(The Blog Formerly Known as "Countdown to 30" and "30 is the New Twenty")

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Bye, Bye C-Z Cocktail, Hello Recessionista 4 Life

I have not been happy with this blog for quite a while. This is evident in my lack of posts. I've been thinking about what I am really passionate about and I came to the conclusion that it is fashion and writing. I am leaving the C-Z Cocktail for good, but never fear, I have started a new blog at shellfash.blogspot.com. This new blog is all about fashion and how to make the most out of a limited fashion budget. Don't worry, I'll still have my edge.

Goodbye, "C-Z Cocktail, "30 is the new 20" and "Countdown to 30"

Bad Blogger

I have to admit, I have been a horrible blogger, lately. Not quite sure why. Maybe it's just summer and being busy, but I am going to try to be better about blogging. I really don't have an excuse. I am contemplating taking this blog in a completely different direction. We'll see. I am hoping the change of seasons inspires me. Happy Fall! Break out your sweaters and boots!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Who Knew the Post Office Could be so Fun?

The other day I had to go to the Post Office to mail a package. I made sure to avoid my neighborhood Post Office because it is like going to a zoo. There's always a long line, people in line are crabby, it's understaffed, and the workers move just as slow as they please. And why should they move faster? The Post Office pretty much has a monopoly on mailing things by parcel post. I

n order to keep my sanity, I went to the one in the basement of the John Hancock building. I feel like it's one of the city's best kept secrets; no one knows it's there. Plus, it's close to work. The line was really short: two people in line, two people at the counter. I figured I'd be in and out in five minutes. Think again. Try 25 minutes. The customer at the counter was mailing eight large boxes that he hadn't taken the time to tape up or address prior to going to the post office. The Postal worker didn't care. One by one, the man taped the boxes and addressed them. Each time the Postal worker had to grab him a piece of paper to write the address on. He had to look up addresses and mess with the packaging tape. While he was doing this, a line of ten deep had formed. I have to admit, for the first 30 seconds of this scene, I was mad, but I quickly got over it and found the entire thing hilarious. The people behind me failed to see the humor. While Mr. Unprepared taped up boxes, the other customer had about 15 little packages she had to mail. At this point, the woman behind me yelled, "Can't you have him step to the side and finish that? It's taking forever!"

She read my mind. I don't like to yell those things out, since I have sympathy for anyone working with the public. At work on a daily basis, I have customers telling me to do my job and I hate it.

The Postal worker said, "No, I can't. I've already got him in the system. I can't end it now." The women sighed and muttered, "I didn't know that not wrapping packages was an option. I am going to do that next time. " I am sure she will. I imagined her bringing in a huge shopping bag full of bubble wrap, gift wrap, tape, ribbon, and an extremely breakable gift. She would take up an hours worth of time and think nothing of the line. Sort of like Mr. Unprepared.

After the woman with 15 packages was done, an old women was buying three stamps and checking on a package she mailed in 1984 stepped up to the counter. The clerk was very patient with her and helped her the best she could. The line was not pleased. I, on the other hand, was laughing at how funny this situation was. It was better than watching a sitcom. Finally, it was my turn. I almost didn't want the fun to end. As I was leaving, I heard the Postal worker tell Mr. Unprepared that she was going on a break after she was done with him. How I wished I could've hung around to see the looks on the people's faces as she put up her close sign. I am sure a riot ensued. It would've been priceless.

How Not to Win a Girl Over

Tonight I was waiting at the bus stop after work when an early twenty something couple walked over. I have to admit that I love to ease drop on strangers' conversations. It's my entertainment while I wait for my bus to arrive. From the second the guy opened his mouth, I knew I was in for quite the interesting convo. It was so engaging, I almost wish I had a tape recorder or a notebook to record it. From start to finish, it was pure comic gold. Here are the highlights:

Guy: I've been in that store (Ralph Lauren).
Girl: Oh, really? That's cool.

