Taste This

June 30, 2010 at 1:22 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , )

Last night, I ventured to Grant Park for the Taste of Chicago.  I know that it’s pricey, overly crowded and quite the tourist trap but I enjoy going nonetheless.  My mom and I went last year and managed to catch a free show by Buddy Guy, which was pretty awesome.  That was on a Saturday though and the crowds were insane so this year I figured going during the week would be a safer bet.  A friend and I met up around 6:30 and hit the booths, and we were not disappointed.

Well, I was a little disappointed.  Last year, I found a place that was selling vegetarian ribs on a stick – and they were amazing.  I’m sure it doesn’t sound appetizing to most of you out there but I fell in love.  It’s not often that I get to eat anything BBQ flavored, let alone on a stick, so I was all about the wheat gluten/soy/bean curd/whatever pseudo meat product it was (you can stop gagging now).  I think I had it two or three times last year and I’ve honestly thought about it on and off ever since.  My friend and I did a tour of every single booth and sadly, came up with nothing that resembled my meal of yesteryear.  I wasn’t too thrilled about that but I managed to find enough other stuff to fill my stomach.

I had a few types of pizza (spinach stuffed is especially good), some toasted ravioli and a bunch of random things from an Asian place (the samosas with orange sauce were great).  I finished it all off with a huge cookie dough waffle cone, which in hindsight wasn’t the best idea.  My el ride home was a bit uncomfortable and I thought I was going to burst.

My friend had some of the same pizza I did, as well as an Italian sausage thing, some other Asian cuisine and another meat product.  She also had some cheesecake (I had a bite) and it reminded me just how much I love cheesecake.  I would consider eating it for every meal if I didn’t think my waistline would expand to the size of a small country.  Guess a girl can’t have everything.

All in all, we enjoyed ourselves.  There was some live music happening as we walked around and besides trying to dodge strollers the size of small cars, the crowds weren’t too bad.  I was amazed by the number of quite large women wearing shirts that showed off their stomachs (made me feel like I was back in Indiana) but to each her own.  Nothing would’ve killed my appetite last night, though that massive ice cream cone almost did me in.

And I would totally go back for more.

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S.O.B. FOP

June 29, 2010 at 12:56 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , )

While I was home over the weekend, I had a mild heart attack.  Not literally of course, but that’s what it felt like.  Let me explain.

I woke up early Saturday morning to the sound of my mom’s home phone ringing off the hook.  Since she made no move to answer it, I forced myself out of bed and picked it up.  By this point it was on its third consecutive cycle of ringing and I figured it must be important.  By the time I reached it the line was dead (of course) so I took that opportunity to relieve my bladder.  As I sat on the throne, the phone started to ring once again.  Since I had the foresight to bring the phone to the can with me, I answered.  This is how the next few minutes went:

Automated recording thanks me for holding while I’m being connected

My first thought is someone is calling from jail.  My second thought is to wonder which one of my friends or relatives could’ve gotten in that much trouble so early on a Saturday.

Line connects

Strange man: “Hello is this [insert webpaige’s mom’s name here]?”

Me:  “No, this is her daughter.”

Strange man: “Is [webpaige’s mom’s name] available?”

At this point, my heart rate is beginning to pick up and I’m getting a tad bit nervous

Me:  “Yes, may I ask who’s calling?”

Strange man: “This is State Trooper [some last name I wish I could remember]”

Me:  “May I ask what this is in relation to?”

State Trooper:  “I really need to speak with your mother.”

At this point, I’m freaking out and completely convinced that someone I know is dead on the highway.  I pull up my pants and run to my mom’s room.  I give her the phone and watch, wide-eyed, as she speaks to the Trooper.  I’m mentally preparing myself for horrible news and holding my breath.  Then my mom rolls her eyes, says “Thank you, I’m not interested” and hangs up.

What. The. Hell.

Apparently the Fraternal Order of Police like to make calls trying to raise money.  Never have I received such a call and I was appalled that an officer of the law would use such scare tactics to try to get a pledge.  Tricky cops.  I was more than a little pissed, especially since I had all but convinced myself I’d be spending the rest of the weekend at a funeral home.  There was also no way I was going to be able to go back to sleep.  Not a good way to start a morning.

Later that afternoon, the phone rang again.  Mom took one look at caller ID (if only I had thought to do that) and said it was the FOP once more.  I tried to wrestle the phone from her so I could give those jerks a piece of my mind, or at least try to educate them on better tactics for soliciting donations, but Mom wouldn’t let me have it.  Guess she thought I might be rude or something.  Me?  Nah.  I just considered it my duty as a tax paying citizen to give them some feedback on their performance.  Maybe next time.

