Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Back in action (for a bit)

Wellllll I’m back. Momentarily, at least. These last 6 weeks have been totally bananas. As in straight up B-A-N-A-N-A-S. I don’t know if I’ve ever been this busy in my entire life, and it doesn’t show signs of stopping (wow, I just quoted a Gwen Stefani song AND a Christmas carol in one paragraph. Nice.)

Here’s a Cliff’s Notes version of what’s been happening in my life since I last wrote. And that includes comments on my pop culture life. Hm, let’s call it Pam’s Notes. Rather fitting, eh?

• I moved home. Weeeeee. So now my cute little 15-minute bus right to work is a crazy, long 2 hour ordeal involving a car, train and a boat—each way. Thank goodness for good books.

• Did I say car? Why, yes I did. I bought a car! For those of you who follow me on Twitter, you already know that. So anyway, I bought a bright, shiny red 2007 Honda CR-V and it’s my new love. His name is Santiago—partly because he’s like a little chili pepper and Santiago is the capital of Chile, and partly because he’s red…like Santa. And I like to call him “Santy” for short.

• I have a ridiculously long lasting case of bronchitis/asthma/plague/black lung. It’s going on about 15 days now, and my cough keeps getting worse. And apparently Z-packs and inhalers can’t do a thing to stop it. So if you’re in Chicago and hear someone coughing a lung out, chances are it’s me. Feel free to say hi!

• Oprah had a block party on Michigan Avenue, directly under my office. That flash mob dance thing was probably the coolest thing I’ve ever seen in my entire life. And watching it all happen from 33 floors up was even cooler.

• R.I.P. Patrick Swayze. The world is now a little less thrusty. And seriously, who the heck is going to rescue Baby from the corner?! Oh wait, am I mixing fiction and reality again? Yes, I am.

• John Krasinski is engaged. Sigh. There goes my not-so-secret fantasy of being a real life Jim and Pam. Well, he’d have to change his name…but it could have happened, right?

• Jimmy Buffett is my silver fox. Oh man, he is such a stud and I have a crazy big crush on him.

• Glee makes me giddy. I think Wednesday is my new favorite day because it’s Glee Day!

• I’m making a triumphant return to the Northwoods of Wisconsin this weekend and I couldn’t be more excited. Hello Minocqua! J and I are going for Beef-A-Rama, a beef festival. Apparently there will be a parade of meat. It’s going to be awesome.

• At Gap, regular length pants are too long for flats and ankle length pants are just a tiny bit too short. What the heck? I thought 5'5 was a normal height. Guess not.

...and that's all I can think of off the top of my head. I hope to be back on a much more regular basis, but I guess we'll see where life takes me! Have a great night!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Goodbye for just a little while

Well, it's summer. And as I expected, my life has been changing/moving/morphing at warp speed. So many things are on the horizon right now and it's all just a tiny bit overwhelming. 

Yikes. Bikes. 

I haven't told you much about everything that is happening, and I still probably won't. Not for awhile at least. Sorry for being all sneaky and secretive. I just want to wait until things are a bit more solid. Unfortunately all the stress/excitement/anxiety I'm feeling has clouded my mind a bit, making it nearly impossible for me to write meaningful posts. Which would explain the lack of them in recent weeks. 

All the changes are very, very good, though unfortunately, they're not happening as quickly as I'd hoped. Meaning I've had to change plans a bit. And if you know me at all, you know I do NOT deal well with change. 

Did you know I'm moving home at the end of August? Because I am. Yep, I'm packing up my cute little studio in Lakeview and moving back to the suburb I grew up in and back into my parent's house. At first I was a little terrified of admitting to other people—and myself—that I was moving home. Being the approval-oriented girl that I am, I was terrified of what people would think. And what about those kids I grew up with who (gasp) never, ever left the town. What if I run into them again? How embarrassing.

