Good Riddance

If I were the sort to use cliches, I might start this post by saying that I’m doing so with a heavy heart.  But, I’m not one for cliches.  And also, while there is a touch of sadness, my heart isn’t heavy.

I started this blog after closing another, similar one, both times wanting to write about the unexpectedness life can throw at us.   And while my heart isn’t heavy to say goodbye right now, it’s also just not in the blogosphere at the moment.

I blogged for four and a half years.  Blogging brought me a lot of surprises.  I’ve said before that while my blog was intended to be a way for me to practice my craft of writing, I never realized just how much of a two-way street it could turn out to be.

I made a lot of friends through blogging.  Some of them have become my nearest and dearest. And whether I’ve known you for a while or you just came aboard, whether you’ve regularly and actively engaged or just watched from afar, I bid you a fond farewell, no matter how long it turns out to be.

Tell Me Why

Ruby asked: You win an all expenses paid trip…where are you going? And who are you taking with you?

Well I am going to start by answering the second question first.  I am clearly taking My Guy with me.  And we’re going somewhere romantic and beachy.  So I’m thinking somewhere in the Mediterranean.  I am a pretty diplomatic person, so I’d like to hear why he’d like to go, but I’m thinking somewhere in Italy, Greece or Southern France.  Or, there is always the possibility of Australia/New Zealand.

Jessica asked: Who is your favorite co-worker that blogs?

Nothing like fishing for a compliment Jess.

Christina asked multiple questions about My Guy:

1) What do you like best about him? I like a lot of things about him obviously.  His smile.  That he makes me laugh.  His laid-back attitude.  That he doesn’t play games.  What I like best though is that he has ALWAYS made me feel comfortable and taken care of, from the very beginning.

2) What has surprised you about the relationship? I think in some respects, the relationship itself surprised me.  A simple coffee date turned into a lot more.  And while it’s most welcome and I’m grateful and extremely happy that it did become more, I’d be lying if I said I had that expectation when I ventured out in the snow one evening for a latte with a guy who’d sparked my interest.

3) Name one quality he possesses that you never thought would characterize your boyfriend. Hmmm, that’s tricky.  In all honesty, I didn’t assign too many specific attributes to this abstract “guy I’d date,” before meeting My Guy.  I just wanted someone who was attractive and funny and cared about me.  And I got it.

4) When will you post a picture? One is forthcoming.  I just snapped a great photo recently.

Tinsie asked: What’s the last film you watched, and the last book you read? Did you like them? The last film I watched in the theater was Milk; the last I watched in entirety (not just snippets here and there on TV or something) was The Secret Life of Bees.  The last book I read was The Reader.  I liked Milk and The Reader.  The Secret Life of Bees (movie) was ok, but nothing to rush out and see.

Alice asked: Do you think you’re in the “right” career for you? If not, what would your ideal job field be? Yes, I do.

Kilax asked:If you were stuck on a deserted island and could only have 3 foods there, what would they be? Chocolate, pizza, potatoes.

Dave Q asked:

How do you feel about the Designated Hitter rule? I grew up rooting for an American League team (go Twins!) but I have to say the DH rule is such a cop out.  It just ISN’T what baseball should be.  As a concept, I think it’s wrong.

What’s your favorite beer? I don’t drink beer, unless everyone wants me to vomit.  I drink cider, and my favorite is Woodchuck.  I am intrigued by Guinness and wish I could try it without risk of being sick.  Damn hops.

Of the first 6 commenters, who would you least want to hear sing? I have absolutely no idea.  Especially because I do not know what half of them sound like.

Claire asked: What’s your favourite swearword? Fuck.  It’s extremely versatile.

Anisa asked: Do you have a “favorite day?” A day that you look back on and think, gosh – that might’ve been the best day of my life. I’ve had a lot of good days; a majority of my days have been, luckily for me.  I guess I’m still waiting for the “best” day.  But I’m ok with that.  It gives me something to look forward to!

And this is for Bluebird:

Happy St. Patrick’s Day all!  Yes, I know that the real holiday is Tuesday, but if your city is anything like mine, this was the weekend for the celebratin’ aka all-day drinking, and a ton of fun.  And this year, as an added treat, the worst cab ride ever.  Keep in mind, this is coming from a girl who once endured a New York City cab ride to La Guardia after consuming three very strong mimosas.  But that came nowhere near the cab ride of this weekend.

