go and transported us into a very large lobby, with three huge buildings surrounding us and sharing the lobby space.  i had to go up an escalator to get on an elevator that was supposed to take me to somewhere important.  i got on the elevator and pressed the button, only to find that the doors opened and revealed that i was actually standing on a rotating disc that kept going in circles.  the disc was large and people kept jumping on and off but for some reason i seemed to be glued to the floor.  i couldn't get the "elevator" to close and couldn't find the door panel with the buttons on it anymore.  i just kept going in circles and no one would help me.  i looked down and realized i had no shoes on and couldn't see where i had dropped them.  everyone else jumping on and off the platform was wearing shoes but everyone ignored me when i asked if they could help me find mine.  finally my friend G appeared and said one sentence to me, "just jump off for god's sake!" and then promptly disappeared again.  i still couldn't do it and couldn't find my shoes and so i stood there, spinning, until my alarm buzzed and saved my dream-self from simultaneous nervous breakdown and severe motion sickness. 

as i always do after these vivid dreams, i think about them off and on throughout the day, wondering what - if anything - is the meaning of the things i dream about.  i can pretty easily interpret the costa rica segment - i want another beach vacation. that's pretty easy.  but the other part.... not so much, though the shoeless thing wasn't much of a surprise.  finding myself shoeless and in a panic in my dreams has been a pretty common theme over the past couple of years.  i did a little researching and apparently when you find yourself barefoot in your dreams it means one of two things - a) you are carefree and free-spiritied and you're not bothered by being barefoot because you're probably getting ready to run through a field where the grass feels like cotton and there are puppies playing and birds singing or some crap OR b) you are barefoot and panicking because you can't find your shoes and no one will help you, thus illustrating that you are questioning and doubting the very platform of your life (i.e. living situation, job, relationships, looming decisions/deadlines, etc).  i'm pretty sure i fall into category B.  awesome. 

so here my shoeless reminder has reared its ugly head again, not that i'm surprised.  being relatively happy with most of what's happening in my life right now, of course i have to have something that i'm doubting or unhappy about, right?!  i know exactly what it is and why it's manifesting itself in my dreams in the form of my barefooted panic, so i'm working to change it.  i won't go into details about it now, but those of you who know me will probably have a pretty good idea of what in my life i'm looking to change at the moment.  wish me luck and may you always have the good fortune to be wearing fabulous shoes in your dreams!

Nov 13, 2010

"mom and dad found you in a dumpster"

the quote above is one of many charming things i used to torment my younger sister with when we were kids and i tried to convince her that she was adopted.  not very nice of me, eh?  however, if you look at some of our behaviors, likes, dislikes and overall preferences, it is in fact me who would be the one to stand out as not quite meshing with the family traits.  for instance....

- bourbon.  i hate, hate, hate whiskey and/or bourbon.  hate it.  i cannot stress enough how much i hate it other than to say i feel like i'm going to vomit just typing about it now.  my family, on the other hand, LOVES it.  bourbon and diet coke is the preferred cocktail for my parents and sister and i'd venture to say even the drink of choice for my british brother-in-law.  

- red meat and pork.  i haven't eaten either of these since 1995 when i decided to give them up as a new year's resolution just to see if i could do it.  it was surprisingly easy and now the thought of either (yes, i KNOW pork is "the other white meat") makes my stomach turn.  the only exception i might, might ever make is to have a really good - and i'm talking it better be phenomenal - steak, but even then i'd rather have great seafood than to risk what ingesting red meat might do to my stomach after all this time.  i do eat chicken and fish, though if i think too much about chicken i could probably talk myself out of that one, too.  parents and sis, on the other hand, are carnivores.  give em a thick, juicy filet or a burger specially grilled by my dad with all the fixins and they are in heaven. 

- salt and butter.  two more things i don't really bother with but are instrumental for any meal with my parents.  maybe not so much my sister on this one, but she has adopted the english ways after several years in london and puts butter (or "spread" as they like to call it) on sandwiches.  ick.  i use butter and salt when i'm cooking if need be, but i very, very rarely add either to my food once it is prepared.  i don't even butter my bread, toast or biscuits.

