Shortest Blog Post Ever

May 28, 2010 at 2:29 pm (Uncategorized) ()

I’msobusytodayIcan’tevenbebotheredtopuncutate.

But rather than not write anything at all, I give you…

Willie Nelson with a haircut.

I saw Willie at my very first concert ever (Farm Aid in junior high…I know) so he will always have a special place in my heart.  Rock on, Willie, and rock on readers.  Happy Memorial Day Weekened, and here’s hoping I can post a little more next week!

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Happy Story to Warm Your Heart

May 27, 2010 at 1:01 pm (Uncategorized) (, , )

Please excuse the straight up copy and paste job I’m doing here today.  I’ve been finding myself busier and busier at work and even my lunch/blogging time seems to be shrinking.  Hence, my upcoming posts might not be as fantastically long and wonderfully original as they usually are, but I trust none of you will hunt me down with pitchforks because of it.  Thanks in advance, I sure do hate an angry mob.

The following story is about a school here in Chicago called Urban Prep.  I came across this article in the paper yesterday and it did me good to read it, so I wanted to pass it along.  Hope it gives you the same warm fuzzies it gave me!

Here’s their Mission, just to give you an idea of what they’re all about:

Urban Prep Academies is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that operates a network of all-boys public schools including the country’s first charter high school for boys. Urban Prep’s mission is to provide a high-quality and comprehensive college-preparatory educational experience to young men that results in our graduates succeeding in college. The schools are a direct response to the urgent need to reverse abysmal graduation and college completion rates among boys in urban centers. While most of Urban Prep students come to the schools from economically disadvantaged households and reading 3 or more years below grade level, Urban Prep remains committed to preparing all of its students for college and life.

And now onto the story:

Urban Prep is big on ritual.

Every time one of the high school’s seniors gained college acceptance, he swapped out his red tie for a striped red-and-gold one — until an electrifying day in March, when all 107 seniors of Englewood‘s Urban Prep Academy for Young Men donned striped ties.

Today, they established another tradition.

The students, in their trademark uniform blazers and ties, publically announced where they would attend college. For the first graduating class of Chicago‘s only public all-male, all-African-American charter high, the declaration was monumental. Many of the students at the school, which is in one the city’s roughest neighborhoods, are the first in their family to go to college. Only 4 percent of them read at grade level when they started four years ago, school officials said.


The event was designed to mimic the annual signing day where student-athletes commit to a college team. Seniors rattled off the names of the schools where they were accepted — some as many as 10 — then announced the one they had chosen and put on a hat from their future school.

Keith Greer, fearful he’d mess up his hair, hesitated for a moment before he put on his Southern Illinois University cap. He remembers when his grades were so low his freshman year that people told him college was not a feasible option.

“I’m greater than what people said I was,” he said after mashing his curls. “I stuck it out.”

When Gerald Jackson was a kid, he dreamed of a signing day when he would announce his basketball skills to the world. But the future Howard University student realized scholarship outweighed athletics.

“It’s a big, big day,” he said as he grinned uncontrollably.

But the students, who have to pass bullet-riddled windows and metal detectors before they begin their academically rigorous school day, are the first to admit their journey is far from over.

“I know there are going to be obstacles, but it’s up to me to overcome them,” said Lavince Person, who decided on Tuskegee University after learning in class about its first president, Booker T. Washington.

His biggest worry is monetary, but like every other student in his class, he has completed his Free Application for Federal Student Aid, and Person hopes to participate in a work-study program once he gets to Alabama.

In total, the students were accepted to more than 100 schools, including Northwestern University, Georgetown University, Indiana State University and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Representatives from some of those schools, as well as former Bear and Urban Prep board member Chris Zorich, also attended the event at Harry Caray’s.

Nike commemorated the accomplishment with a limited-edition Urban Prep shoe. When a representative unveiled a prototype of the sneaker — complete with the school’s creed written on the insole and two pairs of shoelaces, one red and the other red-and-gold striped — the room erupted in applause and students rushed to the podium with cell phones and digital cameras.

“I’m not going to wear it,” Person said. “I’m going to cherish it.”

