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1/31/10
Hitting the Snooze Button on My Biological Clock

I've gotta admit, this recent study about women losing all but 12% of their eggs by age 30 concerns me. 'Cause the 30? It is approaching. Rapidly. And 12% doesn't really seem like much. (Well, until you think about it, and then 12% of 300,000 eggs is still an okay amount). But seriously? I'm not ready to be 30. And while I like the idea of kids "some day", I'm not really ready for that some day to be right now. I really think I need to be 25 again so that I'd have 5 more years to get used to the idea.

Stupid biological clock.

1/30/10
The Happy Things List

I was going to do a rant over the freezing cold and annoyingly wet snow that has descended over my fair city, but then I figured that I could just sum it all up in these grammatically incorrect words: The cold, I likes it not.

Instead, I am choosing to take a page out of BooMama's book and list some random things that make me happy. (Notice that snow is not one of them). I figure that you can read my list, and maybe even BooMama's list, and then you can tell me what makes your list so that we may all bask in our happy thoughts together. (Although I'm telling you now, if snow is one of your things, you are officially no longer my friend).

(Okay, just kidding. You're still my friend...just my friend who is obviously insane).

(Or possibly just able to maintain a higher core temperature than I am, in which case I am jealous).

(This is a lot of parentheses...better add those to my list).

Okay, here goes. Things that make me happy:

Sunshine
Any day over 75 degrees (yeah you heard me, crappy snow!)
A cat asleep in my lap
spring flowers
thunderstorms with lots of lightning
chocolate!
Tony
the colors blue and green and purple
comfort food (bonus points for anything smothered in gravy)
a well-written book, blog, or article
happy endings
an unapologetic overuse of parenthesis (told you!)
laughter
sleeping in
my parents
my sister
blog comments (not that I'm fishing or anything. Okay, maybe just a little)
the way the library smells
blue skies with white puffy clouds
hydrangea bushes
bodies of water (be it the ocean, lake, river, pond, fountain or bird bath).
a new project
home improvement stores
laying in the hammock
the sound of lawn mowers
a bargain
Japanese Hibachi food
sunsets
old friends
the smell of fresh sawdust
music you can sing along with
dancing (although not necessarily well)
grape slushies from Sonic in the summer
going barefoot
long soaks in the tub

So that's...35 things that make me happy. Are any of these on your list? Or did you come up with something completely different? Let me know. Despite old man winter making a mess outside my window, making this list has put me in a pretty good mood. If you add yours, I may just be able to make it to the spring thaw.

1/28/10
Home Again, Home Again, Dancing a Jig

(Well, not actually dancing, but the home again part is correct). Anyway, I'm back safe and sound, and no pictures this time because it was basically just the reverse of the first day of the trip (minus the Demos' because I was delayed getting out of Chicago due to a slow de-icing truck...boo!) so if you want to know how it went, see last Friday and read it from the bottom up.

Now I'm off to do laundry and catch up on all the dvr shows that having been piling up since I left and hang out with my snuggle-umpkins, whom I have dearly missed. Catch you later, my peeps!

1/26/10
Chicago: Space, the Bus and Chicks, man.

This is day five of my Chicago adventure. Due to the full day of playing that I did yesterday, I took the morning off and lounged around to catch up on my TV watching. The afternoon, however, was full of tourist-y fun.

12:00pm- Today I got smart. Yesterday the cold took me by surprise, but today I was ready for it. I put on two pairs of socks, (one being bright red knee length soccer socks), two shirts, my heaviest cords, and my trusty tennis shoes. I also commandeered one of the Seester's scarves from her coat closet and wrapped it over my head. On top of that I put my hat and my furry scarf. The result was a cross between Nanook of the North and Maid Marian, but whatever works, right?


12:33pm- Took the Green Line down to Garfield and set off towards Hyde Park. Along the way, I came across a frozen pond. Since I don't recall ever actually seeing a real life frozen pond before, I took a picture. Riveting, yes?
12:44pm- Wandered through the University of Chicago campus on the way. The architecture is amazing here. Do you think they'd let me live here?

1:3opm- After a brisk two mile walk, arrive at the Museum of Science and Industry. This place is huge! I played here for hours today and still didn't make it through everything. There are dozens and dozens of interactive exhibits here.

