Breaking News Bulletin
Thursday, July 31, 2008
As I type, the frightening couple next door is breaking up - I know this because the hallway outside my front door is filled with clothing on hangers, garbage bags full of personal sundry items, a laptop bag, a camera bag, and a crock pot. She must have finally decided to leave his abusive ass - and take the slow cooker with her.

I have no idea where she went, but I saw him coming out of the freight elevator and I certainly hope that (a) he helped her pack whatever vehicle she drove away in, and (b) that the enormous bruise/abrasion on his head was from that banging I heard earlier tonight. As in, him beating his own head against the wall. The dude's got rage issues for sure.

So I guess my nosy neighbor days are over...and I'm not really sad about that.

If these two need cash THAT BADLY, I guess the economy really IS getting worse...

"It's going to be very theatrical."


Moron in Training
Last night, I am fairly certain that I was the worst focus group member in the entire world. We had a really interesting mix of people in my group, and I was so flustered by the people behind the one way mirror and the video camera moving around remotely, that I completely failed to make my point clear on several occasions.

I knew I was being watched, and it completely threw me off. I had all these fantastic observations and answers (our task was to provide feedback on the upcoming rebranding of a major petroleum/gasoline company) and NONE of them came out in a way that would reinforce my own intelligence. Instead, I sounded like an idiot. Awesome.

That said, who really gives a shit what a gas tanker LOOKS like, or how it makes me feel when I drive past it on the highway? I don't feel anything other than a twinge of guilt about not driving a hybrid. I mean, c'mon people - I am a packaging whore of the highest order - the Knights of Cosmetics Addiction. I KNOW OF WHAT I SPEAK.

On the upside, we got Jolly Ranchers on the way out. I'm trying to think optimistically. This is me, taking it one day at a time.

And You Are...?
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
I AM: sensitive.

I THINK: so much sometimes that it makes my head hurt.

I KNOW: that I am a control freak.

I HAVE: an unusual birthmark, which is really just a blob of amorphous pigmentation. It looks like a tightly clustered constellation of freckles on my thigh.

I WISH: the best for everyone around me, including the beeyotch who cut me off in traffic last week.

I HATE: knick-knacks, particularly “Precious Moments” figurines and things that have been crocheted.

I MISS: my mind. Have you seen it anywhere?

I FEAR: falling from great heights.

I HEAR: harmonies in music.

I SMELL: most of my food before I eat it. It’s just one of my little quirks.

I CRAVE: cheetos – more often than I’d like to admit.

I SEARCH: only when I’m lost.

I WONDER: if there will ever be a Pet Shop Boys album that doesn’t remind me of junior high.

I REGRET: not standing up for myself in the past.

I LOVE: picnic food.

I ACHE: mostly in the neck and shoulders, courtesy of my horrendous posture.

I AM NOT: flat-chested.

I DANCE: as often as possible.

I SING: to almost every song on the radio, and often around the house.

I FIGHT: rarely. There are very few situations (in my opinion) where confrontation is truly necessary and justified.

I CRY: more often than I probably should.

I WIN: over friends fairly easily.

I LOSE: my keys in my purse, ALL the time.

I NEVER: say never.

I ALWAYS: lazily kick my sneakers off inside the front door, then curse myself when I go to put them back on, because the damn laces are still tied.

I CONFUSE: spatials – distances, measurements, terminology, etc.

I LISTEN: intermittently.

I CAN USUALLY BE FOUND: rationalizing the purchase of another pair of black shoes.

I AM SCARED: that someday I might find out that I am infertile.

I NEED: to have some alone time every day.

I AM HAPPY ABOUT: mostly everything – just not outwardly.

I IMAGINE: seldomly. I prefer to operate in reality.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Every one of the cardigans he wore on the show had been hand-knit by his mother.