Each student will receive a pair of sneakers, but not before they graduate and meet with school officials in the summer — hopefully with train, bus or plane tickets to college in hand.

“It’s another carrot we’re dangling in front of them,” said the school’s CEO, Tim King, who donned a “100 percent” T-shirt over his crisp white button-down.

The school will stay in touch with the students in hopes of getting them to finish what they started at Urban Prep, King said.

“This is the next step in the transition,” King said. “Graduating high school is not a big deal. Getting into college is not a big deal. Finishing college — that’s a big deal.”

Duaa Eldeib

Here’s the link, in case you want to see where this came from: Chicago Tribune Story

Something that really struck me about this story was the fact that only 4% of the graduating class could read at grade level when they started at the school four years ago.  I think every one of these boys deserves to feel extremely proud of themselves, and their parents, teachers and school administrators should feel proud as well.  They have achieved something that is nearly impossible and I wish them nothing but luck and success in the future.  Congratulations guys, you’ve earned it!

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I Admit It…

May 26, 2010 at 2:22 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , )

…I’m a Gleek.

As usual, I’m a bit behind on the times and really only started watching this show this season.  It’s actually the only show that I make it a point to try to catch every single week.  I was very disappointed last week because my book club meeting prohibited me from enjoying the sexiness that is Neil Patrick Harris, and once I find a bit of spare time I’ll hulu the hell out of that.  And the SNL episode with Betty White.  I don’t understand how people can watch more than a couple of shows a week because just trying to keep up with one (and Betty White) is enough to wear a girl out!

As I said, I’ve really gotten into Glee this season.  There’s something about the incredible cheesiness of the show, the outrageous costumes, unrealistic choreography and Jane Lynch that just…work.  The show is so cheesy it’s laughable, but I think that’s half the point.  The characters all seem to embody a different blatant stereotype from high school – the Jock, the Bad Boy, the Pregnant Cheerleader, the Bitchy Pretty Girl, the Gay, the Geeks etc. – but there is also something endearing about the characters as well.  Especially the Gay Boy’s Dad.

Oh man, do I love this dad.  For those of you who don’t watch the show or simply don’t care, I’m going to talk for a quick second about why this character is so great (and if you really don’t care…well, move right along then).  He’s a gruff, working class man whose wife died and left behind a flamboyantly gay son.  It’s clear that while he doesn’t always understand where his son is coming from, he loves him nonetheless and wants him to be happy.  There was a scene in the episode last night where the dad let loose a speech against all of the ignorant fools who use certain derogatory words when talking about homosexuality, and he made it clear that he would never tolerate his son being talked to like that.  Yup, my face leaked just a bit.  I think that if the world had more parents like this, we would see an amazingly significant drop in homosexual or questioning kids who drop out of school, run away and commit suicide.  Also, I think it’s an awesome thing that this type of plot line can be openly discussed on prime time television, especially given that the audience is likely a lot of young kids.

I’m pretty happy I decided to jump on this whole Glee bandwagon.  Parts of the show are silly and I don’t always love every song, but it’s good, clean fun.  When I turned on my TV last night to sit down and watch, it was already on the right channel, which means I hadn’t changed the channel since the last time I was able to tune in (shows you how much actual TV watching I do…it’s mostly online).  And even though the sassy Ms. Lynch was not seen during the entire episode (or if she was, it was so fleeting that I missed it), I was throughly entertained anyway.  Which is more than I can say for a lot of the shows out there.

Disclaimer: I just realized that it’s only Wednesday and I’ve already written about television twice this week.  Gross, and sorry.  I couldn’t help it though – my inner Gleek was begging to be let out!

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Real, Actual Heat Wave

May 25, 2010 at 2:37 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , )

I’ve spent so much time bitching and moaning about the cold weather here in Chicago that I feel I should pay homage to the heat wave we are currently experiencing.  Seriously, it’s been hot.

