Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Lessons Learned

I just read that Sidney Sheldon died yesterday. The first time I read a Sheldon novel was my freshman year in high school. I borrowed it from my friend, Parul. I had no real opinion of the book, other than it was fun to read. But I remember a teacher seeing Parul with one of Sheldon's novels and telling her that she was too smart to be reading that trash. Hearing that, while still occasionally reading one of his books, colored my view of him. To me he was just a trashy novelist - though of course that's why we loved reading him when we were 15.

But today, reading the story in the paper about him, I learned a lot more. He won several awards, including a Tony and an Academy Award. He produced and wrote for several seasons on the "Patty Duke Show" and he created and produced "I Dream of Jeannie." He sold his first poem at age 10 and he attended Northwestern University.

Now, I haven't thought about Sidney Sheldon for years. But it amazes me that someone with so prolific and varied career was brushed off by me, and that teacher, so many years ago. Of course, how could I have known all this? I wasn't alive when he was writing for the theater, or film or even television. But it just goes to show, that you really shouldn't judge a book by its cover, or a career by its books.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Blogging for bloggings sake

If I have nothing to say, should I blog? Nothing interesting happened to me on the way to work (it's too cold outside for me to notice anything or have any thoughts other than "damn, it's cold"). I didn't watch anything exciting on TV last night. I didn't really read anything exciting in the newspaper (well, I did read that the Bears helmets that they made for the lions outside the Art Institute don't fit, and they have to take them back and make them bigger - and I thought that was kinda funny). I didn't discuss anything exciting with my coworkers over lunch, lunch itself was pretty basic (Boca burger sandwich, grapes and half an apple). I went outside once to the Staples down the street for paper, but again, not really that exciting. So I'm sorry I have nothing to blog about today. Please let me know if I should just skip blogging when I have nothing to blog about, or should I continue to blog when I have nothing to blog about because maybe, perhaps I have actually said something interesting.

On a side note, I included links to make this non-blog more interesting, and easier to get away from.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Word of the Day

I created a new word in Scrabble the other day. I had the letters to create the word "detox" well, all but the D. Which was unfortunate, because that's a pretty good Scrabble word in my opinion, and I would have gotten a bunch of extra points, because it was adjacent to some other letters. I did however have the letters to create the word "metox" which I define as a self structured detox plan, not necessarily from drugs. Used in a sentence it would be "No, I'm not going out tonight, I need some metox time." My husband didn't think this was a word, and I didn't want to use a challenge, because, I'm pretty sure it isn't a word either. However, I think it's a good word and should be a word. So I propose that we all start using "metox" in our everyday language, and soon it will be a word, and I'll be able to use it in Scrabble.

Friday, January 26, 2007

How embarrassing

The other day I was at the gym. I've been going to the gym a lot lately, trying to get in better shape. Trying increase my running speed. Trying to work up to be able to run five miles in 50 minutes. So I'm walking down the hall to the women's locker room. Lining the hallway are the small lockers that people can rent to keep their stuff all the time - you know, so you don't have to carry your gym shoes or toiletries with you. Lying on the floor, next to these lockers was a pair of men's boxer briefs, gray, I think Calvin Klein's (but I could be wrong as I really didn't take too long a look at them). Upon seeing them I thought about how embarrassed that guy would be when he was done working out and upon returning his stuff to the locker noticed his underwear on the floor. Would he leave it there to save himself the embarrassment? Would he think of all the people that passed by his underwear on the way to the locker rooms and be more embarrassed? Would he laugh it off, pick em up, and stuff them into his bag - or slyly look around waiting for an opportunity to surreptitiously pick them up? They were still there when I left the gym, and I decided against waiting around to see who picked them up. But it got me to thinking about why people are embarrassed about this kind of stuff. It really could happen to anyone. I've had loads of embarrassing stuff happen to me (though I've never dropped my underwear on the floor in the gym - however, I have had a pair of underwear caught in my jeans leg because I had worn the jeans the previous day, and when I slipped them off I did the take the underwear and jeans off in one swoop, and didn't notice the next day when I pulled them back on that the underwear were still tucked in one of the legs - the good thing is I figured this out before getting too far and I don't think anyone saw me pull them out). What's really weird about this whole embarrassment thing is why would you, as the dropper of the underwear, think about the people who saw the underwear but never actually you? Why should this guy be even more embarrassed that 50 or so people saw his underwear lying on the floor? It's not like we know who he is. There was no sign above the underwear saying "This is Matt's Underwear - go make fun of him." He, as far as I know, didn't have a blinking light above his head calling everyone's attention to the fact that he had dropped a pair of his underwear on the floor. But yet the thought of knowing all these people saw your underwear on the floor makes it more embarrassing. But it really shouldn't (unless you know that someone is going to blog about your underwear later, in which case, you should be really embarrassed).

