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!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

I heart awkward moments

Last weekend was a total blast. I was here, there and everywhere from Chicago to Milwaukee, and back again. It was tons of fun, nice and relaxing, and chock full of awkward moments, which always make for great stories. 

Moment 1:  Friday night I was out in the suburbs with my parents for my uncle's concert. A little back story: My uncle is a friar and also a bit of a musical genius. He can play tons of instruments (harp is his favorite) and he composes absolutely beautiful music. (Oddly enough, NO ONE else in my family got his talents. Total bummer.)

So we were at his concert in the theater of a nearby university, and I was standing with my parents waiting to be seated, when the usher came over to us. She was an older lady and leaned over me to get a closer look at my Mom's ticket. Suddenly, I felt her hand take a swipe at my bum. Not just an accidental graze—it was an intentional feel. 

I was a teeny bit creeped out, but decided to ignore it. 

At intermission, I walked out to the lobby and realized the same usher was staring at me. Our eyes met and she immediately walked right over to me.

"May I rub your dress?" she asked, smiling up at me.

Uh. What?

Before I could respond, she reached down and forcibly petted—no wait, more like rubbed—my thigh. 

"Oh wow! That's real madras! All those squares are actually sewn together!" she exclaimed out loud. 

Of course, I blushed and nodded and my Mom, who caught the rub down, laughed awkwardly and steered me away from her. Yikes. Who knew madras could get such a rise out of old people? Guess I better rethink my plans to wear my madras dress any time soon.

Moment 2: Saturday night I drove up to Milwaukee to pick up J at the airport. He was coming back from a school trip to Germany, which involved him taking a handful of 15-year-olds to mix, mingle and learn history with German students of the same age. It was a very cool opportunity. 

I was so excited to pick him up, so I thought I'd get there early and run in to meet him at the terminal. Unfortunately, I was running a little late and he was running a little early. I pretty much threw my Mom's car (I don't have one. Sad.) into the parking garage and ran into the airport. 

So I practically skipped in, not really looking where I'm going, and found myself smack dab in the middle of a HUGE celebration for World War II vets who went to D.C. for the first time. I had no clue what was going on—I just saw hundreds and hundreds of people dressed head to toe in red, white and blue, waving American flags like their lives depended on it. And there I was, running through the crowd in my bright purple dress, not even realizing there's an intense display of patriotism going on around me. I obliviously marched right down the ceremonial walkway the families had created, still not noticing what I was doing. And when I finally realized where I was, it was a bit too late. I felt very, very purple, very naive and very anti-American. I almost wanted to scream out "I'm Canadian!" or something. It was super awkward. And the glares I got from people? YIKES. I felt like I should grovel at the feet of a bald eagle to make it up to them.

Moment 3: I had a good time at a wake. Er, wait, that sounds bad. More like I didn't have a bad time at a wake. And it made me feel really inappropriate. Long story short, my old grade school music teacher/musical theater director passed away last week. She was a lovely woman, so lively and full of positive energy. Everyone absolutely loved her.

On Sunday, I went to the wake with my Mom. Right off the bat, she ran into her old students, including the daughters of the woman whose wake it was. So it was fun to see how they all interacted after more than 30 years, and it made me see a whole new side of my Mom. 

And then we spotted the husband of one of the daughters. He's an actor who played a pretty important role (the groom) in a certain 90s movie I LOVE about a reluctant father getting ready for his daughter's wedding. He looked exactly the same as he did back then and it made me all giddy. And then I felt weird for feeling giddy and it was vicious cycle in my head the whole time. But anyway, it really was a lovely wake...and very touching, too. 

Sidenote: I seriously need to stop listening to "Will You Be There" by Michael Jackson, from the Free Willy soundtrack. It used to be my FAVORITE song when I was 7, and now it's hitting me all over again. And I keep waiting for a whale to jump over my head or something.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Moonwalkin' outta here

I'm gearing up for a super crazy, high energy, hella hectic week. Because in exactly one week, I'll be jetting off to Disney World with J and his parents!

His parents took us there in 2007 for our graduation. It took me about 10 minutes to convince him this would be a cute picture. He was right—it's not. But it does make me laugh.

I'm so excited to go. I've always loved Disney World. But what's even better is how much J and his parents love it. They're so much fun to go with because they love to do everything. And I mean everything. Last time we hit up 4 parks in one day (even though we were there for almost a week). Yes, it is possible. And the best part is that this year, we're staying at the Grand Floridian. That in itself has me giddy with excitement. Throw in Splash Mountain, a little Rockin' Rollercoaster and some Goofy love, and it's perfection (well...minus the screaming kids and blazing heat). 

Before I even think about packing, I have a TON to do. I've got a portfolio to whip up, a wake to attend, a boyfriend to pick up from Germany (ha, sounds so sketchy), a huge classical concert to go to, a brother and sister to say goodbye to (they're going to Africa), a volleyball game to play, tons of work to finish, dinner with friends, laundry, a million errands to run etc, etc. The list goes on and on.

It's always so hectic before vacation, isn't it? It's like the universe really makes you work for those days off. But it's definitely worth it. I can't even wait...

And in other news, well really the only news, what a sad day in the world of entertainment. First Farrah and now Michael Jackson? Yikes. And let's not forget about Ed McMahon earlier in the week. Bad things really do come in 3s! I feel like I jinxed it a bit. Just this morning, my coworker and I were discussing Farrah's death and I wondered out loud who would be next because of the rule of 3s. Whoops. 

