Accidentally Left my Halter Top and Beer in the Car
Tuesday, October 31, 2006
On the way home from Madison, WI, this weekend, Sean did something very wonderful for me.

He let me drive out of our way to Cambridge, WI, to visit the Matt Kenseth Fan Club Headquarters. Oh yes, I went there. And I enjoyed myself, thank you very much. Because when you think about it...well, it was only 20 minutes away and he IS my favorite driver.

Regardless, the whole experience was interesting and fun. Matt's most famous trophies are housed there, along with a host of paraphenalia. There's a couple photo albums out, along with scrapbooks of fan letters sent in from children all over the nation. The merchandise store was a foregone conclusion, but I didn't expect to be able to get right up next to some of his cars - you can't touch them, but I could see everything inside! Very interesting, at least to me.

The best part of the visit was the small countertop display of CDs near the front desk/cash register. My initial reaction was something like, "Oh God, his favorite band is Metallica. Please LORD tell me that he didn't try and record a CD."

Turns out? It's his grandma Edith's CD - a recording of her playing classic Christmas carols on the piano. HOW UNBELIEVABLY CUTE IS THAT?! I like him even more now.

Oh, and did I mention that he's currently ranked #1 in the chase for the championship? BOOYAH.

Ridiculous, she told herself, as they walked together across the parking lot. Crazy. Stupid, too. He could be an ax murderer. But the truth was, she was almost too tired to care.

Random Observations: Monday Edition
Monday, October 30, 2006
- The entire Loop smells of pineapple. Not fresh pineapple, but rather canned pineapple in light syrup. It's strange, unexplained, and makes me very, very hungry.

- I don't understand people who compete to be the first person off the curb when the "WALK" light turns on. What is the rush, people?

- Making clothing returns leaves me feeling disciplined and rich (well, richer than I was before) when, in reality, I'm just getting back my own money and need to learn to just try the damn clothing on BEFORE I LEAVE THE STORE, GEEZ.

- I love guacamole. Up until 2-3 years ago, I hated it. What gives?

- Walking back from lunch, I noticed a lovely young woman wearing a skirt that I also own. It's one of my absolute favorites. She was also wearing an adorable matching blazer. I own no such blazer, in fact, it wasn't even in the store when I purchased the skirt. AAARGH. This is what I get for shopping off the clearance rack.

- Chicago weather. WTF?!

- Turns out, a Slim-Fast "Cappucino Delight" shake makes an excellent mobile breakfast. If I open the can in the elevator of my building, I am finished with it by the time I hit the CTA station trash cans. It also actually curbs my snacking during the morning - brilliant!

Update: I think I'm allergic to angora. For whatever reason, the sweater I'm wearing today is making me break out into large, angry, red itchy patches across the neck, shoulders, and upper arms. I HATE YOU, J.CREW. You stupid, overpriced, shady-labor-practices clothing manufacturing giant, you. Too bad I can't afford to buy all cashmere. That would be nice. And probably far less itchy.

Friday, October 27, 2006
Dear Guy who was Walking along the Underpass near Financial & Wells last night at 5:30pm:

I had no idea there was a huge puddle of water along the curb between my car and your pedestrian self. The rain was pouring down, and there are approximately 2 streetlights in that section of the neighborhood. Had I seen the puddle, I never would have driven through at 35 mph. That 10-foot wall of water that I sent crashing into and over you was totally inadvertant. I feel genuinely bad about that, I do.

On the other hand, who the hell walks around in the pouring rain? Hopefully you were soaked already.

Yours truly,


Build Up, Break Down
Thursday, October 26, 2006
What is it about a fire that intrigues people? Appealing to each person's inner pyromaniac, the media continue to write follow-up on the South Loop fire. It would seem that, today, the interest surrounds the architectural preservationist that had grand plans to renovate the building. She ordered the basement boiler to be cut into scrap, and apparently, those acetylene torches set off the fire that ultimately destroyed the building.

Above: Emergency crews close off State Street.

