Another stolen Meme
Thursday, June 30, 2005
A is for Age - 25
B is for Booze - love beer & tequila, I'm a real classy lady
C is for Career - Customer Service Manager
D is for Dad's name - Philip (a name that I love)
E is for Essential Item to Bring to a Party - me, of course ;)
F is for Favorite Song(s) of the Moment - "Plug it In" by Basement Jaxx
G is for Goof Off Thing To Do - Check out my favorite blogs
H is for Hometown - Chicago, IL
I is for Instrument You Play - spent years tickling the ivories, but got bored and quit. I don't regret it yet, MOTHER, like you said I would.
J is for Jam or Jelly You Like - anything without seeds
K is for Kids - love 'em, want 'em, lots of 'em
L is for Living Arrangement - about to move to a new apartment with my dog Doc
M is for Mom's Name - Julie
N is for Names of Best Friends - Kate, Kate, Jen, and Jen. Believe it or not. I find comfort in the middle range of the alphabet.
O is for Overnight Hospital Stays - None.
P is for Phobias - None.
Q is for Quote You Like - "Smooth sailing never made a skillful mariner."
R is for Relationship That Lasted the Longest - The current one, almost 2.5 years
S is for Siblings - one older sister who never updates her blog anymore. Bitch.
T is for Texas, ever been? - Nope. I heard it's really hot there and I look stupid in hats.
U is for Unique Trait - my inability to feel when things are stuck in my teeth.
V is for Vegetable You Love - green/red/yellow/orange peppers and sugar snap peas
W is for Worst Trait - Putting off doing the dishes, deliberately ignoring pointless social niceties
X is for X-rays you've had - Teeth, both ankles, right hand.
Y is for Yummy Food You Make - i'm currently digging my homemade soy flour pizza
Z is for Zodiac Sign - Leo. Ain't it obvious?!

Well it's a tough day for me. Recently, the auditions for Professional Cheerleading/Dance Team X (that I was formerly a member of) finalized their 2005-2006 team. One of the new rookies that was chosen is a friend of mine from college - she was one of the strongest members on my university dance team.

My history with Team X is bittersweet, and I find it unfortunate that this particular team is one of very few Pro Dance options in the midwest. The team has historically been riddled by high turnover, uneducated management, and questionable decision making. Nonethless, it continues to thrive, and I openly concede that not all young women who join this organization feel the same way that I do. I hope and wish that someday someone will come along and be given the opportunity to realize the organization's full potential-- to turn it into what it could be, something even more special than it already is.

I also wish there were more options for aspiring entertainers, dancers, cheerleaders, whatever. But I digress.

I congratulate my friend on her accomplishment. She is physically flawless (I'm not kidding when I say this), a VERY accomplished dancer who is both smart in execution, and possesses an enormous amount of technical knowledge. On top of all of that, she has a warm heart and a quiet, old soul. I am so afraid that she is going to have a bad experience on this team, and can only hope that she is patient enough to see past the things that I could not.

I hope that Team X realizes what a treasure they have, and don't mistreat her. Just as I do with any other dancer I have coached, or instructed, I feel a strong maternal urge to protect her. They had better appreciate her selfless nature and pragmatism, and not lash back at her abilities simply because they exceed those of many of their multiple-year veteran members. She has great talent, and I would hate for her to waste it and end up with regrets like the ones I have.

Congratulations, friend. I wish you the best- have fun!

Work is crazy
Wednesday, June 29, 2005

So I can't spend time writing anything of any significance. Enjoy this photo, of dear B's feeties.

Photo for the day? Deck!
Tuesday, June 28, 2005

And Throw Away the Key
Over the course of the past 24 hours, I have learned several things about myself.

1. I can give myself a FIERCE, almost salon quality, pedicure.

2. I cannot paint my fingernails to save my life. Someone help me. Please?

3. People who are unnecessarily testy or anxious annoy me greatly. Ironically, I am one of these people on occasion.

4. I cannot get Microsoft Money to work for me. I think it's prejudiced against people with salaries like mine -- obviously it only wants to work for people who actually have money to track.

5. I am not afraid to drag my dog down the back staircase, if I have to, in order to get him to pee before I leave for work.

6. I have 7 ash grey cotton tees, of varying cuts and sizes.

7. I have a love for peace and quiet. The city is bubbling and brewing with fun, summery things to do, and all I want to do is hang out at home in the A/C, walk the dog, cook, organize, be still, and not have to talk to anyone.