Seriously, does he think that'll win her over? Last time I checked, RL is a public place and everyone can go in there.

Guy: Yeah, I bought a petticoat.
Girl: Huh? I've never heard of that.
Guy: yeah, It's the guy version of a pea coat.

I am seriously not making this up! I don't think I could. Last time I checked a petticoat is a poofy, hoop skirt worn by women underneath a skirt. This guy is soooo brill!

Girl: Hmmm.... I think it's just called a pea coat.
Guy: No, it's a petticoat. Girl's wear pea coats.

This went on and on for about three minutes. Then, he pulled out the most amazing store to shop at for guys. I was soooo impressed:

Guy: Yeah, for a while I was really torn between RL and Express. But, Express won out. RL is kind of old looking.

This was very appalling to me. Ralph Lauren is timeless. Express is overpriced and trendy.

Guy: Yeah, I have to just wear one label at a time. I don't understand how someone can wear an Aero shirt, AE pants, and an RL jacket. I am wearing an Express shirt, jacket, and jeans.

Really? I don't understand how someone can go into Aero or AE, let alone buy clothes from there. During all this, the girl just giggled. Wow. I had a really hard time not saying something. Oooh! You're such a cool guy for shopping at Express. OMG!

Finally, the girl got a word in:

Girl: Three drinks was perfect for me.
Guy: What?
Girl: Yeah, I'm a light weight. Three drinks and a shot is about all I can handle.
Guy: That's weak. I bet you could drink more.
Girl: No, I don't really like to.

To the girl: wow. I am so impressed that you know your limits. A guy should respect that. To the guy, you are such a dumb ass. Which, he proved by this story:

Guy: Yeah, it was such a totally crazy night. I don't remember what happened. I ended up at my sister sorority's house and it was this girl's 19th birthday. I woke up the next morning in the house and didn't know what happened the night before. It was crazy.

Yes, that's a great way to win over a girl. She really wants to hear about your sorority conquests. The guy continued to dig himself deeper into a hole:

Guy: Yeah, one time my bro got really drunk. He went to take a shower to sober up and twenty minutes later, I went in there and he was sitting Indian style with his head in his lap and the shower going. I knew he was faking it.

Uh.... hello? I'm pretty sure he passed out. And I hate the word "bro."

At this point, the bus showed up and I didn't have to listen to the guy's random monologue of stupidity. Part of me really wanted to intervene and tell the girl that this guy isn't worth it! He's a tool. A dumb frat boy. Not once did he ask the girl a question. It was just this weird conversation (if you could call it that) based on really superficial things. I couldn't understand why this girl wanted to listen to such silly things. If it had been me, I would've been out of there when he thought a petticoat was a pea coat. It boggles my mind. The girl struck me as the free spirited girl. Maybe she was just naive. Whatever the case, I wouldn't have tolerated it. At all. I wanted to shake the girl. She could do so much better than this douche bag frat boy. He's not a great catch. I really wanted to talk to this girl in an aside a la Woody Allen and knock some sense into her. I think back to my early twenties, I really hope I was smarter than this. I think I was. Maybe I'm just too cynical, but why would you want to put up with a guy like that? It's just not worth it.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Wireless and Munchies

I am sitting outside in my backyard enjoying the wonderful weather (it's barely 70) and more importantly enjoying the fact that I am on the Interwebs from my backyard!! Woo-hoo! And I am connected my network. Even better. I had forgotten what it was like to actually use my laptop for it's intended purpose: being mobile. For the past couple of months, I had to keep it connected to the cord 'cause it wasn't wireless. Ok. Enough computer chatter.

