Another Reason to Love Amazon
Wednesday, December 29, 2004
It's official: Amazon is my favorite website. It was floundering around the #3 spot, until I popped on today and noticed something. They have put up a landing page that allows the customer to directly contribute a donation to aid in relieving the suffering and tragedy surrounding the Indonesian tsunami/earthquake. From a customer service perspective, this is an ENORMOUS undertaking - Amazon is even providing a receipt for tax purposes. God Bless Amazon, and all the Amazon employees that are dropping their work and helping implement this project. God Bless the Red Cross, as well. I hope you will all donate a little, to help the many that are dying, mourning, suffering, and missing.

A stage icon passes
I was genuinely sad to read in the morning online Trib that actor Jerry Orbach had passed away from prostate cancer. Not only is it a reminder of the horrors of cancer, but a harbinger of things to come. Or NOT to come, as it were, since Orbach was the lead character in the newest Law & Order spin-off "Trial by Jury."

I make no attempt to disguise my love of the Law & Order programming. I've loved them since they started, and having gone into syndication, I can love them every day of the week now! Detective Lennie Briscoe was a key character...but did you know he was also Baby's father in the film Dirty Dancing? Did you know that he won a Tony award and starred in several Broadway productions, including The Fantasticks, Chicago, 42nd Street, and more?! The man was a legend! Rest in peace, Jerry.

At least we know he'll go to the pearly gates with some seriously pearly whites. Yowza!

Coming down off of the sugar...
Sunday, December 26, 2004
Well Christmas, once again, is over. It came and went with a minimum of fanfare in my family, which is a huge accomplishment for us. We're a crazy lot, lemme tell ya. Every year I think the excessive gift-giving will cease, decrease, or just fade away, but it doesn't. Thanks to my family for the wonderful gifts- I promise to never forget the sentiment behind the object. Since my parents moved into their apartment, my mother has worried non-stop about not having a "home" for the kids to celebrate the holidays in. Thanks, J-Dawg, for one of the best holidays yet!

Oh, and it snowed overnight on Christmas Eve...which means we woke up to a white Christmas, literally! For you fellow Illinois residents, you know how long it has been since we had a white Christmas. Yay! Picture perfect.

I hope you had a joyful holiday as well, whatever holiday it is that you celebrate!

Holiday Hiatus
Thursday, December 23, 2004
I love words that begin with the letter "H." History, hiatus, herniated, hooligan, haberdashery, heresy, hoodlum, happenstance. Ok, onto the actual topic of this posting...

I'll be in no-wired-wireless-or-otherwise-land for the next couple of days, and will be unable to post on this site. Seriously, my cell phone doesn't even work where I'm going. Not like all 15 of my readers will have time to peruse my blog over the weekend anyhow, but I thought I'd post my "out of town, out of office, out of mind" message.

Have a great holiday weekend- Happy and Healthy travels to you all!

If I had a digital camera, I'd be able to show you the unbelievable amount of cookies that I made this week. Instead of buying holiday gifts for my co-workers, I decided to make them some homemade treats. As much as I enjoy baking, and as fun as it was to give my colleagues a little something to celebrate the holidays, here is a list of reasons why I will never, ever, EVER do it again:

1. It required venturing into a Target during the week of Christmas. How stupid can one person be? Armed with a short list, I really, truly thought I could get in and out in 15 minutes or less. I really did- how ridiculous a notion is THAT?

2. I had to recruit SMD to help me out for two whole nights of bake-a-palooza. Fortunately, he turned out to be quite the ace with a can of frosting. All the gingerbread men looked quite dapper in their shorts and shoes (one of them even had hair!). SMD even engineered a custom-made cookie cutter just for me- aren't I a lucky girl.

3. I may have spent more money on cookie ingredients than I would have just going out and buying something for each of my coworkers.

4. In an effort to prevent a last-minute run to the store, I bought flour, various sugars, and vegetable oil like I was one of the Ingalls-Wilder clan in town for the only time that spring, trading furs for molasses, salt blocks, and smoked beef. It was like the opening scene from "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers." WHAT AM I GOING TO DO WITH ALL THIS LEFTOVER FLOUR?!

5. I used up literally every inch of counter space in my kitchen. Had my roommates been home last night, they would have had to eat on their laps. For those of you that have been in my kitchen, you know how many cookies all that countertop equals out to.

Nevertheless, the experience was a learning opportunity, and fun to do. Once.

Nifty Gifties
Wednesday, December 22, 2004
I have discovered the hidden perk of being in Customer Service/Account Management. Gifts. I know, in the past, I have described my job as..."pulling my hair out," "torture," and let's not forget the ever-classic "i would choose cyanide over talking to him on the phone again."