But then I remember that A) I love my parents and we get along fabulously, B) My Dad loves ice cream runs as much as I do, C) I will be close to 4 different big, beautiful, clean, friendly grocery stores, D) Being home means FREE LAUNDRY, E) I'll get to see my dogs every day and F) I might get to finally buy myself a car. EEK!! Exciting! Sure, my morning commute will now consist of a 10-minute drive to the train, an hour and ten minute train ride, and then a 15-minute water taxi ride, but hey, nothing beats free laundry, right? 

It will all work out eventually. But I just know when I pack my final box and lock my apartment door for the last time, I'll shed a few tears. Even though I'm still working in the city and will be there every day, my little world is changing. I know it's for the better, but still. I'm going to miss it. 

So in conclusion, if my posts are few and far between for a little while, please be patient. Once I'm settled in at home, I'll be back in tip-top shape. But for now, so long. I'll catch you on the flip side. 

Monday, July 20, 2009

Milk jug lids and other daily obstacles

The other morning, while attempting to twist the cap back on my milk for the millionth time (see first bullet), I started wondering why it was just so darn difficult for me. Surely if the milk jug manufacturers keep producing the jugs the same way year after year, they must not be that impossible to figure out. 

So then I started thinking about other simple things that I have trouble with. You know, the everyday things that seem impossible to me (and probably only me). 

Screwing the lid back on a milk jug. Seriously, why is it so difficult? Why won't the little nooks and crannies fit together in perfect twisted harmony? I swear, I stand there in the morning trying to screw it back on for a full 4 minutes before I give up and put it back in the fridge—with the lid halfway on. Whoops. Oddly enough, I have the same troubles with peanut butter jars. But only peanut butter jars. It boggles my mind. 

Typing the word "license". And yes, it just took me about 3 tries to get it right there. It's just so darn tricky! And since I'm a copywriter and spend a good chunk of my day proofreading, it's a bit embarrassing. You'd be surprised how many times that word pops up on a daily basis. I guess I'm just sensitive about it. It's like a lisp for my finger. License, license, license!

Watching a full movie on DVD. If it's on TV, yes, I'll watch the whole thing (commercials and all). But if I own the movie and physically put it in my DVD player to watch, my attention span shoots straight out the window. I either fall asleep, start playing online or leave the room. Kind of strange, really. Apparently turning on a movie turns me off.  

• Saying the word "parenthesis". That "h" trips me up every time. I always pronounced it as "pa-renT-uh-sees", and thought it was totally normal. But then my friends caught on and started poking fun at me for skipping the "h", and now I'm all paranoid about how I say it. 

Dealing with people talking on cell phones on the bus. Yep, that's me shooting you evil looks. I have very, very low cell-phone-talker tolerance. Especially if I'm really engrossed in a book and you sit right behind me and proceed to talk loudly in my ear. Hey, lady, that's great you're going to buy a $1,200 bag (what a sin!), but I don't want to hear about it. 

Not saying the word "like". Totally my verbal crutch. I hobble around on that sucker all the time. Pretty much every sentence I say has one of those bad boys thrown in. I, like, really can't help it. And I'm definitely not a Valley Girl. 

Standing up straight. Ugh. I know I slouch, I wish I didn't, but it's just so darn hard to fix. I'll sit/stand up straight for a few minutes, but then I'll forget and BAM! Slouchy McSloucherson returns. I think I'm getting a tiny bit better...eh, maybe not. I'm just more aware of it now.  

Not getting giddy when I hear Irish accents. I can't help it. Whenever I hear my favorite little accent, I get all excited—even when it's a girl. I have to fight the urge to run over and talk to them. I'm pretty sure that would make me a huge creep. 

So what about you guys—any easy, everyday things you just can't seem to do? Have any tips on how the heck to screw lids back on or secrets to standing up straight?

Hope you all had wonderful weekends! I know I did—seeing Rascal Flatts at Wrigley Field was a blast!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Summer camp stories: My scandalous little art project

When I was between the ages of 7 and 9, I went to art camp in my hometown. It was a few weeks every summer and it was held at an old mansion with tons of crazy rooms, hidden closets and coach houses. I absolutely loved it. We got to do tons of fun artsy things like sketching, drawing, tracing, painting, calligraphy, etc. It was perfect for a shy girl like me who had an overactive imagination and a flair for everything colorful. 

