Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper

October 28, 2010 at 11:25 am (Uncategorized) ()

Clint McCance, an Arkansas school district board member and Vice Principal of the Midland school district, has found himself in hot water after making some unbelievably ignorant and homophobic remarks on his Facebook page.  Anderson Cooper recently tore into Mr. McCance on national television in the most professional yet biting way I think I’ve ever seen.

For those of you who can’t or won’t watch the video, one of the highlights includes Cooper saying that McCance was acting like a child bully hiding behind his father.  More powerfully;

“These are not ‘queers’ or ‘fags,’ as Mr. McCance, calls them,” said Cooper. “They are people. They are human beings. They are our fellow citizens.”

That is why I love me some Anderson Cooper.

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Losing It

October 27, 2010 at 12:18 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , )

This is your head losing its marbles

I have lost the following items over the last few days:

  • a very comfortable bra
  • a scarf that perfectly matches one of my best sweaters
  • my ipod earbuds
  • one of my favorite, oldest t-shirts
  • a DVD of one of my favorite movies

Okay, maybe I didn’t actually lose those items over the last few days but that’s when I noticed they were missing.  I don’t think I have any evil kletptomaniac gnomes in my apartment so I really don’t know what happened to all of this stuff.  Perhaps one of my friends is stealing from me?  Yeah, doubtful.  I know it seems like I was having sexy movie time and somehow lost track of everything I was wearing and watching but I can assure you that’s not the case.  And remember how I was talking about how I never use my ipod anymore?  Well, I’m doing a temp data entry gig today and managed to find the ipod so I didn’t go crazy while staring at the computer…but no headphones.  I tore my apartment apart looking – twice.  I actually had to buy new ones.  Am I losing my mind?

It’s very possible.

At least I still have my cell phone and keys, along with the last lingering threads of my sanity.  However, after doing data entry for the rest of the afternoon that might just disappear as well.  OH but the majority of the pain in my ears is gone, so that’s something to be thankful for!  Now if I could just find everything else…

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Mysterious Illness Revealed!

October 26, 2010 at 1:46 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , )

Remember my bitching and moaning about a sore, red right eye last week?  That has mysteriously morphed into a sore throat and pain in my ears (especially the left one) over the course of the last few days.  The right eye is better but now the left one is a little red and the pain in my ear has become a pain in the neck (not literally…then I’d really be falling apart).  Once I realized that my health insurance is still active until the end of the month (and that I had a fever that wouldn’t go away, even with more cowbell), my mind was made up.  To the Minute Clinic at CVS I went.

Oh kid, how I feel your pain

The Minute Clinic is a wonderful invention for those like me who don’t have the time or desire to go see their regular doctor just because of an earache.  I got there, signed in and was treated to some little boy screeching at the top of his lungs in the ear that hurt the most.  He was very excited about the video game he was playing and when his mom asked him to quiet down, he said very politely, “No thank you, I don’t want to do that right now.”  Hey, at least he was honest.  Luckily I only put up with the awful noises emitting deep from within his tiny body for a few minutes before I was called back.  The nurse practitioner was very nice and helpful and within minutes I had my diagnosis.  I would’ve been in and out in under an hour flat but, like a well-prepared genius, I forgot my insurance card at home and had to come back to the apartment then go back to CVS in order to get fully checked out.  As an extra little pitch for CVS, they gave me a diagnosis and then let me leave so I could get the card and come back.  Apparently I have a trustworthy face.

So guess who’s among the small percentage of adults that can come down with an ear infection?  Yup, this

Can't always be the sharpest one in the box

girl.  A double ear infection, in fact, which means double the fun.  I was told that the infection is the culprit behind my weird eye issues and sore throat, which I guess makes sense because I’m harboring extra fluid behind my face.  I’m finally on an antibiotic so hopefully I’ll have this thing knocked out in a few days.  My ears still hurt though and all I want to do is curl up on my couch with my diabetic cat and favorite stuffed animal while watching reruns of classic 80’s sitcoms.  While I was reading the ways to help your toddler feel better about their ear infection (because all of the literature I was given assumes it’s just kids that get them…ageism at its finest), I came across the suggestion to have them watch a movie or color in a book to help distract them.  My crayons are ready so in case my couch and book don’t distract me enough I should still be able to fool myself into thinking I’m healthy.

The mind is a wonderful thing to try to deceive.

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R.I.P. Walkman

October 25, 2010 at 11:02 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , )

Such a sign of the times.

