Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Nocturnal Activities

my husband is the pillowcase fairy. of course he prefers to call himself the pillowcase changer man, but really, that's too long to say. he doesn't dress in pink or have wings and a wand or anything like that. he looks pretty normal, but he has this unusual night job. each night he zips out and puts fresh pillowcases on pillows in need. of course, it depends on your special circumstances how often, if at all, he might be visiting you to change your pillowcase. if you happen to be one of those people who change their pillowcases each week, and practice really good hygiene, well, he might not feel the need to change your pillowcase. if, however, you don't tend to change your pillowcase more than once a month, and you wear a lot of product in your hair, or you often pass out on your bed after a rough night of drinking without taking any of your makeup off, or say you can't seem to sleep without drooling all over the place, well, my husband, he'll come by and replace your pillowcase for you. you won't know your pillowcase has been replaced. it'll look just like yours, only cleaner. it's just a little service he provides to all those in need. how does he do this you ask? how does he manage to get to all the clean-pillowcase needers in the world each night? why does he do it? well, he has a bit of insomnia, and one night, while searching on the internet, he read something about how many fairy types are actually regular joes (or joesettes) who have insomnia. makes sense right. it got him to thinking. what could he do that would be different than the others out there? and somehow, he says it came to him in a dream, but i find that highly improbable given the circumstances, he decided on pillowcase fairy. once he decided that this was a need that he could fill, he did what any other entrepreneur does, he drafted up a business plan and started looking for vc money. luckily, santa claus happened to be giving away grants for those who wanted to provide a new type of night-time, super-secret, highly-improbable, magic service. also, the only other applicant was this guy who wanted to offer night-time dentistry (to save people from the agony of having to go to the dentist while awake) but s.c. decided that was too close to the tooth fairy's racket, and we can't have that can we? once you get vc money from santa, well you also get in on the whole getting around the world in a really short span of time thing. don't ask me, he won't tell me how it actually gets done. i just found out that he was the pillowcase fairy the other day. i found him changing our cases, something he has never done before, and i asked him why, but he wouldn't tell me. that made me suspicious. so i kept asking him what was going on, what was up with the pillowcases, why were they such a big deal. and he broke. he's sworn me to secrecy, so please don't tell anyone. he's thinking of getting cards so people will know he's been by. but then he's worried that people will stop changing their pillowcases just to have him come by, try to catch him, try to figure out who the pillowcase fairy is. it almost happened to the tooth fairy, and i can tell you, there was hell to pay in fairy land for that little fiasco. so, next time you're in need of a clean pillowcase, don't worry. maybe, if you're good (he has access to that whole naughty/nice list too), my husband, on one of his sleepless nights, will come by and change your pillowcase.

Yet another blog about blogging

Lately I've been keeping notes in my blog that I don't publish about things I would like to blog about in the future. This really is becoming my journal of sorts, but its different than all those blank books I used to write in because (a) I know someone is reading this (even if it is the same three people) and (b) I'm much older now. I do occasionally write in my paper journals still. It's nice writing something that is private. And, much like typing, I like the very act of writing something long hand. Of course, I can't write as quickly as I type, so I often find my thoughts ahead of my hand. Anyway, journaling of any sort is fun, it's for me, it's what I do. And I have had some positive response to my blog (at least by the three people that read it). Why just today I had a call from a loyal reader (thanks D), who practically begged me to blog (you must be bored at work). And that's nice. But the other day I heard through a friend that someone felt my blog entry on things that I still think about made him uncomfortable. This is not necessarily a bad thing, just interesting. I have lots of uncomfortable stories to tell, we all probably do. However, most people don't tell them. Is this good or bad? The stories about things I had done in the past were about me (obviously) so I didn't feel bad talking about them. The only person you're going to think badly of is me. But I have other stories to tell. Stories that are not totally my stories. Is it OK to tell those stories? What if I change the names of people? What if I weave in some fiction with the truth (but tell you I'm doing that so you don't think that I'm totally telling the truth - we don't want a repeat of A Million Little Pieces)? Of course, do I really want to tell you that things may or may not be true? Last Friday, when I blogged about art in Chicago, I said that I had gone into the lobby of the Sears Tower recently. That was a lie. I have been in there recently, but not on the day I said I had. Is that bad? Are you made at me? Why did I say that? Because it served my purpose to tell the story. It didn't really matter that you didn't know that I had gone into the Sears Tower a few months ago to go to lunch at the cafeteria downstairs, and walked by that sculpture because it's on the way to the escalator. Look, I'm doing you a favor by leaving out extraneous detail really. People are always telling me my stories are too long and to get to the point. OK, so what is the point? The point is that sometimes, some of the stuff I write may have bits of fiction added. When it does, I will add a label called names changed to protect the innocent. Now you'll know - of course, you won't know what I made up.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Sweet Home Chicago