The Fraternal Order of Police.  They want YOU – to have a heart attack.

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White Wedding

June 28, 2010 at 1:08 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , )

Traffic prevented me from reaching my cousin’s wedding on Friday, but I did manage to make the reception.  We all know the reception is the best part anyway so I guess I shouldn’t complain.  My cousin looked beautiful in her huge white dress and all of the other members of the bridal party looked equally elegant and dapper.  My free wine helped me reflect on some of the other weddings I’ve been to in my day and on Saturday I spent some time with an old friend who also got me thinking.  Her sister is getting married later this year and has dropped an INSANE amount of money on the dress, ring and wedding in general.  IF (this is a big if) I ever drag myself down the aisle, here are some things that will not be a part of my ceremony.

  • A huge, frilly white dress that I can only wear once.  It wouldn’t need to be white (because who am I kidding?) and if I had any train whatsoever I would be almost guaranteed to trip and fall.  My friend’s sister spent more than $3,000.00 on her dress and that made me throw up in my mouth a little. Any dress of mine would definitely be practical.
  • Strict religion.  Sorry, Mom, but if I ever get married my ceremony will be lacking a traditional priest and a church.  I will instead have a gay pastor who usually spends his or her time preaching to groups of ethnically and spiritually diverse populations, and I will be married in a place with little to no religious affiliation.  Hmm, unless the person I’m marrying has an opinion on this.  I could also have a friend get ordained online and marry me as my wedding gift (I’m all about spending more money on the honeymoon than the wedding itself).
  • A buffet with ham sandwiches.  My wedding would be completely vegetarian and I would serve all kinds of food my family would furrow their brow and turn their nose up at.  Okay that’s not entirely true, I would have something for my meat-eating guests but I would also have quite the spread for my veggie friends.  We herbivores always get shafted at the wedding buffet.
  • Birds of any kind.  I’ve seen footage of a wedding where doves were released at the end of the ceremony and there ended up being bird crap all over the place.  Funny to watch but probably not so funny to live.
  • Monogrammed anything.  I can’t even imagine how pricey it is to get initials or names printed all over napkins and plates and it all ends up in the trash anyway.  Maybe I’d give my cousin’s kids some crayons and let them go to town on decorating, but that would be about it.
  • Music that includes any sort of choreographed dance.  This means no Electric Slide, no Chicken Dance and no YMCA.  My wedding will have swing and ballroom dancing only.  Again, that might not be entirely true, but I am dead serious about the Electric Slide.  I freaking hate that song and I’m a little peeved at myself for writing about it because now it’s in my head.  Boogie woogie, woogie.  Damnit.

This doesn’t mean my imaginary wedding wouldn’t be fun.  Things I would have include: an open bar, non choreographed dancing, different music for when the grandparents go home, strippers dancing in boxes (grandparents might actually enjoy this), a hot air balloon, camels to ride down the aisle, one of those Rent-a-Photobooths, recycling, a small group of people to constantly walk behind me and tell me how pretty I look, an organ, circus performers, one hundred thousand roses and an ice sculpture specifically designed to drink liquor from (I might be being facetious about a few of the things on that list).  Of course, these are just random thoughts.  I’m sure any person lucky enough to marry me would have some of their own awesome ideas to add as well.

Good thing the possibility of me getting married is, at the very least, many years away.  From what I’ve heard those Rent-a-Photobooths can have quite the waitlist.

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Beer Me

June 25, 2010 at 9:37 am (Uncategorized) (, )

This was the scene on the Edens Expressway earlier this week.  I can think of worse things to cause a traffic jam.

Since I have negative two minutes to post today, I simply wanted to share these pictures.  As I prepare to embark on my trip down south, I can only hope not to encounter traffic or hold ups of any kind.  However, if something’s going to cause me to be late to my cousin’s wedding, I would prefer it to be because of a massive beer spill over anything else.

Cheers!

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Photoshopped Fakery

June 24, 2010 at 2:09 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , )

I have limited time for posting today and tomorrow, as tomorrow I will be leaving before lunch to drive home and attend my cousin’s wedding.  Rather than not posting anything, though, I wanted to share something which recently outraged me.

Photoshopping has been done for years and it’s effects are controversial.  I could rant and rave about how detrimental it is to young women (and yes, men) to see celebrities and models glamorized for a look that is pretty much humanly impossible.  Case in point:  this recent image of Faith Hill from Redbook Magazine.