So, next time you drop your underwear on the floor in the gym, don't be embarrassed about all the people who saw your underwear lying there - unless of course, there are big stains on your underwear - that's embarrassing.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Walk this way

I have often found myself going against the stream in life. I like to think of myself as a bit of a trendsetter (though I admit I rarely go so far out of the norm to be weird, just a little different). Lately my marching to a different beat comes in the form of the swim upstream from the L stop to my office. I have the unfortunate task of walking against the traffic leaving Union Station. If you know me, you know this is a source of constant irritation, but one that I must live with since I see no other way to get from the train to my office without seriously walking way out of my way. This morning I had the luck of having a 6 foot 2 inch man in front of me acting as a blocker. Not only did he help clear the way as we traversed down Jackson, he also helped block the wind, and allowed me to take the time to get a good look (and chuckle) at the large white man wearing a full-length fur coat. There were some drawbacks to walking behind him. Much like being behind an SUV on the highway, I couldn't see around him, and he was walking kinda slow (0dd for someone so tall), so I wasn't making as good of time as I usually do. But I stuck with him until we passed the Union Station exit on the West side of the river. After that, the traffic dies down considerably and I was able to pass him and make it on my own.

Thanks Jackson Blvd. blocker. I owe you one.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Ticker Tape Triumph

I'm sure you've heard the news, the Bears are going to the Super Bowl again after 21 years. I remember the first time they went to the big game, back in 1986. I was in 8th grade, a newly minted Bears fan after having moved to the city just a couple years prior. Up until then, my allegiance had been with the Houston Oilers and their many failed bids to make it into the Super Bowl. I remember watching the game with my sister, mom and step dad. I mostly remember it was pretty boring as they creamed the Patriots 46 to 10. I remember being caught up in the excitement of the Super Bowl shuffle and what headband McMahon was going to wear and how sweet the Sweetness was. But mostly I remember the day after the Super Bowl when they returned from Louisiana and held a parade down LaSalle. My step father picked my sister and me up from school for our "doctor's appointment" and we headed downtown. It was a cold, bitter Chicago afternoon, and it snowed tons of ticker tape as the conquering heroes rode down the street. There was so much paper on the streets, that the revolving doors could barely turn. I remember thinking it was going to take forever to clean up.

I'll admit, I'm not an all the time Bears fan. I'm not an all the time any sports fan really. I like watching teams when they're winning and there's excitement. I was that way with the Bulls, and the Sox and of course the Cubs. But I don't mind watching sports (which is a good thing since there is now a man in the house), I just like watching them more when there's something to be excited about. Maybe not being a "true" Bears fan is why I'm not really feeling the excitement this time around. Maybe it's because I'm older and it's not as easy to get caught up in the hoopla with you're 34 as it is when you're 13. Maybe it's because I, along with most real Bears fans, am amazed that they actually made it to the Super Bowl despite the efforts of their quarterback.

