Sunday, May 28, 2006

it's here already?

Weather in Chicago is a constant punchline. It's unpredictability is so regular that there is always a joke to be made about the current season, month, or weather pattern. We get blizzards in April and no snow throughout January. Every year it seems that those two inbetween seasons, Spring and Fall, pass Chicago by. Though I've lived in this area my entire life and should know better, I always get my hopes up that Spring will really come (for longer than a week) and we'll have a gradual warm up to Summer. Every year there are a few days that seem to fit my expectations and then - wham! - it's 45 degrees and rainy. Oh, and there's snow in the forecast for tomorrow. So every year Summer attacks the Windy City with a one-two punch: heat and humidity. They often come together, wearing down thousands of Chicagoans who, even though it's brutal, fight to walk through the heavy, heated air just because "it's nice outside".

Memorial Day traditionally acts as an opening to Spring and our weather is a sign of that. It's hot and humid here (90 degrees), when only last week it was barely pushing 70. The sudden summer is a welcome relief to those cool, unspringlike days we've been having, but it's also hard to get used to all at once. After being out of town for two days, I returned to a hot and sticky apartment where, it soon became clear, we would have to turn on the AC. I then decided to join thousands of other people in the city at the beach.

(This is when I miss my old place. It was SO close to the beach, I took it for granted. I now have to take the bus to get to the lakefront and that is quite unpleasant in the heat and sweatiness.)

I went alone, eager to catch a few hours alone with my iPod and the sun. Admittedly, I am a sun worshipper. There's a reason I was a lifeguard for six years. I love being outside doing absolutely nothing in the sun (something I think I inherited from both of my parents, both of whom are sun worshippers themselves). When I flipped onto my stomach, I was looking out at the lake, not believing that another summer was already here. As much as I complained about the winter, it seems to have been nonexistent now that summer is back. That's the thing about Chicago. We wonder why we live here when it's cold and nasty, but as soon as summer arrives, we forget all about the frozen snot in our noses and gear up for festival season. The beach was packed with other sungods and goddesses like myself, alone and in groups. There were families and teenagers. Frisbee throwers, bike riders, and runners. I caught myself watching two teenage girls furtively smoking cigarettes on the sand. They walked around nervously, circling the same area, and trying to look as cool as possible smoking while simultaneously hoping their parents wouldn't see. I remembered my own summers of being sneaky with my friends because that's what those summers were all about. These days, it seems like summer is jam-packed with weekend plans (weddings, showers, BBQs, short trips, concerts, festivals); there is seldom time to just enjoy.

So that's what I did this afternoon, my first official day of summer. I just enjoyed. I came home and enjoyed a cool shower. I enjoyed sitting in our air conditioned apartment and just talking with my roommates. And I enjoyed a nice al fresco meal with my roommate at a restaurant down the street. We had nowhere to be, no plans to fulfill - the way summer should be.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

glutton for punishment

If you live in Chicago, Boston, California, New York or any other city that might have an Exhale, I totally recommend taking a Core Fusion class. I went for the first time last night, gratis, and I can't wait until my next workout. There's a little bit of yoga, some Pilates, and a splash of strength training - all set to energetic music that sort of disappears as you sweat and lunge and squeeze and press. An hour went by quickly and, even though I was wiped out, I wanted more. I want to keep going. And though my shoulders were a little sore this morning, I can tell Core Fusion kicked my ass in a good way.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

mom to be (or not to be)

I'm not sure if it's all these celebrities having babies or something biological, but lately I've been thinking about being pregnant.

Not that I want to rush out and get knocked up or anything. It's just that for the longest time I haven't wanted children. My family and friends know that I'm not a kid person, that if I do have kids I only want one. I remember being around 11 years old and declaring that I wasn't going to have kids. My aunt never had kids. She's happy and has a great lifestyle. Why wouldn't I want to just get married and leave the whole baby thing out of it? Part of it was the whole childbirth thing. I can't imagine what that feels like: the pain, the anxiety, the screaming, the stretch marks. And I'm not a very maternal person. Being a mom seems like a foreign concept to me. I always thought I was too selfish to have kids.