These are not the actual temperatures from this week but it’s pretty close.  This past Saturday, I attended an outdoor wedding.  I wore my go-to wedding outfit, which is a little black and white dress.  I was chilly throughout the evening, but I managed to warm myself up with wine from the open bar (maybe a little too much wine, but that’s another story).  When I awoke and walked outside on Sunday, I nearly fell over because it was so surprisingly warm.  The highs hit the low 90’s on Sunday and they were there yesterday as well.  I had thought of going downtown to check out a Turkish festival Sunday afternoon but I couldn’t seem to peel myself from my couch and took a marathon nap instead.  All I can say is I’m thankful my air conditioning unit is finally installed (not just because it helps battle the heat – I don’t have to worry about tripping over it and causing myself bodily harm for at least…oh, say another three months, when I’m sure the weather will start to get cold again).

When I walked out my door yesterday at 6:30am, I was again shocked at the heat and humidity, especially given it was so early in the day.  It’s been a long time since I broke a sweat from simply standing on the train platform.  It’s not as hot out today and this crazy humidity is supposed to taper off as the week goes on, so that’s something to look forward to.  Interestingly, it was hotter here in Chicago over the last two days than it was in either Indiana (250 miles south) or Louisiana (900 miles south).  My family in these two places made sure I knew that.  Thanks, guys.

I find it rather funny that, no matter what the weather is like, we find a way to hate on it.  When it was cold, all I wanted was the heat.  Now it’s hot out and I’m still unsatisfied.  To be honest, this is probably because we went from having temps in the 40’s to the 90’s in a single week (not unheard of for the Midwest, but undesirable nonetheless).  Please, seasons, make a reappearance.  I feel like spring completely passed me by, and I have some cute jackets that would love to be worn for just a few weeks.  Then I’ll bust out the shorts and tank tops and I’ll try not to complain any more.

Until it snows in September.

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Not LOST

May 24, 2010 at 1:53 pm (Uncategorized) (, , )

So apparently there was a big TV event last night.  According to just about every media source I encountered over the weekend, the series finale of LOST was kind of a big deal.  I know many friends of mine held parties and probably even wakes for this long-ish running television show.  I know that those people who have watched from the beginning are mostly rabid, die-hard fans who are going through a type of mourning period right now.  I guess the show was a good one, but I wouldn’t know.  I’ve never seen an episode.

Actually, I take that back.  While visiting a friend in London, we were hanging out with some people in a flat and they watched two or three episodes back to back.  I didn’t really understand what was going on so I didn’t pay much attention, and I didn’t learn anything of the series via osmosis, so I never caught on.  Have I been missing out?  I don’t think my life has been significantly lacking, but what do I know?  Maybe a show with smoke, monsters and a crashed plane would help my entire existence feel more fulfilled.  Probably not though.

I had an idea a while back, which was to watch the very first episode and then the finale, and watch no episodes in between.  I didn’t do this, mainly because I forgot about it until last night and I really didn’t have the desire to devote a whole night to a show I’d never seen.  However, I think it would’ve been a fun experiment to see just how confused I would be at the end.  Who knows though, perhaps it all would’ve made perfect sense and those who spend the last six seasons biting nails would kick themselves for wasting so much time.  However, after being inundated with plot synopsis all day today, I don’t think I would’ve understood it even if I had watched every minute of every episode.

I’ve heard so many differing opinions on the show and finale that I have to wonder if it was really worth it.  Are there many out there who regret investing so much in the show, or are the majority of fans happy with the way things turned out?  As you can tell, I don’t have much of an opinion on the matter.  As far as series finales in general go, I think the last one I watched was The L Word, which definitely has nothing to do with monsters and islands.  So what did you think of LOST – is it worth watching on Netflix or am I better off without ever getting sucked in?  Besides, after everything I’ve seen online today, I already know how it ends.  Don’t worry though, I won’t spoil anything here – the last thing I want is a bunch of angry fans on my bad side.

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Friday Round Up

May 21, 2010 at 2:32 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , )

Ah yes, it’s the weekend.  Per usual, I have some randomness to impart upon you today.

Vegas seems to be in the air and I’ve had more than a handful of friends and family take that trip in recent months.  I’ve  personally never been to Sin City and I think the only reason I would go is to check it out from an anthropological standpoint.  I’m sure it’s one of the best places on Earth to people watch.  Anyway, I came across this article this week, which is about a guy who lost over $200 million dollars in a single year at just two casinos.  He’s trying to fight the casino’s attempts to throw his unlucky ass in jail by saying that they knew he was addicted to gambling, pain killers and alcohol and let him keep gambling anyway.  Yeah, because when a casino sees a sucker they always turn them away.  $200 million.  I can’t imagine losing more than a few hundred bucks, let alone millions.  Sheesh.