Lately, I've been starting to notice that I have horrible eating habits. Ok, maybe not horrible, but they are pretty bad. I don't eat an entire bag of Mc Donald's cheeseburgers (the thought of that is so no appealing) and I rarely eat fast food. What are my downfalls? The vending machine at work and ice cream. The vending machine at work has Munchies and Chilli Cheese Fritos. And they are very reasonably priced at 60 cents. It started as a once a week thing, a treat, if you will, and now I find myself having them a couple of times a week. This is not healthy. I tried bringing a can of nuts for a snack, but there were days where I talked myself into Munchies. For those of you who haven't had Munchies, you should try them. It's a mix of Cheddar Sunchips, Nacho Cheese Doritos, and Rold Gold Pretzels. Yum. But, addicting. Actually, don't try them, or you'll be hooked! I am going cold turkey on the vending machine. I guess cold turkey on all junk food. I also really love potato chips. I don't need to have those with my sandwich. The sammie should be enough.

As for ice cream, I love it. It is my favorite treat ever. I blame my family for this. We always had ice cream in the house and had it several times a week. Lately, I've had too many late night ice cream treats. Actually, I am going to try to not eat after 10 pm. That is another downfall. I work weird hours (which I should be used to by now) and sometimes when I close, I'll come home and eat half the fridge (or I feel like I do). Bottom line is I am 31 years old and cannot eat like I could when I was 25. Back then, I could eat anything and not gain an ounce. Not anymore. I don't need to loose a lot of weight, probably 5-10. But eating better would make me healthier and have more energy. Munchies do not give me energy, they really slow me down.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

When Fate Takes Over My iPod

Today on my bus ride to work, I was listening to my iPod, like I usually do, when fate took over the shuffle. Right in a row I heard "Not Ready to Make Nice" by the Dixie Chicks, "Stronger" by Kanye West. and "Black Swan" by Thom Yorke. To most people, this might just seem like a really eclectic mix of music, but for me these songs were my anthems from last summer. I listened to them constantly. I would sit in my car with the windows rolled down listening to "Black Swan" on repeat. It was pep up song before I went into work. Ok, I know. Thom Yorke as a pep song? It worked for me, though. I was in a really bad place with my job. I felt trapped and these songs brought me comfort. It was odd today how they just popped up in a row on my iPod. I was instantly transported back to last summer and it was like I felt the awful feelings all over again. I felt myself welling with tears, but half way through "Stronger," they stopped. I was feeling really happy. Impressed about where I am a year later. Yeah, I still have bad days, but they are not every day. I don't take my work home with me like I used to back in Minneapolis. Baby steps. It feels good.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

My Battle with Parallel Parking

Parallel parking and I have been enemies for the past fourteen years. We don't generally get along. Parallel parking frustrates me and gives me horrible headaches. I guess I should start at the beginning of our long standing hatred. I was sixteen and my dad was teaching me how to drive (I could write a novel on that experience). I kept asking him when was he going to show how to parallel park and he kept making up excuses. When we finally got around to it, I was not allowed to practice it on an actual street with real cars. My dad was nervous that I would hit another car, so we went over to the high school parking lot. The first time we went, my dad had me envision two imaginary cars parked on either side of the space. This ended in disaster. I ended up in a huge argument with my dad about the imaginary cars that I couldn't see. I couldn't see how this was helpful. Maybe for mimes, but not for me. I needed something real, like actual cars. We tried it again a couple of days later, this time using the light poles in the high school parking lot as the pretend cars. This ended with equally bad results. In driver's ed, I was embarrassed every time we practiced parallel parking because I was the worst at it. I finally persuaded my dad to let me practice with real cars, well sort of. His new version involved my mom driving her car over, too, so we could use her car as an actual car! The other car was two construction cones (to this day, I have no idea where my dad found those). This attempt was better than the others, but would've went more smoothly had my dad not have been so paranoid that I would hit my mom's car. I somehow managed to parallel park well enough to get my driver's license. Or perhaps word had spread that my dad used some ridiculous teaching methods for parallel parking and the DMV took pity on me. Whatever the case, for the next fourteen years, I avoided Parallel Parking at all costs. I spent hours circling neighborhoods looking for a parking spot that didn't require parallel parking. When I did attempt it, I felt foolish and often found myself very angry.

