Independence Day
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
This weekend will be the celebration of Doc's 3rd birthday. No, there won't be a dog-friendly cake, treats, or other dogs invited to a party...but there will be fireworks provided by our fair city is throwing in his honor. (and maybe for that other holiday that is taking place, but whatever)

When I adopted Doc, the shelter informed me that their best guess on his age just over a year - so I decided that his birthday would be July 1. Frankly, I'm surprised that I even remember them telling me this -- I had taken a red-eye flight from California the night before, and driven straight from the airport to the shelter, which is two states away (sort of).

I have vivid memories of my hands shaking as I wrote the check for the adoption fee, and putting on his purple leash and collar that Sean and I had bought at a small pet shop on the side of the road in Berkeley. As we drove away, I was fairly certain that I'd just made the biggest mistake of my life -- buyers remorse, only with a LIVING BEING.

Then, at a Burger King, he got loose and ran into a crowd of construction workers to say hello. By the time I got there, they were giving him sips of water and bits of their buns, and I knew he was a keeper. Sure, he's a little weird looking, but he has been nothing short of loving, adorable and well-behaved ever since.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006
Feast your eyes on this beauty! One of the (sadly) many photos I ran across last night in my search for blog material...and not the worst, might I add. I'm saving that one for the hair retrospective.

In the summer of 1993, my wonderful godmother/aunt took my cousin, my sister, and myself on a trip around Europe. It was amazing- staying in hostels, driving around...let's just say that I'll never be able to repay my aunt for that trip. I had just graduated junior high, and I was excited to announce to anyone who would listen that I had recently made the Junior Varsity Dance Team at my new high school. It's a wonder anyone could even listen -- I mean, just look at this outfit.

Not only am I sporting a FANNY PACK, but I also managed to wear SCRUNCHY SOCKS WITH SANDALS, a FLORAL BODYSUIT (which appears to have eaten the majority of my torso), and high-waisted denim shorts with a rolled cuff. OH, THE HUMANITY!

I would say that the ensemble is so bad that I am rendered speechless, but let's be honest - I have the words, and most of them are four letters long. The trip was, it would seem, unforgettable for many reasons.

If you comment, please refrain from judging my relatives. I love them very much, and we were all living out of a suitcase at that point.

Knee Deep in the Hoopla*
Last night, I decided that it would be time to sift through my photos and put together a hair retrospective. I have big, curly, straight, wavy, crazy, oftentimes just plain out of control hair. Comedy genius, right?

Most of the photos I found proved different -- it wasn't my hair that was really the funny part. It was my clothing. Some outfits were so heinous that I didn't even notice how icky my hair was at the time. Full disclosure: At the time, like most people, I thought I looked good. Or I didn't care. Either way.

So in true Jamie fashion, there will be a hair retrospective AND a couple "what not to wear" pictures sprinkled into the blog here and there. If Sundry has the kahoneys to post a pic from her goth days, I can certainly muster up at least ONE PHOTO from junior high, better known as my tie-dye-bad-hair-glasses-like-lark-voorhies-from-saved-by-the-bell-why-don't-any-of-the-boys-like-me?! phase.

Keep your eyes peeled for that one, ladies and gents. It should be a doozy.

In other news, cheese makes the dog constipated.

* We Built this City on Rock and Roll, Jefferson Starship, Jonniker-style

Dude. What happened to June?
Monday, June 26, 2006
As I get older, I find myself wondering things that I never thought I'd even notice. Like the passage of time. Much to the entertainment of whomever is standing in my immediate vicinity, I sometimes wonder aloud. Things just fly out of my mouth, what can I say?

Evidence that I cannot handle the velocity of my own life

- The Taste of Chicago starts in 4 days. 4 DAYS. Where did June go?

- My niece just turned 3, and recently informed me that I am silly and should take a time out. Okay, then. I'll get right on that, ma'am.

- I realized this morning that I've been driving for almost 10 years. That's a decade. A MOTHERF***ING DECADE.

- If not for my job, sometimes I would pass the length of an entire day without talking to anyone but my dog.

- As of this month's end, both of my parents will be retired.

- I am disgusted by the clothing in the "juniors" section of every department store I enter.

