Saturday, December 31, 2005

Can I just sleep through midnight?

New Year's Eve is at the top of my Overrated list. Every year, I become concerned about what I will be doing in the hours leading up to midnight, and every year whatever plans I've made turn out to be pathetic. This year was no different. My roommates didn't want to think about plans and were just waiting for some cheap (aka free) option to drop into their laps. I had an offer for a party at a Lincoln Park bar, $80 for food, drink, and some music. One of FFG's roommates was organizing a large group to go to the bar. And I thought, why not? I didn't know what my roommates were planning and was afraid they might want to go to Indy (god forbid). The day after I committed my credit card to the bar, Jill told me her boyfriend was planning on having a party. Damn! This meant that they would not be joining me at the bar and I would not be able to convince them to do so. Also meaning that I was basically going to a NYE party by myself where I knew FFG would be.

I didn't really want to go to Jill's boyfriend's party, but the options were limited. I saw myself showing up at the bar feeling awkwardly alone and paying way too much attention to FFG. What if is quasi-girlfriend was there too? Even worse, I'd be trying to pretend it didn't bother me while I got hammered with fellow alums that I didn't even like. So I called the bar, got a refund, and am going to the low key party. I'm happy with this decision and proud that I am not following FFG around. I'm trying to keep my distance from him, at least when possible. And since I haven't talked to him or seen him since our early morning encounter on the bus, I'm doing pretty well. The last thing I need to do is get drunk and worry about who I'm going to kiss at midnight with him around.

This is like an early start on my Resolutions.

Friday, December 30, 2005

A book review and some blubbering about my mom

Within 24 hours, I finished Chuck Klosterman's Killing Yourself to Live. This is what I like to do on my vacation (aside from going to the movies) - read. A lot. Depending on the book or the writing style, I can get through a 250-300 pager in a day or two. Chuck Klosterman is an easy read. It was the same with Sex, Drugs, & Cocoa Puffs. His writing is direct and all about pop culture so his books are more like long-form Spin articles than nonfiction works. And since I am someone who relates much of my life to pop culture, I am right there with him through every obscure musical reference or TV show.

I would like to sit down and have a conversation with him some time.

ANYWAY, the book's premise is that Klosterman will travel around the country visiting the places where famous musicians have died. He will try and understand what it is about dying that makes artists become even more famous - or at least known. Not to ruin the book for those of you who haven't read it, but musical death takes a backseat when Klosterman is alone in his rental car, thinking about the women in his life. The women all relate to music in some way, but this book is more about relationships than rock stars dying.

I liked it.

For me, the most relevant passage came toward the very end. I would like to quote the entire thing, but that would a) take up too much space and time and b) probably be plagiarism. So I will try and split it up into something that still gets at the very meaning of what he is saying (this is page 232 for those of you who have a copy):

"We all have the potential to fall in love a thousand times in our lifetime...But there are certain people you love who do something else; they define how you classify what love is supposed to feel like. These are the most important people in your life, and you'll meet maybe four or five of these people over the span of 80 years. But there's still one more tier to all this; there is always one person you love who becomes that definition...This is the person who unknowingly sets the template for what you will always love about other people...[they] are not inherently different than anyone else, and they're often just the person you happen to meet the first time you really, really want to love someone. But that person still wins...Because for the rest of your life, they will control how you feel about everyone else."


I say that this passage is relevant because I've been doing a lot of thinking about relationships, love (or what I thought was love), and other assorted items. I mentioned that I was feeling emotional over the past weekend, and I'm still feeling that way. There are those people, the few important ones that you meet in your life, that have this hold over you. Sometimes they disappear for awhile and you don't realize just how much they mean. Or maybe they are around often, but then you have a moment or two with them that changes everything because you see how special they are in your life. I think my mother is a perfect example. She's around all the time. I love my mother and we are very close. But it is over the past year that I've realized how sad I would be if she wasn't here. On Christmas Eve I had a dream that she died. I woke up in tears. Even writing about it now, I can feel myself about to cry. Just hours before falling asleep that night, my mom told me that she came home the night of her birthday and started crying. Because of my generous gift. Because she loves me. Because I am her only daughter, only child, and closest friend.

I promise I will get back to the nonfamily related emotions soon....

Thursday, December 29, 2005

On the state of movie audiences these days

The contents of my purse reflect what I've been doing on my Christmas vacation: my green wallet slightly fatter with money (the only gift I get these days), sunglasses in the case of sunshine on the city streets, mangled receipts, ticket stubs, and a half-eaten package of Reese's Pieces.

These last two items result from the four separate trips I've made to movie theaters this week. Since I moved to the city, I find myself going to the movies far less than when I lived at home. Mostly because the Chicago theaters are not very convenient (unlike in Manhattan), and because my mom is usually the person who accompanies me to the movies. Generally my theater attendance spikes during the holidays. Since I have over a week off, it's no surprise that I've been making frequent trips to Chicagoland cineplexes. Each of the movies I've seen has been quite different from the others, as have the audiences at these films.

I've noted before that talking or general rudeness in movies is one of my biggest pet peeves. In fact, it is the biggest. I cannot tolerate the cell phones, the talking, the bringing children to movies where children do not belong. I am reminded of a viewing of Talk to Her in New York where some patron had found it appropriate to bring their infant. Beyond irritating.

What follows is a summary of each audience, from worst to best.

Syriana: I wanted to enjoy this film. I was excited to see it. However, it was very difficult to follow and to understand because this elderly couple would NOT SHUT UP. They were sitting right behind us. I shushed them once and the effect of my shushing lasted only about 10 minutes. Elderly people in movies usually irritate me. Probably more so than children. First, they pay less for their tickets. So here I am, paying $2 more for a movie where I have to listen to them repeat every other word because they can't hear. Secondly, if they can't hear or see the movie (as was the case for this specific couple) rent the movie and watch it in your own home. Don't ruin it for the rest of us.

Chronicles of Narnia: Okay, this is a kids movie. Despite being a 9:10 pm showing, there were quite a few kids in the theater. Understood. No complaints about that. And I wasn't all that into seeing the movie in the first place so a little talking wasn't going to ruin it. However, the kids in the row behind me kept getting up (probably for popcorn and pop refills) and they kept pulling my hair when they did so. And the guy next to me was sprawled out like he was in his living room. Please observe the boundaries of your seat, sir.

Memoirs of a Geisha: I would have expected it to be worse. The day after Christmas. Packed theater. People stepping over each other to find a seat. A high concentration of individuals over the age of 55. But my movie experience was fine. In general, the audience was not chatty and I only heard one cell phone ring (the woman was sitting next to me). There were some ignorant people behind me (they didn't realize the movie took place in Japan and referred to the setting as China, even after the Japanese flag was shown), but I really didn't get annoyed.

Breakfast on Pluto: I'm going to make a generalization here - Audiences at artsy movie theaters tend to be better behaved. Note that there was that idiot who brought his/her baby to a Spanish film. But I think that most people who go to see indie/arty/nonmainstream films are going because they really want to see the movie. As a result, they observe theater etiquette and make for a highly enjoyable movie-watching experience. In fact, the theater was small (only seven rows) so it was a cozy audience; it was as if I was watching with a good group of friends.


Note: Two of these films included Liam Neeson, but in very different roles. A talking lion king one day and a sexually active Irish priest another. Talk about range.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Home

This was one of the only times I've gone home and didn't mind being there. I would have stayed another day or two if I hadn't planned on coming back this evening. But when I packed my bag on Saturday morning, I assumed I would be ready to leave within four days. I usually am.

My parents have been "having problems" since 1997. Eight, almost nine years. That time has changed me; I've become harder, more cynical, and more fearful of my own future. I've grown cooler toward my father, once the man I so longed to be near at all times. My mother and I have grown close, sometimes so close that she relies on me as a confidante in matters that should not concern a daughter.

According to my grandmother recently, I was "born old". I think most only children grow up quickly. You find yourself among adults often, mimicking them and putting on so that you might appear to be one of them sooner than you should. You may become close to one or both of your parents since they have no other children on whom they can depend. You have to be responsible because there is no older sibling there to look after you and no one younger for you to place blame. And when your parents fight, you are stuck in the middle. The child becomes the messenger, shuttling questions or demands between mother and father. You become an ally to one parent, and you are then used in negotiations and power plays. Or you find yourself drifting to one parent's side because it looks like the "right" place to be.

Having problems at home changed my attitude about being there. I was more reluctant to have friends over at our house during high school and college. Few of my college friends have even been to my house. And only a handful of my closest friends really understand what is going on between my parents. Sometimes I am embarrassed. Or angry. Or jealous of my friends' parents. It has made me not want to go home, to stay in my sorority house or at my apartment rather than visit my parents. People tend to see me as someone who dislikes or doesn't believe in the meaning of family. Holidays are not anticipated. Because I don't elaborate, my friends just think I'm a Scrooge.

I wish that I could look forward to visits home or Christmas at my grandparents' house. I wish I could feel the same adoration for my father that I did as a child. I wish that my mom didn't turn to me for guidance. But as I get older and these problems evolve instead of disappear, I've managed to make the best of it. I enjoyed my time at home this year because I didn't let myself worry or become sad over how strange the situation is. Instead, I spent hours baking with my mom on Saturday and laughing with my family on Sunday. I went to the movies twice with my mom and, as the only grandchild on my mom's side, I made sure to spend time with my grandma.

