Two Way Streets
Wednesday, February 28, 2007
My condo is a comfortable place to be, at least for me -- I am always thinking about ways to make it a little more "live-able" and welcoming to others. When I bought the place, I had this master plan of what furniture would go where, how many folding chairs to keep, whether I should ditch the ottoman and buy a coffee table, etc. Then I realized how house poor I was and quickly ditched all those ideas in favor of things purchased through Craigslist and (gasp!) IKEA. I know, I know - it's not terribly mature of me, but it SURE IS CHEAP. And because I'm not spending a ton of money, I don't feel guilty changing my mind.

Case in point: my desk. I bought a cheap, veneered dining table from this woman, thinking, "this will make a great desk, and I can use the other end for sewing!" Then I got it home, and realized that (thanks in large part to the computer Sean gave me which is roughly 5 times the size I thought it would be) I didn't have quite as much space as I had hoped. The desk area continues to be an evolving section of my apartment - both mentally and literally. Sometimes I can't stand the visible wires, the mismatched desk accessories, and the creative clutter...other times, I think about how crazy I am for overanalyzing.

Long story short, here it is: the place that I blog from (almost always). It is also the place where I incorrectly put prepositions on the ends of sentences, upload bad photos onto Flickr, and obsessively reorganize stacks of papers that need to be scanned and filed away. Click to enlarge:

Please note the following:
- window frame project that is STILL UNDONE. GAH. someday, it will be hung flush on the wall next to the desk to hold photos, papers, whatevers.
- shredder from Staples that eats CDs. Yes, I am a massive sucker for good advertising.
- empty plastic bins that serve no purpose, yet provide an eerie sense of (false) organization and productivity
- multiple composition notebooks that contain magazine and newspaper clippings of interior design photos, furniture, beauty products, etc. Things to remember, things to which I aspire, things I want to buy someday, or make.
- many, many wires. anyone want to buy me a wireless keyboard and mouse?
- old impressionist-themed address book from high school.
- baskets containing office supplies because I am a moron that bought a dining table, and not a real desk with DRAWERS
- two scented soy candles: one mulberry, one green tea
- acrylic table lamp from Target, my favorite place in all the world
- a fancy, schmancy printer/copier/scanner with all sorts of features that I will never know how to use because I am a technology Luddite. The more functionality you give me, the less likely I am to use it.

Well, hell - now I'm REALLY tired
Tuesday, February 27, 2007
Topping the list of bad ideas for this week: Trying to avoid an early bedtime (brought on by residual jetlag) by searching for clips of Craig Ferguson (of CBS' Late Late Show fame) on YouTube.

Now it's 9:42 and I'm exhausted. Damn, he is funny. And I am stupid.

That is all.

It's shit like THIS that gives everyone else a bad name.

Let's hope it doesn't pop out and roll under the couch!
Monday, February 26, 2007
Am I laziest dog owner on the planet, or does this seem like one of the best pet products on the market?

Seriously. I'm at work all day...I'd like to think that the dog voluntarily plays and runs around while I'm gone, but I'm almost certain that he just lays around like a hairy, black slug. Besides, I don't think he's ever done anything for the sheer enjoyment of it -- much like myself, he is motivated almost solely by food.

Buying this just might cure my 9-to-5 based pet guilt.

Just Can't Get Enough
Tired. So tired. My body says it's 5pm, but it's only 10 am Chicago time. Booo. I will, therefore, be invoking the rarely used "oh my God I'm back at work after 9 days and have so many emails that when I booted up Outlook, it crashed my system" card - here is a meme from Alfred's Mom and just in the nick of time, too.

Join in, if you care to.

1. WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE? The character in a television commercial for canned peas (allegedly), my older sister chose the name.

2. WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU CRIED? Last week, for the Alps? They have beaten me down.

3. DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING? I do, but it's not very consistent.

4. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LUNCH MEAT? Buddig Chicken. Yes, I'm aware that it is completely gross, but that's something I'll just have to live with.



7. DO YOU USE SARCASM A LOT? No, not at all! How dare you infer that I am anything other than sincere!


9. WOULD YOU BUNGEE JUMP? absolutely not.



12. DO YOU THINK YOU ARE STRONG? yes - more mentally than physically, but after 10 days of cheese, bread, and chocolate, I think a trip to the gym is in order.

13. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ICE CREAM? Cookies-n-Cream, hands down.