One day, when I was 8, our counselors took us into the coach house to escape a sudden rainstorm. It was quite clear they had nothing really planned for us, until they stumbled upon a box of random chunks of wood. It wasn't long before they concocted the clever assignment—to make ANYTHING out of the wood. They even offered their glue gun services to help foster our creativity. 

Most kids has no clue what to do. Wood was something we had never worked with before so everyone was kind of confused. But me? I knew EXACTLY what I wanted to make.

I quickly searched for two perfect pieces of wood, had the counselors glue them together in just the right spot, painted it with the best shade of purple I could find, and sprinkled it with tiny hot pink painted hearts. When that was done, I dug through the scrap box in the corner, desperately looking for the perfect swatch of red felt and fancy gold beads. After all, I needed to make the perfect curtain. Yes, curtain. To me, this wasn't just a silly project; this was art

When I was all finished, I proudly ran to my counselors show off my exquisite masterpiece:

A kissing booth. 

My counselors (probably 17 or 18 at the time) took one look at it and burst out laughing. At first I laughed with them. Surely, my brilliant work of art brought about such happiness. But then they asked me to explain it to them. They wanted to know why I created a kissing booth.

Well I just thought it was such a romantic idea. People could go sit on the purple bench, behind the red beaded curtain, and kiss in private. It was so obvious to me, and it was such a lovely thought in my little head.

Needless to say, the counselors couldn't get enough of it. They marched me all across the camp, showing off my kissing booth to every other counselor. It was met with laughter every single time. I was thrilled because I thought it was just that great. Clearly I didn't understand the fact that it was quite funny for a shy 8-year-old to create a snazzy little kissing booth and not get what was so funny. At that age, I didn't even know there was more than kissing. Geesh.

I came across the kissing booth not too long ago and it made me laugh out loud. It was pretty darn scandalous. I still wonder where the heck I came up with the kissing booth idea...I mean, I was pretty sheltered. I wasn't even allowed to watch R-rated movies until I was 16! 

Monday, July 13, 2009

I just want my damn pretzels.

As most of you know, I just got back from a trip to Florida and for some reason I got really annoyed by the whole flying thing this time. No wait, more like I got really annoyed with American Airlines. It started with the bag fee and only got more frustrating from there. (Warning: I'm unnecessarily fired up about this, so watch out.)

First of all, I had to pay $15 to check my bag. Annoying. I'm sorry, but aren't I doing you a favor by helping you add weight to the plane? I'm sorry that I a) can't pack for a week long vacation in a teeny tiny suitcase and b) have suntan lotion bottles that don't fit the 3 oz. limit. I NEED my SPF and I like my large liquids, thank you very much. So frustrating. Call me crazy, but I'd rather that fee be tacked on to my ticket price then have to pay it when I check in. That way, it's like an invisible fee. Maybe I know about it, but I just don't see it. Like Santa. And I sure as hell don't have to whip out my credit card to deal with it in a crowded airport.

So then after that, I finally got on the plane and was ready to relax. But wait—did you know that American Airlines gives you a full can of Coke (I refuse to use the words pop or soda)? I don't want a full can. I like just a little cup of it, enough to wet my whistle while I'm flying high in the sky. See, when you have a drink, that means you have to have your little tray table down so your drink can sit nicely in its shallow little nook. But that means your legs can't be crossed, you can't access the seat pocket in front of you, and your mobility practically disappears. In other words, you're stuck.

With a cup of ginger ale (my usual drink of choice), it's already challenging enough to finish it before my body cramps up. But then when you add in the flight attendants who come around with the darn garbage bag right after you get your drink, it gets way too stressful. You don't want to be the jerk who throws half of a drink away, creating an inevitably leaky garbage bag. And you also don't want to be stuck with a sticky cup of ice for ages and ages, with nowhere to put it except the tray table. And then you're still stuck in your seat. And that's the worst. 