Because I'm not so maternal, I assumed I would be a bad mother. Or just not a great one. I sort of envy my friends who know they want kids. I don't want to see self-centered or uncaring, but I don't know if I could do it. And I see my mom and other moms being so proud of their kids that I want that for myself. Lately I've also thought about what it would feel like to be pregnant, and not in the beached whale sort of feeling. I've been thinking about the glow that pregnant woman have or the way they smile when they touch their growing stomach. The excitement that comes with the baby's arrival and all of the planning that comes beforehand.

But I can't pinpoint the reason for my baby thoughts. Is it all the babies in the news? Or is it something more fundamental than that? Could it be that at 24, my biological clock has started ticking? And even though I may have not pictured myself as the Mom type, my body is telling me that it's ready to breed?

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

the l word

Just a few days remaining in my online dating subscription (although I haven't checked the site in about 6 weeks) and I got my first lesbian email.

Women think I'm sexy. Awesome.

Saturday, May 13, 2006


10 Favorites
Favorite Season: Fall
Favorite Color: green or black
Favorite Time: between 10 and 11 am
Favorite Food: bagels for breakfast, chocolate as dessert, and any mozzarella/tomato combinations for other meals
Favorite Drink: coffee, diet coke, bloody mary
Favorite Ice Cream: mocha chip
Favorite Place: New York
Favorite Sport: baseball
Favorite Actor: I've become a fan of Robert Downey Jr lately
Favorite Actress: Diane Keaton

9 Currents
Current Feeling: cold
Current Drink: vanilla chai tea
Current Time: 1:07 pm (really? i had no idea it was that late)
Current Show on TV: some home decorating show my roommate is watching
Current Mobile used: it's samsung
Current Windows Open: just blogger (and itunes)
Current Underwear: it's black, as usual
Current Clothes: gray sweatpants, pop-tarts tshirt (don't ask), and my sorority hooded sweatshirt
Current Thought: i need to pee

8 Firsts
First Nickname: air-pie or erin-pie
First Kiss: in the library, a boy named Mike
First Crush: i think his name was teddy. we were in a musical together.
First Best Friend: Courtney
First Vehicle I Drove: a blue Ford Aerostar
First Job: lifeguard
First Date: his name was Luke, we went to an Italian place for dinner and made out in his Bronco
First Pet: Brandy, a golden retriever

7 Lasts
Last Drink: a glass of wine last night
Last Kiss: a few weeks ago - The Nice Guy
Last Meal: yogurt & oatmeal this morning
Last Web Site Visited: Evite
Last Movie Watched: Breaking the Waves (I'm actually not done with it)
Last Phone Call: at work yesterday - my friend Kellie
Last TV show Watched: 227

6 Have You Ever...
Have You Ever Broken the Law: yes
Have You Ever Been Drunk: yes
Have You Ever Kissed Someone You Didn't Know: yes....a few times
Have You Ever Been in the Middle/Close to Gunfire: no
Have You Ever Skinny Dipped: no, but i've gone streaking
Have You Ever Broken Anyone's Heart: i think so

5 Things
Things You Can Hear Right Now: a Joss Stone song, the TV
Things On Your Bed: a black fleece blanket
Things You Ate Today: oatmeal, vanilla yogurt, some berries
Things You Do When You Are Bored: play websudoku, watch tv, surf the internet, clean

4 Places You Have Been Today
ny closet
my bedroom
my bathroom
the kitchen

3 Things On Your Desk Right Now
I don't have a desk, but I am sitting at the kitchen table:
Chronicles of Narnia dvd
a painting my roommate made
my book for school

2 Choices
Salt or Pepper: pepper
Hot or Cold: hot

1 Place You Want To Visit

Friday, May 12, 2006

reasons this week has gone from bad to worse

1. The weather
A constant source of complaint in Chicago. The calendar says May, the weather feels like March. We went from 72 and sunny (Monday) to 48 and rainy (Friday). In a way, Mother Nature is mirroring my mood.

