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Archive for the ‘Holiday Time’ Category

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.

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Hello all.  I thought a few pictures might be good as we all shift into 2009, away from the holidays, and onto…what exactly?  I guess Martin Luther King Day…I get the day off work, and why not honor the man?  Oh, and of course there will be an historic inauguration in a few weeks.  One of my friends (she knows who she is) mentioned a party.  I’m counting on it, you-know-who.

And on to photos.  In June, I posted this pic of my bedroom.  100_6196

That is the Merlot-colored, velvet bedding I had for about a year.  I don’t know that I was ever crazy about it; it’s just hard to find a duvet set for a full sized bed.  So I think I kind of settled.  Anyway, velvet is hot.  And it doesn’t mix well with flannel sheets, and this just wasn’t me.  Enter, thanks to my fabulous mother, this as of Christmas.

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Some people have some, ahem, issues with parents buying them clothes or decorating.  But my mom knows my taste.  And to be honest, I made this easy on her.  The duvet cover and matching shams were from CB2, and I sent her the direct link in an email.  Uber-easy to get me what I wanted.  Then of course, she added the bedskirt and throws and well, it all just came together.  She had help from her coworker and friend, Libby’s Mom, who is an experienced decorator and painter.  And, she made me three paintings for above the bed.  Which is funny, because a few weeks before Christmas I had the thought, maybe I should ask for some artwork for the bedroom.  Anyway, here’s a shot of that.

dsc00050She incorporated the colors and remembered that one of my favorite flowers is the calla lily (the other being daffodils).  This is just SO much more me.  I love it.

Let’s see.  Oh yes, I wanted to post a pic of me on NYE.  But there weren’t any of just me; and I don’t want to post pics of people in case they aren’t ok with that.  Anyway, I may or may not have had a few jello shots that night.  And a couple of martinis.  And then champagne.  Hehe, yeah.  I have a lot to write about the new year and how I’m feeling.  Let’s just say, invigorated.  And leave the rest for another post.

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It’s interview time! I’m taking part in a blog interview.  Nilsa sent me five questions, which I’ve answered below.  If you want to take part, let me know if the comments below.  I’ll send you five questions to answer on your own blog.  It’s nice filler for the end of the year.


Enjoy.

(1) Name only one blogger you really respect and tell me why.

I’m going to say Marissa, because for one reason, she got me into blogging and hence led me to meeting all the other bloggers out there!  Also because I’ve known her since we were 14 and I can say, there’s a reason this girl was homecoming queen and has like 700 FB friends.  She’s one of the most sincere, caring, genuine and fun people I know.  She’s supportive and friendly and always there to offer me advice, which is a lot.  I really think a lot of other people would be annoyed, but not Marissa.  She’s been one of my pillars in recent months and I selfishly want her and her boyfriend to move here this summer.  But I respect almost every blogger out there, I swear!

(2) If you had to pick a non-urban, U.S. destination in which to vacation for a week, where would you go?

Napa Valley.  My reasons are threefold.  One, because I love wine.  I’m a wino, I said it.  I want to drink it and visit the vineyards and enjoy it all.  Two, I’ve heard the scenery is gorgeous.  And who doesn’t like to look at pretty things?  Three, I’ve heard it has some really good hiking and biking, in addition to wineries and spas. So there’d be a lot to do in all that scenery in case I want to give my liver a break.

(3) If you had $500 to spend on housing, food and entertainment for the trip mentioned in (2), how would you spend it?

Oy…that doesn’t sound like much.  Can I bring along my mother or a sugardaddy to pay for the rest?  Kidding.  I’d see how much could get me a B&B room, and that way I’d get a healthy breakfast at least.  Can I try to pluck a few grapes from the vineyards?  Never underestimate the length a baguette can take you; I’d have to replicate my days in Europe wherein it, and some cheese, comprised my lunch.  That may necessitate more hiking than biking and well, I may have to nix the spa.  I want a bigger trip allowance!

(4) Tell me about one person with whom you’ve lost touch. If you hope for a reunion, how would you like that reunion to take place?

A few months ago, I would have answered with my friend from high school, Anna.  We were great friends in the day, and lost touch over the years as will happen.  She’s the person I always wondered about–what happened to her, what was she doing.  But we reconnected via Facebook and our reunion.  It was fun.  And I’m happy we reconnected.  Now, it’d probably be my friend L from grad school.  Again, we just lost touch somehow and I’ve always wondered what happened to our friendship and to her.  I’d like us to catch up over wine and good food and perhaps a shopping trip.  If there was one thing she and I did well it was indulging.

(5) In 2008, what was your biggest achievement and your biggest failure/disappointment?