So last week when they gave me the full can of ginger ale, I went into a frenzy. I found myself chugging it like I was in some kind of drinking contest. I was unhappily knocking back the ginger ale like there was no tomorrow, a little ticked off  that I had to do "work" on the start of my vacation.

And then I found out that there were no complimentary snacks on the flight. I'm sorry, but I live for that tiny bag of pretzels. I need it to get me through. Don't they know that I have the munchies ALL the time?  What airline doesn't even serve that weird ranch "party mix"? You know the one, it has a weird zesty flavor and is something you would never normally eat, but you do anyway because you're on a plane and that's all you have. Ugh.

Oh wait, I get it. The full can of ginger ale was suppose to make up for the fact that we didn't get a snack, right? Because you can totally replace salty snacks with sugary beverages.


I was outraged. I just sat there in my window seat going on and on about how I'd much rather sacrifice the full can for a nice little snack. By the end, I was ready to launch a crusade (spirited songs were definitely involved) and I had pretty much mentally drafted an angry letter to the airline. (J pretended to be asleep through all of it.)

I long for the days of Delta. Back when I flew to Aruba, they gave out not one, but TWO of those yummy ginger cookie packets AND the flight attendant mixed me a delicious beverage in a cup—Fresca with a splash of Cran-apple juice. It was a life-changing experience. And I got to relive it on all 4 flights involved. Amazing.

I'm heading out to Boston and the Cape in about 2 weeks (whoa, that's soon!) and I'm flying United. Oh boy, I don't think that's any better than American. At least this time I know to pack some pretzels. Hmph.

Sidenote: I just informed J I was writing a post about this. His response? "You're still all fired up about this? That was almost two weeks ago. Get over it."  Yes. I. Am. 

Ok, done ranting. Happy flying, everyone.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Tales from the happiest place on Earth

I'm back! After an action-packed trip to Disney World, I've been tossed back into the real world and it's been a bit of a difficult adjustment. I had such an amazing time! From wonderful meals at world-class restaurants (California Grill) and tasty breakfasts on Main Street USA to lounging by the Grand Floridian pool and getting a pedicure at the spa, it was a fabulous trip. J's family was a blast and I loved that I got to spend almost an entire week with J, since that never happens anymore with the whole long distance thing.

And yes, I was there for the tragic monorail accident. It was so sad and pretty eerie because we had no idea anything happened until late the next afternoon. We knew the monorail was down, but no one know why. It wasn't until we were getting pedicures that the girls told us...but only after we pried. We were told that Disney didn't want any sadness at the happiest place on earth.

We were on the purple train only a couple hours before the accident, and I remember seeing the driver (who was later killed) and thinking how young he looked. It was so sad. But it was very interesting to see how quickly Disney mobilized and managed to get buses and extra hands to keep things running smoothly. And the day after the crash, they had to leave the two trains at the station because of the investigation—but a wall "magically" appeared around the site of impact so no one would see it. Definitely eerie. 

But on a happier note, I really did have a super duper time and I think it can best be summed up in a list. So I now present to you what I learned on this trip to Disney World: 

• Strollers can be used as weapons. And the same can be said for motorized scooters. One of the funniest moments of the trip was when a large man on a scooter ran over the foot of an older woman. They started screaming at each other in the middle of the Magic Kingdom. She wasn't hurt, and it was absolutely hysterical. 

• Mickey ice cream bars are pretty much the best things ever.

• California Grill at the top of the Contemporary Resort is phenomenal. Delicious food, fantastic service, and so romantic. We got a table right in front of the windows overlooking Magic Kingdom, just in time for the fireworks. It was amazing.

• It's impossible to walk from the Magic Kingdom to the Grand Floridian, despite their close proximity. Trust me. After a couple drinks and a bottle of wine, J and I thought we could...and proceeded to follow an insanely long path to nowhere. We did get to see some deer frolicking in the trees. That's exciting, right? 

