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March 29, 2013 at 11:41 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , )

Aaand my NCAA bracket is officially screwed.  The IU game last night was painful to watch but if I’m completely honest, I’ll admit that Syracuse played a stronger game.  Thus ends all sports watching in our household until the next basketball season rolls around!

In other news, I’m heading to Indiana this weekend for typical Easter shenanigans and visits with family and friends.  The weather is also finally warming up and I could see temperatures in the 60’s tomorrow!  This is a huge deal, considering the high was like 20 on Monday.  I also have next Monday off work since my bus gets in pretty late Sunday night and I am quite excited about that!

YES!

In other, other news, Jurassic Park will soon be re-released in 3D in honor of its 20th anniversary.  Before I continue, can I just say how freaking old that makes me feel?  Anyway, Jurassic Park is one of my all time favorite movies and I’ve never seen it on the big screen.  I almost went to see it at the drive in when it came out but didn’t wind up going due to a storm (which, in hindsight, was probably for the best because I would’ve been crapping my pants even without real-life thunder and lightning).  In college, I had a roommate who had a projector and we hung a giant sheet on the wall and watched in in our living room, which was pretty awesome but not quite the same as a movie theater experience.  And now it’s coming out in 3D?  My dreams have come true.  I’ve already got a double date lined up to view the big event.

And that’s all she wrote.  Happy Weekend!

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Aging Like a Fine Wine

February 5, 2013 at 2:02 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , )

What’s another year?  Nothing to someone who has as great a family and set of friends as I do!

My birthday weekend was better than I could’ve hoped for.  I had a nice trip home to see my family, got to watch IU win over Michigan while enjoying delicious soup and playing with babies, enjoyed some quality time and brews with my mom, met a new friend of my sister’s and received some awesome presents.  And that was just the weekend leading up to my birthday!  I took the day itself off of work and was able to sleep it, then I met a friend for brunch and relaxed some more.  Scott treated me to a very nice birthday dinner at an Italian restaurant we’d never been and gave me a couple of nice gifts as well (including a clean apartment!).  If I can continue to have years as good as the ones I’ve had, I won’t have a damn thing to complain about.

Holy Birthday Cannoli!

Holy Birthday Cannoli!

Except the Megabus.  Remember when it was an hour late picking me up after Christmas?  It hit a new record on Sunday night and departed 2 full hours after it was scheduled to.  Then we took an unscheduled pit stop along the way and our driver (who mentioned that she’d “never done this before”) encountered problems at every toll we passed.  The bus was some knock-off version of the Megabus and didn’t have the power outlets the regular buses do, so my cell phone pretty much died.  The rather large man behind me snored the whole way and the bathroom had a window at crotch level that showed off your goods to anyone who happened to be passing by.  In short, it was NOT a good trip. I was glad I took Monday off work because it was 10pm when we rolled into Chicago (was supposed to be 7:45) and finding a cab was impossible, so I took an hour train ride back to the apartment.  It was about 11 when I got home, so at least I made it before my actual birthday?  Whatever, Megabus will be hearing from me.

I guess everything can’t always be perfect so out of all the things from my weekend, I’m glad that was the one that went awry.  Other than that it was all great and I feel totally ready to kick 29’s ass!

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By the Numbers

October 24, 2012 at 12:46 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , )

Well, I’m glad I went to my reunion and I’m also glad it’s over.  It’s amazing what ten years can do to some people and I had to laugh as I witnessed the stereotype of the good-looking, popular guys from senior year who gained a huge beer belly and lost their hair.  Despite having a super drunk former classmate of mine dump red wine down the back of my favorite sweater upon my arrival (thanks for getting that stain out, Mom!), I enjoyed myself and Scott seemed to tolerate an evening full of strangers telling stories he wasn’t a part of very well.  It was good to see most everyone and it was also good to find out who was still a giant douchebag.  It was also crazy to see just how many visibly pregnant women were there – I counted at least 8, not including myself.  Haha, just kidding!  Trying to see if you’re paying attention.  I enjoyed catching up with old classmates but was also reminded why I don’t speak to more of them on a regular basis.  There was almost a fight between two guys near me too, so it was just like the good old days.