- coke, soda, pop, etc. - no, i don't drink whatever name most people call these carbonated beverages.  literally one day i just stopped drinking cokes and it stuck.  i found that i really don't care for the syrupy taste of brown beverages (beer so does not count here, people), no matter if they are diet or regular, and just quit them cold turkey.  you have to understand that in my family it was common to get up and drink a coke at breakfast or help yourself to a soda when you got home from school.  my parents didn't worry or berate us for preferring soda over other various drinks and never forced nasty sunny d or kool-aid on us like most of our friends' parents did.  by no means does that mean they didn't care about our nutrition, they just chose not to fight that battle.  we were both active, in good shape and not eating a ton of junk food so sodas weren't exactly a death sentence.  i'll have the occasional sprite now and then, usually as a hangover remedy, or i'll put a little splash of diet coke with my captain morgan if i happen to be in a rum mood, but other than that i shy away from sodas.  you'll still find 12-packs of various diet sodas in my parents' kitchen my sister enjoys her diet cokes here and there, but for me i'd rather drink coffee or water. 

- cheesecake - this one is huge.  this is the one that causes my parents to simultaneosly look at me across the table with wide eyes, shake their heads and murmur, "how exactly is it that you ARE our child?"  cheesecake is apparently a weakness for many, many dessert lovers; i however cannot eat it.  i just can't.  theoretically i should like it because the ingredients are primarily things i enjoy - cream cheese, sugar, graham cracker crust - but it's just too much for me.  it actually makes me almost gag to eat it.  weird, i know.  and certainly not anything like the preferences of my parents and sister, who love cheesecake.

but i am related to them!  i promise!  now where is that birth certificate??.....

Nov 12, 2010


it's my favorite time of year again - the time when i get to book my flight to spend the holidays in london with my sister, brother-in-law and my niece and nephew, aka the noble family.  i just finished booking a 16 day trip and will be jetting across the ocean overnight on 12/14, arriving in london the next day.  yay!!!!  i'm so excited to go and spend another christmas with my far-away family.  i'm lucky that i get to see them twice a year due to the generous bank of days off i get through my job but every trip goes by too fast and every visit is too short.  but, we make do with lots of phone calls, emails, and webcams in the meantime and just keep planning for the next visit. 

here are the little monkeys i'll be seeing in a few short weeks.....

and here's one of the whole family....

woo hoo!

Nov 10, 2010

we put the FUN in dysfunctional

i wrote yesterday about my impromptu dinner with my dad at a great seafood place in my neighborhood.  what i didn't mention was that i thought it would be funny to torture my mom by sending her a pic of the delicious crab cake i was having as an appetizer, knowing all too well how much my mom loves crab cakes and was probably at home having cheerios for dinner.  so, i sent her this.....

to which she responded with.....

in case you can't see it very well, it's a picture of a dead bug, specifically a nasty little creature i like to call a spicket because they look to me like a cross between a spider and a cricket.  i hate, hate, hate these things.  i'm shuddering right now just thinking about it.  gross.  but, i do have to hand it to her - i won't be sending pictures of yummy food to her anymore for fear of getting something like this back!

Nov 9, 2010

dinner date

my dad was driving through chicago tonight after being in wisconsin on business and decided to stop for dinner and stay over at my place.  i love impromptu visits from my dad when he ends up here for meetings, whether it ends up being dinner, drinks or just a quick cup of coffee.  tonight we went to glenn's diner for dinner and had great seafood and wine, all while sitting outside in the unseasonably warm november weather.  we talked about family, work, holiday plans and lots of other things and had a good time catching up.  having stopped in wisconsin at a cheese store, dad showed up with yummy cheese curds and wine, which we had before dinner and finished up the wine afterward. 

tomorrow he'll head home and i'll head into work but it's always such a treat to spend some unexpected one-on-one time with my dad.  i hope he makes it back up to the windy city soon and maybe next time he'll bring my mom!  ;)

Nov 8, 2010

monday funday

ok, so apparently i took the whole "wordless weekend" thing to the extreme and totally forgot to even post pictures saturday and sunday which makes me an official nablopomo failure.  but, i'm going to try to keep it up the rest of the month, just for fun.  with that, i digress...

there's one particular monday from my college days that still stands out in my mind.  that morning i was on my way to class when i got a call from my dear friend adam encouraging me to take the day off and hang out with him.  after approximately 3 seconds of arm-twisting, i agreed and monday funday was born.  we also recruited our friend rachel to skip out for the day and the three of us had a great time.

fast forward to this morning.  i was standing groggily in the shower thinking about how insanely busy my work schedule has been lately and how tired i was from the fun weekend i had in bloomington and how i just quite honestly did not want to go to work today.  as i rinsed the conditioner out of my hair and turned off the water, self quietly piped up in the back of my head....

