September 30, 2015 at 4:33 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , )

I came across this scene the other night on my walk home.

In case you can’t tell, this is a huge truck full of chairs, couches, video game consoles, controllers and screaming, deliriously happy children. Apparently you can rent these things to park on your street while whoever you deem fit to join you plays all sorts of video games on large screen TV’s. I stopped in wonder and asked a nearby woman what in the heck was going on and she said they had rented it for their son’s birthday party. Sure enough, there were tables full of pizza and snacks sitting behind me (at like 8pm on a Tuesday evening, which I found weird but whatever I’m not a parent and I’m sure the trucks are way more expensive on weekends). Anyway the noises coming from inside the truck assured me the children were either having the time of their lives or viciously torturing small animals and since the mom in charge didn’t seem too concerned, I’m assuming it was the former. It seemed like fun to me and I wanted to get closer and check it out but I didn’t want to look like some creepy child-stealing person so I just backed up slowly and walked away. I was tempted to steal some pizza as I left because I figured my gift to the birthday boy could be a lesson in the school of hard knocks but I didn’t, mostly because the video game truck had wheels (obviously) and I didn’t want it to run me down.

If it held me hostage, though – well that could be a different story. Either way, I know what I want for my next birthday!

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Walk This Way

August 7, 2013 at 11:16 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , )

Apologies for the sparseness of my blog posts recently…I’ve just been busy.  There’s no other excuse.  I did manage to get my trip pictures on my laptop so that’s a big step in writing a wrap up post, but it’s just the first step.  It’ll happen eventually, I promise!

One thing that kept me busy all this last weekend was the fact that my father came in town.  He’s only been in Chicago twice before (and once doesn’t count because he left like 8 hrs after he got here) and this was the first time he got to see the new (to him, I’ve been there 3 years) neighborhood Scott and I live in and our apartment.  He also go to meet the Dude for the first time and since he’s not too fond of cats, that was fun.  Anyway, he came in town Friday and left Monday morning.  I picked him up from and dropped him off at the airport and even made friends with an 81-year-old immigrant who was waiting on his grandkids to arrive while I was waiting on Dad.  He told me I was beautiful and I should hurry up and give my parents grandkids of their own.  Thanks, old guy, because it’s not like I don’t get enough of that from my family already.  Anyway, Dad and I had a good visit and I showed him around my office and The Field Museum, plus we took him to the beach, the park and quiet a few restaurants as well.  I planned things as I normally do when visitors arrive but there’s something I often forget to take into consideration – and that’s that not everyone is used to walking as much as I am.  I kind of wore my dad out without really even trying and the poor guy took more naps over the weekend than I have over the last few months.

Southern-styled deliciousness!

For example, the day I took him to my office we walked to the train (15 minutes, since we walked slower than I normally do) and then navigated the two elevators and escalator to get up to my floor.  After that we walked to the train stop by the library (10 minutes) and then we walked home from the train after that (15 minutes).  We were going to walk to dinner that night (25 minutes each way) but dad was simply not having it.  Which was okay actually because that actually is a lot of walking.  But instead of walking to the trains and the museum the next day, I just drove us and used my special super awesome Field badge to get into the parking lot.  I was worried Lollapalooza was going to cause downtown driving nightmares but we managed to get around relatively unscathed.

One of the places Scott and I took Dad was the Wishbone restaurant.  And it was amazing – as in, I’m kind of ashamed I’ve walked by it so often without ever really going there before.  I think I went in one night after a street fest when we got caught in the rain but all I remember eating were the hush puppies, which were admittedly great.  Anyway, I may do a review of that place on its own sometime.  If not, take my word for it that it was awesome.

It was a good visit with Dad and he was here on his actual birthday, so we got to celebrate together.  It was also my actual half-birthday, but I’m trying not to think about how close to 30 I’m really getting.  But as long as I’m able to continue to walk around Chicago as much as I do now, I guess I’ll be okay!


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Hospitals and Old Men

May 22, 2013 at 10:22 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , )

Thankfully, these two things are not related (at least not in this post).