Too bad I was never any good in math…

My long weekend was, as typically goes for my trips home, a rather busy one.  Instead of writing about it in detail, I figured I’d just show you the stats:

  • Five days ago Scott and I drove 250 miles after work and arrived home around 2am.
  • Four days ago I received 1 haircut, visited with 2 grandparents, “napped” for 3 hours, met with 4 friends and attended my 10 year high school reunion, where I mingled with nearly 100 people and had lots of wine (yeah, lost count on that part).
  • Three days ago Scott returned home and I visited with 5 friends for 2 hours over 1 brunch, then I visited with 15 family members and 4 additional friends in 6 different locations across 2 states.  I was very busy.
  • Two days ago I had a nearly 3 hour brunch at Cracker Barrel where I visited with 12 more family members before boarding the Megabus and traveling the 250 miles back to Chicago.
  • Yesterday I enjoyed my day off by cleaning out 6 different cabinets and 1 drawer across 3 rooms.  Also, 1 trip to the gym, 1 call to my building maintenance, 1 apartment problem resolved and 1 more nap.

And now I’m back to work, counting down the hours until I can leave once again.

All in all, it was a great trip.  You can see how much quality time I got with my friends and family and I was also able to visit my still hospital-bound uncle, who is doing better.  Even though they accidentally broke his leg in physical therapy.  Granted, he’s a paraplegic and can’t exactly feel a broken leg anyway but c’mon.  Who does that?  Luckily he’s in good spirits even with this new setback and should hopefully be back in his own house this week.

I still can’t believe it’s been 10 years since I finished high school and I can’t help but wonder what the next 10 will bring.  I feel like I’m on a good track though and so I’ll just keep doing what I’m doing and see what happens.  At least I’m not bald!

 

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Open Road

July 12, 2011 at 9:33 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , )

(First things first – Dad’s initial chemo treatment went better than expected so thank you all for the positive thoughts and energy – keep them coming!!)

Now.  I took a trip home this weekend on ye olde megabus, which significantly lacked proper air conditioning on both of my trips.  You can imagine how awesome that was – sitting on a jam-packed, double-decker bus in the steamy afternoon sun for three hours.  Each way.  While that was not the most pleasant of rides that I’ve had, I was able to drive a bit around my mom’s and I was reminded how much fun some (non bus) rides can be.

I usually drive mom’s little Saturn when I streak through the small streets of my hometown and this trip was no different.

Just drive it off

It’s a fun car to drive and I consistently surprise myself with how fast I can get on the interstate without even realizing it.  No tickets were earned this time but I’ve had enough in my day to last for quite a while so I was okay with that.  Besides driving my mom’s car, I was also given the keys to my sister’s Jeep, which does not happen often.  Luckily my aunt was in town with her flashy red convertible and my sister wanted to ride in that, so I was left with the freedom of four-wheel drive.  I briefly considered going off-road but didn’t fancy washing a bunch of mud off the car later on so I kept my impulses in check.  Rather, I rolled down every window, opened the sunroof and blasted all kinds of random rap and rock music from the mid to late 90’s.  I sang, I danced, I accrued more than a few questioning glances during my ride home and it was awesome.  Spending most of my days walking around sidewalks (and if I’m lucky, a park) has caused me to forget how much fun it is to sing along to the radio with the wind in your hair.  I could try doing that on sidewalks too but I think I’d encounter even more looks if I took my boombox for a walk down the street.  Also, I still use the phrase boom box.

Sure, I save on gas, car insurance, maintenance and car payments but when I’m sweltering on a mega bus ‘o heat, it seems that there are some things that money can’t buy.  Like borrowing a car for a road trip.

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Loooong Weekend

April 26, 2011 at 11:20 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

I returned late last night from my long Easter weekend home.  The trip started off per usual, with the Megabus leaving late and me hunkering down in my seat with my laptop.  Six episodes of How I Met Your Mother later, we arrived in downtown Indianapolis. As the bus pulled in, so did the thunderstorms.  We got about halfway home before the lightning got really crazy so we decided to call my aunt and uncle to get a weather update, as they happened to live close to where we were.  They said that if we drove straight through and didn’t make any stops, we would likely beat the worst of the storm.