"why don't you just take today off?  you could really use a mental health day...."

like it had all those years ago on a monday morning, it took about 3 seconds for me to decide that i could indeed call off today.  i have plenty of days to take and i didn't have anything scheduled with clients.  wrapping my towel around myself, i ran into my room and grabbed my phone, knowing the text i was about to send would seal the deal.  i sent a text to adam, who happened to be off work today, and asked if we could have a monday funday.  his enthusiastic response was all it took for me to call my boss and leave a message that i would not be in today as planned.

so today is monday funday in progress.  adam and i have run errands (very exciting as the recent target embargo has been lifted - that's a whole other story), had a yummy lunch and are now about to begin a crafty project that will make all of our wine-drinking over the last several months pay off.  (more on that to come assuming the finished product is blog-worthy)  tonight we are going to make dinner and watch the first and only season of the show "jack and bobby", which aired a few years ago but never got renewed for additional seasons.  adam and i loved this show and were very sad to see it go.  thankfully, netflix has picked it up and with the help of adam's new apple tv, we will be able to stream every episode on his nice, big flat screen telly while drinking red wine.  ahhhhh.

it also happens to be an unseasonably warm and sunny day here in chicago, so we enjoyed a nice walk earlier, which was just an added bonus.  it's going to be hard to go back to work tomorrow!

Nov 5, 2010

i'm goin' back to indiana

i'm leaving tonight as soon as the bf gets off work to head down to my old stomping grounds  - bloomington, indiana, affectionately dubbed "bloomington-o-fun" over the years by my friends and me.  we, along with a group of chicagoans (and one fort wayne resident - holla, gretchen!)  are going down for the weekend to see our friends who still live there and reminisce about the good ol' days of college.  we will be out tailgating at 10 am tomorrow and then watching IU take on Iowa, hoping by some miracle that the hoosiers can pull out a W.  we'll grill and play corn hole, drink and laugh, eat and play cards and just enjoy all being together again where the majority of us met and became lifelong friends.  we'll complain about the silly college students and roll our eyes at some of the things they do because god forbid we ever did anything ridiculous back in our days at IU.  we did this same trip about this time last year and had a blast and i expect this time to be no different. 

goooo hoosiers!!!

Nov 4, 2010

"your hair looks stupid"

that is a direct quote from my four-year-old niece regarding my hair when we did our most recent webcam.  to be fair, my hair did look really bad.  i had worked out the night before and even though i showered before i went to bed, i couldn't be bothered to wash my hair and dry it that night, so i left it dirty.  what she saw was a mop of hair ridged from my ponytail holder, bangs slicked back with bobby pins, dark roots and more grey hairs than i care to admit creating quite a "stupid" look, in the words of someone under the age of 5.  she's not a mean child at all, but boy is she honest. 

having to cancel my hair appointment that should have occurred in august due to schedule and money issues, i waited until last month to call to reschedule.  i know better than to do this because the stylist i have been going to faithfully for the past 6 years has quite the clientele base and appointments are hard to come by if you don't schedule weeks in advance.  so i was scheduled for my next appointment on december 3 when i got the unheard of call today - someone had canceled and summer had an opening tonight at 6:30.  this is the first time being on her waitlist has ever paid off!  my niece's words floating through my mind, i quickly decided i'd rather eat ramen the rest of the month than turn down this unexpected gift and confirmed that my roots and i would be there at 6:30.

a small fortune later, my hair looks fabulous and i feel great.  it's amazing what some highlights can do. 

