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Latesst Posts From My Garden Blog

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Its New Years Eve, Is It?

Hello hello. So its December 31st, 2008... 2008... 2008? seriously? Holy crap! Tomorrow it will be 2009, in two months I'll turn 29, and in two years we'll be commemorating the 10th anniversary of September 11th. Holy crap (again).

So I guess you could say I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed by the new year this time. I'm not sure why, although this year I've definitely realized how it feels to be over-extended, to have too many hobbies, interests, commitments, and obligations. Not that its been a bad year; actually its been a really good year. And in the current age of layoffs, foreclosures, and gaps in health coverage, we certainly have a lot to be thankful for. But that was another holiday.

After ruminating on it for a few days over the countless open bar / food / music / $40 a head (and those are the cheap ones) packages offered around town, Nick and I finally decided that we'd spend our new years eve at home having chocolate and cheese fondue, which is what we did last year. Usually I get a bit twitchy about staying in on new years eve. I think its because I spent what seemed like an eternity during my teens and perhaps even early 20's sitting at home on new years wishing I lived in a cool enough place / had friends close enough to hang out with / was old enough to get into bars, all which I saw as pre-requirements for new years eve fun. I spent so much time envisioning flashy exciting new years eve party events that I think a part of me fears that staying home is a bit of a failure.

But you know what? I think perhaps I shall go ahead right here and right now and declare this fondue-at-home thing a new years tradition. There, that takes some of the lameness out, right? Fondue is fun because its something we don't do very often... as a matter of fact I don't think we've had fondue since LAST new years eve. Also, it gives us a chance to sit around and talk about our year and inevitably talk about our plans for next year and all those resolutions begging to be made.

Ok, there, I feel much better now. Tomorrow we'll of course be heading to one of our favorite restaurants in Chicago (Cafe Baba Reba) for Spanish style tapas. If you wear your pajamas then you get gift certificates equaling the amount you spent to use at some other point during the next year. Do I hear Valentine's Day anyone?

So that's it for now. Have a good new years everyone!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

OMG, My Blog Hasn't Been Deleted....

I wonder how long a blog has to go untouched before it gets automatically deleted off blogger... Apparently my recent lapse of over a month was not long enough. Neither is the hiatus of nearly six months I've taken from my garden blog. Well, good. Its not like I've been trying to get my blog deleted... I've just been... busy, um yeah that's it. Well I have been busy yes, but lets face it, I'm just a slacker by nature so I guess this is what you get.

I did want to make an announcement that I plan to do a my-2008-garden-season retrospective using the millions of pictures of the garden I took throughout the year. Even though I wasn't garden blogging since July, I kept taking pictures, having it in mind that I'd post them some day. Yes, this sounds like a good idea.

Right now I'm at work trying to kill some time before I can go home. We've been hitting it pretty hard around here for the past few weeks so don't even ask me if I feel guilty about the fact that I came in an hour late, took an hour and a half lunch, and will leave "on time" today. The way I see it, I've earned it. I'll get back to being productive tomorrow, at least that's the plan. But it doesn't help that I have my x-mas gift and chore list floating around in my head 24/7. I took care of two gifts today, actually. That what made me late and made my lunch break so long. This always happens this time of year and it seems to be ok. I'll make it up sooner than later when we have a big dealine and I'm in the office until 10PM for a week.

So, that's about it. I just wanted to check in over here, make sure my blog was still here, and let you know that I'm still alive.


Friday, November 7, 2008

Ready Set.................................................. Go!

Hey look, I'm blogging twice in the same week. Wow! Lets all try not to freak out. :) Anyway, I'm sitting here at work waiting for it to be hit the "minimally respectable going home time" notch on the clock, so I thought I'd take the time to blog and tell you some exciting news:

Remember the community garden I talked about like.. months ago? Well, it appears as though my attempts to kill the project via months of doing nothing and procrastination have failed... no wait... what I mean to say is that after months of playing bureaucratic phone tag, it looks like the various local and state agencies who had the say so have finally said.... YES! That's right, the community garden, in our first choice location, has been approved! So, now I've got to get off my butt and get to work making this thing happen. The most immediate concern (even before fundriasing the $15,000+ we'll need to build the garden) is that we'd like to take advantage of the season (and the offer of a dump truck of free leaves) and get a leaf composting operation started. The leaves are falling as I speak so our time frame on this is extremely short. We need to build some sort of composting structure to hold the leaves, so they don't all blow around or look messy. So, we've got a lot to do to make this happen. I'm still not even sure if we have the clear go ahead to start building things--like compost bins--on the site, so this may not work out at all... but we're gonna try. Here we go!

If you'd like to follow the progress of the community garden, you can check out our blog (and website) here.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


In case there's someone who hasn't asked me already, I'll go ahead and say it again. Um, No, I wasn't in Grant Park last night. Why? Because I am apparently an idiot and chose to avoid a large (and potentially dangerous) crowd and instead stay at home. I think I said something like "I don't have tickets for the rally area so all I'd be able to do would be watch his speech on a jumbo-tron in the middle of the park. I can watch him on TV from the comfort of my own living room." How could I have anticipated how magical the scene at Grant Park was going to be. How could I have imagined that everyone I freaking know would call / e-mail / twitter me and beg me to tell them that I was in Grant Park. How could I have known that they would call the election in Obama's favor before 10:00 therby aliviating any fears of riots.

So yeah, I suck and missed out on being able to experience history... blah blah blah. I guess its lucky for me then that today was so unbelievable and euphoric that I barely had time to dwell on what I missed last night. I think I'll semi-quote Michelle Obama and say that I don't think I've ever been as proud of my country as I am today. I can't believe we actually did it. I can't believe that Indiana went blue (barely, but that's good enough for me). I can't believe that these past two years of pre-election craziness are finally over. wooo-freakin'-hooo!!!

However, I must say that my enthusiasm and patriotism today was tanted by some otherelection outcomes that I can't believe. At least three states, including California, passed amendments to their state laws that would make it illegal for same sex couples to get married. WTF California et. al.??!!??!! In the same election where we come as close as we've ever come to achieving equal rights for one group of people in this country, we simultaneously take rights away from another? Ugh... I could rant about this for a long time, but I wont, at least not now. This is my first blog in like... three months so I'll try not to totally take you guys off the deep end.

I think I'll leave it at that for today folks But, there's been a lot going on with me lately so I hope to start blogging on a more regular basis so that I can share it all with you.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Hello From Suburbia

Partally because of the intensity of what I'm feeling right now (and ok, fine, also because I need to do something productive on the internet in order to justify the fact that i just spent $10 bucks on an hours worth of internet access) I wanted to do a quick post just to say that


I'm at a conference today (its a one day session covering the new features of the latest version of a mapping software I use for work) that's taking place in Lisle, Illinois. Now, before I offend any people from Lisle, I should admit that today is my first experinece here, so I'm probably not getting to see the full Lisle Illinois experience. But, I can also tell you that this will--hopefully--be my last experience here. Why? Because this place--this hotel in which I sit that's surrounded by expressways) pretty much epidomizes everything I hate... well not EVERYTHING... but a lot of stuff. Like: no pedestiran access to anything along this main road and no bus to catch either. There's a commuter rail station about a mile away, but I'll have to rely on the hotel shuttle--or, if that doesn't work, a cab, to get me to the station. Once I get to the station there's a traina bout every hour that can pick me up here and drop me off close(r) to my house. After I get off the train I'll have to catch a bus, then I'll finally be home. Perhaps I'm spoiled now, after having living in the City for a few years now where there's pretty much always a bus or a train within walking distance--and sidewalks to allow you to get to them--that can get you anywhere in the city. Yes, they're often late, crowded, stinky, and in other ways unpleasent. But OMG, not having them at all is just, terrible.