2. Work
It's slow these days, and the only projects I have are these mindless tasks I'm assisting on because there is a large need for my help. I've been working on it for a few weeks now - in fits and starts - and it's miserable. Fortunately, this should be the one and only time I have to do it.

3. Crush
The Work Crush was renewed last week. Yuck. It is now in Stage 4 - he is apparently seeing someone. Although because he was being somewhat secretive about it to my friend at work, she asked me if I was dating him. Weird.

4. Friends moving away
My aforementioned friend, Stacey, had her last day at work yesterday. She's leaving Chicago and moving to New York. Not only am I jealous, I'm very sad. Since the day I started this job, we've been together. She's my little work buddy (I say little because I'm a good seven inches taller than her). We have a lot in common, and sometimes it's scary how alike we are (or how similar our lives have been). She's my favorite person to talk to Monday through Friday. And today, my first day without her, has been so weird. It's not like she's just out for the day. I can tell that this is for real. I actually sat with her for six hours while she packed last night. It's gonna be weird here without her, especially now that we are entering a busy season at work.

My weird mood and the horrible weather is affecting me in all sorts of ways. Craving french fries, I went over to Marshall Field's for lunch and while I was browsing the jewelry department, I heard the "Theme from Love Story". I looked over and saw a tiny, older women sitting at the piano. She was dressed in a pink and purple nylon tracksuit and had on large purple glasses. After Love Story, she played another sad song (which is escaping me right now) and I almost started crying. While looking at earrings. At lunchtime on a Friday.

So tonight I will relax, and possibly watch Breaking the Waves.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

conan takes chicago

Conan O'Brien is in town taping his show yesterday through Friday. For some reason, this has brought extreme excitement to the Chicago area. You'd think we never had a talk show taped here before.

Conan's show is being filmed at the Chicago Theatre, which is right around the corner from my office. This means I get to see the craziness up close: the eager Conan lovers standing in line all day, just hoping for a stand-by ticket to the show. And getting a stand-by ticket doesn't guarantee admittance. Oh no, there is another line for that.

Can someone tell me what the madness is all about? Maybe I take for granted that I've been in TV audiences before....but those crazy crowds and lines are just not worth it.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

twofer tuesdays

Everyone seems to hate Mondays. Why? Mondays are like a fresh start to the week, a new beginning. Tuesdays...Tuesdays deserve to be the bad day. What does Tuesday have that Monday doesn't have? Sure, it's one day closer to Friday, but otherwise it's a pretty awful day. I can trace my hatred of Tuesdays back to high school. For some reason, Tuesdays always seemed to be bad days. In college, Tuesdays were always rainy and something always seemed to go wrong. Now, maybe it's psychological or maybe it's the day, but I always have a bummer of a day on Tuesdays. And today was one of those days. I came home in a funky mood and only sort of came out of it after having a glass of wine and my favorite pasta dinner (sauteed artichokes, mushrooms, zucchini, and black olives in olive oil over pasta with a sprinkling of mozzarella).

In the spirit of funky days, I give you an easy post.

Two of Your Everyday Essentials
1. Coffee
2. Lotion

Two Things You Are Wearing Right Now
1. Black Gap pj pants
2. my glasses

Two Things You Want in a Relationship
1. a sense of humor
2. love

Two Things That Scare You
1. being an adult
2. small, dark spaces

Two Truths
1. I like being alone, but sometimes I get lonely.
2. I need to relax more.