Literally 30 seconds after I hung up the phone, we got a flat tire.

At this point, we were inching towards a tornado warning.  Mom managed to drive her car under the closest overpass so we were out of the rain and luckily the flat was on the passenger side, so we were out of the traffic.  Now, this pains my independent Girl Power self to admit , but I’ve never changed a tire all by myself.  This was something a certain father of mine was supposed to teach me but he moved down south and that never happened.  So…we called my uncle back.  After incredulously asking how we managed to get a flat one minute after hanging up the phone, he agreed to come to our rescue.  So I yanked all of the stuff in the trunk (and it was full) out and put in the backseat, then grabbed a flashlight and took a leak behind some concrete pillars (sidenote: I was convinced I was going to stumble across a dead body but I managed to avoid that).  Then Mom and I sat in the car, strapped in by our belts as semi’s sped by doing 90mph.  The lightning wasn’t exactly comforting and the storm was getting closer so we were lucky my uncle showed up when he did.  I helped him with the tire and it made me feel slightly better when he strained against the lug nuts, because if he had a hard time then I probably couldn’t have gotten them off on my own, Girl Power or not.  We got the donut on right as the rain began to come down in sheets and since we didn’t feel safe trying to drive on home, we followed him back to his house.  After being rerouted 2 times due to flooded out roads, we managed to get to my aunt and uncle’s.  At this point it was like 12:30am and we decided to try to wait out the storm.  Around 3:30 we finally gave up, since the tornado warning was showing no signs of abating.  So a few beers, handful of Oreo’s and snippets of Michael Jackson’s This is It later, I finally crashed on their couch, only to wake up 4 hours later to drive on home and take Mom’s car to the shop.

No Peeing?

So, that was fun.  Everything happened in the best possible way though and we eventually got home safely, which is all that really matters.  And I bought my uncle a rather large beer later in the weekend, which was the absolute least I could do.

Here’s a few other things I did over the course of my 4 days at home:

  • Breakfasted with two old high school friends
  • Had awkward catch-up conversations with a former Dairy Queen co-worker and my 4th grade teacher, at the same restaurant
  • Got a haircut (first in almost 7 months – I’m surprised she didn’t just take a match to my locks)
  • Spent the remainder of a gift card at Kohl’s
  • Dyed 4 dozen eggs and stuffed 2 dozen plastic eggs with candy for my grandmother
  • Took both grandparents out to lunch (in a monsoon)
  • Went to Easter Mass, officially the longest mass known to woman
  • Laughed at my mom after she locked her keys in her car (this was not her weekend when it came to automobiles)
  • Went to dinner with 6 various family members
  • Drank wine and gabbed with my sister and mom until 1am

Oh wait, that was just on Saturday while I was running on low levels of sleep/patience.

The rest of the weekend was full of eating, talking and generally enjoying the company of the roughly 30 relatives that crammed into my grandparents house on Sunday.  I hid some Easter eggs outside in the mud and then helped small children find them in the rain.  The weather I could’ve done without but other than that the weekend that started off on such a rough foot wound up being pretty great.

Though if I never pee under an overpass again, it will be too soon.

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Happy Earth Day!

April 22, 2011 at 11:49 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , )

Today is Earth Day and while I’d love to sit and talk for hours about the environment and how to save it, I’m pretty short on time.  We’re having a potluck at the office this afternoon and then I’m heading home on the good ‘ol Megabus for a 3 day zombie Jesus Easter extravaganza!  It’s a good day (even if the weather is dismal) full of food and family, which makes me appreciate being on this planet even more.

Thanks Be To Earth

I wrote a pretty good piece on this day last year so you can feel free to (re)read it if you’d like.  And in case you’re as short on time as I am, here’s a recap of just a few quick and easy ways to do your part for Ms. Mother Earth:

  • Unplug your cell phone charger when you’re not using it – that thing sucks up all sorts of energy.  Same for microwaves, TV’s, computers and other large appliances.
  • Turn off that water when you brush your teeth and wash your face!  Also, as nice as 45 minute showers are, you could probably do what you need to do in a bit less time.
  • Wash your clothes in cold water instead of hot (less energy is used to heat up the water).
  • Take reusable grocery bags to the store instead of using their paper or plastic – many places will actually take 5 or 10 cents off for each bag you bring (Target is one of them).
  • Recycle!  It’s really not that tough, especially since so many places now do it for you.  I take out more bags of recycling than garbage, every single week.
  • Turn off your lights when you leave the room – seriously, I know you’re not made of money.  And if you are could you please send some my way?