Apparently some of the people that I work with on a daily basis have a seldomly-seen sweet side. Today, I received a box of walnut/toffee/chocolate bark from a retailer in Michigan, and a coffee table book on South Beach architecture from a retailer in Miami. That's pretty humbling for me, as a vendor, for a retailer to be sending me holiday gifts. Perhaps my daily anger, albeit manageable, doesn't come across on the phone like I think it does. Maybe I should cut the drama, and just focus on doing a good job for them.

Then again, maybe not.

As promised, more doggy goodness
Tuesday, December 21, 2004
In an effort to rid myself of the guilt I'll be feeling when I drop the dog off at the kennel for his holiday boarding, I'm posting the following photos. How can I leave something so adorable in a strange place over Christmas, you ask? Because I have to, and because the kennel he's staying at is this swanky, South-Loop joint with amazing pet beds, playtime, one-on-one cuddle time, and let's be honest-- he's going to get more attention over the next couple of days than he gets in one day at home. At least he had better get some attention, b/c doggie boarding is NOT CHEAP.

Most of these photos are from our weekend trip to Galena. Doc manages to make himself at home anywhere. (Sidenote: I can't believe I'm putting a photo of myself "sans makeup" on the internet. I would like to clarify that I'm avoiding a doggy kiss in the photo, not trying to get one.)

My little man

Aaah, the good life.

Doc on guard in Galena

I'm frightened at how manly my hands look in this photo.

Merry Candy-mas!
Monday, December 20, 2004
Well it's that time of the year again-- and by that, I mean the time of year where delicious cakes, candies, and cookies magically APPEAR on the the tables, desks, and conference tables of every workplace. I am so glad I waited to go on a diet until the new year (no, I didn't make some dumb resolution that I won't keep). In the past four hours, I have already had a run-in with white-chocolate-peppermint bark, Harry & David's raspberry truffles, and a GINORMOUS tin of variety popcorn.

What's YOUR favorite holiday treat?

Holiday Fuzzies
Friday, December 17, 2004
I'm trying to amp myself up for the holiday next week, and in doing so, will be posting random pictures that I find that put me in the holiday spirit. See below for the first of the series:

My beautiful sister and her beautiful family!

Shout Out to the adorable Hannah, Bri's first cousin, shaking her GROOVE THANG. If all those presents were for me, I'd be pretty damn excited too.

This is the reason I love dogs. How could anyone resist this face? (P.S. This is a shelter dog from Chicago Canine Rescue that was adopted and given a loving home. If you know ANYONE considering getting a pet, please encourage them to think about adopting.)

RIP Weather Pixie
So this morning, in my daily check for any interesting comments, I noticed that the Weather Pixie was just plain incorrect. For two reasons, actually: (1) I would never wear some lame-ass barrette in my hair, or have it teased like that deliberately, and (2) when it's 27 degrees fahrenheit, SHE'S NOT EVEN WEARING A COAT! And she's smiling about it! Clearly the designer of this little graphic has never been to Chicago in the winter.

WeatherPixie, SchmeatherPixie.

Music to My Ears
Thursday, December 16, 2004
I loaned some old mix-CDs to a coworker of mine, and he commented on how random my music collection was. One quick sweep of my iTunes library later, I realized just how right he was! In an effort to display this randomness to you, I'm going to throw these out "off the top of my head." Here we go...

I Want to Break Free - Queen
Battleflag - LoFidelity Allstars
Champagne High - Sister Hazel
Appalachian Spring - Aaron Copland
Get Here if You Can - Oleta Adams
Untouchable Face - Ani DiFranco
And So It Goes - Billy Joel
Anyone at All - Carole King
Harder Better Faster Stronger - Daft Punk
I'm Still Standing - Elton John
Stacked - Foo Fighters
Midnight Train to Georgia - Gladys Knight & the Pips
Touch of Grey - Grateful Dead
Power of Two - Indigo Girls
Last Goodbye - Kenny Wayne Shephard
Borderline - Madonna
Immigrant Song - Led Zeppelin
I'm Just a Gigolo - David Lee Roth
I Want a New Drug - Huey Lewis & the News
Rappers Delight - Sugar Hill Gang
Nightswimming - REM
Shock the Monkey - Peter Gabriel
Too Much - Beth Hart
Jesus He Knows Me - Genesis
Late in the Evening - Simon & Garfunkel
Rhythm of the Night - El DeBarge
Video Killed the Radio Star - Buggles
Mr. Cab Driver - Lenny Kravitz
Chillin' - Modjo
Fire & Rain - James Taylor
The Way it Is - Tupac Shakur (cover of Bruce Hornsby)

Oh Crappy Day
Today has just been sucky. I love the word sucky, mostly because I know in my heart of hearts that it's not really a word. And because it makes me sound like a junior high student.