8. I am in serious danger of being addicted to the TNT show "The Closer."

9. I can't stop thinking about trading in my car for something made by GM, just to see how great their "Employee Discount for Everyone" would be.

10. I really, truly, honestly don't care about this year's 4th of July. I am indifferent to plans of firework watching, picnic hopping, fruit salad making, and sweating my skin off outside. Seriously-- somebody else, please make my plans for me.

Monday, June 27, 2005
I wish I could post a photo of my desk on this site, so you could all see what I see: imminent failure. This weekend was SO productive (8 loads of laundry, scrubbed the bathroom, made delicious low-carb pizza w/soy flour, cleaned the hardwood floors, went to Target, started packing stuff up for the garage sale) and now I'm here at work, paralyzed by the nightmare that is my desk.

It is fairly easy to compartmentalize my job duties at present-- if there's a customer service issue to be handled (or sales & marketing for that matter), it is represented on my desktop by a note sheet, packet of info, printed out email, some sort of physical, tangible sheet of paper.

I have roughly 654,399 pieces of paper on my desk. My once-logical system is turning into the messiest, most overwhelming "To Do" list in the universe. Today, I will make it my mission to NOT think about my next blog post, but to clear off my desk.

If you're an A-type personality like I am, you know how alluring and addictive productivity can be. There is (almost) no greater pleasure on earth than the ability to check something off a list. Love it!

LET THE PRODUCTIVITY BEGIN.....(mwa ha ha ha ha)

Jen Jen Does It Again
Friday, June 24, 2005
I have to take this moment to point out the truly hilarious high point of my day. I was browsing through a new posting on my friend Jen's blog, and saw her comment about a funny emotion site.

Think it sounded like something stupidly funny, i.e. something that I would do to make myself laugh, I clicked. OH. MY. GOD. This guy is so unbelievably funny, clever, and at the same time, seems like someone I would be friends with.

Check out this short list of funnies:
"Realizing It's Not Toothpaste"
"Mr. Burns Excellent Face"
"Picking Nose"
"Hamster in Underpants"

My personal favorite? (drum roll please...)
"Can't Sleep because the Clowns will Get Me"

I don't know where Jen finds this stuff, but it's damn funny. Enjoy!

I miss dancing. I miss teaching dance. I miss the chemistry and dynamics of a situation in which I have the option to help people -- make them feel good about themselves, make them smile, teach them something.

I have tried taking dance classes- ballet and jazz. SMD even bought me what is probably the most relevant, thoughtful, appropriate gift that anyone could buy me...a class card for a full session at one of the best studios in the midwest.

Savage Jazz

The best thing about dance is that it continually teaches you something about yourself...there is always an opportunity to stretch your exisiting abilities, to try something new, to learn to accept criticism gracefully and productively, and to share your knowledge and experience with others.

Over the past few years, I have been very restless in my life. Moving around and changing jobs has taken its toll, and I'm always left wondering why I still can't seem to settle on anything. I struggle to find a way to maintain my credentials in dance, and stay active SOMEHOW within the industry. Staying current is a huge struggle for me. It's difficult to know that the jobs that I would enjoy and cherish the most are centered around a fickle, unpredictable industry that is constantly changing. The pragmatist in me says, "An office job is safe, predictable, and has benefits." The heart of me says, "You may not be a professional dancer, but that doesn't mean you can't be a part of the world around that."

Easier said than done, I'm afraid.

Ease on down the Road...
Thursday, June 23, 2005
Don't you carry nothin' that might be a load, c'mon now - Ease, ease, ease on down the ROOOOOOAAAAADDDDDD. God, I love that afro-centric Wizard of Oz remake. Back in the glory days, when Diana Ross wasn't all coked out and Michael Jackson was still black. MEMORIESSSSSS...oh, don't get me STARTED on that song.

Make mine a Wiz Wit

So my new apartment is approximately 1.5 miles from my old one, and I've been spending bits of time today hunting down quotes from movers online. I swear to God, the internet makes moving SO EASY. If you register online with Home Depot, they give you all this moving info, customized packing lists, free timelines, even offer to switch your utilities over FOR FREE. It, literally, takes the guess work out of moving. I just about licked my laptop screen earlier this afternoon.

I also used Google Local to look up moving companies. In 15 minutes (no exaggeration), I had 25 free estimates sitting in my email inbox. These people aren't kidding around.