I kept feeling myself get emotional this weekend, tears welling up at unexpected times. Some of these feeling probably have nothing to do with my family, but I'm confident that some of the tears meant that I was just happy to have them around.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

What a Neat Day

It was a balmy 37 in Chicago today, and I was given permission to leave at 1:30 to begin my week and a half long vacation. It's like being in school again.

Two of my college friends got engaged this week. That's two more to add to the list of friends who are (or will be) lawfully attached to their significant others. I've had four friends get married this year alone. No wonder I'm thinking about contingency plans. Besides, I have to see my grandmother this weekend and she is notorious for asking me why I don't have a boyfriend.

So I spent my unexpected afternoon off at home reading, watching old episodes of Felicity (I miss that show!), and munching on Christmas cookies. I did have a mini-breakdown about forty minutes ago. After talking to Max about watching movies (he was getting ready to settle down with Truffaut), I was in the mood for a movie myself. I decided on one of my favorites which, after putting it in the DVD player, it wouldn't play. I continued pressing eject for a few minutes with no result. Fortunately, I relied on the tried and true technique of unplugging and replugging in the malfunctioning appliance. And hooray! Woody Allen was on screen and I was on the couch.



This makes me want to barf. I don't do cute.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Overheard in Chicago

I wish the Windy City had a site of its own. Since we don't, I'll post what I hear.

Homeless Man: Season's Greetings! I don't do drugs! Help the homeless!

-Wabash & Wacker

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

The Carver Unmasked

My jaw is still unhinged from watching the 2 hour finale of Nip/Tuck. I watched the final 40 minutes of the episode in the fetal position, gaping at what was probably the most intense season finale I've ever seen.

I love this show.

By the way, I'm pretty much the best daughter ever. Just ask my mom.

p.s. I would like to add that I was not pleased with the "surprise" of Quentin being the Carver (obvious!). However, TV shows rarely make me curl up and clutch my fleece throw in front of my face. Thumbs up for freaking me out. Now just 2 more months until The Sopranos.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Set-Ups and the Single Girl

"Are you dating anyone?"

"No"

"Would you want to get set-up?"

Twice in one week this has been asked. Both times I gave a sort of shoulder shrug, "Sure, I guess so" response.

Do I want to be set-up?

One of the people who asked me saw my non-committal response and inquired further, wondering if I had had a bad experience. Not really, I told her. Which is true. I've only been set-up once and it didn't really go anywhere. So it's not past problems that are making me hesitant.

Getting set up would probably be a good idea these days. I am convinced that if I meet someone anytime soon, it will be through a friend of a friend. I don't expect to meet anyone at a bar, and I'm not forward enough when I go out to really make any sort of random encounter work. My roommate met her current boyfriend this way, but I doubt it would happen to me.

Aforementioned friend's boyfriend is the other person who asked me about a set-up. I think I am even less inclined toward meeting one of his friends for various reasons. I like Dan, but he's not the kind of guy I would go for. Nor are his friends. Not that I don't like them; I just can't see myself dating any one of them. He introduced me to one of his friend's over Labor Day weekend and, after talking to him for awhile at a party, I wasn't really upset that our future consisted of a few missed calls and nothing more. Dan suggested another friend, Joe, whom he thought I might like. He then asked Jill her thoughts on the set-up.

Jill looked at Dan as if he were crazy.

And here is the problem with the set-up. Someone thinks that you and his/her friend would make a great couple. You aren't sure why they think so, but you go ahead and meet the friend. It's a disaster. Your mutual acquaintance must not really know either of you very well. Or the basis for the set-up is some kind of vague reasoning, like you both majored in the same subject or you're both funny. This is not enough to sustain a relationship or even just a few dates.

So I am hesitant about being set-up. But I'm not saying no because these days I don't have much else to fall back on.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

My room



This is what I wake up to everyday.

My Sunday was full of pizza, football, the Mafia on the History Channel, and The Nutcracker. I am ready to call it a night after freezing my ass of on Michigan Avenue trying to get a cab.




I love my bed. I love my room. These photos are from the photo shoot I had with my bedroom when I woke up today. It just looked so pretty with the sunlight sneaking in between the blinds.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Cabin Fever



In the summertime, Chicago is a magnificent city. I find myself wanting to spend every minute possible outside: basking in sunshine, smelling the summertime smells (even the not so great BO on public transport), and dining/drinking on the plentiful restaurant patios. Once those open up in April, Chicagoans will sit outdoors even if they have to wrap up in a sweater or a fleece. That's what winter does to us.

During the summer, I catch myself wanting to go out ALL the time. Weekdays and weekends. Happy Hours and All Night Events. Seems like there was always something to do either with my friends or my coworkers. Baseball games become the best excuse to go have a few drinks. My friends and I would take careful note of the weekday bar specials and head out for cheap beers and appetizers, rather than cooking for ourselves and watching reruns at our apartment. Besides, it was summer and we wanted to enjoy it before the snow came crashing in on us.


What I notice about winter is that I never want to leave. Even the simplest errands become immense obstacles when faced with temperatures hovering below 20 degrees and snowy slush covering the sidewalks. I have become the biggest couch potato over the past month, which is something I strive NOT to be. It irritated me whenever I saw my roommates just lying around the apartment watching those awful Road Rules/Real World Challenge marathons, moving only to make some popcorn. Even if I don't really have much to do, I force myself to get out and move around. Leaving the apartment becomes a necessity. Staying away from the couch and the TV is a rule.

But when I had my wisdom teeth out a month ago, I got used to being lazy. I got used to finding something to watch on one of our 205 channels. I (finally) got my Chicago Public Library card so that I can read for free. I started to really like waking up without a headache on the weekends, and being able to start my day around 10 instead of 1. My daytime productivity increased in direct relation to my nighttime laziness.

I've started to think that I've become a lame girl lately. The partying has been drastically reduced and I usually stay in at least one night a weekend. But then I think about going outside, spending time looking for cabs while my feet freeze in the curb slush or holding my hands under my armpits for warmth. And of course I am wearing a lighter-than-I-should-have-on coat since I don't want to wear my lovely white winter coat to the bar and risk spilling and cigarette smell. None of that sounds quite as appealing as relaxing on our pink couch, watching one of my favorite films while my roommate bakes cookies (and lets me have samples of her work). Besides, I'll make up for all my lameness once April rolls around.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Now & Then

Today is one of my good friend's birthdays. We met the first day of college as she lived at the opposite end of the hall from me. Within a matter of days she became one of my closest friends and by the end of our first semester, she was my most trusted confidante. We aired the skeletons in our closets to one another, and she knew more about me than even my best friend from home.

I cannot believe that was five years ago. The other night, while trying to get to sleep, I realized that this decade is halfway over. In just 17 days, 2006 will arrive. And as I was lying in bed, I started to think about what has changed and what has stayed the same in my life since 2000.

In those five years I started and finished college. The 18-year-old Erin was far different than the 23-year-old version. That girl didn't care much about designer jeans or saving for retirement. She wore black pants whenever she went out (never jeans) with her chunky-heeled black Steve Madden boots. She often drank a lot in an attempt to get attention from boys. She was obsessed with her friends on her floor. They listened to 80s hair bands and rap music constantly. This Erin had no restrictions in her diet and couldn't imagine giving up meat. She used a phone card to make long distance calls from the cordless phone in her dorm room. She talked to her high school friends and family members primarily on the internet.

Few of Erin's friends had laptops. Erin, her roommate, and most of the girls on their floor had desktop computers. She drank a lot of Dr. Pepper and ate frozen yogurt from the cafeteria regularly. A Makeover Story was a regular TV show for these girls. Otherwise, they didn't watch much television. Her worries were minimal. Rush and schoolwork were the bulk of Erin's concerns. She also worried about maintaining her friendships with her high school friends. When she came home on breaks, Erin always got together with her friends to hang out in someone's basement, drinking beer purchased with a fake ID or by an older sibling.

Today, I have far more material concerns. My appearance is even more important now than it was at 18. I'm two/three sizes smaller than I was back then. I don't eat meat. I exercise regularly. I drink Diet Coke. I wish I could still eat frozen yogurt everyday. I still drink, but not with the intensity that I did back then (most likely because I don't have to sneak around with my booze). Technology has all but taken over my life. From the moment I leave my apartment, I am tuned into my iPod or on my work computer or watching TV or chatting on IM or using my cellphone or updating my blog or sharing photos with my digital camera. I watch more TV today than I have since high school. I don't know what I would do without my wireless laptop or my cellphone.

I worry about bills and money and, I hate to admit, finding the man I will marry. I think a lot about my future: career, relationships, financial stability. My family life is still screwy. My parents haven't resolved the issues that were driving them apart back then and, as I did in 2000, I cherish the fact that I don't permanently live at home and can leave when I want to. I have maintained my relationships with those HS friends (I live with my best friend from home), but now I worry about keeping in touch with those friends from the early days of college. I speak with few of them regularly.

It's funny thinking about the time that has passed, the changes that have taken place. If only because it inevitably leads to thinking about the changes to come; my lifestyle and my priorities will be entirely different on the eve of 2011.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Cuckoo For Grape Nuts

I got my first blogging shout out today. Thanks TS!