Because I'm somewhat of an architecture buff myself, I will refrain from complaining about the smoke that filled our neighborhood (the dog still smells like campfire, which I find hilarious) and I won't bitch about the CTA chaos either. I think we ALL are thanking our lucky stars that nothing tragic happened to the people working in/around the building, or riding the eL train that passes within 5 feet of it.

For those of you that have not read Erik Larson's Devil In the White City, please do so immediately. It's dense, but also rewarding, and it explains why Chicago continues to have an active architectural legacy -- it also gives history on why this building is so important to so many people.

Anyone who lives in a major metropolitan area can attest to the strange sense of ownership that one gets living "downtown." Sure you give up the green grass and convenience of the suburbs when you live in the city, but what suburbanite can get to Michigan Avenue, or State Street,in less than 10 minutes? City dwellers have a bond with, and a responsibility for each skyscraper, alley, ballpark, and shady looking dry cleaner.

The wrecking crews arrived yesterday afternoon, and by this morning, I noticed that half of the building is already gone. Which is a damn shame.

Update: I have photos of the live fire, as in flames coming out of the windows and also photos of this morning's resulting wreckage, but Blogger is being a bitch and won't let me post them. Which is also a damn shame.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

There is a long list of thing I could talk about, blog about, link to, discuss, and what have you -- but I cannot find a way to make them funny, entertaining, enlightening, and/or relevant. I could talk about how there was an enormous fire in my neighborhood yesterday - one that is still being hosed down by 3(!) fire trucks as of 8:11 am this morning when I walked past it to get to the eL. I could give a rundown of the fantastic wedding this weekend, I could discuss books, or even perhaps throw some ideas out there regarding my upcoming hair cut and donation.

But none of that seems interesting or unique. I am so frustrated.

So, in true Jamie style, I will just send you to another website. Click here for Miss Doxie's hilarious limerick.

Ballroom Blitz
Monday, October 23, 2006
Or blitzed, as it were.

This photo pretty much sums it up.

More later...

Baby, You can Do It, Take your Time
Thursday, October 19, 2006
Since I have tomorrow off of work in preparation for Jen & Jeff's nuptials (drunken bridal party photos on Monday!), and I won't have the internet all weekend, this post is NICE AND LONG for your enjoyment. (bring it on, text tag spammers)

This crazy little meme is from someone's site, I can't remember who - but I know I've seen it everywhere. You basically boldface the line items that you HAVE done, and leave the rest in standard typeface. Interesting list...makes me wonder who wrote it.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