- I find The Golden Girls increasingly funny, the more I watch of it.

- I have a varicose vein in my left, outer thigh/leg area. Sally Field (a registered nurse) attributes it to a lifetime of dancing. I attribute it to the fact that I'M GETTING OLDER OH MY GOD SO WHY NOT JUST JUMP RIGHT INTO UGLY, VEINY LEGS WHILE I'M AT IT?

And the real kicker...

- I can now get solidly drunk off of 3 beers. Sometimes less.

Taking Stock
Friday, June 23, 2006
This morning, I realized that my blog was 2 years old yesterday. You heard me right -- YESTERDAY. I celebrated my 2nd blogi-versary with a post about how pudding had betrayed me.


Strangely, I'm sort of not surprised that I overlooked the date. I'm also not surprised that my post was so lame -- because sometimes? I'm just a loser like that.

The huge celebrations that were going to happen (lake cruise with Mayor Daley, parade in my honor, and of course, the Pulitzer ceremony) will be overshadowed by the Gay Pride Festival this weekend. And my niece's 3rd birthday, of course -- she's got me by a year, I must admit.

Go out there and celebrate this weekend! Feet Firmly Planted is 2!

While you're at it, have a drink for me because my tolerance is dwindling in a frightening fashion these days, and I'm not in the mood to be hung over.

Adventures in Responsible Eating
Thursday, June 22, 2006
So I've been working these past several days to turn over a new leaf in my eating habits. I'm not jumping into the exercise bit JUST yet -- I think I'll take one battle at a time, thank you very much. For instance, I'm now drinking water (yes! ripley's believe it or not!) and eating fruit as a snack instead of snickers bars. Yesterday, I went to the grocery store to pick up some healthy snacks to keep at my desk and spied an old favorite.

Chocolate pudding. Except NOW my pudding has gotten a facelift - apparently it's now being combined with "sundae topping." You know that I had to buy it after seeing that -- if only to ascertain exactly what "sundae topping" meant.

Turns out, it's just a layer of darker colored pudding on top of the regular pudding and it tastes exactly the same. I got all excited that it would be hot fudge, or something similar, and now I just feel as if I've been duped.


The Wonder Years
Wednesday, June 21, 2006
Last weekend, my parents announced that they had purchased a new home. Dick Cheney is retiring in less than 1 week, and my mom has been retired for about a year now. So we all ventured out to see the new homestead, and beg them profusely to put in a pool. (My sister and I have always wanted to have a pool, despite the fact that neither of us is very water-capable. We could survive, yes, but swim the English Channel? Not so much.)

Bri and Grant came along, of course, and I got some hilarious shots of them. Technically, I was supposed to take photos of the house (which I did) but I couldn't resist some of these.

Backyard. Does anyone else see this as slip-n-slide heaven? No? Ok, maybe that's just me.

Yee-Aargh! We've found the buried treasure, and it has a stinky diaper!

Shiver me timbers! Grant has taken me loot and is gumming it as we speak!

Bri preparing for her inevitable nose-dive off of the rocks and into the grass, where she will break/bruise/sprain something so my family can hound me until the day I die about "that one time I let Bri play on the landscaping rocks when I should have put down the damn camera," thereby securing my gradual descent into insanity.

Shock & Awe
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
Every so often, I see a photo of a celebrity that really hits me hard. This afternoon, I had the misfortune of seeing this photo:

It's been my experience that the camera doesn't just add 10 pounds - sometimes it adds 15 just for fun. Every celebrity knows their good side, good angles, and best poses for photographing. Victoria Beckham is HEAD-ON-FLUSH-FRONT-STARING-YOU-IN-THE-FACE in this picture, and I'm truly frightened by it. How skinny must she be in reality to appear this horrifyingly thin on film?

Not to mention that her fake breasts are sitting atop her sternum (which I can also see, sadly) like those domes you see on the side of the highway -- you know, the ones that house salt for the snowplows in winter?

I'm saddened by this photograph, and suddenly thankful for my size 10 (maybe 12 in some pants) ass. I also feel sad for mothers out there, who see this and think, "Wow - she's had 3 kids?!" and then run to the gym to work out. Not to mention that she's teaching her sons a completely bizarre form of physical normalcy - one that no woman can attain without great amounts of plastic surgery.