I'm also saving money by moving in the middle of the month, on a non-peak day! If the internet were a person, I would SO totally have a one-night stand with it.

Gratuitous Dog Pix
Wednesday, June 22, 2005
I have nothing productive to say, so I thought I'd post these adorable shots of Doc, and my favorite parts of him. He has the softest little spots on the back of his paws, and at the tips of his ears. Sometimes I still can't believe he's mine to keep! Yesterday when I got home from work, I walked him downstairs to go outside. He wouldn't do anything in the backyard, so I sat down and opened my mouth up to yell at him. Before I could get any words out, he climbed right up into my lap and licked me on the chin. It was the best greeting I could have asked for.

Just try and say no to this face

Lost in Translation
I got this idea from Alfred's Mom, and it turned out to be pretty interesting! First, you find an online translation tool. Type out a short paragraph, then translate it. Take the foreign result, and translate it back into English.

Original Paragraph
My name is Jamie. I have red hair and a sarcastic sense of humor. My dog's name is Doc, and he is a mix of dachshund and labrador. He barks a lot, much to my chagrin. Someday I would like to travel to South Africa, Egypt, and China. I would also like very much to visit Ireland, as I have never been there before.

German Translation
Mein Name ist Jamie. Ich habe rotes Haar und eine sarkastische Richtung der Stimmung. Name mein Hundes ist Doc., und er ist eine Mischung von dachshund und von Labrador. Er bellt viel, viel zu meinem Verdruß. Eines Tages möchte ich nach Südafrika, Ägypten und China reisen. Ich möchte auch sehr Irland besichtigen, wie ich nie dort vorher gewesen bin.

Reverse Translation back into English
My name is Jamie. I have red hair and a sarkastische direction of the tendency. Name my dog is Doc., and it is a mixture of dogdog dog and of Labrador. He barks much, much to my annoyance. A daily would like I to South Africa, Egypt and China to travel. I would like to visit also much Ireland, how I never was before there.

I did my translations at Dictionary.Com, but you can google your way to several perfectly useful online translation sites. Have fun!

Tuesday, June 21, 2005
I wanna be sedated. Seriously.

I have tons of work to do, tons of angry customers that need me to return their voice mails, and all I can do is sit here and ponder the possibility of secretary spread. I get up and down a lot, and I don't binge on candy or pastries, so I'm safe...right?

The worst part is that I genuinely like working with our clients who "get it." They're a dream to deal with, a proverbial cool breeze in the hot, inhospitable Saharan desert that is all of our other clientele.

Speaking of unpleasantries, I haven't heard about my apartment yet. Not good. I also began exercising again last night, for no reason whatsoever, which could be the root of my sour mood. It's been a shamefully long time since my muscles and I were last acquainted. I'm still trying to figure out where they went. Wish me luck!

On the upside, I'm hanging out tonight with one of my favorite people, KT. She is a beyond-brilliant journalist who likes to tell me about current events that I have mysteriously missed, tiff districts in the suburbs, and little-known state laws. You might know her as Lois Lane, Kate, or Kahtay. She also strongly resembles an adult version of "Darla" from the Lil' Rascals.

Fun times in the city...
Does anyone remember that old Metra jingle from the commercials? That line that goes right before "Metraaaaaa, the way to really fuh-lyyyyyyyy!" -- what are the words? I have been wracking my brain all day trying to figure them out. "Hot" times in the city? "Fun" times in the city? For the love, somebody, throw me a bone here.

I took this photo from I-55 North, on my way into the city. I rarely drive on 55 and the view seemed new to me, so OBVIOUSLY the only logical thing to do is take a photo while driving 65 mph. I know it's crooked and there are lots of wires in the way of the skyline, but I still like this picture for some reason.

Summer in Chicago has officially begun: the streets are starting to close in preparation for the Taste of Chicago, the street festival known to native Chicagoans as "The Food, Beer, and Sweat Fair that the Devil himself brought upon our fair city." Or, as I like to call it, "Hell on Earth." I hate the Taste of Chicago.

Taste THIS, Mayor Daley! Take your BBQ/Rib/DrunkPeople/Pizza-a-thon elsewhere.

Like to the suburbs, where there's plenty of space and far more tolerant residents.