But fear not, I will be there in two weeks, rooting for the Bears (though I really like Manning better than Grossman), and I'm sure I'll get caught up in the excitement if the Bear's bring home the trophy. And since I now work only a few blocks from LaSalle and the inevitable starting point of a victory parade, I might even feign sickness to bask in the ticker tape.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Now where was I?

I can't seem to remember anything lately. So far today I have not remembered that it is my five month anniversary and the name of the speaker I saw two days ago that my boss referred to in an email. I had come up with a theory on why I didn't remember my anniversary (it's long and complicated, but basically I think I trained myself not to care about anniversary's except the big ones because I didn't want to be one of those girls that celebrated every little event in a relationship - if my theory is true, I've trained myself a little too well). But now that I think about it, maybe I'm just going crazy or it's early Alzheimer's or something. I don't even remember what the point of me writing this down except maybe by writing everything down I won't forget anything (I tried that with my five month anniversary written on my calendar, and it didn't work out - to be fair, I did remember it much earlier in the day than previously). I should go, I'm sure there's something I'm supposed to be doing.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

2BR w DW, WD, HwdF only $750!

I spend a lot of time looking at apartments online lately. We're moving when our lease is up. I like my apartment (for the most part), and I love most of my neighbors, but am a little tired of the neighborhood and am dreading the increased commute times once the construction at the Belmont and Fullerton stops commences. I won't go on and on about the CTA because I don't want this to be a rant, but really, I think they are trying to lose riders. I've lived in the same apartment for more than four years now. That's the longest time I have ever lived in any one place in my entire life. I would go through all of the places I've lived, but it would take quite a lot of research on my part and I don't have that kind of time now (maybe in a later blog) because I'm too busy looking for my new apartment. Now my lease isn't up until the end of April, so I don't have to find a new place to live now, but it's fun to look and see what's out there. Plus, I'm trying to find some place that fits all of the requirements (which will never happen, but it's nice to dream). They are:
  1. Two bedrooms
  2. Laundry in building (great if in unit but I won't hold my breath)
  3. Dishwasher
  4. Some sort of outside space
  5. Available street parking
  6. Close to public transportation not the brown or north side red line (of course, I'm looking to move to the near west side of the city, so if I'm close enough to downtown, I could just ride my bike/roller skate/skateboard/ski/etc.)
  7. A separate dining room and/or small office space

Those aren't necessarily in order of importance, but basically that's it. Does that seem to much to ask? Well, of course, that's not all I want. Along with that I would also like:

  1. Decent water pressure
  2. Ample and well-placed electrical outlets
  3. Electric wires that can sustain the load of today's many modern appliances
  4. A neighborhood that is relatively safe
  5. A landlord that is responsive to my requests
  6. A grocery store not too far away
  7. Ample closets (here I'm not even asking for that much since if you know what kind of closet space I'm dealing with now, you'd know I know how to organize a closet to death)
  8. No big repair work needed
Again, is that too much to ask? What is it that I need to do to find a decent apartment at a decent price with a decent landlord? All thoughts and suggestions welcome.

Friday, January 12, 2007

The Note

Her note said “your mother called, Pete’s dead.” She never was one to mince words. I wasn’t stunned at this piece of news. We’d been expecting Pete to die at any moment. I wasn’t stunned at the way she wrote it, again, she didn’t like to mince words and she knew I could handle the truth. I was, however, stunned by what she wrote it on.

Normally a note like this might be written on the back of an envelope, or a post it note, or a plain piece of paper. For those with more sensitive wives, it might even be followed by an “I’m so sorry honey.” But you’d never expect this kind of note written on a pair of pink underwear – panties to be exact. Hers, I presumed – though with her, you never could tell.

While processing the knowledge of Pete’s death, I tried to decipher the meaning of the underwear. It wasn’t that we didn’t have paper in the house. And even if we didn’t, she was one of those women who liked to leave cute love notes on the bathroom mirror with lipstick. Maybe she felt that was inappropriate in this situation. But for the life of me, I couldn’t fathom how writing it on a pair of panties was appropriate.