Nov 3, 2010


i love yoga.  i really love it.  i'm not bendy and pretzel-ish and i have to put a hand towel over the front of my mat to do downward facing dog to keep my sweaty palms from sliding and flying out from under me, causing me to face plant in a very non-zen way, but i love it.  there's something about focusing all of your energy on your own being and blocking out everything else that restores your focus, your balance and your insight.  some people think yoga is too new-agey and they roll their eyes at the idea of chanting and tapping into energy sources in your own body through various poses and technique.  but, let me tell you - as someone who doesn't take a lot of stock in religious ideas, symbolism, that "everything happens for a reason" crap that the majority of the population seems to subscribe to, i am one who believes in yoga.  it builds strength, patience, balance and forces you to draw on your own inner strength to push yourself to your own limits. 

at the end of the class i'm always so happy that i decided to go to yoga that day and i really feel like i've treated myself.  i walk out of the studio feeling great and looking forward to doing it again.  unfortunately, i have not been good about doing yoga on a regular basis.  rather, i go sporadically and cannot seem to get my crap together to even do it once a week for mutliple weeks in a row.  aside from tennis, yoga is the only activity/sport/workout that i truly enjoy doing and since the weather has begun to turn cold and darkness falls much earlier now, i am forced to rule out playing tennis 2-3 times a week like i did over the summer.  so i should treat myself to yoga once or twice a week.  it costs money to take yoga classes but i probably spend the same amount it would cost me to go to yoga 4-8 times a month on silly things i don't even want. 

so, i'm going to make the effort to start yoga once a week and if i can make it more often, great.  i've tried running, personal training, gym memberships, etc and none of that has held my interest and made me look forward to those things like yoga does.  wish me luck!  maybe by this time next year i'll be a pretzel!

Nov 2, 2010

rock the vote

today is election day.  i have been reading up on the candidates running for various offices in order to make an informed decision that will hopefully enable the best candidate for the job to be elected.  however, living in illinois and specifically in chicago, i often feel that the election process is just choosing the lesser of many evils.  our state is known for being extremely corrupt, politicians doing favors and taking kick backs from businesses, and running one of the worst deficits in the country.  we are also the proud home of idiot  former governor rod blagojevich which has put our state government in the spotlight as a cautionary tale to the rest of the country.  awesome.

so with that said, i'm going to head to the polls today and hope that my vote helps someone who is dedicated to addressing the issues that are important to me succeed.  now get out there and VOTE!

Nov 1, 2010

relationship 101

i've been dating a great guy for the past 5 months.  we get along really well, have a great time together and have been open and honest since day 1, which has made for a surprisingly easy relationship thus far.  i love spending time with him, i really do.  but.... there are a few things you don't realize you've signed up for until you've been in the relationship long enough to really get to know those adorable "quirks" that the other person has.  i'm sure i have my fair share of endearing habits that the boyfriend could rattle off if he were asked to list a few so i don't feel that bad in sharing some of his with you, dear readers.  i'm sure i'm not the only one out there that laments on certain behaviors or wants to beat her head against the wall when these fun little quirks happen over and over and over and over...... 

so here are some of my favorites, the things that make me shake my head and poke fun at him, knowing all the while i'll grin and bear it because at the end of the day he makes me laugh and makes me happy, no matter how annoyed i get. 

the shower curtain.  i cannot comprehend why he cannot pull the shower curtain closed the way it is supposed to be.  i've shown him 100 times what it should look like after a shower is taken and yet he doesn't see the difference in pulling it closed neatly, with the curtain hanging outside the tub and the liner inside, and leaving the curtain gaping open on one end with the material bunched up half in the tub and half out of it.  apparently that looks exactly the same. 

the hair.  men are hairy creatures.  i knew this but never fully understood the implications of that until one started spending a lot of time at my apartment, shedding on things.  it's sort of like having a pet.  in fact, i fondly refer to him as chia pet or wildebeast and we often joke that it would do no good for him to shave his arms and legs because his hair grows back immediately.  still, i didn't realize i signed up for the same lint brush duties when i started dating a guy as i would have if i had gotten a cat. 

the beer smell.  what is it about guys the day after drinking beer that makes them smell as if stale beer is oozing out their pores??  it's like they douse themselves in beer and just marinate in it all night.  gross.  sometimes i want to air him out before getting near him especially if he's hungover.

the garbage disposal.  no, i'm not talking about that nifty addition that many sinks have; i'm talking about my boyfriend's ability to eat like he's not only in a race for his life but also like he's eating for a family of four.  i have never seen anyone eat the sheer volume of food he can consume in one sitting and do it at break-neck speed.  sometimes when we eat dinner i just sit and stare and see how long it takes him to come up for air. 