It started with a normal cab ride to one of Chicago’s many Irish-themed pub, where My Guy and I met up with a group of his friends for a day of drinks.  I had some ciders and two shots of Jameson (that’s right!), and about seven hours later (around 6:00 or so) we were ready to move on to meet another group of people.  Eight of us split into two cabs.  And then it got interesting.

First of all, it being St. Patty’s weekend, cabs have been used all day, and there was something fruity and foamy in the backseat, that one member of our group insisted on telling me repeatedly was some sort of bodily fluid as I sat impossibly close to it.  Then, our cabbie turned the wrong way down a one-way street.  My Guy sat up front next to him, and I can only imagine it was even worse for him to stare down the cars facing us.  And as our cabbie backed-up, pulled forward and backed up over and over to turn around, people on the street laughed at us and then we were on our way.  Still with the fruity goo awfully close.

Then our cabbie missed the turn and proceeded to back up  on the crowded Chicago street.  I turned around and saw myself staring down a bus.  Finally he got on the street and made his way to one of our cross streets.  And something (experience) told me not to trust this driver.  I peaked over the partition to make sure he was turning right.  He had his left signal.  “Um, no.  The street is right from here…You need to turn right!” I commanded. He finally did and he got to our second destination.  Whereupon said cabbie got maybe an 80 cent tip.

I think we were too generous.

What Is the What?

It’s my old standby when my well of creativity is running dry, my time is short or I just don’t know.  Plus it’s a way to keep you all engaged.  And it’s kind of fun for me. Time for another round of Ask Me Anything.

So go ahead.  Ask me anything.  For the most part, I’ll answer as best as I can.

Ready, set, go.

Note: Observant me that I am, I’m anticipating some questions about My Guy.  All questions about him will be answered if he gives his approval.

If there’s one thing I wish I were, it’s a better cook.  I like the idea of cooking and I like all the gadgets.  But, I just don’t do a lot of it.  Partly, that’s because as a single girl who lives alone, it hasn’t always felt worth it to cook big meals from scratch with premade spaghetti sauce and some noodles will do.  But that doesn’t mean I can’t cook for friends, or now especially, for My Guy.

Last night, I took a cooking class with the Domestic Goddess.  Cook extraordinaire (the woman makes her own baklava instead of just buying it), I was a little intimidated.  She assured me not to worry, as she has never been a self-proclaimed Domestic Goddess, only a Cheryl-proclaimed one.

I’ve taken classes at this establishment before.  I’ve always enjoyed them.  And while I enjoyed this class, and some of the recipes, and hanging out with the Domestic Goddess, well I have never received so much slack for my eating preferences before.  And it? Was kind of annoying.  So annoying that at one point I turned to Domestic Goddess and whined a bit.

It started out with a girl who, well to be frank, was a little annoying.  DG insists she was drinking before class (wherein we were all free to order wine).  I insisted she was just, kind of odd.  Like she didn’t want to cook or try anything.  Why one goes to a cooking class if one doesn’t want to cook is a bit of a mystery. She only wanted to do one thing, carve a chicken.  But more on that later.

It was a chicken-themed class, and one of the sides to one of the dishes was a prosciutto salad.  Let me lay it on the line for you all: I don’t eat beef or pork because I don’t like them.  I just don’t like pork and I don’t like red meat as I stated a few posts ago: bloody=yuck to me.

And so I skipped the salad.  The instructor asked why and I explained I don’t eat pork.  Now, most people take it in stride when I tell them that.  Especially because it’s just a personal preference.  I’m not avoiding beef and pork because of animal rights–I still eat poultry and fish, after all.  I don’t even care if people grill them together or use the same utensils on them.  I’m never one to inconvenience others by my preferences, meat or otherwise.  So usually it just comes up as more of an interesting fact about Cheryl and we all move on.