I've had many travels on this trip we call life. I've seen many states and towns and known many people. Though sometimes it seems that the more you see, the less you know. On the other hand, people who never see anything, don't seem to know anything either. How can that be? Yesterday I stopped off at the Sears Tower and looked at Alexander Calder’s Universe, the huge mobile located in the lobby. I pass this building almost every day on my way to work. It was one of the first places I visited when I came to Chicago. We moved to Chicago in December 1983 when my mom married my step dad. We first visited the city I now call home that Thanksgiving. I had never been in a city so large, but I think I knew right away that I was home. We came downtown and visited lots of different places. My step dad took us to see many of the wonderful pieces of sculpture that are tucked away in the loop - the Flamingo (also by Calder), the Picasso, The Standing Beast outside the Thompson Center (Then the State of Illinois Building - which is what I still call it), the Miro sculpture. Most notably he showed us the Bertoia Sounding Sculpture in front of the (then) Standard Oil Building. It's notable because (a) my mom was standing on the edge of the platform that surrounds the pool that surrounds the sculpture with a large stick (that I think we brought with us for this purpose) to hit the metal rods with to make them sound (as is the idea of the sculpture) and she fell in the water and (b) because my mom and step dad got married outside (in December) by the sculpture. Thinking of that sculpture always makes me a little nostalgic for beginning days of my love affair with Chicago. Before I became complacent about visiting new neighborhoods and seeing new things. It also makes me sad because they have totally redesigned the front courtyard of the (now) Aon building, and it no longer holds that magic it once used to for me (plus, my mom and step dad are no longer married - so it probably no longer holds the magic it used to for them either). But even though the city evolves, and things that I loved when I was 13 are no longer here, or have changed dramatically, I still love this city. When I visit other large cities, I am reminded of why I love Chicago. Not because they pale in comparison, but because many of them, seen through the tourists eyes, remind me of that awe we have when we are first getting to know a place, and before we are mired down with the day-to-day routine of living in it. So I stopped by the sculpture to remember that just because I live here, doesn't mean I can't stop and be a tourist too.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Road to freedom

Another day, another dollar (well more than that, but you know what I mean). If each day is just a mindless march after the previous day, why do we do it at all? Can one really "live off the grid" when one has been brought up on it? How do you get off, and where do you go, and can I take my shoes with me? How can we truly be free when we are beholden to all the things in our lives. Even if I get rid of the stuff that attaches me to this consumeristic existence, even if I whittle my daily life down to only the necessities, food, water, clothing, shelter of the most basic sort, I still have obligations (and therefore less freedom). I do not want to be free of my friends and family. I do not want to be free of my fellow man (even if he drives me insane with his never ending ranting). And yes, I do not want to be free to live the frivolous life (sometimes) because only through that frivolousness do I learn how to be free. Maybe not of body, but of mind

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Dissillusionment Day

Watched Children of Men last night. Sad movie. I came home in sort of a sad mood. All day at work I had been dealing with trying to get satellite for my new apartment. I kept having to call "someone else" because of my particular circumstances. It was stupid. I was almost ready to forget it and chuck the whole TV thing all together. I mean really, do I need to watch TV? No. So I guess on my way home I was thinking about our overly consumerist society and how I feel at odds with it. Then I passed people who were (a) not white and (b) doing fairly menial jobs and just felt worse. Sure, I don't know anything about their situations. Maybe they are totally happy doing their jobs. Maybe the reason they have those jobs instead of other, better paying jobs, has nothing to do with the color of their skin or the country they are from. Unfortunately, it's hard to believe that. Then I get home and I watch this movie about the world falling apart because for some reason humans can no longer reproduce. It's like God or Nature or whatever has decided that we've screwed the world up too much that it's done with us. Because of this, the world sorta implodes. The movie never really tells you why, but most governments fall apart. People start revolting and living in anarchy. I completely expect this to start happening any day. If not because we suddenly have a complete drop in fertility rates, then because there has been one too many school shootings, or we find out that yet another contract/job/company has been given some great preference, to the disservice to most of the world's citizens, because they knew the right person(s) in government.

So I guess you can say I'm having one of those disillusionment days. I'm sure tomorrow I'll have forgotton all about it, and continue on with my life until I have another DD.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Things I still think about

To Melissa: I still think about the time we lived together in college and your mom had come for a visit and took you shopping. I had been using the Dierdre's dish soap and callously took the soap your mom bought you to refill some of Dierdre's. You had been using just hot water to wash your dishes. I'm sorry.

