Friday, December 28, 2007
Stolen from Sundry by way of Lawyerish

1. What did you do in 2007 that you’d never done before?
I participated in truly "Alpine" snowsport - and by that, I mean, I attempted to snowboard on the Alps with disastrous (but memorable) results.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I don't make resolutions - they require self-discipline, of which I have very little.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
My childhood best friend Julia had a beautiful, baby girl named Ella. She is precious.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
No, thank goodness.

5. What countries did you visit?

6. What would you like to have in 2008 that you lacked in 2007?
A fabulous, structured satchel handbag. Seriously. It sounds ridiculous, but I've been on the hunt for a leather handbag all damn year, and I have yet to find something suitable. If you have any suggestions, I'm looking for quality leather, nothing too trendy, one shoulder strap ONLY (no exceptions), with internal organization. And it cannot be slouchy. And no external ruching or quilting. Simple. Classic.

7. What dates from 2007 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
I'm HORRIBLE at recalling specific dates (particuarly birthdays) so I'll take a pass on this one.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Not dying from my Alpine snowboarding injuries. You think I'm kidding, but my neck was sore for a solid month.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Losing some of the extra pounds BEFORE our family summer vacation.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Nope, not even a cold (knocks furiously on wood)

11. What was the best thing you bought?
This old vintage dresser off of Craigslist - it's going to go perfectly with an old bed frame I've been storing away at my parent's house for years. The pieces need to be refinished and refurbished, but once they get done, they're going to be amazing.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
I have no idea. Al Gore? Helio Castroneves! I love that little elf of a man.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Britney Spears, George Bush, the president of Iran (whose name escapes me at the moment), Ryan Seacrest

14. Where did most of your money go?
Condo, groceries for my random cooking kick of 2007

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Joining Weight Watchers and succeeding at my own pace, down almost 10 pounds!

16. What song will always remind you of 2007?
Sexy Back by Justin Timberlake (yes, I'm aware it came out last year)

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
 a) happier or sadder? HAPPIER 
b) thinner or fatter? THINNER

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Listening, sewing, reading

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

20. How did you spend Christmas?
With my family, wading through a ridiculous amount of presents and love (and peanut butter balls)

21. Did you fall in love in 2007?
Yeah, I suppose so. Can you fall in love with a Bissell SpotBot Pet?

22. What was your favorite TV program?
Dancing with the Stars, Biggest Loser, Gossip Girl

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
I don't hate anyone, ever.

24. What was the best book you read?
I could never name just one!

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Otis Redding, Curtis Mayfield - I'm on a retro kick

26. What did you want and get?
Health and Happiness

27. What did you want and not get?
the Mega Millions winning numbers

28. What was your favorite film of this year?
Knocked Up

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
Hung out by myself (it was a weeknight), I turned 28

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
I have no idea - world peace?

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2007?
"If It Isn't Wrinkly, Wear It."

32. What kept you sane?
Sean, this blog, my friends

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Fancy, as in have a crush on? Easy. Gerard Butler. Mmm...

34. What political issue stirred you the most?
Reproductive Rights

35. Who did you miss?
My grandfather

36. Who was the best new person you met?
My nephew - his personality is really starting to come out. I enjoyed really getting to know him this year.

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2007.
If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

North by Northwest
So it's official - last year, our spring vacation was actually in February and we went to Switzerland. This year, our spring vacation will be to Seattle/Vancouver/Tofino, BC.

Now, before you throw up your hands in disgust, my least favorite idea of a vacation is lying on a beach, getting a tan. I only do beach vacations if my very best friends (who all enjoy sand, hot weather, and laughing at my pale, norwegian skin) are there. Otherwise, no.

So our string of cool-weather vacations continues, and I am so excited about staying here in Tofino, BC, just in time for the 2008 Whale Watching Festival. I also can't wait to see Seattle, which is a city I've always wanted to visit.

We've got flights, rooms, and other logistics booked. Now, for the big question - what do we do in Seattle and Vancouver? (we already have ideas about the really popular stuff - Pike's Market, the needle, etc.) but would entertain any suggestions. Anybody been there? Please advise.


