Must Love Books
Thursday, January 31, 2008
Because space is at a relative premium in my condo, I decided to forego nightstands and use the stone windowsills instead. It's been an interesting adjustment - I have quite a reach to get to my alarm clock (almost to the point of falling out of bed), and I'm always surprised at how unbelievably, bonechillingly COLD that stone can get. Having more space than a nightstand has also had some unexpected results - the most obvious being my ridiculous collection of "books to be read." They just keep piling up, and I'm afraid that if I don't start chugging away, they'll eventually take over.

That being said, here are the books on my windowsills. They just sit there, mocking me.

Escape (Jessop)
The Richest Man in Babylon (Clason)
The Pursuit of Happyness (Gardner and Troupe)
Lay That Trumpet in Our Hands (McCarthy)
The Intellectual Devotional (Oppenheim)
On Life After Death (Kubler-Ross)
What Was Asked of Us (Wood)
Family Baggage (McInerney)
A Long Way Gone (Beah)
P.S. I Love You (Ahern)
A Prayer for Owen Meany (Irving)
The Tipping Point (Gladwell)
The Worst Journey in the World (Cherry-Garrard)
Songs Without Words (Packer)
Ernest Hemingway Complete & Unabridged (Hemingway)

I've already gone through two books this week, so hopefully I can keep up the trend. Then I'll be able to justify getting some new reads for the mid-march vacation! Yippee!

Think Happy Thoughts
If there was ever a day where good karma and positive thinking was required, this would be it. Not only is my sister waiting to hear back on a possible new house, but Sean is taking an international flight this afternoon. Given Chicago's current blizzard conditions, this is unsettling to me on several levels.

I'll be keeping them both in my thoughts today!

Peas and Carrots
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Do you know ParisJasmal (aka Jen) of MonkeyPosh?

Well, now I do - for real!

I have been reading PJ's blog on and off for what feels like (and very well could be) years - we found one another through Jonniker. She's an expert in all things fashionable, I live vicariously through her travels around the world, and her sense of humor cannot be beat. She loves makeup, shoes and handbags and is a redhead. Her loyal following of readers always comment regularly (hint hint, lazy boneheads that are reading my blog and not commenting!) and they have the funniest conversations. She also lives in the greater Chicagoland area, so I've always wondered if I would ever bump into her.

Then, the other day, I entered my name into a sweet-ass raffle on her site. She had an extra bottle of this gorgeous and much-talked-about perfume and so I threw my name into the ring. I thought "what have I got to lose? I never win these things anyhow..." and lo, I ended up WINNING! Who'da thunk it?

Long story short, we met up last night at China Grill to have drinks and exchange the prize (which I wore today and it was lovely - very light and not too sweet). Not surprisingly, we got along famously and were soon talking as if we'd known one another in real life. Meeting people who one knows on the internet is a mixed bag - it can be awkward because each party knows so much information about the other, yet they've never met in real life. It makes for great conversation, however, because one almost never needs to explain themselves. Also, PJ thinks that I hold myself back on this blog, so WATCH OUT. I may turn into a stark raving mad blogger soon - you know, let my real personality shine. (snort)

We chatted for three hours, had a couple glasses of wine, and laughed until we cried - mostly about events in my life that have occurred thanks to the influence of a drunken rickshaw ride with Sean through downtown Milwaukee. Upon returning home, I realized that we'd never stopped to eat any dinner! I had so much fun - definitely make sure that you pop onto her blog to say hello, or at least admire her beautiful dogs Forrest and Finley.

Thanks again, Jen! I had a great time!

We parted after dinner. If it was still the Season, I would not hold out much hope of him fixing on a place, whatever he protests. But as London is empty of female company, then I think he may hold true to his course - unless a young lady in the north should happen to catch his fancy, whereupon he will stay at home until Christmas!

Yes, I'm an Austenite. Yes, I read the bizarre and often poorly written "sequels," so all ya'll haters can kiss my arse. So far, this one isn't half bad and I think we could all use a new perspective on Mr. Darcy's side of the story.

Monday, January 28, 2008


37% Geek

Weekend Update
Wow, I am disjointed today. This past weekend was one of those breezy, goes-too-fast weekends that always leave me wondering (on Monday) what the hell I did. People ask what I did over the weekend and my only response is a fruitless, blank stare.

Friday night, I had happy hour with friends from a former occupation - we'll call them K, B, and C. Wow, I am CREATIVE. I splurged on fatty, fried goodness and heard all about former coworkers of ours, hot British men, and enjoyed some Walleye Wheat beer. Yum!