1:58pm- This is me on the thermal camera in one of the exhibits. Note the complete lack of heat in my hands. This explains why Tony flinches whenever I try to warm them on the back of his neck. (Hey, don't judge me. You know you'd do the same thing given the chance). Apparently suffering from poor nose circulation too.
2:10pm-She's got the whole world in her hands. (Okay, okay, so it's technically the moon, but close enough). There's a fabulous planet exhibit here.2:14pm-Just hangin' out with my pal the nebula here.

2:49pm-This is your brain. This is your brain sliced into little tiny slices and mounted under glass. Cool, huh?
3:03pm-One of the exhibits is on genetics, complete with chick hatchery. (This was probably my favorite part of the whole museum). For 30 minutes, I watched this little guy peck his way out of his shell (which is apparently pretty exhausting since he just basically laid around after that). I'm amazed that he was even able to fit in that little egg! I mean, not exactly a lot of closet space in there. (And especially with the size of his feet! He's like the Bigfoot of the baby chicken world. Like claw-shaped clown shoes. Poor guy.)
3:09pm-After they've had time to rest up and fluff out a bit, they hang out on the chick playground. Strangely, I developed an incredible craving for marshmallow peeps.4:00pm- Museum closes and security chases escorts me out. I had planned to walk the 2 miles back to the Green line, but right as I was passing a bus stop, a downtown bus showed up out of thin air. (I have a no bus policy due to the high concentration of crazies that seem to find me whenever I board them, but I figured that such perfect timing could be a sign). So I got on. And I rode all the way back to the Seester's apartment, and no one, crazy or otherwise, paid the slightest bit of attention. I consider it a personal growth victory.


4:36pm-On the way home, I passed a Potbelly's, which any Chicagoan will tell you has the best sandwiches EVER. I treated myself to a tasty roast beef and pickle sandwich. Delicious!
8:00pm- I couldn't possibly leave without having a traditional deep dish pizza, so we had one for dinner tonight. Tomorrow I'll grab a quick lunch with the Seester and then head to the airport for my trip home. While I've had a blast here, I must admit that I miss my Tony-kins.

1/25/10
Chicago Trip: The Day in Which I See A Whale, Some Stained Glass, And Almost Die in a Blizzard

So this is day whatever in my Chicago saga. (Four? I think this is day four. They're beginning to run together). Anyway, since Seester and Stubby had to work, most of today was a solo day to do the touristy stuff.

9:00am- Woke up to an empty apartment. Seester and Stubby had already left for work. Started another Holmes story. (Victim poisoned, cabdriver did it). It's quiet here without anybody else around.

11:00am- Set out to meet the Seester for a lunch date. High is 24 degrees with snow showers today, so I bundle up in what I refer to as my Russian Princess ensemble. ("Boris! Get moose and squirrel!")
11:03am- Holy Smokes it's COLD! Cold cold cold! I know that the Seester wants us to move up here, but I will never ever ever ever ever ever...

11:07am- ever ever ever ever ever ever get used to this cold! This wind is inhumane!

11:15am- arrive at Seester's office building. Snap action shot of Seester on the phone. (Seester would like me to inform everyone that she is not actually a hunchback. She has the phone cradled on her shoulder). Introduced to several of her co-workers. Smiled and tried to look friendly.


11:30am- Go to lunch with Seester and co-worker Allison. (I wish I had taken a picture of Allison, because she has the most beautiful complexion. She glows, only without all that pesky pregnancy stuff). Had the french dip and about 5 pounds of fries. This trip is going to make me fat.

12:20pm- Seester and Allison go back to work and I am on my own. Study my set of written directions so I don't get lost and wander aimlessly around the city until Seester gets off work and can rescue me. (How embarrassing would that be?!?) First stop is the Smith's Stained Glass Museum at Navy Pier. I manage to make it without getting lost once.
1:10pm- Am walking down Navy Pier to get to the museum entrance. This place is like a ghost town! I'm the only person here! Very quiet and Twilight Zone-y. I could be the last person on Earth (Start humming Twilight Zone theme song).
1:42pm- Wandered through 150 stained glass exhibits. Such pretty colors! Have decided to live here in the museum and be forever surrounded by glowing windows and the spirit of Mr. Tiffany.
2:03pm- Time to leave the stained glass behind (tear). Have figured out why pier was so empty earlier...all the smart people are walking around inside the building. Wish I had thought of that.