In case you didn’t know, I have a major appreciation for sloths (two-toed or three-toed, they’re all awesome to me).  I think their slow paced, laid back arboreal existence is fascinating.  Here’s a super cute video of a bunch of them, taken from the world’s only sloth orphanage in Costa Rica.  I’ll give you a moment to geek out over the adorableness.  The video put a smile on my face bright and early on this dreary Friday, so I hope you like it.

So as I went about my week this week, I seemed to encounter a bunch of women that made me scratch my head.  It’s not been incredibly warm here in Chicago lately but some ladies have been wearing their skirts, in what I can only assume is an attempt to encourage higher temperatures.  Seeing all of these women break out their gams brought only one thing to my mind – at what age are you too old for a short skirt?  I saw at least three different “ladies” who were wearing a skirt that I would deem inappropriately short, and they were all at least a good 20 years older than me.  I’m talking at least six inches above the knee here.  Now, this would not be so questionable if I saw the women chain-smoking and loitering outside of seedy South Side motels, but this was not the case.  These leg-baring women were all hanging around my commuter train so I can only assume they were going to work.  I actually did a double take at one woman in particular because her skirt had such little material.  I’m the first to admit that I find women attractive but the ones I’m talking about simply made me uncomfortable and a tiny bit sad.  If any of you happens to see me wearing an insanely short skirt ten years from now, please tell me gently that I look like a tramp.

I had a few more things I was going to discuss here but it seems I’ve run out of time.  I’ll close with a funny little story for you, which also happens to be a tad embarrassing for yours truly.  I did something this week that I haven’t done in…well, I don’t know if I’ve ever actually done it before.  Let me preface this by saying that I’m not one of those women who think that guys should always put the toilet seat down.  I think it makes more sense hygienically, as little poo particles won’t fly around with the lid down (that’s what it’s designed to do, after all) but I think the whole lid up/down debate is kind of silly.  I mean, we should know to look before we sit, right?  Right…

Cut to one morning this week, when I was trapped at my desk for an inordinate amount of time.  When I finally got the chance for a potty break, I bolted to the bathroom.  The one I chose happens to be a bathroom the kids in our center use sometime, and I was in such a hurry that I barely flipped on the light switch before dropping my pants.  All I wanted was that sweet urinary relief and I’m sure you can see where this is going.  Yup, the seat was up.  Since I have amazing cat-like reflexes, I was actually able to catch myself on the sink before my butt hit water, so I was safe.  I will admit, though, that I felt like an idiot.  I did get a good laugh out of it so that counts for something and hopefully you got a chuckle as well.

Okay folks, that’s about all I’ve got for today.  I’m looking forward to a warm, sunny weekend and a wedding with free booze, so the next few days should be good ones.  Hope yours are simply smashing as well!

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Free Food in the Hallway

May 20, 2010 at 2:35 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , )

Since I moved into my apartment building last year, I’ve noticed that someone who shares my entrance is a messy eater.  My building isn’t super small but the way it’s set up sort of makes it seem that way.  There are three separate entrances and the only door we tenants have access to is the one that leads to our own respective apartment.  This means that while there are probably 20 or so units in the whole building, I only share my entrance with two others.  The woman below me is an older lady who lives with her twenty something son and then there’s the guy above me (so I guess technically I share with three other people).  Anyway, one of those three is sloppy as hell and I’m betting it’s not the sweet old lady.

Whoever this mystery food dropper is, I don’t think they follow the five second rule.

The first time I noticed food in the hallway, it was in the form of a half-eaten candy bar.  It sat in its wrapper on the post to the handrail leading upstairs, and it sat there for days.  Who doesn’t finish a perfectly good candy bar?  I thought about taking it for myself but yeah, that’s kind of gross.  We have someone who comes to clean the interior of the building once every couple of weeks, so they must’ve found it and either eaten it or thrown it out.