Saturday, I attended a baby shower for my friend Heather, who is expecting her first child (a boy) around St. Patrick's day. She is only the second of my former sorority sisters to give birth, so I think we're all looking forward to it. We laugh a lot about how, in college, we all toasted to our futures - we said we would stick around to see marriages, children, etc., and we have. We're all in different phases of our lives, but definitely enjoying everyone's successes and developments. I also got the chance to hog Kim's beautiful son, Julian, and get in some quality snuggle time before he turned squirmy.

Saturday night, I decided that I needed to start some projects. After a trip to Home Depot and Joann Fabrics, I now have new pillows slated, as well as minor pantry renovations. Truth be told, I already began the pantry demo, which left about 32 holes of varying shapes and sizes in the walls. A little pink spackle (which dries white, so you know when it's dry! a miracle and adorable to boot) and some sandpaper later, I think it's ready for a fresh coat of paint. Maybe I'll do that tonight. I don't know how much longer I can go on with my pantry contents strewn about my condo. The mess is driving me crazy.

I also watched the Miss America pageant which, after a serious PR and philosophical makeover, is actually hilarious and fun to watch again. Supa fresh.

Also, Keith is updating his blog again! Yippee!

Friday, January 25, 2008
Imagine a slightly different version of you walks across the room, looks you in the eye and says "hello" in your voice. You discover that she has the same birthday, the same allergies, the same tics, and the same way of laughing. Looking at this person, you are able to gaze into your own eyes and see yourself from the outside. This identical individual has the exact same DNA as you and is essentially your clone.

We don't have to imagine.

Tramp Stamp
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
I am not even sure how to begin with this one.

So. My mother decided that, for our 2008 Christmas/Hannukah holiday outing, we would all get tattoos. And she's serious. Despite Dick Cheney's adamant reply of "hell no, but have fun," she is still discussing it. She's convinced that if we were to write in to Miami or LA Ink, that the story line of a relatively conservative, midwestern family all getting tattoos for the holidays would be TOO GOOD to pass up.

For the record, none of us have tattoos. My sister, up until giving birth to her two beautiful children, had an extreme dislike of needles. I always said I would get one when I could discover the ONE and ONLY spot on my body that could be (a) considered a normal tattoo location, and (b) easily hidden if the need arises, and hidden by normal clothing.

I am actually considering this, frighteningly enough. Now the only question is:

What do I get? Where do I get it? Color or black only?


A Giant Opportunity
Monday, January 21, 2008
I'm not much for football. If the game is tight and interesting to watch, then I'll watch, otherwise I just get bored. Yesterday, I was fixated on the Giants-Packers game for several reasons...the primary one being my hatred of all things Packers. Some Bears fans break down and support the Pack in the post-season.

I am not one of them.

Talk about a nailbiter! I found myself clutching my chest with each missed kick, and at the very end, I just about stroked out with anxiety for Laurence Tynes. And like my mother and my grandmother before me, I got all warm and fuzzy inside thinking about how he got a chance to redeem himself, to right the wrongs of the earlier missed kicks, etc. I kept thinking about how nervous his mother must have been, up in that stadium suite (or wherever the family sits). As a generally non-competitive person, I tend to worry about the feelings of the players - especially in a harsh loss situation.

That is, the feelings of the players who aren't the Packers.

All is well that ends well, I suppose. At least until New England hits the field in Arizona.

I'm Full of Thetans, I'm an Alien!
Thursday, January 17, 2008
I've been thinking a lot lately about Tom Cruise. Not the couch jumping, not the Matt Lauer attacking, not the white-button-down-hardwood-floor-sliding Tom Cruise - rather the father, the son, the husband. It is so difficult to consider his life, his position in the world, without being completely judgmental. I struggle to understand his point of view.

Today, a thought-provoking article made me jump out of my skin. If you really dig deep into the background of Scientology, it gets confusing, scary, and just plain WEIRD. It was created on a bet (allegedly) by a man who spent most of the 60's high and drunk...but who am I to say that it's any different than people who wander the world with the firm belief that an old, decrepit man parted an ocean with a wooden staff, or the people who lay prostrate to the east five times a day to pray?

Something about Scientology just isn't right. I can't put my finger on it. Read the article. Read this website (safe for work). It makes my skin crawl - it all feels wrong somehow. Thoughts?

Kit Kat
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
I need a break for a couple days. I'll be back.

Updated: My sister has crawled out of her blogging cave and updated her own blog. Head on over there to see all the cuteness that is my niece and nephew.

Trying to Move the Schmoopy Post Down the Page, Already
Monday, January 14, 2008
I recently took one of those lame, time-waster tests online and got this result:

You Are 36% Girly

You are a pretty hardcore tomboy, and a very free spirit.
Gender roles be dammed, you like to do things your way.

I'm not so much insulted by my femininity being called into question (not exactly a huge surprise there - I'm definitely not a girly girl), but I think the real source of my anger is the picture. Exactly what part of being a partial-tomboy would indicate that I like to drink from the water spigot on the side of the house?! (a house that is apparently located in a cornfield) It's the most ridiculous thing I've ever seen in my entire life!