Last night, annoying girl heard me say I don’t eat pork and asked “Are you Muslim?”  I admit, I was taken aback by the statement.  No one has EVER asked that.  I have rarely been asked if I’m Jewish.  And honestly, that makes more sense to me.  I guess I think I probably look more ethnically Jewish than ethnically Muslim.  But whatevs.  That’s neither here nor there.  I just wonder why, not eating pork brings someone to an assumption that it has anything to do with religion.  Ok, I can see why because it was clear that I do eat chicken, thus I wasn’t vegetarian but still.

And if it were related to religious beliefs, why a total stranger in a cooking class I’ve spoken about 10 words to in the hour and a half I’ve been sitting next to her feels the need to ask me anything about religion at all is beyond me.  I also didn’t know how to read her.  Would it have been a problem with her if I were Muslim?  In hindsight I almost want to go back say “yes I am,” and throw out the takbir just to see her reaction.  But I digress.

Later as the annoying girl carved the chicken she asked if anyone had preference to white or dark meat.  Now look, EVERYONE I know has a preference for poultry.  White or dark meat, some prefer a wing over a leg.  This is not new, in fact it’s why she asked.  I said I prefer white and after all the fuss (theirs not mine) over pork, was asked by the instructor if I’m a chicken racist. It was a joke, I know (not a good one, really).  But oy! Never have I felt so scrutinized over my eating preferences.  All I’m saying is, it’s a good thing we weren’t having beets.

I’ve been a bad, bad girl.  Or a bad, bad blogger anyway.  So bad that I missed my own blogoversary in February.  This blog itself is two years old.  And I did nothing to mark the occasion.  Sorry blog, sorry blog buddies.

Maybe it’s because there were another two years behind these past two years of blogging on the now defunct Reality Check (may ye rest in peace ol’ blog), but somehow lately I am not feeling the creative blog juices flowing.  I never wanted blogging to feel like a chore, and yet lately it somehow does.  It’s something that I sometimes feel like I have to do, rather than want to, at any given moment.  And yet, overall I do want to blog.

Blogging brought me a lot of unexpected things, including some friends, some quite good friends actually.  I never knew coming into this that it wasn’t just a one-way street o f my pumping out my insights and anecdotes.  That with comments back and discovering other bloggers, I’d find a way to connect to people.  People I consider friends.  Who cheer me on when I need encouragement, celebrate when the good happens, and have offered sympathy and support if it’s something bad.

And so, I apologize to you.  I feel somehow I’ve let you down.   And you’re sometimes what keeps me coming back.  Which is the best part of all.  I know you’ll be here whenever I have something to say.  And for that I thank you.  On on this, my belated blogoversary I send the happy and good wishes your way.  Thanks.

In today’s downtrodden economy, it’s more important than ever for stores to sell, sell, sell. I try to do my part to help out. I shop when I can. But I feel the need to do more. So, I want to offer some advice to all the clothing stores out there. Something for you all to keep in mind not only as we collectively face a recession, but for future reference too.

But no one likes just flat-out advice, right? So let’s begin with a recent anecdote. It starts last night. Actually, it starts Monday night. When My Guy told me I had plans for Saturday and that I should dress up a bit. We aren’t talking cocktail dress or anything, but something to match his own dressier outfit.  But he would say nothing more.

Clearly he has something up his sleeve. I figure the most a girl can do in this situation is buy a new dress for the mystery occasion. And really, I’ll take any excuse to hit up some of my favorite stores. And no, I won’t post a pic of my dress. It’s a surprise, really all I have to counter his.  I think he takes the cake on surprises in this scenario though.

Anyway, yesterday after work, I hit Michigan Avenue. There is something to be said for working a block east and just a touch south of a famous shopping district. I tried on dresses, and cute as they may be I noticed something I’ve always noticed while shopping. Garish, fluorescent lighting washing me out and giving me greenish undertones, highlighting the general pastiness of my nearly translucent skin and making my eyes look like I hadn’t slept in a good month or so.

And so we come to the advice section of this post. It applies to all stores as I have yet to encounter one that has picked up on it. Here it is: soft lighting is our friend. Seriously, put me in some flattering light while I try on your merchandise and I’ll stick around a while and end up saying “Damn, I look good, I must buy this…and this…and this,” instead of “Augh! I’m a hot mess, must flee the store immediately!”

Seriously, what I wouldn’t give for somebody to just get that!