I know three different women who are undergoing surgeries or procedures in hospitals today, in three different states.  The one in Louisville has already come out of it and seems to be doing just fine, so long as she doesn’t share any embarrassing details of her sex life with her mother as she’s all doped up on the ride home.  A family member in Houston who has already faced way, way too many surgeries and health issues to count is going through yet another surgery today and will likely be in the hospital for the next five days or so.  Luckily, she’s one of the strongest women I know and I have no doubt she’ll prove that yet again with this latest trial.  Lastly, an old high school friend of mine in Florida is undergoing surgery to remove her breast today after she was recently diagnosed with breast cancer.  She’s also very resilient and I know she’ll pull through this just fine.  She’s got a 6-year-old daughter and it reminds me of when my own mother battled breast cancer in her mid-30’s.  My sister and I did shots of tequila with her in Mexico to celebrate her 20th anniversary of being cancer free and I’m sure my old friend will one day be able to do the same with her own girl.

Just because my Papa likes lighthouses. And it’s an appropriate picture for today.

In the midst of all this anxiety, there are also things to celebrate.  My grandfather (my mom’s dad) is turning 85-years-young today.  Sure, he’s not as spry and agile as he used to be but he’s got vitality in his own way and he’ll get riled up to prove it.  My Papa is one of my favorite people (even when he’s being a cantankerous old grouch) and he’s taught me so much in the time I’ve been able to share with him.  For instance, I put a little bit of sugar into my tomato based dishes as it takes away some of the acidity and makes the whole thing sweeter – apparently all of my family does this because of him.  He also taught me the easiest way to crack and egg and that torn pieces of bread placed in a bowl and doused with milk and sugar makes a fairly decent breakfast cereal (don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it).  Besides some culinary tricks of the trade, my Papa also taught me most of what I know about family.  He worked hard all his life to provide for his wife and six children and he loves all of us, including his nine grandchildren and five great-grandchildren, as much as anyone possibly could.  If he had his way he would give us every cent to his name and have us all living within 10 feet of his house.  He may not get around as well as he used to but I talk to him 3 to 4 times a week and he’s as sharp as he ever was.  I hope I’m as smart as he is when I’m 85.

I wish I could be with all three of my female friends and my grandpa today but unfortunately, I have yet to discover the secrets of breaking the space/time continuum.  Which means I’m stuck in my office.  However I’ll be thinking of everyone today and sending them all my love and healthy thoughts, as well as checking in as often as I can.  If you could put out a few good and positive vibes as well, we would all appreciate it!

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March 27, 2012 at 11:32 am (Uncategorized) (, , )

On Saturday night, Scott and I had a full evening of going to the gym and then the grocery before settling in for pizza and a movie (watch out, we’re rock stars).  As I was getting ready to hop in the shower there was suddenly a loud disturbance on our otherwise quiet residential street, so of course I looked out the window.  To my surprise and bemusement, there was a party trolley just hanging out in the street, where it was likely a little too large to let any other car pass through.  Roughly 10 super drunk guys and girls hopped off said trolley and wandered into one of the buildings across from ours (I know this because I’m the creepy neighbor stalker who watches through the blinds with the lights turned off).  It was entertaining to watch these people stumble up the stairs and after the trolley pulled away, I figured that was as much excitement as our street would see for the night.

Welcome to the neighborhood.

Not ten minutes later, I heard the group come back outside and since my windows were still open and I was still nosy, I went back to watch.  Scott was laughing at my old lady tendency but don’t let that fool you, he was watching too.  So this group heads back to the sidewalk and we suddenly hear all sorts of confused exclamations, the loudest of which was “We’ve been trolley-jacked!”.  Apparently the trolley was supposed to stick around and take them to the next bar/club/apartment/seedy alley.  They stood around loudly wondering how they were going to get anyplace else before someone broke into song, and then we listened to the entire clan sing Happy Birthday to who I can only assume was the birthday girl.  Someone went inside for more beer and they commenced with some dancing and more singing, all the while wondering aloud where their rode off to.  At this point I was really stinky as I still needed a shower and my stomach was hankering for that pizza so I went ahead and hopped in the tub.  Not five minutes later Scott came in to give me an update – the trolley had arrived and carted the entire gang off to their next booze-fueled adventure (told you he was watching too).  He was surprised I didn’t hear them cheering when it showed back up, since apparently they were very grateful.  I’m glad they weren’t totally abandoned, although it may have made for a better story if they were taken away by police cars instead.