Is the notion of a tomboy so incredibly uncouth that one would imagine them drinking from the hose as opposed to a glass? I have opposable thumbs, I voluntarily remove my own body hair, I love a sexy pair of high heels - but THIS? THIS IS INSULTING. I DRINK MY LIQUIDS OUT OF A CONTAINER, THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

31 Shots of Tequila
31 years ago yesterday, Sean was born. We spent the weekend in quiet celebration - a dinner at Gene & Georgetti on Saturday, opening gifts afterwards, and an impromptu dinner with friends yesterday evening. He likes to keep a low profile on this blog, and by "low profile," I mean "no profile at all" - he doesn't ever comment, but I know he reads everyday. And because I promise NEVER to request the waitstaff to bring cake and sing Happy Birthday to him (in exchange for him promising to do the same for me), I thought I would just toss a quick note up here. Because it's my blog, and I can cast attention on someone if I want to.

Happy Birthday, Sean! I love you.

Erin go Bragh!
Friday, January 11, 2008

You Belong in Dublin

Friendly and down to earth, you want to enjoy Europe without snobbery or pretensions.

You're the perfect person to go wild on a pub crawl... or enjoy a quiet bike ride through the old part of town.

Tears are Seriously Streaming Down my Face
I need to take a moment to compose myself.


Ok, here's how it is, people. Recently, Alice of Finslippy fame had a rough day parenting her [adorable] son Henry. In an effort to make herself feel more human and okay, she put a request out to her many readers for submissions - their own parenting nightmare stories. HOO Boy, did she ever open up a can of worms.

You could go to that post and read all the comments, or you can read her compilation post, which also awards her favorite anecdotes with appropriate superlative titles. I swear to God, I had to get up and take a break from reading it - it's THAT FUNNY. My boss actually came out of her office to ask if I was alright because I was breathing heavily and crying by myself.

My God. You must read it. Here, here's a link. Enjoy!

Thursday, January 10, 2008
***cue breaking bulletin news music***

That last post was a shade girly, so I thought I'd harden things up a bit with snippets of recent news that I find interesting. Like this foregone conclusion, because if you didn't think he would hit the draft, you're an idiot.

Perhaps you would rather read about a horrific story involving two daughters charged with taking care of their ailing mother. They didn't, she died, and it's mostly just an awful, awful thing that happened. I can barely even wrap my head around it. The court case is ongoing and I think it would be an understatement to say that I hope they're punished to the fullest extent of the law. If there really is a hell, I sincerely hope that is where they end up. How's THAT for positivity?!

In other news, journalists everywhere are wondering how long it will take for yet ANOTHER newspaper to fall apart.

And finally, on a much lighter note, we now have proof that Merv Griffin and his phenomenal sense of humor will last forever. Click here for more details.

Take a Whiff of THIS
Wednesday, January 09, 2008
Yesterday, I got a chance to sample the re-released Pucci fragrance "Vivara." Not only is it adorably packaged (totally a bottle for the top of the dresser), but it smells amazing. Surprising, even, and I always gravitate to the bright, woodsy florals. The scent stayed with me almost all day - the base notes are strong, but not overpowering. Also, the dry down is crisp and lovely. I highly recommend it for any woman who likes to smell fresh, memorable, and timelessly chic.
Photo Credit: Nordstrom

For those of you that are interested in the story behind the scent, click here for more details. I always like to research a fragrance just to have some context, but this one is interesting aside from that because it's already been on the market once. Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 08, 2008
I am POSITIVE that this is the most clever thing I've seen in a long time.

Mark Lives in IKEA


Positivity, that Simple Bare Necessity
One of the pitfalls of being a naturally confident human being (other than strangers perceiving you as completely arrogant) is the internal delusion of sarcasm. To me, sarcasm is a tool for making the uncomfortable, the sad, even the ridiculous into something hilarious and manageable. Lately, I've been receiving well-intentioned feedback that my use of sarcasm is giving off an unpleasant vibe - that of negativity. Don't misunderstand me - I've stuck my foot in my big, stupid mouth a million times, but the negativity thing is new to me.

In response to this feedback, I made a pact with myself to work at being positive. Not insipidly happy or optimistic (because I am a lot of things, and Mary F***ing Poppins is not one of them), but just positive. Positive thinking, positive feeling, warm and fuzzy me. I hope that 2008 will be a wonderful year for everyone, including myself. Is that positive enough for ya? Huh?! (just kidding - see I threw you off there for a second, didn't I? ok, maybe not)

There is a notion going around the internet, in list format of course, in which bloggers recall the top 25 things of which they never tire. So, as a nod to my newfound positivity, here is my list.

