Tuesday, July 31, 2007

it was only monday

How does this happen? One minute it's "just dinner and drinks with a rep. I'll be home at a reasonable hour so that I can get up at 6 to go to the gym." The next minute I've had one too many appletinis and it's 1am.

Yes, I said appletinis.

Which is why I got up in a hurry, threw on a the first black dress I could find, and scooted my way to work in a hangover haze only so that I could grab a bagel at Cosi before my 9:15 meeting. Ouch.

The final appletini was purchased by one of the Phillies coaches. Totally appropriate that I would be going to the Cubs vs. Phillies game tonight, right?

Sunday, July 29, 2007

BlogHer 07 and Christian Bale

At least half of that title should have intrigued you....

After attending BlogHer 07 on Friday, all I wanted to do was come home and pimp my blog (as well as read other blogs by people I had met - I earned quite the collection of business cards by the end of the day). Unfortunately, I had plans for Friday night so that pimping hasn't quite happened yet. But seriously, seeing all of these female bloggers so passionate about what they write and read and share was tremendous. Everyone was on their laptop all day (I felt like a loser because I didn't bring mine), updating their blog with photos from the event and posts about the meetings. There was excitement around meeting other bloggers who they only knew from their posts and maybe a picture or two. All in all, it was pretty damn cool (in a totally geeky way).

So as I begin to think about pimping my blog, I ask all of you using WordPress - do you like it better than Blogger? I'm thinking of making a switch.

Now for some totally unrelated discussion....

My plans Friday night consisted of going to a friend's place for dinner and wine. There were 5 of us devouring the homemade eggplant parmigiana, salad, garlic bread, and delicious chocolate-peanut buttery-cool whipped dessert. Lots of wine. We just talked about whatever crossed our minds and since we didn't all know each other very well, there was a lot that we could really talk about. Of course, with 5 ladies in their mid-twenties the conversation drifted toward marriage and weddings and being a mom (yes, one of those evenings). My friend Les provided even more details around her own wedding, which is important since I will be in it, but a little premature since there is no ring on her finger...yet. All of the marriage and He's The One talk got me thinking as I lay in bed trying to fall asleep. I realized that I am totally ready for a nice, serious relationship. That is really all I want. The scary thing is, I don't necessarily want to be in that mindset when I meet someone. It might be a bit disconcerting for any man if I approach him with, "Hi, I am just looking for a guy to begin a really serious relationship with. Interested?" So I will just keep moving along, hoping that something can turn into a little something more.

And now that I have a crush on someone (ahh....I hate having a crush), I am thinking about it even more, in terms of a specific somebody. This crush happens to be work-related (aren't they all?), although he doesn't actually work in my office. However, we do work together, if that makes sense.

Speaking of crushes...I am watching Batman Begins right now and, wow, I love Christian Bale (I am also a huge Batman fan in general). He's been in Chicago filming the new Batman move, The Dark Knight," and I have been just wishing I could get a glimpse of him running around my city. Which is why when we were talking about meeting celebrities at work and my boss drops that he "was at Ben Pao recently and saw Christian Bale", I almost had a heart attack. In fact, I leaned over clutching my chest and dropped my jaw as far open as it could go. Wha? Really? Christian Bale was at Ben Pao? That's just a few blocks from my office. And I can afford to eat there. So not fair.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

hump day recap

The way this week has been, it should be Friday by now. All of my plans to blog about the rude & bitchy coworker who yelled at me on Monday, my recent decision to record everything I eat (apparently I am not the only one), and my growing hatred of the CTA were squashed by the week I've had.

Lately it seems like I can't get half of my to-do list done while I am work. Monday was no exception. I ran around to meetings all day, trying to respond to emails during the brief moments I was at my desk. Since I was going to the White Sox game that night, I knew I wouldn't be able to stay past 6 so I had to get my shit done. Yeah right. So I was frazzled when I left, but more than that I was angry. If there is one thing I hate, it's getting yelled at at work. Especially via email. When it's verbal, you can forget the words you heard. You can forget someone telling you how awful you are. But an email can be read over and over and over again. You keep reading about your failure, imagining the tone the person was using when they wrote it. It's awful.

