Friday, August 31, 2007

Is it really a great america?

For several years, my mom, stepdad, my sister, one of my sister's friends, one of my friend's and I would pile into our car ( I don't ever remember having a car that large - but I guess we were smaller back then) and drive out to Great America. Each year we'd all guess what time we would get there. It seemed so much further away than it does now. It also seems like we left before day break, but that can't be true, since I don't think the park opens before 10 a.m. It was great. We'd get 20 bucks at the door and told what time to meet up for lunch and we were off. Of course, Great America had it's ups and downs (no pun intended). It was so exciting to go on the different rides and test your stomach. But it sucked having to wait in the long, long lines. And those lines just got longer the older we got (and I think my stomach got weaker too). So after a while, around high school, my Great America (and Cedar Point when I lived in Ohio) goings trailed off. I once went with Mr. H. (way before I was Mrs. H.) to Cedar Point. He didn't really like it. Lines too long, humanity too stinky, something like that. And I think the last time I went to Great America was maybe more than 7 years ago with my brother-in-law's sister. Neither of us was really feeling too good that day, so we left after only a few hours.

Well, after all this time I'm going back, and taking Mr. H. with me. It's the Merc's annual Great America outing, and as customers of the Merc, we're eligible to buy tickets. I've hear it's so much cooler when there aren't millions of people at the park, just thousands. My sister's been to with the Merc before, and she said it was pretty cool. Also, my mom and my brother are coming with us. Little bro J. has never been on a roller coaster (not an adult must be over 54 inches one anyway). Now that he's over 72 inches, I don't think we'll have a problem getting him on the rides. So, maybe it's a bad idea and it'll end badly. Maybe I'll end up getting woozy like I did last time. Maybe Mr. H. won't care that all of humanity isn't represented, it's still humanity and he hates it. Maybe J. will be a scaredy cat and not go on any of the roller coasters. And maybe my mom will throw out her back. But that's not stopping me from being excited!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Locked Out

Last night, after going to the Whole Foods Market Days with my sister, her husband and the kids, Mr. H. and before we went to dinner, Mr. H. went to the car to get something out of it (a pair of my sister's shoes I had borrowed and some leeks if you must know). Despite his best efforts, he could not get the door unlocked. I came out to help, and sure enough, it wasn't our keys, but the door that has refused to unlock. Now, if you read my recent posting about the Jetta, you'll know that our driver's side lock does not work (the lock cylinder broke during a cold snap a couple of winters ago - if you must know). So we only had one working lock. Now we have none. We have various theories on why the lock won't unlock:
  1. The Jetta is tired now that it's hit 100,000 miles and is trying to dissuade us from driving
  2. The Jetta knows how expensive gas is and is just trying to save us a few bucks
  3. The Jetta misses the Lakeview neighborhood (and hates the Logan Square where we routinely only see one other Jetta) and so is prohibiting us from leaving

Unfortunately for the Jetta, and fortunately for us, there are locksmiths. We left the car there (being a Sunday we didn't want to pay Sunday locksmith prices) and my sister gave us a ride home (harking back to my no car days). Today, Mr. H. met the locksmith there and he opened the door (without, I imagine, the help of a rock - which was my idea on how to get the car door open). Now it's on to the shop to fix the locks (probably both since it's obviously a bad idea to have only one working lock) and to coax yet a few more miles out of our Beat up Old Jetta-liner.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Note Taking

yellow papers strewn about
in front of the school
notes scribbled
vocabulary words
algebra equations
doodles

they flutter in the wind
scattered by some unknown force
the teasing bully
the frustration of learning
the joy of knowledge

the school year is too new
for these notes to be here
they are still needed
gather them

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Beat Up Old Jetta-liner

The Red Jetta hit 100,000 miles this weekend. It was quite an event. Mr. H. and I were on our way home from celebrating our 1 year anniversary, we were stuck in traffic outside of Chicago and the odometer was slowly ticking down the last few miles to 100,000. There was no party, no balloons, cake or champagne. Just a quick high five before I got both hands bank on the wheel.

The Jetta's not in perfect shape - we can only unlock the car from the passenger side, getting into first can be sticky, the rear right door doesn't open at all (nor does it have an interior covering) and the truck opening button inside the car only works every once in a very great while (having it work was one of the highlights of our anniversary weekend) - but it's still a good little car.