I'm not going to lie, I've been sitting here all night watching MJ videos on YouTube. I just can't get enough of "Black and White" and "Will You Be There".  Even though he was a tad creepy in recent years, he was an amazing performer and he will surely be missed. 

And in other not-so-pressing news, did anyone see Shia LaBeouf on The Today Show? He was so sweet with one of his fans. It's so cute! He looks into her eyes and even just watching it makes my heart melt a little bit. 

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Just call me Cookie Monster

That's me, only not just about cookies.

I have a dear friend who sometimes forgets to eat. She seriously just straight up forgets. And she's not the only friend I have that does that, which completely boggles my mind. Don't they get low on energy? Aren't they dragging? Aren't their stomachs growling loudly? 

Much like my dear friend Cookies Monster, I practically plan my days around eating. In the morning, I have a nice complete breakfast (it's silly and unhealthy to skip it!), then I pack a mid-morning snack (always fruit), a lunch (most of the time) and a mid-afternoon snack (usually a Kashi granola bar). I can honestly say, I have NEVER forgotten to eat. My stomach would be roaring if I let it go too long, anyway. It's very vocal like that.

I love my meals, and I'm all about snacking. Even when I'm not eating, I'm counting down to the next snack or meal. Who knows, maybe I have some odd oral fixation (wow, that doesn't sound good), because I always love to chew gum or have hard candy between meals, too. Maybe it stems back to all those years I used to suck my fingers as a kid...

And when I don't eat? Not a pretty sight. I become a snarling, raging, crabby, angry grump monster who snaps at anyone and everyone, and practically swats planes out of the sky. So I try not to let that happen. It's not like I need huge meals. All it has to be is a bowl of cereal or a granola bar and I perk up like a daisy in the sunlight. Happy and snappy with a nice full tummy. 

So moral of the story, if you ever see me being crabby, throw me a piece of gum or a cookie or something. 

Wow, I guess I'm like a dog—I respond well to treats. That's a bit sad...

And now I want a cookie.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

This indecisiveness is killing me.

So, it's time to get personal. And a little serious. Because if I don't address what's bugging me, I might snap a little bit. 

Lately, I've been completely incapable of making a decision. And I mean any decision. From choosing an outfit for work to what drink I want at Starbucks, everything has been an impossible choice. I can barely stick to blogging topics anymore, hence the lack of posting. I couldn't even choose the place for my family birthday dinner last week. And last night, the thought of choosing which bar to go with my friends nearly made me skip out on the whole night. At the sound of "It's up to you", I completely panicked. My heart started thumping, I began to sweat and I just kept saying, " I don't care, I don't care, " which was a lie.

I don't know what is wrong with me. I've always been indecisive about little stuff, but this is getting out of control. Lately, when I'm faced with a decision, it's like my mind shuts down. I get defensive, grumpy and really panicky. And I get really anxious and terrified that if I make the wrong choice, someone will get mad or be unhappy with me. It's like I've laid out a path of eggshells all around me, and I'm scared to make even one small move.

I know I'm feeling this way because I've got big, big changes on the horizon and I feel like my life is spinning out of my control. I'm really, really excited about the future, but I'm scared to death to put myself out there. And therefore, I feel like I have no right to make any choices, even if it's only about what food to eat. Time is flying by and I feel like I'm desperately clinging to anything I can to keep up. It's really starting to weigh on me. I've been sick, I'm not sleeping well, I'm not eating well and my emotions have been on an insane roller coaster ride. One minute I'm in a funk, wondering why everyone hates me, and the next I'm giddy as a school girl. 

Ugh, what the heck is up with me? I don't get why I'm feeling so....lost. And out of control. Even now, I'm sitting here wondering if I should even post this or not. My mind just changed itself about 7 times in the last minute. This is ridiculous.

Anyway, on a happier note, I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend and had a chance to get out and enjoy the gorgeous weather (well, here in Chicago at least). I know I did...and I have the lovely splotchy sunburn to prove it. 

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Two dozen years old today

It's my birthday! Hooray!

If you can't tell, that's me with the pigtails.  This was taken right around my 4th birthday.

Twenty-four years ago today I came bouncing into this world. It was Father's Day (awww) and I arrived just in time for lunch, much to my Mom's delight. Apparently, she was really hungry. 

But surprise! I was supposed to be a boy. So when I arrived and my parents realized the name Michael wouldn't really fly for me, they were stumped. The girl names my parents did have—Emily and Marie—just didn't fit. And so for a few hours, I was just known as Peanut. How my parents decided on Pamela, I'm not quite sure. And once my sister stopped pouting because she didn't like the name (she had a "mean" babysitter named Pam), it stuck. And the rest is history.

So here I am. 24. Ah! How did I get to be 24? That seems kind of old to me. 23 was just kind of silly...but 24 means responsibility. And being grown up. Yikes. There are 24 hours in a day. And 24 years in my life. Not sure where I'm going with that, but whoa.

Today is only the second birthday EVER that I haven't gotten to play all day. The last two years I took the day off. And before that, I was always on summer break...except the one summer I was working in a bank vault. Eek. This year, I chose to save my days for real vacation. I guess we'll see if I regret it...

But on the plus side, I'm using this opportunity to finally live out one of my childhood fantasies: To bring in treats on my birthday. I've never, ever been able to do it, so I'm really pumped. I made Rice Krispie treats and I couldn't be more excited about them. 

