Just Another NYE Lemming
Wednesday, December 31, 2008
It's the end of the year, and what does that mean? It means it's time to complete Sundry's End of Year Blogging Retrospective. So here you go - if you're really bored, you can also read my entries from 2006 and 2007. Have a safe and happy New years, everyone!

1. What did you do in 2008 that you’d never done before?
Went whale watching, visited western Canada, mainlined MSNBC

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I don't typically make resolutions.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

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

5. What countries did you visit?
Canada, Italy, the good ol' U.S.A.

6. What would you like to have in 2009 that you lacked in 2008?
I plead the fifth.

7. What dates from 2008 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
August 16th, March 15th, NOVEMBER 4TH.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Following through on my decision to learn to be a better cook.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Gaining weight after eating everything I cooked.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Other than a wicked virus that killed half of this past December, no.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
A black leather Flat-Iron Satchel from Banana Republic. I've seriously worn that handbag almost entirely throughout the year. Well technically it was half-gift, half-purchase.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Barack Obama, Rachel Maddow, my father (for keeping a brave face through his surgery)

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
John McCain, George Bush, Rod Blagojevich, Sean Hannity

14. Where did most of your money go?
Property taxes, my ridiculous condo assessment, and probably food, cabs, and McDonald's Diet Cokes

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

16. What song will always remind you of 2008?
Four Minutes by Justin Timberlake & Madonna

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder? neutral
b) thinner or fatter? fatter, but only by about 5 pounds
c) richer or poorer? neutral

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Keeping my mouth shut and just listening to people.

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

20. How did you spend Christmas?
With my family, at my parents house.

21. Did you fall in love in 2008?

22. What was your favorite TV program?
CSI:NY, the Rachel Maddow Show, Dancing w/the Stars

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
In general, I try not to hate anyone. Ever.

24. What was the best book you read?
Tough call. I have no idea.

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
That I cannot, in fact, figure out the harmony to "The First Noel" and should just let well enough alone during the singalong at church on Christmas Eve.

26. What did you want and get?
Amazing views, experiences, and memories. Materially speaking, a new hand mixer, a food processor, and a Le Creuset dutch oven (in green!).

27. What did you want and not get?
I plead the fifth. Again.

28. What was your favorite film of this year?
MAMMA MIA! So campy, SO funny.

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I spent my 29th birthday standing up in my best friend Kate's gorgeous wedding.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Exercising more.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2008?
If it's ironed, wear it.

32. What kept you sane?
Sean, reading lots of books (good and bad), blogs, the dog

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Fancy, as in have a crush on? That's almost too easy. Gerard Butler.

34. What political issue stirred you the most?
The RNC's nomination of John McCain & Sarah Palin as viable candidates to lead our country. I particularly resent the Palin nod, as I found it insulting to the intelligence of the American citizenry.

35. Who did you miss?
My grandfather.

36. Who was the best new person you met?
I had the great opportunity to meet MonkeyPosh and I consider her the most fabulous, friendly person I have met this entire year! She is a dear, dear person - and she enables my love for Sonic, so we're pretty much a match made in heaven.

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2008.
Honesty should be tempered with a smile.

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
I am horrible at stuff like this...PASS.

Monday, December 29, 2008
In those early days it seemed to his friends that Rodenstock's main sources for old wines were the auction houses of London and Zurich, as well as the cellars of Paris merchant Nicolas. As his tastings made news, though, Alles uber Wein began to receive letters from people, especially in Germany, saying they had private cellars and wondering how they could get in touch with Rodenstock. He was also a ferocious networker, sending letters to hundreds of wine dealers and chateaux and merchants. The history of wine was full of examples of bottles surfacing in unusual places, and Rodenstock was competing on, or beneath, the same fields as Christie's and Sotheby's. It made sense that he, too, would come upon rare finds.

Something Special
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Today was one of those great days in the life of a person - seeing family, getting hugs and kisses from the most adorable niece and nephew someone could have, a long overdue pedicure, and freshly baked sugar cookies. At one point during dinner, my father turned to me and quietly asked me if I'd thought recently about how unbelievably lucky we all are to have our health, and one another.

And with a sly smile, I said that I had.

Hope you all have a wonderful holiday, regardless of what holiday you celebrate. Take time to enjoy the people around you - and if you are celebrating the season alone, remember how special and blessed you are. Merry Christmas, everybody.