I could go on about this for a while, so I'll go ahead and stop myself. I've got to finish my gourmet lunch of wheat thins and cheese I brought from home--since I don't have access to a car which is required to get to any of the restaurants around here. I'll enjoy the remainder of my $10 internet and count down the hours before I get to theve this sidewalk-hating, box-store loving, transit-free wasteland I guess they call suburbia.

Thanks for reading, and I promise to be less pissy next time. :)

Update: Grumpiness has diminished due to arrival of COOKIES to the conference room as well as confirming that the hotel can indeed give me a ride to the train.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Veggie Loaf

Its not even 10 AM yet and I'm already looking forward to my lunch which is left over vegetarian meatloaf which I made for Nick's meatloaf contest at work. Since this loaf would be competing against actual meat meatloaves, I wanted to make something similar to traditional meatloaf rather than some of the really tasty yet not very much like actual meatloaf veggie loaves. I looked on the web and in my veggie cookbooks, but I had difficulty finding something that I thought would really fit the bill. So, the following recipe is what I finally went with. Its a modification of a recipe found in PETA's The Compassionate Cook cookbook. I sort of made it up as I went along so many of the measurements are approximate and open to your own likes and dislikes. Here it goes...

Makes 2 loaves

1 mild onion, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 package Morningstar Farms Griller Crumbles
1 package Morningstar Farms Sausage Crumbles
1/2 cup Italian breadcrumbs
1/4 cup almonds, chopped
1/4 cup pecans, chopped
1/4 cup cashews, chopped
3 Eggs
1/3 cup ketchup
1/4 cup Woostershire sauce
1/4 cup Olive oil
1 tbs dried thyme
1/2 tbs dried oregano
other savory spices and salt and pepper to taste
a bit extra ketchup to top the loaf once its in the pan

Directions: Saute the onions, garlic, and bell pepper in olive oil until soft. In a bowl, mix the Morningstar Farms crumbles (fully thaw them out in the microwave first), bread crumbs, and nuts. Then add the onion mixture. Then add the spices, ketchup, Woostershire sauce, and Olive oil. Beat the two eggs and add them to the mixture. Mix well. Fill up your loaf pans (I only have one loaf pan, so I do them in shifts). I recommend coating the pans with a nonstick spray or Olive oil. You can really pack the mixture into the loaf pan--really squish it in there--to create a dense loaf. Fill the pan to about half an inch to the top. Then coat the top of the loaf with a generous layer of ketchup. Bake at 3:75 for about 40 minutes. When its done cooking, it should be slightly crusty and firm to the touch. After removing it from the oven, let it rest for about ten minutes before cutting it. You can remove it from the loaf pan or you can serve it in the pan.

Variations that I have not tried but would probably work well:
-add some A1 steak sauce to the mixture
-add celery to the onion mixture
-use oatmeal instead of bread crumbs; this is the way my mom makes meatloaf
-use Quorn brand crumbles instead of Morningstar brand
-use TVP instead of crumbles
-add anything else (except the meat of course) that your mom used to make meatloaf when you were a kid. Meatloaf is a comfort food, so the more it resembles your mom's cooking the more you'll probably like it.


Monday, September 8, 2008

Things I Learned This Weekend

1. Apparently I am much better at Nintendo Wii bowling than I am at actual bowling. My Wii bowling score (185) was about 6 times higher than my real life bowling score ever is.
2. Barbecue "Chik'N" sandwiches made from Morningstar Farms Chicken Strips drenched in BBQ sauce are a surprisingly successful party tray item, even with the meat eaters.
3. It is entirely possible to give ones self a muscle strain from playing Wii Tennis.
4. Tomato season is now here. I picked literally a dozen huge tomatoes from the garden this morning and am now resorting to giving them away to coworkers.
5. While I spent all spring and early summer waiting on tomatoes and making plans for the dishes I'd make once they ripened, now I can't seem to think of what to do with them all now that I have them coming out my ears.
6. The movie "The Namesake" is waaaay more sad than the preview would lead you to believe (but still good).
7. Following running on the treadmill for the first time in months with a meal of two huge tomatoes from the garden is a bad idea.
8. It is possible for a piece of birthday cake to be too big and rich for me to be able to finish it.
9. Cats love wine bottle corks... and sitting on the keyboard of the laptop...
10. Making a dinner of fresh baget, goat cheese, Spanish tortilla, and wine is still romantic.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Open Letter to Whole Foods

Dear Whole Foods- Its freaking the middle of summer and you seemingly refuse to offer locally grown produce. I go to the farmer's market every weekend and I know that there are TONS of berries, peaches, plums, onions, new potatoes, and so on available from within a 200 mile radius of our fine city. So, why is it that when I come to your store looking for a mid-week supply of fruit (since the farmer's market isn't until Saturday and I've already devoured the awesome Michigan cherries I bought last Saturday) that literally EVERY produce item (except for one) is from either California, Mexico, or South America? After searching the produce section for about ten minutes I did finally find conventional (as in not organic) peaches from Illinois, which I bought out of principal even though I still had peaches at home. Given your hippie-progressive-environmentalist image (see you talk about your commitment to locally grown food on your webiste right here) I expect more from you, really. I know that you can't buy local produce year-round and so that's probably why you turn to California etc. since they can provide you with a constant year round supply. But, not selling local stuff when it is in abundance is inexcusable. Get your thinking caps on and figure this one out, fellas. But until then, expect me, and other customers who care about their carbon footprint to avoid your non-local produce isle this time of year.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Chronicles of a Perfect Summer Weekend

Its Monday morning and while I can't say that I'm all that thrilled to be at work, my grumpiness is slightly lessened by the fact that I had such a nice productive weekend. And now, here's an account of the completely mundane weekend that made me so happy.

On Friday evening Nick and I enjoyed hanging out the backyard, having a cold beer, admiring the garden etc. Of course, as usual, my admiring the garden quickly turned into working in the garden. There have been several garden projects on my "to do" list for a while, so, feeling abnormally industrious, I started pulling weeds, removing old chicken wire in preparation for the prettier fence that would replace it, and harvesting some new potatoes and carrots in order to make room for planting of fall seeds. We ate a dinner that was prepared on the grill, by far the best way to cook in the summer. The night ended with some ice cream and TV comedy.

Saturday morning I woke up and was ready to get out of be before 8:30, which is pretty early for me. We rode our tandem bike over to the farmer's market, which has now become our Saturday routine. As we rode toward the market, we became part of a bicycle convoy of hippie fuel conserving bike riders which warmed my heart. I love riding my bike, have I mentioned that? Unlike other Saturdays, however, we did actually make it there in time to get some of the fabulous freshly fried donuts that are usually sold out by the time we arrive. We filled our backpacks with produce: red onions, sweet peppers, tomatoes, broco-flower, mushrooms, blueberries, cherries, and peaches. We got out having only spent $24c, which is a victory for us. Later that day we took the bike out again to join our friends for a mid-day BBQ. After the food I feel asleep on the couch while everyone else talked in the kitchen. I love naps. We returned home for a pretty boring Saturday night of watching Mythbusters on TV which was the lowlight of the weekend (not that I don't like Mythbusters, I'd just already seen many of the episodes but couldn't think of anything better to go do.)

Sunday was the best day! We woke up around 9:30. I was craving pancakes so I made pancakes, waffles (for Nick), eggs, and fake bacon. Who needs to go to the Pancake House anyway? I probably cooked to much--who can realy eat nine pancakes in one sitting--but I knew that we'd be spending the rest of the day in the yard and would need the energy. After breakfast we applied the sunscreen, made a big pitcher of ice cold orange cool-aide type beverage, and headed outside. Nick washed the dogs while I planted some Coneflower and Black-Eyed Susan plants I got half off at the garden center. Other projects included: overall weeding of the yard, finally got around to putting in the new prettier fence to replace that chicken wire to keep the dogs out of the flower bed, built 6 tomato cages to wrangle overgrown tomatoes that had begun to flop over onto the ground, planted some broccoli. sugar snap peas, and edemame seeds hopefully for a mid-fall harvest, watered container plants using water from the rain barrel (felt so eco about that), and Nick cleaned and oiled the Teak outdoor table that we hope to sell on craigslist.... I think that was it. Around 5 I was exhausted, covered in sweat and several scratches (from the fencing I used to build the tomato cages); I decided I was done. A shower and a glass of iced tea never felt/tasted so good. I made a dinner of fajitas, which was followed by a walk up to our neighborhood ice cream parlor. Walking to the locally owned ice cream parlor and then walking back licking our ice cream cones is one of my favorite things to do in the world. It was a perfect end to an almost perfect weekend. This is why I love summer.