The rest of the day should be good, too. I bought myself a special breakfast of blueberry Eggo waffles (love them!), my coworkers are taking me to an Irish pub for lunch (yum!) and then my family is taking me out to dinner (still not sure where). Sounds like a perfect day to me (minus the whole working thing).

I'd like to give a shout out to my fellow June 16th birthday buddies: Tupac (RIP), Ben Kweller, Diana DeGarmo and Ann Shoket (of magazine and ANTM fame). Ok yeah, I definitely had to do some digging to find any names I actually recognized. 

Oh and fun fact: I can sing "Happy Birthday" in Swedish. Guess that's what happens when you have a super Swedish first grade teacher. I have no idea how to spell it, but you can bet it's playing on repeat in my head right now. 

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Back in action and feeling good

If you follow me on Twitter, you know I was sick last week. Really sick. I hadn't been sick in ages, but lately I've just been really feeling rundown due to lack of sleep and an all-Cheerios diet (yeah, I know, not healthy). 

I don't really know what I had. It started with a headache that lasted three days. When it finally went away, I developed this weird cough. A few hours later, I was hit by the fever train. I had the aches, the chills, the loss of appetite—everything. Last Tuesday I woke up and I felt AWFUL, but I somehow managed to drag myself to work, trying hard to keep myself propped up on the bus. I was at work a total of 25 minutes before I asked my boss to go home. Then I went home, slept and watched daytime TV (I love reruns of The O.C.). 

I managed to get back to work on Wednesday, but I should have stayed home. All I could do was sit slumped over at my desk and will myself not to pass out.  I finally felt better by Friday, but still had no appetite. And thankfully by now, I'm almost as good as new, minus my pretty gross chest cough.

Luckily, I pulled myself from my sick bed just in time to head up to Wisconsin for the weekend. I hit up Milwaukee on Friday night and was greeted by J and the sweetest/cleverest/most thoughtful birthday gifts ever. 

Oh yeah, did I mention Tuesday is my birthday? Because it is! I LOVE my birthday. Well, I love birthdays in general, so naturally mine falls under that category. 

Anyway, more on that tomorrow.

So then early Saturday morning, J and I got up and drove to the high school where he teaches. He had to attend graduation so he dropped me off at a nearby Starbucks for a couple hours. That way, I didn't look like the random creepy girl sitting alone at a high school graduation.

When it was over, J took me to Madison to continue the birthday festivities. I had only been there once when I was 9, so I didn't remember much. Which is a shame...I love it there! We just meandered all over town, making quick stops for ice cream (of course), drinks and a quick moment at the lake. It was so relaxing and it was the perfect escape we both needed. After taking a quick nap back at the hotel (I still wasn't feeling 100%), we went out for some margaritas and dinner. It was perfect.

And now I'm back in Chicago, in my very messy apartment, getting excited for the week ahead. I was sad to say goodbye to J today, but I'm also so excited for him. He's jetting off to Germany this week with some of his students as part of a high school exchange program. He'll only be gone 10 days, but I know he's going to have an amazing time. I only wish they needed an extra chaperone. I would have volunteered in an instant. 

I hope you all had wonderful weekends! Anyone do anything fun? Gosh, it's good to be back in the blogging world. I missed it last week!

Monday, June 8, 2009

A cautionary tale of identity crisis (x3)

Normally I'm quite the perky, happy, "I love everything!" blogger. But tonight I might have to be a bit more serious. (gasp)

You see, after spending 45 minutes on the phone with an IRS agent today and finding out that once again my tax refund is being withheld due to identity theft, I'm a bit irate. Last year was literal hell on my credit and identity, and I'm not happy at all to see that I have to deal with it again this year. Apparently I have so many red flags in my file that I will probably be dealing with this for years and years to come. AWESOME.

This post is not intended to get sympathy or anything of the sort. I'm hoping it will just kind of show you how important it is to take care of your credit. You have to keep an eye on it at all times because you never know who can get their hands on it. I never, ever thought anything would happen to me, but I was wrong (dun dun dun)

December 1, 2007. The day my troubles began. I was at a bar watching the Marquette vs.Madison basketball game at a bar here in Chicago, when my phone rang. It wasn't a number I recognized, so I let it go to voicemail and then walked outside to check it right away. I had an inkling something was wrong and boy, was I right. It was my credit card company letting me know there had been suspicious activity on my card.

I quickly called back and the customer service rep asked me to verify charges—almost $900 at a cell phone store in Montreal. I practically screamed, "What?! That's not mine!" into the phone, in a very panicky, high-pitched voice. 

Turns out someone got my credit card number and was using it to their heart's content up in Canada. It was an awful feeling. I had to cancel my credit card, file a police report, report identity theft, etc. It took months to figure out and get everything back on track. What a pain. And just when I finally had the charges cleared and got my new card...

March 2008. One day when my brother, sister and I were home, my Dad mentioned that our family accountant had filed all our tax returns. Except mine. There was a "glitch" when he tried to submit it electronically, so he had to mail it in.

The glitch? Someone had already filed taxes under my social security number. 

The accountant swore it wasn't a big deal. He said someone must have mistyped their own social security number, and that it would all get figured out. Right.