Recently, though, I decided I needed to stop being afraid of parallel parking. It has become a little ridiculous to be driving in circles looking for the perfect parking spot. It's quite silly actually. My new plan is to look for a situation to parallel park, instead of the easy spot. Today I managed to parallel park in a small spot in one try. It can be done. With real cars and no damage to other cars. Maybe parallel parking and I can be friends. Or at least not enemies.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

The Rachel Ray Cooking Debacle of '08: Or How I Learned Not to be a Slave to Recipes

I used to be a big fan of Rachel Ray. Let me emphasize used to be. Not anymore. What I liked about her was how she cooked very simple meals that anyone could make and you could make them in a short amount of time, too. I thought it was cool how she wasn't a professional cook and seemed to have come out of no where to have her own show on the Food Network and her own syndicated talk show. I thought of her as a modern day Martha Stewart. That is, before I attempted one of her recipes. She ain't no Martha.

I was watching her one day on the "Today Show" and she made a baked white pasta dish. It looked so easy and combined some of my favorite foods: spinach, mushrooms, garlic and pasta. I decided that I would cook this amazing dinner. I didn't copy the recipe down while watching, so I stopped by Border's and copied it out of her new cookbook. Yeah, I admit, that's a bit ghetto, but I was not about to spend $30 on her cookbook (at the time I didn't have Internet at home and this seemed like a simpler solution). As I wrote down the recipe, I was a bit puzzled at some of the quantities. Two pounds of spinach? Six cups of Mozzarella cheese? Two cups of Parmesan cheese? It seemed like a lot to me, but I figured she has to know what she is doing. I am a mere novice in the world of cooking.

After a trip to the grocery store and $30 later (What? She said this was a cheap meal!), I was ready to cook. The meal was supposed to only take me 30 minutes to prepare. I spent 30 minutes chopping up spinach and the entire clove of garlic. I actually only used a pound and a half of spinach. The colander was over flowing with spinach. Anymore just seemed like too much. I made the sauce, an easy white sauce, that ended up being a bit on the runny side. I don't know how, I followed her recipe perfectly. I decided to move on to the pasta part. Another 30 minutes passed as I sauteed the garlic, onions and mushrooms and wilted the spinach. Next I broke up the no bake lasagna noodles and threw them into my giant skillet. Another plus of this recipe is you only use one skillet. Amazing. I poured my runny sauce onto the pasta and dumped all of the cheese on top. Something didn't seem right. The ratios seemed way off, but I put the skillet into the oven for another 30 minutes. In the process of taking the skillet out of the oven, I managed to burn my hand badly. My own stupidity, of course. I grabbed the metal handle without a pot holder. Damn you, Rachel Ray! I ran my hand in cold water and cried. I felt like a cooking failure and possibly might have a severe burn, all because of Rachel Ray and her ridiculous recipe.

At this point, I had wasted 90 minutes cooking an "easy" pasta bake. I had feelings of hate building up for Rachel Ray and her perkiness and too tight tops. I was tired and my hand really burned. I felt like one of Oprah's fans who thought that Beloved would be an "easy" read. I was hoping that it would be a wonderful meal. That would be the one saving grace for the meal. It wasn't. Due to the massive quantities of dairy, it was extremely rich. Not in a good way either. With every bite, there was a half a pound of spinach, cheese, and garlic. It was not delish. It was edible and just ok.