The Definition of Fun
Sunday, July 27, 2008
My friend Kate is getting married very soon, and I had the opportunity to spend a weekend away to celebrate the end of her single days. I wouldn't really call it a bachelorette party because while there was a lot of wine present, there were no wild games of daring and rowdiness, nor were there any trinkets shaped like male genitalia. (Not Kate's style - you can add that to the list of reasons I love her so.)

We all (and by "we," I mean a small group of her closest friends) convened at a rented condo in Douglas, Michigan (adjacent to Saugatuck, MI) and proceeded to lay out a plan for the perfect weekend. We drank homemade sangria, we lounged poolside, we swam, we met a cocker spaniel named Ellie (a story for another day), played cards, and did a lot of talking.

There is something so interesting about the collection of people that attended - each woman vastly different in her own ways, some from out of town, one an expectant mother, most married but not all, and ALL of us intelligent, well-spoken, and so very happy to be there, if even for a quick weekend getaway. Our conversations drifted seamlessly from birth control to politics, day care to dogs, cosmetics to neurosurgery, proper punctuation to dwindling tourism in Africa, or even the successes and failures of marketing/advertising in the consumer packaged goods industry. We sat around and talked about celebrities, and in the next breath, about how John McCain holds a microphone. (Okay that last one was me, but I'm sorry, it really bugs me how he sticks his elbow out. It's really awkward looking.)

When I wasn't busy helping myself to another cocktail that I may (OR MAY NOT) have needed, I quietly wondered whether there would be another time where we could all get together like this - without a care, without a schedule, without the burden of drama, argument, stress, family, finances, etc. It was as if the whole world stood still so that we could simply enjoy one another's company. It was divine. After all, the days of carefree, footloose behavior are coming to an end. I cannot announce everything that flies into my head forever. For some of us, planning time away like this won't always JUST include booking a kennel, or running our trips against the calendar of a spouse. That knowledge alone made this past weekend that much more special and memorable.

Kate has curated her group of friends to include some amazing women, and I was honored to be among them.

Change of Plans
Thursday, July 24, 2008
So...ummm, yeah that Fourth Anniversary masthead that I was promising? It didn't turn out so hot, partially because my dog is not Chuck Armstrong. My dog is adorable, but posing and holding a pose on command does not fall onto the list of things he enjoys. To wit:

Desperate for a change, and not wanting to COMPLETELY let my loyal readers down, I concocted the redesign you see before you. It's a little Halloween-a-riffic right now, but to be honest with you, that masthead won't last long. I lack the vanity it would require to log on and see my face staring back at me every day. I see me in the mirror - I don't need me inside the computer too.

So enjoy the official Fourth Anniversary Masthead! Something better (and less...well, ORANGE) is coming soon.

Lesson Learned
As it turns out, even if one is in a committed, healthy relationship, it can still be mortifying if one happens to be out walking the dog and steps into the dog leash while a shirtless guy jogs by, prompting an enormous clusterf**k of activity between dog, person, curb, drain water, and aforementioned jogger.

Official week of klutzy behavior and embarassment continues...

Wednesday, July 23, 2008
August is coming up quickly, and with it comes my birthday.

I really hate to say it, but I am pretty much your typical Leo. I don't fit the astrological profile entirely, but much of it is accurate to the point where I'm almost ashamed to read words like "laziness, selfishness..." and at the same time, I would be hardpressed to deny it. ON OCCASION. I can be selfish ON OCCASION. But isn't that true of anyone? Sheesh. It's difficult enough to type, let alone admit.

For better or for worse, I am a Leo. For more insight on my own best and worst qualities, read this article. And how cool is it that I happen to live in one of the destinations suggested for my own sign? No WONDER I love this city as I do.

It's also a convenient explanation as to why I love gold jewelry and am usually comfortable amongst large groups and strangers. Weird.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008
I am pleased, however, to hear that you now reside in my hometown of Atlanta. Southern women will eat a bitch like you for lunch. I just wish I could be there to see it happen.