April rolled around and my brother and sister got their nice little tax refunds. Me? Not so much. Then it was May...then June...then July. Finally our accountant had an update: I was being investigated. I was given about 10 different numbers to call, affidavits to sign, more police reports to file and various people to check up with. It was a disaster. I sat on the phone for hours almost every day for weeks trying to figure it all out. I went through so many automated systems, I was ready to flip. 

Long story short, I didn't get my tax refund until late October, when they finally realized I was the REAL Pam. Turns out, someone was pretending to be me. Sounds cool...or not. But it all worked out and I was happy, until...

November 22, 2009. After watching the holiday lighting on Michigan Avenue, my friends and I went to a nearby bar in the Loop. I was sitting at a high top table, with my purse hanging next to me, against my arm and under my coat. We were enjoying our drinks when all of a sudden the waiting area (right by my seat) got really crowded. My chair got bumped a few times and then I felt a sharp tug on my purse. I immediately knew something was wrong. 

Sure enough, I opened my purse and my wallet wasn't there. My debit card, my credit card, my drivers license—everything—was gone. Luckily, the manager of the bar (a very nice Irish man), let me use his computer to cancel everything immediately. And thank God he did, because I later found out that only minutes after I cancelled my cards, there were failed purchases totaling $900 at Target, numerous ATM attempts, charges at gas stations, etc. The list went on and on. I have never felt so violated in my entire life, but I was so lucky I caught it quickly.

And now I'm dealing with the IRS for the second year in a row. They even called my CFO at work to check up on me and confirm my identity. I suppose I'm glad, but really? It's me. I wouldn't ever touch a fly, let alone commit tax fraud. And now all this checking up makes me feel like a criminal...

So please be careful. Trust me, you never, ever want to deal with this. It's completely unnerving and so unnecessarily stressful. Check your credit reports (listen to those lame commercials and visit freecreditreport.com), keep your personal info safe and NEVER say your credit card numbers out loud in public places—especially if you're on a very crowded city bus (I've heard it more than once, which is absolutely ridiculous). 

In the immortal words of Charlie Brown, "Good grief."

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Creepy guy in a bar

I just got home from a night out celebrating my brother's birthday and despite the fact that I am exhausted and a wee bit tipsy, I felt the need to post. I'm that creeped out. 

You know the standard creepy guy in a bar? You have to—everyone does. There's always one at every bar you go to, no matter where you are. They're never there with anyone else, and they always stare a bit too long, let their eyes travel a bit too far and look a bit too content. 

As soon as I saw Creepy Fonzie (his nickname for the evening), I know he was the creepy guy in the bar:

Obviously, it's the guy in the white t-shirt. I snapped this really quickly, before he saw me.

This guy randomly snuck into our group—my brother, sister, cousins and friends—to order a drink. Initially, we thought he was with the group next to us. But when he kept sneaking in and lingering a bit too long, we knew he was a creep.

And for some reason, he kept focusing on me. I wouldn't even look at him, but I could sense that his gaze was on me. Like he was staring at me, urging me to look at him. Everyone else in the group noticed. My brother's friend and I even came up with the code word "burrito" to yell so I would know when he came up close behind me...because he kept doing it.

They all thought he looked like a slicked back, older Fonzie. But that's not who he really looked like. In my opinion, he looked EXACTLY like the bad guy from Kindergarten Cop: 

So finally my cousins and brother made enough rude comments in his vicinity for him to the the hint. We watched as he slowly walked away, then made a big circle around the bar, weaving in and out of all the girls. He seemed to stop on the other side of the bar, and I finally felt at ease. 

And then, not 5 minutes later, I felt a hard squeeze on my shoulder. I whipped around quickly and saw him. He smiled, slowly dragged his nails across my back, and walked away without looking back. 

I literally felt a shiver run up and down my spine. I felt so violated and so creeped out. And when I left the bar, I practically ran home in case he was following me. 

And now I'm writing this, wondering what happened to him. I hope he goes back to his home, which is far, far, far, far away from me. Ick. So weird.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

My Life's Little To Do List

In my one of my previous posts, I mentioned one of my "secret dreams"—to take a trip to the Ben & Jerry's Factory in Vermont. It's something totally random that I've always wanted to do. And recently, I've started filing away little "secret dreams" or "to do once-isms" in my mind. They're just little things I'd like to experience once in my life, no matter how small or silly they are. 

Perhaps some would refer to it as a Bucket List, but I think that's pretty darn morbid. So I'll just call it My Life's Little To Do List. This list doesn't include all my crazy travel dreams to go to Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, China, South Africa, Italy, Greece, Spain, back to Ireland, etc or my dream of writing some sassy chick lit one day. And it definitely doesn't touch on getting married, having kids, getting a dog or owning a lake house (hey, I dream big). Those are part of My Life's Big To Do List. 

This list is all about the everyday trips I want to take or little things I want to see or do in order to experience new things, whether it's tapping into musical talent or not stressing over laundry for the first time ever. Please note: These are definitely not in any special order, other than the way they came spouting out of my head.