All was not lost. I swore to myself that I would never, ever make a Rachel Ray meal again. It was not as simple and fast as she made it seem. I also learned that sometimes you need to go with your gut and not use massive quantities of spinach because the recipe says so. After this incident, I have been very leery of recipes. In fact, I decided to make my own pasta (not using a giant skillet) bake without a recipe. It turned out much better than Rachel's, took a shorter amount of time to prepare, and was a lot cheaper. For the cost of Rachel's pasta bake, I can make three my way. Take that, Thirty Minute Meal Queen!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Summer Vacation Recessionista Style

Next weekend I'm mini road tripping back to Minneapolis for my summer vacay. Exotic, I know. I am really excited. I'm going to see my grandparents for a couple of days and my friend, Christine. I haven't been back to Minnesota in six months. It will be good to see my grandparents. My grandpa recently had a pacemaker put in and is doing pretty good. I am hoping to help them out. If they'll let me. They never do. They are really independent (and in their 80's) and about the only person they let do anything for them is my dad. My dad doesn 't mess around and for some reason, they really listen to him (more than I do). Christine and I are planning on going to one of my favorite places in Minneapolis, Elsie's. They have the best waffle fries ever and bowling. The perfect combo. I am hoping to go to the Unique Thrift store in NE, too. It is my favorite thrift store. They have them in Chicago, too, But, in Minnesota there's no tax on clothes! Woo-hoo. I am really hoping to avoid going to the Mall of America, aka the Black Hole of Death. It sucks the life out of me.

I feel like I am ready for another vacation. I know I just had a mini one for my birthday, but I am having a hard time dealing with tourists from Iowa and whiny children with American Girl dolls at work. I know, I know. I am a seasoned retail veteran and should be immune to stupid customers. Afterall, I worked at the Mall of America for three years of a perpetual white trash fest. My new store is not as bad as MOA, but my sanity is hanging by a string. Hopefully, a long weekend will do the trick.
I am not at the same level of craziness as MOA, and I remind myself of this on a daily basis, Towards the end of my tenure at MOA, I had to sit in my car and listen to music to pump myself up to enter the mall. Thom Yorke's solo album, "The Eraser" was my CD of choice. I would roll down my windows and listen to "Black Swan" on repeat. The stares I got from the tourists, made me chuckle. Most of the people would hurry past and grab childrens' hands. What was the crazy girl doing? Some days not even the music would do the trick, then I resorted to a pep talk a la Stuart Smalley. Other days a coffee from Starbucks helped. I developed an addiction to Chili Cheese Fritos. Looking back on this, it's hilarious, but at the time it was quite painful. I was really angry. I am not even close to that level and wisely schedule more days off more frequently. It keeps my sanity in check. Minnesota, home of Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox, here I come!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The MS Read-a-thon

I have to admit, I picked up a horrible habit in college: speed reading through books. I don't know how to simply read at a leisurely pace. I still whip through books at lightening speed and in the process do not enjoy the book and at times miss important details. It's a habit I am determined to break. Back in college, this was almost a necessity. I took full course loads of 16-18 credits every semester and being an English major meant crazy amounts of reading. It wasn't uncommon for me to read 150 pages a night for one class. I forgot to mention that I am and always will be a big procrastinator. That probably didn't help. After college, I had a hard time reading for enjoyment. It took me about three years to actually read for fun. Then, I started Grad. school and the speed reading started up again. I have a hard time doing book clubs because I slip back into my old mode of speed reading and procrastinating. It's time to break the cycle. No one cares that I can read a three hundred page book in two days. I am not eight years old reading eight books a month for Book-IT (I had to get my cheese personal pan pizza!) I am not participating in a summer reading program where I read 120 books in a summer (true story). I am going to stop this. I'd like to read for fun and take my time. It isn't the MS Read-a-thon. With that in mind, I am starting my own summer book club a la Oprah. First up, A Prayer For Owen Meany by John Irving.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Death Wand

My dad has always been a big supporter of safety. As a kid, my dad had a huge list of items/ activities that might end in loss of limbs or a lawsuit. These included sparklers, home pyrotechnics displays, swimming pools (in his backyard), trampolines, pogo sticks, firearms, skate boards, powder puff football, and pumpkin carving with sharp knives. When I was a teenager, he became obsessed with concert safety and fires. After the Great White fire fiasco, my dad was always asking me about my concert going activities and if I learned where the fire exits were located at the venues. Mosh pits were also a frequent inquiry. He wanted to make sure I wasn't a part of them at shows. He was very concerned with the ventilation systems at venues, as well. His Fourth of July fireworks safety lectures are legendary and can be summed up with "leave the fireworks to the professionals. Don't mess around with that crap!" To this very day, I don't know how to operate a chipper shredder or a snow blower because they are dangerous. I had to wait until I was 12 to learn how to operate the riding lawn mower. That was a huge ordeal with lots of lecturing on safety and using the lawn mower only under his supervision until I was 14.