01. bought everyone in the bar a drink
02. swam with wild dolphins
03. climbed a mountain
04. taken a ferrari for a test drive
05. been inside the great pyramid
06. held a tarantula
07. taken a candlelit bath with someone
08. said "i love you" and meant it
09. hugged a tree
10. bungee jumped
11. visited paris
12. watched a lightning storm at sea
13. stayed up all night long and saw the sun rise
14. seen the northern lights
15. gone to a huge sports game
16. walked the stairs to the top of the leaning tower of pisa (the tower was closed for repairs when we were there!)
17. grown and eaten your own vegetables
18. touched an iceberg
19. slept under the stars
20. changed a baby's diaper
21. taken a trip in a hot air balloon
22. watched a meteor shower
23. gotten drunk on champagne
24. given more than you can afford to charity
25. looked up at the night sky through a telescope
26. had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment
27. had a food fight
28. bet on a winning horse
29. asked out a stranger
30. had a snowball fight
31. screamed as loudly as you possibly can
32. held a lamb
33. seen a total eclipse
34. ridden a roller coaster
35. hit a home run
36. danced like a fool and not cared who was looking
37. adopted an accent for an entire day
38. actually felt happy about your life, even for just a moment
39. had two hard drives for your computer
40. visited all 50 states
41. taken care of someone who was drunk
42. had amazing friends
43. danced with a stranger in a foreign country
44. watched whales
45. stolen a sign
46. backpacked in europe
47. taken a road-trip
48. gone rock climbing
49. midnight walk on the beach
50. gone sky diving
51. visited ireland
52. been heartbroken longer than you were actually in love
53. in a restaurant, sat at a stranger's table and had a meal with them
54. visited japan
55. milked a cow
56. alphabetized your cds
57. pretended to be a superhero
58. sung karaoke
59. lounged around in bed all day
60. played touch football
61. gone scuba diving
62. kissed in the rain
63. played in the mud
64. played in the rain
65. gone to a drive-in theater
66. visited the great wall of china
67. started a business
68. fallen in love and not had your heart broken (so far, so good)
69. toured ancient sites
70. taken a martial arts class
71. played d&d for more than 6 hours straight
72. gotten married
73. been in a movie
74. crashed a party
75. gotten divorced
76. gone without food for 5 days
77. made cookies from scratch
78. won first prize in a costume contest
79. ridden a gondola in venice
80. gotten a tattoo
81. rafted the snake river
82. been on television news programs as an "expert"
83. gotten flowers for no reason
84. performed on stage
85. been to las vegas
86. recorded music
87. eaten shark
88. kissed on the first date
89. gone to thailand
90. bought a house
91. been in a combat zone
92. buried one/both of your parents
93. been on a cruise ship
94. spoken more than one language fluently
95. performed in rocky horror
96. raised children
97. followed your favorite band/singer on tour
98. passed out cold
99. taken an exotic bicycle tour in a foreign country
100. picked up and moved to another city to just start over
101. walked the golden gate bridge
102. sang loudly in the car, and didn't stop when you knew someone was looking
103. had plastic surgery
104. survived an accident that you shouldn't have survived
105. wrote articles for a large publication
106. lost over 100 pounds
107. held someone while they were having a flashback
108. piloted an airplane
109. touched a stingray
110. broken someone's heart
111. helped an animal give birth
112. won money on a t.v. game show
113. broken a bone
114. gone on an african photo safari
115. had a facial part pierced other than your ears
116. fired a rifle, shotgun, or pistol
117. eaten mushrooms that were gathered in the wild

side note - where is 118?

119. had major surgery
120. had a snake as a pet
121. hiked to the bottom of the grand canyon
122. slept for more than 30 hours over the course of 48 hours
123. visited more foreign countries than u.s. states
124. visited all 7 continents
125. taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days
126. eaten kangaroo meat
127. eaten sushi (yuck!)
128. had your picture in the newspaper
129. changed someone's mind about something you care deeply about
130. gone back to school
131. parasailed
132. touched a cockroach
133. eaten fried green tomatoes
134. read The iliad - and the odyssey (not voluntarily)
135. selected one "important" author who you missed in school, and read
136. killed and prepared an animal for eating
137. skipped all your school reunions
138. communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language
139. been elected to public office
140. written your own computer language
141. thought to yourself that you're living your dream
142. had to put someone you love into hospice care
143. built your own PC from parts
144. sold your own artwork to someone who didn't know you
145. had a booth at a street fair
146. dyed your hair
147. been a dj
148. shaved your head
149. caused a car accident
150. saved someone's life

Smell my Feet...Give me something GOOD to eat
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
Top Ten Reasons to Love Halloween

10. Orange and Wild Cherry StarBurst candies

9. Making fun of people who take advantage of dressing up and just wear their underwear, or something equally inappropriate, and pass themselves off as "naughty" whatevers...naughty nurse, naughty schoolgirl, ad nauseum

8. Romantic comedies are always empty at the theaters because everyone is seeing the scary movie/horror film du jour

7. Sour Lifesaver Gummies

6. Adorable little children going door-to-door in homemade costumes

5. Taking the day off of work (well, this year at least)

4. Candy Corn. Duh.

3. Pumpkins around the house!

2. Watching drunk people walk around in costume - not as cute as the children, but infinitely more entertaining

1. SNICKERS. Need I say more?

Every so often I get a glimpse (on a very small scale) of what parenthood must be like.