the dancing.  oh, did i get a good peek at the boyfriend's dancing skills this weekend.  granted, we were out for halloween and had been drinking quite a bit and his dancing was pretty much confined to moves he was doing from the comfort of his barstool, but still - i think i know exactly what he looks like when he dances at wedding receptions.  sprinkler anyone?  how about a double fist pump?  don't forget to add in a clap or two.  and all of this to an n'sync song.  i'm so proud.

the selective hearing.  this is something that i think just comes naturally with the y chromosome.  there have been so many times i've repeated a story, brought up a specific topic we had discussed or started a conversation about a subject we talked about previously, only to have him stare at me in confusion as if i was speaking swahili or had just grown a second head.  zero recollection of the topic or subject matter and how the discussion went the first time.  i'm pretty sure he listens to about 1/3 of what i say, even though he would argue to the death about this rather than admit i'm on to him. 

the fork.  by far, this is my favorite oddity about him.  he owns one fork.  ONE.  how is that even possible?  he is 32 years old and has one fork.  no matter how many times i say it or think about it, it just makes me shake my head.  needless to say, we don't eat dinner at his place.

i'm sure as things go on i'll find out more fun facts about him but until then, i'm thinking a nice set of utensils and a hearing aid are at the top of the list for potential christmas gifts. 

Oct 31, 2010

try again. fail again. fail better.

the subject line quotes the wise words of samuel beckett, a man who apparently experienced the art of failure in his days.  it's a great way to sum up my experience with NaBloPoMo (national blog posting month) in the past.  i've tried a few times to do the 30 posts in 30 days but have failed miserably at it.  so this year, i'm going to try to fail better or perhaps even succeed.  we shall see....

Jul 22, 2010

wwjd? he'd take public trans, that's what.

note:  this post has the potential to offend those of you who are strongly religious or park in other people's neighborhoods when you go to church.  you've been warned.

part of what attracted me to the apartment i have been residing in since april was the ease of parking on my street and the surrounding side streets.  sure, i've come home late and had to park a block down or around the corner (gasp!) from my apartment from time to time, but 99% of the time i come home from work and park right by my building.  so imagine my frustration when i came home monday evening after a trip to the grocery store with 5 heavy bags and realized that there was NOWHERE to park on my block, the blocks north and south of me or the surrounding side streets.  i circled and circled thinking i had accidentally driven into the twilight zone or some weird bermuda triangle where there is no parking.  and then i realized that the church on the corner was having some sort of praise jesus prayer session or something because people were streaming in and out, pulling up to drop people off in front and double parking in the area around the church.  i saw people actually driving backward down the street looking for parking.  bizarre and unnecessary, but whatever.  the more i circled, the more people i saw who had come from other neighborhoods and places and had taken up MY parking on MY street.  ok, so i don't own the street or a specific parking space, but i didn't like the thought of having to park 6 blocks away and heave groceries and work bags down the street while these people infringed on what i feel is my right as a resident in this neighborhood.  luckily, someone must have ditched out early and i stalked them to their car so i could take their space around the corner from my building.  grumbling and annoyed i yanked my bags out of the car and headed inside.

tuesday.  came home from work after a terrible day at the office and after sitting in the parking lot that is the kennedy expressway to find the same situation.  wtf?  this was going on AGAIN?!  it's not like it was vacay bible school or something, either.  you could hear some serious "Praise JESUS!" and "Amen brother!!" and "THIS IS THE WILL OF THE LA-ORD!" going on.  whatever.  again, parking was a nightmare and again, i had to drive around and stalk someone for their spot.  ugh.

wednesday.  surely to allah this jesus-fest was over, right?  nope.  got home again last night after stopping to buy a couple bottles of wine only to find the same parking cluster fuck.  yeah, that's right.  it's really the only way i can adequately describe it, so pardon my language.  i drove around and around and around and finally i screamed.  a long, piercing, angry scream.  and like moses with the red sea, i turned the corner and the cars had parted and opened a space for me.  i hadn't seen it there on my previous 20 laps but there it was in all it's empty glory.  so i snagged it. 