Thursday, December 27, 2007
Today has been an...interesting day. I can't seem to focus on anything - I've been to two DIFFERENT grocery stores in an attempt to buy the ingredients to this dish Sean really likes. Then I got home from the second and realized I forgot one ingredient. And it wasn't something that can be picked up casually at the local Seven-11.

It's sauerkraut.

So now I'm inside, where it's nice and warm, feeling guilty about how Sean's walking BACK the ten blocks to the grocery store (again) to grab a single can of sauerkraut. It's a measure of two things, really: (1) proof that the holidays have rendered me incapable of accomplishing the simplest of tasks, and (2) how much Sean loves my cousin's reuben dip.

Then we're going to have some cozy dip and exchange Christmas gifts. Yay! Then again, him walking back to the grocery store is sort of a gift in and of itself. What a guy.

Christmas Recap
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
There goes another holiday season. Excepting New Year's Eve (which is highly overrated), all the good times are winding down and I am personally dreading going back to work tomorrow. This year was the first family Christmas in my parent's new house, and they were S.T.O.K.E.D. about it. We all made out like bandits - I got some amazing giftcards, MoMa stationery designed by Robert Sabuda, a Bissell SpotBot Pet, bamboo sheets, and other fantastic, useful things like something to keep the dog from jumping into my lap while I'm driving.

Seriously, you have no idea how much I needed that barrier thing. It's sad, my dog's behavior, just sad. And a little embarassing that I don't have him trained better. Moving along...

Material gains aside, the holiday was lovely. It was filled with family, quiet time, and amazing food. Sally Field read my blog and decided to surprise my sister and me by prepping her peanut butter balls. So on Christmas eve, I had too much white wine and we all dipped the balls in melted chocolate while making wildly inappropriate jokes that included the word "ball(s)."

I'll be back with more pictures later, but until then, please accept this photo as evidence that Doc had a very merry, seizure-free holiday as well.

Warm Greetings and A Random Thought
Sunday, December 23, 2007
First off, I'll be celebrating the holidays for the next couple of days. Today, we began with a last minute trip to the biggest mall in the entire state, where Sean proceeded to get in and out in less than 30 minutes. There's a reason I love him, people, and moving quickly in last-minute holiday mall mania is absolutely part of that.

I'll be up at Casa de Sally Field & Dick Cheney for the next two days. I might blog if I'm bored, but then again, what's boring about Christmas? So hopefully you'll all check back in later on this week for updates and new posts galore. Until then, please have a safe and happy holiday - no matter which one you celebrate!

Oh, and click on this link for some frighteningly funny fashion (and a hearty laugh or two).

Take care! Happy Holidays!

Appropos of Nothing
Friday, December 21, 2007
This morning, I flipped over the Advent Calendar/Nativity scene outside my kitchen doorway and got the best surprise. The prostrate camel! Growing up, it was always my favorite day to flip over for two reasons: (1) the 22nd is my sister's birthday so I always got the day prior, and (2) the camel piece has all sorts of beading and "jewels" on it, thereby making it the flashiest day of all. Baby Jesus (on the 25th, natch) and all the wise men can't hold a candle to the camel on the 21st - it's like a little piece of Vegas for the holidays. It's a pimp camel, so to speak.

Ok, now I feel it necessary to post a photo of said advent calendar to defend my bizarre love for it. And explain this entire post. Whatever.

Somewhere in this whole situation is an ironic joke about how I gravitate towards reflective surfaces, and things that are shiny. And to that, I say, STUFF IT. I love that camel.

Where I Have Been: Top 20
Thursday, December 20, 2007
I know the past two weeks have been utterly boring around FFP - you know, in a way that is different from my normal updates, which are also boring. Whatever. So here is what I've been doing.

1. thinking how hilarious a stocking stuffer THIS would be

2. helping bride-to-be narrow down to 2 bee-yoo-tiful bridesmaid dress choices (both of which I genuinely like! is miracle!)