What are your favorite summertime activities?

Thanks for reading. :)

Friday, July 18, 2008

Book Review: Animal, Vegetable, Miracle

The latest book to grace my iPod was Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. Lately, my garden obsession has been spilling over into my taste in books. This book caught my eye when I saw it on the City of Chicago Read Green Live Green summer reading program shelf at the Borders. There were actually a lot of books on the Read Green Live Green list that looked good, but this one also happened to be on Audible, so it was my obvious choice.

The short of it: I loved this book. I'll probably keep it on my iPod and listen to it again in the future. The only downside to the book was the narration which I found to be too slow, tedious, and just down right annoying. I was a bit disheartened (or maybe I felt guilty?) when I realized that the narration that was driving me nutz--she reads REALLY slowly, like she's reading to a 5 year old--was done by the author herself. Oops. Despite this, I did really enjoy the book.

The longer story: This book follows Barbara Kingsolver and her family from their home in the desert southwest to a small farm in Virginia (or was it West Virginia??) and take on a year of eating almost 100% locally. Having the advantage of fertile soil and a decent growing season, they grow most of their food themselves. What they can't grow or make themselves, they buy from producers within 100 miles. They do cheat a bit, allowing a few non-local items (such as coffee and spices from fair trade sources in Africa.) I liked the fact they allowed themselves to "cheat" just a little bit. If they had gone a whole year without coffee, tea, or olive oil, I probably would been left feeling much more discouraged about the idea of trying this local eating thing myself.

As well as growing their own vegetables, they also "grow" their own eggs and poultry. This isn't the first book I've read that's described slaughtering a chicken, so it wasn't completely shocking to me. And, it is definitely true that the at-home slaughtering process is a lot less horrific to read about than what goes on in meat packing plants. However, her defense of meat eating was one time in this book--probably the only time--that I felt like her arguments fell a bit short. (Full disclosure: I'm vegetarian, I was Vegan for a few years too, so I have pretty set views about eating meat. I'm sure most people reading this blog will disagree with me and that's totally cool. I don't want to come off here as a veggie-Nazi type.) Anyway, her argument is: eating requires the destruction of life, be it an animal life or a plant life, its all life, and therefore if a person is vegetarian because they don't believe in taking a life,then they can't really eat veggies either. In a way, I actually agree with her. Plants are living things, yes, and harvesting them invovles them no longer continuing to live. However, she doesn't ever discuss the possible difference between a sentient being (animals) and those that aren't (plants) in terms of their ability to feel happiness, sadness, or pain. I'm vegetarian, and a lot of that is based on a distinction I make between the sentient and the non-sentient, but even I'm not entirely sure that this is a 100% valid distinction to make, BUT I think it would have been nice if she had at least talked about this a little.

The book and the writing style itself has a really good flow to it. When I picked out this book I had no idea who Barbara Kingsolver was or that she has written several other books before this one, I think mostly fiction, so I guess I didn't expect such a good story. The ending of the book is particularly good; who knew turkey reproduction could be such a nail biter!

So, yeah, this is a great read. If you want to learn more about growing food, preserving food, or eating locally, this is a great choice. If you're listening to the audio book, I hope you find her reading style more tolerable than I did.

My next read will be The End of Food by Paul Roberts which is also on the Read Green Live Green list. I'm looking forward to it! I can't get enough of this eating locally / food industry / gardening stuff.

Thanks for reading. :)

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Once a Hippie, Always a Hippie?

When I graduated college and pretty much abandoned the student environmental group that I started, mostly due to an overwhelming feeling of apathy associated with all activist / environmentalist pursuits, I wondered if I'd ever get back into all that. Well, I think its official. Jessica the environmentalist hippie activist community organizer is back! What's that? You don't believe me? Well, take a look at this.

Yes, despite the fact that my name is misspelled throughout the article (is that some sort of journalist code of ethics? must misspell everyones name?) and despite the fact that I think they could have chosen a more flattering picture (what's up with my hair?), that is indeed me, and my Forest Park gardening partner in crime, Gina.

That's all for today.
Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

The Big News

I won the lottery! No, ok, I didn't.... which was particularly sad b/c I was really feeling it this time.... I just knew were were going to win $43 million on Tuesday night. I was already planning to call in sick to work on Wednesday. When Nick called in from the other room to tell me that we hadn't gotten a single number right I felt a bit more defeated than usual. So, no, that's not my news.

Now its time to finally tell you about something very exciting I've been up to lately. My new friend, neighbor, fellow gardener, and former Tennessee resident Gina and I have cooked up a scheme to start a community garden in our neighborhood. Gina and I, who met through blogging, have been talking about this idea for a couple months now. This officially became more than just an idea last month when Gina and I met with the Recreations Board in our Village to discuss our idea and potential locations for the garden. The Board had a very positive response to our idea, and they suggested four potential locations for the garden. However, we knew that this idea wouldn't go anywhere if we didn't have community support and other residents who wanted to participate. In what I think has at this point proven to be our tendency to set almost unreasonable goals for ourselves that lead to stress and ideas of jumping ship, we decided that we needed to get the word out about our idea and hold a meeting where interested individuals can learn more / tell us what they think. We hung flyers and posted on the web forum for our neighborhood and somehow managed to get 20 complete strangers to show up in one room last Wednesday all because they saw our flyer to discuss the garden. The group's enthusiasm was overflowing. People began to volunteer to help plan the garden and fundraise the funds we'll need to get the garden going. We also created a website and designed an online survey where people could tell us what they thought of our idea and what their vision of a community garden is. Yesterday, Gina and I, along with some of our new community garden supporting friends, visited the Recreations Board again to tell them about our progress. We told them about the wonderful meeting we had and showed them the website we've created. We told them that we had 15 people take our survey and express their support. We showed them initial site analysis we had performed for the three potential garden locations that had been discussed at the last Recreations Board meeting (the fourth location was judged to be too small). The Board was VERY impressed with all that we had accomplished over the last month. They gave us some ideas for our next courses of action: We plan to distribute a petition this Friday at our Village's 4th of July fireworks. We'll present the petition to the Village Board at the next meeting on July 14th. We're also going to get a soil test to look for possible toxicity at the preferred garden location to make sure that there's not a prohibitive amount of toxins in the soil. Lead contamination, we've been told, is a legitimate concern when it comes to urban soils, especially for land that's near high traffic area (the potential garden location is actually adjacent to the freeway). We also hope to organize a planning and a fundraising meeting sometime in July so that we, and our growing supply of community garden troops, can make more specific site / operational plans for the garden and start to solicit funds and donations. Our goal is to have the garden ready to plant by March of next year.

I just found out today that the local newspaper will be interviewing me about the community garden for their upcoming issue. This is great since it will be yet another way for us to get the word out about this idea. I'll post a link to the story once its up.

So that's what's going on... the big "news".... when I'm not working on this I'm usually working in my own garden (or shopping for purple dresses hahha!) so life is busy these days... but good.. very good. :) (a note to the universe: although, dont' get me wrong, winning the lottery would still be great too).

Thanks for reading.