I just don't get it - do men really find this attractive?

Broadway Caliber Dancer Allegedly Fired Due to Breast Size

I love this article. It's an interesting addition to the volumes of articles written about the body conscious dangers of being a professional dancer, and the expectations of the dance industry. Unfortunately it is a HUGE grey area, and revolves around something that cannot be defined in limited terms. Can we truly expect the established government policies to apply equally to bookkeepers AND ballerinas? Where is the line between a subjective art and someone's occupation?

I will be following this closely to see what happens -- should be interesting.

In which she slaps herself upside the head
This weekend, in preparation for my upcoming move, I began packing. Since small boxes are (a) cheap, (b) easy to carry, and (c) quick to pack, I picked up 12 from my local U-Haul and got down to work.

My triumphant, productive euphoria was quickly squashed last night when I realized I had packed up all my books, dvds, and videos. All that is left to entertain me is an enormous book of crosswords that are half-done (in pen, no less).


Weekend Update (numerically speaking)
Monday, June 19, 2006
Boxes packed: 15
Gifts wrapped: 5
Times the window A/C unit kicked on: 500 million
Standings lost in NASCAR fantasy game: 342
Tiny, black dog hairs collected from dusty corners: infinity
Expired toiletries purged in cleaning frenzy: 45 (yes, I counted)
Huge, hairy, menacing rats encountered: 1
Slaps received from homeless man: 0
Hilarious swimming outings with niece & nephew: 1
Hours spent sleeping: 31
Pints of Ben & Jerry's consumed: 1
Tank tops used thanks to boiling hot weather: 6
Legs shaved: 4 (I hate summer - shaving is so time consuming)
Cubs fan cursed for idiotic behavior and walking against traffic lights: 76
Groceries purchased: $0
Best friends graduating from amazing MBA program: 1 (congrats, KK!)

And so it begins...another summer filled with birthdays, retirements, moving, changing, and spending. I feel as if I'm literally running myself ragged.

Thursday, June 15, 2006
Everywhere I turn, I keep hearing people say, "Git 'r Done!" I'm beside myself with this -- is it not the most annoying phrase ever uttered? On what planet is it funny, or entertaining? What the hell does it even mean?! I hear it, and have to fight off the urge to rock back and forth, aimlessly, in the corner of my apartment, muttering incoherently to myself.

I understand the appeal of certain types of humor - "redneck" humor included. This does not mean that I want to see people like my coworkers, my family, or my friends, scream "Git 'r Done!" at the top of their lungs. Go ahead and accuse me of not having a sense of humor if you want - it certainly wouldn't be the first time.

I categorize this phrase along with other irritating word groupings like, "Gag me with a spoon," "I'm down with it," "Drop it like its hot," and "What's the 411?" Somebody please explain the appeal to me, because I'm just not feelin' it. Larry the Cable Guy is a fictional character, not a cultural icon.

She knows my secret shame!
Wednesday, June 14, 2006
So much for my "only 1 post a day from work" axiom.

I just read THIS on Y's blog, and I must admit that I just about died laughing.

Seriously - my officemate asked me if I was alright. I told her the Xanax had just kicked in. (kidding, folks, kidding - I'm not on any medications even though I probably should be)

I felt like that story was exactly something I would do, except my low tolerance is based on my loser-y social habits (aka never going out), not a recent breastfeeding hiatus. And I can't do the worm.

The woman is hilarious. Go read her. DO IT NOW.

Ass-tronomical Epiphany
I blame America's obesity (in part) to the ongoing development of stretch fabrics. Walking out to get my afternoon Diet Coke, I dropped my keycard on the pavement. After what turned out to be a surprisingly painful grande plie, I had a thought. It went something like this, "Damn. Guess these pants didn't have any stretch in them. I need to go on a diet...I'm really uncomfortable."