Had my Econ final tonight, which followed a long afternoon of watching children's' cereal commercials. I can't say that I'm excited to see more tomorrow. Many of these ads are the same ones I remember seeing as a kid, and I still think most of this cereal looks disgusting. I wasn't big on the sugary cereals; my preference ran more toward Frosted Mini-Wheats than Cookie Crisp. And I can't see myself purchasing many of these cereals as a mother.

More later. Time to sleep. Need a night of adequate rest before getting up to go to the gym in the snow tomorrow morning.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Irritants

I am an easily irritated person. I've been thinking about blogging on my pet peeves, and each time I think about doing so, I start rattling off more and more things that bother me. Not sure what this says about me.

(I think most people would say I am an accommodating person. It's not like I want everything my way all the time, even if I was raised an only child.)

1. Incorrect grammar
This results from living with an English teacher my entire life. I'm not saying that my grasp on the English language is perfect, but there are just too many people out there speaking and writing incorrectly. No, you are not real tired, you are really tired. Spelling is lumped into this one. I'm naturally a good speller. But I know some people aren't quite as talented. That's why spell check was invented. Use it. And for those tricky buggers like "their", "there", and "they're" - if you're 25 and have a college degree, you should know which one to use.

2. Leaving all the lights on when you leave a room.
Waste of electricity.

3. Not pushing in chairs, completely closing drawers/cabinets.
Just pure laziness.

4. People who clearly see you running for the elevator, but don't attempt to hold the door.

5. Loud cell phone conversations on public transportation.
Don't get me started on this one......

6. Talking during a movie.
This should be a LAW. I also once saw a person text messaging during a movie. Appalling.

7. When parents allow their children to run rampant in stores or restaurants. Or airplanes.
Pay attention to your child. That is why you wanted him/her. I don't want your child. I don't care about your child. Please keep them from bothering me while I am shopping, eating, or traveling.

8. People who don't know the slightest thing about current events or geography.
I'm not asking for everyone to know the capital of Iceland or the current debate circulating around campaign finance reform. But not knowing that West Virginia is a state or that Dick Cheney is our Vice President is just plain ignorant.

9. Walkers who do not keep to the right side of the walking/running/bike trail.
This is especially annoying when said walkers stretch out across the whole trail so that it becomes impossible to pass them.

10. People who jump in front of you to get on the bus, but then have to count out their fare in change.
I have a Chicago Card. Wave it and I'm on. Why must you, slow change counter, cut in front of me?

11. When someone finishes food, but then neglects to throw away the package (ex: cereal, bread, crackers).
Laaaaazzzzzzyyyyyy.

12. Taking up two parking spots.
I don't drive much anymore, but this one always irked me. Another auto pet peeve: not using a turn signal.

Holiday Spirit

I've spent the majority of my 3-day weekend in our apartment with my roommate Jenn. Both of us took the day off on Friday (she was "sick", I just had extra time to take before the end of the year), and our other roommate's been out of town since she came home from work Friday evening. So the two of us have been hanging out together, only leaving for take-out food or a quick trip to the grocery store. I've been spending my time watching movies (I finally saw ET!), starting & finishing a book (Cash by Johnny Cash), and catching up on whatever else has been on TV (SNL, a Mafia series). I went out for a bit on Friday with Leslie & C, who I hadn't seen since Leslie's party. Despite Leslie's anxiety over any potential weirdness, there was none whatsoever.

Jenn's been baking. Sugar cookies cut out in candy canes, stockings, and stars. Peanut butter-Kiss cookies. Rice Krispie treats. Puppy Chow. The kitchen counter has been filled with these goodies, as well as jars of sprinkles, cinnamon candies, and chocolate chips. My will power has gone into overdrive.

All of this baking makes me wish I was going home earlier than Christmas Eve. Because it only takes 40 minutes for me to get from my apartment to my parents' house, I don't plan to spend a lot of time traveling home for the holidays unlike my friends who are not from Chicago. Even though I have a week and a half off at the holidays, I hadn't planned on spending most of it at home. I see myself wanting to come back to the city as soon as possible (both my roommates will be back, and Jill has all that time off too). But back to the baking.....

My mom and I used to bake at Christmastime every year. Maybe not every year, but when I look back I don't remember the years we didn't make cookies. As it happens whenever my mom embarks on a project, she went overboard on the baking. There were armies of sugar cookies on our kitchen table and counters: snowmen, gingerbread men, stars, trees, ornaments. We branched out into macaroons, chocolate wine balls, and truffles too (just last year we made the truffles and they were SO good). At first, I was responsible only for cutting out the shapes and decorating with the cinnamon dots or sprinkles. I took great pride in my cookie-decorating. Mom and I would spend hours and hours of a weekend or two just baking up a storm in the kitchen. I always got to lick the spoon or the mixers, and my dad would appear every so often to steal a freshly baked cookie or a piece of dough. Mom would scold him and later we would appease him by giving him the messed up cookies (or the ones I dropped on the floor).

My father loves Christmas music so there's a good chance he was playing it throughout the house while we baked. Every year on Christmas Day he made tapes of Christmas music on the radio, which he would then play for years to come. Once he finally had a CD player, I bought him some holiday CDs so he could replace the tapes. But every year those damn tapes make an appearance.

My mother and I are not so much into the Christmas music. I can take it once in awhile: just a few days before the holiday, on the holiday, or during a party. But the incessant playing of holiday music that begins around Thanksgiving drives me insane. So while we baked, Mom and I usually had the TV on, where we would watch movies like Holiday Inn or White Christmas in between rolling out dough or exchanging trays in the oven.

I was glad that my mom wanted to make the truffles last year. There's been a sharp decline in our holiday baking over the years, and we've received complaints from the family members. The truffles might not have equaled the sugar cookies, but the time I spent with my mom was just as sweet. So now, as I watch Jenn make trays of cookies, I wish that I would be spending more time at home so that Mom and I could do the same. Maybe I will have her prepare some recipes so that we can go into full baking mode when I come home on the 24th.

When I was with my mom over Thanksgiving, she regretted that we didn't have any holiday "traditions". Maybe that's why neither of us gets excited about the holidays; we keep in our minds the memories of family fights or obligations and neglect to think about the weekends spent making cookies or watching classic musicals. Because as I think about this kind of quality time I had at home, I get more excited about being there in a few weeks.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Wacky Thursday

Things that weirded me out today:

- New Coke product: Coca Cola Blak, which is coffee flavored.
This could be good. Could be revolting.

- New Reality Show: Black. White. This six part documentary style series takes the idea "walk a mile in my shoes" and makes it a reality: an African American family with the use of makeup is made to appear Caucasian; and takes a Caucasian family and makes them appear African American. They then live together under the same roof for six weeks. Ice Cube is one of the producers.

- New Nominees: Ying Yang Twins nominated for a Grammy.
They must be struggling to come up with rap artists worthy of nominations. But, seriously, who's going to beat Kanye?

It's snowing a lot outside. A lot. Got to leave early because of the snow. Am glad that I have the day off tomorrow. Although I did want to get some things done and with all this crap on the ground, I don't know if that will be feasible. Grr. My days off from work are all about getting things accomplished. I will feel really frustrated if I can't be productive.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Baby Got Back

Not gonna lie, I've been checking out my ass all day.

Maybe it was my jeans or maybe I'm just having a good butt day.

But when I finally got home from work, I was in love with myself half-naked in my full-length mirror.

7 & 7

I am being forced to stay at work for a reason, although that reason has not been given to me. I also have no formal tasks or projects, so I am wandering around the internet and playing games on my computer while listening to Launchcast radio. I saw this on another blog and, since today is the 7th, it seems appropriate.

7 Things I want to do before I die:
1. Travel to Greece
2. Appreciate my family more (or just the idea of family)
3. Learn how to save money (or, better yet, invest it)
4. Publish something I've written
5. Volunteer regularly
6. Own a home
7. Grow old with the person I love

7 things I cannot do:
1. Do a French braid
2. Stop drinking caffeinated beverages
3. Cartwheels
4. Unwrap a Jolly Rancher with my tongue
5. Drink dark rum
6. Run long distances
7. Whistle loudly (the kind you do with your fingers in your mouth)

7 things that attract me to the opposite sex:
1. Intelligence
2. Witty & clever sense of humor
3. A nice, full head of hair
4. Taste in music, film, books (this is specific to what I like. Call me shallow, but these things matter)
5. Being taller than me
6. Dark hair/features (please see celebrity crushes below)
7. The way he looks at me

7 things I say most often:
1. It doesn't matter to me...
2. And I go...
3. Thanks Buy Owner
4. Def (short for definitely)
5. Holla
6. Let me know...
7. If ellipses were a word, they would be my most used....

7 Celebrity Crushes:
The new one - Joaquin Phoenix
The traditional one - Brad Pitt
The "if I was forty years older" one - Paul Newman
The sexy surgeon - Julian McMahon
The goofy one - Ashton Kutcher
The New Yorker - Chris Noth
The dark chocolate one - Taye Diggs

7 people I want to do this
I don't think I have seven blogging friends, but if anyone wants to be like me and make their own lists, have fun.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

It's Tuesday....

I was flipping through my journal over the weekend and realized I haven't written in it since early August. I guess this blog has sort of replaced my personal journal writing. And I'm not sure what that means.

Chicago is experiencing one of its coldest Decembers in history. It is ferociously cold outside. Highs around 14 degrees. Wind chills making it feel like less than zero. And it is in this weather that I am forced to wait for the bus. I'm suing the CTA if I get frostbite this winter.

