Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Like mother...

My Mom and Aunt visited me in Chicago. My Aunt has never been to Chicago before, so I was asked to take her on a tour of the town. It has been a while since I last did any sightseeing, so I welcomed the opportunity. We started at my favorite museum, the museum of science and industry. We then hit up Millennium Park with the famous ‘bean’. Since it was a relatively nice day outside, we strolled over to Navy Pier. If you add up all the walking, we probably got close to 8 miles in.

My Aunt is from a small town in Missouri. Granted she did visit me in NYC once (and even climbed into the back of a van to buy an imposter Prada purse). Anyway, it was funny watching her reactions to the various bums, emo hipsters, and heavily pierced people. We took refuge in the Gap (how plain toast is that). The two of them immediately headed over to the baby section since there are grandchildren to spoil. I checked the women’s section and found nothing of interest (or more actually, nothing on sale). On my way over to the baby section, I passed by the cutest dress ever! I scanned the area and it was littered with “75% off” and “take an additional 30% off the reduced sale price” signs. Was this Iowa (get the field of dreams reference…heaven = Iowa, anyway)? Actually it was the maternity section! I am NOT PREGNANT, but that didn’t stop me from cashing in on the great deals. I found a totally hip long wool cardigan, cute cropped jacket, and a delicious wrap dress. Yeah, the only way you can tell it is maternity clothing is by looking at the tag (which is stamped “MATERNITY” in giant bold purple letters). The wrap dress has extra material that I can just wrap half-way around my body to make it fit. Not only did I score all of these clothes for less than $20 total (yes even with 10% Chicago tax) but I was also the skinniest girl in the entire section!!! Okay, maybe that had something to do with me NOT being pregnant.

Here are some pictures from the Sears Tower observation deck. In the 6 years or so I have lived in Chicago, I had never been to the top of Sears Tower. Go figure. My mom is the one in glasses (or the one who I resemble exactly).

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The girls

I was fortunate enough to catch a college friend, Katie, when she briefly visited the city a few weeks ago. Also included in the party where Sara and Emily. Both of them are preggers and have very amusing blogs about watching their toddlers grow up. I credit Sara to the amazing find for dessert. It is called "hot chocolate" and located in Wicker Park just north of the North/Damen/Milwakee trifecta. How delicious. Like chocolate wrapped in ice cream wrapped in bacon. Mmmmnn.

Oh and this is the last picture I have of my LONG hair. It was seriously out of control long. A few days later, I walked into a salon and told the guy to "just chop it all off, I am sick of it". Of course that is another good story for later.

Monday, April 20, 2009

The BALL-game

Traditionally, people visit with family on Easter. I went to the White Sox game instead. Okay, I’m not heartless, my family just realizes spending $200 to fly down and see them for an already busy weekend is not worth it. My friend Guido had an extra ticket for the baseball game and asked me to go because frankly everyone else was doing family stuff.

Although it was April, the weather still felt like January. It was a windy 35 degrees outside and we of course were stuck in the shade. We were seated along the first base foul line, waaay back near the pole. I watched horrified as foul balls were line drive hit into the unsuspecting crowds. Frankly, getting beamed in the face by a ball traveling 70mph would hurt. I said to Guido that if a foul ball came our direction, I would be outta there is a second. He reassured me by saying that in the three or so years he has had these season tickets, he has never seen a ball hit in this direction.

White Sox outfielder Dewayne Wise stepped up to the plate and took a giant swing at the pitch. He hit a high fly ball headed STRAIGHT FOR US! True to my word, I quickly bolted out of my seat to a safe place about 10 feet away. The ball was coming directly towards my now vacated seat. A guy seated directly in front of my seat reached up with his glove through the building crowd. The ball bounced out of his glove and rolled over to my feet. It took me a second to realize what happened before I reached down and scooped up the loose ball. The crowd immediately around me started to laugh because I has purposely ran AWAY from the ball. I guess I was destined to have the ball (I mean it was aiming directly for my seat).

The best part is that my friends DVR/TiVo’d the game and you can actually see me in my bright red coat run away and then start jumping up and down.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Peeps rock!

The day before Easter, I met some friends out for drinks. The drink of choice was 40’s…served in brown paper bags. Yeah, we take religious holidays seriously. Well it was Big Bear 40's, you know the fancy kind. Later Sammie showed up with six packages of Peeps in true Easter fashion. I adore Peeps. Everyone at the table all recommended opening the packages to make them stale. That is a true Peep lover. Granted, the candy had its revenge because three of the group ended up yacking before the night was over. Ahhhh, happy Easter!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

You’re gorgeous, don’t spoil it by talking

Now that I am testing the waters in the dating ocean, friends are all talking about setting me up with potential mates. My friend Melanie had a friend who went on a date with a so called “great nice guy” but sadly didn’t see it progressing beyond the first date. She then decided to set me up. The guy is an engineer, runs marathons and triathlons, is over 6’-0”, and hails from Nebraska. Yeah, perfect on paper right.