2:04pm- Trying to get to a bus stop, but am confused by my own directions. Break down and buy pocket map from quickie mart.

2:08pm- Realize that I am not going to make it to the bus stop in time for bus. Decide to hoof it directly to train station instead. This means more walking in the cold, but I'm happy with that because it means foregoing the bus. (I seem to have an irrational fear of transit buses. I suspect that they are full of crazy people. No idea why. I said it was irrational, didn't I?)

2:12pm- Snowing. Humph. Not enough to be cold and windy...has to drop bits of frozen water on you too. Why can't Seester live in Miami?

2:28pm- Walking to subway pickup. On the way, I spot Trump Towers rising up through the clouds. Seester's apartment is close to Trump, so seeing it always orients me. Tiny personal happy dance for not getting myself lost.

3:00pm- Hit El station. Found the right platform, the right train, going the right way. I rock!

3:05pm- Successful dismount of train at Roosevelt. Am feeling pretty good about this whole mass transit thing.

3:06pm- Spoke too soon. Become momentarily stymied as to how to exit the train station. Can only find up escalators. Wait for next train to arrive so that I can secretly follow people down to street level.

3:09pm- Pause to take picture of sculptures around Museum Campus Park.
3:10pm- Pause to take pictures of frozen me around Museum Campus Park. Neat city background though.
3:12pm- Pass giant metal sculpture in front of Field Museum. Entitled Big Beaver Totem Poll. Snicker because I am secretly eight year old boy.

3:17pm- Arrive at Shedd Aquarium. It's free admission day! Woot!

Picture of random fish.


Picture of random ray.
Bad ill-defined picture of giant sea-turtle (see large blobby thing up at the surface).3:58pm- Scuba Diver is in one of the big tanks to do some cleaning. Little girl (4 maybe?) yells, "Look Mommy! A mermaid!" Close, kid. Need to review your Disney movies a few more times though.

4:04pm- Witness 2 map turtles staging WWF Smackdown on a log. Loser turtle gets knocked off into the water below. Winning turtle raises fists (claws?) and sings We Are the Champions. Also see baby beluga whale (huge!), swimming sea otters (adorable), and a lungfish (which happens to be the oldest living captivity animal in the world. He arrived to the aquarium in 1933). Neglected to take pictures of ANY of this. Instead, I took a captivating 10 second video of...two ducks. (Because where else can you possibly see ducks? Other than EVERYWHERE, I mean.) To be fair, they were cute ducks who swam right up to where I was sitting beside the glass. Not exactly award-winning material, but feel free to watch anyway. (If you listen closely, you can hear me going, "Hello ducks! Hello ducks!")

video

5:00pm- Shedd Aquarium closes. Security finds my hiding spot in the Amazon River room and chases me out. Upon exiting the building, I discover a raging blizzard outside. Wind is blowing 400mph and snow is everywhere! (Note: Snow propelled at your face at 400mph hurts!) Wind/snow combo is so bad that I cannot read the street signs. Even native Chicagoans are complaining. Completely disoriented. Eyes are watering and makeup is running everywhere. Resemble member of Kiss. Right about the time I decide to give up and just wait until someone finds me in the spring thaw, I stumble across the train station. Take train back to Seester's office where we meet up to go home. (Storm is not as bad away from the lake. Seester thinks I am just exaggerating when I claim to have barely escaped with my life).

7:15pm- Seester and I meet up with buddy Zach for dinner. I had (insert fancy sounding name here) that basically ended up being shrimp and cheese on fancy crackers. Still, very tasty. We split a chocolate mousse truffle cake for dessert. Zach is certifiably insane. I like him. Kinda reminds me of me.

9:30pm- Zach decides that he wants an after-dinner cocktail. He drags us through the freezing cold for several blocks until he finds the place he is looking for.

9:31pm- Cocktail place is closed on Mondays.

9:33pm- End up at bar next door. Zach has a brandy. Seester has wine. I have water. Seester gets overly theatrical and sloshes wine on me while gesturing. (Ironic that I am the only one drinking water yet end up smelling of alcohol for the rest of the night). Waitress treats us to full cleavage shot while bending over table. We make witty (read: snarky) remarks about fellow bar patrons.