25 Things of Which I Never Tire

1. Diet Coke
2. My niece
3. My nephew
4. finding new blogs to read
5. the smell of fresh air, preferably COLD fresh air
6. how soft the dog's belly is after a bath
7. shoe shopping
8. beauty websites
9. reading
10. hunting for the perfect shower gel
11. my Bissell SpotBot
12. Sean's funny, perfectly horizontal, deliberate grin
13. pulling my hair away from my face
14. quiet, snowy days when I have nowhere to go
15. the feeling of freshly brushed teeth
16. girls' nights
17. making things for other people
18. mentally redecorating my condo
19. trying out new recipes and having them work!
20. getting comments on my blog (lame, but true)
21. laughing
22. figuring out my camera(s)
23. the smell of clean laundry
24. list-making
25. my family

There's my list, in all of it's newly found, positive glory. Now, scamper off and do the same, will ya?

Scritch Scratch
Monday, January 07, 2008
So I've got this pesky itch - the itch to cut my hair again.

I won't, of course, because I need to be appropriately coiffed in two weddings this year. Also, I won't cut it because summer with short, curly, frizzy hair is a nightmare that I wouldn't with on my worst enemy.

But there you have it. I'm itching again for shorter hair. Feel free to leave supportive comments below about how shoulder-length hair is just fine, already.

Friday, January 04, 2008
If I could write this eloquently about a hangover, I'd just quit my job now and source out a book deal.

An hour later, after someone's girlfriend started cooking collard greens in a giant stewpot, and the viridian fog started to crawl out of the pot and rub its muzzle on the window-panes, lingering in sour condensation on the window-panes, I finally fled out the back door and heaved rat-colored vomit into fresh snowfall, the kind of morningsnow you dream about as a kid, all wet and clinging effortlessly to the branches.

Because, DAMN. The man can write.

2008: The Year of the Video
Thursday, January 03, 2008
OK, I'll be frank with you, readers. I'm really not that technical. Sure, I can hack it in/around the Blogger software - but mostly, I just fly by the seat of my 8P pants. So when Sean gave me a teeny, digital camera for Christmas, I was simultaneously intrigued and mystified by the video functionality. The only thing to do was to jump right in.

Because why read the manual when you can progress forward all willy-nilly and just swear at your computer while trying to embed code that you're not even sure you can find?! Add in some white wine, and there's my night in a nutshell.

There are several things you'll want to notice about this video, and I announce them because they are immediately obvious to the viewer. First off, my articulation is not exactly "good," as evidenced by the first, lovely sentence of the entire thing which includes the words "innernet" and "wanna." Whoops. Sorry, Emily Post.

Also, you'll notice that I'm wearing my snowboarding socks under my jeans. Because it's so cold here, I can barely even handle it. But for those of you that have never heard my voice, I'd be interested to hear whether or not I sounded as you expected me to. What can I say? I'm mostly nasal - I live in Chicago, for goodness'sakes. Cut me some slack. ;)

This video also marks my very first foray into iMovie - please excuse the overly brightened color tone. My apartment's lighting is horrendous. Such is the beginning of many, many bizarre videos that only prove amusing to the folks who know me best.

Also, you'll catch (at the very end, wait for it) a big, ol' burp coming straight from Doc to you. Enjoy!

Very First Movie...Featuring Doc the dog from Jamie on Vimeo.

NASCAR Scholar: Joe Menzer
Wednesday, January 02, 2008
For some reason, this article from writer Joe Menzer really struck me as funny. Online writing is such an interesting hybrid of formal journalism and casual, comfortable the bastard child of the newspaper era. Menzer has a wit and ease about him that makes me laugh and really think hard about the sport and its players.

New Year, New Beginnings
Like many people, the transition to a new year touches me on a personal level. I feel it necessary to do something crazy that I would never otherwise do, purge my unnecessary belongings for sale or donation, and the like. The one thing I am not usually looking to accomplish is weight loss. This past fall, I managed to lose 9-10 pounds with the help of Weight Watchers. This year, I want to continue onto my goal weight by shedding 10 more pounds. It's not a resolution, per se, but rather an expectation. Something I expect of myself, to do something healthy for myself. To feel good about myself.

Come to think of it, I'll probably end up purging my unnecessary belongings as well, since I have a tendency to do that anyway. Either way, I'll be a little lighter in 2008 for all the right reasons - my own health and sanity being the top two.

I spent the new years holiday, for the most part, in my pajamas. Sean and I watched some movies, surfed the internet, tried to avoid thinking about work, and trying to teach the dog to lie down. It was bliss, and now it's over. But it's okay, because it's time to snap out of my non-showered-have-no-idea-what-day-of-the-week-it-is haze anyhow.

I hope you all have the things you need, and want, in 2008!