Why has today been sucky, you ask? Well...the dog is sick, people are mean to me on the phone at work, and because it's gloomy outside. Boo club. Somebody call the Wahhh-mbulance.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004
I'm playing around with the idea of having a Weather Pixie on the blog. It should be up and running, direct your attention to the sidebar.

I'm not sure what I think about this. It's cute, but it will probably lose its novelty quickly, no?

Experimentation is Natural

Spray-tan, anyone?

Not generally the type to emulate Hollywood trends or admire who most people consider to be in the realm of "celebrity," I found this photo JUST A BIT unsettling. I understand that all teenagers do wild and unpredictable things like dye their hair, or experiment with alcohol, drugs, and other addictive substances, like spray-tanning chemicals.

As a redhead, I am deeply disappointed in Lindsay Lohan's representation of herself. Not only is she a bad communicator (check any number of her awful soundbites on MSN) but she is also in clear denial of her complexion. YOU'RE A REDHEAD, LINDSAY, NOT A BLONDE. LIVING IN CALIFORNIA DOES NOT MAKE YOUR POORLY APPLIED FAUX TAN LOOK ANY MORE NATURAL. Redheads are pale, that's just how it goes.

Memo to Lindsay Lohan's agent: Please schedule a meeting between your client and Julianne Moore, PLEASE. Do the world (and our dear friend Lindsay) a favor. Aargh!

Oh. My. God.
Tuesday, December 14, 2004
I am not a troublemaker by nature, although I have been known to be mischieveous. I don't smoke, I don't use recreational (or any other) drugs, and I only drink occasionally. I think I'm due for a new vice, and BOY HAVE I EVER found one.

Run, DO NOT WALK, to the grocery store for "Two-Bite Brownies" made by Homestyle, which is owned by Give And Go Prepared Foods, Inc. of Toronto. They come in teeny bags of 4 brownies each. First the re-election of President Bush, affordable prescription drugs, and NOW THIS! Yet another reason to move to Canada.

This is definitely something I could get addicted to. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.....

DIY Blogging
Monday, December 13, 2004
So the bonus of having Blogger host my online diary is the ease associated with making major edits and/or changes to my page. That is, of course, as long as I choose one of THEIR templates, which is fine by me.

Enjoy the new, non-dot-crazy background. I love the color and it's much more simple. The old one was starting to give me headaches. It will take awhile until I can add all of the customizations that were on my former page, so keep checking back. Hopefully I can add some cool new stuff over the holiday break and make it even better than it was before!

Life Goals
Friday, December 10, 2004
Courtesy of my sister:

"Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, martini in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming, 'WOO HOO what a ride!'"

She has singlehandedly managed to sum up the family motto in just one short line. If that isn't talent, then I don't know what is.

Waxing Poetic
When I buy a CD (which is not often, due to the advent of iTunes), I'm not really the type that immediately pores over the liner notes. I care more about what it sounds like, than what the artist is saying.

That being said, I surprised myself in the car this morning when a line from a Lara Fabian song really hit home. "The silent moment speaks the truth." It's my new favorite quote, because it's completely true. For more information on Lara Fabian, click here.

In unrelated news, I had the best manicure of MY LIFE last night. If you want the good stuff, ask for Beata (pronounced Bee-ahh-tuh) at the 900 N. Michigan Ave location of Mario Tricoci.

As promised, canine holiday goodness. He actually didn't mind his jinglebell collar. What a good little boy!

This morning is further proof that I cannot and should not consume a dinner comprised entirely of crackers and white wine. Ouch.

Monday, December 06, 2004
Notice, at left, that today I am "agitated." For the first time in my LIFE, someone has called me an &$#hole on the phone. OH, customer service, how I love thee.

Dikshunarrys All Ahrowned
Friday, December 03, 2004
Today's rant:

What is it with people that can't spell? Are they missing a key neural connection linking their visual and phonetic abilities? Is it just laziness? Perhaps they are simply not aware of the ramifications of poor spelling, and how unintelligent it can make them look. CONSULT A DICTIONARY. PLEASE! It sends chills down my spine when I see a magazine article, book, blog, website, purchase order, etc. with spelling mistakes. Admittedly, spelling has always come very naturally to me-- I can just tell when something doesn't look right.

Doesn't ANYONE read things prior to publishing/printing/sending/typing? I swear some of our clients (who shall remain nameless) need a reminder. FURNITURE-- it's the name of your industry-- learn how to spell it correctly, please.


Wednesday, December 01, 2004
Happy December, everyone! Has this year just FLOWN by? I'm sad to report that my favorite time of year is officially over (that being autumn and thanksgiving) but happy to report that is ALMOST CHRISTMAS! I love the holidays-- they give me an excuse to indulge in all sorts of fatty foods, say cheesy and emotional things, wrap gifts, and dress my dog up in bizarre red and green neckgear.

Get ready for the canine holiday goodness, people. Photos are coming soon. Until then, have a wonderful week!