Two Things that Appeal to You In a Guy/Girl
1. Wit
2. Good conversation

Two of Your Favorite Hobbies
1. Watching movies (old or foreign)
2. Walking

Two Things You Want Really Badly
1. a promotion
2. for my roommates to be as neat as I am

Two Places You Want to go on Vacation
1. Greece
2. a cruise somewhere warm

Two Things You Want to Do Before You Die
1. Settle down with the person I love
2. Retire

Two Things You Are Thinking About Now
1. tomorrow's weather
2. cantaloupe

Two Things in Your Nightstand
1. my keys
2. a stack of bank statements

Two Stores You Shop At
1. American Apparel
2. Urban Outfitters

Two people I haven't talked to in a while
1. my aunt
2. my friend Lauren

Two favorite places
1. New York City
2. Marshall Field's

Monday, May 08, 2006

wok 'n roll

My legs are still tired from Sunday.

Jill and I woke up early for an MS Walk down in Grant Park. The walk was only three miles which, because we were chatting and listening to the conversations around us, went by quickly. Yet we also had to walk to the train, from the train to the park, from the park to the train, and home from the train. Tack on another mile, mile and a half.

It was a beautiful day. We couldn't have gotten better walking conditions. Sunny, mid-60s, not a cloud in the sky. The walk was along the lakefront and reminded me of the only reason I miss my old apartment. The nice weather made us want to stay outdoors, to do something with our Sunday. We were done with the walk by 10:30; the entire day was before us. Besides, Jill had done absolutely nothing with herself on Saturday and was feeling like she'd been too lazy.

On our walk back to the El, we decided to go to Chinatown because a) we wanted to get lunch and b) it would be nice to go somewhere completely different for food, and c) in my lifetime of living in Chicago I have never been to Chinatown. When we got home, we told our other roommate, Anne, what we had planned. She was on board since she, like me, had never been there.

Some more walking (blue line to red line, around Chinatown).

We found a nice little place to eat and sampled each other's vegetarian entrees. We browsed in the gift shops, jewelry shops, groceries, and other stores. Our last stop was Woks N Things which sold exactly that. To my delight, I found a wok for $11. Anne bought a tea kettle. I marveled at our grown-up purchases. You know you're old when you buy housewares rather than kitschy trinkets in the shops.

Wok in one hand, leftover tofu in the other, we headed back home. I was thrilled with my purchase, though I probably looked somewhat silly walking down Division with a large wok in my hand. Now I just need some tasty stir-fry recipes (send them my way!).

Saturday, May 06, 2006

the final ten

I realize that I didn't post for two days so I've missed out on the last 10 things about myself. This was slightly more difficult than I expected it to be.....

1 I have beautiful eyes.
2. I learn quickly.
3. I make a mean quesadilla.
4. I'm a great multitasker.
5. I write very well.
6. I'm a great orderer.
7. I am a naturally good speller.
8. I've got some fly dance moves.
9. I am a neat freak (and I love it).
10. I am a romantic.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

what i learned from online dating

My online dating membership is, fortunately, almost expired. I cannot wait until I can open my email and not see winks or messages which all sound a bit like this:

"Hey [MyMemberName], I really liked your profile and it made me want to write you. You seem very interesting and fun. What do you like to do in Chicago? I have lived here for 3 years. Check out my profile and if you're interested, write me back. Hope to hear from you soon."

Sometimes, however, the messages deviated from this standard format. My member name was related to movies (the site suggests using an interest in your name to encourage contacts by other members possibly interested in the same subject). Consequently, I received a lot of emails asking me what my favorite movie was (this was actually a great way to screen guys - if their favorite was Independence Day, I knew right away that I wasn't going to reply). Other times, and far more frequently, I was told how beautiful I was or how I had the prettiest eyes or that I just seemed like a fun person. Wow. All that from a profile? Once I actually looked at some of the other girls' profiles to see how different they could be. They weren't. I tried to spice mine up by adding a photo of me doing the robot and that I love watching Cops.