• I am convinced Blizzard Beach and the corresponding Winter Summerland mini-golf course were made with me in mind. It's all tropical and Christmas-y AND they play Christmas music and Jimmy Buffett all the time. It's like my own personal dream world. 

• Stilt walkers can kind of be creepy.

• Most little girls look adorable in princess makeup and princess dresses. But some poor little girls get the makeup artist and hair stylist that make them look like a hooker-in-training. 

• You can see the same fireworks every night for a week and still be completely amazed by them. (Wishes!)

• Speaking of which, the Disney World 4th of July fireworks are by far the most amazing ones I've ever seen. 

• I think I like the Hall of Presidents a little too much.

• Water rides are fun. Except when you get sopping wet and have to walk around Animal Kingdom like that the rest of the day.

• The French girls working in France at Epcot are not very nice. I'm sorry, but if you sign up to work at Disney World, you should A) learn how to smile, and B) not look at us like every American is such an idiot.

• The revamped Spaceship Earth at Epcot is awesome.

• I can't get enough of Splash Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Haunted Mansion, Tower of Terror and Rockin' Rollercoaster.

• For some reason, the Peter Pan ride always has a ridiculously long wait, even at midnight. Go figure. I never did get to go on it...

• I know that Disneyland is Sleeping Beauty's place and Disney World is all about Cinderella, but they rarely even acknowledge Princess Aurora at Disney World. Kind of bummer since she's my favorite...I just hope she gets lots of love in CA. 

• Minnie is a pretty cool mouse. However, I think it's time she got a new "To Do" list for the day in her house. It currently has 3 mentions of calling Mickey, one about making him dinner and another one about baking him a cake, and absolutely no mention of having a job or doing anything for herself. Basically her day revolves around her beau, Mickey. Is that what we really want to teach little girls? Sidenote: Mickey's house has a bed, Minnie's does not. Guess we know where she's shackin' it up. 

• I never get tired of hearing the Spectromagic Parade theme song. 

• I love Disney World. A lot. 
Me and J at Magic Kingdom

Mini palm tree!

Crazy storm over Epcot

We travel in style

I love Tower of Terror

Happy people

A giraffe and flamingos hanging out at the Animal Kingdom

Loving (and feeling) the pineapple drinks at Ohana

The gorgeous Grand Floridian 

The beach

Ok, I'll admit it. It's good to be back...sort of. But it's definitely good to be back in the blogging world! Hope you all had a wonderful holiday. Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Getting goofy in Disney World

I had a fun little Disney World send-off post planned in my head, and I couldn't wait to write it. But then life stepped in and I had a million little things to deal with tonight. And right now, it's midnight and I have barely started packing, haven't done my dishes yet and haven't cleaned my apartment yet. Argh. So really, I don't even have time to write this post, but I couldn't leave you hanging all week, wondering where in the world I am. 

Soon I need to head to bed and gear up for a whirlwind tour of Disney World. Because that's exactly what it will be—a whirlwind. As I mentioned before, I'm going with J and his parents. And they LOVE Disney World. It's so fun going with them because they love hitting up everything, even Blizzard Beach water park, which is pretty much my favorite thing ever. It's funny because J and his mom aren't too keen about crazy water-slides, but his dad and I love them. So we like to run around hitting up the big slides, while they relax in the lazy river.

And this trip I'm extra excited because we're staying at the Grand Floridian, which is absolutely gorgeous. Plus, that means I get to ride the monorail everywhere, which the 4-year-old inside me gets ridiculously giddy about. 

I can't wait to get there and ride Splash Mountain, Tower of Terror, Expedition Everest and Rockin' Rollercoaster. Unfortunately, Space Mountain is closed for renovations. Bummer. But on the plus side, this weekend is President Obama's big debut as an official member of the Hall of Presidents in the Magic Kingdom. Is it weird that I'm kind of excited to see it? Perhaps, but oh well. I'm not ashamed.

So anyway, now that I've rambled on and on, it's time for me to head out. I'll be sure to post fun stories, awkward moments and plenty o' pictures when I get back. In the mean time, I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and a very Happy Fourth of July! Yay America!