To Jake: I still think about the time we were on the train and you were fooling around. You jumped on my leg and hurt it a bit. An old man came up to you and grabbed your head and told you to behave. I don't think he hurt you, but he scared you (and me). I didn't say anything to him; I didn't know what to do. I'm sorry.

To Spike: I still think about the time you were driving Jackie and me home from somewhere (school maybe). It was the early 80s and you were dating my mom. Jackie was sitting in the front seat and I was in the back. As you drove through our apartment complex on the way to our apartment, we passed some of the other kids that lived in the complex. I laid down in the back seat. You noticed and asked if I was ashamed to be seen with you. I said no, I was just tired. But I was ashamed. I was ashamed that my mother was dating a black man. I didn't know any better, but should have. I wish I could go back and do it differently. You were so nice to me and Jackie, and I still have that Narnia collection you gave to me. I treasure it. I'm sorry.

I could go on and on cataloging all my misdeeds to everyone I've ever known, some more heinous that others. Is it a good thing that we don't let ourselves forget our trespasses so easily? Is it a bad thing? For the most part, I try to learn from my mistakes and move on. If I've harmed another, I try to make amends. Sometimes these thoughts of one thing or another pop into my head, and I wish I could go back and fix it, do the right thing. I'd like to say these failings have made me a better person...maybe that's why I don't forget...so I can remember to do better next time.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Things I Like

I like the crazy Chicago weather. I know, it can be a pain in the ass some times, but really, overall it's funny. This morning, shielding myself from the slanting rain and wind as I walked over the Jackson St. bridge, I had to laugh. How crazy is it that it's April 12 and we're still bundled up as if it's January? That's what makes living here so much fun. You never know what you're going to get, as Mrs. Gump used to say. And isn't that one of the things that makes life fun, variety?

I like the Internet. No, I take that back, I LOVE the Internet. The Internet has changed the world and I think it's high time that we all gave it a little round of applause. Without the Internet I would not be sharing my innermost thoughts about nothing with all of you. Without the Internet, I wouldn't be able to accurately track my daily calorie intake and exercise levels (my-calorie-counter.com). Without the Internet, my husband would have to rely on a paper map for Christ's sake to figure out just how far he ran. Sure, there are some downsides to the Internet. There's a lot of crap out there (probably including this blog), but there's so much good, interesting stuff, it must outweigh the crap, right?

To round off my "Things I Like" blog, I'd just like to say, that I really like the feeling of typing. I like the sensation of words forming in my head and somehow translating themselves to my fingers. To these little symbols on this keyboard that to an alien would mean nothing, but to us, mean everything. I like how my fingernails hit the keys, and I like how my different fingers know what to do without me even telling them. I don't even know where the impulse comes from. Somewhere deep inside me that keeps the files the right index finger hits the j, m, n, u and z keys. And somehow my brain and fingers access this information while I'm thinking of what I should write say next. I like that. It's pretty amazing. Almost as amazing as the Internet. Thanks for reading my blog, and letting me do one of the things that I really like doing.
PS - Goodbye Kurt, thanks.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Playing Catch Up

So many different things to talk about, so little time...


I wrote a letter to my alderman, Tunney, this morning requesting a stop sign at the Cornelia and Ashland intersection. I have crossed at this intersections probably once or twice a week for the last five years - I live right off of Cornelia, my sister lives right off or Cornelia, the closest way from point A to point B is in a straight line, you do the math. Anyway, now that my train stop is closed, I am now crossing at this intersection every morning. This morning was particularly fun as it is slushy outside. It probably won't happen, but at least I tried right?

- Of course, I only have to deal with crossing this street for another 12 days, because, as I mentioned the other day, Mr. H. and I are moving and I no longer will be taking the same route to work. This is obviously good because I won't have to cross Cornelia at Ashland any more, but bad because change is hard, and learning a new route to work, along with all the other things that go along with moving, is a pain in the butt.