Purple Dresses (Yes, I am still alive)

Hi blog people!!!! Its been so long... sorry about that. Having two blogs is harder than I thought. Ever since I created my garden blog (which you should read / bookmark / subscribe to.. hehe) I've been posting over there a lot more frequently than over here. Gardening is pretty much taking over my life these days, which is in most cases a good thing. I've got some big news, actually, but I'll tell you about that later.

But first, I see this blog as a place for me to share little tidbits of interesting thoughts / experiences I have. This one is pretty lame.. but... I just wanted to confess.... that I apparently have an addiction to purple dresses. Recently, I had to buy a purple dress for an event (I was told that purple was required, so its not like I just randomly picked it out... but also I must mention that I FREAKING LOVE everything that's purple so the purple dress decree made me very happy). Of course, I waited till the last minute to buy a dress, so every afternoon after work for two weeks I'd hit the stores / mall on Michigan Ave. and State St. to look for a purple dress. Fassotion 411: Apparently, purple is out this season, folks. Hot pink is apparently in. Eggplant is allowable too. But purple.... purple is no where to be found. I've never had this much trouble finding a purple dress, but of course the catch is that I've never had to find one. When I'm not looking for them, they're everywhere. Case and point: Today on my way to work I stopped by the H&M to check to see if a skirt I've been eyeing had be discounted (answer: no... grr) when I came across a rack of dresses for $10 (actually, they were priced at $20 but the rack they were on said $10 so I went to the trouble of trying on the dress under the impression that they were $10 only to discover that they were actually $20 after I fell in love with it... I think H&M mislabels thing son purpose which makes me mad) ... but anyway, they had a purple one that was the exact color I had just spent the last two weeks looking for. The event I was buying the dress for has already taken place, so at this point I have no need for more dresses, especially this kind of dress that are not work appropriate. There was absolutely no reason for me to buy this dress, folks, but having just spent the last two weeks searching for purple, I find that my eyes automatically gravitate to anything purple anywhere so I'm going to argue that its not my fault but instead is a symptom of an unfortunate purple brain washing of some sort. So, yeah, now I own a cute not work appropirate possibly too teenie-bopper for me purple dress for $25. Its sitting int he bag right next to my desk right now. I look down at it and have to admit that despite all the reasons that I don't need this dress, I don't regret buying it. I'd do it again. Someone should start planning my purple dress intervention sometime soon.

Thanks for reading. :)

Friday, May 16, 2008

Notes From Lunchtime (I Found 10 Dollars)

Today I almost didn't come to work. I seriously laid there in bed trying to conjure up a sickness for myself. Maybe I was suffering a stomach flue? No. It didn't work. I even thought about faking it, but then realized that I would majorly screw some people at work if I didn't show up today. So here I am. However, as a bit of Friday fun I decided to a) deviate from my usual frozen dinner lunch and buy it at an actual restaurant instead and b) take my lunch over to the beach and enjoy the sunshine. I went with Thai food, Pad Thai with tofu specifically. Its one of the cheaper meals I can find at lunchtime (its hard to stay under $10 these days) in my neck-of-the-woods (my office is in the way fancy and expensive part of town), and usually very tasty. Today was no exception. The Thai food restaurant is located in an upscale mall near my building. Usually I feel like an impostor when I'm over there... my grubby self with dirt under my fingernails, wearing my Khole's clearance wrack attire. Again, today was no exception. However, things did deviate from the norm when the way spiffy woman in the elevator with me complemented my hat.

fancy chick: "That hat is very cute, it looks good on you."

me: "Umm, thanks?" (is this a trick?...)

Usually at this point in a conversation about clothing I find it appropriate to tell the other person where I bought it. I blurt out:

"Its from Filine's" (as in Filien's Basement, similar to TJMax. I immediately regret having said this)

"I know" she says

WTF, what does she mean she knows where I bought my way cute hat?

I walk with my food toward the beach. This involves walking under a couple huge intersections via a dark, stinky tunnel often times occupied by people asking for money. Today it was yes to dark and stink but no to people asking for money. I arrive at the beach and am met with a decision: slightly uncomfortable bench four feet from the running/biking track or potentially icky/cold sand on the beach. I choose bench. I've eaten on these benches before. This time was pretty much exactly how I remembered it: slightly awkward due to my proximity to the runners / bikers passing by, a bit noisy due to the traffic behind me on Lake Shore Dr., and uncomfortable due to the narrowness of the bench seat (perhaps to dissuade people from sleeping on them?). I discover that if I take off my shoes and cross my legs into my lap, be bench becomes more comfortable. I briefly contemplate whether taking off my shoes is a good idea. What if someone came and grabbed my backpack from where it is sitting on the bench next to me and ran. Would I run after them barefoot? What if someone stole my shoes! How would I get back to the office? I try to remember if I saw any broken glass on the sidewalk or in the tunnel on the way to the beach. (this is just a brief example of the random weird and almost completely improbable things that my mind makes up for me to worry about). I tell my paranoid mind to shut up.

Food is good. As I eat I partake in some good old people watching. I decide that everyone at the beach this time of day fits into one of ____ categories:
-office workers eating their lunch or taking a lunchtime walk (business suits and tennis shoes, there's a combo!)
-people wearing professional biker clothes on really expensive looking bikes going really fast
-women with strollers
-couples walking hand-in-hand
-tourists tourists and OMG tourists!
I wonder if me sitting next to the track eating way greasy food is mean to the exercising people.
I wonder if its more mean to me since I'm like the slightly-too-round girl sitting on the bench eating fattening food while other more in shape people pass by me. There's a man with no shirt on who should probably have a shirt on. There's a guy going the speed of light on roller blades. There's a bird of indeterminate species sitting in the sand on the other side of the track squawking for no apparent reason. There are the tan buff frat boys playing beach vollyball.

Despite all this, Im having a good time. I really don't care about the traffic or people or uncomfortable bench. I'm still on that post-winter high that I think most Chicagoans experience. Its so cool for so long here, that we get euphoric in the springtime.

On the way back to my office, I throw my empty brown bag into a trash can. A man who didn't fit the typical image of people-who-dig-though-trash walks up almost immediately and grabs it out of the trash. He kinda looks at me, so I say "its empty." I realize he's holding what appears to be the leftovers from a couple different people's meal. "People can throw away some great stuff, you never know," he says. He walks away. Weird... but, he's right I guess.

No, that's not true. That's just what I say when I get to the end of a story and realize that the story kinda sucked and had no real point. I might have even found $20 today. :) Thanks for reading, and I'll strive for something more witty next time.

To my surprise and somewhat horror, I finish it without any hesitation.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


In case you don't get enough of me on this blog, you can now follow me on Twitter (in the sidebar).

Thanks to the Walgreens who was having a 5 for a $1 sale on seed packets yesterday. I need more seeds like I need a hole in my head, but still it made me happy... for cheap!

Dogs- STOP DIGGING UP MY FLOWERS / BEDS.... grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrRRRRRR You're cuteness will only go so far to save you from my wrath...

We have still not won the lottery. I guess I'll have to keep going to work. But, in work news, I am happy to report that I've found a level of peace and acceptance about my job that I haven't had up until now, so I'm much less miserable.

Unfinished posts- Yeah, I know I never finished my reunion post from a couple weeks ago. Maybe I'll do that sometime... along with all those other posts I have "in the plans" but can't say when (or if) they'll actually happen.

And finally.... in case you didn't catch this on my garden blog:

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Back From The Southern Henterlands

Hi blog people. I just finished the week long work project I talked about in my previous post. My prediction of 10 hour days unfortunately turned out to be true. However, I did get my work done and was able to go to the HS reunion. Gong back to TN is always kinda weird and nice all at the same time. Here are some highlights (in fictionalized Twitter format):

9:15 AM Friday- Arrive at Nashville International Airport; see tourists taking pictures of themselves standing next to life sized photos of country music stars

9:45 AM- Get "upgraded" from a mid-size car to a full blown SUV by the rental car company. I hadn't planned on showing up to the reunion in a gas guzzler, but it does have XM satellite radio, which has the potential to be cool.