1. Visit the Ben & Jerry's Factory
2. Go on a "bar crawl" around all the countries at Epcot 
3. Learn to play the violin
4. Ride in a hot air balloon
5. Be an extra in a movie
6. Be able to do a handstand
7. Go sky diving
8. See a grand slam while in attendance at a Cubs game
9. Visit/tour a vineyard 
10. Go to Cedar Point
11. Learn to like exercising (ha)
12. Be a bridesmaid (yes, that's right, a bridesmaid)
13. Live in an apartment with in-unit washer and dryer
14. Meet Jimmy Fallon
15. Find a bar in the U.S. with a name as cool as Boo Radley's
16. See a live taping of talk show/sitcom/late night show  (I'm looking at you, Fallon)
17. Visit the West Coast (San Diego, LA, Portland, Seattle...)
18. Finally finish a scrapbook
19. Get my tonsils out (bizarre, yes, but these monstrosities need to get out NOW)
20. Learn a ballroom dance
21. Go to and/or volunteer at the Olympics (Woo, Chicago 2016!)
22. Find out where in the world Carmen San Diego is
23. See the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in person
24. Go to a state fair
25. Learn a second language 
26. Go to In-N-Out Burger
27. Find a real sand dollar 
28. Teach myself to like peppers and tomatoes
29. See Monsters, Inc. so a certain friend doesn't kick me to the curb
30. Learn to go to bed at a decent hour

Yikes, I guess I have a lot to do. And these are only the things I can think of off the top of my head. I better get started now...too bad I already missed out on number 30 for tonight.

What about you guys...do you have a "to do" list for life? If so, what's on it? Or maybe I'm the only one that keeps a running tally in my head. Hey, sometimes you get bored on the bus and have too much time to think.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Tales from the pissed off +1

Ok, my writer's block is officially dissolved because now I'm a wee bit ticked off. And when my feathers are ruffled, I like to rant. 

So where should I begin? Hm, I think I'll start at the very beginning (it's a very good place to start). I'm going to have to use fake names to protect the innocent. Sort of.

In college, J (my boyfriend) was good friends with a guy, let's call him Ron. So J and Ron had a lot of classes together and used to hang out all the time. Then Ron met a girl, we'll call her Beth, and he was one smitten kitten. He fell head over heels, only none of Ron's friends liked Beth. During senior year, he started spending all his time with her, ignoring J and his other friends. And not long after he graduated, he proposed. 

Ron and I always got along well. J didn't like Beth very much, but I tried to be nice. I was excited for them when they got engaged, plus I was pumped for the wedding. We were all friends, so I knew it would be fun.

Though J and Ron have grown apart, we still hang out occasionally. And the last two times have been WEIRD. He's barely acknowledges me. The last time we hung out, he introduced his other friends to everyone but J and I. He hugged everyone but J and I. And besides a "hi", I got nothing. When we had to talk, he was very short with me. I had always thought we got along well, but he was acting as if I had done something to personally offend him, and to be honest, I was a little hurt.

And then the Save the Dates were sent out. J didn't get one, but his parents did. And it was addressed to Mr. and Mrs. J, J and his dog. Yes, his family DOG. WTF. J was really offended at not getting one personally (I don't blame him) and I was offended that his dog was included, but not me. At that point J and I had been dating 3 years. I mean, really? What the hell?

So a bit of time went by, and I forgot about it. Until today. J just got his invitation to the wedding in the mail. And it was addressed to Mr. J...and guest. Are you kidding me? Maybe I'm nuts, but I'm really offended. It's not like I'm a stranger. I know both the bride and the groom. Ron knows we're a serious couple, so why wouldn't he include me? I mean, seriously, J was invited to his coworkers' wedding and though I've only met them a couple times, they addressed their invitation to both of us. Hmph.

I feel like I somehow pissed Ron off. At least, that's how he's acting. But for the life of me, I can't figure out what I would have done. And he's being really weird to J now, too. It's completely bizarre.

Perhaps I'm a little crazy, but for some reason this really, really gets under my skin. It's not like we can go to the wedding anyway because J will be back in Massachusetts for his dad's birthday. But maybe I will go...and bring his dog. I'd be proud to be a weiner dog's +1. 

And in other news, I seriously need to stop watching the New Moon trailer. Why am I so addicted? I just can't seem to get enough.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Big fat writer's block and my teeny bopper junk drawer

So I've been suffering from a ginormous case of writer's block over the last few days and it's not a lot of fun, let me tell you. I have about 5 different starts to posts from last week that just kind of fizzled out. (sigh) I promise to be better soon. 

Anyway, I had a great weekend. I got to sleep in for the first time in months, went to Target, had a blast out on the town last night (which I definitely paid for this morning) and got some much needed relaxation time. And today I finally got the peanut butter chip ice cream I've been craving for weeks when I met up with Jessica from The Everyday Adventures of Me in the City. It was a ton of fun. It's so nice to meet someone who enjoys a good ice cream run as much as I do. 

In order to catch up on some of my random thoughts, I've decided to collect them into another one of my junk drawers. I'm calling this one my "teeny bopper junk drawer" because I'm still a little giddy after seeing the New Moon trailer and so my mind is in an "OMG!" kind of place.

• Could Kristen Stewart be any more awkward? My God, she made it seem like the biggest pain to be at the MTV Movie Awards. Sure, it's not the Oscars, but at least pretend to be appreciative. But she definitely got brownie points when she dropped her award and said, "Yep, I'm just about as awkward as you thought I'd be," or something like that. I'm glad she realizes how she comes across.

• I swooned at the trailer for New Moon. Why is Edward so attractive? I guess Robert Pattinson is, too...but still. Real life Rob is an odd duck.

• Loved the clip from the new Harry Potter. I can't wait to see it in July. Nerd alert: I might even go to the midnight showing because I'm that excited. Did I say might? I mean I definitely will. I did it for the last 5, so why stop now?