10:30pm- Zach and Seester have to work in the morning (suckers!) so they call it a night. I map out tomorrow's museum adventures. Weather guy calls for even more snow and colder temps. I may not survive this vacation.

1/24/10
That "Windy City" Thing? Totally True.

It's day three of my Chicago pilgrimage. The weather is kind of blah today, so we've been taking it easy. (Which is kind of a shame because I totally picked today to be dressed in the cuteness. And when I'm wearing the cuteness, I want to be out and about so that other people can see and appreciate it. 'Cause I'm just thoughtful like that). But I'm getting ahead of myself. First we must go back to the beginning.

10:00am- I wake up. Like I said, it was totally overcast and rainy today, so I slept in. It's just that kind of day.

10:20am- Despite the 100% humidity, the Seester wants to play hair salon and straighten my hair. I like the look of my hair straight but am usually too lazy to do it myself, so I agree. See my cuteness?

11:55am- We head to Rockit for brunch. I have the biscuits and gravy, Seester has the waffles, and Seester's hubby (who will henceforth be called "Stubby" for simplicity's sake) had the fruit and granola. (I tried to get a picture of Stubby looking fierce over his manly-man granola, but it turns out that he is unable to keep from smiling when confronted with a camera. Oh well).
1:05pm- We leave brunch and pop over to the furniture store where Seester saw the couch yesterday. Stubby doesn't hate it, so Operation Sweet New Couch moves into the next stage.

1:52pm- Arrive back home. Seester is laying out possible furniture placement on graph paper. Stubby is playing some kind of Batman video game (Batman seems to have some anger issues). I am flipping through the new issue of Southern Living. (The Chocolate mousse pie recipe looks promising. Earmark that one).

3:56pm- Some of the Seester's pals have invited us over for a get-together tonight, so she and I head to the grocery store for football party fixins'. (Question: If you use all beef franks for pigs in a blanket, are they still "pigs"? Would they not be tiny cows in a blanket? Discuss amongst yourself and get back to me).

5:41pm- Leave for Sam and Abby's house. This "get-together" sound suspiciously like a party, which I am completely against, but Seester promises that it will be just a low key watching of the football game.

6:10pm- Abby does not hear us buzzing to get in the door, so we stand out in the cold and freeze for a few minutes. Seester unsuccessfully tosses rocks at the window. Finally, the second floor neighbor takes pity on us and lets us in.

6:20pm- Turns out that this really is a casual get-together, and despite a few moments of discomfort where I immediately forget all the names of the people who were just introduced to me (Mike? Mark? Max?), I find myself relaxing. The room is unanimously cheering for the Saints, and Farve endures increasing abuse from us as the night goes on. The game is nail-bitingly close, and I am shocked to report that I stayed enthralled with it all evening (usually I am bored by half time). I credit my undivided attention to the close score and snarky comments about the players by all those present (I appreciate quality snark). Oh, and the cows in a blanket, which were delicious. Naturally.


7:03pm- Also? Garlic Triscuits and feta cheese. So tasty! (And so funky on the breath!) Still worth it though. I ate roughly 50 bazillion. NomNomNom!

8:20pm- Abby has an interesting ability for influencing the game. She'd say, "You know what? I think the Vikings should fumble the ball now" AND THEY WOULD! Or she'd say, "I think the Saints should catch an interception" AND THEY WOULD! I wanted to drag her out to buy lotto tickets immediately.

10:14pm- Game over. Return home. The Seester and Stubby have to work tomorrow, so they call it a night. I research the best routes to take for my solo adventures tomorrow. Mass transit kinda gives me the heebie-jeebies (I seem to attract the psychos for some reason), but the forecast tomorrow is a high of 34 with snow showers so lots of walking is probably out. However for you, kind reader, I will brave both the weather and the nutcases. We're going cultural tomorrow so stay tuned!

1/23/10
The Adventure Continues...

This is the second day in the continuing saga of my trip to Chicago, complete with play by play and embarrassing pictures. Try to contain your excitement.

9:00am- Wake up. I've been having a dream that I am buying purses from a street vendor with a guy I used to work with. I'm also trying to convince him that some woman murdered my brother. (I do not have a brother). Am slightly confused as to where I am when I open my eyes.