9:50 AM- Get on the road, headed to best friend J's house. The lack of aggressive driving and people in general as compared to Chicago is noticeable. Now that I've lived in Chicago for four years now, I really notice the open space "back home."

10:30 AM- We make a pit stop at the Shoe Carnival to look for some shoes to go with my dress. Despite my notoriously hard to find shoe size, I end up finding two pairs of shoes that are cute, comfy, and actually fit. Awesome! After paying for the shoes I experience what would turn out to be a pattern of me confusing cashiers by saying that I don't need a bag for my merchandise.

10:45 AM- Notice a Christian store in the same parking lot as Shoe Carnival. We don't have many of these in Chicago either. We think about going into the store and attempting to "buy some Christians."

12:00 noon- Finally arrive at Best Friend J's parents' house, which is even more beautiful than I remembered (a la 19th century plantation home, beautifully decorated, and with a totally awesome garden). The dogwoods are all in bloom in Middle Tennessee-- so so beautiful!

12:10 PM- Meet Best Friend J's BF; judge him to be made of awesome (especially after learning that he's a devotee of the Dish Network's "Chill" music channel). We have a lovely lunch with J and Awesome BF then head back to the house to get dressed for the evening's events.

4:00 PM- After getting all gussied up, we drive our SUV parade down to the lil' town where our school is located. We meet up with Best Friend H! yay! The three of us haven't been together in over 5 years. We promise not to wait as long for the next get together.

6:00 PM- Show up at Reunion fashionably late, but apparently not late enough seeing as we were the first people from our graduating class to show up. Yep. We're still the dorks.

8:00 PM- After pleasant greetings from old classmates and teachers, we settle in for a nice southern meal and the worst Comedian EVER! (Well, that's not really true. He was actually pretty funny, although he did insult "southern people" and "rich southern people" on multiple occasions, which didn't go over well with the predominantly rich southern people crowd. Also, who wants to shut up and have to listen to a comedian when they could be talking to people they haven't talked to in, lets say, TEN YEARS! At one point he asked "those people who want to continue the cocktail party to leave the tent." So, by the end of his set, about 80% of the audience had left. I really feel sorry for the guy, but there's no getting around the fact that it was a huge disaster all around).

10:00 PM- After surviving the comedian, we stick around long enough to get in the class photo. Out of a graduating class of 35 or so people, about 12 of us showed up. There were a lot of people who I would have loved to see who weren't there, unfortunately.

10:15 PM- Get accosted by an inebriated member of the graduating class of 95 or 96 who feels it necessary to repeatedly bring up an embarrassing aspect of my high school experience. It was a sensitive subject then and still is now. Thanks for making me relive that. At this point I retreat to the car and wonder why I bothered to show up.

11:00 PM- Am reminded that a meal of waffles and hash browns from the Waffle House, along with the company of Best Friends H and J, can cure any fowl mood.

11:30 PM- Spend about ten minutes driving around trying to find Best Friend J's parents' vacation house that they've so kindly lent us for the weekend. The numbers aren't clearly marked, so we end up looking in people's mailboxes for clues. Eventually we find the house completely by accident. YAY! We are so tired. We all stagger in and go to bed almost immediately.

Here ends Day 1 excitement!
Stay tuned (for more marginally entertaining details of my weekend). :)

Monday, April 21, 2008

I'm Making It Short...

I've got tons of work to get finished before I can leave to go to my high school reunion this weekend (which I am very much looking forward to if for no other reason than I'll be able to hang with my best friends who I haven't seen in a few years) so this is going to be a quick blog.

  • After a weekend of gardening (check out the snappy garden blog for further details). I am SO freaking tired and not looking forward to 4 days of inevitably 10+ hour work days as I finish a project while my boss is on vacation in Florida (although she was here at the office all weekend so its not like I'm getting shafted with all the work and none of the play).
  • We had another quote on the patio project today. The preliminary estimate is a couple K higher than the estimate we got from the first guy, so it looks like this patio project is going to be more expensive than we had anticipated.
  • Did I mention that its finally spring here in Chi-tundra-landia? They say it was 8th longest / worst winter in history up here. All the plants are so late in emerging, our tulips are just now starting to bloom.
  • I've met a new internet friend who has become my partner in crime. We've got our minds set on starting a community garden in the FP. I'll let you know how things are going once anything actually happens. :)
Ok folks, that's it! Thanks for reading :)

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Bloglets (Little Blogs)

Hi blog people. Today I have stories / observations which I will present in bullet form, as none of them warrant an entire blog by themselves. Don't get too excited. There are half assed stories at best. Nevertheless, here goes:

  • Nick's been working tons of overtime lately, but fortunately today is the last day of late nights at work for him. To celebrate the end of his work project, he wore his kilt to work today. Given his general quirkiness and the fact that he's worn the kilt to work many times before, I doubt anyone will look twice. And... I think its kinda cute :). So yeah, I'm a fan of the kilt. But, sometimes you never know how other people who don't know Nick will react. So, we were standing in the kitchen this morning and Nick noticed that there was a police car in our alley. I sent him out to go check on what was going on. I have to admit that the recent cougar sightings around Chicago had me thinking that maybe there was a wild animal going through our trash. So, Nick goes out the be all manly and protect the homestead. When he gets back he tells me that the cop was just sitting in his cop car in the alley and that when Nick had opened the gate to see what was going on, the cop had looked at Nick and asked "Are you coming out?" Nick, confused, just sort of stood there and looked back at the cop. The cop looks at Nick and then shakes his head and asks again "Do you need to pull your car out?" ... ... Get it? Get it? Nick, standing there in his man-dress momentarily thought that the cop was asking him if he was coming out OF THE CLOSET! haha! ok. Next:
  • If the woman serving soup samples at Cosco maintains that the soup is indeed vegetarian, even after you've pointed out that the first ingredient on the can is chicken broth, an appropriate comeback might be "Well, I'm pretty sure they had to kill the chickens to get the broth. Its not like they can just drain the chicken hot tub at the chicken spa."
  • Because Nick has been working such long hours, and because we have so much fun going to the grocery store together (seriously, its true, we really get into grocery shopping), we haven't been to the store in a couple weeks and I've run out of stuff to take to work for lunch. So, I've been "forced" to go out and buy my lunch every day this week. Its been nice to get out of the office and enjoy the new spring weather, instead of eating at my desk, so I'm not complaining. I just have a couple of questions: 1) If you're a white dude and you're in Chipotle (national burrito chain restaurant), is it weird if you attempt to speak in Spanish to the coincidentally Hispanic woman behind the counter? 2) Should I be mad when I order potato salad at Corner Bakery and they bring me what is basically cold french fries? 3) Restaurants that have that weird self service / wait staff hybrid thing going on stress me out. If I order my food at the counter, but you bring me my food to my table after I've ordered, does that mean I'm supposed to tip you? Also, is it expected that I will leave my dirty dishes and trash on the table for you to clean up? I don't want to be the dumb person walking around with her plate looking for a place to deposit it when I was just supposed to leave it on the table. But, I also don't want to be the asshole customer who lives their crap on the table when I'm not supposed to. Just tell me what to do. Put out some signs or something.
  • I don't know if any of the etiquette /advice people have ever had to put this rule in writing, but I'd just like to assert my opinion that (except for a few vocations) wearing underwear to work should be required... especially if you're wearing a man-skirt! I usually don't like to tell Nick what to do, but I just had to put my foot down on this one. I don't care how traditional or untraditional it is, we live in the Windy City for freak sake!
  • If you're having a good day and feeling pretty good about yourself, I don't recommend going swimsuit shopping. I don't care if you did just lose 12 pounds, you're approaching 30 and apparently things are just... different, now. I suggest shopping at the Borders instead.
(that's what I say when I tell stories/jokes that aren't very good and sort of fall on their face)
Thanks for reading anyway. :)

Monday, April 14, 2008

Its the Principle of the Thing....