Redbook caters mostly to post college-aged women, so exactly what are they trying to accomplish with this?  Let me tell you.  Theoretically, the reader (consumer) sees this and thinks that’s the standard of beauty for a woman her age.  Conveniently, the magazine is chock full of ads for lotions, creams, make up, clothing and gyms that promise to help you achieve this exact look.  The magazine could not run without the ads, and the ads would be worthless without the magazine.  See how this works?

Here is another link, showing mostly Photo-shopped celebrities.  What really gets me is how none of these people need the retouching to begin with.  It’s not like any of them have disfiguring scars or abnormal growths protruding from their body – and even if they did, why should we hide that?  It just goes to show how much worth our culture (and we’re not the only one) places on a nonexistent standard of beauty.  No wonder eight year old girls are being treated for eating disorders.

At least some of those in the public eye are starting to talk about this, and I hope that trend continues.  Real women (and men) come in all shapes and sizes and trying to pigeonhole us into one look is just plain silly, as are some of the results of professional Photoshop attempts.

This fine example is provided by the good people at Ralph Lauren.  Would anyone really want to look like that?  Is it even possible without falling over?  Highly doubtful.

End rant.  Thanks for listening.

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You Know Who You Look Like?

June 23, 2010 at 2:16 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , )

I’ve heard that before.  It seems like everyone has a celebrity that they’re often told they resemble, and I appear to be no different.

When I was younger, I was told that I looked like Melissa Joan Hart.  Or to be more specific, Melissa Joan Hart from her Clarissa Explains It All days.  I attribute this to the fact that we both have slightly upturned noses and her character was quirky, eccentric, wore odd clothes and had bad Eighties hair.  I admit these similarities.

Lately, it seems everyone and their mother has been telling me how much I look like The Waitress from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.  I’ve only seen the show a handful of times and since she’s not a main character, I’ve only seen her like once.  I was not impressed.

It’s like Melissa Joan Hart all over again.  I guess I can see the resemblance here (though I’m not blond).  It’s the nose and thin lips that do it.  I actually had a complete stranger on the bus tell me she was convinced she knew me and after I politely told her I didn’t think so, she realized it was because she thought I looked so much like The Waitress.  Sigh.

Here’s her with brunette hair.  I admit there are a few things we have in common.

Now here’s where things get weird.  The people in my family all look very much alike – basically, everyone spawned by my grandparents or their children bears a striking resemblance to one another.  Enough to warrant an entirely separate blog post, which I will one day create.  Anyway, my little sister and I don’t look too much alike (or so we like to think) but a recent hair cut which gave her bangs for the first time in about a decade has proved to help us look more like one another.  Earlier this week, she was hanging out with a friend of hers and he was giving her shit for looking so much like me.  I think he said something along the lines of “Go back to Chicago” and was generally poking fun.  After a few minutes though, he got serious and said that who she really looked like was The Waitress from It’s Always Sunny.  Mind you, he had no previous knowledge of how many people have told me that or how much it gets under my skin.  She let loose some profanities on him and when she explained why, he had a good laugh.

Ha.  Ha.  Ha.

Oh, and the weirdest comparison I’ve ever received?  A guy I used to deliver pizzas with would constantly tell me I looked like Link from Zelda.

This is inappropriate because I am not a male, nor am I a cartoon character.  Even though I wish I was (a cartoon character, not a male).  And besides that – really?  Are my ears that pointed?  Does this guy resemble Melissa Joan Hart too?  Or was the pizza dude on drugs?

Actually, I think that answers that.  I’m glad I could Explain it All.

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Officially Summer

June 22, 2010 at 2:22 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Yesterday was Summer Solstice, which officially marks the beginning of summer.  In honor of this new season I thought I’d throw together a little pro/con list.  In no particular order:

Summer Pros:

  • NO MORE COLD
  • Sandals
  • Swimming
  • Sunshine
  • Drinking and dining outdoors
  • Drinking and dining outdoors (this is so great I thought I’d mention it twice)
  • Street fests
  • Beaches
  • Long days
  • Skirts
  • Standing in front of your open freezer after a long, hot walk home
  • Vacations (for everyone else.  I get mine sometime after August)
  • Gardens in full bloom
  • Summer storms
  • Ice cream (this is good year-round but easier to find/swallow in the summer)

Summer Cons:

  • Lack of central air conditioning
  • The ugly hobbit feet that some people unfortunately possess
  • Not having access to a pool
  • Sunshine waking you up at 6am on a Saturday
  • Spending more money because you’re constantly drinking and dining outdoors
  • Clothes that stick to your skin because you’re so sweaty
  • Sweating more in general
  • Humidity
  • Watching everyone else take a vacation while I have to work
  • Bugs/mosquitoes
  • Summer storms (this is on both lists.  If you read my post from yesterday, you’ll know why)

Even with the cons, I love summer.  And since it’ll only be around Chicago for an oh-so-brief amount of time, I will enjoy it while I can!