thursday.  i worked from home this morning and then left around 10:30 to catch the train downtown for a meeting.  i walked out of my building and was very surprised by the amount of cars parked on the street.  normally when i leave later in the morning the street has tons of open space, sometimes to the point that i start to panic and think i forgot to move my car for street cleaning or something.  not today.  today every single space on my street and the surrounding ones was jam packed.  and then i realized.  the bible thumping that was going on the last three evenings wasn't just a night time event, it was ALL DAY, ALL EVENING.  holy christ on a stick.  something in me snapped.  i don't know why, but seeing all of those cars lining the streets and then seeing a mother with her 2 little kids and mounds of groceries and shopping bags come straggling down the street to their house from where they parked blocks away with the kids crying and the mother looking haggard and sweaty, i just wanted to march up to that church and demand to see the man in charge.  yes, i know jesus himself was not going to materialize - i mean the pastor/reverend/whatever who was preaching up a storm inide.  and i wanted to say, "what would jesus do?  tell me please.  because i think he would take the train that drops off just around the corner or maybe the bus that drops off a couple of blocks away or perhaps a taxi that could pull up right in front.  minimally he'd at least carpool with other people!  jesus would not want your people taking up all of the space in MY hood and imposing on the residents here.  he would tell your parishoners that parking is limited and they should only drive and park in OUR spaces for 8-12 hours each day if absolutely necessary.  or maybe you should use the big church bus that has "JESUS SAVES" plastered all over it to go pick people up!  that, my friend, is what jesus would do." 

of course, they'd probably just think i was possessed or something and try to save me, but at least i'd get to vent.  it may seem silly to some but those who live here know what a commodity free street parking is here and i don't like anyone, not even those doing it in the name of the G-O-D, taking that away from me. 

luckily, as i was walking back home from the train today i noticed people hauling boxes of stuff out of the church and packing cars.  and i finally saw a promotional poster for the event that stated today was the last day.  i wanted to do a dance or break into a cheer.  i didn't, of course - it was just too hot and humid for that.  and just as i was thinking about how nice it will be to go back to easy breezy parking, i noticed the big orange signs tacked up everywhere announcing street cleaning and the corresponding parking restrictions for next week.  now i really know what jesus would do - compel the city of chicago to punish me and my rants with street cleaning and give me parking nightmares for another week.  well played, big J, well played. 

May 26, 2010

spell check can't fix stupid

i had spent a lot of time one afternoon working on a proposal for a meeting the following day with a large corporate partner.  i had read and re-read the proposal, spell-checked and proofed.  finally i was happy with it, i printed 4 copies and headed home from work.  for some reason, later that night i thought i should read through the summary page one more time and it's a good thing i did.  this is an excerpt:

...Provide complimentary printing services, pubic relations expertise and other valuable business-related support.  In addition.....

if you didn't catch it, read it again.
that's right.  PUBIC relations.  thank god i caught it and was able to re-print before my meeting the next day.  i'm sure the executives i was meeting with would have been super impressed that i was asking them for their pubic relations expertise.  word to the wise - spell check only goes so far. 

May 12, 2010

wacky wednesday

as i was driving to work this morning, i got stopped at a light.  as i sat waiting for it to turn green, i looked to my right and saw this:

i couldn't resist taking a picture of this mess that is a library.  so, let's have a little fun, shall we?  please comment and list any/all of the things you find wrong with this picture.  let me get you started:  disembodied head in the window with no apparent reason for being there.  ok, go!

Apr 27, 2010

swiss army who?

it's no secret that the swiss army knife has been known for decades as the ultimate pocket tool.  it can basically mcgyver you out of any situation where you may need to cut, slice, unscrew, file or tweeze your way to freedom.  since 1897 the swiss army knife has become well-known in more than 100 countries for precision, quality, functionality and versatility and is held as the premier all-in-one multi-tool, second to none. 

however, seeing as how i must have misplaced my swiss army knife back in the early 80s, i have turned many times to an alternate and - dare i say it? - possibly more useful jack-of-all-trades.  most of you know this helper well and probably have one residing in your home at this very moment.  if you're like me, you may have 3, even 4 of these handy little things at a moment's reach.  without further ado....

the wine key.