Given the increasing integration of stretch materials into today's popular fabrics, and ultimately mass marketed clothing, it's NO WONDER that people don't pay attention to what they are eating. The blended non-wrinkle, partial-stretch makeup of my work wardrobe has inadvertantly bought me some valuable, but dangerous, time. Time to stuff my face before realizing all my clothing was too tight, that is. Taking it one step further, think about the 1950's -- teeny, tiny waists were in, accented by volumninous skirts. All the popular fabrics were non-stretch cottons, unforgiving wools and tweeds, and polyester had yet to hit the scene.

Remember when denim wasn't stretchy? I was thinner then. A tenous connection, I realize, but something to keep in mind. Hmmm.

Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife

Hoo-wee, folks. Don't let the kiddies near this one! This book is the lovechild of Jane Austen and Joan Collins. I don't usually pick up ANYTHING that could be classified as a "beach book" (no judgment, just not my style) and didn't expect much...ahem...romance from a Jane Austen-style novel.

I was very, very wrong.

Sexual activity disclaimer aside, it's a fun read. Since Jane Austen never married, and only wrote about who and what she knew best, all of her stories end with the marriage ceremony of whatever couple is leading the plot. Author Linda Berdoll clearly addresses the inevitable questions that Austen left hanging- questions like "then what?" and "did they ever have children?" It's not a classic, but then, no one expects it to be.

Bravo, Berdoll!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006
I just used my credit card in a very bad way, that I've been told not to. (slaps own hand) The Dixie Chicks are touring this summer with their album - I believe it's called the "Accidents and Accusations" Tour. (Isn't that a line from a Simon & Garfunkel song?) Regardless, upon finding out they would be at our very own United Center, I instantly started researching how pricey the good seats would be.

Side note: In 6th grade, I went to a NKOTB concert and despite having very good seats from which I could drool over Donny Wahlberg (stop laughing), I spent most of the concert in the bathroom convinced that blood was coming from my ears. I don't think I've ever been in that much pain. My mother thought I'd blown an eardrum. Every concert since has been an experiment in cochlear tolerance - my version of musical therapy.

Turns out that really good seats are roughly double the face value - which isn't bad in my honest opinion. The concert is around the same time as my birthday, and my sister has agreed to not only accompany me, but also to reimburse me for half of the cost of my ticket as my birthday gift! It should be fun, and instead of having my usual buyers remorse, I'm going to celebrate! TAKE THAT, MASTERCARD! Where's the chocolate cake?

Seriously though - I sometimes forget that my married-SUV-driving-home-owning-mother-of-two(!)-sister has yet to turn 30. Good lord, people - if I can't take a fellow twentysomething to a concert, then what else am I to do with this "credit" that I'm supposedly qualified to have? I ASK YOU.

...who's the worst decorator of all?
So I recently bought this mirror for my new apartment.

Yes, I'm aware that I'm not moving until after Labor Day. I don't care, and for what it's worth, I got it for $15 less than the list price (hello, stalking the website for a weekend sale? my name is Jamie, nice to meet you)

Now I'm stuck - I'm mentally arranging my place in my head, and I had the sad epiphany this morning that I have NO SPACE FOR THE COOL MIRROR. Not that all my walls will be full, but I can't think of the right place to hang it.

I think this is a sign from a higher power - a decorating power. Maybe if I were as cool as this mirror, I would know where to put it.

Help! Somebody call HGTV or some shit, because I am clueless.

Monday, June 12, 2006
A couple of weeks ago, I popped into Jewel-Osco for some taco dip. Yes, I am going through a phase. No, I don't see it ending anytime soon. Back to the story.

My grocery store is a bit bigger than a typical city grocery, but much smaller than a suburban grocery (for definitions and other funny, see this post by the ever-fabulous Alice at Finslippy). When you make it through the lane of homeless folks soliciting money/food/drugs, you enter the store and take a hard right past the super fatty baked goodies and straight into cheese. Sometimes I get distracted by the many varieties of potato salad, which are stored in the same cold case as some of the higher end cheeses.

I sure do love me some tater salad. You think you know, but you have no idea.

As I cut across the "other" side of the aisle to reach the taco dip, I realize my path will inevitably run me straight into a loony-bin-quality-muttering-to-himself-dressed-in-smelly-and-VERY-dirty-clothing...let's just call him "interesting man with the matted beard and mustache."