Solving her latest little mystery would have to wait. I called my mother and then started to pack. I neatly folded my suite, tie and shirt into my bag. Then sox and shoes. And then finally, almost forgetting, my underwear.

The good, the bad

Everyone has their list of gripes, here are my current favorites:
  • The piss-poor status of the Chicago Transit Authority
  • Lack of and miss-information regarding changing your name on your passport
  • The weather - is it winter, is it spring? Pick a season please
  • The Bears - hate to be pessimistic, but ... well I don't want to jinx anything, so I won't even say it

On the plus side, I do have things that are nice in my life:

  • Three-day weekend
  • Impending trip to England
  • My job is going pretty well and I like the people I work with
  • I have great friends

So, all-in-all, a not too bad state of affairs. If I don't talk to you sooner, have a good weekend!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Blonde Ambition

I had a breakthrough with my hair this morning. As you may know, I recently cut about a foot of hair off and now style it into a cute bob. Unfortunately, the wave in the back of my hair causes me to stress about my tresses. I just can't seem to get it to lay flat without much work with the blow dryer and straight iron (or midget trouser press as JP likes to call it). That was, until this morning when I did two things that seemed to help. I (a) put my straightening lotion on the back of my head, in the hair that causes me the most problem, instead of working it in through the front (don't ask me why I was doing it the other way - I just wasn't thinking) and (b) instead of trying to curl my hair under in the back as I was drying it (which just seemed to make the waves bigger) I concentrated on pulling it straight.

So, the good news is, I can now style my hair in less that 15 minutes (which is my maximum hair styling time unless it's a special occasion) and it looks decent. Decent enough that I got a compliment on it this morning, prompting me to explain to my coworker how I achieved this pretty, bouncy, coiffed hair, prompting me to become excited about it all over again and then blog about it. So if you have enjoyed this blog, you have N to thank. If you haven't, it's all her fault.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

One down - wood plank

I'm having one of those days where I'm not very motivated. I started out the day OK, reading emails, doing some research on Intranets, the ususal, but then hit a road block that I haven't been able to quite get over. So then I resort to the favorite desk-jockey pastime - surfing the web (if I'm a desk jockey, and I'm surfing the web, am I in any danger of my horse drowning?). So far I've covered the news, and my personal email and MSN news (which is different from real news since it's mostly about celebrities). If it keeps up this way, I may have to do a crossword puzzle on MSN - don't tell my boss, OK?

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Blogging my way to a novel

This writing every day thing (or almost every day as I seem to take the weekends off) has been a good thing and a bad thing. Good because it gets me to writing, bad because I feel like I must come up with something interesting to entertain my readers (not that I really have any readers other than you - but it's important to me that I entertain you). So I find myself thinking about what I want to do with this blog. It's an interesting style, this blogging. It's a weird combination of journaling (which for most people is intensely private and mull things over) and newspaper reporting (which is public and quick and move on to the next thing) and I'm sure some other forms of writing thrown in for good measure. Maybe that's why I am attracted to it. Because I like to journal, and I have a degree in journalism. It's my daily recording of ideas and events. But what's it all for other than my own edification? I keep thinking that some themes will arise; that I'll be able to cull some ideas into something larger. Maybe it will, as I have said before, spark my imagination and I will start working on other projects. But that has yet to happen. Maybe it's too early for that. It's like getting in shape - you have to work out for a while before you start to see results. So maybe this is just the beginning of the exercising. How long though must I work before the results kick in? I mean, do you think I'll have enough information for my novel by mid-year?