I suggested we meet up at a Wrigleyville bar with a huge stock of board games. A little mild flirting over connect four couldn’t hurt right. Well we scope out the wall of board games trying to pick a selection from all of the choices. Here is how the conversation went:
Me: “hmmm, connect four, sorry, chutes and ladders…”
Him: “oooooh Stratego!!!”
For those who don’t know what Stratego is (including me), it is basically a little boy’s war game of capture the flag. Also known as the geekiest game ever invented. Yep, ever avid dungeons and dragons enthusiasts refer to Stratego players as lesser beings. I thought it was an interesting choice if you were trying to impress a girl.

I didn’t know how to play, but after five minutes of reading the instructions (in a beer soaked bar none-the-less), I figured out it was simple game of capture the flag. He spent two minutes in deep thought for every move like it was an elaborate chess match. I frankly didn’t give a shit and just moved my pieces around at will. After what felt like a hour, he slumped back in his stool and said “crap, I’m out of players…looks like I loose”. Hell yeah! I totally kicked his nerdy ass!

We went back to the game wall and I made the selection since it was my turn. I picked out Guess Who which is rated for 3 year olds. He was new to the game and couldn’t grasp the thought that you are trying to narrow down the selection based on physical appearances. He would ask “is your person wearing a hat”, and when I would affirm the question he would eliminate all the hat people. Um…idiot, a three year old would understand it.

After ten painful minutes of him screwing up, we again revisited the game wall. I wanted to find some game extremely easy because he is obviously not applying to Mensa any time soon. Ah ha, trivial pursuit the Movie Edition. He confessed that he likes movies…this should work right.

Well he was 0-3. Seriously. He landed on the “classic movies” category and here was the question: what movie follows a girl from Kansas and her dog as they are transported by a tornado to a magical land? He was all “umm…classic movie…magical land…must be science fiction…maybe planet of the apes…or I know, Space Odyssey”. Ah ha ha ha sigh.

I ended the night at 9:30pm (after 90 grueling minutes of board games) because I had to get up early for brunch the next day. He wondered why I had to go to sleep so early because brunch usually isn’t until 11am or noon. I blurted out “oh…we are meeting at 8am” which is a lie. I then told him not to expect a kiss because I don’t do that on the first date (lie, lie, lie). At least I don’t think I gave him any false hopes for a second date.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Green with envy

In all the years I have lived in Chicago, I have never seen them dye the river Green for St. Patrick’s day. Sure, I’ve seen it green in movies, but never in person. I was determined this year to cross that off my “to see” list. The paper said the river dying would take place at 10:45am. I got downtown and stationed myself in the front row center of a drawbridge over the Chicago river at 10:40am. Then I waited…and waited…and waited. Although it was scheduled to be 50 degrees that day, the cold wind blowing off the lake was smacking me in the face and chilled me till I was teary eyed and numb.

After 30 minutes, I started to wonder if they had already dyed the river. I mean it WAS green hued. Then again it always seemed to be a bit green. I was supposed to meet my friends in Wicker Park at noon, so after about an hour of waiting I decided to start heading to the subway. I got about a block away when the crowd started to cheer. I ran back through the now 10-deep crowd while cursing myself for enduring all that cold and pain only to give up my sweet watching spot five minutes before the action. Aaarrrrghhh! I stuck up my camera and shot at random above the crowd, but I totally missed the guy in the boat doing the dying. People soon started to filter away since the highlight was over, so I snuck in and took some shots of the newly dyed river. Yeah, it is totally green, like eco-plasmic green! I guess the dye eventually spreads out to encompass the whole river in a couple of hours.

I didn’t stick around to see the dye diffuse with the rest of the river…I had some serious drinking ahead of me. I met up with the boys at Aberdeen in Wicker Park for a noon mimosa (well they had real drinks and I had the girly yummy drink). We moved on to a house party in Lincoln Park where we were the oldest people there! Seriously, I felt like a narc. We eventually discovered the whiskey cupcakes and Jell-O shots (yes Jell-O shots…hey we were in a frat party, what do you expect). That made the party much more interesting…that and the girl that was “(whisper) so hot” according to the guys. We moved on to a few bars in Lakeview and Ashland where we had car bombs and x-rated photo hunts (it seemed like a good idea at the time). We eventually ended up in Wrigleyville after almost 12 hours of drinking (where I think I did the running man to a Lady GaGa song…she SAID just dance, so I obeyed).