Okay now I”m off – enjoy your weekend and the next time you hear from me I will likely weigh 20 lbs more due to the massive amount of candy I plan to eat over the next few days.  And the only energy I will waste while doing so will be the energy spent unwrapping all of that delicious, delicious chocolate and shoving it into my mouth.

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Strangers with Whiskey

February 28, 2011 at 3:13 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , )

I took a megabus trip home this weekend to spend some quality time with some old friends and fam, and true to megabus form, I had an interesting trip.  I’m not sure what it is about me that encourages strangers to open up and tell me random things about themselves but it seems to happen a lot.  My Friday afternoon bus trip was no exception and was made worse by the fact that the guy sitting next to me was rather drunk.

I did not realize his drunkenness while we stood in line and chatted about megabus in general.  Oh, no.  I was oblivious until

Road trips are a trip

we sat down next to each other and he brought out a bottle of Jack Daniels that was 2/3 empty…he told me offhandedly that he had purchased it that afternoon.  It was then that I knew I was in for a long bus ride.

Over the course of the next three hours I was regaled with stories of his kinky girlfriend, his buddies who were growing some sort of fancy type of marijuana that I couldn’t begin to understand if I tried, his new job and recent move from another large Midwestern City, how his little sister was throwing her life away and how crappy his truck runs in Chicago winters.  At one point, this big burly man had tears running down his face as he told me how one of his friends gave him clean urine so he could pass a drug test.  Apparently, that’s the mark of a true friendship.  It was also around this time that I finally acquiesced and helped myself to what was left in his whiskey bottle.

After disembarking the bus (and leaving my drunken friend behind to go on to the next stop), I stood outside waiting on my ride mom.  While waiting, I somehow managed to get into a conversation about birthing practices in different cultures with a middle-aged woman also waiting for her ride.  In the span of about 90 seconds, we went from discussing the weather to talking about the evolution of the bodies of women and how modern birthing practices don’t take that evolution into account.  The whiskey may or may not have had something to do with my enthusiasm but hey, at least I wasn’t driving.

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Lightning Bugged

July 12, 2010 at 1:20 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , )

So short on time today but I had to share this story, from my most recent Megabus excursion:

As we made our way toward Indianapolis Friday night (we even left on time!), our driver made an announcement over the loudspeaker.  At this point, we were perhaps an hour and a half north of Indy and it was just about dusk.  Usually when the driver makes an announcement, it’s to let us know we’re taking a pit stop, getting close to our destination or to yell at someone who’s walking down the front staircase (it’s quite illegal to use anything other than the rear stairs on a double-decker bus while it’s in motion).  I was expecting one of these typical interruptions, but I was in for a surprise.

Apparently, our bus driver recently moved to the Midwest from Alaska and had never seen fireflies prior to her move.  Her announcement was simply to tell us how fascinating she found them, and how they were so pretty and magical.  To be honest, she sounded like she was on acid and it made me fear just a bit for the safety of our bus.  She said she couldn’t believe there were these little bugs lighting up all over the place and that there were a bunch to the left of our bus if we wanted to see them for ourselves.

Now, I’m pretty sure the majority (if not all) of the people on the bus were quite familiar with lightning bugs and we all laughed awkwardly at the end of her little speech, looking around at one another to confirm our belief that this woman could be a bit off her rocker.  I know that I have fond memories of trapping fireflies in  jars as a kid (always with air holes, and I never kept them long) and it made me a little sad to think she had been denied that pleasure.  I did have a brief image of this middle-aged woman chasing them down with her own little bug catcher, but I think even she might not be down for that.  Who knows though, she was more than a little excited by what she saw out the window.