I can be hypersensitive to folks like that, because I feel they deserve my respect in public just as much as the next person I encounter. I also feel like perhaps they really aren't treated as people most times because of the way they look. Which is sad. As I took my next steps, I purposely continued on my path directly towards IMMM (Interesting Matted Mustache Man) so that it wouldn't appear as if I was trying to dodge him.

If he was normal in appearance, I probably wouldn't have even noticed him and bumped into him. I'm klutzy and oblivious like that - see my logic? This is why staging an almost-accidental collision makes ME feel better about not judging him in public. Yes, my internal logic is that bizarre and unusual.

As I got nearer to him (and ironically, to the taco dip) I made a polite and last-minute swerve to avoid bumping into him.

I must have startled him with my quick motion, because his left hand flew up and he slapped my face.



By a maybe-homeless-but-definitely-dirty man.

In the cheese aisle at the grocery.


Welcome to my life. Thank you, that is all.

Weekend, oh Weekend, where art thou?
Friday, June 09, 2006
I have a sinking feeling that this weekend is going to be one of "those times" when the days go by so quickly as to convince the person that they never really happened at all. Sad.

In an effort to not be depressed about this possibility, I will now share with you the single most hilarious photo I have taken in the past month or so. I cannot look at it without cracking up loudly.

And yet, these are hilariously funny to me as well:

Here's to friends that aren't afraid of singing into imaginary microphones in public, when they KNOW FULL WELL that those with blogs are present and hungry for material. If you're not willing to be total and complete blog fodder, I simply can't be friends with you. Sorry.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

The Secret Life of the Lonely Doll: The Search for Dare Wright

This has got to be the strangest book I have ever had the pleasure to read. About a seriously flawed, disturbed, undeniably mysterious person. Technically a biography, and yet, it's almost a memoir in the third person. Strange and compelling.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006
So there I was, minding my own business on the bus. I looked up from my book in an effort to realign my fuzzy vision because my book is really good but I forgot my reading glasses at home and DAMMIT I WANT TO KEEP READING THIS DAMN BOOK, DAMN IT ALL TO HELL. EVERYTHING IS FUZZY. MUST. RUB. EYES.

As I was saying. I looked up to clear my vision, and noticed that the girl sitting across from me was suffering from summer shoe stress. SSS is common for most women who care about having seasonally appropriate footwear -- some symptoms include massive blisters, an unusual expertise as to what brand of fabric band-aid is best, the presence of a back-up pair of flip-flops, and a sour demeanor displayed on the face. I felt for her, I really, truly did. Her feet were a HOT MESS, as my friend Mallory would say.

See for yourself:

Don't ask me how I got this lovely cameraphone shot...I'm stealth with the Samsung, my friends. Moving on: The red arrows indicate the presence of a gross, sweaty, bandage that was (most likely) hanging half-off, flapping in the breeze. The fuchsia arrow indicates the base of a strap, which was probably torn off in an effort to prevent another blister, or out of sheer frustration. The green arrow indicates a poor fit, which is probably part of the problem in the first place.

On top of feeding the appetites of the foot fetish pervs that are going to find this post through Google, I want to say this to my fellow SSS victims: 'Tis better to be seen commuting in flip-flops and awkwardly changing your shoes outside your office building, than it is to be witnessed (and blogged about) on the CTA with raggedy ass feet.

That is all.

From the very beginning, from the first moment, I may almost say, of my acquaintance with you, your manners impressing me with the fullest belief of your arrogance, your conceit, and your selfish disdain of the feelings of others, were such as to form that ground-work of diapprobation, on which succeeding events have built so immoveable a dislike and I had not known you a month before I felt that you were the last man in the world whom I could ever be prevailed on to marry.

One of the greatest love stories ever told. Period.

I do. Oh you do, do you?
Tuesday, June 06, 2006
This weekend was a whirlwind of long drives and cold drinks (although most definitely NOT simultaneously) as Sean and I made our way to Peoria, IL, for the nuptials of Emily and Joe.

Highlights of the weekend include:

(1) Seeing many sorority sisters for the first time in forever (it's a good thing Emily has such impeccable taste, because they were all the ones I actually enjoyed reuniting with).