3. working

4. trying to avoid curbside puddles of disgusting, dirty, slush-snow soupiness (Dept. of Streets & Sanitation: Can we PLEASE work on the S. State Street drainage? Because...well, my shoes are wet)

5. wrapping holiday gifts

6. trying not to drink during the week

7. desperately wracking my brain for a couple more gifts for certain people (Joey & Sean: I'M LOOKING AT YOU)

8. steamcleaning carpet after yet another seizure (poor pup, stupid vet, end of story)

9. getting a handle on my mountainous laundry situation

10. coveting the iPod Touch (my beloved, blue iPod mini is almost to its memory capacity) but really, only for the internet functionality. come to think of it, i probably should not be allowed to carry the internet with me because it will probably stop my human productivity altogether. should just get the nano and be done with it. but this time, in green.

11. looking (in vain, it would seem) for last year's christmas card address spreadsheet

12. wondering what in the hell Jamie Lynn Spears was (or was not) thinking.

13. reading blogs galore

14. trying NOT to go into Sephora and spend all my money on the big Philosophy sale they are having. (so far, so good! yay me!)

15. losing another pound or so

16. cooking - next up, penne with fresh basil and spicy italian sausage

17. supporting little known hip-hop artists on iTunes

18. wondering how my bathroom floor gets so dirty so quickly

19. being grateful to the neighbors for deciding to calm down a little bit and stop playing bongo drums, billiards, and wrestling in the kitchen at 1:00 am on a Tuesday

20. drinking copious amounts of Diet Coke and Diet A&W root beer

Some Questions are Better Left Unanswered
Those outside of the midwest might not ever hear about this local story on their websites, or in their newspapers. But death, particularly around the holidays, is something I find so unbelievably sad.

I can't help but think what Ms. Tani's motivation was to drive past the schoolbus and onto the tracks - clearly against the lights and security signals. What a tragedy.

My heart goes out today to the Tani family.

Yuletide Happenings
Monday, December 17, 2007
Things in Jamieland have been a bit odd lately, prompting my lack of posting. In one of the least stressful holiday seasons ever, I am finding it possible to actually get things done. Crazy! I know!

Sean and I had a lovely, lazy day yesterday - went to see Beowulf in 3D at the Navy Pier IMAX. Afterwards, we actually took the free trolley to Michigan Ave, which made for some excellent tourist-watching. Then we shopped for awhile on Michigan Avenue, exclaiming our surprise at how NOT CROWDED it seemed. Seriously, I didn't have to dodge anybody and I didn't get pushed! Even in the Apple store! Anyone who regularly battles Michigan Avenue crowds can appreciate what a miracle that is.

Movie Review: Excellent, interesting animation special effects. Cool story, and quite a bit of semi-animated gore. I had to hide my face a couple of times, but I'm a big wimp. So there's that.

This upcoming week is a doozy - I have my book club holiday party in the suburbs tomorrow night, at which I will be abstaining from alcohol in an effort to *NOT* repeat last year's nightmarish party performance. Then on Wednesday, it's back to the 'burbs to decide on bridesmaids dresses for my friend Laura's upcoming wedding. It's weeks like this one that make my urge to move out of the city even stronger.

I also have about 15 loads of laundry, and an apartment to clean. Yay.

And the Stupid Idiot Award Goes To...
Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Karma is a Bitch
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
I left my departmental holiday party last night around 10:45, I think, and wandered around the city trying to get home. (I did, eventually, courtesy of a mistaken leg on the green line, and finally the correct route on the blue line - the restaurant is kind of stuck in an odd location) Then, I experienced a delayed drunkenness unlike any I have had before. I'd left the party tipsy - talkative, but not sloshed or embarassing - and when I got home, I was suddenly blotto. It was genuinely odd.

Somewhere in there, I noticed a phone call from Sean. Which made me feel awful, of course, because we talk every night and I should have been watching my phone so that I could step outside and speak with him when he called. But I didn't because I was too busy circulating and drinking too much sangria...so of course I left him a tipsy message with my apologies.

I went to bed feeling guilty, and wondering why I couldn't have just had one damn drink and left it at that. Then, it happened.

At 5:15am, I was suddenly, inexplicably awake. So I got up, took 2 ibuprofen, downed a whole bunch of water, and tried to get back to sleep. But it was not to be - for I realized I couldn't.

Because I had "Be Our Guest" from Disney's Beauty & The Beast stuck in my damn head.

So if you see a mildly hungover zombie wandering the streets of Chicago today (looking cranky), give me a little wave and keep your laughter to yourself.