Let me back up....this co-worker is someone I have worked with in various capacities for over a year and a half. And I have never liked her. Once in awhile she is friendly to me, but that's about once every six months. I am not alone in my dislike for her. In fact, I know more people who don't like her than those who do. I've been working with her a lot lately, so she has been grating more and more on my nerves. Which is why when she sent me this nasty email (and copied my director), I clenched my hands into fists and began breathing very deeply. After a few minutes of glaring at my computer screen, I drafted a sweet email back to her apologizing for what I had apparently done wrong. What made it all better was that my director (who was copied on the entire chain of emails) told me he thought the whole thing was "retarded". Nice.

So I was going to blog about that on Monday night, but then after the game, it took my roommate and I an hour and a half to get home from US Cellular Field. Seriously? It shouldn't take more than 40 minutes. But all this Slow Zone Elimination stuff is making everything worse, at least until September (if you don't know what I'm talking about, be thankful).

Tuesday was, like any other week, awful. Meeting after meeting. Email after email. Urgent requests. Messed up situations. And I knew this was coming; I anticipated a crazy day and decided I should come in to work early (especially because we had a softball game after work). But I have no control over the CTA, and my 15-20 min commute turned into 60 minutes. I almost passed out on the damn train, it was so hot and crowded. When I finally got to work, I had to take my top layer off because I was sweating so much. Gross. The day continued to be a typical Tuesday, followed by a softball game where I actually contributed to one of the eight runs we scored (which resulted in us winning). And then I was more than ready to go to the bar after the game and the day I'd had....so no posting.

In fact, I came home and just felt gross from the waffle fries and grilled cheese and three Miller Lites I had indulged in at the bar. I didn't have much choice given the vegetarian-friendly menu options. So I sucked it up and determined that this would be my gross meal of the week. Because I have finally gotten serious again about eating smarter.

In general, I eat well. But I have two bad habits: snacking and portion control. I love snacking. Especially snacks like chocolate and cookies and generally bad junk food. And when I have food in front of me, I like to eat all of it, even if it's an obscenely large portion. Which is why, despite my morning workouts, I feel gross. I've gained some weight in the past two years, enough to make me want to make some changes. On Monday, I signed up on My Calorie Counter, a free service where you can keep a food journal and track your progress. This is exactly what I need. I know that I am disciplined enough to maintain something like this (a food journal, albeit handwritten, was how I lost weight the first time). My will power is strong: I gave up meat for no reason and 5 years later, I'm still meat-free. I gave up pop/soda for New Year's this year and haven't had a sip throughout 2007. If I want to eat smarter, eat less, and record what I'm eating, I will do it.

I finally had the chance to post tonight because it's the only night this week I didn't have plans (which is why I was at work until 7:30...and that's another post altogether). I probably won't post again until the weekend as I've got another busy day and a work party on the beach tomorrow, and then I am going to the BlogHer conference on Friday (it's actually for work, but I'll be thinking as a blogger too). I'll let you know how it is and hopefully will come back with some tools to make PB&Razz even better (maybe posting a bit more regularly would be a good start, huh?)

Sunday, July 22, 2007

up so early

I don't think I've been up this early on the weekend (both Saturday & Sunday) in a long, long time. Both days I managed to get out of bed before 8 am. Perhaps this is normal for some of you (maybe for those crazy marathon runner types that I don't understand), but for me, it's quite rare. I don't sleep too late on the weekends (I usually get up around 9:30 or 10, but to be up this early two days in a row is strange.

Yes, there is a reason for early rising, at least on Saturday. In the spirit of all things summer, my friends had planned a canoe trip for the day and we had to be on the bus (a school bus...for 12 people) by 9am. I had to be at my friend's condo by 8:45. So I was up an hour before that, throwing clothes and towels in my bag and beer and ice in my cooler. The bus trip took about 2 hours; we started drinking around 10am. We floated down the Fox River for about 5 hours, stopping a few times on the way for pee breaks/food, and drank the entire time. There wasn't really much "canoeing" as we barely used our oars for anything other than splashing and pushing off of the ground or rocks. So the 7 mile trip took awhile, but we somehow managed to pack more than enough food & drink for the journey. Enough so that we even had beer for the bus ride back to Chicago. And it was probably not a good idea to continue drinking on the way back, but by this time, I wasn't really thinking clearly. I was dirty and tired and drunk....so why not keep drinking? By the time we got back to the city, I had this really great idea that I was going to go out after I showered and ate dinner. I'm not sure where I got this idea, but it didn't last long. I wound up at home, showered, eating a burrito, and realized that I wasn't going anywhere other than bed. I probably fell asleep around 8:45.