Earlier today I was looking through my bank account at my bank's online banking website when I noticed that I've been charged a $10 service charge since January on my savings account. WFT. I call the 1-800 number and talk to an insanely polite fellow who can't do anything but tell me that the reason for the service charge is because the balance on my account had dropped below the minimum requirement. For the record, this is an upgraded version of a regular free bank account. I realize that it is normal for most savings accounts to require a minimum balance, but I didn't know the minimum balance on this new account would different from the other not-so-super-duper first account. I signed up for this upgraded version last year after the banker at my local branch said to me, when I had come in just to make a deposit, "Oh, it looks like you're balance is large enough that you qualify for our Super Duper Free Savings, would you like to sign up?" After talking it over with him--the deal was, my interest rate earned would go up and there would be no monthly fee--and being assured that if my balance drops down below the original required balance that was needed to qualify for the account, NOTHING would happen/change--I switched to the new Super Duper account. So, what I'm saying is, a) switching to this new account was NOT even my idea and b) I was not told that the minimum balance required for this account is 10 times that required for the most basic account that I had before. And, to top it off, the "double your interest" promise, while technically true, is so small as to be inconsequential: a total interest rate of a whopping 0.5% APR... NOT 5%, but 0.5%. My total interest earned on this account year-to-date is like $8 bucks. So, I've been charged $10 bucks a month service charge since Jan just so I could rake in $8 bucks in a WHOLE YEAR? Why would anyone in their right mind, who had been given all the information, sign up for this account?

My argument is, no one would, including me. So, after talking to Mr. Polite on the phone I'm told that I have to go to the branch to get this sorted out. Over my lunch hour I go to the branch near my office and they tell me that I'll have to speak to the branch manager at the location where I started the account. They take my phone number. Someone from the other branch does indeed return my call about an hour later, but she's only the assistant manager and the actual manager will have to call me back tomorrow. I tell her, as I told the people at the other branch and Mr. Polite on the phone, that until this point I've been really happy with this bank. I've recommended them to many people. I told all the bank people I spoke to today that "I love you guys, and I'd like to continue to love you, but right now I feel like I've been misled."

So, we'll see what happens. I mean, I realize I'm not Bill Gates here, but I did say that what they needed to do to make me happy would be to refund the service charges since January. If they do that, I'll go back to loving and recommending them. If they don't, I'll take my not-so-much-like-Bill-Gates account somewhere else. But, I totally hope I don't have to do that. Beyond the obvious headache of changing all my automatic banking info will everyone who bills me for stuff on a monthly basis, I would like to also be able to continue to believe that not everyone and everything in the world is completely evil. Com'on, Bank, prove me wrong, please?

One lesson learned already: if it was the bank's idea, it probably isn't a good one.

Also, check out a new garden post at my garden blog.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Get Your Bloglines Button Ready

Hey blog people. This is a very short note to let you know that I have decided to create an additional blog where I will be posting all my gardening antics. Here it is. There are not posts as of right now, but I should get started on that shortly. Yay. Awesome! And happy Friday to everyone!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

2 Slightly Bitchy Letters (I really am a nice person, I swear)

Dear dogs and cats who live with me-- Ok... I dunno who started it or even who the participants were, but to whoever got the idea to start a pee-a-thon on the basement floor--STOP IT! There's only so much of going-downstairs-at-midnight-to-water-my-plants-before-going-to-bed-to-find-multiple-puddles-of-bodiyly fluids that I can take. Sure, I like my share of who-done-it mystery novels, but no, having to stick my finger in a puddle and then smell my finger in order to figure out if its pee or throw up isn't anything like Clue. I know that a rivalry seems to have developed between cats and dogs as to who gets to sit on our laps during nighttime TV watching time, but have things really gotten to the point where species dominance has to be proven through urine? Good thing for you that you're all so freak'n cute (and that you chose the easier-to-clean tile floor) for your showdown. I shall let you live, this time...

Dear people who work at the Dunkin' Donuts near my house- I know your job is probably not all that fun. I'm sure you don't get paid enough to sustain a household in the Chicago area. So, I'm sorry for having to be another pain in your ass, but, seriously people, HOW HARD IS IT TO GET MY ORDER RIGHT? I know you're not new to this job--I've seen the same crew of people there for the past like.. six months at least. I know I have to be all difficult and ask for my sandwich w/o the meat on it and then I also have to be all difficult and not need a beverage... Yes, no meat, no beverage, thanks. But, for the sake of all that is holy, how difficult is it to remember my order between the moment I say it and the moment your finger is hovering over the register to enter it in... and is it really that hard to believe that I don't want sausage AND that I made my own tea at home? I've already learned that going through the drive-thru is completely futile. Apparently it is necessary for me to stand in front of you so that we can have a whole conversation about my order (since you seem to need a whole conversation's worth of explanation in order to understand the concept of "without the meat") and so that I can stand there and correct you when in inevitably select the wrong item on the register (no, not the number 4, because I just want the sandwich, no drink). And , of course I must come inside so that I can stand in front of you and double check that what I orderd is what you've just given me in the bag before I actually leave. blah.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

List 'O Crap

Ok, VBGirl, I'll bite:

1. What is your occupation? urban planner, transit planning specifically

2. What color are your socks right now? black with yellow toes

3. What are you listening to right now? NPR

4. What is the last thing you ate? am currently right now at this very moment eating left over stir fry from last night.. not bad

5. Can you drive stick shift? can't drive at all

6. If you were a crayon, what color would you be? PURPLE

7. Last person you spoke to on the phone? ummmm... my oldest friend from 2nd grade, H

8. What’s your favorite yoga pose? the one where I get the lay down at the end and go to sleep.... and Dancing Sheba (spl?)

9. How old are you today? 28 (holy crap)

10. Favorite drink? tea... all sorts.. hot cold caffene green herbal etc

11. What is your favorite sport to watch? ummmmmm ummmm ummmmm hmmmmmmm I guess Baseball

12. Have you ever dyed your hair? nope (mostly because I'd have to bleach it first cuz its so dark and I don't have the balls for that)

13. Pets? 2 cats 2 dogs and one freak'n huge fish

14. Favorite cake? OMG CAKE!!!!! Oh, how I love cake... mostly the sheet-birthday-cake variety.. any flavor is fine

15. Last movie you saw? ummm.. like, at the theater? U2 3D

16. Favorite day of the year? I'm not sure that I have a one favorite day, but I do like x-mas day quite a lot (yay food, gifts, and hanging with family)

17. How do you vent anger? talk about it, make grumpy sounds, pick my fingernails, CRY

18. What was your favorite toy as a child? I had a million stuffed animals and I think I was equally obsessed with all of them

19. Autumn or spring? I love them both, but its April right now so my answer today is Spring!

20. Hugs or kisses? mostly hugs

21. Cherry or blueberry? blueberries pretty much all the time, but dried cherries are also awesome

22. Living arrangements? I live in a modest house that I love with my hubby and our aforementioned beasts

23. Last time you cried? Um, I think a couple months ago with I got chewed out over the phone at work by someone I didn't even know

24. What is on the floor of your closet? Ummm... nothing is actually supposed to be there, but you probably would find animal hair and sometimes two sleeping kitties

25. Who is the friend you’ve had the longest? H

26. Favorite smell? ummmmmm Freedom? Yeah, I have no idea... baked goods is pretty nice though... and Chocolate... here is Chicago we have this weird phenomena where the streets smell like chocolate pretty regularly (despite the EPA)

27. Who or what inspires you? people who work to make a difference in the world (I'll agree with VBGirl here)

28. What are you afraid of? being a failure at my job and losing my loved ones

29. Hamburgers? VEGGIE BURGERS YAY!

30. Favorite car? public transit! haha... my feet? (I like to walk)... my bike? all of them! Ok... and our pickup truck is ok too. :)

31. Number of keys on your key ring? 6- 2 work related, 4 house related

32. How many years at your current job? almost two years (20 months)... but i'm not counting .... ok yes I am

33. Favorite day of the week? Saturday

34. How many countries have you lived in? just the US... well ok I did "live" in the UK while studying abroad for four months.. does that count?