We tried to name it after we got it from my sister and brother-in-law. But Mr. H. has had a couple of Jetta's, so all the good names were taken: Joan Jetta, Bennie and the Jetta's, so we never did it. Now she's getting on in age and probably won't last much longer...or she shouldn't last much longer. She's been in the family for several years now, and there's some talk of teaching my brother to drive stick on her because really, how much more could he screw up the transmission? But for now, Mr. H. and I are holding on to her until she stops running or we feel we must get a new car.

PS - Sorry D - I'll write something new tomorrow.

PPS - That's not a picture of our Jetta, just another '95 I found online.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

My life in the movies

I have a splitting headache and a very strong desire to tell every person that is any noise at all to shut the hell up. But this goes entirely against my desire to understand and accept people around me as all followers of Yoga should do. Instead I will chew on a piece of gum and tell you a story.

Mr. H. and I watched a movie the other night, The Science of Sleep. It's a good movie, but it's French. Which isn't a bad thing. But, having to work with a stereotypical French man every day, my tolerance level of French weirdness is apparently somewhat strained. On the good side, it has Gael Garcia Bernal in it. If you don't know who he is, you should check out his movies. He's been in the Motorcycle Diaries, and Y tu mama tambien, and Amores perros. He's a wonderful actor in some great movies. He's also very pleasant to look at.

As you probably know by now, I really like watching movies (and not just ones with cute leading men). There are some movies I think are close to perfect and there are other movies that are just entertaining. Rarely do I find a movie I actually can't stand. However, the other night Mr. H. insisted on watching Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves - that awful Kevin Costner film that came out in '91. I can't believe how bad it is. I knew it was bad, I'd already seen it back then, but it's really bad. Costner in NO WAY has an English accent, the plot is almost as ridiculous as the costumes, and did I mention Costner's accent? Anyway, less than half way through I left the room in disgust. Mr. H. gave up a little while later, but that was just because it was time to go to bed. A few days later, he tried again...but after half an hour he conceded that much like Waterworld, this was not Costner's finest work.

How does one live down a truly horrendous movie? I mean, Costner had some good movies - Dances with Wolves (which actually came out just the year before RH), Bull Durham is one of my favorite baseball movies, and you already know I like The Untouchables. He was also in Night Shift as Frat Boy #1 - so he can't be all bad. But really, some of the crap he's done since then. Has it just become a pay check for him (which really, can I fault him because it's not like I'm out there trying to win any Academy Awards for my job - but then again, I don't quite have as much control over my job as I imagine him to have).

So who can say what kind of movies I'd be making if I had continued along my acting path that I took up in grade school instead changing my major to journalism. Would I be making wonderfully provocative yet somewhat annoying French films or banal, useless big budget Hollywood movies? Who knows, maybe I'd be big in Bollywood.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

I didn't ride my bike to work today because it was rainy outside and I didn't really feel like putting myself in more danger than I sometimes feel like I do on a normal day (plus, riding in the rain didn't sound appealing to me). And then I saw this article in the LA Times about the Means Streets of LA. And while I think Chicago is probably a better town for riding your bike, it made me even a little more glad to have taken a break from the bike. So far, I haven't had anything thrown at me while riding my bike to/from work, but I have had a couple of people telling me to get off the street. One car even went so far as to edge over into the bike lane so I would have a hard time getting around.

I ride to work down Milwaukee Ave., which, as you might know, has a bike lane down most of it. There are a lot of cyclists who take Milwaukee, and you sort of feel like you've joined a club when you start commuting by bike. Then again, a lot of the bikers out there are just as ignorant as the drivers - speeding past you without any warning, darting through traffic. It's no wonder bikers have a bad rep sometimes.

For the most part, I just try to go with the flow. Only once have I yelled at a car (the one clearly in the bike lane for no apparent reason other than to be in my way). I wait at red lights instead of inching out into the intersection. I say thank you to other cyclists that say "on your left" and I say it to the few cyclists going slower than me.