Fantasy Christmas List
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Dear Santa,

In the great American tradition of commercialism and excess, I thought I would provide you with my M.I.N.O. (money is no object) Christmas list. You never know until you ask, right?

The cutest dress in the history of the world

Some inspiration for this blog

Anything from this product line

I saw these shoes in Rome, and I knew we were M.F.E.O. I wear a 6.5 US in Champagne, please.

This album

A cute, grey coat

Something to wear when baking

Something to watch while in my pj's, avoiding the subzero weather outside

According to the fashion world, every woman should have at least one DVF dress in their lifetime. I like this one

This book, even thought it inherently contradicts my routinized nature

A gift certificate

the time, energy, fabric, and skill to make any or all of these

Something unnecessarily girly, and fun - because I can never make up my mind



Fashionable Economic Downturn
Monday, December 22, 2008
While fully realizing that this bit of news is complete fluff compared to the rest of the stories of global depression, I still find it sad. If you follow fashion at all, you know that Blass was a pioneer and an American fashion icon for so many years - and the fact that no severance was guaranteed for his loyal workers is flat-out unfair. I hope someone catches wind of this and makes a big stink (a la Republic Windows & Doors).


File under F for Filler
Friday, December 19, 2008
No time to write...will post a meme that I stole from Lawyerish instead...

1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate?
Hot chocolate – no marshmellows. I really hate egg nog.

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree?
Wrapped! That is one of my favorite parts of any holiday! Especially when one is dating someone who thinks he is all clever and decides to pick up the gifts with his name on them, pat them down, and shake them to try and guess what is inside.

3. Colored or white lights?
White. I have an aversion to colored lights, and I prefer a clean, white glow.

4. Do you hang mistletoe?
Nope, in fact, I never even considered doing so. Am I missing something by skipping this?

5. When do you put your decorations up?
Typically, I pick up my Christmas décor from the storage area in my parents’ basement before driving home from our Thanksgiving celebration. I try to have everything Christmas-y up by December 1st.

6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)?
Definitely my mom’s cheesy potato casserole.

7. Favorite holiday memory as a child?
My parents fighting about how best to light the tree – whether to wind around, or zig-zag, and there was always a good bickering session about who would feed and who would string. Good times.

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa?
I don’t remember when – maybe around 5th grade? Gradually, I think my sister and I figured out that the presents were coming from the basement, and not from some fat guy who fell from the chimney.

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve?
Yes, always pajamas from my parents – to be worn on Christmas morning.

10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree?
White lights (see above) and a mix of new and older ornaments that I’ve acquired here and there – some are gifts. Also, I hang wrapped candy canes and stuff white or red silk poinsettia blooms in any tree holes.

11. Snow. Love it or dread it?

12. Can you ice skate?
Yes, in fact, I used to take figure skating lessons as a kid. I would still be skating today if I weren’t so afraid of landing that pesky axel.

13. Do you remember your favorite gift?
Yes – my first pair of ballet slippers. I remember everything about them, including the kind of box they were in and what the wrapping on it looked like.

14. What is the most important thing about the holidays for you?
Spending time with family, relaxing and being thankful. Oh, and watching chick flicks.

15. What is your favorite holiday dessert?
Chocolate Mousse or Chocolate-Dipped Peanut Butter Balls.

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition?
Opening gifts. There, I said it.

17. What tops your Christmas tree?
Nothing this year – but it was a bright, white star last year, and an angel the year prior to that.

18. Which do you prefer, giving or receiving?
Giving, by far and away, is my preference. I love being able to put a smile on someone’s face, and I take the challenge of finding the ideal gift to heart.

19. What is your favorite Christmas song?
I have many – “White Christmas”, anything from the Polar Express soundtrack, and “We Three Kings.”

20. Candy Canes. Yum or Yuck?
Meh. I’m indifferent.

21. What do you want for Christmas?
What don’t I want for Christmas? Honestly, as long as it’s not something that would just clutter up my apartment, I don’t have any specific requests. I need functional things this year – like kitchen scissors, a new ironing board cover, and a new pair of wellies.

22. Do you attend an annual Christmas party?
Yes – I attend the Company parties of both my workplace and Sean’s – and sometimes, a friend will have one, but that is rare.