• Pixar's new movie "Up" is amazing. I laughed, I cried (no, more like sobbed) and then laughed some more. It not only made me appreciate the adventure in every day, but also really made me want a talking dog. It could happen. If you haven't seen it, go!

• I made pasta for dinner tonight and the directions on the back ever-so-kindly said, "Please do not overcook." I find it refreshing that the pasta company cares so much about my dining experience that they nicely tell me not to overcook the noodles. I couldn't let the packaging down, so I sat and watched those darn things cook so they came out just right.

• I feel like everyone is getting engaged lately. Yikes. Do I feel pressure? Perhaps. Does that excite me? Yes. But then again, I'm only 23 (almost 24!). I guess I better live in the same city as J before we discuss wedding bells. It sure is fun to think about though...

• My laptop gets hot. Really, really hot. As in, it literally almost burns my legs. Hm. What would cause that? It can't be good. 

Ok I'm off to bed to dream about hot vampires and ice cream and pleasant things like that. And seriously, if I don't get this darn computer off my legs in about 2 seconds, it's going to burn a hole through my pants. Happy almost June, everyone! (Woohoo, birthday month!)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

My junk drawer (and an award!)

I'm really random, I'll be the first to admit it. At any given moment, my mind is jumbled with a million different thoughts about a million different things. Some make sense, but most are completely out of the blue, which can be a problem when it comes to talking with friends, telling a story or writing a post. 

So I've decided to start a feature on my blog called "My Junk Drawer." Why the name? Well, because junk drawers are filled with random odds and ends, crumbly bits, hot pink Post-Its (or maybe that's just me?), misplaced birthday candles, capless pens and a dirty old rubber band or two. Who doesn't love a junk drawer? You just never know what treasures you may find. And just like the contents of a good junk drawer, this feature is going to be completely random. Much like the thoughts fluttering about in my brain all the time.

So off we go:

• At a fabulous Memorial Day mimosa brunch, WG2 found the way to my boyfriend's heart. Apparently, all it takes to win him over is baked French toast. (Note to self: Learn to make baked French toast. OR hire WG2 to be personal Sunday morning chef.)

• If you go to a Northwoods-themed bar that has posters plastered on EVERY wall advertising the special Leinenkugel's drink of the month, you would expect the bartender to know what it is. Apparently not. He claimed not to know what a "Honey Bear" was, even though there was a sign with the "recipe" right above his head. When I told him what was in it, he said they were out of Berry Weiss, one of the two ingredients in the drink. Hm. Maybe they should take the posters down so as not to frustrate overly excited girls who fell in love with Leinenkugel's concoctions while living in Wisconsin. 

• I have way, way, way too many friends/siblings/boyfriends (well, only one of those) that are teachers. I'm so glad you only have 4/7/13/9.75 days of school left, but seriously, for the kids like me who are stuck in a 9-5 job, wilting away in a tiny cubicle, ignorance is bliss. My "school year" never ends. But if you'd like to hear how I have to account for every 15 minutes of my work day, I'd be happy to tell you all about it. It's riveting stuff.

• The season premiere of Jon and Kate + 8 was devastating. I definitely shed a tear or two. I know people have some strong opinions about the whole situation, but I don't know what to think. I literally felt like I was losing a friend when I watched last night. Yes, Kate is not very nice, especially to Jon, but I still like her. And when she started crying while talking about the future of her marriage, my heart broke for her. Though I think they are both very much share the blame, I think Jon seems to be going through some kind of midlife crisis (did you see his car? yikes). I don't know. This whole time I had been hoping that all the tabloids were lying and when the show came back, they'd be one little happy family again. Jon would get a new job, Kate would stay home more and the kids would be cute as ever. But last night it became very apparent just how bad it all is. Those poor kids...they are seriously adorable. Aaden and Alexis might be my favorite kids ever. I feel so sad for them. 

• My phone doesn't work in my apartment when it's windy or raining. What a wuss.

• One of my "secret dreams" (I have a lot of them) is to take a trip to the Ben & Jerry's factory in Vermont. Ice cream is pretty much my favorite food.

• Doing laundry is one of the most stressful things ever. Especially if it involves using washers/dryers from 1978 in the dark and creepy basement of your building. It seriously looks like the set of a horror movie and smells like a skunk (shudder). But it sure feels good when you get it all done...and come out alive.

• And last but certainly not least, I was recently given The Splash Award by the fabulous Ali from The Way I See It (thank you!) It's given to alluring, amusing, bewitching, impressive and inspiring blogs. When you receive this award, you must:
-Put the logo on your blog/post.
-Nominate up to 9 blogs which allure, amuse, bewitch, impress or inspire you.
-Be sure to link to your nominees within your post. Let them know that they have been splashed by commenting on their blog. Remember to link to the person from whom you
received your Splash Award.
-So I nominate:

So there you go, I'm spreading the blogging love. Hope you all have a great night!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

It's a small world after all

I almost didn't write tonight. Almost. Because I'm exhausted, had a grueling day at work and just had a fabulous evening filled with great people, great causes and great wine.

But I feel the need to point something out And that would be just how gosh darn small our world is.

For example (hopefully you can follow me on this one): Vacay Boy (see last post) is engaged to Girl 1. Girl 1 is best friends with Girl 2. Girl 2 not only went to college with me, but was also my sorority sister AND ran for president of student government. And who was her campaign manager? Why, that would be J, of course. And they were pretty good friends, too. Isn't that odd? It's like it all came full circle...