Recently, the dog has been on an alley/road/curb/gutter/street eating binge. If I don't monitor every moment of our walks, I inevitably look down to find him chewing on something. So it was no surprise to me when, last night, he went from calm to vomitous in 2.2 seconds flat. Literally - one moment we were sitting on the couch watching The Notebook on television, and the next moment he was hacking up a stomachful of churned-up, foamy looking white gunk. It came on so quickly that he didn't even bother to get up to vomit, he just yacked directly into my lap.

I think maybe he was protesting the movie?

Either way, it's strange to be vomited on in one breath and in the next, worry about the person/being who just blew chunks all over you. Dealing with vomit is a big part of parenting, no?

Here we have the barf-o-riffic creature in his natural habitat - the begging position. He is probably also wondering why I don't just let him drive the car for pete's sake.

And I Don't Even Really Like Football
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
Ummm, hello? Last night's game? I have three things to say.

1. BRIAN URLACHER. That crazy half-ton of a man was all over everybody - perhaps dating Paris Hilton was just a premeditated, strategic exercise in tackling.

2. MONSTERS OF THE MIDWAY, BABY. The last time I was this excited about the Bears, I knew every step to the Superbowl Shuffle. Yes, I was 5, but if Jim McMahon can manage to dance it WITH HIS SUNGLASSES ON, I'm fairly certain the average 1st grader can handle it. Come to think of it, that may have been the first choreographed routine I ever memorized.

3. REX GROSSMAN'S HAIR. I looked for 15 minutes to try and find an image of this. The only thing more distracting than Rex Grossman's heinously poor performance on the field was his poorly highlighted, Jason-Schwartzman-esque hairdo. Oh, Rexy. Not so sexy. Snip snip.

Reader Contributions Welcome
Monday, October 16, 2006
Joined Netflix - yes, I know I'm about 2 years late on this one.

Movies I put in my queue because I've always wanted to see them
The Red Shoes
Finding Neverland
Terms of Endearment
Born Into Brothels
Annie Hall

Movies that I put in queue because they sounded interesting/unique
The Importance of Being Earnest
ABT does Swan Lake
Kramer VS. Kramer
The Anniversary Party

Movies that I will put in my queue because my friends/readers suggest them
(your comments here)

What the Bride Wants, The Bride Gets
Behold, the terrific trio that is myself, Dick Cheney (with a beard! is retired now and refuses to shave!) and Sally Field.

So, the black dress won out over the navy. I even wore the uncomfortable 40's era stilettos, and they weren't all that painful! I do, however, admit that my resistance to the pain MAY have had something to do with the many beers I had over the course of the afternoon/evening.

In other news, why on EARTH does my head look so humongous in this photo?

Thank God it's Friday
Friday, October 13, 2006
In the not-so-distant past, I really disliked country music...I have opened up quite a bit in the last 5 years and now embrace many artists of that genre. So I must admit that I'm sad to hear of the recent media attention surrounding country singer Sara Evans. She has some serious vocal chops and great things going for her, so this news makes me sad.

Not that this discounts ANYONE ELSE'S suffering at the hands of divorce, but this particular story just seems to hit home today.

It's cold here in Chicago, and even though the sun is out, I'm craving the warmth of a down comforter and the company of my loved ones (including the kind that shed on said down comforter). Hope you all stay warm this weekend - wedding fashion recap on Monday!

Get A Room, Already
I have a love/hate relationship with the photography aspect of the blogging world. On one hand, I adore Flickr and all of its functionality. I think it's mildly entertaining that everyone -- stay at home parents and executives alike -- are using PhotoShop to the Nth degree and calling themselves the next Ansel Adams. This entire revolution has brought DIY photography and writing to its knees, in a good way. How awesome is it that the fine arts are becoming increasingly accessible to the layperson?! I think it's wonderful.

And then, there are those people (you know who they are) who post photos that are somewhat inappropriate. By "inappropriate," I do not mean questionable pictures of children (do you hear me, Cindy Crawford?) or the like. I am talking about people who post photos of themselves kissing.