Happy Birthday, Bri Bri!
Monday, June 20, 2005
Today is my niece Brianna's 2nd birthday, which I am celebrating with a photo montage from a recent trip to Galena, and this past weekend's Zoo-rific birthday party. Not only is Bri one of my favorite babies of all time, but she is adorable to boot.

Every birthday and Christmas/Hannukah, I give her a copy of a classic novel. Just a little bizarre tradition that I randomly started one day. Surprisingly enough, she was not excited by my gift of 2 cute outfits and a copy of "Love in the Time of Cholera." She was WAAAYYY more excited with her CareBear Rolling backpack, and her book of ABC's. Go figure.

Carnival rides, provided by “Pop Pop,” were a big draw. I think she's destined for stardom with the traveling cast of Cirque du Soleil.

After witnessing Cousin Hannah's cupcake carnage, Brianna offered everything she could to help out

Here we see Bri carefully guarding one of her favorite birthday gifts. I call this the "CareBear Stare" otherwise known as "Don't come near me because if you think I'm going to share this toy with you, you have another thing coming."

Each time I attempted to take her photo, the flash would pop up—apparently that was a bad thing because she would yell Stop! (well it actually sounded more like “Op!) and then reach for the camera to push the flash bar back down

I know it’s a bit plain, but I love this picture. “Toddler at Rest” I shall call it.

In great family tradition, Bri decides to smile for the camera even though her mouth is full of animal crackers

I called her a midget, and suddenly she was all up in my grill

The hair! It’s finally here!

Over exposed? Check. Still cute? Check.

This photo serves as a size scale, relative to a ½ gallon of milk. She also looks SO MUCH like her father in this picture that it’s almost frightening

After a long debate on whether she could have been an extra on the shoot of the “8Mile” rap battle scene, we put on “Lose Yourself” and Bri displayed her awesome rap crowd moves. Boy was I wrong! Someone call Eminem stat- we need to re-shoot the movie.

Fortunately, Bri is completely entranced by cameras. Since I am usually taking photos when I am around her, I'm certain that the first time she draws a picture of me, I'll have a flash bulb for a head, with a nose that looks mysteriously like a camera lense. Happy Birthday to Hannah, as well, who also turned 2 yesterday!

Wishing each beautiful girl a beautiful future!

Saturday, June 18, 2005
Funny, how that just doesn't have the same ring to it.

So how's this for daily minutiae-- I'm at work right now. This in unheard of for me, but I had lots to do and not a lot of time to do it this past week. Because the dryer in our stackable laundry unit is being repaired this morning, and the dog FREAKS out (with a capital F) over unexpected visitors, I thought it best to remove him from the environment-- for the duration of the repairs, at the very least.

So far he has pooped in 1 office and the copy room, no pee to speak of (or that I know of), has tried to eat 3 different types of live wires, and has bum rushed at least three factory workers with love and affection (and wet, sloppy kisses). After plying him with a big bowl of water and several treats, he is now resting comfortably on my office floor. Thank God for it, because I am not in the mood to pick up any more poop.

Behold, the cute doggie butt.

This afternoon, I'm off to the zoo for my niece's 2nd birthday party. In honor of her actual birthday, I'll be putting together a photo montage on Monday. Get excited.

See below for a random self-portrait, taken in Galena, IL, at my parent's house. I would much rather be THERE this weekend.

Hope you're all having a phenomenal weekend! If you're in Chicago, get out and enjoy this amazing weather we are having. Seacrest OUT.

Longest Day EVER
Friday, June 17, 2005
The universe is plotting against me, ya'll. Sure, might be Friday but it seems to be dragging along unnecessarily slowly. Is it 5:00 yet?

In other news, I am looking forward to a weekend of nothing-to-do. The weather here is supposed to be (as Tertia would say) gorgeous & divine. I want to get out my camera and take some pix of the dog, the apartment, the neighborhood. Fortunately, my building has a great stoop for people-watching.

I also need to start culling my closets and storage spaces for things to shed in the garage sale I planned for mid-July. As my good friend Anna-Nicole would say, "Wan' some muhnee?" Those of you that know me personally - if you want to sell anything, let me know and I'll put it in the lot for stickering.

A trip to the dog park may be in order, as well. The city just built an incredible park behind my parent's condo, with a brand-spanking new dog section. Doc and I might just have to visit that one...maybe walk a little through Millennium Park while we're down there.

Yippee! All weekend, and almost nothing to do! I'm free!!!!!!

Where I'm From
Thursday, June 16, 2005
I am from rollerskates, from Hypercolor and Get in Shape Girl.