Sad Walkman

Surely you remember your first Walkman.  This is the great-great grandfather of the i-pod and was all the rage with the cool kids in the ’80’s (it was introduced in July of 1979).  My first Walkman played many a mixed cassette tape (it boggles my mind to know that there are college-aged people out there who don’t know what I’m talking about here) and was attached at my hip for years.  When the Discman came out in the early 90’s, I too was thrilled with the ability to now listen to my CD’s outside of my bedroom or car.  The Walkman never lost its place in my heart though and I always remembered my portable music roots.

The Walkman is officially dead.  Sony has ceased production on its old time accessory, causing people everywhere surprise when they realized it was still in production to begin with.  Even though I still see people on public transportation rocking the Walkman, it’s obvious its heyday is over (and truth be told, it’s usually the hipsters or the homeless I see sporting the look to begin with).  It can no longer compare to the tiny mp3 players that can hold thousands of songs in a sleek 3inch by 4inch metallic looking box.  I get that but I’m still sad that the Walkman will walk no more.

You and I will never be as cool as this girl

I actually received a brand new Walkman with AM/FM capabilities from my significant other at the time on my 22nd birthday and it was one of the best gifts I had ever received.  I listened to so much classic rock on that thing that the crappy headphones almost molded to my head.  I was against selling out into i-pod world for a very long time and actually went the without until Christmas 2008, when my ex bought me one as a gift (my Walkman only last about two years before dissolving into static-y oblivion, shocker).  What’s with those I’m dating buying me things that distract me and prevent me from talking?  Who knows.  I do know that I gave the i-pod my best shot but I never connected with it like I did my first Walkman.  In fact, I recently decided that since I use my i-pod so rarely, I should put it up on Ebay.  I spent three weeks looking for it and finally stumbled across it last night (shows you how much I put it to use).  The irony of my finally locating it so I can sell it on the night that the Walkman died is not lost on me.

I know I’m in the minority that even cares that the Walkman’s days are over and I’m sure most of you would choose your ear buds and i-pod over the clunky cassette player any day.  It’s obviously more convenient and logical but logic has nothing on nostalgia.  I’m now thinking of searching old boxes to see if I have the remnants of old Walkman’s laying about anywhere, because surely these relics will be worth tons of money very soon.  And the next time I see someone on the bus with one in their hands, I’m going to ask how they like holding on to a little piece of history.

Chances are they’ll have on their headphones and will ignore me, proving that people have been rudely listening to their music for at least 30 years.  Thank you Walkman and may you rest in peace.

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Love Your Local Library

October 22, 2010 at 12:24 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , )

I spent some time at my local library this week and had forgotten how great libraries really are.  I’m an avid book lover (my mom must have known I would be when she named me) and I pretty much love being in the presence of books.  Granted, there are some libraries that are more spectacular than others, and that holds true for Chicago as well.  My local branch isn’t the biggest or the best but they do give me books and internet for free, so how can I really complain?

This is not from my library, though I wish it was. I think it's beautiful.

My library also allowed me to go ahead and take care of this whole voting thing, which I did on Tuesday.  I can now avoid long and tedious lines of my designated polling place on November 2nd, which will allow me to either sleep in a little or (hopefully) work instead.  The voting was quick and painless but I’m glad it’s over.

Of course, there are people from every walk of life at public libraries.  While I was there on Tuesday, I was taking some standard computer proficiency tests for a position I was applying for (they only worked on PC’s and I lack one of those).  The tests were timed and since I haven’t worked in Excel or PowerPoint in years, I was needed every brain cell available.  Some kid (okay he wasn’t a child but he was younger than me) was sitting next to me and decided to try and tell me his life story while I was working (he just got a puppy and is surprised at how much work they are…).  I politely explained to him that I was taking a timed test and then he wanted to know what I was taking it for, what kind of jobs I’d had and where I lived.  I’m all for being friendly to people but there are times that the I’m-Going-To-Completely-Ignore you tactic I learned from having a sibling comes in handy and that was one of those times.

The library I had in my hometown growing up wasn’t much to behold but it did a decent job.  That’s where I learned to use a

My first library...unfortunately there was no picture of the gay-friendly sign

card catalog, a skill that’s pretty much obsolete nowadays.  I used to volunteer there back in grade school and it’s also one of the first places I remember getting on the Internet.  It now has a new sign out front that is rainbow-colored.  I like to think that means that the library is especially welcoming of its gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender patrons but it was most likely done to be colorful and with no intention of recruiting the queers.  I did lots of research at this library growing up and then when I moved on to college, I did lots more.  However by that point most research could be done online so my need of physically walking to the library sadly diminished.  The main library on my college campus was quite impressive though and is the 13th largest library in North America.  There are stacks and stacks of research volumes in the library (this area is conveniently called “The Stacks”) and I know of a few college kids who got their kinks by hanging out in there with their significant others.  Not me, of course, since I have far too great of a respect for the written word than to do that.  Just trust me that it happened.