Which is why I woke up so early this morning. I'm not complaining. I managed to get my laundry done before 10am, and, in the spirit of all things Erin, I'm setting off on a little shopping trip for the day (Nordstrom Anniversary Sale?).

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

advice to chicago tourists

If there is any place I hate most in Chicago, it's Navy Pier. For someone who really cannot stand the tourists in her city, this is the place she should stay away from. And, generally, I don't come here. In fact, tonight was only the 2nd time I'd been here in 3 years. I keep my distance.

If you've ever visited Chicago, especially for the first time, you may have been enticed to visit Navy Pier. Maybe you actually went to Navy Pier: rode the Ferris wheel, took a boat tour, ate some ice cream, and hopefully didn't buy any souvenirs (or souvies as I saw on one sign). If you are planning a trip to the Windy City any time soon, PLEASE don't go there. PLEASE. It's the smartest decision you'll ever make. Instead, travel on the El and visit some of the cool neighborhoods that are slightly off the beaten path. Or even walk around Michigan Avenue and go to the top of the Sears Tower. Just don't go to Navy Pier.

So...why was I there tonight?

My sorority alumni group (of which I am a board member and active dues payer - you can make fun of me starting now) had its July event at the Navy Pier beer garden. The beer garden really isn't so bad although it's not what I was expecting. It's picnic tables surrounding a stage where bands play nightly. There is food and there is beer (duh), but you have to go to a little stand and order it. I expected cute patio tables with umbrellas and wait staff serving drinks. Oh well. Unfortunately for our little group, it rained off and on today, especially as it got later in the evening and closer to the time of our event. No one showed up. Just my roommate (the president of our group) and I. So we left the beer garden as we felt the first signs of drizzle and headed inside to walk toward the front of Navy Pier (this thing is like a mile long, I swear) and find a cab. By the time we got to the front it was POURING and everyone was looking for a cab. So we decided to get some drinks and wait out the storm. But the bar choices at Navy Pier are poor (I think 75% of them sell t-shirts). So we found a place with shitty service, left, and found another place to drink a beer and hope that people would leave so we could get a cab.

In all of this finding of a bar, we probably walked around that damn pier 4 times. And it was hot. And we, like Clink, had to maneuver around heavyset Midwesterners who were more interested in leather goods and Haagen-Dazs to watch where they were going. And it was hot (all the large windows were closed due to the storm). Yuck.

So I repeat....if you are in Chicago, don't go to Navy Pier.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

so done

I was on such a roll of trying to post everyday, but I kinda struggled all weekend (I honestly had lots of things to post about but by the time I actually sat down at my computer, I didn't want to do a damn thing).

Is it really only Tuesday? Today was one of the longest effing days I've had in awhile. At 1pm, it felt like it should have been 5 already. I missed our work softball game because I wound up staying at work until 8, getting a salad from Potbelly's (probably not the best dinner option, but I didn't really know if there was food at home), and coming home to watch Rock of Love (and you thought Flavor of Love was crazy).

Wow...it's time for bed.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

she's so hot...like a curry

Umm....have you watched Flight of the Conchords? I resisted at first because I didn't really need another show to get into. But to be honest, all I regularly watch these days are Big Love and Entourage (long live HBO). So last week after Entourage, I left the TV on and tried out Flight of the Conchords. A bit odd but, like many an odd show, I've watched all of the episodes now (4 in total) and am totally loving it.

Give it a shot...and I hope you enjoy.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

personalization :)

I'm a Yahoo Girl. I've never been one for Googling (my default is Y! Search at work, on my laptop there is a Google toolbar already there so I end up using it). But I love Yahoo. I love Mail and Food and News and Weather and Games and Health (I also work in digital media and am totally a nerd when it comes to this stuff). But as much as I loved everything Yahoo, I wasn't such a fan of their My Yahoo until Beta was unveiled.