One of the reasons I don't like this time of year is that it becomes so busy. And unlike the summertime, when life is just as busy, it is far more difficult and/or annoying to meet all of the obligations when it is 11 degrees and it takes over five minutes just to wrap yourself in enough warm articles of clothing to venture outside. There are just too many parties and events (it seems that the majority of my friends and family were born between December 1st and February 28th).

I haven't been able to sleep lately. Last night I couldn't get to bed and I wasn't even feeling drowsy. I turned out the light around 10:45 and was still awake by 1. Yet I managed to drag myself out of bed to go to the gym this morning. I'm a slave to my routine, I guess.

At least work has become sort of busy this week. More tedious than busy, but I'll take anything over the boredom I was experiencing over the past few weeks. Lots of numbers and time spent with Excel, but this comes on the heels of having my first ever performance review at a job. I feel like I should be hanging it on the refrigerator. The review was completed by my old group, and it made me feel like I really accomplished something with them. And it's always reassuring to hear that you are missed.

I'm getting anxious about New Year's, which is (in my humble opinion) the most irritating holiday of the year. So much emphasis put on such an insignificant date. Yet every year I have to worry about what I will be doing, how I will be spending this overrated night on the town. And seeing as my friends don't get their shit together in advance, I am often without plans until the 29th, or even the 31st.

I've read a lot of incoherent posts lately. It must be the weather. I apologize.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Staying In

Yesterday was my company's annual party. It's an all-day celebration. And by all-day, I mean 11 hours. Most people arrive at the office earlier for the party, than for a typical workday. I didn't think I had that much to drink and when I left the party around 6:30 last night, I was feeling decent for having been drinking as long as I had. But a dinner of vegetable pad thai left me feeling less than great. By the time I left Leslie and climbed out of the cab at the intersection near my building, I was about ready to call it a night. I stumbled in (neither of roommates were home yet) and, within 10 minutes I was climbing into bed. My stomach was heavy and I felt nauseous. It wasn't even 9 pm, but I knew that I would be getting sick at some point during the night.

So that's why I'm lying on the raspberry couch, having just finished watching Closer. I threw up 9 times last night into this morning. I didn't manage to get out of bed until almost 2, when I made a trip to Walgreen's for Gatorade and saltines. I've spent the remainder of the day lying in my bed or on the couch. I've watched about 4 movies. It's been great (aside from the whole vomiting thing).

I had invites to four different parties tonight, but didn't make it to one. My roommates tried to convince me to come out tonight, but my stomach was still tumbling and I couldn't imagine cleaning myself up and going out. I don't mind, though. I like a night all to myself spent relaxing in front of the TV. I can hear the cars honking just out the window and I can see the light covering of snow on the sidewalk. I know it's cold out there too, another reason for staying in. It's actually quite stifling in our apartment (we have no control over the heat - the joy of radiators).

It's about time to find something new to watch.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

What are the odds?

My morning bus ride threw me for a loop.

I leave around 6:40 a.m. and catch the bus to the gym before work. Aside from being able to wake up early and with an alarm (no snooze bar ever), I don't consider myself a morning person. I don't talk in the mornings, nor do I want to do much thinking. I just like to go through my routine alone and in silence. This is especially true when I leave early for my workouts. I pop my contacts in, throw my clothes on (which I lay out the night before), and I'm out the door.

This morning was typical. Routine. The usual. So as I step onto the bus, I wave my farecard and scan the back of the bus for seats. As it was pretty crowded for such an early hour, I chose the closest available seat, a middle seat in a block of three. I wasn't paying attention. I dropped my ass on the seat and as I was putting my wallet back in my tote bag, I felt the passenger on my left elbowing me.

It was FFG.

I was expecting this to happen sooner or later. I mean, he lives within two blocks of me. He leaves for work around the same time I head to the gym. We travel in the same direction. But today was the first time we were actually on the same bus. And it was even stranger that I sat down next to him without even noticing.

My whole day was thrown off. This was entirely too surprising a way to start the morning. FFG and I hadn't spoken since we were at our college a few weeks ago. And here we were, 6:45 a.m. and riding the bus together. It was nice, though. Usually I just stare into space and listen to melancholy songs on my iPod. But the headphones came off (both of us) after I sat down. It was a pleasant change to have someone to talk to. And, I won't lie, especially pleasant because of who that someone was.

I had a bad workout. I was off-balance and thinking about him at far too early an hour. Work was slow so I had plenty of time to just think. And it's been on my mind all day.

Here's hoping that tomorrow morning can be just me and my iPod on the bus. I don't need any more pre-dawn surprises.

Dad Gift Ideas Needed

I never know what to buy my father for christmas or birthday gifts. Therefore, I am looking for general recommendations for what I might be able to get him.

Please note: He doesn't play golf, nor does he have a favorite sports team.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Like A Broken Record

iTunes has taken over the world.

I can't remember the last CD I bought in a store. Thanks to iTunes, I am able to purchase entire albums for just $9.99! Usually, I wouldn't be able to find a deal that great unless I was searching through the value bins at Best Buy. Even better is the ability to purchase just a song or two from an album. The days of the single have returned. I am brought back to my younger days, purchasing cassette singles at Musicland and Sam Goody (specific purchases included UB40's cover of "Can't Help Falling in Love" and Elton John's remake of "Don't Go Breaking My Heart" with Rupaul).

But I can't help but think of how sad it is for future generations to not buy actual albums. There's something to be said for the cohesiveness of an album, the way each track fits within the others - isn't this what the artist intended when putting it together? If he or she just wanted to release a bunch of songs, they would. And the album as an object is made up of so many things: cover art, liner notes, photos. As we started turning away from vinyl, it seemed less important to create covers that said something more than just the band's name. Cassette cases were too small to properly display cover art, but CDs provide a somewhat better space. Now we have the option of purchasing an album on Itunes and downloading a PDF of the album artwork. But what am I going to do with photos of Kanye West with a bear head standing around a library?

I can't help but think that some music was just meant to be heard on vinyl and that it gets changed somehow (diluted, perhaps?) when accessed digitally. When artists made albums during the days of vinyl, they meant for each song to be heard on a record. There were two sides. There was that extra effect I call the "scratchy sound". And the opening track on either side (especially side 1 or A) was an introduction to the rest of the album. I imagine that recording artists or record company execs thought a lot about which song needed to be first.

Nowadays, we hit shuffle on our CD players or iPods. Track placement no longer means anything. The first song probably has little effect on most listeners, while the artists might still consider it an important aspect of the album-making process. Do today's artists think the same way as those of the past? And I wonder what older artists, those who were around in the vinyl days, think of the digital revolution? Does it change how they write or record songs? Or are they thinking still of their old methods?

This all came to mind a few months ago when I purchased The Rolling Stones' Sticky Fingers on iTunes. It opens with "Can't You Hear Me Knocking", a deliciously sexy song which, thankfully, extends past the six minute mark (and would have taken up a good chunk of Side 1). And every time I listen to that song, I think about how much better it would be to hear it on vinyl. I imagine buying the record and placing it on my turntable, needle hovering over the very outer edge. Then, at the precisely right moment, dropping the needle and hearing the guitar intro jump out of my speakers.

So what do you all of think of the iTunes explosion? And if you had to name a favorite album or two, what would they be? (I mean "album" as the cohesive mix of songs, not just an 11-track recording by an artist).

Sunday, November 27, 2005

My (Usual) Blogspot


I finally got a digital camera! Expect an increase in photos accompanying posts.

Friday, November 25, 2005

A Boy Named Joaquin


I am thankful for my new celebrity crush.


Will write more later as I am exhausted from rising at 4 am to shop (aka keeping out of the way of the crazy soccer moms at the mall).

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

If I had a million dollars

If I could afford it, I would be wearing this

with these,

all the while enjoying this

in my beautiful home.


Who's bored at work???

I hate Tuesdays

I promised myself that I would never do this. Even when it got really bad, I wouldn't stop to think about why this might be a bad idea.

But here I am, blogging at work.

You see, I recently switched accounts and haven't really been given full, 100% responsibility on my new desk. And I am zero percent responsible for my old desk (which is awesome if you knew what that was like). In a nutshell, I have little to do. Especially since my new boss has been really busy and hasn't had time to sit down and fully transition me. And I'm not going to bother her for anything to do.

So here I am, exercising my creative juices while sipping on my tomato soup. Tomato soup which I burned my finger on carrying it back from the micro to my desk.

I dig this short week. In fact, I have lots of short weeks in my future. No complaints there. Tonight I am skipping my Econ class. Maybe I will work out. Maybe not. I will definitely be packing up my stuff for a few days at home and tuning into Nip/Tuck. Then maybe another early night to bed.

For some reason, I'm feeling really antisocial lately. Not so much at work, but at home. I haven't really wanted to just chit and chat with my roommates. Maybe I just need some time away from them. Hooray for the holiday weekend then.

I cannot believe it's time for Thanksgiving and, shortly after, Christmas. So begins a time of year that annoys me. At least until mid-January. But that is for another day and another time. One thing I absolutely hate about this time of year is the cold. Windy and bitter and snow falling. There is nothing Wonderful about it. Miserable, yes. Delightful, no. And seeing as my search for a new winter coat has been fruitless and aggravating, I am even less excited about the belowe 40 temps in the week's forecast.