I am from the tall, white house with brown shag carpeting...the damp basement where disco, tile floors, and wood paneling lives...the cul-de-sac of fireflies, where you run home when you hear the embarassing cowbell.

I am from the fiery orange marigolds, the rainy-day campground made of old sheets and blankets.

I am from overly generous gift-giving and guilt complexes, from Wilbur in Wisconsin and Beatrice and Grandpa Joe who managed to fall in love after tragedy, illness, death, and abuse.

I am from the shortest of tempers and warmest of hearts.

I am from "it's rude to point at people," and "don't take that tone with me."

I am from the Methodists, Lutherans, Calvinists, and Congregationalists. I am from a childhood church that welcomes all, judges none, and always remembers my name when I manage to attend services.

I'm from England, Scotland, Norway and Sweden, from cheesy potato casserole and pot roast.

From the father who hitch-hiked to his father's funeral, the mother who rode a camel and makes things better, and the sister who I only recently came to understand.

I am from a rolltop desk drawer of packages, envelopes, and postcards, a half-finished scrapbook, and a expandable, brown legal filing system. I am from the smell of old paper, the sound of crackly photo lining, and the pictures that tell the story of common, yet extraordinary, lives.

I got this idea from Torrie, who got it from someone else. Make your own poetry, sort mad-libs with a purpose.

Home Schweet Home
I found an apartment! Why is it always the random, unplanned viewing that results in the great place? This is the 4th time, in a row, that I've loved a place that I really should've never seen. I made the appointment at the last minute, and I am actually going to live right next door to my good friend Jen, a frequent commenter on this blog.

It's a 1br, 1ba, with hardwood floors and newly painted walls - cream with white crown molding. The landlord is a funny, little guy who clearly loves the building. He's got the entire courtyard torn up right now, and is planting all sorts of things. It has a full dining room (unheard of for a 1br), a teeny-tiny toy-sized kitchen (which is fine since I almost never cook), and a long hallway for Doc to run around in. The bedroom is of a manageable size, which is fine since all I really do there is sleep. The living room is the biggest room, which is perfect since that is typically where I spend most of my time.

The building is also right next to a high-rise, which is exciting because I CAN'T WAIT to see which of the neighbors has unprotected wireless internet service. I will be chilling in my new pad, surfing the internet. Fabulous.

I'm randomly very nervous that the building management won't accept my application. So keep your fingers crossed for me on that one.


Pregnant Pause
Wednesday, June 15, 2005
I had a dream last night that I was unable to have children. It was one of those lung-squeezing, edge-of-your-seat dreams where I woke up in a cold, clammy sweat. I NEVER wake up in the night, not even to pee.

I've been trying to shake the sinking feeling all day, and it's simply not working. I even attempted to distract myself by consuming an unhealthy amount of Sugar-Free Fudgsicles, but it was no use.

In all seriousness, the dream was scary in a way that no nightmare can match. I don't know what I would do if I couldn't have children. Adopt perhaps, or hire a surrogate parent? The ramifications of the situation are just too overwhelming to consider, and yet millions of women all around the world deal with it on a daily basis.

It doesn't help that my sister is a majorly Fertile Myrtle. I suppose I could just hire HER to have my baby if I couldn't. Hmmm. Until the time comes when this is even an issue in my life, I think I'll just keep my fingers crossed and hope for the best.

What would you do if you found out you couldn't have children?

Hump Day
As in, I can't get over the hump of unproductive behavior. I'm completely floundering right now, and unable to focus. This usually doesn't happen until Thursday mornings...

My big goal today is to get to the bottom of my desk, and by that, I mean "clear off the enormous mound of paperwork that needs to be attended to, so I can fool myself into thinking that I don't need to be stressed out about getting my work done." See how the logic just falls right into place?

Still apartment hunting...I've seen roughly 20 apartments at this point, and have realized that not only do I need to pay more rent for a place that isn't a SHITHOLE, but I need to expand my thinking on Chicago neighborhoods. I've lived in one particular neighborhood for the past 2 years that is filled with baby strollers, black labs, and cute, kitschy restaurants with open air seating. No more, my friends, those days are gone. Initially, I thought my standards were too high, but now I have realized it's more than that. I just can't afford what I want.

Story of my life.

This weekend will be another barrage of hunting-- alone, with agencies, walking around neighborhoods looking for "FOR RENT" signs, and being on my cell phone constantly. Big fun. Wish me luck!