Weekend Update
Sunday, December 09, 2007
An eventful weekend was had by all, kiddies. It started off a little wild, but ended well. Here it is, in all the gory and bulleted detail.


- wake up 1 hour late, thereby setting entire morning pre-flight errands off
- get dog, coffee, purse, and suitcase to car (in 1 trip! yes! because I am an idiot!)
- realize heat is no longer working in car (estimated outside temperature 28 degrees F)
- drop dog @ kennel
- suck down hot coffee as slowly as possible while sitting in traffic towards airport
- reach airport with 45 minutes to spare
- realize long-term parking is full full FULL OH SHIT WHERE AM I GOING TO PARK?!
- make gate with exactly 20 minutes to kill
- arrive in Atlanta, check into swanky-ass hotel
- collapse into stressed-out heap on pristine white couch in room
- shower, and grab a small bite to eat after Sean arrives
- attend Sean's company's holiday party at swanky-ass restaurant/bar
- drag self to afterparty at swanky-ass club
- suddenly feel very old and out of fashion in sensible, knee-length black dress (with 3.5 inch heels!)

- recover from Friday by sleeping in until Sean shows up with large Diet Cokes (and plain biscuits!) from McDonalds
- see this movie at the best movie theatre EVER
- only cry once at sweet, holiday scene involving adorable puppy AND orphan (geez, a double whammy)
- attend NBA game
- needlessly criticize home dance team
- eat tasty pulled pork sandwich
- drink too many Miller Lites

- recover from Saturday by sleeping in
- catch lunch at a burger joint (YUM)
- attempt to lounge in hot tub at hotel
- discover that, despite the unseasonably warm weather, neither the hot tub or pool is sanitary
- lay around in big, swanky-ass hotel bed, watching this and this.
- fly home
- scrape large sheets of ice off of poor, little unsuspecting car
- discover that a CHRISTMAS MIRACLE HAS OCCURRED and that the heat in my car actually DOES work
- drive home

Honestly? I really hate Sean's travel schedule sometimes, and wish we could just have a normal relationship that involves both being in the same city on, oh say, a Wednesday. But when he chooses to cash in some of his many frequent-whatever points, he really does it up right. In the end, I know I'm lucky to have weekends like this one.

Plans for tomorrow? Pick up poochie, then off to work midday to check back into reality.

Hope you all had a great weekend!

Thursday, December 06, 2007
I cannot believe I actually blogged about waxing my chin. I have officially sunken to new lows. Sunk? Sunken? Sank? Whatever.

In a fit of retrospection, I decided to see what was going on in my life on today's date. Since I created this blog in 2004, we'll start there.

December 6, 2004

December 6, 2005 (Part I)

December 6, 2005 (Part II)

December 6, 2006 (Part I)

December 6, 2006 (Part II)

So, in conclusion, we can see that I've spent the last three Decembers of my life alternating between mild depression, embarassment, and anger. Awesome.

Last to the Party
Wednesday, December 05, 2007
I am naturally oblivious to many things, and often find myself in that SPECIAL (said with Church Lady voice) situation of being the "last to know," or the last person to "get it." Growing up, I had no idea anyone had crushes on me until one of my friends told me, I was awful at all of the card games that required strategy, and I was always the highstrung victim of practical jokes.

My situational perception delays are, at least I hope, one of my most endearing quirks. They also manifest themselves in other ways. For instance, I am one of the very few people I know who does own a Tivo. I never plan on buying an iPhone. I like my routine and my life a particular way, and sometimes that hinders my development in odd and unexpected ways.

Like tonight, I gave in to what (apparently) many of my friends have already experienced.

Facial waxing. Seriously.

(Male readers, this is where the TMI kicks in - if you couldn't handle the deodorant post from last week, you'll want to navigate to another page right about now).

In preparation for Sean's company holiday party, I decided to bite the bullet and finally see what all the fuss was about. I've been growing increasingly impatient with my genetic predisposition towards chin hair, and set out to do something about it. So I got some strategic waxing done in a couple places, and hwa-BAM!