The next time, it was part of a taco.  The lettuce and sauce blob was on the stairs in between the first and second floor, so my powerful deductive skills tell me that the offender is the guy above me.  As a slight neat freak, the blob bothered me but my hereditary stubbornness prevented me from cleaning it up myself.  I waited for the cleaning person to take care of it but that actually never happened and so I’ve watched with interest as this tiny bit of food has molded itself into the floor board.  If you look closely, you can still see lettuce.

This mysterious food perp has also left entire boxes of leftovers in the mail bin below our boxes.  I’m sure our mail person didn’t appreciate it.  Seriously, who does something like that?

I’ll tell you who.  The same person who left a giant pile of Chinese food on the sidewalk outside our front door sometime  in the middle of last night.

I walked out the door this morning, head held high and enjoying a bit of sunshine and fresh air, and promptly stepped in some sort of noodle concoction.  I mildly freaked out, as I was wearing sandals like the guy in this picture and for some reason I have a fear of stepping on dead animals, so that’s immediately where my mind went.  Upon seeing it was Chinese food, I was first relieved and then grossed out (but not as grossed out as I would’ve been if I had stepped on a deceased pigeon).  To be fair, the mess didn’t necessarily have to come from someone who lives in my building – it could’ve been any slob walking by our front door.  However, given the food I’ve already found lying around, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to assume it was the guy above me.  This also leads me to an interesting notion, because he is a rather hefty guy and I had always assumed that larger people were more careful about ensuring their food goes into their stomach and not onto the ground (I’m not trying to be shitty, just factual).  So – could it be him?  As I said, the only other possibilities include the little old lady (and I like to think that a Mom wouldn’t be so messy and wasteful) or her son, whom I rarely even see.  I really do think the big guy upstairs is to blame.

Or perhaps it’s me?  Maybe I sleepwalk to late night dining establishments all over town, only to bring the food home and trail it around my building.  I mean, I can’t prove I don’t.  However, the Chinese stuff this morning clearly had chicken in it so if it’s me, I must be carnivorous in my sleep.  Hmm.

Regardless of who’s doing it, I hope the noodles and fortune cookies are gone when I get home.  And the next time some food is left around my building, I hope it’s a bunch of freshly made cookies, wrapped up neatly and sitting in a box outside my door.

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Stupid Cubs Games

May 19, 2010 at 1:28 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , )

I’m just going to say this now – I have no particular alliance to any baseball team here in Chicago.  I realize that’s grounds for revoking my Chicago citizenship, but it’s the truth.  I’ve been to a game at Wrigley Field and I had a good time, but I’m sure I would also have a good time if I were to ever go to a game for the Sox.  If I can drink a beer and sit outside, I’m cool watching just about any team play.  That being said, I’ve had people give me flak for living on the North Side and not being a die-hard Cubs fan.  However, I don’t know if I could ever be a full-blown fan for a team that makes my commute a living nightmare.

Yesterday’s commute may not have been quite this bad, but it was close.

I knew I was in trouble when I caught the bus home.  I was in a hurry, as I had a finite amount of time to get home, shower, gather my pasta salad and get to my book club meeting (which would’ve taken close to 40 minutes on a good day).  I don’t always follow the Cubs schedule but I know there’s a game when there are drunken twentysomethings on my train ride from the ‘burbs to the city and I saw a group yesterday that helped me realize I’d be battling crowds all night long.  The bus I caught wasn’t too packed but I knew it would get worse the later it got, and as my book club meeting and the beginning of the game happened to be at the exact same time, I knew it was going to be messy.  I got home, intending to take the quickest shower known to woman, and was promptly denied by my shower faucet.  It decided to quit working out of the blue, and so I cussed and banged around and was generally displeased for the ten or so minutes it took me to get it functioning again.  So, right there, I was running a few minutes later than I had hoped.  I proceeded to take a lightning fast shower and get everything together and then I was out the door.  And waiting for another bus.