It's sunny out now, and I'm wishing I had my bike so I could ride home. But alas, it's going to be the train for me.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Telling it to my heart

Mr. H. and I went to the Halstead Market Days street fair last night. In addition to the usual vendors selling cheap sunglasses and handmade purses, and the boys wearing next to nothing (generally more specific to this street fair due to the location), we also got to see Taylor Dane perform. It made it the best street fair we've gone to this summer (for some reason this is the year of the street fair for us). Taylor looks pretty good for her age (which we and the rest of the guys around us suspect to be in the 45 - 50 range). She's definitely had some work done though, and the very low-cut dress revealed boobs that definitely are not her originals. Regardless, it was a fun way to end our weekend.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Roundup

I have nothing to blog about today. So here are some random thoughts:
  • Went to a Girls on the Run meeting last night. I'm on the gala planning committee and we're looking for both silent auction donations as well as big corporate sponsors. So if you know anyone that wants to do either, let me know.
  • While watching a bit of what I'll loosely call news (MSNBC) I saw a lovely story about teenagers who are going to drive in restaurants (you know, McDonald's etc.) and ordering drinks only to then throw them back at the workers through the pick up window. These geniuses are also taping themselves doing this and then posting it on You Tube.
  • It's almost Friday and I couldn't be happier. The work weeks seem never ending, even though I am quite happy that I'm doing very well about going to yoga at lunch and keeping up with my running.
  • This weekend I'll be spending Saturday night at the Elvis is Alive run, working a water station with Girls on the Run and partying afterwards.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Washing Woes

Last night Mr. H. and I had some washing to do. Mr. H. does most of the washing because he's good like that. Recently he's been unhappy because the washing machine in our apartment building seems to be leaving various stains on our clothes. We're not really sure what the issue is. It could be rust. It could be that our machine is dirty (which seems like an oxymoron, how could something that is supposed to clean something be dirty? But apparently it happens). Anyway, I did a little research yesterday on how to clean a washing machine, what to do, how to take the drum out etc. Sounds like lots of fun. Of course, living in an apartment building, you'd expect the landlord to do this. But when I called him about it the other day, he didn't seem inclined to think this was anything but my fault (though he said he'd have the maintenance guy take a look at it). So, in desperate need of clean sheets and socks, Mr. H. and I came up with an alternate plan. You'd think this would involve driving to one of the many laundromats in our neighborhood (now I know why no one else in the building seems to do laundry downstairs), but you'd think wrong. It so happens that my sister and her family is out of town (Hawaii to be exact). And they have a very nice washer and dryer set. They also have a large television on which we thought would be fun to watch The Matrix whilst we were doing our laundry. So over to the sister's house we go. We load up the car, we stop by the grocery store to pick up some food, we unload the car, we load up the large washing machine (we could have brought more!) we settle down to cook dinner and watch The Matrix while the machine quietly agitates upstairs. We run into our first snag - the DVD player is not hooked up. Being the non-technically challenged gal that I am, I would have hooked it up except that there are no cables. So now we're stuck finding something to watch on the 300+ channels of my sister's satellite (fat chance!). OK, so we focus on making dinner and watching mindless Monday night sitcoms (though I do love Two and a Half Men - Sheen's so cute). When Mr. H. makes a run upstairs to change out the laundry, wtf, it's taking forever. You see, we're used to machines with few choices. You know - hot, warm, cold - delicate, permanent press, regular. That's it. Her machine had those choices and some. You could have a cold, cold wash or a warm, cold wash. You could have a delicate cycle or a hand wash cycle (I think the hand wash cycle involves little pixies swimming around gently agitating your clothes). You could have a pre-soak, pre-wash and extra rinse. Anyway, we just wanted our clothes regular clean, not super-duper, smashed on rocks and wringed by my grandmother clean. Hubby had chosen a slightly longer cycle. Live and learn. Needless to say, we would have saved quite a bit of time just going to the neighborhood laundromat. But our sheets are clean and Mr. H. is wearing socks...so it's all good.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Overheard on the corner of Jackson & Canal

Man - Are you lost?

Woman - Yeah. How do we get into Union Station?

Man - I know, it's kinda confusing, there are lots of entrances. You want to get out of Chicago right? Take Amtrak?

Woman - Yes.

Man - Just cross the street and right there (pointing) are doors that lead to stairs that go down into the station. You'll know you're there...it'll look like you're walking onto the set of The Untouchables. It was the set for The Untouchables.

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