in addition to the obvious super power of neatly opening a bottle of wine, the wine key is also useful for:
- acting as a screw driver (i did indeed remove a towel bar and toilet paper holder from my bathroom wall with a wine key just the other day)
- prying open bottles and aluminum can tabs
- punching holes in plastic seals
- slicing through packing tape on sealed boxes
- scratching off lottery tickets
- scraping gum off one's shoe
- popping balloons
- slicing cheese (only recommended if blade has not been used for other uses on this list, i.e. scraping gum off shoes, etc.)
- prying staples out of paper
- resetting digital watch (tip of the corkscrew works amazingly well for this)
- curling ribbon on gifts
- peeling fruit (see stipulation above with slicing cheese)
- cleaning under nails (gross, but could be necessary in certain situations)
- as a weapon

i'm sure there are many more uses, but my point is this - who needs a swiss army knife when you have a wine key?!  so, to the wine key - i salute you and your many uses.  you have become my favorite household item (as if you weren't already).  i'm sure it's just a matter of time before susan komen snaps you up for a breast cancer promotion.  (that was for gary)

Apr 12, 2010

tip for the single guy - how to alienate women and go home alone

i was out on saturday night for my good friend's bachelorette party.  after a lot of time spent at a local jazz club, we headed on to another bar, one that stays open til the wee hours of the morning and is a popular place for ending the night.  i was sitting at a table just taking in the scene and having a quiet moment when a guy staggered over and started talking to me.  this is how it went:

dude:  you don't look like you're having fun.

me:  i am.  this is me having fun.

dude:  oh, come on.  come to the bar with me and let me buy you a drink.

me (never one to turn down free alcohol):  ok, fine.

at the bar after ordering and telling him my name, which by the way he thought was "ariel" but i didn't bother to correct him:

dude:  so, you're like a LOT older than me, aren't you?

me (choking on my drink):  wow.  here's some advice - don't say that to a girl. EVER.  thanks for the drink!

i walked back to the table shaking my head.  ok, i know i am no longer in my 20s but it wasn't like this guy was that much younger, probably 27 or 28.  he was definitely old enough to know that if you're hitting on a girl at a bar, you probably don't want to tell her that she looks as old as your mom.  just sayin. 

Apr 5, 2010

new digs

i spent my weekend moving into a new apartment.  i have gone from years of living with great roommates to living all on my own....finally.  (shedding a tear)  i'm so excited to have my own place but i feel like i'm living in the middle of a national disaster area at the moment.  so, here are some pics of my new place before my stuff and i moved in.  more to come after all is put away, organized and decorated!

archway looking from living room to front door

living room

dining room

kitchen (with brand new tile, granite counter tops and appliances!  who would have thought i'd get so excited about those things??)

bathroom (also all new)

and of course, the first items to be unpacked.  cheers!

Mar 31, 2010

morning meme

ok, so as usual, i've been slacking on the blog front.  i've had a lot of stuff going on lately - planning bachelorette parties, work, volunteering, and getting ready for the big move into a new apartment.  however, i was reading some blogs over my morning coffee and ran across this one at teresa's site and thought it would be fun...

Do you have any pets? no.  i'm debating on whether or not to get a cat after i move.  not sure my allergies will vote for that one.

What is the last book you read?  i'm reading "are you there vodka, it's me chelsea" by chelsea handler right now.  hilarious. 

What's your favorite sport? tennis!

Do you enjoy sleeping late?  i LOVE sleeping late, though it doesn't seem to happen as much as it used to
What's the weather like right now? being end of march in chicago and totally unpredictable, it was in the 40s earlier this week and is supposed to be up to 72 today!  yay!!

Do you like your eggs scrambled or sunny side up?   sunny side

Is your room messy?  right now it's full of boxes but typically it is fairly messy, though i like the rest of my place to be in order

What do you like better: apples or oranges?  i prefer bananas

Are you a good guesser?  depends what i'm guessing

Can you read other people's expressions?  yeah, i'm pretty good with that... i think!

Do you have a job?  yes

What time did you wake up this morning? 8:15 - gotta love work from home days!

What did you eat for breakfast this morning? just coffee so far, probably will have a bagel thin and a banana eventually

What do you plan on doing tomorrow?  work, then was supposed to go see larry bell tap the first season's keg of oberon but the event is sold out - boo!  i'll probably just be frantically finishing up packing for the move on friday with a few glasses of wine.

What's your favorite day of the week and why?  saturday because i don't have to work and i still have all day sunday to look forward to

Do you have any nicknames?  yes....  dan, dre, andreas, stinky (no, i do not smell), swan, tia (my favorite one that my niece calls me!)