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Not in Kansas Anymore

June 21, 2010 at 2:06 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )

I know most of us are aware of the brutal storms that flew through the Midwest region on Friday.  They pretty much appeared out of nowhere and they were not pretty.  The first one came along right about the time I was set to get off of work, which I appreciated.  In a matter of about 15 minutes, the sky went from sunny and decent looking to black with a good chance of menace.  Everyone in my office huddled around windows (smart, I know) and talked about how we felt we were in the opening scene of The Wizard of Oz. I had honestly never seen the sky turn that dark that quickly and so of course I was looking forward to my commute home.

The downpour started right as I walked out the door and my umbrella proved useless within about 5 seconds.  The parking lot I cross to the train station immediately turned into a wading pool and by the time I got to the station I was soaked from head to toe.  The other train passengers looked at me with pity as I discovered the pants I was wearing held about as much water as a Sham-Wow, only they were impossible to wring out.  The A.C. on the train was blaring full blast, so that was a pleasant ride home.

I was supposed to be meeting an old high school friend downtown but once the storm started we decided it would be smarter to just meet up at my place.  By this time the rain had stopped and the sun was actually back out.  Go figure.  After swinging by a bar for some brews and enjoying some delicious Burrito House tacos, it was time for him to head back to his place in the suburbs.  Because I’m such a good friend, I walked him the half mile back to the el station.  When I got home I sat down with another adult beverage and was looking forward to spending the rest of the evening on my couch.  I was speaking briefly with my Mom when I realized another storm was coming and  I was in the process of closing windows when my high school chum beeped through, in a panic because he couldn’t find his keys.  I looked around and sure enough, he had left them behind a pillow on my couch.  Since he’s a city neophyte and wasn’t sure he could get himself back to my place, I sucked it up and said I’d come to him.  Lucky me, I got to walk back to the station in the eye of Scary Storm Part Deux.

I put on my rain boots and jacket and went back into the night.  I skipped the umbrella altogether for a couple of reasons: 1) I didn’t think it would do me a damn bit of good and 2) I always wonder if it’s a good idea to carry around a metal stick during a lightning storm.  I’m sure it’s fine and all but with the insane horizontal flashes we were getting, I didn’t want to become a statistic or contender for the Darwin Awards, so I left it at home.

I was right, it wouldn’t have done me any good.  Winds were blowing up to 60 mph and the rain just did not stop.  I was soaked (again) as soon as I walked outside and I was also just about the only poor fool out on the sidewalk.  After a block or so I just started laughing and decided to roll with it.  There was nothing I could do anyway so I began jumping in the biggest puddles I could find (the recent beers I had ingested probably helped with this).  I looked like a grown up version of the kid in this picture and I’m not going to lie, it was pretty fun.  Until I got scared by the lightning, which was flashing its worst around the time I arrived at the station.  I stayed there for a while and the rain (slightly) let up for my walk home.  I didn’t even mind when a passing car sprayed me with gallons of dirty street water, because at that point it wasn’t going to make a bit of difference.  Once I finally got home, it took a while to peel myself from my wet garments but the warmth of my shower and the comfort of my couch made it all better.

In a surprising turn of events, I was sore as all get out on Saturday.  I woke up and could barely stretch without causing myself great pain.  It took a few minutes of trying to remember if I had been attacked by ninjas on my walk home but I eventually figured that my body must have been hurting from battling the storm the night before.  Am I that out of shape/that much of a wimp?  Apparently so.

I also must give a shout out to my concerned mother, who left me a frantic voicemail on Saturday after she saw news reports of the storm.  I was taking a nap (heaven forbid) and missed her call so when I awoke I was greeted to her panicky voice asking if I was dead in some street gutter.  Since she hadn’t heard from me since right before I trekked out into that miserable night I don’t blame her, but I had to smile at how freaked out she was when I didn’t answer right away.  Sorry for worrying you, Mommy Dearest, but I got that napping gene from you.

I don’t know where the puddle jumping gene came from but I sure am glad it’s there.

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Friday Round-Up

June 18, 2010 at 12:46 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , )

It’s that time again.  Time for a post full of random as we head into the weekend!