It's unlike anything I've ever felt in my entire life. One hour later, I still couldn't really feel my upper lip and I couldn't stop touching my chin. WHAT I'M TRYING TO SAY HERE IS THAT IT'S SO DAMN BIZARRE.

How do you people do this regularly?! It's weird! And walking around outside was a treat - I've never felt quite so raw and exposed. It was as if I'd ripped off my pants and exposed my girly bits to all of the frigid pedestrians on Michigan Avenue. I felt every breeze acutely, and the snow was like little needles jabbing me in the face.

And the worst part? I think I might actually like the results. Which of course means I'm going to have to continue to do this whole "hair maintenance" bullshit. DAMMIT.

Brain Dump
There is something cathartic about the first real snow of the season. Last night (and early this morning) we received about 5 inches. Around 11:00pm, I took the dog out and just stood there marveling at how serene everything was. No sirens, no shouts, no car horns, nothing.

What is it about snow that seems to muffle the world? Sharp edges are rounded as the layers pile up, people slow down to observe and hesitate over patches of black ice, and for once in the year, we have justification to take things at a more relaxed pace. Perhaps this is the reason why the holidays seem so merry - because we have all taken the time to just slow the hell down and enjoy ourselves. Things seem brighter, just like the sunshine as it bounces off the drifts here and there.

The other major thing I'm reminded of when it comes to snow, is food. A true midwesterner, I pack on the pounds during the winter - it's easy when food is everywhere, baggy sweaters are de rigeur, and there are no occasions for a swimsuit to be worn. I'm down a pound and a half as of yesterday - official current weight is 135-point-something-or-other. That's ten pounds. Another reason to relax and enjoy the moment, for sure.

People roll their eyes when I express my love for cold weather - the snow, the slush, the salt, and so one. Mostly I just love the peace it brings (traffic accidents notwithstanding) and how it makes everything quiet...even for a little bit.

In Awe
Monday, December 03, 2007
I don't know why, but I cannot stop watching Jon & Kate + 8 on Discovery Health Channel. I am dumbfounded at how well behaved their children are (no real surprise, given the kind of conservative discipline seen on the show - and I say that with respect, it's not meant as judgment). I admit, I have my favorites - Aaden, Leah, and Cara.

But the thing I really can't believe? I cannot understand, for the LIFE OF ME, how Kate finds time to be a germophobe neatfreak. Seriously - a couple of the little ones have pre-asthma, but let's be real here. I cannot understand how she finds time WITH EIGHT CHILDREN hanging off of her person at any time, to complain about dust on carpets and baseboards. I don't get it.

Weekend Update with Jamie Jamerkins
Outside of two wonderful evenings spent with friends, the unavoidable, obvious highlight of my weekend was THIS. (the link is actually a PDF)

Yes, that's right. I went to a fight. Me, the girl who covers her face with pillows during violence on television and in films. The one who can't even stand to watch an awkward moment on reality tv. I saw some people beat the shit out of each other.

Now, first things first. Through friends, Sean knows last year's World Lightweight Shidokan Champion, PB. So when he heard that the 2007 Championship would be here in our very own Chicago, Sean got tickets. Two tickets. I think we can all see where this is going.

So I went, and THANK GOD there was alcohol available because I would have been otherwise traumatized. Two Miller Lites into the evening, my NASCAR-loving, competitive self (which VERY rarely makes appearances in real life) came out swinging. I was able to actually watch people hit each other, kick each other, and even managed to survive witnessing some dude bloody up another dude's face. There was blood all over the place.

Gory details aside, I have to tell you - I found it really interesting. As a dancer, I could tell immediately who was stronger with their upper body and who was stronger with their legs...and which fighters were slower to respond. The venue was intimate enough so that you could hear the skin slap of a hard roundhouse kick - it was crazy. And weird.

Also - the ring girls? Wholly unimpressive. Yuck, in fact, Just yuck. If you're being brought to an event, and your SOLE PURPOSE is to rock a hard body and look cute, don't show up with nappy extensions, and socks on between your pantyhose and gym shoes.

Not that I'm judgmental or anything. (cough)

I wouldn't say I'm Shidokan's newest, rabid fan, but I would say that I have a new respect for martial arts -- and martial arts is all about respect. So hopefully the Shidokan folks would take that a compliment.