Pain in the Neck
Monday, June 13, 2005
One of the most annoying things about the internet is unwanted, unsolicited advertising. Sure, it makes the internet and much of its content possible, but that doesn't make it any less annoying.

Witness the banner ad that I saw above my email inbox just the other day:



This looks like a rejected ad campaign for the movie "Death Becomes Her."

It took me about fifteen viewings to realize that her HAND is what you see on the left, not her neck. It's still pretty fricking creepy, if you ask me. I have trouble looking at it. I certainly hope, for her sake, that this banner ad is NOT the star contribution to her modeling portfolio.

Do you ever wonder how people will remember you? Maybe it's your signature scent, or a catchphrase that you use all the time, or even a color you always wear.

I do a lot of random, direction-less thinking during my morning commute to work, and this morning I saw a scraggly, old man in a very worn suit walking along Augusta Ave. He was one of those old people that you see at a bus stop, or a train station, and wonder where on earth they could be going. Usually because they look SO OLD that I am mystified at how they can even move around and do things like run to the store, or walk to work. Seeing old people walk on busy city streets breaks my heart-- I wonder if they even know that the whole world is rushing past them.

Seeing Mr. Suit jumpstarted a memory of my maternal grandfather's funeral. I remember parts of the funeral very clearly, and others are fuzzier. I was young, but not too young. I recall talking about his homemade pickles and his wry, biting sense of humor. At one point, the Pastor officiating the service opened up to the attendees and invited them to share a story or a memory about my grandfather with the group.

A hunch-backed old man stood up immediately, and I remember how my neck hurt when I tried to crane around to see who it was. He was in a brown, pin-stripe suit, holding on to the pew in front of him for support. I recall being shocked at the size of his knuckles against the simple brown pewback -- I didn't know what athritis was at the time. My mother whispered who it was in my ear - a man who had a large family, and was a successful businessman in the community, well-liked and well-known among the residents and throughout the county.

This man, who had immigrated to Wisconsin from Scandinavia, told us all about how my grandfather lent him his only suit for his first American job interview. He talked about how the suit, while he knew it was worn (and probably somewhat shabby by today's standards), made him feel like a king - and he aced the interview. Do we ever see examples of this kind of unanswered, unsolicited Christian fellowship anymore? At 80-something years old, it still made the man well up with tears of gratitude.

It makes me wonder about the suit I saw on the old man this morning. Who did it come from? Where was he going all dressed up? Will someone say something this wonderful about me when I am gone? What would I say about my loved ones? Will life ever be that simple again?

I miss my grandfather today.

and the one thing is decidedly NOT sexy
Friday, June 10, 2005
I am an onion whore, and I'm not afraid to admit it.

Last night, I cooked burgers (which for someone who doesn't really cook...well let's just say it was a feat unlike any other) in a hodge-podge marinade of EVOO, worchestershire sauce, and Lipton Dry Onion soup mix. If you've never used the Lipton's soup mix in your burgers, DO IT. DO IT NOW. MMMM, YUMMY IN MY TUMMY.

I nuked one of the leftover burgers for lunch today, and put it in a whole wheat pita with raw, red onions and mustard. Oh my LORD the goodness. I was so proud of myself. Isn't that pathetic? Unfortunately, SMD will probably want to stay more than 4 feet away from me at all times this weekend. Especially when he realizes that I made a huge batch of tuna salad for this weekend, which includes red onions. Love love love it.

Then again, my extra-curricular activities with onions PALE in comparison to the illicit, unabashed love affair that he has with garlic. When he cooks with garlic, I have to stand outside because the stench makes my eyes water. So I guess we make a pretty smelly pair.

Cute and smelly.

TGIF Top Ten
New installment of the Friday Top Ten 10 List. This week's topic?

Things that I find sexy

1. the song "Clap Hands" by Tom Waits
2. quiet intelligence
3. knowing how to fix something (and not with duct tape)
4. thinking about someone else's needs before your own
5. adirondack deck chairs
6. aggressive driving
7. people who aren't afraid to ask for help
8. cheap muslin curtains in the summer
9. vintage cars
10. sunsets

What do you find sexy?

New Phone, New Lease on Life
Thursday, June 09, 2005
Or maybe just a new lease.