My dad gave me has trusty Weber grill because "he doesn't want to mess around with that" anymore. There was no fire safety lecture or anything. In fact, he bought me an electric fire starter, so I wouldn't have to use lighter fluid. I thought nothing of the electric fire starter because my dad and my grandpa have used them since the beginning of time. I just assumed they had to be safe, since my dad is Captain Safety. My friend, Steve read the back of the package and discovered that the electric fire starter, aka the Execution Wand or Death Wand heats up to 1000 degrees Fahrenheit! That doesn't sound very safe. I was shocked that my dad would use something like that. On top of it, you can't leave it in the grill for longer than 10 minutes because the Death Wand will melt and might cause an explosion. Yikes! I want nothing to do with it. Where do you put the Execution Wand when you remove it from the grill? On the grass or on the concrete or a plastic patio chair or back in the house? Not to mention we would have to run an extension cord from inside the house to the backyard. I could just see my backyard engulfed in flames or someone (probably me) would trip on the Death Wand and take off a layer of skin or lose a foot. Not a good idea. I think I'll stick with lighter fluid and matches. That is at least self contained and doesn't heat up to hell-like temperatures. The only way I would go near the Execution Wand is with a hazmat suit and four Ove-gloves on my hands. It's just not a good idea. The packaging had a warning to keep it away from children. Only kids? How about everyone?
I think my Dad should have to undergo some safety class after using something as dangerous as the Death Wand. Maybe next year for the 4th of July, I'll buy my dad some fireworks, so he can put on his own display. After all, that can't be as hazardous as the Execution Wand.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Bob and Willie

The Marcus Amphitheater before the show (Taken from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel).

For my dad's Father's Day and Birthday present, I got us tickets to Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson at Summerfest in Milwaukee. What made the concert even cooler was my dad and I saw Bob Dylan ten years ago almost to the date for my 21st birthday. Let me just say, that this concert was even better than ten years ago. Bob still has a good voice, despite what others had told me. I heard his voice was shot, but that wasn't the case this past Wednesday. As for Willie, I really didn't know what to expect. I admit that I am more of a Bob fan than a Willie fan. The concert was absolutely amazing from start to finish. I think it has to be one of the best concerts I've ever been to. How could it not be with two of the biggest musical legends of all time performing?

Willie performed first. I was really shocked that he started promptly at 7:30. He played non-stop for the next hour. His voice still sounds the same and he has an incredible amount for energy for someone in their mid seventies. He played all of his hits: "Mamas, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Cowboys, "Georgia on my Mind," "On the Road Again," "Whiskey River" and "The City of New Orleans." It was classic Willie wearing a bandanna, braid, black t-shirt, and jeans. He is an amazing performer. The musicians he had backing him were awesome, too. I was really impressed with how laid-back and himself Willie was. He really looked like he was having a good time.

Bob took to the stage with a dramatic entrance: a black stage and an announcer announcing him and all of his reinventions from over the years. He also had a black backdrop the projected black and white images throughout the show. This is not the Bob Dylan I remember from ten years ago. Ten years ago, it was very simplistic: Bob, his guitar, harmonica, and a stool. This time Bob really kicked it up a notch, it was two hours of rock and roll Bob. He only played the guitar for two songs (and it was an electric guitar) and the majority of the time he played the keyboard (yes, keyboard. I didn't know he even played the keyboard). Of course, he also played the harmonica. He had two guitar players , a bass player, and a drummer backing him. He did a good mix of his old songs with his new. Highlights included: " Like a Rolling Stone, "It Ain't Me Babe,"I'll Be Your Baby Tonight," Desolation Row," "Stuck in Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again," "Hwy. 61 Revisited," and the very last song of the encore was my absolute favorite Bob Dylan song: "ALL ALONG THE WATCHTOWER!" I just about crapped in my pants. It was the best version I have ever heard, too. Despite the rock and roll sound, it was still classic Bob Dylan. He wore a black suit with a black shirt and grey piping down the side of the pants, and a black cowboy hat; he had limited interactions with the audience.