Mr. H. and I watched The Day After Tomorrow last night. I had seen it before, but felt like basking in the young Jake G., so watched it again. Overall the movie is your basic end of the world movie. Humans screwed up the Earth and now we're paying for it. Some of the scenes and characters seem kinda unnecessary. Like when the chick that Jake's interested in gets blood poisoning from the cut on her leg and Jake goes out to the huge ship that happens to be docked outside of the library because he knows there will be penicillin aboard. The only reason that whole scene is in the movie is so we get the thrill of seeing Jake and his friends (a) band together to save the girl and (b) get chased by and then outsmart the wolves that we've seen have escaped from the zoo earlier in the movie. Everything in this movie happens for a reason, it all gets tied together. Which in one way is nice, since there are so many movies out there that things seem to happen for no reason whatsoever (and not in a David Lynch weird things happen that probably mean something you're just too stupid to know what it is way but in a generic action/adventure/scifi flick kinda way). Unfortunately, it tends to wrap things up just a bit too neatly, but then again, what can you expect from a end of the world movie? In addition to the cool special effects (and Jake) I did find one part pretty interesting, the scene of all the Americans crossing the border into Mexico. So not only do we need to start paying way more attention to the climate, but we better figure out our immigration policy pretty quick, because soon we might need them more than they need us. Overall, I'd say it's worth a watch - sure, An Inconvenient Truth is probably a better movie about climate change, but this one is more fun.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Good Thursday

It's Friday, no it's Thursday, but I don't have to work tomorrow, so it's Friday for me. And because it's a holiday (for the US financial markets anyway) tomorrow, our office does this thing where we can wear jeans to work. It's nice - but kinda odd. We get rewarded for having a day off, which is a reward in itself. Strange - but hey, who am I to argue? I'm not going to complain - and I know, I like to complain. Apparently the other day on Oprah she decided to not complain for a month and had her viewers and audience members pledge with her. Luckily I was not one of the viewers or audience members ( I heard of this from my sister). But generally, I think the no complaining thing is a good thing. As a society, we complain too much. Half of my blog is me complaining. Complaining about the train, complaining about my coworkers, complaining about complaining. I'd like to complain less, but don't know how to start. Plus, what would I do to pass the time? Take up knitting? I already do that. The problem is, I can multitask with the best of them. I can knit and complain. I can read and complain. I can sing and watch TV and read and still have room to complain. I'm talented. Of course, when I'm multitasking, I'm probably not doing any of those things wonderfully, I'm just doing a mediocre job. Which isn't bad if all I'm doing is complaining and say watching TV. No one needs to do either of those things well. But if I'm trying to write something wonderful and important (or something good and necessary to keep my job), I probably should be focusing on that, not anything else, least of all, complaining. So maybe that's how I stop complaining, I focus on what is in front of me and then other stuff doesn't bother me. Of course, so much of what bothers me is stuff that intrudes on what I am trying to do (the coworker whistling, the train being crowded while I'm trying to read). But I guess it's a start. Not that I'm going to give up multitasking all together. But maybe it's just more structured multitasking - which probably isn't really multitasking, but let's not split hairs. Regardless, it doesn't really matter to me today, because it's Thursday dressed up as a Friday, so I have a whole extra day over the weekend to get all my stuff done, so I'm looking forward to a non multitasking, complainless three days.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Moving on up

The good news is, Mr. H. and I found a new apartment that we're hoping will be the answer to all our dreams. It probably won't and in six months we'll be wistfully looking back to our old apartment and neighborhood and wondering why we ever moved. But for now, I'm excited (even if no one else is) because we have a dishwasher and another bedroom. I'm looking forward to many hours of figuring out the optimal configuration for the living room and bedrooms, going through (and possibly getting rid of) stuff so we don't have to move it, and learning about our new neighborhood. It's been almost five years since I've moved (if you know me, you know this is a LONG time without a move), and it'll be fun to set up an apartment with Mr. H. from scratch. I'm envisioning lots of discussion about decorating and organizing.

If you have any boxes you don't need (or that we can borrow), let me know.

Monday, April 2, 2007

Discontented with Content

As many of you know, I often blog (and complain) about the CTA. Today I was all set to complain because not only did they begin the three tracking at Belmont and Fullerton, but they also shut down the Southport Brown Line station, forcing me to walk to Paulina. But as it happens, the commute wasn't actually that bad, and I got in maybe 10 minutes later than I normally do (I'm looking at the walk as extra exercise that I certainly can use).

The other thing on my complaining mind has been this search for a new apartment. After seeing almost a dozen apartments (only one or two of which I seriously considered living in), Mr. H. and I found what I am hoping will be our new home, but now we're in the waiting game that is called the credit and application check. I don't think we'll have any issues here, but of course, you can never be sure. Obviously, if for some reason, we're not going to get the apartment, I'd like to know as soon as possible, so I can continue to look for some place to live. I'm obviously NOT warming to the idea on saving for rent come May because I'm homeless.

But other than that, I really have nothing to complain about - which is kinda annoying. If I have nothing to complain about, how will I know when I am happy and content?

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