15. RED OR PINK? Neither, thank you.


17. WHO DO YOU MISS THE MOST? My niece and nephew.

19. WHAT COLOR PANTS AND SHOES ARE YOU WEARING? charcoal grey and black, respectively

20 WHAT WAS THE LAST THING YOU ATE? a McDonald's hashbrown.

21. WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW? nothing - just general office white noise...distant conversations, binders clicking open and shut, and the sound of my keyboard.


23. FAVORITE SMELLS? newly clean laundry, freshly cut grass, and garlic


25.PERSON WHO SENT THIS TO YOU? taken from C-Dawg's site, as referenced above

26. HAIR COLOR? Orange/Red

27. EYE COLOUR green


29. FAVORITE FOOD? Mexican!

30.SCARY MOVIES OR HAPPY ENDINGS? Oh jesus, how I hate scary movies.

31. LAST MOVIE YOU WATCHED? On the plane - The Prestige, Something's Gotta Give, and My Big Fat Greek Wedding

32. WHAT COLOR SHIRT ARE YOU WEARING? black sweater set

33. SUMMER OR WINTER? winter!

34. HUGS OR Kisses? hugs.

35. FAVORITE DESSERT? coffee-flavored ice cream



38. WHAT BOOK ARE YOU READING? "Lay That Trumpet in Our Hands"

39. WHAT IS ON YOUR MOUSE PAD? don't have one.

40. WHAT DID YOU WATCH ON TV LAST? the morning news.

41. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE SOUND? running water in the form of rain, usually


43. WHAT IS THE FURTHEST YOU HAVE BEEN FROM HOME? Austria or Italy, summer of 1993

44. DO YOU HAVE A SPECIAL TALENTS? Dancing, I guess? Also my superpowers of over-analysis.

45. WHERE WERE YOU BORN? just outside Atlanta, GA.

46. WHOSE ANSWERS ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO GETTING BACK? Anyone, assuming people still read this site!

* Depeche Mode

This keyboard is strange
Saturday, February 24, 2007
Did you know that keyboards in Switzerland are majorly f'ed up? They have moved all the critical punctuation, the y and z keys are flip-flopped, and last night I spent about 15 minutes searching for the @ sign. Sad.

The trip has been great, and I am sure you will all be enraptured with my photos coming up next week (when I am drowning in work and laundry and therefore unable to post actual strings of words...what do we call them? oh yes, sentences).

Thank God this hotel actually has free internet access, so I have been able to take the last hour and check in on some of my favorite blogs - because if you expected me to go a week without reading Dooce, Sundry, Jonniker, or Tequila, you are ca'razy.

Yes, folks, I spend the money to wander around the Alps, and here I am - sitting at the computer. But isn't that what vacation is all about?

I will be back early next week with tales of freezing cold hot tubs, whiplash, chocolate, ibuprofen, my silent massage, and how Anna Nicole Smith and Britney Spears are on European CNN more often than Mozambique cyclones and genocide in Darfur. No wonder people hate Americans.

I'll Be Back on the 26th
Friday, February 16, 2007

Holy Apathy, Batman!
Thursday, February 15, 2007
So yeah, I've been ignoring my blog. Sorry. I've been busy:

- thinking about foreign currency exchange rates
- teaching myself Photoshop
- creating redundant, yet different (!) packing lists (er...spreadsheets)
- trying to hide the luggage from the dog
- downloading iTunes EVERYTHING
- making excuses for not updating my blog...

and the faulty logic goes on and on.

I have, however, surprised myself with my own taste in music. I managed to download a little bit of everything last night - from Juice Newton to Lady Sovereign, Panic! at the Disco to New Order, Depeche Mode to Jamelia, and even some Rilo Kiley, Sugarland, and Nina Simone in there. I'm such a weirdo.

Any last minute advice on how NOT to die while skiing/paragliding/snowboarding/sledding? Thoughts on how to keep warm OTHER than copious amounts of alcohol or chemical packets in my boots? Can anyone tell me why we didn't decide on a weeklong trip to Puerto Vallarta? Anyone? Bueller?

Seriously, though, I am pumped to be headed out tomorrow. I haven't been to Europe in a looooong time, and my German is very, very rusty. When you hit the bars tomorrow night, think of me sitting at O'Hare, worrying about the dog and waiting for my Ambien to kick in (and hoping that I don't fall so deeply asleep that I keep the entire plane awake with my snoring, and/or wet myself).

Good times, good times.