And then there was tonight. Not only did I run into a guy I knew from college, I also ran into a guy that sat at my table at a destination wedding I went to last year. 

But neither of those compared to when my friend introduced me to a girl she knew from college (in the bathroom, of course, we keep it classy.) She immediately looked familiar to me, but I kind of brushed it aside.

A little while later, we ran into her again and I suddenly knew exactly how I knew her:

Her: Pam, do you remember Kate O?
Me: Oh my gosh yeah, we were friends in grade school.
Her: You want to Camp Ondessonk right?
Me: Yes! I knew you looked familiar! This is crazy! (pause) God, I hated that camp.
Her: Yeah, you were miserable. We all knew it.
Me: (a little uncomfortably) Yeah, sorry about that. Remember when we had to crawl on our stomachs through the mud in that claustrophobic cave?
Her: Oh yeah, definitely.

She then quickly flashed me her phone, said she had to take a call and left. Not sure if the phone call was legit, but still. How bizarre is that? I went to camp with her in 5th grade. She was a friend of my friend from St. Louis and we had only ever been together that one week at Camp Ondessonk.

I was a bit embarrassed that after all these years she still remembered how much I hated camp, but I couldn't help it. It was my first time away from home and on the very first night, I found a 5-inch long cave cricket on the "roof" of my bottom bunk, which I discovered only after his long antennas brushed against my forehead. It didn't help at all that the next day we were taken on a "nature" walk and had to slide on our stomachs through mud and squeeze through a horrendously narrow passage nicknamed "Augustine's Agony"...after a cow that got stuck between the rocks and died. Throw in the 1 latrine for 60 girls and the 3-walled treehouses we slept in and you have my personal hell. 

Plus, all of our treehouses were named after Beatles' albums, which I didnt know at the time. So when I first saw that I'd be living in the "Magical Mystery Tour" for a week, I was really creeped out. Thank goodness I wasn't in Revolver or Sgt. Pepper (they were our next door neighbors).

Wow, now that I've revisited that experience, I have a lot more to say on the matter. And on summer camps on general, but I'll save that for another day. I went to another camp a few years later and absolutely loved it. I think it was just that camp I wasn't a big fan of.

But anyway, how random to run into that girl after such a long time. It must have been almost 13 years! And we both recognized each other.  Very strange. 

Ok, I'm off to bed. Sorry I've been a tad negligent lately. I can't even being to tell you how busy I've been....yikes. I should finally have some free time soon, though. Yay!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Whoa. This news makes me feel funny.

This is a short one. It has to be...it's late, I've been out playing pub trivia all night and to be honest, I'm freaking out a little bit. 

Remember that story about my vacation movie moment? The one where Vacay Boy sang me my favorite song in the talent show? Yeah, that one.

Some of you asked what happened to him. I didn't 'fess up to it because it's very anti-climactic. We had our little fling until I left for Ireland at the end of August. We kept in touch until New Year's Eve, when I was between my Irish boy and J. We made plans to get together, but somehow they fell through, I was a little ticked off and that was that. We talked once in awhile after that...but it wasn't the same. I started dating J, he started dating a new girl. End of story. 

And now, literally 3 minutes ago, I logged on to Facebook and saw that he is engaged. ENGAGED. Oh.My.Gosh. My jaw literally just dropped to the floor.

Now I feel all weird. Is it because at one point in time I was so smitten with him? Is it because he's been dating his girlfriend (now fiancee) for a shorter time than I've been dating J? Is it because some part of me is still hanging on to that amazing vacation moment? I guess he's my first "ex" (but I wouldn't recall him that...more like ex-crush) that is engaged? Maybe...

And while I'm really happy for him, I just feel funny. I don't know what it is, but I felt the need to blog about it. It can be so therapeutic sometimes. Yikes.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Chaperoning makes it okay to be a creep

Last night at prom, I felt like I was smack dab in the middle of an MTV show. It was a little bit of Made, a whole lot of High School Stories and definitely a touch of True Life: I Live for Prom. The night was surprisingly drama-free—only one girl cried (boyfriend troubles, naturally), one couple got caught making out in the curtains, and there was an incident when a boy was spending way too much hanging out in the bathroom. Sketchy.

My night started with the following exchange: 

HS Principal: You Catholic, Pam?
Me: Yeah.
HS Principal: Good. You're going to need to go to confession after seeing these kids dance.

And for some odd reason, that got me really excited. Is that wrong? A comment like that meant there would be great stories to tell, and I was not disappointed.

The Attire—I've never seen so much orange in my entire life. Orange dresses, orange skin (Everyone was tan...totally normal for Wisconsin in May. Ha.), orange vests and orange bow-ties. I didn't know tangerine was the color of the season until last night, but now I'm very aware. Throw in all the bright yellow, hot pink, vivid purple and neon blue dresses and you've got yourself a party. I only saw one black dress and 3, yes 3, wedding dresses. A white ball gown? Might as well start playing "Here Comes the Bride". I'd say about 95% of the dresses were exactly like this:
Most of them were more than a little scandalous. Everywhere I looked there was cleavage. Yikes. Very, very different from my own prom experience 6 years ago. We were all about A-line and princess dresses. Luckily, most of the girls could totally pull it off...until they started pulling up the bottoms and tying them up to their thighs with rubber-bands. Oh dear. For a girl who grew up in a very sheltered environment, I felt like I needed to cover my eyes at times. 