I Am My Own Worst Nightmare
Monday, July 21, 2008
So here's the thing - I am a very hard working person, but only selectively so. When I *want* to get something done, I'm on it like white on rice. As for everything else, not so much. So when I have a task I'm interested in completing, I become a woman who is singularly obsessed, and while that's very productive, it ain't always pretty.

That said, I've been trying to spend some concentrated time planning our upcoming trip to Italy. Earlier this evening, I was DEEP into figuring out how to see 100% of Rome in 2.5 days (ha) and my mother called to chat. But I was not having any of the interruption. In fact, if you polled my family and friends, they might tell you that my hatred of being pulled out of focus (and my total inability to hide my frustration with the person who has interrupted me) is one of my least attractive personality traits.

I was short and snippy with my mother, who innocently enough, just wanted to see how I was doing. !!! She was recently in Rome and wanted to give me some helpful suggestions. What a bitch, right? HOW DARE SHE. (sarcasm, folks, all sarcasm)

So mom, if you're reading this, I am sorry! I am working on my inability to shift gears, I swear! I'm sure someday I'll have a child with this very characteristic and that alone will be miserable enough for me to learn my lesson! Love you!

Pratfalls as Cosmic Punishment: News at 11
Sunday, July 20, 2008
I must have wronged someone recently, because over the course of the day, I

- slipped in fresh pigeon poop, lost my balance, and almost dropped my handbag into a fountain while trying to regain my equilibrium

- experienced unexplained, SHOCKINGLY AWFUL knee pain - like the kind of pain that momentarily takes your breath away

- fell walking up an escalator, denting my right shin (seriously, there's a dent. you can see it sometime)

- almost broke the shower door

- chipped my favorite coffee mug

- noticed THREE new granny hairs on my chin (all of them jet black - someone please explain this to me)

If you need me, I'll be over in the corner - hastily praying to whatever Gods that I angered. Maybe it's because I didn't wash my hair this morning?

Here's hoping that tomorrow will be better.

Lights are Going to Find Me, Shining Like The Sun
Last night, my parents, my sister and I had an inpromptu family night. I suggested it because, at some point earlier this week, I realized that if I kept on with my own schedule and ignored everyone else, there's a good chance I wouldn't see my family until mid-August. Now I don't know about YOUR family, but we are what I would classify as "close to very close" and since we live near one another, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to hang out.

My mom, my sister, and I went to see Mamma Mia! The Movie! (met up with my father for dinner) and despite my sour, sarcastic reaction to the stage production, the movie was actually hilariously good. Seriously - no joke. I would recommend it to anyone who either (a) saw and even partially liked the stage show, and/or (b) anyone who loves ABBA.

Meryl Streep was, at times, a bit too dramatic for me - although her singing was lovely and very powerful. Pierce Brosnan sang like he had something shoved up his times, he sang so hard that his entire neck would turn red. Why do you force it, Pierce? Just get someone to dub the tracks for you. Do us all a favor next time, really. As my mother said, you're "just there to be looked at" anyway. Stellan Skarsgaard was creepy/funny, and Colin Firth (oh, Mr. Darcy, how I love you) was PERFECT as the droll, has-a-crazy-past-but-you'd-never-know-it Suited man.

And a special note about Julie Walters, who plays the best friend of the lead character...I haven't seen her in a movie since she played the dance instructor in Billy Elliott (which is a wonderful, feel-good film). In Mamma Mia! she is FANTASTIC. SO funny - her comedic timing and facial expressions had me laughing constantly. Every now and then, she steals the show. Love love LOVE her in this film.

For me, the breakout performance of the movie was Amanda Seyfried - whom most people know as Karen, the wannabe meteorologist from the movie "Mean Girls." Her singing was spot-on and lovely (apparently she's classically trained) and she nailed the "i've been raised rather fortuitously and innocently on a tiny greek island all the while keeping my intelligence and naivete (and irritatingly beautiful, ruddy skin) in check. Hee hee!" character. I think this might be the performance that really starts her career into a great, big snowball of fantastic roles.