23. Do you dress up for Christmas Eve or wear PJ's?
We dress up for the Christmas Eve service at church, then change into our Christmas Eve pjs for some wine drinking and chatting.

24. Do you own a Santa hat?
Yes, a tiny one for the dog that he refuses to wear.

25. Who do you normally spend Christmas with?
My nuclear family, and the extendeds from my Mom’s side of the family. (there are only 3 people there, so it’s a fairly intimate group) We’re a loud, crazy bunch, but it’s always fun.

Ha Ha HAAAAAAhahahahaha oh, ho hAAAA
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Fitz sprang to his sleigh and the reindeer did bristle

While off in the distance, sang the jailhouse whistle.

I heard him exclaim to all within sight,

"Merry Fitzmas to all, except those I indict."

Nothin' Doin'
Why is it that, when I post random and mostly inane bits of blogging, my readership takes a spike - but when I only post occasionally with more weighty or substantive entries, my page view count nosedives? It really doesn't make any sense whatsoever. That is the beauty of blogging, I suppose, when timing trumps content. Oh, the internet: it giveth and it taketh away.

There's really nothing going on of note in my life right now. Work is work, getting ready for the holiday is going smoothly, I'm working on my last Christmas gifts this week (they need some tweaking before they can be wrapped), the dog DESPERATELY needs to get his glands expressed (appointment is on Saturday) and has been butt-scooting around the condo all week...let's see, what else? Comcast is being a royal pain in the tuchis, and it keeps snowing here. That's all the news, and some of it might not be considered "fit to print," but there it is all the same.

In other news, it's been baby mania on the internet. Everyone seems to be giving birth right now. And there are a few more coming down the pike. And because a baby is not in my immediate future, I think I'll put together a fantasy Christmas list instead. I don't know about you, but let's be honest - even imaginary shopping is therapeutic for me. So look for my wildest holiday wish list EVER (dun duh dunnnn) tomorrow.

Thank you, iPod Shuffle feature, for today's existential dilemma
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
So there I was, sitting innocently at my desk, when I heard them. The hum that turns into a whiny sort of harmony - that's right - synthesized woodwinds. And immediately, I knew that I'd have that song stuck in my poor, holiday-addled mind all day.

What exactly am I led to believe is meant by the lyrics of "Slow Hand" by the Pointer Sisters? Hmm? Is it merely the dirtiest ballad ever to be produced by an 80's group, or is there something more happening there? Why does a song that is so smooth and pleasing make me feel as if I need a shower afterwards?

Is it a metaphor for that thing which is lacking in their relationship? Are they just blatant horndogs? These are the mysteries of the day.

Sunday, December 14, 2008
In the later parts of 2008, Sean and I did a lot of camping. And by "a lot," I mean "more than twice." It was fun, despite unseasonably cold weather on our last outing (campground shown below - I shiver just *looking* at it) and I hope we do more in 2009. But here's my thing - even though we've accumulated the necessary items - grill, tent, foldable chairs, etc. - is there something we're missing that would further enhance our camping experience?

Or maybe just make camping easier? Do we think an outdoor patio heater will fit in the trunk of my 4-door sedan?

No? Hmm. Any suggestions you all might have would be super helpful. Thanks!

Enjoy This While I Wean Myself off the DayQuil
Friday, December 12, 2008
I'm still sick, and to be honest, sort of miserable. But I have no time to wallow, so I plan on spending this weekend resting, and pulling myself away from the medicine cabinet. In the meantime, please enjoy the following holiday ditty - which, as far as I'm concerned, will never, ever get old.

Remember: Laughter (and hydrocodone) is the best medicine. Until Monday, take care.

Please Listen to this Message in Its Entirety...
Tuesday, December 09, 2008

"...You've reached the blog of Jamie Jamerkins. Unfortunately I am out today due to illness. I will have intermittent access to email in my absence, but may or may not actually choose to answer you. I'm too busy napping, stinking like a cab driver, eating bland foods, abusing over-the-counter medication, and awaiting test results for my throat. I may or may not return to the internet tomorrow. I guess you'll just have to sit tight until I come back. Until then, please leave a message at the beep. Thank you, and have a great day!"