In other news, I may or may not be renting a trolley for my next birthday bash.  Who’s in?

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Ode to My Sissy

June 1, 2011 at 12:24 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , )

My little sister turned 26 last weekend and I since I wasn’t around to give her a present, I figured I’d write up a little something here.  And that’s all she’ll be getting for the next decade or so (just kidding, sis!).   Also, I’d like to point out that when I turned 25, she made a big deal of telling me how old that was.  Who’s old now?  Anyway, my sister was the bane of my existence for something like 18 years and we were notorious amongst our friends, family and babysitters for getting in vicious and torturous fights as children.  She broke my arm, I have her a concussion…you know, typical kid stuff.  We outgrew our fighting around the time I went away to college, when we quickly learned that we can actually tolerate each other as long as it’s in small doses.

About as nice as we got - also, hello early 1990s

Over the last ten years or so, we’ve actually grown pretty close (awww).  We’ve visited each other in various cities and can now manage to have a fairly good time without shedding blood.  Well, there was that time she passed out in my dorm room after donating blood, but it’s not quite the same thing.  The point is, my sister somehow grew into someone I actually enjoy hanging out with and while I’m not entirely sure when or how it happened, she’s also my friend.  One of my best friends, in fact.  She’s much smarter than I used to give her credit for and she’s in a profession that I honestly respect and could never, ever do myself.  She impresses me and I’m proud of her.  Which does not mean that we don’t revert back to our 13 and 14-year-old annoying and bitchy selves if we spend any more than about 5 days together, but it does mean we can make it that far without wanting to kill each other and that’s gotta count for something.  Seeing as how I’ve always been a bit of a dork and a bit of a writer, the below poem isn’t the first I’ve written for my sister.  It is, however, the latest (and please excuse the inside jokes):

Sure, we used to drive each other insane

In fact, we quite perfected the art of the fight

So now it’s nice that you’re not such a huge pain

Thankfully we no longer get mad and whisper threats of “Midnight”

Either way, you’re stuck with me until the very end

Remember – you can’t see where you’re going, you can only see where you’ve been.

So to my one and only sissy – I hope your 26th year on this planet was as good as mine was.  Also, while it’s true I’ll always be older, I still look way younger than you.

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Let Me Eat Cake!

January 28, 2011 at 12:20 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , )


The countdown has begun – my birthday is in exactly one week.  Yes, there will be posts documenting the event.  However, my birthday is not the reason that one of my lovely friends came over and baked me this cake earlier this week.  She did that because I was in a crappy mood and craving chocolate (read: PMS) and she’s a very nice person.  Who likes to bake cakes.

I have awesome friends.

I know this thing looks ridiculously indulgent and unhealthy but it’s actually not that bad for you (at least, that’s what we told ourselves while digging into it with forks).  And yes, those are two gooey chocolate-y layers there.  It’s some Chinese spongecake recipe (as my friend is originally from China, it only seemed appropriate) and doesn’t contain any sugar at all, which is good because it has been my late night snack every night this week.  It was just what the doctor ordered and I plan on finishing it off tonight, which will be a great way to start my weekend.

Just what does my weekend hold in store for me?  Oh, the usual.  Vet visits and research time at the Field Museum.  I’m going to try to knock out all of my errands this weekend so I can enjoy birthday shenanigans all next week.  Truthfully, I celebrate my birthday the entire month of February because it’s such a sucky month otherwise.  Next Friday will involve happy hour drinks atop the Hancock Tower and a gender-bending burlesque show at a gay bar – obviously it will be a grand time.  My sister is also coming up with some friends and she’s even renting us a swanky hotel downtown for the occasion – WHICH I just realized has an indoor pool.  This birthday thing really does have its perks!