(2) Witnessing an inadvertant "case race" only with gin & tonics.

(3) Gleefully abandoning my "I was raised by extremely conservative parents" pantyhose, when I realized no one else was wearing them.

(4) The Hogs everywhere downtown, including an impromptu, post-ceremony 20-Harley escort for the bridal party.

(5) Eating at Culver's. Twice.

Congratulations, you crazy kids. We love you and wish you all the best.

Monday Confession
Monday, June 05, 2006
As many of my good friends know, I have a secret side that doesn't show its face very often. I like to call it my "Inner Jennifer Lopez." In college, my IJL was the teeny voice in my head justifying purchases like backless silver tank tops featuring an array of straps, rhinestone accents, and general glitz.

Other friends have been unlucky enough to witness the appearance of my IJL on the dance floor. One evening post-Cubs-game-where-someone-else-was-buying-the-beer involved me, my long hair, and a huge fan on the mainstage at Cubby Bear. Whoops.

That being said, I must admit something that I've kept in the deepest, darkest caverns of my consciousness.

I love Deep South hip hop.

To wit: I cannot get enough of the "Miss New Booty" song by Bubba Sparxx. Something in it just harks to my inner stripper, my IJL. You all have a stripper song, so don't even TRY TO DENY IT.

Phew! I feel so much better having gotten that out of my system.

Finished my last book surprisingly quickly, and have moved on to something completely different.

"What I've never forgotten and I never will is I played for the greatest people in Chicago...You give the people of Chicago 100 percent of your ability and they will love you. You hit .220, but you give 100 percent and they love you...if you run out balls, you run hard to first, the little things they notice...They were just the kind of people who just knew...If you screw up, you let up, they'll boo. And they're right to do it. I think the people made me better than what I was. You understand what I'm saying? They were for me and they made me feel like a millionaire. There's no place like home. You know where my home is? Chicago."

- Hank Sauer

Friday Confession
Friday, June 02, 2006
I'm not Catholic, but I feel the need to confess a recent sin.

Last night, I purchased The Essential Kenny Loggins, a 2-CD set of his greatest hits. I grew up in the 80's, what do you expect?

The guy at Virgin Megastore was clearly stifling his own laughter as he wrung up my purchase.

This is the part where you all chime in to console me, by admitting an embarassing music purchase you've made (and are secretly proud of).


Thursday, June 01, 2006
Everyone laughed at that, especially Anne who was dark, and the queen whose auburn hair had faded to brown and grey. They would have been fools to do anything but laugh heartily at the king's pleasantry. And I laughed as well, with more joy in my heart than they had in theirs, I should think.

Movin' on Up...Nothing can stop me
Remember that awful dance song from the early 90's? TIME TO BREAK FREE, NOTHING CAN STOP ME...YEEA-UUHHH...

Earlier this week, I got the chance to introduce Sally Field to the new condo (Dick Cheney has already seen it). Full Disclosure: Sally has been bugging me about it for weeks now, and I finally found the time to venture over there during the workday.

It's pretty much gutted right now with a few exceptions. They put down the new floors in the kitchen and bathroom (California Gold slate and white ceramic respectively), and began installing the cabinetry in those rooms. Everything else is pretty much toilet, no work done on the tub/shower, no doors, etc. I discovered that the view is not directly into someone else's unit, but rather a view of a small, gabled, intermediate roof. Which means that if the building is on fire, I can at least get out my windows and jump to my death from the 3rd floor instead of the 11th. So I got that goin' for me.

Sally, who possesses MAD sewing skills, measured the windows for curtains while I wandered around imagining all the appliances that I will lick vigorously once they are installed. Recipients of the first 2 licks will be the dishwasher and garbage disposal. Then maybe a 3rd for the ice maker. Oh, baby. I was so hot and bothered about the machinery that I completely forgot to take pictures with my phone.

Seriously though, seeing the unit again got me really excited about the entire process. It's been such a long process, that I really haven't allowed myself to think about it. I'm fairly sure that this lil' blog will be neglected a bit in the upcoming months, as I pack furiously, sell things on Craigslist, cry about how expensive it is to move, and shop for paint. Maybe I'll buy some boxes this weekend, and get the party started.