To begin with, I’d like to give a shout out to whoever left the mostly full bottle of Jim Beam and the halfway full bottle of Coke on the ground next to the train tracks by my train station (sidenote: who leaves more booze than mixer?).  I walked past it this morning and was faced with the difficult decision of leaving a sketchy looking alcoholic beverage where it was or having an early morning drink.  I stared at it for a moment before deciding to stay sober.  However, as we were informed that our train was running at least a half hour late and we would be standing around for a while longer, I contemplated that drink once again.  If whiskey breath wasn’t so obvious, I might have sat down on the tracks like a true hobo and helped myself to the bottle.  It is Friday, after all.

And it’s not like I slept great last night.  Actually, I take that back, I slept just fine but I had some very odd dreams.  Odd as in inappropriate-about-a-coworker odd.  Why does this happen?  Every now and then I wake up in confusion and am faced with the fact that I was very recently dreaming about someone who has no business appearing in my unconscious.  This time it was a manager from my office, a man who I give no thought to the minute I walk out the door.  In my dream he was getting arrested and before he was taken away he confessed feelings for me and gave me a hug that lasted much too long.  I woke up disappointed, because if I’m going to dream about people I know I’d rather dream about someone I’m actually attracted to, or hell, actually dating.  Then I had to come into the office and try not to act awkward, which isn’t easy.  He just actually stuck his head in my office to tell me something, so now I have the added awkwardness of writing about this and seeing him at the same time.  Ugh.  You can see how a drink might’ve helped my long morning.  Time to move on.

This story is also about work.  There is a little girl at our center who loves to come and hide in my office when it’s time for her to get to work.  It doesn’t really bother me as I welcome just about any distraction, but yesterday something different happened.  As she sat on the floor and tried to avoid starting her hour, she began to emit these guttural sounds from deep within her throat.  She sounded like the kid from The Exorcist, and I am not exaggerating.  It was scary as hell.  At that point I left her to her teachers and walked out of my office because I didn’t want to be around that (dealing with possessed children is not in my job description).

I should also mention that this is the least offensive photo that came up when I did an image search for Linda Blair.  Apparently internet photos of Ms. Blair come in one of two varieties – super scary or super slutty.  Go figure.

In other news, my food-dropping upstairs neighbor left me another surprise this week.  Upon examination, the item was determined to be a Sun Chip.  I will keep you informed of any new developments, because I’m sure you’re as fascinated by this as I am.

And now, I appear to have run out of time.  I only got a half hour for lunch today, seeing as how my train was a half hour late getting in and all.  Gotta love being an hourly employee.

…yuck, I kind of hate that this post is mostly about work.  I suppose that happens when you spend most of your time working, right?  Good thing it’s the weekend!

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Coffee Break

June 17, 2010 at 12:54 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , )

How did one little drink worm its way into my life?

I made it 25 years without drinking the stuff, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t try.  When I had to be at work at 5:30a.m. on weekend mornings in high school (after staying out late weekend nights), I attempted to drink coffee regularly.  I also tried it on and off throughout college, as it seemed to help everyone else who was partying too much and studying too little (not that I ever did such a thing).  I never really liked the taste though and after a while I quit trying to choke the stuff down.

Then I started working at my current job.  Coffee is provided to us and we always have a variety of creamers floating around as well.  One day last year, I loaded up a cup that was more flavored creamer and sugar than coffee and drank away.  I had three more cups that morning and I finally understood what the whole jittery thing was all about (I also couldn’t get a coherent sentence out, as I kept tripping over my own words).  Since then I’ve imbibed pretty regularly, although I don’t drink four cups a morning anymore.  If I’m smart, I’ll never do that again.  I don’t drink it for the wake up factor because that doesn’t seem to help anymore, but rather now I find that I enjoy the taste.  I still have to doctor it up of course, but I can honestly say that I look forward to that steaming cup sitting on my desk.  How did this happen?  I can remember going to a coffee shop with my girlfriends in high school and they were always trying to get me to try their drinks and I always declined.  I had brunch with one of these friends a few months ago and she almost fell out of her chair when I ordered a cup.  Yeah, I find it strange too.

Is it a bad habit to get into, especially after going so long without?  Probably, although there is research that shows a decrease in dementia and Alzheimer’s in people who drink coffee on a regular basis.  I suppose it’s okay in moderation, just like everything else (like work).  I don’t even always finish my cup; I think I like the act of drinking coffee more than actually drinking it.  I’ll make a cup every now and then at home on the weekend and just sit at my dining room table to enjoy it.  I don’t think I’ll ever be the type of person who has to have it to get out of bed in the mornings though.  If I ever get to that point, please someone stage an intervention.  I like to try to keep my potential addictions in check, you know?  I always heard coffee was a gateway drug anyway.  So thanks for helping keep me in line and if you ever want to talk about other addictions, perhaps we can meet up for cup of coffee sometime.

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