If you use Yahoo and have a My page, update it. If you use Yahoo and don't have a My page, create one. It's such a better interface to use now, so much so that I only want to go to My Yahoo, not the homepage. I can keep up with blogs, news, sports, and horoscopes right there. And for those of you whose blogs I have not been keeping up with...I have enabled RSS feeds on my page so that I can see exactly when you updated. Hooray! (Not being a Googler meant not using Google Reader and I didn't really know a way to get RSS into Yahoo until yesterday).

Monday, July 09, 2007

il bel far niente (or the beauty of doing nothing)

Something about vacation really agreed with me. Walking to work today (ugh), I realized this is something I should do annually: take an entire week off of work and not go anywhere or do anything. It's rare that I just get to enjoy everything around me: the sunshine, my quiet apartment, sleeping in (which is 8:30 to me), the beach. Living stress-free. No deadlines. No meetings. No annoying phone calls.

While on my vacation I started a new book, Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. I've been reading it slowly, just finishing the first third (the Eat part) last night. I think slowly is the way to read this book, to really just listen and enjoy. Gilbert writes a lot about pleasure in this book and, since I was on vacation, this rang so true to me. We so rarely stop to take pleasure in things around us, even if we are relaxing. Most of the time, I use my downtime to chill on the couch watching Making the Band 4 (yes, I love it) or read a book or stalk people on social networking sites. But Gilbert talks about pleasure in doing nothing and just being. And eating too. There is quite a bit of pleasure to be taken from eating. For example, on my vacation I ate Japanese, Italian, Chinese, Indian, American, Cajun, African, Southern, and Mexican (so it helps that Taste of Chicago was happening but still....I like food). I enjoyed my eating, for the most part, taking pleasure in it all. Usually, it's a quick sandwich at my desk while I check my email (not pleasurable).

I went to the gym because I wanted to (and because of all that eating pleasure). I walked a lot in the city because I wanted to. I went to the beach four times and just laid there doing nothing. I went to the MCA. I watched movies at home. I saw The Police at Wrigley Field. I shopped. I spent time with some of my favorite people. I spent time alone. I danced. I acted a bit foolish. I walked slowly to take in the summer. I walked quickly to avoid the tourists.

Which is why I didn't want to go back to work today. No matter how much I like my job, nothing compares to that feeling of having nothing to do. Of having an entire day to do with it what you please and to not feel obligated to do any one thing. Work, while enjoyable, is still an obligation. Which is why I'm going to maximize my time away from now on. Maximize my pleasure.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007


The worst thing about going to the beach alone is that you have no one to put sunscreen on your back. Which is why mine is a bit red today. Oops. The back of my legs are also a bit red, mostly because I did a poor job applying sunscreen to them so there are these blotches all over my thighs and calves. Sexy, I know.

So now, on Day 2 of my vacation, I don't know what to do with myself. I went on a walk this morning, then did laundry, but now what? Sit outside on the porch and read? I can't do that all day. Go to the beach and remain on my back the entire time? Hmmm....probably not the best idea. I just know that I need to get out of the house and enjoy the sunshine while it's here (rain is in the forecast later today and tomorrow, and if I'm not at work for a change, I might as well be outdoors).

But aside from all my indecision, I am really liking this vacation thing.

Monday, July 02, 2007

summer break

Mmm.....it smells like vacation. Like a whole week with absolutely nothing to do. I haven't had one of these in awhile, especially where I can just totally zone out and ignore work (aside from the 10 minute conference call I just had). After this, no more checking email or talking about work until next Monday.

When I told people I was taking the whole week off, they all asked, "What are you doing? Are you going anywhere?". Nope, I am staying in Chicago (seriously, when it's summer in Chicago, why go anywhere else?). I am doing nothing except sleeping in, going to the beach, working out, and checking out Taste of Chicago (I went yesterday and the samosas at Zam-Zam are my fave thus far).

So now, I am cutting this post short so I can put on my suit and head to the beach.