It's like my complete and total PDA nightmare. Those are the photos that are meant to be put on walls of your home, not homepages of your blog, or the backdrop for your MySpace page. Double ick. Not only do I hate to see people kissing/canoodling/making out/what have you in public, but THEN THEY HAVE TO GO AND POST A PHOTO OF THEM KISSING ON THE INTERNET? What the hell is that?! Why don't you just take a snapshot (literally) of a certain moment, of a certain activity that makes others uncomfortable, AND FREEZE IT FOR ALL ETERNITY TO STARE AT?! GAHHHH.

Can of Worms
Thursday, October 12, 2006
Wow, leave it to The Huffington Post to get right to the point. The very sticky, controversial, provocative point.

The votes are in...and the only thing left to do is ask myself, "What would Roseanne Rosannadanna do?"

She is my style guru, after all.

Thanks for your input, everybody. I sincerely appreciate it!

For the LOVE OF GOD somebody help me
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
This weekend, I will be attending the wedding of my good friend Heather. She is marrying a super nice guy named Scott. I met Heather when we both pledged the same sorority in college. She is the only person I know who can manage to be flat-out honest and yet completely diplomatic at the same time. Perhaps this is why she is a lawyer.

Long story short, I am having a hell of a time trying to figure out what to wear to her wedding. The gorgeous, kelly green, grecian style halter dress that I ordered online didn't work out - it was too cheaply made for the price, and quite frankly, I just didn't look right in it. So last night was a blur of obscenities as I struggled to narrow down 2 final outfits.

You know, I feel a bit like Cher Horowitz in Clueless, only without the massive wardrobe and electric closet display rail system.

Then it occurred to me that THIS(!) is exactly the reason I have a blog. I'm going to make you lovely readers decide my outfit. You will have all final input and decision making powers, so use them wisely. Write-in votes will not be accepted - you have two candidates and you must choose.

Seen here, we have a navy silk dress, accompanied by matching Ralph Lauren slingbacks. The dress is very comfy, and the shoes? Well, they're working on it.

Here is option two - a black, wool crepe shift, with matching Nine West 40's-style stilettos. Shoes are a bit painful, but the dress makes me feel like Jessica Rabbit (in a good way).

My apologies for the poor photo angle - gotta love how it adds 10 pounds of shadow. THAT'S HOT.

Paging Van Halen
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
Right now I am...

craving half-cooked brownies.
procrastinating getting my work done.
regretting this morning's hasty decision to wear "Escape"
wondering where the hell my lipgloss is
annoyed with my coworker's cold (she's a wet sneezer)
trying to get a Toby Keith song out of my head
enjoying my very soft and cozy sweater
considering cleaning my desk
working on a budget (for the millionth time)
writing a list of shoes that need to be purged
out of good ideas for blog content
starting my holiday gift purchasing/brainstorming

Fired Up
Monday, October 09, 2006
This past week, I have been really inspired by Alicat at Something So Clever. She has the most luscious photos of food on her website - known in many blogging circles as "food porn," and they always make me want to cook.

Those of you that know me can stop laughing now. Thanks for that, by the way.

So this weekend, I got it into my thick noggin that I was going to make not 1, but 4 new dishes. I actually purchased 8 lbs. of ground beef at the grocery store, much to the entertainment of the cashier. I believe her exact reaction was, "I done never seen such a tiny person buy so much meat all at one time."

Thank you, thank you, I'll be here all week.

In reality it was mortifying. But I managed to make 2 of the 4 recipes - burrito pie, and my favorite slow-cooker chili. I don't think I need to clarify that Mexican food is my favorite of all time, OF EVER. And in true fashion, the dishes that I made were really good, but didn't photograph very well.

Next up in the batting order: Sweet Potato/Onion/Almond Roast, and Amish Casserole (thanks, Alicat!).

Gag Me With A Spoon: A City Living Primer
You know what really grinds my gears?