I feel as though I should get back to work. Or at least, the appearance of working.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Tea & Symphony

Thank god for the symphony.

When I woke up around 9:30 this morning, I thought I was in store for another day spent sprawled on the pink couch, restlessly scrolling through the channel options (200 channels and nothing to watch), and eating soup and oatmeal. Despite feeling pretty good and not wanting to be in recovery mode any longer, I didn't really have any other plans.

So it started out this way: couch, oatmeal, and It Happened One Night. At least there was something decent on for a change. About halfway through the movie, I heard my phone vibrating in the distance of my bedroom and waited to check it until the movie ended. It was my mom. She had tickets for a piano concert series at the Chicago Symphony and would I like to join her?

Yes! An excuse to leave the apartmenet! A chance to get outside and breathe fresh air! And I was in the mood to watch something other than reruns of Laguna Beach. It was exactly what I needed. I was ready in 15 minutes and out the door. After we had a quick bite to eat (I was able to actually have a sandwich!), we went to the performance. I really enjoyed it, but it was a shame that I was so doped up. My eyes kept closing and I was having trouble staying alert. It's been happening all weekend, dozing off in front of the TV or the book I'm reading. Apparently a side effect of the Vicodin I'm on.

But it was still nice to go to the symphony (I can't tell you the last time I was there - probably a field trip in elementary school) and to spend time with my mom. Afterwards, we grabbed coffee and some dessert since she had to kill time before her train left. And, as I rode the bus back to my apartment, I thought about how much I love doing these sorts of things with her.

I'm not a family holiday person. I'm not looking forward to Thursday. And it's not because I don't like my family or don't want to see anyone. It's just that these forced occasions seem exactly that: forced. Do we all want to be there? Or is it a sense of obligation bringing us together? For family time, I much prefer just hanging out with my mom or having some great conversation with her. During these holidays, it's uncomfortable (for a variety of reasons), and I just don't want to be there. I'll need to explore this more later, especially as my least favorite time of year arrives (although from the looks of the store decorations and TV commercials, it's already here).

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Recovery

So I actually feel pretty good. I've been resting on the couch over the past two days, watching WAY too much TV, frozen peas on my cheeks, and medicine when needed.

Aside from some soreness in my left jaw, I'm doing so well. I barely remember much about the surgery. There was a point when I motioned to the oral surgeon and his assistants that I would be up for harvesting my eggs just for the money. I guess it had come up in conversation.

My parents met me afterwards and took me to McDonald's for a chocolate shake (or 2), then back to my apartment. Dad left and Mom stayed until about 10 pm. It was great having her around, even though I was initially not too excited about it. I forgot how great it is when my mom takes care of me. The first couple hours were messy. Since my chin and lips were still somewhat numb, I had difficulty keeping the shake in my mouth and off my shirt. Mom and I watched TV and just spent some time together, which was just comforting. I was even willing to let her stay the night if needed. But by the time night rolled around and my roommates came home from work, I was feeling 100 times better. No puffy cheeks, no more numbness, and I'm doing better with more solid food.

And from all this time laying around my apartment, I'll totally be ready to go to work on Monday.

as if i didn't already know

Romantic, hopeful, and composed. You are the Sonnet. Get it? Composed?

Sonnets want Love and have high ideals about it. They're conscientious people, caring & careful. You yourself have deep convictions, and you devote a lot of thought to romance and what it should be. This will frighten away most potential mates, but that's okay, because you're very choosy with your affections anyway. You'd absolutely refuse to date someone dumber than you, for instance. Lovers who share your idealized perspective, or who are at least willing to totally throw themselves into a relationship, will be very, very happy with you. And you with them. You're already selfless and compassionate, and with the right partner, there's no doubt you can be sensual, even adventurously so.   You probably have lots of female friends, and they have a special soft spot for you. Babies do, too, at the tippy-top of their baby skulls.

Not sure about that baby part though.

Check it out for yourself.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Open wide

So the wisdom teeth come out in 13 hours. I am not really nervous about the surgery, just the after effects. And the anesthesia. I've never been put under before. But, according my to old boss, it's not much different than getting wasted and not remembering being at the bar. So I'll be right at home.

Looking forward to a weekend of doing nothing: sleeping in my fabulous bed, watching movies, and not spending money at the bar.

If anyone has any good recovery advice, please let me know.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Blogging Help

I'm not too html savvy so I do the basics just to get by on this blog. However, I received any email from one of my readers who posed a question I also had.

So anyone who knows how to do this, let us know!

How can the blogger see who has viewed their site? Or any other tricks like that?

Sunday, November 13, 2005

So now what?

If you asked me Friday morning, I would have told you that no productive conversation with Flip Flop Guy would happen this weekend.

I would have been wrong.

This past weekend was my alma mater's big football game. I went back last year and, seeing as I probably won't be back for quite awhile, decided to take the trip again this year. Two of my close friends were going, so we would be able to stick it out together. Flip Flop Guy was also coming and I was prepared for awkwardness or some angry drunk moments. I got both (but not as bad as it could have been).

I'll try and make a long, probably uninteresting story short. I wanted answers. Since I started writing this blog, I've wanted answers. But I'm too chicken to bring it up (unless I'm drunk - keep reading) and he feels weird talking about it (keep reading). Friday night everything was cool at the bar. Again, his friends asked what was going on between us. I'm getting the idea that he doesn't talk much about his relationships with them; they seem to know nothing. Or this is some weird guy thing where they like to ask the other half what's going on. I don't get it. When they ask, I just shrug my shoulders. Because that's really all I know.

At some point in the evening, rather late actually, I finally tell him that I'm frustrated. I want to know what's going on. And I start trying to explain things in my illogical drunken ramblings so I am making no sense. And he has no idea what I'm talking about. Apparently, we were arguing or I was angry, but I don't really know what I said. Luckily, he didn't recall much other than being angry at me (and not knowing why). When I came back to the hotel room, I guess I told my friend Amy that FFG and I had gotten into a fight. I was a little nervous to see him at the game.

When I did see him on Saturday, I made every effort not to look his way or draw attention to myself. I've made it a point to always make him approach me. Especially if the situation is potentially awkward. Well, he came over to talk to Leslie and, because I was standing about 2 people away from them, I could overhear a little of what they were saying. And I kept hearing the word "her". Their conversation was about me.

He then made his way over to me, cautiously, as if he didn't know what he was getting himself into by talking to me. I guess I can be pretty scary when I'm mad because he's not the only guy to act this way. He tells me he doesn't really remember what happened in our conversation, other than feeling angry after he walked me to my hotel. We hugged. And it was one of those really good, long squeezes.

But Leslie came over and I could tell that she needed him to tell me something. He pulled me away from everyone else and finally told me the truth. The girl he was dating before is out of the country. They decided not to be together while she is gone. They can see other people, but are considering getting back together when she returns (TBD - no set date). She is currently seeing someone, but he is not anxious to jump into a relationship because of the circumstances. I am the closest thing he has to a relationship. He has such a good time when he's with me that he forgets about all of this. Then, when I'm not there, he thinks that he should tell me.

And I told him that I needed to hear that, because I was confused. And I needed to know these things. And as I keep thinking about it and about him, I realize how much I like FFG and I can't just shove him to the side and forget about him.

So now what?


p.s. I also just realized that I might have left my new sweater in the hotel room. So annoyed.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Capricorn

I am a big believer in horoscopes. Not that I cling to each and every word, or even read them on a regular basis. It's just that when I do read them, I can usually fit the prophetic four or five sentences easily into my life. Whenever I am thinking on something or I have a pressing issue, reading my horoscope often encourages me to trust my instincts. It tells me that yes, I should do or say whatever I've been thinking....Or I should forget about that person who's name begins with L.....Or I should take some time to think about my accomplishments so others will take notice.

I might not believe that my horoscope will come true, but I like to use it as a blueprint.

That said, today I read that if I am single (yes), I should tell the person I am interested in how I feel. I have been thinking about that a lot.

Yesterday my coworker Zach and I had a conversation about this. About how it's better for me to tell Flip Flop guy that I care about what's going on with us, whatever that may be. I need to stop pretending that it's no big deal because I'm only going to screw myself in the long run.

So when I read my horoscope this afternoon, it only reinforced what I've known to be true for a week now. I need to tell him. I need to tell him that I'm not okay with not understanding what is between us. That I want to know what he is thinking so I don't have to speculate anymore. That I am interested and, although I don't know exactly what I want, I want something between us. That if something isn't possible, then I want nothing at all.

But I am a chicken. I get scared to say a word and I put it off and put it off until it's too late. And this weekend I know nothing will get accomplished.

Can we pass this law?

I very much agree with the idea of eliminating smoking in restaurants and adding Children and Non-Children sections.

Please read.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

It Had to Be You

What a bummer. I totally wanted to go out tonight and I have ended up on my couch, watching When Harry Met Sally. I had been watching the What's Happening!! marathon and, before that, The Cosby Show on DVD. However, I shouldn't be too bummed; I can hear the thunder outside and am probably better off staying in tonight.