This weekend marks a turning point in the year 2005. It is the start of yet another apartment hunting season. I'm going to attempt to afford living alone for a year, and we'll see how that works out. Financially, I'm a bit hesitant, but really don't have a choice. I can't even move back in with my parents, because my mother is deathly allergic to my dog.

Soooo, I uh...I got that goin' for me. That Lama, he's a big hitter.

Apartment hunting in Chicago is very difficult in that every neighborhood has a swanky side, and a ghetto. I'm not the type of person that hides behind naive generalizations like "Lincoln Park is safe because there are always people around," or "Wicker Park has streets that I wouldn't drive down with my windows open." Why, you ask? Because lunatics, crazies, sex offenders, rapists, and murderers live everywhere. You can't really say with any kind of confidence that a certain neighborhood is safe, or affordable, because it's always changing. I can't tell you how many people I've met that will only live in certain neighborhoods because they think they're "safer" than others. That is total hogwash. Therefore, I only have criteria like "pet friendly," and "heat included," in my list of must-haves.

I also got a cute new phone yesterday! T-Mobile welcomed me back with open arms (and a free phone and waived activation- boo-yah!) and all is right with the world.

Anyone know of a cute 1br apartment for...oh, say.....$400/mo? Hahahahahahaha. Just kidding.

Oh Baby : The Sequel
Wednesday, June 08, 2005
I would like to officially announce that my Sister and her husband are expecting a little boy. They have named him Grant William, but I have decided that I will call him any one of the following monikers:

Mini G
Big Baby Geebus (a nod to our dearly departed Ol' Dirty Bastard)
Lil' Wilbur

Congratulations to Jo and Adam! The rest of the royal family celebrates your production of a male heir - now the pressure is off. ;)

Oh Baby
Hubba Hubba, people. The EXTRA-large soft drink sizes are BACK in action at Mickey D's. This is one rung down from simply hooking myself up to an IV.

I'm lovin' it.

Google Image Scavenger Hunt
Some of the blogs that I read are doing this really quirky thing with Google Images. You take the following categories and type in your version of whatever the answer is, then publish the first resulting photo on your blog. Here is what turned out for my answers:

My name

Apparently there's some super famous guy with my name, who is like the male equivalent of Paris Hilton. Lucky me.

My Grandmother's Name

This is a former First Lady. She actually kind of resembles my grandmother, so that's a little spooky.

Favorite Smell

Favorite Song (right now)

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An Opportunity to do something Great
Monday, June 06, 2005
This weekend, I worked as a crew member for the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. It's my second year with this particular event, and I would be lying if I said it was all a bed of roses. Over the course of the weekend, we endured blazing heat, hours of direct sunlight, a torrential downpour, hail, lightning, and camping. (I added that last one for those of you that aren't "nature" people - I really don't mind camping at all)

At one point late on Saturday evening, I sat silently in my tent, staring down at several plastic baggies of stuff, wishing I was home-- dry, clean, and not so worn out. I had reached the threshold of "I can handle this," and inadvertantly moved directly into "I am going to break down and cry" territory. So I wiped my face down, put my pajamas on, and put myself to sleep.

The next morning, after a warm shower, a cup of hot coffee, and even hotter weather, I settled in to start duties for the day. Let it be known that when it comes to crowd control and dealing with mob mentality, my patience is at a minimum. I knew that Day 2 wouldn't be pleasant, but with the threat of afternoon rain, I steeled myself for the worst. It doesn't help that the event, in itself, is an emotionally wrenching time for anyone with any size of heart.

As we were cheering the walkers from the starting gate onto the day's route, I noticed a tiny lady tying her shoes up. Upon standing, I realized that this was the same lady who had nearly collapsed at my feet the previous evening, requesting that I radio for immediate medical assistance. Her legs were covered in bandages, her muscles reinforced with physical therapy tape (hot pink, for the occasion). An abandoned and empty water bottle lay on the grass near her feet as she rose to adjust her baseball cap and ready herself for departure. I was thinking with surprise about the rosy-ness of her cheeks when I read the front of her hat, and it said "5-time Survivor."

Like changing the lense on your camera, my perspective shifted significantly after that moment. Yes, the day would go on to be difficult, VERY hot, and very uncomfortable...I wondered if my drive to complete the event was in ANY MEASURE like the drive she had to finish the event. I hope I never find that out, I hope that I'm never tested and tried as she has been, I hope that no one I love will ever have to go through what she has undoubtedly been through. That's enough motivation for me.