I happen to live a few miles from Wrigley Field and the main bus that takes game-goers in passes right by my apartment.  This was the route I needed to take to get to my book club host’s apartment, so I sucked it up and prepared for the worst.  I didn’t prepare myself enough, because the bus that stopped resembled a can of sardines.  I managed to squeeze on and then the driver decided he couldn’t fit any more people.  Of course, he still had to stop at every stop to let those waiting know that, so the drive was not as quick as I would’ve liked.  About halfway to my stop (which would’ve also been the stop for those going to the game, as my bad luck would have it), the driver pulled over to let someone off.  Then some idiot at the back of the bus pulled an alarm, which began to shriek, loudly and incessantly.  The driver tried to tell the idiot how to turn it off and when that failed, he got off the bus and walked around back to fix it himself.  That failed too.  While he was trying to shut the damn thing up, a few people who apparently don’t know how a bus works tried to board using the rear doors.  They were (not so kindly) told by others on the bus that they couldn’t do what they were trying to do, and so they boarded the front.  Funny side note – it was the same group from my train ride home from the ‘burbs.  Yup same exact people.  It looked like they had stopped in a bar along the way, as they were much drunker than they were the last time I had seen them (and they weren’t sober then).  Anyway, right about the time they boarded the driver announced (over the still shrieking alarm) that he couldn’t fix it and we were all going to have to catch the bus behind us.  Right, because a double-sized bus crammed full of people will all fit on another, equally crowded bus.

At this point I decided to walk.

Now, because I have that super fancy smarter-than-I phone, I was able to reroute my trip in such a way that I could avoid Wrigleyville altogether.  Huge relief.  Until I started to get harassed by some guy on the train.  He wouldn’t stop talking to me and trying to get me to go to a bar with him, and of course he happened to get off at my stop.  We were set to walk in the same direction too, until I realized that and walked the other way for a few minutes to lose him.  Of course, that mean I was even later to book club.  It was only about 20 minutes total, which is not a big deal, but I was crazy exhausted by the time I got there.

The apartment of the girl who was holding the meeting was near the lake, and it was amazing.  I don’t think I’d ever been in an apartment building with an actual elevator button for the Penthouse before, but I was last night.  Her place was very nice and we all brought a dish and some wine so we quickly got down to business.  The book we read was our first foray into erotica, and it was a collection of short stories.  I’m going to ‘fess up now – I didn’t read the book.  I tried, in vain, to find it but forces beyond my control kept it out of my grasp (I’m looking at you, Amazon).  I listened to everyone discuss it though and it seemed that, while it wasn’t as steamy as some were expecting, there were at least a few good stories.  If I end up borrowing it from one of the ladies, I’ll be sure to post my own review.

So we ate, talked and were generally merry.  The women in my club are all intelligent, driven and funny so I always enjoy our meetings.  I wish I could’ve stayed longer last night but I knew I would be battling all of the Cubs fans leaving the game on my way home and so I left a little early.  Sadly, it didn’t help.

I managed to get to the top step of the train platform as my train pulled away, so I sat and waited for about ten minutes.  I took the next train to the bus stop, where I knew drunk Cubs fans would be joining me.  After waiting another six minutes or so for a bus, we all got excited to see one approach.  It slowed down, we were able to see how full it was and it just kept on moving.  Awesome.  I waited another ten minutes for the next bus and when it still didn’t show up, I started walking.  Mind you, I was not wearing footwear appropriate for this endeavor.  I eventually caught a bus and didn’t have to hobble all the way home and even though this bus was insanely packed with drunken fools as well, at least it was transport.

Sigh. Due to all of this (and more) craziness, I was unable to fall asleep last night.  I forced myself to quit checking the clock at 2am because it was doing nothing but pissing me off, and I know I was up for a good long while after that.  When my alarm went off at 6 I almost cried, but being the good employee I am I hauled myself out of bed.  Some of you might be able to function on 3 hours of sleep – I am not that kind of person.  I’m hoping to become one with my bed as soon as I can tonight, and I’m also hoping to avoid the crowds around Wrigleyville on game days for a long, long time.

Holy crap. I just noticed how long this post is.  If you made it this far, thanks for sticking around for my vent.

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Lunch Wrap Recipe

May 18, 2010 at 12:58 pm (Uncategorized) (, , )

I haven’t done a food post in a while and since I don’t have much time this week, I figured I’d show off what I had for lunch.