But all in all, here is what I really learned from the whole experience:

-Everyone is tired of the bar scene.
-Spelling and grammar are totally irrelevant. Finding a guy who can actually craft a decent message is rare and should be used as a way of weeding out the good from the bad.
-Some of the poor English use can be attributed to being new to the country. Apparently, this is a great way for newcomers to learn the language and meet some pretty girls.
-Just because I could be your daughter doesn't mean I'm off limits.
-And even though my profile says I'm not interested in men over 30, it won't stop the dozens of 40-50 year old men who check me out.
-In the online dating world, it's okay to harass a total stranger if she doesn't respond to your first two emails. Because harassing her will only make her want to respond more.
-It is perfectly alright for aforementioned harasser to email this girl after he thinks he sees her sitting across from him on the train. Because that isn't creepy.

Ultimately, I learned that I'm not dating because I don't want to date. Being part of this site gave me plenty of opportunities to meet guys and go out on dates. And, well, I really didn't take advantage of any of it. In all, I met three guys from the site. That's in three months. My former roommate, who joined when I did, went on three dates in a matter of days. She's met tons of guys from the site. But it really wasn't for me. Sometimes I wasn't interested. Sometimes I was too lazy to email or call. Sometimes I put off meeting someone due to other obligations that it just fell through.

Maybe I'm too busy. Maybe I'm too wrapped up in my own life right now. Maybe I've got other guys up on a pedestal and, until I take them down, I won't be ready for someone new.

Here's the day's five:
1. I am optimistic.
2. I'm a risktaker when it comes to food (as long as it's not meat).
3. I am a diligent student.
4. My friends look to me for advice and support.
5. I think for myself.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

the eleventh hour

I wasn't going to post until I realized that it was almost midnight and I hadn't done my list of five. And while I would have preferred to write a real post this evening, I got caught up in Love Monkey (thank you, VH1) and Divorce, Italian Style (thank you, Netflix). Then I had to make my lunch for tomorrow. And now it's bedtime and too late to write anything of real substance.

1. I give gifts that mean something.
2. I don't procrastinate.
3. I set priorities.
4. I like debating with friends so that I can learn from them.
5. I'm accomodating.

Monday, May 01, 2006

thanks grandma

My grandma has a way of making me feel like a rejected 7th grader whenever I talk to her. I called my grandparents yesterday to wish my grandfather a happy 75th (apparently I have young g-parents). After speaking with Opa about their recent trip to Nashville, he put Oma on the phone. As usual, the first thing out of her mouth was, "Do you have a boyfriend?"

Most of my friends have heard the stories about Oma and how she picks on me for not being attached. She was married by age 21. And then she had a son soon after. She also fled Germany with her future husband following WW2. These were different times, I remind her. I only graduated college at 22. And I'm only 24. I've been at my job less than two years. The last thing on my mind is starting a family. There is no way I am ready for that.

It's hard for her to understand, I think, just as it is hard for me to imagine what her life was like when she arrived in Canada barely speaking English. It's also hard for her to understand seeing as some of her friends have great-grandchildren. And she wants some too. But would she rather have a granddaughter who finished college, is currently enrolled in an MBA program while also working in her desired field OR a granddaughter who maybe didn't do all that but has a child already?

Children aside, Oma wants me to have a boyfriend. She told me last night that she could not have lived without a man at age 20. I thought of a variety of ways to respond to this, but said nothing. I am nothing like my grandmother. I don't ever want to feel like I cannot live without a man. Living without the person I love is one thing; not having a man around is quite another. I get by very well, thank you.

And even though she says she's just kidding around, her words always get to me. No matter how many times I have this conversation with her, I leave feeling like there's something wrong with me. On top of all this, the Nice Guy has totally pulled the Stop Calling And She'll Get the Hint trick and, well, stopped calling. Huh.

In spite of all this, I'll give you my list of 5 for today:

1. I make people earn my trust.
2. I approach problems with enthusiasm.
3. I try to make the most out of every day.
4. I'm punctual.
5. I have a beautiful smile.