When you get into the subway station, and it absolutely reeks of hot, fresh vomit. Not only do you then have to try NOT to gag before you get to your train, but you also have to watch where you walk - in case you step in the puddle of aforementioned vomit. AND? If you manage to avoid the area in question, it means you found it and actually had to LOOK at a big pile of regurgitated food product. It's like the universe (or some early-rising drunkard) has conspired to give you 3 ways to get sick before getting to work! Brilliant! Gag!

And that's what really grinds my gears.


This entry brought to you by the Family Guy and the Chicago Transit Authority.

Where Can a Girl Find Some Pepper Spray?
Friday, October 06, 2006
In a lot of ways, I'm a really stupid person. I take chances that I shouldn't, and I'm not nearly as cautious as I need to be -- what with living in the city and all. In the past, I've always dismissed the idea of a certain neighborhood being more dangerous than another, reminding myself that rapes, murders, and carjackings (oh my!) happen in affluent/trendy areas of Chicago just as often as they do in the less popular/tony areas. Hell - in the month of August alone, there were 2 stabbings and a mugging just around the corner from my old apartment - not to mention the whole bloody puddle/foot/handprint situation in my building's courtyard. There are 4 registered sex offenders in the building next door! I'm no fool -- I know that even though rents are higher and sidewalks are greener, doesn't mean that there are't any nutjobs living up the street.

When I moved to my new place (a grittier downtown area - quieter at night), I told myself I would pick up a keychain pepper spray. I knew that 95% of the time, I'd be walking the dog at night by myself. I know I should always be on guard, but I have to admit that it's difficult. It's sort of like defensive driving - you know you should do it all the time, but that goes against human nature. We can't be "on" all the time, it's just too stressful. I can only spend so much time on a walk keeping track of exactly who is in front of me, exactly who is behind me, where is the nearest streetlight?, how quickly each person is walking, are they alone?, what direction are they going in?, etc. It's madness, but it's a necessary evil.

Until I can find some pepper spray somewhere, I figure I only have one option. Clearly, I need to practice my mean and intimidating looks so that all potential crazies will stay away from me and my attack dog. Here is a photo from last night's rehearsal in the creepy alley behind my building.

Maybe I'll just walk around like this to repel people, seeing as how I apparently don't have a neck in the photo. Awesome. I am so royally screwed.

Sanitation Station: Thoughts on liquid bleach
Thursday, October 05, 2006
I love cleaning - the frenzy of scrubbing, the smell of chemicals, the instant gratification of something that was formerly nasty turning into something you could lick (if you really wanted to).

I also love free stuff, because REALLY, who doesn't?!

These two loves of mine converged a couple weeks ago when I received an email from a wonderful lady named Maureen. She had read about my love affair with bleach from a comment I'd left on the comments page of AM's post about being wary of liquid bleach. I am the opposite of my dear friend AM - I would drink bleach if it weren't, well, lethal. What's not to love about something that cleans everything it touches? It's like the Jesus of cleaning products!

This entry has been brough to you by the letter H, for "hyperbole."

Maureen sent me a FREE(!) full-sized bottle of Clorox "Ultimate Care Premium Bleach." It was either going to be a raging success, or a dismal failure, as I have all white linens and towels. I like to be able to shock sheet and towels - both to brighten and disinfect.

Wow, this is a SUPER FUN and interesting post. Hang in there with me. I have a point.

This bleach works! It's not as powerful, or as effective, as its toxic granddaddy...but it gets the job done and is admittedly much more approachable to consumers. The scent of chlorine is, after all, an acquired taste. I think I will save this "premium" bleach for my white clothing loads, and keep the hard stuff for my towels and sheets. I recommend it - try it for yourself!

Founder of Lands' End Dies

New Look
Wednesday, October 04, 2006
I've been eyeing (is that even a word?) the free Blogger-based designs made by the funny and formidable Miss Zoot. So this afternoon, I decided to bite the bullet. And here you have it, in all of its blue glory, minus my Flickr link b/c I can't figure out how to put it up there.

And I love it. Hopefully this will tide me over until I can take the time to sit down with Sean and actually work on the Actual Website That is All Mine and Doesn't Require a Third-Party Host. You know - the one I got all excited about in April, but never debuted?