And if you don't care about any of the schmoes who were casted, I might even suggest going JUST for the music. Benny and Bjorn from ABBA signed on as executive producers (along with Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson, no small potatoes there) and they commandeering a really interesting version of each song - in fact, there are a couple songs in the film that were not present or utilized for the Broadway show. They really did a phenomenal job of making what most consider to be cloying, 70's pop music accessible and fresh. It should come as no surprise to anyone that these songs translate quite nicely into being current and very entertaining.

The movie was cornball, camp, and hilarity all wrapped up into one big laughfest. Say what you will about the critics panning this, but I would HIGHLY suggest that you see it. Pure, honest, easy entertainment. Two Thumbs Up!

Friday, July 18, 2008
This entire entry is going to make me sound like a complete stalker, but I'm just going to come right out with it anyway. All of my favorite bloggers are at BlogHer in San Francisco. OH, when BlogHer was in know, TEN BLOCKS AWAY FROM MY HOUSE, I didn't go. It seemed like a bad use of my disposable income, and really I'm just in it to meet people and drink wine. But NOW, NOWWWWWW, they're all together...

Literally all together, and ALL taking a very understandable hiatus from blogging. Which means any of the posts they put up over the weekend will involve stories of parties, debauchery, and all the things the secret blogging whore inside of me would LOVE to be a part of. But instead, my sad, passively-aggressive antisocial self will sit at home and bitch about how they're all having fun together, without me. They don't even know me.

I realize how irrational this sounds, but I'm a bitter woman. Hear me out.

So FINE, Bossy. FINE, Linda and Kristin. And Melissa, Maggie, Eden, Yvonne, and WORST OF ALL, Sarah. Because blogs are nice and all, but what am I supposed to do without Hair Thursday?? You guys go on, have your fun. I'm talking to YOU, Heather, and Moose. By the time I actually save up to attend a BlogHer, it will probably be totally passe and nobody cool will even be there.

If you want me, I'll be here at home, pouting.

Devil Inside
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Got this little "iPod Shuffle" meme from Lynda. Her answers cracked me up so badly, I just knew I had to complete the activity myself. Enjoy my embarassment, as I scroll through my iPod library.

1. What would describe your personality?
Lovers Rock (Sade)
Oh God, the embarassment begins. Remember this is RANDOM, people. RANDOM!

2. What do you like in a guy/girl?
Immigrant Song (Led Zeppelin)

3. How do you feel, today?
Have a Little Faith in Me (Joe Cocker)

4. What’s your life’s purpose?
Me Against the Music (Britney Spears) Huh?

5. What is your motto?
Gunpowder & Lead (Miranda Lambert)
For the record, I am pro Bill of Rights, right to bear arms, etc., but am staunchly against the unchecked, unorganized, corrupt industry currently selling most personal firearms. REGISTER YOUR GUNS AND LOCK THEM AWAY, PEOPLE. GEEZ.

6. What do your friends think of you?
Truth No. 2 (Dixie Chicks)

7. What do you think of your parents?
I Am Sure (Michael W. Smith)

8. What do you think about very often?
Voyager (Daft Punk)
Hmm, kind of true.

9. What do you think of your best friend?
Harder to Breathe (Maroon 5)

10. What do you think of the person you like?
Headlock (Imogen Heap)

11. What is your life story?
Heat Wave (Martha Reeves & The Vandellas)

12. What do you want to be when you grow up?

Jaded (Aerosmith)

13. What do you think when you see the person you like?
Burnin' For You (Blue Oyster Cult)

14. What do your parents think of you?
Mirror (Barlow Girl)

15. What will be played at your funeral?
Fadeaway (The BoDeans)
Actually, I might not mind that. Although I've already requested that "Thank you for Being a Friend/Golden Girls Theme" be played. And I've mandated that my best friends stand up and sing along. I guess we can play the BoDeans after that.