I'm trying to figure out when I fell in love with this movie. When did it become one of my standbys, the movie I turn to when I just need something to watch? Peering up at our apartment's DVD collection, I realize that the whole love/romance section is mine with only a few exceptions (I organized our DVDs in a genre sort of way. It's not clear at first how I've done this). From Bridget Jones's Diary to WHMS, it's all mine. This includes Annie Hall, Garden State, Love Actually, and Sleepless in Seattle. When I bought the latter this past summer, my roommate mused that it was an "Erin kind of movie". I was shocked. When did I become a Meg Ryan/Romantic Comedy girl?

But I see where she was coming from. I wish I could live in a Woody Allen film. I have this idealized view of New York, complete with walking down the street with a soundtrack of Billie Holiday and Dean Martin. I imagine Harry Connick Jr filling in the gaps while crossing through Central Park or standing in line at the movies while overhearing obnoxious conversations about Marshall McLuhan. So I guess this is where it comes from, seeing me as the kind of girl whose romantic fantasies revolve around Manhattan, martinis, and big band music. It's sad.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Average American?

I came across this on two sites today and thought I'd give it a shot, see how average I am.....


Eats peanut butter at least once a week.
At least once a day? This amazing food/condiment/snack/topping is part of the title of my blog. I have a slight addiction and enjoy peanut butter in its many forms.

Prefers smooth peanut butter over chunky.
Yes. Although sometimes a mixing of the two really adds something to a straight PB sandwich.

Can name all Three Stooges.
Yep - although I can't stand em.

Lives within a 20-minute drive of a Wal-Mart.
I don't drive. Not sure where the closest Wal-Mart is. I hate Wal-Mart. After relying on the Super-sized version in college, I am glad that I no longer need to set foot in this chain on a routine basis.

Eats at McDonaldĂ‚’s at least once a year.
Once a year is my limit. I think I've actually been twice this year.

Takes a shower for approximately 10.4 minutes a day.
That's probably about right on. Maybe longer if I can. I love showering.

Never sings in the shower.
True.

Lives in a house, not an apartment or condominium.
I grew up in a house, but am apartment living now.

Has a home valued between $100,000 and $300,000.
See above.

Has fired a gun.
At summer camp. Does that count?

Is between 5 feet and 6 feet tall.
Yep.

Weighs 135 to 205 pounds.
I'm on the low end of that one.

Is between the ages of 18 and 53.
And low end of this one too.

Believes gambling is an acceptable entertainment option.
It's acceptable, just not for me. I am not a gambler. Don't like taking risks if I don't have to.

Grew up within 50 miles of current home.
South Side to North Side.....and within 50 miles.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

You're joking, right?

One of the more ridiculous articles I've read lately.

Wow, I'm bored at work.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Too Much Tech

Technology is making me tired. Does anyone else feel like multitasking is an overwhelming activity? There are so many things to see, read, hear, buy, taste, smell, want, need.....

I've been thinking about this a lot lately, how technology is supposedly making our lives better. This is the industry in which I work - media. Every day I read about how media is a changing landscape, how we in media need to learn to navigate new media and figure out how it will work for our clients (and how it's affecting consumers). The trades keep telling us that there is too much media, too many ways to consume media, and consumers are getting overwhelmed.

I agree. I multitask at work, at home, and on the bus. And it seems that there is constantly something new for me to add to my daily media mix, those regular outlets I view, listen to, or read.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Fly Me to the Moon

What am I doing?

I'm sitting in my room, back hurting from some yoga pose performed early this morning, drinking wine and watching The Godfather on TV. And I'm wishing Flip Flop Guy would call.

Why did I ask him back into my life? I did this. I emailed him about a happy hour gathering last weekend. I ended up hanging out with him and his friends. I ended up sleeping at their apartment just 1.5 blocks from my own place. What is it that I want from him? A relationship? A guy to hook up with on the weekends? A friend? I'm still not sure.

My friends gave me disapproving looks when they saw him and I talking last Friday at the bar. They certainly don't want me to be with him again, at least not until I get an answer from him about what happened a few months ago. I also want answers. But I have been slowing in asking the questions. I would like to know where I stand with him (and where I stood with him before). I need to clarify this soon before I do something I regret.

Meanwhile....I've been downloading this on iTunes.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Muffy Called....


When did I become so preppy? Last week, after doing my laundry, I counted six different shirts hanging to dry that featured that widely-recognized, country clubbish, polo-playing-man-on-horse logo. That's just in one load of laundry. Before going to college, I don't remember having one item of Ralph Lauren clothing. How did I acquire so much within five years? And why? What inspired this Polo purchasing?

I've come to realize that we often become most like what our parents are not. My parents are not preppy. They are not the country club sort (although we did belong to a small club for a few years). They don't drive foreign cars. They don't do brunch. No dinner parties. No furniture from Crate & Barrel or Pottery Barn. They are White, but not Anglo-Saxon or Protestant. They attended public schools through college (aside from my mother's time in Catholic grade schools).

It's not preppy, but yuppie that I aspire to. As an adolescent, I wished my parents were more like the drinking, dinner party, always dressed up, European car driving, country club member Moms and Dads of my classmates. My parents never looked put together. They didn't seem to have the yuppie lifestyle that I coveted. And maybe that's why I longed to be part of it. There are those eccentric, hippie spawn of the country club set who are clearly rebelling against their family background. They have no interest in polos and pearls, tee times or fraternities.

Me? Well, I only applied to private colleges. I knew I wanted to be in a sorority. My dream car is an Audi. I am addicted to Starbucks. I get J Crew and Anthropologie catalogues in the mail. I had the frightening realization one day that I wanted to be one of those wives who drove around in their cute car, running errands after morning Pilates with a Venti coffee in one hand and cell phone in the other.

My mother would cringe if she knew that. Probably because she didn't raise me to be such a yuppie, shallow person. And probably because she'd think she failed me, believing that in my desire was a desire for her to be that kind of mom. And she'd be right.

On Writing

I started this blog as a way to force myself back into writing. After graduating as an English Writing major and devoting much of my time in college to expressing creativity through words and stories, I stopped doing it altogether. It makes me sad that I don't write with the same frequency that I did in school, but I'm also not in an environment which encourages me to write. I did my best writing when given assignments and deadlines (I do most things best under such circumstances). I don't have the discipline to make myself write like that outside of college. So blogging has been the best way to structure my writing and encourage this good habit that's been hiding.

A few weeks ago one of my former writing professors (the one who got the best stuff out of me) asked me to read something he had written. It was a 26 page memoir piece and I dove right into reading and critiquing it for him. The comments I wrote in response were lengthy and detailed. I apologized for the volume of criticism in my email, but I noted that I had not been asked to critique writing in so long that I went slightly overboard. It was a feeling I had missed and one that I want back. Not only do I want the opportunity to read and respond to others, but I also want to write and get feedback. And not just in this forum, but elsewhere (not sure where at this point).

Reading my professor's work reminded me of the best day I ever had as a writer. It was a Nonfiction/Memoir course taught by the aforementioned instructor. It was my final semester in college and my final writing class. And this was our final writing assignment. Earlier in the semester we had been given specific topics to write on, but for our last piece we could choose to write about any experience. I'd had my idea for the piece since the semester began in February. It would be about sex, love, and my inability to navigate between the two. The highlight of my piece was a section about my first real boyfriend, an overly experienced 16 year old with whom I first had oral sex. And the description of performing my first blow job was where I had really let myself be honest and open with my readers. I had never written so openly before (and with such precise detail). The day our class workshopped my piece, I was the last person to be critiqued. And the comments were amazing. I had put so much effort into getting the story exactly how I wanted it, really crafting each sentence and section of the piece. But more importantly, I was totally honest about myself and didn't hold back. For some reason, I could remember minute details of that first blow job: the lighting in the room, the color of the sheets, the initial discomfort that never really disappeared.

The sexual experience I'd rather forget, but I will always remember the way it felt when my classmates and professor praised my work that day.

So you should be seeing more of me soon....I've got some ideas up my sleeve that I just need to get out. If only I could tear myself away from Grey's Anatomy, Nip/Tuck, and the World Series.

Question: Do you have specific stimulants that you need around while writing? Music? TV Shows? Food or beverage? Atmosphere? Is there a certain environment that gets you writing more?

Monday, October 17, 2005

South Side pride

Chicago has a sports team to be proud of once again! The Good Guys in Black, the Chicago White Sox, are the American League Champions! I've been following postseason baseball religiously because of them, and I am so proud to say I grew up below 35th Street (that doesn't happen often). And now a World Series in Chicago? At the Cell? Who would have predicted this a year ago?

I'm glad they won quickly so I can take some time off from Fox's baseball coverage and devote some much needed time to my upcoming final on Wednesday and Nip/Tuck tomorrow night.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Day Off

I can't complain. I took the day off work today and have been maxin' and relaxin' most of the day. Slept in, went to a dentist appointment (scheduled the wisdom teeth extraction!), watched last night's episode of Nip/Tuck, laundry, and now just hanging out before I head to class tonight.

What a bummer that I have to give a presentation tonight. If not, I could have possibly gone to the White Sox playoff game. Grrr.

We had our inaugural meeting of our newly formed book club last night. I feel somewhat nerdy telling people that I'm in a book club, but it's a great way for us to get together once a month and catch up on gossip. Besides, we get some good books out of it. My book was chosen first so we'll be hosting the meeting in November. I chose Meg Wolitzer's The Position. I was a little nervous about choosing something I had not read yet because I don't want a bad book to be a reflection of my taste. But I've got confidence in this one.