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Birthdays of Yesteryear

February 3, 2010 at 2:24 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , )

Seeing as how my birthday is coming up (TOMORROW!!), I figured I should take some time and reflect on a few of my most memorable birthdays thus far.  I’m sure my first few were great and all but the first one I really remember was when I turned six.  I came down with the Chicken Pox and was confined to my couch (helpful hint – do not do a google image search for Chicken Pox unless you want to become incredibly uncomfortable in a short amount of time).  I was completely miserable all throughout my battle with the Pox and there are pictures hidden away somewhere at my Mom’s house that prove it.  I think my family felt sorry for me (and it was obvious I felt sorry for myself) so they tried to make the birthday a good one.  I don’t remember many gifts from that year but there is one thing that stands out to me and it’s something I’ll likely never forget.  I’m pretty sure it came from an aunt of mine, and it was a gift every little girl at the time dreamed of.  An entire assortment of New Kids on the Block paraphernalia.

The right stuff indeed.  Everything came on a pink Styrofoam tray and there were figurines, a poster, a t-shirt and a mug.  I think a coloring book figured in someplace as well.  Part of me wishes I had saved at least one item from this glorious gift tray but everything has disappeared over the course of time.  Honestly, it’s probably not much of a loss.

All in all, my sixth birthday was one of the worst.  We’ll move right along now, up to age eight.  Or was it nine?  I don’t really remember how old I was when I got my big, invite-the-whole-class-because-it’s-the-only-year-we’re-ever-having-this-type-of-party party.  My sister and I were each allowed one large party in elementary school and I chose to have mine at the ever popular gymnastics studio.  Don’t ask me why; I wasn’t enrolled in gymnastics and it’s not like I’m graceful enough to be any good at at it anyway.  It must have had something to do with the giant cheese pit, which was an area under the high and low bars basically full of hunks of Styrofoam made to look like hunks of cheese.  This pit was the epitome of fun to a kid and it’s where we spent most of the time during my party.  We also jumped on a huge trampoline, which is always entertaining no matter your age.  That was a good year.

When I was sixteen, my parents, grandparents and sister took my (long since ex) boyfriend and I out to my favorite Mexican restaurant.  It seemed like a good idea at the time but I didn’t realize I would be forced to wear a ridiculously heavy sombrero on my head for the entire night. I could’ve handled ten or fifteen minutes, but a whole meal?  By the end of the evening I had a crick in my neck from the weight of the damn thing.

When I turned eighteen, I was extremely excited to buy a lottery ticket for the first time.  I know, I’m pretty wild and crazy.  The cashier failed to card me when I asked for the ticket but I proudly showed her my ID anyway.  It was the first time I had bought anything requiring one to be of age (legally, that is).  It was an exciting day.

The next big birthday was my 21st, and my roommate and I managed to fit over a hundred of my closest friends into our little townhouse.  The night was a success and unlike my roomie on his 21st, I did not wind up wearing a parka in a bathtub.

Let’s see, what else…there was the Super Bowl Birthday, which I think I mentioned in my post about football.  The best part of that night (besides hanging out with all of my friends and eating homemade cake, of course) was watching Jurassic Park on the giant sheet we had set up with a projector.  That movie still makes me jump and I doubt I’ll ever outgrow that.  I also had a party at a laser tag place (yup, this was after my 21st) and then a bowling alley.  The bowling alley was especially fun because it was my last year in Indiana and lots of my favorite people came out to play.

Last year’s birthday was only so-so.  It was my first one away from the majority of my friends and family so it was a little bittersweet.  I got a cake at my office and taken out to a nice dinner too, so it wasn’t exactly bad…just not as good as others.

And that brings us to today, or more importantly, tomorrow.  I have to work (but I took Friday off so I have a nice long birthday weekend) and tomorrow night will be full of dirty bingo playing at some bar I’ve never been to.  Obscene jokes and cheap beer will never go out of style, no matter how old I get!

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