Chicago has dozens of libraries here in the city and I’m lucky enough to be good friends with a librarian who works at one.  I know the job isn’t as easy as it would seem and I think the men and women who work at these places should be applauded for the crap they put up with just to promote literacy.  With all of the new technology these days, I hope there are still kids out there who get more enjoyment from actually turning the pages of a book than looking at a computer screen.  Wow, I sound like I’m 85.  Well I don’t care, sometimes being a book nerd does strange things to your mind.  We’re also prone to paper cuts.

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Get the Red Out

October 21, 2010 at 1:54 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , )

I am slowly getting over a phobia I’ve had my entire life.

It still hurts to think about

I absolutely, positively HATE putting things into my eyes.

They’ve always been really sensitive and I can remember having pink eye as a kid and having to be held down by one parent as the other administered the eye drops.  Something about knowing there’s a foreign object headed directly for my cornea makes me shudder and involuntarily squeeze my eyes shut every time.  I can remember my cousin trying to give me “makeovers” as a kid and I couldn’t handle her trying to put eye make-up on me.  I manage to do that okay by myself now but it’s about the only thing that gets within striking distance of my eye socket.  Ocular exams are a special kind of hell for me and the air puffs and bright lights make me thankful I’ve always had perfect vision and thus no need for many exams of that type.

At least my eyes aren't plastic

Once upon a time, back in college, I accidentally walked directly into a pine tree.  I was sober.  Pine needles got in one eye and it hurt worse than the time my sister broke my arm.  I dealt with it that night and the next morning, with the injured eye covered, walked myself to the ER.  They put all kinds of fluids and whatnot in my poor wounded eyeball and that was roughly the time I remembered I’m allergic to pine.  You can imagine what fun I had with the eye doctor then and how long it took for the damn thing to heal.  The drops I was told to administer daily were not fun and it made me even more thankful I don’t have to regularly put something in my eye (like contacts…oh the horror).

For the last few days, I’ve been dealing with another odd eye issue.  My right eyeball is a little sore and somewhat red, making it appear that one side of my face has been smoking pot.  This is never an appropriate look, let alone when I’m applying for jobs, so I broke down and bought my first ever bottle of Visine two days ago.  I pretty much have to put the drop in the corner of my eye and then shake my head so it (hopefully) finds its way to the red spot.  I guess it’s working but my eye is still sore and I’m not really sure where to go from here.  I suppose I’ll keep on administering eye drops and hope for the best.  I’m still thankful I don’t have to wear contacts but if this keeps up my days of proudly owning two healthy eyeballs could be over.  I’m not pleased and just typing this post has made them both well up.  The image search I did to find the picture in this post?  Yeah that was especially uncomfortable.

So I guess I’ll keep my fingers crossed that a little more Visine will do the trick.  Or perhaps I should cross my eyes?

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Playing Grown-Up

October 20, 2010 at 2:28 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , )

Do you ever feel like you’re simply mimicking the whole “grown-up” lifestyle?  Sure, there are times when being an adult just hits you in the face (I find that to happen most often when I’m paying bills or shooting my cat up with insulin) but there are other times when I feel like I’m faking.  Take today, for instance.

I've been there

I did some very grown up things today.  I had a networking meeting with the head of the Traveling Exhibits Department at The Field Museum early this morning and while I felt my responses and questions were appropriate and well-thought out, part of me wanted to skip up and down the aisles of the museum and clap my hands because I got to talk about mummies with this woman.  If you know me and/or have read this blog for a while, you probably know that working at The Field is pretty much my dream job so this meeting was kind of a big deal for me.  She was very helpful and promised to send my resume along to some others I should speak with.  The Field, like many other museums, is under a hiring freeze and is actually laying off some employees soon but I’d be more than thrilled to even volunteer there and it sounds like this woman can help make that happen.  I left the meeting in a weird pseudo-adult haze, where part of me was excited to make a professional connection and the other part wanted to go play with dinosaur bones and call it a day.

Then I had an actual job interview, in the Wrigley Building off Michigan Avenue.  Well, not so much a job interview as an

I'm going to make it after all!

interview at a staffing agency that helps people like me actually find jobs.  This particular place is pretty well-known throughout Chicago and they had a few companies they wanted to go ahead and send my resume out to, so hopefully something turns up from that.  Walking around downtown before the interview is when I felt most like a grown-up impostor, because as much as I looked like a real adult with important adult things to attend to, I knew I had candy and crayons in my bag and no actual job to walk towards.  It’s okay though because today was all about making connections and getting the ball rolling on some things.  And that I did!