After the meeting, Jill and I went over to her boyfriend's place to carve pumpkins. I learned something new about my best friend last night. Apparently she is terribly disgusted by pumpkin innards. I can understand being squeamish about a dead animal, but a gourd? When she was younger, they painted pumpkins for Halloween so I guess she never really had the experience of scooping out the seeds and stringy things that cling to the sides. Dan and I made fun of her for it, and Dan kept thrusting globs of pumpkin guts in her face. She was not amused. My "Ghostly Ghoul" pumpkin turned out okay, but Dan's "Terror Tree" was awesome. I was highly impressed. (Dan bought some carving tools and a book with Halloween patterns. Our designs came from the book, so I can't take too much credit for my ghost).

Why do we only carve pumpkins? I'm sure there is some historical background to this tradition. I offered up carving watermelons as a summertime activity. You could carve patriotic designs at Fourth of July or Memorial Day. Flag Day too. Just a thought. I'm sure Jill and I will try this when June rolls around next year. I'm still in denial that it is actually fall. We've got to come up with our Halloween costumes soon, and I have to find a date for an upcoming wedding.

I need to sort myself out. It's been a busy week, at least in my thoughts. My mind is racing with tasks needing to be completed, phone calls needing to be made, homework, wisdom teeth, laundry, White Sox, parties, book club, philanthropies, dinner....I am overwhelmed by myself. That's why I needed today.

Monday, October 10, 2005

My Kind of Store

There are a few things I love about Chicago. The lakefront. The dueling baseball teams. The Brown Line El train which weaves through buildings like a children's ride at an amusement park. South Side accents. Deep dish pizza.

These are landmarks of this city, cultural artifacts which make Chicago unique. It might be the Second City, but it can stand out on its own.

Which is what makes the latest development in the retail industry upsetting to most Chicagoans (myself included).

Marshall Field's, a department store synonymous with Chicago, is becoming Macy's, a store synonymous with a very different city. I am not pleased.

I love Marshall Field's. For me, it is one of those places I can go and just lose myself in the beautiful merchandise. I imagine that for New Yorkers, this place might be Bloomingdale's or Barney's. Or even that M store mentioned above. Not all Marshall Field's stores have this effect on me, but I usually feel some sense of elation upon walking into one. I am fortunate enough to work just a half a block away from the flagship store, the exquisite shop on State Street. When I am needing a break at work or something to lift my spirits during the day, I usually walk to Marshall Field's just to walk around, browse on a few floors, and maybe stop for some sushi in the lower level cafeteria.

When I was a child, my father used to take me to work with him over Christmas Vacation. I loved these days. I would sit in his office and draw on his dry-erase boards. I would type on the (now ancient) word processor. And, at lunchtime, we would look at the windows at Marshall Field's. For some reason, the windows were magical to my child self. During the last holiday season, I walked past those windows every day on the way to my train and barely even glanced. But they were a staple of Christmastime during my childhood.

I love the clocks outside the store (which used to indicate if I was late for my aforementioned train). I love the green bags given out at the store. I love the Frango mints, now only sold at specific times during the year. I love that Marshall Field's is Chicago's store.

It won't be the same place with a new name. I don't think it will conjure up those same feelings of joy when I take the escalator up to the fourth floor to browse the Marc Jacobs shoe collection or to the sixth floor to indulge in bedding. I won't be as excited to walk back to work swinging a Macy's bag (whatever color it may be), and if there are window displays I definitely won't be stopping.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Autumn

I woke up to the sounds of the Chicago Marathon this morning. Honking, sirens, cheering - all of it started around 8 am. I crept out of bed and peeked out my window around 8:30, but there were no runners yet. Within an hour, Clark was covered in marathoners at their halfway mark. I can't imagine running 26.2 miles; even a half marathon would be too much for me. But I have to respect the thousands of runners who train and train for this one event. I may be disciplined, but doing a marathon isn't really my thing.

It's finally fall in Chicago and I love it. It came about suddenly (as the seasons tend to do in this city) going from 85 to 55. The first few days of cooler weather were the yucky fall days, the kind where the sky is oppressively gray, the wind whips against your too-thin coat, and it feels like winter is just around the corner. Today, however, the clouds parted and the sun came out for a more ideal fall day. These are the days I like, where the sun keeps you warm and your too-thin coat is just enough to keep away the chill. I even wore flip flops today, knowing that I only have a few more days of not wearing closed toe shoes. The trees are starting to change over (although there are few in the city) and I've finally realized that it's October. Pumpkin carving and Halloween costumes are on the way.

I'll finish the day with the usual Sunday traditions: a crossword puzzle, takeout from the Pasta Bowl, and some ABC hour-long shows. It's already a great start to the week.

(I ran into the Returning Ex yesterday at the Art Institute of all places. Now he's stuck in my head like a bad Ashlee Simpson song. Aargh.)

Monday, October 03, 2005

Self-Worth, Part II

Within a day of writing my last post, I was laughing at myself. For being so ridiculous. For jumping into emotional outbursts. For appearing to cry over a boy (a boy who really meant nothing to me then, nor right now). For ruining a perfectly good evening with a few tears.

Leslie wanted to make sure I was okay on Saturday. I reassured her that I was. I spent the evening with two good friends, neither of whom I had spent time with since graduating college. And that was enough for me to remember what was important.

I have some thoughtful friends. Considerate and caring friends. Loyal friends. Friends that respect me and look up to me. And friends who I admire. I have friends who have known me for over a decade and others I have known only a few weeks. There are friends I see only once every few months (or just a couple times a year), and there are friends I see on a daily basis.

I am lucky to have these friends. Rather than judging my self-worth on the man with his arm around my shoulders, I am going to start thinking about how valuable my friends have made me.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Disappointment and a few tears

I have been a delinquent blogger lately. To the the two or three people who might read this, I apologize. It's been a busy week of long days beginning at 6 and ending at 9:30 or 10. This week should be much better.

Last night I felt like I was back in college. Back to about sophomore or junior year. My friends has a housewarming/birthday party at their apartment, and all of the friends were sorority sisters of mine. The invitees were primarily alumni from my college; four or five guests were outsiders. There was a keg, wine, and much vodka. Drinking games were getting started in one corner of the room, while guests mingled and gossiped in the other corners. Some of my friends were in town (also sorority sisters) and I hadn't seen them since graduation. I was catching up with them, making sure Jill didn't feel too left out, and having a good time.

Then C arrived, alone. I spotted him when he walked in, but decided that he would need to approach me first. After a few minutes, he came over and we started talking, moving our conversation into the kitchen, out of the kitchen, all over the place. I was happy. Things seemed to be going well.

More people arrived. For a while, it was packed in that small Lincoln Park apartment. More alumni. I moved on from the wine to the keg of MIller Lite. With the larger crowd, music, and plenty of drinks, it was easy to lose people at this party. I found myself talking to friends from school that I hadn't seen in a long time, and I lost track of C. I don't really remember how it happened, but suddenly I saw him alone in the kitchen with one of the Cute Blonde Girls at the party. This CBG went to my school and is an acquaintence of mine. From where I was standing, it appeared that C and CBG had hit it off. I was pretty much forgotten and it wasn't cool.

Leslie saw that I was upset. Her boyfriend Tom pulled me aside, and we sat on the couch where I expressed my disappointment. This was even more like a night at school, I realized. How many times had my crushes/interests rejected me for some CBG, someone I was never going to be. It stung a little bit more each time it happened because, in my mind, it reinforced the idea that all guys were on the lookout for a CBG and not me. I know it's not true, but when it happens often enough, I tend to believe it.

Leslie and Tom left the party with me and I started crying as we walked through Oz Park. It wasn't C that I was crying over, although it appeared that way to my friends. He was just one more guy that had rejected me and I felt like something was wrong with me. Why hadn't he wanted to take the time to really get to know me? He had blown me off before realizing just how awesome I am. Tom kept reassuring me that I was beautiful and could get someone far better than C (which is probably true), but I was still upset.

I place too much value on having a boyfriend. It's hard when your closest friends are all attached and you aren't. You don't understand why you can't be as lucky as them. And of course there is always that lingering thought that you will never find someone. I'm not looking to get married any time soon, but I wouldn't mind a nice guy taking me out on a date once in awhile.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Sunday Girl

I haven't been writing much because I've felt too tired, too empty, too devoid of original thoughts to actually attempt a new post. Work has been so busy with number-crunching and hour-long conversations with my colleagues in San Antonio that I've come home every night just wanting to veg in front of the TV. This weekend hasn't been much different. After a mini-college reunion on Friday night at a new bar in Wrigleyville, I spent Saturday trying to stay dry in between Crate & Barrel, CB2, The Container Store, and Pottery Barn (Leslie was looking for new furniture and I was bored). By the time we got back to her place, neither of us had any energy to look cute and do the bar scene again so we assembled her shelves, watched a few (8) episodes of Sex & the City, enjoyed some gourmet pizza, and veged some more. Today? More of the same once I finished my online midterm for my MBA class. Jill & I watched Club Dread (so ridiculous) and laid motionless on our respective couches. Now, after all my laziness, I feel the need to produce something.....anything....