Remember in my last post how I expressed my desire to say good riddance to 2008?  Yeah, it was a fairly craptastic year, especially in the second half.  Not-so-great things happened, and things that were supposed to be good imploded into piles of poo.  So in a year marked by death, relationships ending and changing, a trip to the ER, troubles at work, and a lot of the unexpected, I don’t know that any one thing was the biggest failure or disappointment.  But there is this.  I survived it all.  I came out of it stronger and with a sense of myself and some pride in tact, restored and added on.  I can hold my head up high with how I handled it, and how I acted this year–honest, myself, with integrity.  And that, I think, is my greatest accomplishment.

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So, I hadn’t meant for my little vacation to be a blog-cation.  The holidays are just so busy, no?  Add to that the little odds and ends to wrap up.  This is going to turn into  a miscellany of items.  But hopefully, you’ll enjoy them nonetheless.

First, here’s me in my ugly Christmas sweater.  Witness its bedazzled glory.  Ignore my hair.  I’m not sure what’s going on there, but I think I’ll blame my hat.  Yeah that sounds good.  It’s hat hair.

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The earrings were a special bonus–lights that lit up.  They don’t so much any more.  That’s what $2.99 gets you at CVS.

Next, my de-lurk contest.  I know I said we’d vote.  But seeing as how it’s my blog, I’m changing the rules, and awarding the award to Christina.  Because her comment was original and cute and flattering.  Sucking up gets you everywhere.  Christina is getting married this weekend, and I unfortunately am unable to attend.  So she likely isn’t doing a lot of blog viewing.  But if she is, or when she returns, Christina, you win!  Email me your address for your prize.  I’m giving an honorable mention to Domestic Goddess who left me a cute quote about cliches.  I don’t like them, I try to avoid them like the plague (haha!).  She’ll get a mini-reward.

I spent a lot time with my family and friends last week.  On Tuesday I spent the day with Erica and her son.  I played with cars more that day than I had my entire life.  Erica’s son is a pretty talkative two year old.  And so adorable.  He gave me lots of hugs and was pretty upset that I might not be there when he woke up from his nap–I was though.

I also grabbed a few drinks with some high school friends that night.  Two glasses of wine, four hours of conversations and lots of catching up.  It was fun.  And it wouldn’t have happened without that whole reunion thing.

Family stuff for Christmas Eve and Day.  My mom and I attempted to make my grandmother’s knedlicky (potato dumplings in Czech).  They are tricky and being an old-school grandma, she never had a recipe just “add enough flour until it feels right,” whatever that is.  But my cousin replicated it and we got the recipe.  Grandma must have been with us, because other than needing a bit more salt, they were good.

I went to mass with my mom on Christmas.  I didn’t necessarily feel like I fit in there any more.  I basically said so long to Catholicism a while ago, and to be completely honest, been going through a mad-at-God phase lately.  But I didn’t think my mom should have to go to church alone on Christmas.  So I went too.

My mom and I went shopping on the 26th.  Because with all those sales and no tax in Minnesota, damn skippy I braved the crowds.  And got some lovely things to boot.

I celebrated Christmas with Erica, Erin and their families and gave what I consider spectacular gifts.  And of course, I got some too.

It was our first Christmas without my grandma.  I felt it.  Painfully so.  It reminded me yet again, how much I’m looking forward to saying good fucking riddance to 2008.  This year had its good moments–trip to New York, birth of my niece, promotion–but damn was it difficult too.   I’m ready to put it behind me.

That’s if for now.  Back to work, seeing the lights at the Lincoln Park Zoo, celebrating NYE and then Texas in the Fiesta Bowl! Hook ’em Horns!

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Driving to Minnesota is one thing in the summer. And even then it’s almost unbearable. Driving to Minnesota in the winter is bound to make me gray, or bald. I’m not sure which would be worse–obviously bald, I could dye gray hair. Anyway, I thought the eight hour drive back to Chicago in snow at Thanksgiving was bad. But yesterday’s drive, while it took less time, was just all around ugly.

I woke up at 7:45 or so and saw a sunny, nearly cloudless sky. That seemed to bode well for me since I’d wanted to avoid snow on the trip. I began checking online and it seemed I may not encounter snow until about 3/4 of the way there. So after some hemming and hawing I decided to go for it. Therein began my journey of epic proportions. Ok, it wasn’t an Odyssey or anything like that.

First, I had to get my car, which on Tuesday, you may recall, I moved to a non snow route. I stepped outside into bitter, painful cold conditions. We’re talking snot-freezing cold, with wind that cuts through you. I got to my car, covered in snow after two rounds of snowfall, and now frozen. In fact, the lock to my driver’s door was frozen and wouldn’t unlock. Which meant I had to climb in from the passenger side. I blasted the defrost and cleaned off the car as best as I could, drove to the alley behind my building, loaded up, drove to Starbucks for my coffee and breakfast sandwich and I was off. I did all of that climbing in and out of the passenger door.