9:03am- Stumble into living room. The Seester is watching project runway. It's the episode where they have to make outfits out of potato sacks. I sit down to watch too.

9:27am- something wrong with recording. Show stops right before the fashion show. Seester and I are enraged! Who wins best potato sack outfit?!?

9:43am- Find article with recap and pictures of clothing.

10:10am- boil some eggs for breakfast. Discuss various childhood memories. We marvel that we have turned out to be so normal.

12:22pm- Getting ready to go out and be touristy with the Seester.


1:00pm- Swing into place called Steve's Deli for lunch. We both order the turkey club. Delicious!
1:39pm- The Seester wants to pop in to a furniture store to look for a new couch. We find one. Spend the next 30 minutes looking at possible upholstery samples. We like the sage best. Seester promises to come back with her hubby.

2:12pm- Wander into another furniture gallery to look at a couch Seester has dubbed "the slug". (I think it looks like the Michelin Man). It tries to eat me. Seester has to pull me up to safety. Barely escape with my life.

2:39pm-Window shop fancy lighting store. Seester likes a giant silver chandelier. I like one that looks like a tie rack with light bulbs.

2:47pm- Next stop is a bath fixture store. Wander around looking at the unusual bath tubs and sinks. When the sales guy isn't looking, Seester sneaks a picture of me posing by my favorite tub. Random customer spots us and thinks we are nuts. I return the favor by making her climb into a giant porcelain cereal bowl to take her picture. (Note: ever since she saw her picture from yesterday's post, the Seester has demanded to approve all photos before they are posted. Told you she wouldn't like that picture).

2:48pm- Seester okays her giant bowl picture.

3:11pm- Pop in to weird antique store under guise of finding funky vases. Instead we discover ceramic juggler/clown dolls with bright red skin and expressions of being tortured. Seester suspects anti-clown demonstration. I suggest that they represent Carney burn victims. I may have nightmares tonight about these clowns.

4:03pm- We stumble across a street with several art galleries. Since I am always looking for inspiration for my painting (such that it is), we duck into several. Seester likes the warm ones with reds and oranges. When I get back home, I will try to paint her something with these colors. Everyone needs a blind monkey original.

5:45pm- Seester's buddy Zach picks us up for a quick trip to Benny's. The Seester finds a couple of tasty beverages. I model a couple of bottles myself.


6:20pm- Zach drops us off at home. We grab the Seester's hubby and head to California pizza kitchen. Seester and I split a garlic chicken pizza and two slices of chocolate banana royale cake. (We started out just splitting one, but it was so good that we ordered a second one. We're talking rolling around in the floor good. I got down on my knees and pledged my undying devotion to this cake. This cake could launch a thousand ships). I heart this cake.

8:31pm- Fat and happy over two pieces of cake. Heading home. The Seester pulls up this video so that I can watch it. We end up singing poker face for the rest of the night.




11:14pm- Seester conks out. (She never was a night person...I'm actually impressed that she lasted this long). I type up the day's adventures. Will probably hit a quick Holmes story as a nightcap and hit the sack. And so the adventures continue. More tomorrow.

1/22/10
Chicago - Day 1

This was more of the "getting to Chicago" part than the actual "doing anything in Chicago" part, but I thought I'd share anyway...

2:30- Leave the house and start out on my big adventure. It's weird going some place without Tony...I can count on one hand the number of times one of us has left the state without the other, and all but one of those times have been work related. Regardless, I will persevere on my quest. The Seester awaits.

2:38pm- Headed for Nashville, which is the first leg of my trip. The Knoxville airport only has 10 gates to its name, so the airlines do not feel the need to give competitive pricing. Therefore, we usually skip on over to Nashville to fly out of that airport instead.

2:42pm- pop in the specially-created-for-this-driving-trip mix CD. Because Tony isn't around to shush me, the CD has been specially formulated with all of my favorite singing-at-the-top-of-my-lungs songs. I sing through the entire CD twice while driving.

3:29pm- Stop for gas. Regular is running $2.59 a gallon. Pump handle does not have that little flippy thing that locks it into place so I have to stand there and squeeze the handle the entire time. I decline the car wash offer.