So Umm...?
Thursday, December 04, 2008
I was just, umm, wondering something tonight. Let's say, HYPOTHETICALLY, that you'd put your handwash-only dishes out on the kitchen to dry one night and left them for maybe 24 hours.

Then let's say - AGAIN, HYPOTHETICALLY - that you came home after work and noticed that a bug of unknown origins had found its way to the underside of one of your George Foreman "The Next Grilleration" removeable grill plates? And died there - potentially minus a head. ??? What would you do?

Would you calmly remove the aforementioned insect and rewash your grill plate? Or would you freak out, frantically google a bad description of the bug, and then run off to your computer to blog about it? (In this HYPOTHETICAL EXAMPLE you are a nearly 30-year old female who lives on an upper floor of a highrise building in downtown Chicago and cannot imagine why bugs are in your concrete-lined apartment in the dead of winter)


Update: I keep looking at the photo and wondering why the bug has a set of stingers/antennae/feely thingies where its head should be. Is it a strange mutant form of a normal bug? Does it live in my garbage disposal? Will it breed babies in sizes that increase with each generation, and eventually exit my plumbing and eat me in my sleep? Should I feed it some sugar water? SEND HELP.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008
Thanks to everyone who texted or called me yesterday to send their good vibes. Everything went swimmingly with the operation, and my Dad is resting as comfortably as possible at the hospital. Once he clears the Physical Therapy basic hurdles (walking, sitting, standing independently), he'll be cleared to go home. We anticipate that will happen on Friday morning.

Thank you again everyone for the kindess. I thought I might crumble when I first visited him in recovery - lying there, covered in wires and tubes - but as I walked in, he was giving one of the nurses a hard time and I knew that he was just fine. When it comes to my father, cantankerous = healthy. I didn't just randomly acquire my sense of humor...it was inherited. Hehe.

Another small note to Chicagoans - while we were waiting out the transition from the OR to the recovery, my mother and I ate dinner at Caliterra. We figured it'd be easiest to hit one of the hotel restaurants near the hospital, and happened upon this hidden gem. It was seriously amazing - braised short ribs with a barolo demi and horseradish creme fraiche for me, and an open-faced filet sandwich w/microgreens for my mom. And this was off of their pre-dinner "light fare" menu! AMAZING. It was slightly pricey, but let's be honest - we mostly just wanted a cocktail to celebrate. Dinner was an added bonus. I highly recommend this restaurant to anyone.

All Digits: CROSSED
Tuesday, December 02, 2008
This afternoon, my father goes into surgery for a complete replacement of one of his hips. He is an excellent candidate for a smooth surgery, but still - major surgery is just that. The idea of something happening to him stops the breath in my chest. I am stressed out.

If you're spiritually or superstitiously inclined, please think good thoughts this afternoon for him. Any good vibes/thoughts you can send our way between 12:00-1:45 pm CST this afternoon would be much appreciated. Thanks!

Calling All Bibliophiles
I need suggestions, people. Our annual book club holiday party is coming up quickly, and every year, we do a book exchange. Any suggestions on what I should bring? I've had a weird year, book-wise, and I'm completely stumped. HALP!

Is It December Already?!
Monday, December 01, 2008
All of a sudden, it's the end of the year - the time when everything should be slowing down, wrapping up, and bundling up to stay warm. Instead, I find myself woefully unprepared to do any of those things. There are holiday parties to attend, regrets to send for the parties that I won't be able to make, gifts to be purchased, gifts to be wrapped, and appointments galore that need to be checked off the list.

This past weekend was such a great way to start the month - on Saturday, Sean and I put up my parents' Christmas tree (along with decorating a smaller one in their entryway) and their outside holiday lights. Then on Sunday, we ran around like crazy people to get some errands done - very exciting stuff like Home Depot (to fix my closet knobs and pick up a tree for me), Kohl's (returns and the procurement of a new George Foreman Grill - YESSSSSSS!), and also Whole Foods. We were going to go to Bed, Bath & Beyond, but we didn't have the time.

Ha. Just kidding. If you didn't catch that movie reference, I cannot help you.

Next up on my plate? Putting the Christmas boxes away, putting flannel sheets on the bed, and trying to get my life in order before the storm of the holidays hits. This morning's snow was merely a harbinger of things to come, I think. I need to rest now, while I can.

Far more interesting posts forthcoming...until then, Happy December!