You know how when your car is frozen like that, with ice on the hood and windshield, it will melt once the engine gets hot and the defrost kicks in? Well when you car arrives in Minnesota, seven hours later, still frozen, you know it’s cold outside!

My first indication that this might not be a normal drive where my car might “thaw” was when I got to my first toll booth. At this point my car had been running for a good 30 minutes and should be warming up. I pulled up to pay (I must get an iPass) and hit the button to make my window go down. Nothing. It was frozen shut. Normally I’d open the door, but that frozen lock? Yeah it was still frozen. So I pulled up, got the back window opened and apologized to the attendant as I wrenched around my headrest and handed him a dollar. He seemed unfazed. But I’m betting he’s seen some pretty weird shit on that job.

Finally my door and window gave in to the heat and I was able to pay my tolls normally and use my driver’s door for the rest of the trip. Which was good. Because as I drove along the dirty, wintery interstate, my windshield got really gross. So, I went to spritz them with wiper fluid. Only to have nothing come out. Because the nozzles were covered in ice, ice that you may recall wasn’t melting away despite the big old engine whirring beneath. Oh, and my windows were a frosty mess.

I made my first stop for gas, tried to chip away at the nozzles and got them clear and grabbed the little squeegee to clean my windshield. Except? It was so cold in Beloit Wisconsin that the blue fluid was frozen shut. So I cursingly bought wiper fluid inside the stations, doused my windshield and I was off. Because despite clearing off the nozzles, they still weren’t working.

As I headed toward Madison, I noticed my car was making creaking noises in the cold. I honestly thought it was going to start falling apart and I’d end up driving a car like Chris Farley and David Spade in Tommy Boy. Although regardless of the state of my car, I would NOT be belting out Superstar by the Carpenters.

Anyhoo, I had to keep pulling over to douse my windshield because the fluid never came. I even, at one stop, checked to make sure the fluid was full. And it was, which I was confident was the case. At one such stop, where the squeegees were mercifully in a slushy mixture and thus usable, I went inside to buy a driving snack and heard a woman asking how much a paper funnel was, to which the clerk responded free. As I went up to pay, the clerk looked at me, then the women out by her white Jeep and said, “She just asked where the wiper fluid goes. I hope she’s not putting it where the radiator fluid needs to be.” “Really?” I asked incredulously. Because even I know that one. It goes in the reservoir marked for wiper fluid and/or with a picture of a windshield on it. “I hope she’s not traveling alone,” I added. Luckily a customer was helping her. And as I left she came in and asked where the Starbucks was.

So after I resigned myself to a messy windshield (difficult for me, dirty windshields drive me crazy) and a frozen car, you’d think the trip would have gotten better. But then came the black ice, coupled with gusty winds. And my SUV,–prone to tipping over–began to do mini-fishtails at 50 miles per hour. That is some scary shit, let me tell you. Especially on a bridge.

Finally, there was the sign, welcoming me to Minnesota, and from there it’s a matter of 20 minutes to my mom’s. Which I made handily. I had begged her for a night in the garage, and I found my sister’s car in the driveway. But the thing is, it’s still really cold, and even now my car is a vision in snow and ice. Because currently it’s -11, with an even worse windchill. Thanks so much arctic winds.

Anyway, I’m holing up inside today, giving me plenty of laundry and blogging time. What a vacay! Happy Christmas week you all. Oh, and I’m sorry if you, like me, are now singing, “Don’t you remember you told me you loved me baby!” My bad.

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An early Merry Christmas to all!

In a few hours, I (hopefully) begin my drive to Minnesota.  It all depends, of course, on the weather reports.  I hope you’ll all keep your fingers crossed for me.  But I also hope that by the time most of you read this, I’m either well on my way of a safe trip or even, back home in Minnesota, reading comments from the comfort of my old bed room, with its pink carpet and gingham and lace window valance.

I have almost all of my presents bought, and my mom will supply wrapping paper.  Also ready to be loaded into the SUV and taken home–laundry.  Yeah, I’m not too proud to not bring home laundry to do at my mom’s this week.  Not one bit.  All I need is to unearth my car from the snow we got this week, pack it up, grab some caffeine and I’m off, with six or seven hours of music and thoughts to occupy my mind.

Undoubtedly in my mind will be Saturday night’s party–an ugly holiday sweater thrown by my friend the Irish Lass.  After hitting the thrift stores big time, we all donned our tackiest, ugliest, be-dazzled holiday gear for a night of merriment and cheer.  And Christmas spirit–and Christmas spirits!

