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Archive for the ‘So Strange, It’s True’ Category

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!

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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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Ran across an interesting article in the Wall Street Journal this morning. Apparently, people just don’t care so much about the Oscars this year. I hadn’t really though about it, but I think it’s true. I am a huge Oscar afficionado. I’ve hosted parties in the past. I love movies, I love pretty dresses. I can’t tear my eyes off Hollywood self-congratulatory fests for some sick, sick reason.

But this year? Meh. Now maybe it’s because I’ve only seen one of the movies up for the big award, and I didn’t even see it until last weekend. Sidenote: I must add that I have this thing where I try to see the winner each year and so I really hope There Will Be Blood doesn’t win. Cause I don’t really want to see it.

But back to the subdued nature of the Oscars. Until this week, I was highly uninvested in the Oscar race. And now that I care, which category am I stoked to see? Best song. Like I said, if “Falling Slowly” from Once doesn’t win, I will be a sad, sad Cheryl.

Anyway, what struck me most in the article was the statement that many Americans seem more interested in Obama vs. Hilary than the Coen brothers vs. Juno. The more I think about it, the more sad that statement makes me. Because really, I think we, as Americans, should care more about Obama, Hilary and the rest of them. Movies might entertain our lives, but politics influence them directly.

I remember when Iraq held their first elections, and I was listening to NPR about how Iraqi citizens in the U.S. were doing everything in their power to get to the polls and exercise their right to vote. A lot of Americans just don’t do that. Maybe we’ve taken the right to vote for granted, maybe some people are so downtrodden they just can’t do it, or maybe they just don’t care–and that is their right.

But what does it say about us as a society, and the “birthplace” of modern democracy that we, as a people, are surprised and amused when suddenly politics usurps entertainment (Sidenote #2: PS, if you think politics aren’t a part of entertainment, maybe you can explain why Shakespeare in Love would beat Saving Private Ryan or Crash beats Brokeback Mountain or you should just watch This Film is Not Yet Rated).

Sad indeed.

On the Netflix front, I recently watched Sicko (sidenote #3: Michael Moore, we GET it, everyone but us in the western world has national healthcare, did you need to beat the point to the ground by going not only to Canada, but also Britain, France and Cuba. Moore, dead horse, dead hore, Moore.). Anyway, I thought you’d all want to know, after watching the special features I’ve decided something.  Someday, I’m moving to Norway. 😉

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Ok, I actually don’t. But I do predict other things. Like Hilary’s downfall in Iowa. Seriously, I called it back in September.

One day, my friend “Bluebird” and I, along with another friend were walking to the bar where the Texas Exes gather to cheer on the Longhorns. It was a beautiful day and, with the sun shining down on us, our conversation headed toward the president and his most recent snaffu with the English language/geography/public speaking. I believe this may have been in relation to him calling Australia “Austria.”

Anyhoo, talk began to segue into what was then next year’s elections. Someone voiced concern, or perhaps excitement (late summer seems so very long ago) over Hil’s potential candidacy and the Iowa caucus.

“You know what,” I said. “I don’t think it’s going to happen. I mean, look at 2004. Everyone though it would be Howard Dean. Howard Dean this, Howard Dean that. It didn’t happen. He was like third place or something. That will happen to Hilary. You’ll see. Obama and Edwards will beat her.”

Skip ahead a few months, and who was right? That’d be me! Now if only I could use my power for good…like predicting some lotto numbers or finding missing children.

Of course, only time will tell what happens in New Hampshire, and beyond. But for now, I bask in my gift. Cause I do so love to be right.

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Recently a friend of mine who will remain name (and initial) less told me that he had a pet peeve–people calling Thanksgiving “Turkey Day.” He pointed out that it’s not such a great day for the turkey. When I looked at him quizzically he pointed out that pet peeves usually don’t make the most sense. At least, not to anyone whose pet peeve it isn’t.

True, true.

A few weeks later the same friend, and a few others, were running through a list of names that a Chicago club (most recent called “Cherry Red”) has assumed throughout the years. He said one name was philosophers. Then came the clincher…”Only it was spelled f-u-r-s,” he concluded.

Visions of a sign reading “Philosofurs” flooded my head. Inwardly, I winced. “That’s so stupid!”I cried out. And then noticed the looks of my friends around me. “I absolutely hate it when people purposely misspell things.” And with that, my irrational pet peeve emerged and his faded into the background.

I absolutely cannot stand it when people try to be all clever and misspell a product or company name. “EZ to bake brownees,” or “Philosofurs” is guaranteed to make my blood boil just a bit. I especially can’t stand it if it doesn’t even make sense. Were they trading fur at this club? I doubt it.

Over the weekend my mother and I went to pick up my grandmother at her assisted living facility. It’s called “Cerenity.” Why they spelled it with a “C” I will never know. There seems to be no reason to have done so. The first time I saw the sign I asked my mom. She had no explanation and seemed to think it was dumb too. As we entered the grounds and I saw that sign, I rolled my eyes. “There’s that stupid sign,” I said, delving once again into the pet peeve that only I, and a few others, truly understand.

Maybe it’s because I’m a word nerd. Maybe it’s because, as I once declared to Best Friend, I would love the job of Ruler of the English Language. Whatever it is, now you all now my irrational pet peeve. And just to top it all off, don’t forget about irrational fears. Mine are mummies (as you know) and centipedes (I mean, it’s not like they can hurt me).

What are your irrational fears and pet peeves?

“What is Monica’s biggest pet peeve?….Animals dressed as humans…That’s correct.” -Ross & Joey, Friends.

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OMG!

Scary realization: I’ve become one of those people who can’t work the copier. 

Is it me or the copy machines that are changing?

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What an odd title to this post, you may be saying. Or maybe not. But I’d think it was strange if I were a reader to this blog, not the writer. Actually, sometimes the things that go on in my head strike me as rather odd too.

But anyway, I’ve decided to play along with the search engine terms that have recently led people to my musings on life. According to my blog stats, the search “examples of places that creep me out” leads here. So I googled it and sure enough, I am third on the list, specifically for my post of photos from Ireland and the confession that mummies creep me out.  But who wants to be third? Not this over-achiever.

So I have decided to give the people what they want. Now, having no way of knowing a) who exactly searched that term or b) what exactly would be a place that creeps them out, I will have to answer of my own accord. So, without further adieu…examples of places that creep me out.

  • Any place with a mummy or mummies that I can’t get away from. If I were locked in a room with mummies, I’d probably have a heart attack. And yes, I know they are dead and likely also behind glass. But again, I reiterate that I do not think mummies will come after me. I’m just creeped out by their leathery skin and sunken eye sockets yet fully in tact teeth and fingernails. Shudder. Must stop now.
  • A room filled with centipedes. My vision of hell is me in a hole filled with centipedes…while more centipedes fall on top of me.
  • A place displaying any of the following: swastika, KKK crosses, white power fists, and any other symbol of hate.
  • Abandoned buildings–they make me sad.
  • My first college.
  • Fitting rooms. Really, if you want me to buy more clothes, might I suggest a more flattering light?
  • Places that are or purportedly are haunted.
  • Tanning beds.

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