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Friday, April 10, 2009

I heart NY

I just finished watching the Sex in the City movie on a pirated DVD my friend from Hong Kong gave me. Although I am fond of the series and the movie, I can't watch it anymore. It makes me miss New York.

I met with a home appraisal expert today. I am refinancing my condo mortgage to a ridiculous low fixed rate. So it is official, I will be in Chicago for the long haul. This makes me both happy and sad. I'm happy because I realize I am making a great financial decision and acting all super responsible. Sad because this shuts the door on my past.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Disney skews everything

A few weeks back, I attended a reception for the Prince and Princess of Denmark. The invitation was all fancy and the return address was literally the royal crest of Denmark monarchy. I was super excited and had mad thoughts in my head like “will I have to curtsey…can I look them in the eye…do I have to start every sentence with ‘your majesty’”. I brought along my friend Kris who is half Danish.

I had this magical picture in my head of how the reception would be. I can attribute that to the whole “the prince and me” movie…which is totally awesome and in my DVD collection. Well the actual reception was far from what I imagined. We managed to get an arm’s length away from the Prince and Princess when they walked in (only because we were standing in front of their “thrones” and had to be asked to move). I did relish in all the secret service and security men standing around. They had those tiny ear pieces with a squiggle wire, and they kept scanning the faces in the crowd like everyone was a potential assassin. Sooooo cool! I now want to have a secret service lover with one of those ear pieces. Oh and did I mention everyone was tall, thin, and blonde! It took two days for my hormones to cool off.

Here are the pictures I snapped. Yeah they are lame because by the time I realized I had a camera, I was already far back in the crowd. Should have taken the picture when I was point blank in front of the Prince, but then again security probably would have tackled me thinking it was a gun or something. Mmmnnn, tackle.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

I'll sleep on it

Now that I am officially 30 years old, it is about time I start acting like a grown up. Case in point, my bed. I sold off or donated all of my furniture (with the exception of a futon) when I left NYC. When I arrived back in Chicago, I found my condo nearly fully furnished by my roommate. When she moved out, I continued to sleep on the futon for some sad stupid reason. Yes, quite pathetic of me…sleeping on a futon in a completely bare apartment (well except for the cardboard boxes I was using as coffee tables)…where am I living, a frat house! Fast forward two months later (yes TWO whole MONTHS), I woke up and realized “what the hell am I doing this for”. I set out to Ikea to buy furniture like a real table, chairs, bookshelf, and a sweet bed headboard/footboard. The bed frame reminds me of something from an old Italian movie with wrought iron half-dome and spindles.

Now I needed an equally impressive mattress to put into the frame. Being that I am a huge nerd, I researched the various types of mattresses online. I printed out the discount prices from Overstock and Amazon and the consumer reports for the different brands/styles. Then I visited a real mattress store so I could try out the actual mattress and price compare. The first store was completely empty except for the lone saleswoman who was on the phone with a friend talking about some boy or date she had. She cheerfully ushered me over to a bed when I told her I was thinking about buying one. She then casually asked what style I was interested in, and I admitted that according to my research I would probably like a firm or euro-top mattress. I pulled out my research which she snatched out of my hands and then started to flip through. She praised me on all the highlighting and consumer report notes. I said that wanted to price compare local stores to the internet because if they were relatively the same price, then I would love to buy local. She then thrust my papers back at me and gave me a whole earful of preaching…”well, so you are just going to waste my time right…I mean you are just using me to try out the beds and are then going to buy it online…we are a respectful business…we are even part of the better business bureau and are you totally acting all disrespectful and wasting my time…I’m going to have to ask you to leave.” And with that, she stormed over to the desk and got back on her cell phone. I thought “really, I am wasting YOUR time, but what else have you got to do besides gossip with your friends, the store is freaking EMPTY!” I quietly left the store and thought up of some good zingers as I walked down the street.

I went to another mattress store. Again, completely empty except for the saleswoman and myself. After trying out a few beds, I had narrowed my choice down to one. I explained to the saleslady that the internet actually had this same mattress for $100 less. She quickly said “okay, no problem, we price match, where did you find it”. She then threw in free shipping to seal the deal. Love her! I wondered if they cut a deal for everyone, or just me because it was obviously a slow day and both the saleslady and I lived in ghetto uptown. Seriously she asked me how the Aldi was (and then I raved for 10 minutes about how awesome it is). She then said “well, I never go there because walking to the Aldi takes you through all the really nasty ghetto places and frankly it scares me…I can’t believe a little white girl like you even goes.” What can I say, the hood suits me well.