I am frustrated with C. Haven't seen him in 2 weeks, haven't talked in one. He has been very busy at work, but I don't really like that excuse. And I am weird about calling boys. I guess The Rules have been reinforced in my brain one too many times. There is just something I don't like about being the one who initiates the phone calls. The ball is in his court, yet he's doing nothing. So should I call and give him a little kick in the ass, or do nothing and stay frustrated? I think it's clear that I will have to call.

The Returning Ex returned again (from this point on to be known as Flip Flop Guy - thanks Max). He now lives within 2 blocks of my apartment, but I have yet to run into him on the street. He called Friday night and I chose to ignore his call. He was at another bar, wondering what I was doing, wanting me to meet up with him. Leslie told me not to call him back. No texting allowed either. I knew she was right so I never returned his call.

I'm perpetually confused by the men in my life. I only hope I am just as confusing to all of them.


(While trying to come up with a title for this post, I thought of three Blondie song titles. That was all that came to mind. Huh.)

Monday, September 19, 2005

secrets, secrets are no fun

I just found this and I'm fascinated.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

without me, it would just be aweso

I am so tired and braindead tonight....watching a Kanye concert on MTV2 because there is NOTHING on tv. Home alone, ready to go to sleep, and just jotting down a few lines about my favorite subject....myself.


1. I am a Diet Cokehead.
2. Pedro Almodovar is my favorite director.
3. When I was in junior high, people thought I looked like Veruca Salt in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory.
4. I am an only child.
5. I prefer dark chocolate.
6. New York is my favorite city.
7. I went through a disco phase in 7th and 8th grade.
8. Sometimes I check out my reflection when I walk down the street.
9. French fries are my weakness.
10. I wrote down all of the lyrics to Salt N Pepa's "Shoop" in 6th grade.
11. I was on the swim team for 8 years.
12. I am half-Irish and half-German.
13. I wish my family was Italian.
14. I hate oranges.
15. Gin & tonics are my new favorite cocktail.
16. I think I look much better when I'm tan.
17. Even though I hate to admit it, I am a Miranda.
18. I love singing in front of the mirror and pretending I'm on stage.
19. I once rode in an elevator with Leann Rimes and her family.
20. I was afraid of elevators until I got stuck in one three years ago.
21. Diet Coke and a bagel is my favorite hungover breakfast.
22. I hate my hips.
23. My ipod's name is Todd.
24. I don't let people see me cry (if I can help it).
25. I had a lump removed from my breast when I was 20.
26. I clip coupons weekly.
27. My favorite dessert is chocolate flourless cake.
28. I want to live inside a Woody Allen film.
29. I make my lunch the night before.
30. Being tickled on my lower back is painful.
31. I drank my first beer at 15.
32. I got caught drinking on my high school's spring break trip.
33. I have woman crushes on Rachel Bilson and Angelina Jolie.
34. People have told me I look like Eva Mendes.
35. Toasted peanut butter & raspberry jelly sandwiches are my favorite comfort food.
36. I have only overdrawn my bank account once.
37. I dressed up as a Double Dare contestant for Halloween last year.
38. I cannot get into my bed unless it's made.
39. I would love to drive an Audi A4.
40. No one has ever sent me flowers.
41. Van Morrison's "Into the Mystic" is my favorite song.
42. I have never seen "ET".
43. I was born a month late.
44. I have never gotten a speeding ticket, but have been pulled over twice.
45. I am a vegetarian, but I eat seafood sometimes.
46. I've never worn my hair in a French braid.
47. It's been over a year since I've been on a date.
48. I lost my virginity when I was 18.
49. I am an only child.
50. My favorite body part is my back.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

It's only rock 'n roll

Does it seem wrong that a 62 year old man in tight pants and a little black t-shirt turns me on? That he can shake his hips, point his finger, and I start to swoon?

I am more in love with Mick Jagger today than yesterday.

Jill and I, along with thousands of other sweaty Stones fans, packed into Soldier Field last night for a show that blew me away. I've wanted to see the Rolling Stones for years, but never had the chance. It didn't matter that our seats were in the high-altitude section. I just wanted to see his face.

The setlist was great with only a few exceptions. Personally, I am not a fan of Keith Richards. On guitar, he is fantastic. On vocals, I'd rather hear a cat scream. So the two songs he performed were the dark spot of the show for me. There were a few new songs from "A Bigger Bang" which the majority of the crowd did not know. However, that didn't stop the excitement in the stadium. And I especially liked when a small portion of the stage moved along a track down the center of the field seats, ending at a platform in the middle of the field. It was a more intimate stage than the large, TV-screen and pyrotechnic stage where most of the show took place, and it was the perfect place to showcase songs like "Miss You", "Honky-Tonk Woman", "Jumpin Jack Flash", and "Satisfaction".

If given the opportunity, I would much rather see the Stones perform in a smaller venue such as they did a few years ago in Chicago. Given that they can command $100 ticket prices for nosebleed seats, however, I don't think it's too likely they'll quit the stadium tours. And one can only guess as to how much longer they'll be performing together.

Friday, September 09, 2005

A circle is round, it has no end....


Tonight is Jill and my 12 Year Friend-i-versary!

This is the first time we are officially celebrating our friendship (thanks to the idea from our friend Anne), and it's also just a great excuse to have a party. Our friendship is really something to celebrate; I cannot believe we have been friends for twelve years.

Jill & I met in fifth grade. We were in the same Girl Scout troop (#448) and both of us participated in the French-American exchange program through our school. Our "french kids" were friends so over the course of our three-week stay in Montmorency, Jill and I became friends too. When we entered junior high a few months later, our best friends (Angie and Courtney) ditched us for each other. Jill and I were in the same sixth grade class, and the rest is history.

I feel lucky to have met my best friend so early in life. We have shared so many things together and now, after four years of college and 2,000 mile separation, we live together in Chicago. Who would have guessed? (Probably everyone, actually). We are the same person at many times (saying the same thing at the same time, wearing identical clothes, joining the same sorority of which we are now on the local alumnae board). Jill has taught me much and has introduced me to new people, some of whom I now consider close friends.

So after a long Friday at work (after an even longer Thursday), we will celebrate!

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Erin and The Professor

I was catching up with a friend from college tonight, a girl with whom I became very close during my freshman year. She recently started a new job teaching in a private school in St. Louis, and I asked if she had any cute prospects at the new school.

Al: There are a few cute guys. Professor types. You'd like em.

Me: Yeah, sounds like my type.

At the time I was just agreeing with her to move the conversation along. But later, in bed feeling exhausted and yet unable to sleep (like last night), I realized that this IS my type.

For the longest time I have been picturing the guys I've dated or been interested in, trying to force them into some sort of cohesive group representing "my type". I still don't think I've figured it out, but after my conversation with Al tonight, I am getting closer.

Intellectuals, professors, smart guys - these are the men I have been attracted to or who have been interested in me. Maybe they were lovers or are just close friends, but they fall into this group of intelligent men. I guess it's because I like to learn and I prefer to be friends with someone who can teach me something once in awhile, no matter what the subject. I am slightly modest about my intelligence, but I don't try to hide it. I want to engage in thoughtful conversations with men, and I am often turned off by those guys who cannot communicate or who don't seem to have anything to say. Even this past weekend, I can think of two instances where I was engaging in more than just small talk with guys (for the record, I was not interested in either of them).

I want a boyfriend who will take me to a coffee shop just to talk. He will want to see foreign films and have informed discussion about them afterwards. Talking about politics won't be completely out of the question - as long as we both can take something away from the conversation. Book or music recommendations will be greatly appreciated and encouraged, and we will watch intelligently funny tv shows together (those men regularly tuning into "Viva La Bam" need not apply).

And I seem to attract the same guys over and over again. Sure, they all look different, but they're usually smart and funny. (Sidenote: these two qualities should, in my opinion, go hand in hand. Humor is nothing without some intelligence behind it.) Maybe it's because I'm smart and funny. Yeah, that's probably it.

I hope this doesn't sound too pretentious, because I definitely don't want one of those......

Sunday, September 04, 2005

goin' to the chapel

Unlike most girls, I haven't been planning my wedding since the age of six. It wasn't until I worked for a bridal magazine that I actually started thinking about The Big Day. How could I avoid it? I was surrounded by ads and articles about finding the perfect DJ or selecting a registry. Photos of banquet halls, honeymoon destinations, and Tiffany's inspired robin's egg blue bridesmaid dresses got me thinking about all the elements of my own wedding (whenever that day comes along). I've been thinking about weddings even more now that I've entered that time in my 20s when the wedding epidemic starts. Every time I turn around, another wedding invitation or bridal shower comes along. It starts off slow, a few weddings this summer and fall, but within the next two years I imagine the number of events will triple.

I went to my third wedding of the summer last night (I was someone's date, but the groom went to my college). It was a nice service (I think the Scottish pastor was slightly drunk) and the reception was beautiful. Of course I started to pick out little elements of the day that I would like to have as part of my own wedding, and I started wondering what it would be like when I got engaged and married and who this lucky man would be and what my family and friends would say during their toasts and who my bridesmaids will be and......

It scares me, thinking about marriage, because in no way am I ready for that stage in my life. I see my friends who have recently gotten married or engaged, and I can't begin to think about making such a huge commitment. But it's also exciting to think about how it will happen, finding that person who wants to be with you forever and loves you enough to make that leap into commitment. Knowing that this could happen with the next person I date is especially strange.

Maybe I will come back to this later. I'm having trouble focusing right now.