16.What is your hobby/interest?

The Water is Wide (James Taylor)

17. What is your biggest secret?
Last Dance (Sarah McLachlan)

18. What do you think of your friends?
I Hate Myself for Loving You (Joan Jett)

19. What should you post this as?
Devil Inside (INXS)

Check Please
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
In an attempt to organize and compartmentalize my life, I recently made an enormous list of things I need to have done before I leave town again. Then Sean came home from India and I got busy with real life stuff, like you know, earning a paycheck...and before I knew it, my life had run off with me. This little ol' blog is fun and all, but when the shit really hits the fan, it's the first thing to go. What can I say? I'm only human.

Item of Business #1: The four-year-versary masthead is in development. When PhotoBucket stops being a complete TOOL and allows me to upload properly from my iMac, I'll be working more on moving it into production.

Item of Business #2: If you have not seen any of Pat & Gina Neely's shows on the Food Network, stop what you are doing and go turn the damn television on.

They are seriously funny, and perhaps my newest favorite cooking couple. Maybe my ONLY favorite cooking couple. I also enjoy how they deliberately bump hips when they're cooking. A well-timed hip bump spices up any everyday activity, don't you think?

Item of Business #3: Chicago summers suck donkey bellies (that's a shout out to my homefry Leta, of course). My hair has never been larger. And not really in charge. At all. Let's just say that I'm more than ready to chop it all off again, but I'm fairly certain my bride-to-be-best-friend Kate would NOT appreciate the unexpected visual of a 12-year old redheaded boy in a dress in her wedding photos. Whatever.

Item of Business #4: I caught an episode of Unwrapped earlier this evening (yes, Food Network, again - what of it?) and watched as Marc Summers discussed all things LEMON. I spent the entire time drooling uncontrollably on my desk until my surge protector exploded and my computer died. The end.

Seriously though, an entire episode on Lemon is just inhumane! I'm UNCONTROLLABLY salivating, and suddenly have a craving for 7-Up.

Item of Business #5: The office of Jamie Jamerkins, Esq. is now accepting your recommendations on the-one-item-you-cannot-travel-without. What is that one thing you take on any long trip? I am attempting to pack lightly, and am sorely in need of perspective. And a good, justifiable reason NOT to take 16 pairs of shoes with me to Italy.

Plunging into Chaos
Thursday, July 10, 2008
The next several weeks are going to be a tough stretch of days for me. You know, as an over-planner, that is. I have tailgating and NASCAR this weekend (none of which I've even thought about preparing for, thanks to the place-that-shall-not-be-blogged-about), plans to repaint my bathroom, an out-of-town bachelorette party, and a 9-day trip to Italy.

I have not planned out how any of this is going to go down yet - which makes me crazy. But things have just been busy, Sean's back from India, and I'm trying to relax and let things go with the flow. Doing that is always a serious challenge for me. It sounds dumb, but it just is. The only things I've done in preparation is online research (Italy), kennel booking (Doc), begging Sean to puh-lease clean the grill because it is gross and has been wrapped in a trash bag for months? (NASCAR), birthday hat on dog photography (new blog masthead), and some minor clothing and shoe purchasing (Italy).

Oh, did I mention that weight I lost on Weight Watchers? IT'S BACK. So add "eat healthy" to the list of things I should be fretting over. But I don't have the time to fret - so I'm just winging it as I go. Which frightens me most of all.

So, now, this is the part where you all either contribute
(a) suggestions on what to see in Rome or Venice
(b) relaxation tools for times of stress.

Monday, July 07, 2008
After a few minutes, Mamah watched him climb disconsolately into his car and wait until she lit her headlights and drove off. She had done the right thing, the hard thing. But there wasn't an ounce of relief in it.