Dear Chicago Weather,

The fur-lined hood for my down coat is at the dry cleaners. My dog is, at any given time, only 3-4 inches from the ground (when standing). I live in one of the windiest sections of the city. So what were you thinking, hmmm?

Seriously. WTF?!


Weekend Update with Jamie Jamerkins
Monday, February 12, 2007
- I had the distinct pleasure of introducing "D**k in a Box" to Sean last night, via YouTube. He hadn't seen or heard of it, which was unthinkable to me, because it is an SNL skit that is actually funny. Then it occurred to me that Sean actually WORKS at work (and home) , and might be too focused to pay attention to the latest and greatest developments on YouTube. Hmm.

- Did anyone else think that Joan Baez looked so amazing on the Grammys last night? I thought she really looked fantastic - trim, healthy, and glowing! Joan Baez! Who knew? Also, artists who surprised me by looking glam and happy: Mary J. Blige (but only when she took those ridiculous faux braids off), Shakira, and Natalie Cole. Thumbs down to the WAY-too-skinny Carrie Underwood, Rhianna, and Leann Rimes. I was really hoping the whole "sternum as a washboard" trend was on the way out. Yuck.

- Also on the Grammys - Police? Yay! Beyonce? Yawn. Zzzzzzz. Smokey Robinson? AAAAAHHHHHH! I also fell off the couch when I saw his face. I do believe Smokey's face has been done over one time too many - he looked like a dark Tom Jones, minus the chest hair. Crikey.

- Steak with Toronto Rub from Whole Foods? DE-LISH. Mmm-mmm-mmm. The mere thought of it makes my carnivorous beat wildly.

- I got a chance to catch up with a bunch of sorority sisters yesterday at a baby shower for my dear friend Kim. Very ironic, given my recent post. Fortunately, the ones I thought were/are completely irritating weren't even invited! Score! It was so nice to see them, truly.

- I have officially fallen back in love with the fruit bars and fruit leathers by Archer Farms. I picked some snacks up at Target yesterday (in case I get stranded on the side of the Alps with low blood sugar). It is so wrong, my love for these little wrong, and yet, so right.

- Last night, I synced my iPod with my iTunes for the first time in 1.5 years. Yes.

- 4 years ago, today, I had my first official date with Sean. 4 years (and 15 days) ago, I was a pro cheerleader in the AFL, 15 pounds lighter, working in a ridiculously low-paying, no-appreciation job in the travel industry, and I got dragged (kicking and screaming) to a house party in Lincoln Park (ick) by my friend Kate where I met a funny guy with a nice smile, who was wearing a black sweater with 3 stripes across the chest.

Piiiiiii, BeTA, PHI for you, Pi Beta PHI for Me
Thursday, February 08, 2007
Jonna has done it again. I don't how she manages to post blog entries that make me all introspective (and shit), but she does. Topic o' the day? Greek Rush.

I didn't have any preconceived notions about Greek Rush when I entered my university years. My sister had rushed, and ultimately deactivated. My mother attended nursing school, where is an entirely different social hierarchy - much like a sorority, but not technically greek. My father was in two different fraternities, and all I had ever heard were stories of parties gone wrong, hitchhiking to another college to find free beer, and how he and my uncle once got this stray dog really drunk.

I hadn't really put much thought into my own Greek ambitions (or lack thereof), but rather wanted to wait until I got settled at school and met some friends. But alas, I am a joiner by nature, so I ultimately found myself all dolled up, headed towards campus and loud, singsong previews of a life I wasn't sure I wanted.

My memories of rush are dim - I remember running into girls that I had danced with that previous summer, wondering if I wanted to be in a house with them - wondering if I'd even be given the option, truthfully. I vividly remember saying "no thank you" to tiny cups of snacks, wondering what they thought of girls who eat during rush. I had too many glasses of watered-down lemonade, and was forced to wonder what would happen if I needed to use the restroom. I mostly just remember being completely overwhelmed and very confused by what I would later find out is the largest Greek system in the nation. Guess I missed that section of the campus tour.

Flash forward to final stage - down to 3 houses, only one of which I was particularly in love with (this is almost always the perfect setup for a big disappointment in the rush process). There I stood, on the front steps of Chi Omega, trembling in my ugly gold heels (which matched my gold cocktail dress - a reject from a Supremes audition - only white). I think I may have had tights on, but whatever, it wasn't the ubiquitous black dress that every other girl was wearing. I figured that the house that "got" my deliberate sense of fashion irony would be the one I would choose.