I felt super young at this concert. I would say the average age of the concert goers was 55, but there was also a lot of twenty to thirty somethings and families with young kids. It is great how Bob and Willie really transcend generations and appeal to people from six to seventy.

My dad really had a great time. He actually enjoyed Willie more than Bob. My dad is sort of a Bob Dylan purist and likes it better when it's just Bob, his guitar, his harmonica, and a stool. Although, he did enjoy the Everly Brothers style of 50's rock.

All in all, an AMAZING show. If you ever have the opportunity to see either one of these legends, you should go. They will not disappoint.

I feel fortunate that I've had the opportunity to see one my favorite musicians of all time, Bob Dylan twice. I have so much more respect for Willie Nelson after seeing him. He is an amazing musician and person. And Bob, is always Bob. Both of these musicians have been able to stay true to themselves and not sell out. They are huge Icons in the music industry. It takes a lot to impress me ( I am a bit of a music snob), and Bob and Willie left me in awe. They are truly national treasures.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Happy-Go-Lucky? Not So Much

Yesterday I finally got around to watching "Happy-Go--Lucky." I have to admit I was really excited to watch this movie. All of the reviews I read made it seem like such a fun, light-hearted movie. I felt like I could relate to the main character, Poppy, because she's 30 years old and a teacher. I was very disappointed. The movie had the weakest plot I've ever seen. Essentially, Poppy has her bike stolen and has to take driving lessons. On paper that sounds good, but it didn't translate well onto the screen.. In between scenes of her driving lessons (which are funny), are these rambley scenes of Poppy partying with friends, teaching, taking flamenco dancing lessons with a friend and meandering her way around London. I guess there was the sub-plot of her dealing with a student who is a bully. Even that didn't really add much. Then, there was the third act addition of love-interest. That didn't save the movie. The movie left me wanting the two hours back I spent watching it. I kept waiting for some huge plot development, but sadly, it never happened.

"Happy Go Lucky" really disappointed me. I had heard such good things about and it was nominated for so many awards. Sally Hawkins won a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Comedy or Musical. Maybe it was just me. Maybe I just had too high of expectations going into watching it. I just don't understand all the hype.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Week in Review

Last Sunday I spent Father's Day with my relatives on my Aunt and Uncle's boat. Despite the overcast day, we had a good time on Lake Michigan. I haven't been able to do this in years. It's always been a tradition for my family to spend Father's Day on the boat. I had a really good time and for the first time in my life I actually enjoyed the boat ride. Normally, half of the boat ride is spent trying to fight nausea. Not anymore. I think at the age of thirty, I've finally kicked motion sickness! As a child I'd have to take Dramamine before going on the boat. On several occasions it was so bad, I had to lay down on the floor of the boat. I don't miss those days.
Later in the week, I braved the DMV. I needed to get Illinois license plates because my Minnesota ones expire at the end of the month. I put this off for quite a while because I'd heard horror stories about the Chicago DMV: Long lines, mean employees, and lots of frustration. I felt none of this. Yeah, there was a short line, but moved very quickly. The DMV employees were well organized and move people to the correct line quickly. I was in and out in 25 minutes. A record for any DMV I've ever been in. I was shocked! And very impressed. I had myself braced for three hours of waiting and DMV rage. Not the case.
All in all, a pretty good week.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