35. Dream job? one where i can play outside, hang with my hubby and friends, and sleep LOL... can someone please arrange that?

Thanks for reading. :)

Monday, April 7, 2008

Spring! OMG!

Finally, finally, FINALLY. Dare I speak to soon, but I must report that spring has FINALLY sprung here in Chi-town. We have bulbs coming up everywhere in the yard. Since this is the first spring that we've lived in the house, we don't know where the bulbs are planted or what they even are as they emerge from the soil. Its also been about two weeks since we've had any snow, which is awesome! In honor of the lovely weather we had over the weekend, Nick and I spent pretty much all weekend working in the yard. Some people might call it chores or yard work, but we call it a weekend of fun! We also discovered a really awesome (and cheap) authentic taco place near the house. They taste especially good after a day of working on the yard. We also cleaned up the sunroom, which involved cleaning out five months of mud and grime. Sitting in the sunroom with the windows open listening to the birds and the water fountain outside feels like being on vacation. Yep, a truly great weekend.

What's that you say? Its supposed to be like twenty degrees cooler next weekend? Booooo!!! Hissssss!!!! *sigh* Well, I guess I'll just have to deal.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Was It The Leg Hair?

So, you guys, I have a secret... well I guess its only a secret to my current employer. I had a job interview yesterday! Don't get too excited though. The exclamation point there is only to honor the amount of stress I felt about going to the interview and having to make up a story (I used the old "have a doctors appointment excuse)to tell my current job. So, yeah, I can't tell you that I have a new job about why I was leaving two hours early, but I can tell you that the interview was actually a lot of fun (despite having three people in there interviewing me--I've never had that happen before). The job is a market research position related to urban planning. I have a good foundation in research methods, but if they want an expert in market research, they probably wont pick me. So, yeah, I'd be surprised if I get an offer. I'll let you know when I know.... but don't hold your breath.

But yeah, funny story... So I'm sitting there in the lobby of the building (I arrived about half an hour early so that I could go into the public restroom on the first floor and change from my kinda icky cord pants into my suit skirt... I didn't want to show up at my current job dressed in my suit cuz that would have been hard to explain considering my usual slightly hobo-meets-business-casual look... Anyway, I change into my skirt and take off my dress socks and put on the beige-ish panty hose I brought from home. I had tried them on that morning to make sure there wasn't a run in them and everything seemed good. So, I get dressed... skirt, hose, high heels, brush my hair, eat an breath mint... am sitting in the lobby thinking about what I want to say during the interview and THAT's when I NOTICED that I had completely forgotten to shave my legs (ok: here's a confession: I don't shave my legs at all during the winter... ). Apparently my lack of shaving over the past few months had led me to completely forget that the concept of leg shaving even exists or that leg hair (at least, the big course dark kind I have) will show through panty hose. So, there I am, with my spiffy suit and shoes and ANKLE HAIR showing through my hose. ACK! What to do , what to do? I call Nick. Using the wonderful powers of google he tells me that there's a Walgreens three-ish blocks away. I could go there and buy something more opaque. But, I have like fifteen minutes until my interview and I don't think I can make it. Nick and I have a debate about how much leg hair would affect my chances of making a good impression/getting the job. We decide it could go either way. So, I compromise and decide to go to the 7 Eleven next door to see if they have some hose.. if they do then I'll get 'em and hope they're better than what I have currently, but if they don't, I'll just suck it up and try to forget about it. So, I go next door... all I see is food... doughnuts, sandwitches, coffee, sodas, and then finally at the very back of the store I see the little squat shelf that has toothpaste, deodorant, and (THANK YOU GOD!) two packages of panty hose--one black size "extra long" and one baige of size "regular". Having no indication of the thicknes sor opacity of the baige ones, I go for the black, even though the extra long size may not fit. I take the package up to the counter and the guy at the register says "do we sell these here?" Yes, yes you do... for $6 for a package of ONE pair of hose that probably wont last more than one wearing. Yep. Whatever, I gladly paid, went back to the building where my interview was, went into the bathroom again (I think the security desk people are going to get suspicious if I keep coming out of the bathroom in a different outfit), change into the black pair. YAY! They fit! AND do a much better job of hiding the hair. Yay! Now I could concentrate on the interview. Fwew! Thank you 7 Eleven!

Sidenote: I don't want you guys to think I'm a body hair natzi (well.. I guess the fact that I admitted not shaving at all during the winter probably precludes me from that). Shave or don't shave... its all cool. For those (women) who can embrace their natural hairiness, more power to you (although, if you're blond, you totally have an UNFAIR advantage! j/k). And for that person I know (and you know who you are) who is lucky enough to just naturally have like, nearly zero, armpit hair, you SUCK! j/k again.

Oh, yeah, I should probably also mention that the interview took place at a conference table, so none of my interviewers saw my legs, except for the 5 seconds it took me to come in the room and sit down. Much ado about nothing? Maybe.

Ok... thanks for reading.. sorry of this was TMI. :)

Thursday, March 27, 2008


Holy BLEEP you guys, its been OVER A MONTH since I blogged. I guess its cuz I've been busy... been doing a lot of sleeping waiting on winter to end (still not done yet; we're getting snow right now)... but, yeah, I really don't know why I've been so neglectful of the blog. Anyway, I was sitting here at work (probably looking for something else to do other than actual work) and I thought that I'd do a blog entry about the books I've read since we last "talked." So, here goes:

Middlesex by Jeffery Eugenides- This book totally captivated me. My husband told me that I was saying the main character's name in my sleep one night. It was a real page turner and I'd highly recommend it. Maybe this speaks to how good the book is (or maybe it speaks to my dumbness), but I read about 3/4 of this book before I realized that it was a novel and not a memoir. Oops...

Once Upon A Quinceanera by Julie Alvarez- Good book... I definitely learned a lot about the "quince" tradition. But, not quite as captivating as Middlesex. Also, I wish the author would have given more of her personal story up front rather than waiting until the latter half of the book. I just think her story gives her more credibility, or something. I dunno. Yeah, a decent read, but I probably wont read it again.

The Millionaires by Brad Melzer- OMG! This book definitely picked up the entrholling pae turning pace that I felt with Middlesex. The book was an itunes free download at some point. I found it on my iPod and couldn't remember buying it (cuz I hadn't, it turned out) but it only took about one minute before I got totally sucked in. Not sure that I'll read this one again either, now that I know "who done it."

The World Without Us by Alan Westman- This is what I'm reading currently. All I have to say is: Dude, we're SO gonna die! You might point out, as Nick did, that isn't it the premise of the book that we're already dead and the book explores what would happen to the earth once humans are gone? Yes. This is true.. but... after reading the chapter on plastics and petrochemicals, the only thing I can say is "dude... we're TOTALLY gonna die, and kill the Earth along with us." Did you know that many skin products that exfoliate actually contain microbeeds made of PLASTIC! They send up in the ocean. Dude, yeah, its not going to end well. Great book though! I'll probably read this one again at some point.