3:51pm- I have now added a dance routine to go with my CD. Most of it involves jazz hands and shoulder wiggles since everything else is impeded by the seat belt. Somewhere around Lebanon, a guy pulling a horse trailer catches me in the middle of my guitar solo and gives me a weird look.

4:23pm- spot Nashville.

4:37pm- Head to my favorite restaurant in Nashville, Demos'. (Sorry for the blurry picture...I was trying to take it and drive at the same time. I'm a pillar of safety-conscious driving, I know).

4:45pm- Pro: Demos' chicken and rice soup, salad, and Parmesan rolls. HEAVEN! Cons: Eating at a table by myself while seated next to a party of 15. Endure looks of pity from the group because they think no one loves me. I don't care. The soup alone is worth it.

6:00pm- Arrive at airport. Park, get checked-in, go through security. So far, so good. Flight is listed as on time.

6:03pm- Settle in at the gate with my new book- a volume of the complete works of Sherlock Holmes including 4 full-length stories and 56 short stories! I've been saving this book especially for this trip. The short stories make it a perfect airport read.

6:05pm- The TV at the gate is tuned to the Haiti telethon. Several celebrities are holding hands and singing "We are the world". In the background is the constant ringing of phones. I try to ignore it.

6:35pm- Announcement is made that flight has been delayed an hour. No reason is given. Grrrr. It's like they don't even care enough to lie to us anymore. At least tell me it was the weather. Gate agent is clutching his Starbucks cup like it's a lifeline.

6:36pm- Telethon celebrities are obviously under the impression that singing the song with eyes closed and at half its normal speed will make it seem more heartfelt. They have switched to "Wind beneath my wings". I switch to headphones to block it out.

6:57pm- Holmes solves the first crime. (Surprise, surprise).

7:10pm- Can still hear telethon through my headphones, boring a whole into my brain. Bill Clinton is talking now. Decide to take a walk around the gates to look at the artwork on display.

8:03pm- Flight is delayed another 10 minutes. New departure time is now 8:40. For the love of all that's holy, please let me be able to escape the endless droning of the telethon!

8:48pm- FINALLY boarding the plane. Why do they always smell so funky? This one smells like citrus...if that citrus had been created in a chemical plant and had no organic aspects whatsoever. Digging the on board Enya music though. A nice change from two and a half hours of telethon.

8:50pm- Found my seat: 9B. Nobody sitting next to me! Woohoo!

8:57pm- plane takes off. Suddenly realize that I have forgotten to take my Dramamine. It's still in the front pocket of my suitcase which is now riding in the belly of the plane. (In case you haven't figured it out, I get horribly air sick). Crap! Crap! Crappity-crap-crap!

8:58pm- No matter. I will just will myself to not get sick. I will point this little air vent at myself and think non-sick thoughts. Not sick, not sick, not sick...

9:17pm- Flight attendant comes by with drink cart. I decline. Better not to risk it. Instead, I am flipping through the flight magazine.

9:19pm- Whoa turbulence! Not sick, not sick, not sick, not sick...

9:20pm- come across article of New Orleans cooking. Close-up photograph of beady eyed crawfish! Toss magazine aside. Not sick Not sick Not sick Not sick!

9:24pm- They say that when you have motion sickness, you should focus on the horizon. Since there's no horizon up here, I am focusing on guy with frizzy hair and bald spot sitting two seats in front.

9:25pm- Bald spot seems to be growing right before my very eyes! Amazing!

9:39pm- Turbulence again! Where's my bald guy!?!? Not sick, not sick, not sick....

10:05pm- Beginning final decent. I am very proud of myself for not puking all over everyone. Kudos to me.

10:07pm- Holy smokes! Baldy just got up to get his bag out of the overhead, and it's a woman! (I tried to be all sneaky and get a picture of Baldy for you, but it's too dark and I didn't want the flash to alert her that I was trying to get a picture of the back of her head).

10:18pm- Spot the Seester in baggage claim. She insists on taking a cab back. (She will also hate this picture when she sees it).

10:50pm- For some reason, cab ride is $11. Seester is ecstatic at this. Is apparently supposed to be somewhere around $40?

11:00pm The Seester and I talk until 1am. Ah, how I have missed her.

1:14am Seester retires. I am following shortly. Sure to be a big day tomorrow.