What's your least favorite color?  peach.  no one looks good in peach.

Would you ever go skydiving?  hell yes!  i'd love to go this summer

What toothpaste do you use?  i'm using colgate right now because it was on sale but i'm much more of a crest girl

Do you enjoy challenges?  most of the time

What's the worst injury you have had?  i broke my arm in third grade right at the beginning of summer.  it sucked to have to wrap my cast in plastic wrap and hold it over my head while trying to go down a slip n' slide

What's the last movie you saw?  "up in the air"  really good

What is your dream vacation?  spending an entire summer traveling around italy and greece.  ahhhhh.....

What is your favorite animal?  cat

Do you need to do laundry?  yes.  i feel like i ALWAYS need to do laundry

What color are your bed sheets?  cream

How do you like your coffee? depends - iced coffee i like with some splenda and non-fat milk, regular hot coffee with splenda and fat free hazelnut or vanilla creamer, but if we're talking fancy coffee i prefer a skinny caramel latte from starbucks.  oh and i can't forget coffee with bailey's as my favorite after dinner coffee (or sometimes breakfast if i'm on vacation!)

Do you watch cartoons?   only "family guy" occasionally

Name three things in the world you dislike:  homophobia, sexism, racism

Would you ever have plastic surgery?  i say no now, but check back with me in 15-20 years
Name 10 things I'd like to accomplish within the next year:

1. job change

2. get fit

3. pay off another credit card

4. start grad school

5. start knitting again

6. pick up golfing

7. take a trip all by myself, even if it's just a long weekend

8. finish "the corrections" (that one is for gary)

9.  blog more

10. take an art class

My Favorites:

Restaurant:   too many to choose from!  butterfly for affordable sushi,  giordano's for deep dish pizza, sultan's market for the best falafel ever, mrs. murphy's for irish-american fare, bluewater grill, joe's stone crab for seafood i can't afford

Season: fall

Type of weather: warm during the day, cool at night

Emotion:  excitement

Color:  blue

Candy: peanut m&m's

Fruit:   strawberries and bananas

Veggie:  spinach

Dessert:  hands down - green and black's organic chococlate ice cream.  yum!!

Type of cake:  yellow with chocolate frosting

Magazine:  In Style

TV Show:  Lost and Modern Family

Holiday:  Thanksgiving

Flower:  no idea.  whatever is on sale at trader joe's

Feb 3, 2010

little green dress

i've been having some trouble getting motivated to get fit and healthier in 2010.  normally, this is the one time of year i feel excited and eager to start eating better and get to the gym.  granted, that motivation never seems to last too long, but at least i'm typically off to a good start in the new year.

so i've been slothing along, not eating horribly, but certainly not working out and not really caring all that much.  today, however, reality walked up and bitch-slapped me in a most jolting manner.  the thing is, i have 3 weddings this spring and fall.  the september wedding is on a gorgeous resort in mexico and i just booked my flight the other night.  thinking of the beach and swimming in the ocean should have been motivation, right?  no, not really.  the other two weddings are in may.  the first is taking place on the lovely island of corolla, on the outer banks of north carolina.  again - beach, sun, swimming, etc. = motivation, right?  nah.  and then there's the other wedding over memorial day weekend at a spa/resort here in the midwest.  great venue, but no beach, no swim wear needed, no scorching sun, so the least motivating, right?  wrong.  for this particular wedding i am a bridesmaid.  and today i got the link to the picture of the dress i will be wearing.  behold:

i apologize for the crappy photo quality, but the website wouldn't let me save the image, so i had to take a picture of it with my phone.  regardless, you get the idea.  and don't get me wrong - i love the dress, i really do.  i just don't know that i love the idea of me in that dress.  right now i'm more inclined to feel comfortable in something of this style:

that's right - a flowy caftan variety garment that covers all the wobbly bits and requires no spanx.  ugly, i know. 

and so that's my new motivation - operation bridesmaid dress.  i think i may print out a picture of that dress and hang it on my fridge as a reminder (the bridesmaid dress, not the caftan).  or maybe i can have my roommates padlock the fridge....  or perhaps i can hire jillian michaels (of "biggest loser" fame) to come live with me for the next 3 months and whip me into shape....

any ideas or suggestions for fun workouts or motivational tips are welcome.  :)