Thanks to the "mutual preference" system of scantrons, sweat, and tears, I ended up being "cross cut," or at least that is what we called it. My second choice had chosen me first, my first choice had chosen me second, so I automatically ended up receiving a bid from my third choice (who had chosen me first list). Confused yet?

The wackiest part of the whole thing is that in my confusion about what went wrong at Chi-O, I failed to realize that I should have picked Kappa Delta first (I would later have many close friends in that house). So Pi Phi it was. I spent my entire first year ambivalent, trying not to make TOO many friends, always leaving myself an out, if need be. I thought I'd hate it - thought I'd regret it forever.

Two years later, hell - 6 years later, I'm so proud that I stuck it through. Yes, sororities can be completely ridiculous, superficial, and not really rooted in the reality of life. Fortunately for me, I managed to wake up and open my eyes to the opportunities that I was given through my house: wonderful, SINCERE, warm friends and many nights of laughter - the kind that is silent, where you're laughing so hard that you're just shaking and not making any noise whatsoever.

To this day, some of my closest friends are my former sorority sisters, and not because of our love for one another "in Pi Phi" (gag). We're friends because we survived the weirdest, potentially most awkward phase of young adult life, and stil managed to come out swinging, metaphorically speaking. (Full disclosure: we are also still friends because we find one another refreshingly NORMAL, very down to earth.)

And so ends the fable of the reluctant Pi Phi. Apparently if you open your eyes wide enough to see past the rumors, stereotypes, and bad seeds, you will find that you make your own happiness in the Greek community. Another helpful hint? Make sure you're involved in an extracurricular that is heavily time consuming, so that you always have an ironclad reason for not having time to participate in Rush (thank you, dance team(s)! I owe you one. Mwah.). In the end, it's all a matter of getting lucky, and making the best of what you've been given.

This entry is dedicated to the house at 1005 S. Wright St - home for all women who, when they say they are Greek, no one believes them. Also to Laura, Heather, Megan, Emily, and Kimbo - the least "vanilla" ladies I have ever met.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007
Things around these parts are pretty boring right now - I'm sure you couldn't tell that by my RIVETING post on the weather. Yeesh.

In other lives, however, things are crazy! Exciting!

Congratulations to MonkeyPosh, who recently welcomed a new member into her family. Beware of that link, however, you won't be able to handle the cuteness that goes by the name of Finley.

Also, have you seen the latest cover of W Magazine? Ellen DeGeneres looks unbelievable! Feminine, fresh, and healthy - if you don't believe me, take a look for yourself:

All I can say is DAMN. For someone who is typically not considered "pretty," at least in a conventional way, she looks fabulous, and happy!

In other news and headlines, things are slowly getting better on the whole "uncontrollable dog poop" front. I'm sure you are hugely relieved to hear that (no pun intended). I must also give a quick shout-out to my nephew, who has been ill with a sinus infection, and you have to admit: there's nothing more pathetic and more adorable than a sick baby - especially one as cute as him.

I mean, c'mon, how could you stand for this face to be sad?

Maybe I should just make a career out of blogging about other blogs. Oh wait, Amy has already cornered that market. Oh well.

Also up for debate: fruit enzymes as exfoliants. Yay, or nay? Click Here for my latest review at DeLush.

And finally, ADVENTURES IN ONLINE WINDOW SHOPPING. Is it wrong that I'd rather buy these than eat out for the next couple of weeks? Is that odd, really? Because they are seriously calling my name.

How much do I love THIS?
Tuesday, February 06, 2007
I never WANT to be one who spreads hate and judgment, but I must admit that this website is fantastic.

Even if you agree with that skeezy egomaniac, you have to admit that it's food for thought.

Thanks to Concert Josh for pointing out Mr. O'Reilly's latest unbelievably stupid commentary. What an ass.

Things are looking up!
And by "things," I mean temperatures. Woo-f***king-Hoo.

To wit: (graphic from the Chicago Tribune)

The seven-day forecast includes a high on Sunday of 21 Fahrenheit.

Do you think Swiss Air would allow me to trade in my ticket for one that flies roundtrip to say...Mallorca, or Mexico, or anywhere warm? Thoughts?

Because I am Lazy, Here's a Meme for You
Monday, February 05, 2007
Where I am From

I am from ballet shoes, from Band-Aids and bunions. I am from the half-brick, split-level, popcorn and milk for dinner on movie night. I am from the yellow roses, fake ficus trees, and raked maple leaves, the blue and green parakeets, the golden hamster, the redheaded guinea pig, and the angry but loyal dachshund. I am from homemade advent calendars in December, and speaking out of turn, from Beatrice, Joseph, Wilbur, and Catherine. I am from fierce loyalty and unwavering support in tough times. From “No one said life was fair,” and “your best is all you can do.”