The guys seemed to be loving white tuxes, which I found interesting. There must have been at least 30 guys rockin' the all white ensemble, with vests and bow-ties to match their dates' dresses. So the guys were running around in pink, purple, green, orange, yellow and turquoise vests, looking like they came straight from their shifts working at Disney World. I kept trying to find the little Mickey Mouse lanyards around their necks.

The Music—Apparently, it "sucked". Why? I have no clue. I didn't think it was so bad. I was totally grooving to the beat on the "sidelines".  There were a few too many of those "is it a slow dance or fast dance" songs. And at one point they played K-Ci and JoJo's "All My Life" which made me and J laugh out loud. I used to love that song in 7th grade. But it's definitely not cool in 2009. 

At one point one of J's students came over to complain about the music and I tried to help:

HS Girl: Ugh. This music seriously sucks.
Me: Really? Why?
HS Girl: We can't dance to this. It's all jumping. I don't want to jump. I want hip-hop. 
Me: Is there a specific song you would want? Maybe you could request it.
HS Girl: (blank stare) No. This music sucks.
Me: Oh, ok then.

But then again, this very drugged-out kid ran over and starting yelling, "I almost puked 3 times because I was dancing so hard! I love this music!" So apparently at least one kid liked it.

The Dancing—Ohhh my goodness. I didn't realize that being a chaperone required you to literally stand/sit on the side of the dance floor and watch the kids up close. I felt like a super creep as I watched all the guys grind up on the girls. So awkward. When watching it from behind, it seriously looked like the guys are doing a series of very off-rhythm squats. Almost like a drunken ballet dancer doing a plie while trying to cop a feel. The best part was when the kids discovered the mirror behind the djs and started watching themselves dance. J and I couldn't stop laughing.

The kids went nuts when the djs played "Get Buck in Here", apparently a "good" song.  Being the old lady I am, I didn't know it, but it's probably one of the dirtiest songs I've ever heard. So naturally, the kids loved it. I've never seen so many thrusts, hip sways and off-beat hip shakes in my entire life.  

I had a total blast at prom. It was so fun to see everyone all dressed up and so excited. The kids were great. I especially loved when J's students came over to meet me. They all shook my hand and said they'd heard so much about me. A few guys even asked if I was, "the famous Pam". It was so cute. And it was so fun to see J in a school setting with his students, who so clearly look up to him. 

As soon as prom was over and the kids were out of the ballroom (but not even on the buses yet), J, me and few other chaperones went straight to the bars. We proceeded to gush about the night and drink delicious martinis until bar close. It was a total blast. And while we were out, I was determined to run into Jimmy Fallon (love him) who was in Milwaukee last night. But after the most amazing flirtini ever, I forgot all about my mission. Whoops.

Oh and sorry, I didn't take any pictures. I'm pretty sure I would have been arrested if I whipped out my camera to snap a pic. It was creepy enough sitting there close and watching them dance. But I wore the black dress and it worked out perfectly. Thanks again everyone!. Woo. Prom 2009!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Whoever said orange was the new pink was seriously disturbed

I love Legally Blonde. Always have, always will. And while I know it's not quite the deepest of movies, I don't care. It's one of my favorite feel-good things to watch. My Mom and I are always quoting it to each other randomly, like "Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people don't shoot their husbands. They just don't!" and "I'm takin' the dog, dumbass!"

So when I found out a couple years ago that Legally Blonde the Musical was coming out, I was thrilled. Though I never got to see it on Broadway, I was hooked to last summer's MTV Show "The Search for the Next Elle Woods" to replace Laura Bell Bundy. Now that was definitely quality TV. 

And then I learned that they were putting together a national tour and some of my favorites from the show  (Rhiannon and Lauren) were in it. I watched the tour schedule for months, hoping they'd come to Chicago. Good news! They were coming here for 3 1/2 weeks. As soon as dates were announced, I made it my goal to get tickets.

So after months of waiting, Legally Blonde finally set up shop in Chicago and I went to see it last night. I LOVED it. It's pink, sparkly, hilarious, cute, energetic and romantic. What's not to love? And when you throw in the sexy UPS guy and  two adorable dogs, you've got perfection. Plus, some of the lyrics are hysterical, like:

Gay or European?
So stylish and relaxed.
Is he gay or European?
I think his chest is waxed.

Probably one of the funniest songs ever. Plus, there is a whole song about Ireland. I'm really not sure where the heck the Ireland spin came from, but I don't mind. A musical with lots of pink, catchy songs and Irish love? It's my heaven.

Wow. I am such a girl.

But anyway, if you're in Chicago or on one of the tour stops, go see it!  

In other news, prom is tomorrow. I just got a call from J, who is out with his fellow teachers drinking the night away, and he informed me that I get to set up the women's bathroom at the hotel. Translation: I have to arrange a huge box of tampons in a "pretty" way for the girls. A pretty way? Really? I think I love this job already. 

Also, I was recently given a very exciting award from Ali at The Way I See It. Thank you so much! I promise to write more about it and spread the love when I have more than 2 minutes to write. These last couple weeks have been insane!

Ok off to paint my tootsies hot pink. Have a wonderful weekend!

P.S. Any thoughts on the Grey's finale last night? Oh.My.Gosh. I was SHOCKED. I literally sat here with my mouth hanging open for about 5 minutes. So sad.