Since I know you all like to hear about weird stuff that happened to me, my evening included getting hit on in Spanish while I waited for the bus.  Interesting.  Aaand, from the land of odd, at one point just after midnight, my friend Domestic Goddess and I were drying our hands in the bathroom (somehow, we girls just end up there in groups, it’s weird) when my phone started to ring. It was a number I didn’t recognize.  “Who’s calling me at midnight?” I asked.  Domestic Goddess kind of shrugged and we headed back upstairs to the party, me contemplating the number which sported a Minneapolis area code.  I called it back, but changed my mind seeing as how I was in a noisy bar and this person hadn’t left a message.  I hung up mid-ring.  As I was talking to Sixth Degree my phone rang again.  That same number.  I answered.

“Honey, what’s the matter?” It was Erin.  Her husband’s phone (not hers) had somehow, mysteriously called mine.  I relayed the story, made sure she was ok and asked if she, her husband and the baby made it to Kansas ok.  I also made sure I hadn’t woken anyone, we assured each other we were fine and said we’d see each other soon.  Her phone will sometimes randomly call mine and I’ll get a voicemail or 30 seconds worth of background noise until I delete it or hang up.  Apparently, her husband’s phone does the same thing.  Odd, indeed.

Back to the party: I didn’t win the contest, but my sweater was a vision of bedazzling.  Unfortunately, my camera decided to die out as both the battery went and the on switch began sticking.  I got the camera for free with my computer, so I’m not complaining.  She lasted a while, all things considered.  I just wish it’d gone out on my before the time of year when people (primarily my mom) give me stuff.  But such is life.

So until some of my friends–they know who they are–post pictures to Facebook and circulate them around, I’ll leave you to picture my fugly sweater.  And now I’m headed back to bed for a few more pre-driving Z’s.  Next time you read me, I’ll be posting from gorgeous Minnesota–where we have a fancy football team and Prince 😉

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“I had four glasses of wine last night,” I declared to my friends on Sunday evening.

“Nice, where were you,” was the typical reply.

“On a date.”

“How’d it go?”

“I had four glasses of wine!” I’d remind them.  And realization would cross their faces.  “Oh…Dating sucks.”

Yes, yes it does, but let’s back up a bit.  To Thursday.  I went to a holiday party, with an open bar.  I found out later well drinks weren’t open, but wine was and I went for the red–a pretty good Cabernet.  Know what happens when you offer me free wine?  Like completely and totally free with no strings attached other than show up for work, which I do anyway.  I partake.  In three glasses.  In two hours.  Let me tell you, I was feeling that.

Saturday night was the aforementioned date.  I had a glass of red to take the edge off, because as stated above, dating can be tough.  Then I was off to what I can only describe as a bad date.  I knew it was bad; he knew it was bad.  There wasn’t any one particular thing that made it bad.  We just didn’t click.  There were long, awkward stretches of silence where he didn’t even look at me (come on, I’m cute, right?!).  And then, well then it got interesting.

Three men who’d been selling Christmas trees at their kids’ Catholic school down the street showed  up.  All I can say is that these men must have been nipping at the Jameson all afternoon.  They looked pretty toasted when they arrived.  Maybe two sheets to the wind. And they started to chat us up, especially as I began lamenting the choice of the OU qback for the Heisman.  But I digress.

And as the night wore on, I polished off three more glasses of wine and something called a chocolate cake shot (it was good).  No food; some conversation around the drunkeness surrounding us.  And I began to drink water to counteract my vino.

By midnight or so, Mr. Tree man was beyond three sheets.  His buddies had left, his wedding ring disappeared and he was groping one of the drunken girls who had showed up behind us and were soon slurring “Cheryl, you’re cool!  Yay Minnesota.” (don’t ask).  It seemed like a good time to call it a night.

Now, I’m no expert on dating, but a word of advice to all the guys out there.  If you had a bad date, if you’re on the precipice of second date (or maybe even second shot at a first date), and you’ve gone to a bar/restaurant halfway between yours and your date’s house and that means 3-4 blocks, and it’s past midnight and icy, and you’ve had a socially awkward evening with her thus far, do NOT point her in the direction of her house and say “Well you’re going that way and I’m going this way, so goodbye.”  Offer to walk a girl home.  Just offer.  It could mean a lot.  Like the difference between getting that second chance.

As I wrap up, I’ve realized that in a matter of just over 48 hours, I drank seven glasses of red wine.  And some vodka, and did a shot.  My liver can’t be happy with me.  So I think I’ll refrain from drinks this week.  At least until my next holiday party.

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