The End. :)

Monday, February 25, 2008

[Instert Farting Sound Here]

So.... yeah.... I haven't blogged or vlogged in like... two weeks. *lame*. I did a valentine's day vlog (well, I shot the footage at least), but the editing portion of it has taking forever and ended up largely unsuccessful. And then, the other day one of the hindges on my laptop broke, which was an annoyance. But, yesterday, when, after smelling that "something electronic is on fire" smell I removed the power adapter cord from my laptop only to receive a minor-yet-still-painful burn in my finger, it was obvious that Mr. Laptop was having trouble. The plug in portion of the cord had actually begun to melt, causing it to bend at about a 20 degree angle. Also, I think it melted some of the "innerds" of the power supply inside the laptop too, as evidenced by the gunk that's on the end of the cord. I got out my old power cord, which I had replaced by in November b/c the old one had such a bad connection that I'd practically have to push it in with my hand the entire time it was charging to maintain the connection. Due to the melty-melty, the old cord works even worse now. So, I have a laptop with about an hour's worth of power left in it, a propensity to melt shit, and a screen that much remain stationary.


Is it really dead after 3 1/2 years? Are we really about the pony up over a grand for a new computer? *sigh*. In the exciting news category, I think we may go for a MacBook this time, rather than a PC. Nick's always been a fan of Mac's, and I must say that I do look forward to the possibility that having a Mac will make my vlogging life easier, since a) MacBooks come with webcams, b) I wont have to convert my quicktime videos into windows media player format anymore and c) I'll have the advantage of using iMovie which, while not pro-level, still is probably better than Windows Movie Maker. MacBooks also have magnetic power cords... Word!

Anyway, that's the news, yo. Boring.. yeah... sorry :(.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Notes About YouTube

Hey blog people! :) Thanks for your positive response to my venture into V-logging. Its still weird for me to talk to a camera (I have to ask Nick to go to another part of the house, listen to music, and pretend he can't hear me when I'm doing my videos) but all in all I think its safe to say that I've been bitten by the video bug, so you will see more Vlogging from me in the future. .

A couple of you have had some questions about how to find me on YouTube, so I'm going to take a minute to talk about that. First, my YouTube homepage is:


You can see all my videos there, although most of you have probably already seen all of them (consisting of the three Vlogs I've posted here as well as to additional house tour videos.) Also, I want to mention that you can create a free profile with YouTube and then you can "subscribe" to my videos and YouTube will notify you when I've uploaded new videos. Also, of course once you have a YouTube profile, there's nothing stopping you from making and uploading your own videos too! :) It would be extra cool if I could interact via video with some of you, especially those of you I don't get to see that often. Also, if you view my videos on YouTube directly, you can get a bit more info about the video itself. For instance, the last video I did about the hippie bags was a video response to another YouTube video and if you watch the video on YouTube directly it will link you to the video I am responding to.

I'll also probably continue to embed my new videos into my blog here.

Finally, VBG asked me to post a link to the girlinthemirror vlog I talked about in my last video. Here is a link to her YouTube homepage:

Ok... that's all for now. Thanks for reading/watching. :)

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

What Are You Looking At?

So, yeah, I know that I haven't posted in over a month and a half. So much for NaBloPoMa, huh? Other than a possible allergic reaction to posting every day for about four days in a row, haha, I can't say that there was any real reason for my blog neglect. But whatever, I'm here now, right? lol

I could give you a few bullet points about what I've been up to in the last month and a half, but I think that would be less than entertaining, so instead I think I'll do the next laziest thing and steal a new years resolution survey from VBGirl. Here goes:

1. What did you do in 2007 that you’d never done before? bought a house, sold another one

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year? Honestly, I can't remember what my resolutions were from last year, which may be why I have a HUGE list for this year....

  • clean out the litter box every other day
  • walk/run on the treadmill three times a week
  • practice fiddle four times a week
  • be more patient with the dogs (yell at them less)
  • get us on a budget, and stick to it
  • continue with the diet
  • save more money
  • give more money away
  • spend more time with existing friends and maybe even make some additional ones
  • put away my laundry the same day that they come out of the dryer
  • have two days out of the week when we don't turn the TV on
  • set a daily schedule for myself (this will help me stick to the other resolutions like practicing fiddle and treadmilling) and stick to it.
  • be more focused at work and stop "info snacking" while on the job (I'm at work right now.. oops haha!)

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? Yes- new niece YAY

4. Did anyone close to you die? Yes

5. What countries did you visit? None other than this one

6. What would you like to have in 2008 that you lacked in 2007? Focus and motivation

7. What dates from 2007 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? June 29th, the day we closed on our house

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? starting and sticking to a diet (I've lost almost 10 pounds yay)

9. What was your biggest failure? money managment

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? no, yay

11. What was the best thing you bought? the house, the house, I love our house!!

12. Whose behavior merited celebration? Nick, who totally rocks and does nice things for me very single day. :)

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? George W, the majority of the US Congress, the Illinois legislature (who STILL can't seem to give us transit funding), and our lovely Mayor.

14. Where did most of your money go? the house, selling the other house, buying stuff for the new house, did I mention the house? Oh yeah and some travel...

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? I got really excited about the holidays this year, maybe because we had several good snowfalls in early December. I was singing carols and thinking about baking cookies for weeks. .. oh yeah and I got really excited about the house

16. What song will always remind you of 2007? ummmmm... several different songs for different reasons:
  • Falling Slowly- the theme song from the movie Once which I saw twice and totally fell in love with. We also saw Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova in concert, TWICE! yay
  • a few songs by The Postal Service and Death Cab For Cutee, since I seem to be obsessed with them since September and listen to them a LOT.
  • Britney's first single "Gimme More", obviously because it will remind me of all the entertainment news drama that's happened with her this year.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you: a) happier or sadder? b) thinner or fatter? c) richer or poorer? happier, slightly thinner, and poorer

18. What do you wish you’d done more of? practicing fiddle

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

20. How did you spend Christmas? we went to Indiana to hang out with my Dad, Step Mom, Sis, and college friends.

21. Did you fall in love in 2007? still very much in love with Nick, yay!

22. What was your favorite TV program? ummm... well we did watch Tell Me You Love Me (on HBO) regularly, but I also had my crappy reality TV staples including Bridzillas (and the other dozen or so WE network wedding shows), True Life on MTV, You Are What You Eat and How Clean Is Your House on BBC America, Gardening By the Yard, any house selling or buying show... that's probably about it.

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year? No

24. What was the best book you read? Ummm... well I really enjoyed David Rakoff's Don't Get Too Comfortable; its a really funny quick read. I also enjoyed two Michael Pollan books, The Omnivore's Dilemma and The Botany of Desire, both of which I read twice.

25. What was your greatest musical discovery? Postal Service and Death Cab

26. What did you want and get? a house with a yard for the dogs, nearby shops and restaurants, and near transit.

27. What did you want and not get? a million dollars?

28. What was your favorite film of this year? Once, and then Juno (a not-so-close but still really good second; I just liked Once a LOT)

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? I was 27 this year and I have no idea what I did. lol!

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? I'm actually really happy and feel really lucky to have what I have and be where I am in life right now

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2007? Um, well, most of the clothes buying I did was for work and that consisted of what was on sale at Marshalls or Old Navy. I still am wearing the same two pairs of blue jeans that my mom (yep, that's right!) bought me two years ago. lol!

32. What kept you sane? Nick, friends, information, time

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? like, as in , have a crush on? Well, I was pretty obsessed with Glen Hansard (from the Once movie)

34. What political issue stirred you the most? Dude, HEALTHCARE! And that reminds me that I need to add Sicko to the best movies answer. It is completely insane that people die because they are poor (which is basically what things boil down to in our current insurance-ruled healthcare system.)

35. Who did you miss? most everyone, since almost no one lives close enough to see them very often

36. Who was the best new person you met? ummm.. I guess I need to meet some new people.. lol!

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2007. I realized this year (and its probably a function of my age) that my life is happening now, and that I need to think about what I want to accomplish in my life and then I need to start doing that. When I was young, I spent so much time waiting on my life to start, but now I need to realize that the starting gun has sounded and that this is ineed a timed race.

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year. Dude, that's hard. I hate to end this survey with a "thud" but, I really can't think of a good answer to this question. :)

Thanks for reading. :)