That's because it looks exactly the same as it did then, and I haven't moved anything over from Blogger. So ask me how Zoot manages to make a trillion clever and sassy templates, but I can't figure one out? On second thought, don't ask me that - just read the post below and give me all the advice you can.

Thanks, Z!

SOS, Please Someone Help Me
Umm, yes. I highly enjoy the Rihanna song noted above.

Stop laughing.

Soooooo.....I've requested a computer from the powers-that-be-aka-Santa-Claus-aka-Dick-Cheney-and-Sally-Field for my Christmas gift. YES, I'm aware that it's a big thing to ask for. YES, I still get spoiled by my parents, and not always just on the holidays. YES, I operate this fabulous, groundbreaking blog from work.

and the world comes to a sccrrreeeeeeeeechhhing halt

That's right, I don't have a computer at home.

Here's the deal - you comment with your suggestions about the inevitable computer questions: laptop or desktop?, mac or PC?, black or white?, wine or beer? Ahem.

I need your help! This is your opportunity to tell me exactly what I should get! Go now, run to the comments section! GO!

Side note: Anyone that reads this blog that also happens to be a teacher with a possible significant technology discount needs to call me immediately with details. And by "someone," I mean my sister, Joey.

Air Travel: The Good (Part 2 in a series of 2)
1. Patient airline employees. Because if I was one of them? I wouldn't be able to maintain an acceptable level of decorum, and I'm pretty sure what little sense of humor I have left would be gone after the first week.

2. People with well-behaved children. Bonus points for the families that travel in matching jogging suits - funny, but cute at the same time.

3. Groups of business travelers getting smashed in the airport bars. If that isn't prime people watching, I don't know what is.

4. Tourists who stop by the displays of curvy, neck support pillows outside the tchotchke stores, put on the pillows, then gather together and take photographs.

5. Woman (usually business travelers on a day trip, or so I imagine) struggling to walk in shoes that are CLEARLY uncomfortable. I feel you, ladies. I sure do. Need a band-aid?

6. Couples that travel together - the ones where the highly manicured woman is wandering around while her (usually) beefy companion struggles to follow while carrying all of their baggage.

7. Men and women of the Armed Forces. I always imagine they are headed home to their girlfriends, boyfriends, spouses, families, etc. Then when that visual image is completed, I wonder how they manage to travel with absolutely NOTHING on them. Have you ever noticed that the ONLY THING they're carrying is their boarding pass? Where is all their stuff, huh? No book? No magazine? No iPod? I'm almost in as much awe about this as I am about how they're serving our country on my behalf.

8. Children excited to be going on a first trip - I absolutely love all the little frog shaped backpacks, Dora The Explorer rolling cases, and "Going to Grandma's" suitcases. It makes me think about what I used to pack when we traveled -- you know the essentials...Lipsmackers, MadLibs, books, markers, my teddy bear, an ugly windjacket of some type and kind, 174 keychains, and a backup pair of jelly shoes. Everytime I see a child with a SpongeBob Squarepants roller case, I want to scoop them up and ask them where they are going.

Side note: that airline commercial where the little girl goes on a "business trip in Paris" with her world traveler father? Kills me every time - tears, the works. I can't help it - it's just so damn cute!

Air Travel: The Bad (Part 1 in a series of 2)
Tuesday, October 03, 2006
1. People from warmer climates complaining about the cold. Folks, I'll grant you this -- it's Chicago and we are all generally accustomed to a colder environment. But let's not forget that we're INSIDE the damn airport. Our A/C is the same shit you've got down in Biloxi or Baton Rouge, or wherever the hell you've connected from. Go buy yourself a cheesy airport sweatshirt, and shame on you for not dressing in layers!

2. People who cut in line, also known as Those Mysteriously Afflicted with a Supernatural Sense of Personal Entitlement. Queue jumpers should be shot on sight. Enough said.