There were too many photos of loved ones, memorialized on hats, t-shirts, and shirt bibs. Too many reminders that those people who we all saw in snapshots should have had the chance to attend the event in the flesh, and are being kept from that by sickness or death. Too much irony that such an enormous physical undertaking and accomplishment is happening all because this disease is keeping so many people from doing, being, and accomplishing it themselves. I pictured every person I saw as a representation of someone else - a victim, a family member, an acquaintance struggling with a vicious killer of a disease. Multiply that by 2400 walkers, and 450 crew members, and the scope is simply too much to handle.

Witnessing the events of the weekend was frustrating. My desire to help the event itself is not even a blip on the radar map of the greater problem. It seems apparent that my moment of temporary despair in my tent was nothing more than a temper tantrum - a sinking feeling that what I'm doing is not helping, is not repairing, and is not useful. I hope that I am wrong.

Drive-Up Slip-Up
Friday, June 03, 2005
Every morning, I drive through my friendly, neighborhood (emphasis on the 'hood) McDonald's for a large Diet Coke. Each and every morning, there is a cheerful cash register attendant working the window, who by now, recognizes me each time - replete in my blue fleece and pre-Diet Coke scowl, riding in the burgundy-mobile. When he hands me my Diet Coke, my face must relax or something because he is always giggling as I drive away. That, or I have some huge booger hanging from my nose. But I digress. Back to the story.

Every so often, a truck drops off supplies, buns, happy meal toys, etc. Unfortunately it unloads in the mornings, and parks in the drive-thru, making the hostile suggestion that I actually disembark and go INTO the store to purchase my morning cocktail. How dare they?! One day several weeks ago, I noticed the shift board for the drive-thru sitting by the fry machine. I was bored in line, and tired of staring blankly ahead, so I started peering around the corners of the kitchen workspace. Turns out that my Diet Coke Adonis' name is Chris.

Armed with the knowledge of Drive Thru Guy's identity, I am now paralyzed by tension each and every morning. I'm so afraid that I'm going to slip, and say, "Thanks, Chris!" one day upon receipt of my cold, bubbly goodness. What would he think then, I ask you? HE WOULD THINK I'M SOME SORT OF SADISTIC, CERTIFIABLE, MCDONALD'S STALKER! This single worry has completely ruined my unabashed, unconditional love of all things McDonald's.

Ignorance is bliss.

As promised...

In Which I have Nothing Useful to Say
I'm a bit tired today...last night was one of those frustrating nights where I was tired around 9pm, but couldn't go to sleep because there were things I needed to get done first. Then, around midnight, I was wide awake and unable to fall asleep. Anybody have any vitamin suggestions that would enhance the recuperative value of my sleep, or help me iron out a sleeping pattern?

Regardless, I'm in a puppy mood today, so I'll probably be posting a photo later - as soon as I can find one to my liking. I want to be at home, with MY puppy, instead of here at work. Really, though, who wouldn't rather be at home, instead of at work? Dumb, Jamie.

I'm apparently also incapable of cohesive thought today. Fun for everyone.

I'm thinking about having my handwriting made into a font - you can, too, at Fontifier.

Diet Update
Wednesday, June 01, 2005
This will be the last South Beach Diet update for awhile, as I am moving from the aggressive, difficult phase into a more laid-back, slower phase. Instead of the 3-4 pounds I was aiming to lose per week in the first phase, the projected weight loss for Phase 2 is only 1-2 lbs/wk. Therefore, there won't be much to talk about on a weekly basis, and I'll only be measuring myself for my own interests.

If I make some sort of astounding development, like if my cellulite all COMPLETELY DISAPPEARS off my body, then I'll post. For now, let's just say that I'm down 2 pounds from last week, and my total estimated body fat loss is approx. 6%.

I also had a bowl of honest-to-goodness cereal this morning. I've never been so excited to see Organic, Imitation Cheerios in my whole, entire life!

Deep Throat Revealed
If you're anything like me, you don't know much more about the Nixon/Watergate scandal than was mentioned in your high school history textbook. I was also forced to read "All The President's Men" for English class once. On the flip side, I found the Deep Throat controversy fascinating - in the same way I found the search for the Titanic intriguing and mysterious. College classes were spending ENTIRE SEMESTERS hypothesizing about the identity of Woodward & Bernstein's anonymous informant -- and now it's all out in the open.

Hooray for interesting news tidbits!