After my interview, I met with someone for a coffee (or in my case, smoothie…I had way too much coffee while I was nervously waiting for my various meetings to begin and didn’t really need to ingest more).  Not going to lie, even having a quick coffee downtown made me feel sort of adult.  Don’t worry though, I’ll still cater to my inner child – I’m wearing socks with cartoons on them and I might just have cereal for dinner.

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This is Halloween

October 19, 2010 at 6:24 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , )

So, I kinda forgot to blog about the pumpkin I carved a few weeks ago.  I was reminded of pumpkins by my Halloween dream last night, in which I dressed up as the Octomom and received many compliments on my outfit.  The outfit included little pumpkins dressed as children, which was both weird and eerie.  I don’t know why I dressed as Octomom because frankly that woman offends just about every sense I have and I would never incorporate her likeness into a costume.  Ever.

And now I’m off track.  Anyway, here’s the 2nd pumpkin I’ve ever carved:

 

Boo!

 

In case you can’t exactly tell, it’s a scarecrow with a crow on its arm.  I used a stencil from a book of 8 that I bought at the dollar store and even though it wasn’t entirely original, I was pleased with how it turned out.  It didn’t take as long as I thought it would and I was finished with it before my yearly viewing of Hocus Pocus was over.

 

"Don't get your knickers in a twist! We're just three kindly old spinster ladies."

Remember the picture I posted of the pumpkin patch?  Yeah, that place was manned by one of the creepiest, most stereotypically strange guys I’ve ever met.  He had long, stringy hair, was pudgy around the middle and slightly dirty with eyes that never seemed to focus on the same thing.  He was standing outside of the entire fenced in pumpkin patch when I walked up and as he followed me through the gate I simultaneously realized I was the only one there and he was silently following me.  Realizing this is how every bad horror movie starts out, I mentally mapped out my exit strategy in case things got ugly.  I wandered around for a while and he only spoke when I asked a question.  Since my pumpkin queries weren’t too extensive (they were brought in from Wisconsin and he was living in the trailer on the rear of the lot), we quickly ran out of things to talk about.  Luckily the friend I was meeting showed up a little later and we were able to pick our favorites and head on back out the gate.  She agreed he was slightly off but I’ll tell you this – he gave us a deal on our pumpkins.  He’s still at California and Addison if you’re interested.

 

So we carved and watched Bette Midler for a while and then I accidentally kicked over some red wine when we turned out the lights to take our pics.  That was not fun and I ruined my stencil book, though since it only cost a buck I didn’t bother to cry over my spilled vino.  I was quite happy with my entire pumpkin carving process – and then roughly a week later it was rotted and disgusting.  My poor scarecrow was tossed with the trash (the things I would do for a compost heap…) and now I’m stuck with an empty windowsill two weeks before the big candy giving day.  I knew it wouldn’t last the month but I was hoping to have a little more time before it was all over.  Looks like my loner buddy on the lot might get to stand awkwardly around me once again.

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Homecoming

October 18, 2010 at 2:35 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , )

Apologies all around for the lack of a post on Friday – dropping Catsby off for boarding entailed a little more than I thought it would and I pretty much ran out of time for anything extracurricular.  I was on the Megabus by 6pm and pretty thrilled about leaving on time – then we hit I-65, which was down to one lane due to construction.  Why?  Who knows, but it probably involved moving a road divider two inches to the left.  Our driver thought it would be a good idea to get off in Gary and use residential streets until we passed the traffic.  This basically resulted in us driving around for an hour and a half while going perhaps all of 30 miles in the right direction.  Add to that a screaming child right behind me and the truly awful elevator music they were playing over the PA and you get a dissatisfied me arriving in Indy 2 hours later than scheduled.  At least we made it.

My late arrival did not put a dent in my plans, as two of my besties and I stayed up til 4 drinking, eating pizza and dancing.  The entire weekend took place in a similar fashion.  I was able to have brunch on Saturday with 5 old friends, then visited with a couple others before getting ready for the wedding that I came in town to attend.  The bride looked absolutely gorgeous and my eyes couldn’t help but well up as she walked down the aisle.  They had a harpist playing the music (I thought this was a very nice touch) and one of the bridesmaids did a reading before I read a poem that the couple had requested.  The ceremony was beautiful, tasteful and elegant.  There was a cocktail hour between the reading of the vows and the actual reception and they served these fried artichoke and cheese balls that were incredible – seriously, I was quickly on a first name basis with the server who had them.  The actual dinner was very good as well and we took advantage of the open bar that is so gloriously associated with weddings (I wound up on a first name basis with the bartender too but that’s a different story).  There was also a photo booth that would take six pictures at a time – half of them were immediately put into a scrapbook for the couple and the other half you got to keep.  I thought that was a pretty cute idea and it’s one that I will likely steal if I ever do the whole marriage thing.  Their wedding went as one should go and I’m still thrilled that these two souls have found companionship with one another.  I know they’re doing the right thing and that’s not always something I’m able to say when I watch two people get hitched.

