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


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.