I am from Methodists, Lutherans, and Calvinists – upper European, ultra conservative protestants. I’m from Georgia, Great Britain, Norway and Sweden, from picnic food, twice-baked potatoes, and Grandma’s spaghetti. From the day my 13-year old grandmother found out her mother had passed away, the trip to Africa my father would never forget, and the odd ways we hold on to the past and the people that were in it.

I am from crackled photo albums with yellowed pictures of floral housedresses, bouffant hair-dos, and cats-eye glasses…from dish sets, mismatched linens, and turquoise jewelry. I am from my parents, but built of love from people who didn’t survive to see me born.

I am from preparation and pain, reciprocity and reward, from history, strength, happiness, and certain, quiet conversations in the dark.

adapted from Toya's recent post

Not Too Shabby
Like pretty much every other Chicagoan out there, I'm glad that the SuperBowl hype is over -- win, or lose. I'm glad that the weather is so unbelievably flipping cold (high of zero today, wind chill factor takes that to 15 below! yippee!) because it distracts our city from thinking about what happened (or didn't happen) yesterday.

The thing is, Peyton Manning sort of deserved to win...the Midwest, as a whole, still won, so to speak. And while I'm going to get all sorts of hater emails from my friends in Indiana, I'm more worried about what is going to happen to Rex Grossman. The media (not to mention fans) will crucify him, and for what? For taking an incomplete, injured team to the Super Bowl in his first full season as QB? For having a bad game? I guess everything is different when it's THE game, and not just A game.

Oh well, RIP 2006-2007 Chicago Bears. All in all, I think things bode well for next year! Let's hope so.

Just When You Think it's Safe to Go Outside
Saturday, February 03, 2007
Every so often, I have twinges of two-dog jealousy. I think Doc should have a playmate, someone for him to socialize with, someone to keep him company while I'm at work all day. Most people who purchase or adopt a second dog have wonderful experiences...I have even surfed labrador rescue websites in search of a full-size lab to bring out Doc's inner labrador.

Full disclosure: I have also been looking for dachshunds, as they are one of my favorite breeds and also part of what comprises my dog.

That being said, Doc and I encountered a behemoth of a black lab today in the alley behind our building. (And here I thought it would be a normal morning walk) "Louie," as he is called, is a big boy - 75 pounds and still only a puppy - 7 months old! I squatted down to hug him, and strategically speaking, also to keep him from picking up Doc like a chew toy and throwing him around, and he met me halfway by jumping almost straight into my arms.

Have you ever caught a 75 pound medicine ball? No, because the thought of it is total insanity. So I sort of stumbled over sideways, quite literally bowled over by puppy love, and quickly realized that my winter coat, my WHITE winter coat, was no longer. So it's off to the dry cleaners for that one.

I think I'll stick with just one dog for now.

Is That a Picture of Dick Butkus?
Friday, February 02, 2007
I'm not ashamed to admit that I just spent a good 10 minutes laughing out loud at my desk, reading this wiki page. Eventually I had to stop for fear that I would wet myself.

And also...GO BEARS!

You stay classy, Chicago.

Temporary Optimism
Thursday, February 01, 2007
So the other driver's insurance company accepted liability (yessssss!) and I will be in possession of a rental car as of 5pm this evening. I'm sure it will be something SUPER SWEET like, oh, say a Buick Regal or a Chevy Malibu. Then again, it doesn't have a banged up front, and I ain't payin' for it, so I don't really care.

Helpful hint for any pet owners out there: When the vet tells you that they're going to switch up your dog's diet to help remedy an anal gland "situation," don't start the new diet on a weekday morning. Unless you feel like coming home to the aftermath of Colon Cleanse 2007: Adventures in Canine Fiber Supplements. I'm just sayin'.

Also acquired today: 1 bright orange hooded sweatshirt that may, or may not, be way too small for Sunday's festivities. Why is everything always enormous in sports shops? I don't think ALL of their clients are big and tall males. I had to buy a children's hoodie.

Weekend fun is on the horizon - I have no events to work, and only 4 (only 4!) errands to run. WOO HOO! I plan on spending most of it in my pajamas...probably nervously following the damn dog around the apartment with a plastic bag in my hand.