Monday, January 8, 2007

Lost and Found

I sat down, I took off my gloves, and dropped one on the floor. She picked it up and returned it. When she got up, she dropped both of her gloves and I couldn't get to her before she was gone. Trying to do the right thing, I've posted an ad in the Reader, but secretly I am praying she doesn't respond, since they're nice brown leather gloves and I only have black leather gloves. FOUND: Gloves on AM Brown Line 1/08 approx. 7:45 a.m.

Thursday, January 4, 2007

Love Actually

I've recently begun thinking about my dissertation. Now I know this may strike some of you as odd since I am (1) not in a PhD program and (2) not intending to be in a PhD program. But never mind, I'm going forward. It happened one night that my husband and I were discussing film (as we often do) over a few drinks and appetizers at Monk's Pub (a popular after-work hangout in the Loop - it isn't known for it's heady conversations, but JP and I are trying to change all of that). Somehow we began discussing the much maligned "Romantic Comedy." We hashed out the definition of the romantic comedy over spinach dip (which I had to decline to eat since it was too hot for my tastes - though, since some like it hot, JP had no trouble partaking). Initially we defined it as a basic love story with comedic interjections. However, JP insisted that a true romantic comedy must develop both characters equally. I feel this is pretty strict, and discounts many movies from the genre. Many hours and many drinks later, I had to go to the restroom. Wallking down the hall I bumped into Annie, a former co-worker. Annie was always a big movie buff, so I invited her to join our conversations. Unfortunately, she's been too busy lately bringing up her baby and said she hadn't seen any good romatic comedies since the late 80s. I had the feeling Annie may have been exaggerating, but she did spark an idea. A romantic comedy that fit the bill of JP's strict definition, and by all accounts, was actually a good romantic comedy When Harry Met Sally. So now that I have a starting point to my dissertation, be on the lookout for future updates.

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Wanted: One Professional Organizer

Does anyone else get annoyed with the sound that packing tape makes as it's coming off the roll? Are you constantly trying to arrange your desk for the optimum configuration? Why is it that you can never seem to find the perfect pen, or wrist rest or desk calendar that will meet all of your needs?

Working in an office every day, these things become important to you - or at least to me. I struggle to find the perfect balance between a clean and uncluttered workspace - one that will make me more productive, and a workspace that holds all the items I might need, or feel I might need, at my disposal. Also, there's the need or desire to personalize your workspace. How many pictures are too many? Do you have the cute pencil holder, or the boring black plastic one that was on your desk when you started? If you're me, with my need to have the optimum pen and pencils and colored markers and Sharpies, you have both. Recently I purchased (or rather the company purchased for me) a monitor holder that I can conveniently slide my lap top under to get it out of the way. I was very pleased with this purchase, and it really did create the perfect desk top - neat, organized, streamlined. That is until I started noticing a cramp in my neck. After several days use, I determined that aside from spending too much time in the same position, I was also having to put my head back a little too much to look at my monitor. I tried raising my chair, but that didn't work. So now I am back with my monitor on the desk and my little shelf holding one of the aforementioned pencil/pen holders and a clock radio that I don't really need, but like. Rest assured I will be spending time working on a solution to this problem. I probably should have gone into some sort of ergonomics field.

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

A trifle tired

Much to my dismay, blogging every day has not increased my awareness of the world around me...or perhaps I am just suffering the ill effects of too much drinking and trifle over the holidays. Like many others, I could use a day off to recover from my vacation. Which is odd, because, being a national day of mourning for former president Ford, many people in the nation have just that. And it gets even odder when you consider that most of the exchanges are closed, and that I work for a company that is closed when the exchanges are closed, yet here I am, at work (along with most of my coworkers - though I suspect NOT the traders) working - or pretending to work, while I could be at home, sleeping, having a leisurely morning and catching up on my Sims playing. But no, we're open, and so while I am not happy that former president Ford has passed, I am not in mourning...because, like all good Americans (except those that work for the post office, and the banks, and most of the exchanges) I am at work.

P.S - To my landlord - I mailed my rent check, but as you know, there is no mail, so it will be late.

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