My Creative Zone

I've been lacking a creative zone, so to speak. I didn't have a space to write, plan ideas, and read. It was really starting to affect my creativity. I've always been sort of random with my writing, but the older I get the more I see that I need to have a separate area to do nothing but write. I just can't haul ass to my local coffee shop and expect magic to happen, nor expect inspiration to hit me in the shower. Seriously, who was I kidding? With the prodding from my friend Steve, I created the perfect creative zone in my kitchen. As you can see, there's tons of room for spreading out papers or putting ideas on the wall above the table. For inspiration, I have my all-time favorite memoirs:

  • Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris

  • Candy Girl by Diablo Cody

  • Bitter is the New Black by Jen Lancaster

  • I Was Told There'd Be Cake by Sloane Crosley

I also have tons of paper, pens, and markers. Plus, the bible of creativity, The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron. If you've lost your creative spirit, this is the book to get you back on track. It is amazing. I am all set. C'mon creativity, hit me! I feel much better already.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Too Much Time on the Internet

I have to admit that not having the Internet at home for almost nine months has turned me into a bit of an Internet junkie. A good chunk of my time is spent on the web, catching up on what I've missed. Last night I think I reached a new a low for spending too much time on the web: I found a job for my roommate's cat (that's Cleo in the above picture) doing modeling. Yes, that's how you know you've been online for waaaay too long. For about ten minutes, I really got into it. She could make between $50-$125 doing print ads or entertainment. What did I fail to take into consideration? Well, Cleo is ten years old, super sassy, fat, and doesn't really play well with others. My roommate quickly brought me back to reality. Yeah, I had been spending too much time on the Internet when turn to finding employment for a geriatric cat.

Friday, June 12, 2009


Recently I've noticed that I've turned in a klutz. My body has become my enemy. I trip over everything and I drop things. I feel like a teenager who has just experienced a growth spurt and doesn't know how to work their limbs. I don't recall being like this as a kid. I've always been told I'm well-coordinated. I played sports and never looked like Gumby. It's strange. I started to notice my new found klutziness while trying to be quiet when my roommate is sleeping. I either drop something, trip, or just generally make more noise than if I just did something normal. The pinnacle of my klutziness happened this past weekend. I managed to trip in the middle of a crosswalk. Let's start at the beginning. My friend sprinted across the street to catch the bus, I started running after him. I was wearing slip on Keds. I must always be fashionable. My shoe flew off my foot and I tripped on the shoe and fell down on the street. In front of an audience. A girl ran over and helped me up. I hobbled across the street to meet up with my friend. I managed to scrape up my knee, bruise my leg, rip a hole in my jeans, and scrape up my elbow. Ok, so maybe I was a little intoxicated, but still. I am a total Klutz. I'm learning to embrace my klutziness. It's the only thing I can do.

Sunday, June 7, 2009


I have a confession: I am secretly a summer hater. I know, I know. It's so wrong. How could I hate summer? It's an adult thing. As a child, I couldn't get enough of summer. I spent most of my summers outside in my backyard getting into trouble. Well, I don't like hot weather and I hate sweating. I really don't enjoy wearing shorts, either. Living in Minneapolis, I could work around not liking summer by staying indoors and driving every where. I really can't do that here in Chicago. My roommate (also a fellow summer hater) and I have decided that we're going to embrace summer and actually enjoy summer. We call it, NSL, or New Summer Life. It's working, too. I know it's not technically summer, but on warmer days, I find myself wanting to spend time outside. For the first time in ten years, I'm going to ride my bike. I'm working on my summer wardrobe, too. In the past, I've gotten by with tee shirts, crazily cuffed jeans, and a scarf. No more. If It's above 75 degrees, I will not be wearing a scarf. Comfort before fashion, which is a novel concept for me. I also bought a new swimsuit, one that I actually like. I have no excuse to not go to the beach.

NSL, here I come!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

I'm Back!

After seven months without blogging, I am back. I finally have internet at home, so expect more updates. I promise.