I guess I had never thought that some places simply don’t produce these summer bugs.  I’m glad I grew up in a place where I could appreciate them and I’m even more glad that I didn’t make an entire bus full of people question my sanity after babbling on about fireflies for more than a few minutes.  I’m glad she liked them though – and I can only hope that from here on out her eyes remain on the road rather than chasing lightning bugs in the field.

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Ode to the Megabus

July 9, 2010 at 2:28 pm (Uncategorized) (, , )

As I prepare to make another journey on the Megabus, I thought maybe writing a poem would help everything go according to schedule.  Fingers crossed!

Oh, bus of public transit

with your double levels and free wi-fi

I love that I always find a place to sit

even if it’s near a rather creepy guy.

Better yet is when I have two seats alone

since I always have my large backpack

I’d much rather sit solo than listen to someone yak on the phone

so I can spread out with my laptop and snack.

Sure, often I stand around and wait

that’s not so fun, I’m not going to lie

it’s times like that when it’s easy to hate

but hey, you’re much cheaper than having to fly.

I’ve come to rely on you so much since I lost my car

and while I miss driving, it is worth a mention

that it’s nice to stop by the Union Station bar

and get a ride to Indiana without having to pay attention.

So, dear Megabus, thanks for everything

I’ll be seeing you soon enough

and to my face a smile you will bring

if you don’t make this trip too tough.

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Friday Round-Up

April 23, 2010 at 2:15 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , )

Because it’s Friday and I can be random if I want to.

First up – my free megabus tickets!  When I last rode the bus, it was over a half hour late on both of my trips.  As I was standing in line outside Union Station, I met a girl who was stuck in the same boat (or rather, on the same sidewalk).  As we commiserated over our late bus, she informed me of a super secret phone number that you can call when your bus is late and the operators will give you free tickets for another trip.  She said she had gotten the number from another bus rider on a previous trip, because it’s not something megabus likes to advertise or announce.  I didn’t believe her, since it seemed too good to be true, but I took the number anyway.  And…it worked! I don’t want to post the number here because I would hate for the megabus gods to get angry and take it away (but if you want it, let me know).  I managed to book a trip for next weekend and I saved over $60!  When I spoke with the operator, all I had to do was tell her when my late trips occurred and where I wanted to go next.  She even stayed on the phone with me until my confirmation email arrived.  Amazing, huh?  It’s even more amazing because now I’ll never be upset again if a bus is late.  Well…I might be upset but I’ll be placated by the knowledge that I’ll eventually get another free ride.  I love free.

In other news (and all over the news) is the big hullabaloo with the volcano in Iceland.  The eruption of Eyjafjallajokull (pronounced AY-yah-fyah-lah-YOH-kuul, for all the non-Icelandic speaking people out there) caused airspace over Europe to come to a complete halt for days.  It’s estimated that the airline industry lost nearly $2 billion because of this.  Lots of people have stories about how this has affected them and I know of at least one person who did not have a full bridal party because someone was stuck in London.  The worst of the ash and smoke seems to be over now but people are getting concerned that Katla, another nearby volcano, will erupt soon.  Apparently in all of the historical records available, every time Eyjafjallajokull has erupted Katla has not been far behind.  Obviously that would create more flying problems, not to mention another slew of headaches.  So for now, everyone is just watching and waiting.

As annoying as this whole thing has been for some, it’s produced some amazing photographs.  Here is a link to some of the more mind-blowing photos out there of this whole event.

Moving on.

Have you ever heard a word, phrase or idea and then almost immediately encountered it again someplace else?  It’s something that’s happened to me more than a few times.  Apparently this is called the Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon (not to be confused with the ’08 German film about a West German militant group).  Actually, last night a friend of mine and I were talking about this because she had emailed me about a movie she thought I would like and later that afternoon I read a reference to it in the paper.  We were trying to come up with the name of the phenomenon but couldn’t think of it.  This morning, I was surfing a community forum type website I enjoy and someone had posted a question wondering what the term was when that type of thing happened.  So I learned about it, the day after I was wondering about it.  That’s an example of the phenomenon right there!  I’m not even positive this is making any sense but I thought it was…well, damn interesting.  Check out the link to see if you agree.  Then have a great weekend!

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