3. People who stubbornly drag broken luggage behind them. This isn't the buck you shot last week in Sturgeon Bay - it's your suitcase. If it doesn't have wheels, you will actually have to pick it up. You know, into the air. And carry it. With your hands and arms.

4. People who bring smelly takeaway onto the planes. These are usually the same people that will then sit down next to me, and slurp/chomp like maniacs. DO YOU SEE A WHITE TABLECLOTH AND A CENTERPIECE? Oh yes, that's right, YOU DON'T. Because Seat 19C isn't a restaurant. For the love of all things holy and righteous, take your krauty reuben sandwich elsewhere.

5. Men wearing shorts, tiki shirts, and loafers with no socks. I regret to inform you that you are no longer on the golf course.

6. People who claim to be TOTALLY UNF***ING AWARE of the most recent security regulations and expectations. You're about to fly through the sky in a glorified (albeit atmospherically balanced) tin can. Show some initiative, for Pete's sake. You, and your 19 children attempting to carry on mousse cans and Sally Hansen bonus-sized bottles of hairspray, are the reason for our mutual delay, and my sour mood. Also, you have to take off your shoes. No, you cannot haggle with the TSA employees about the shoe policy - this is not a negotiation, or a yard sale, and our collective safety and security is not the same as a one-eyed teddy bear you found in a "Everything is $2" bin.

7. In that same vein, families with multiple children and no stroller(s). If your kids can walk, fantastic! Congratulations! That doesn't mean you get to meander around a Hudson Booksellers store while your teeny tiny offspring terrorize any innocent bystanders that DEIGN to walk between the sunglasses kiosk and the Starbucks. I don't care if it takes a leash, folks, you are responsible for your children.

8. People that walk into the center of the hall, only to slow down (and eventually stop) to look around at the ceiling, signage, sky, flags, maps, etc. Airport hallways are like a highway -- do you see me pulling into the left lane, then stopping to check a map? NO. Bear right, and would it kill you to look over your shoulder before you stop? (oh sorry, that last question was directed towards the frazzled woman who turned on her heel somewhere around Gate B7 and plowed directly into me, and the other poor, unsuspecting bastard walking behind her)

9. People who stage layover camping sessions in the book/magazine stores. How do you expect all the shorts-and-loafer-wearing men to reach their copies of Hustler and Rolling Stone when you're sitting in front of the rack, 100 pages deep into the latest Jhumpa Lahiri novel?! Hmm? Answer me that. No, better yet -- buy the damn book and move along.

10. And finally, those arrogant SOBs that don't give right of way to all those suckers running to try and make a flight. We've all been there, and for whatever reason, sometimes it's simply necessary to sprint to the gate. You, yes you - the pushy man with visible chest hair poking out of your shirt -- it is NOT YOUR JOB to decide who gets to make their flight. If you see someone running towards you, or hear someone running up behind you, this isn't the time to police them with your actions. Just because your faux-Prada-and-way-too-much-eyeliner-wearing wife is lagging behind you and you aren't in a hurry, doesn't mean that you own the pace of the place. Let them by already, and save the body language lectures for another time.

Monday, October 02, 2006
Oh, how I regret not having worn a bikini for the entire year I was 26. If anyone young is reading this, go right this minute, put on a bikini and don't take it off until you're 34.

Weekend Tally
Dogs Kenneled: 1
Allergy Issues: 4
Boxes of tissues destroyed: 3
Doses of Claritin that didn't work: 2
Eyes Scratched Raw: 2
Apartments Vacuumed: 1
Loads of Laundry Done: 3
Very Smelly Dogs Retrieved: 1
Cars Fixed: 1
Fancy Dinners Eaten: 1
Hands of Texas Hold-Em Won: 5!
Toiletries Confiscated at Airport: 3
Celebrities on Outbound Flight: 0
Celebrities on Inbound Flight: 1 (Jared that Subway Sandwich Guy)

All in all, a banner weekend!

Coming soon to FFP: book mania, muffin tops, a dog named Mr. Pretzels, and why I should never try to wake up early ever again.