Updated Holiday Recap: Freckletown, The Sequel
Sunday, July 06, 2008
This past weekend, I've spent my time in central Florida with my family. I genuinely enjoy hanging out with my parents, and my sister (and her adorable family), but I wasn't sure I wanted any part of my parents' newest snowbird adventure: a house in Florida. Because, IT'S FLORIDA. IN JULY. BLECCH.

Turns out, I can admit it when I'm wrong - because I was wrong. Florida can still be muggy and hot as hell...but when you're there with people you love, it's completely tolerable. It also doesn't hurt to be 1200 miles away from the crowds in Chicago.

We hit Sea World as a family, primarily because it's not Disney (I mostly hate Disney - not for lofty political, philosophical, or anti-capitalist reasons, but because I find animated characters REALLY ANNOYING), and had a grand old time. Really. It was cool. See?

We celebrated America's "birthday" at breakfast on Friday morning - french toast, enormous muffins, sausage, bacon, and lite maple Syrup. Because really, what is more American than a disgustingly fatty breakfast balanced out with reduced calorie condiments? NOTHING. Also, I bought some party hats to commemorate the occasion:

(when you're on vacation, you don't wear makeup. it's a rule i just created. shut up.)

This is how I spent my time during the fireworks display -

What can I say? Fireworks are nice and all, but after awhile, really not that interesting. I read this book (for book club) by the light of a fake, LED palm tree. Niiice.

I also picked up some bizarrely shaped color (read: sunburn) at the neighborhood pool. Jealous?

Hopefully it will fade soon. It looks like a drunk, blind person applied my spray-on Aveeno 45. Whoops.

Hope you all had a great weekend!

Thursday, July 03, 2008
Holding a stuffed animal to my ear and pretending to have a conversation until police pull me over, at which point I thrust the animal at them and say “Ha, joke’s on you-it’s not a cell phone at all but rather my old pal Flopsy.”


So You Think You Can Conceive
Wednesday, July 02, 2008
I'm watching SYTYCD right now, and I don't care what all of you think...

Cat Deeley is pregnant. PREGNANT, I TELL YOU.

I'm sorry - but I she just IS. She's typically THIN AS A RAIL, and this is the third week I've thought she was looking bigger in very specific, very significant areas.

For the record, I think she is normally gorgeous - absolutely stunning. I wonder how long it will be until she announces...

Cheap Thrills
Last weekend, I achieved the impossible. I found a dollar store within 5 miles of my house. Which is CHOICE because the annual NASCAR race in Joliet is coming up and I needed to stock up on tailgating supplies. I also didn't want to spend a jillion dollars on stuff that is going to end up in a huge pile of trash bags, next to a row of Port-a-Potties.

I also love wandering around dollar stores because every now and then. I like to see exactly HOW random their product offering is. My favorites from this weekend include really REALLY old N*Sync posters, more kitchen utensils than is necessary, 500 brands of paper towels but no toilet paper (how is that possible?), and let's not forget the plethora of crap marketed towards the upcoming July 4th holiday. Also, giant sunglasses. Those are funny to me every. single. time. I. See. Them.

It's like Wal-Mart without the mess, crowds, and general seething discount-big-box-store rage. Ahem.

What's YOUR favorite cheap thrill?

Thank God Somebody ELSE Out There Share my Distaste for Poodles
Tuesday, July 01, 2008
I have two things to say really - one is this: how is it possible that I had not seen this website until today?! I THINK I'M IN LOVE.

Also, THIS. And also THIS in the same vein, but from another website.


I am so insanely tired this week, I almost cannot even function. What's worse - I can't figure out why. Is it possible to be hungover after a muscle relaxer? I wake up feeling like I had a bottle of Cutty Sark for dinner...weird.

That said, things have been busy 'round these here parts. The new "Fourth Anniversary" masthead/banner is a'comin. First, I have to repurpose a celebratory hat so that it fits on the dog's head.

Amazing, what my life has come to. Hats on dogs. That, and budgeting. I am just a thrill a minute.