Actually, this is a slight variation on what I have for lunch just about every day.  Here goes:

Spinach Wrap

Hummus (three-layer hummus including traditional, roasted red pepper and cilantro) – if you’re a regular reader, you know of my pathetic addiction to White Bean Basil Hummus.  This three-layer stuff is my attempt at weaning myself off the flavor of hummus that I would happily swim through.

One slice of provolone cheese

Two slices of vegetarian turkey (obviously the real stuff will suffice, if you’re into that sort of thing)

Spinach leaves

Avocado

Dried cranberries

Then – wrap it all up and ingest.  You can see, I added a leftover strawberry from breakfast as a nice little touch.  Voila!  Lunch.  And yes, it was delicious.

I make a wrap almost every day and usually just fill it with whatever I have sitting around in my fridge.  I bought some avocados to make guacamole for my book club tonight but only one was ripe today, so I just added it to my lunch instead.  Book club will get pasta salad, though not the pasta salad seen here.  That was made with whole wheat pasta, cherry tomatoes, black olives, goat cheese and three kinds of bell peppers, mixed up with some light Italian dressing.  Again, just a little bit of everything that I had lying around.  The pasta salad I made for book club is a little more Greek, with roasted red peppers, feta cheese and black olives.  I hope my literate lady friends enjoy it but I will have no problem taking it home for leftovers if they don’t.

Who says you can’t eat a tasty, healthy meal at your desk?  Just a pity my camera phone skills are so seriously lacking.  I promise, it looked better in person.

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Tourists

May 17, 2010 at 1:14 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , )

I love living in a city that is a popular destination point for tourists.

It makes me happy to walk by the Willis Sears Tower on my way to the chiropractor and see groups milling around outside, staring up and pointing.  I still stare up too, so I get it.  There’s just something about living in a place that people vacation to that makes me feel…well, lucky is a good word.  Nothing beats knowing that I can do all the fun stuff in the city anytime I want, and not just once a year.

Tourists are also funny.  They express amazement over the fact that someone can live in the city year-round and they seem bewildered when you tell them how you get around using public transit.  They can also get really drunk, which is funny too.  Case in point: plastered guy in bar Saturday night.

I went barhopping with a lady friend of mine Saturday evening and we wound up at Nicks Beer Garden in Wicker Park (this place had some killer live music, by the way).  We were there early enough that the place wasn’t packed and we grabbed a table in a corner.  As we sat, conversing and drinking, this wasted guy walked up and sat down with us.  He was so drunk that it took us a minute to realize he was speaking English.  He told us he was from Alabama (he did have the accent to prove it) and went on and on about how much he loved Chicago and all the people in it.  He asked if we lived here and when we said we did, his eyes got real big and he looked amazed.  He then asked if we liked it, and of course we said we did again.  At that point, he mentioned (again) that he was from Alabama and my friend told him that she was from Atlanta herself.  He got so excited and his face lit up upon hearing this.  He then proudly told us that he knows where Atlanta is.  He must have been valedictorian in his senior class, with that kind of geographical knowledge.  After sitting with us for a few more awkward minutes, he thanked us for our time and stumbled over to another table.

You can see why I love the tourists.  I also love that I still sometimes feel like one myself, even though I’ve lived in Chicago for over a year now.  Sunday was a nice, warm day and I wanted to take advantage of it so I decided to pick a direction I hadn’t walked in before and set out.  I walked about 2.5 miles towards downtown before turning around and walking back, and I found some great spots along the way.  One in particular is the Dragonlady Lounge, which is a Korean/American Vegan/Vegetarian place.  Yelp gives it some great reviews and I’m excited to actually know where it’s at (and even more excited that it’s only a 15 minute walk from home).  I also found a Target, a bowling alley, a thrift store where everything was $3, two delicious looking bakeries, an indie theater and countless other little restaurants and dive type bars.

There’s nothing wrong with being a tourist in your own city, and I plan on touring as much as I can while the weather is warm.  If you want to go tourist with me, just let me know!  We can get drunk and tell people we’re familiar with their hometowns, or we can just check out cool new places all summer long.  And if you’re nice, I won’t make you wear a fanny-pack.

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