After the wedding came more visiting with friends and that went on well into the night.  Sunday was full of lunch with my mama, more friend time and pizza for dinner.  I’m incredibly lucky in that I got to visit with pretty much everyone I wanted to this weekend (all 10-15 of ’em).  The entire three days pretty much just consisted of eating, drinking and chatting, which was everything and more than I could’ve hoped for.  Bloomington is a pretty city any time of the year but it’s especially gorgeous in the fall, so I’m thankful I was able to enjoy that scenery as well.  It was also Homecoming Weekend this weekend, which I was not aware of until about three days before my trip.  It didn’t affect my weekend much though and other than listening to people bitch a little more than usual about our football team, I hardly would’ve known.  I was still able to hit all of my favorite restaurants and breweries so I’ve got nothing to complain about!

Seriously, it was a great weekend and I’m thrilled with how everything went.  If you were one of the many friends I had the privileged of seeing, thanks for coming out and visiting.  If you let me sleep on your couch or air mattress, gave me a ride at any point or just generally put up with my sassiness, thanks for that.  If you drove 1.5 hours to have a meal with me (I’m looking at you, Mom), I appreciate that as well.  I’m lucky to have all of you in my life and if you want to come to Chicago I’ll do my best to return the favor.  Just don’t all come at once.

**Disclaimer: I wanted to add a few more photos but either WordPress is acting up or the computer gods and goddesses don’t want me to include a scenic photo of downtown Bloomington.  If this issue fixes itself I shall add another picture or two but otherwise I will shake my fist in frustration at the internet and then try to move on.

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Recipe Time!

October 14, 2010 at 3:33 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , )

It’s been a while since I posted a meal on here and since I made a truly delicious dinner earlier this week, I figured it was time to share.  Bon appetit!

You will need:

  • Rice.  Any type will do.  Since I am the Queen of Lazy, I chose frozen brown rice from Trader Joe’s that cooks in the microwave in 60 seconds flat.
  • Some source of protein.  My meal featured a vegetarian chicken cutlet covered in a sun-dried tomato sauce.  If you’re among the majority and are carnivorous, feel free to use real chicken, a type of fish or something else.  I don’t really know what I’m talking about in this department so use your own judgment.
  • Vegetables.  I raided my fridge and used whatever I had and if you have more than one type of veggie on hand then you can easily do the same.  Don’t have any vegetables in the house?  Well, then you can’t exactly follow this recipe now can you?  Go eat some potato chips or ice cream because you’ve already ruined your dinner.  And try buying a carrot sometime.
  • Spices – whatever adds a little flavor to your life.
  • An oven (must work).

 

Finished product should somewhat resemble this

 

My aforementioned laziness often comes into play during the whole dinner-making process, so I tend to get in and out of the kitchen as quickly as possible.  There are nights that this means I eat cookies for the last meal of my day and I’m okay with that.  Since I was feeling particularly grown up the night I made this dinner (and particularly worried about certain foods going bad before I could eat them), I decided to spend more than five minutes in the kitchen.  I spent 25 and it was totally worth it.

I stuck the pseudo chicken product in a baking dish, covered it with the sauce it came with and stuck some foil on top.  Then I cut up some zucchini, squash, mushrooms, carrots and spinach leaves, drizzled them with a bit of olive oil, sprinkled some garlic salt, crushed black pepper and red pepper on top and put it on a baking pan.  The pan went next to the dish and I stuck it in the oven on 350 to let it do its thing.  Meanwhile, I set my table (I even ate at my table that night!) and heated up the rice.  I also had enough time for an impromptu dance party.  I opened the oven about 10 minutes through to turn the chicken and add some goat cheese to the top of my vegetable medley.  10 minutes after that I was ready to eat!

Easy, tasty and fast – just like I like my dates.  All joking aside, it was a great meal and inspired me to try this whole cooking thing more than a few times a month.  Perhaps my next job will be a chef of some sort…or maybe I’ll just stop eating so much cereal for dinner.

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