Saturday, March 29, 2008

Reader Matches Personals Rant

I'm sitting at the computer minding my own business this afternoon reading the Chicago Reader online. Suddenly I realize that the face enticing me to "Meet Me" through the Chicago Reader Matches (i.e. online personals) pop up ad on the right margin is someone I actually know.

So, I click on the ad which takes me to a profile for "Shaza"--not her real name, but clearly her Reader Match nom de jour. I read how she's "divorced" which is really Reader Match speak for "still married but my husband, the loser "artist" who owes everyone money, has skipped the country leaving me to care for our child while he's apparently taken up with some female squatter in London."

I won't bore you with all the sordid details of her online dating profile, but it does go on to say how "Shaza" is looking for friends with benefits, enjoys sex, plays the base and is a drug user ("depending on which kind"). How bohemian of her!

Honestly, I'm not sure why I should even care about any of this or why I find myself so annoyed by it. I think it's because I have known this person since she was a new and newly married young mom of twenty. She and her husband the artist were friends of ours who both, in the long run, proved to be much better at the taking rather than giving part of the the friendship equation.

We've helped them out a LOT over the years including lending them several hundred dollars to keep their electricity on one winter. It's money that we will most assuredly never see again. But, it seems that they are both so busy with their lives (scouting out dates online and all that), that we seldom hear from them unless they need something.

I hit my limit with "Shaza" last summer when she and the artist finally separated and Craze and I helped her move. We, like the idiots we are, were the ONLY people to show up to her filthy disaster of an apartment where she hadn't really even packed anything prior to our arrival. We filled our cars with furniture and clothes and other assorted dirty crap and drove it to her new place, charmingly, a third-floor walk up. Poor Craze bore the brunt of carrying everything up those hot, un-air conditioned stairs. We worked for hours that night in that hot, airless apartment. Our reward? We've basically hardly heard from "Shaza" since then.

I get that when people are young that they are foolish and often selfish. What I find irritating is knowing people for eight years during which time that foolish, selfish behavior doesn't change--even when there's a kid involved. A kid who deserves stability and two parents who are less lazy (i.e actually try to get and hold down jobs like the rest of us) and self-involved.

And I think that's why their lives irritate me so much. I keep thinking of their little girl who I've known since she was just a few weeks old. I am sorry her parents can't be more responsible. I'm sorry that that child has to be raised by people who often seem equally childish.

Well, I hope "Shaza" finds a nice new friend online. The next time she needs a moving crew, she can call them for help.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

I'm Not the Tax Man. . .But That Guy Is

Have put it off as long as I can but today I have to do it. Get all the tax stuff together for my appointment with the tax man tomorrow, that is. Oh, how I hate trawling through a year's worth of invoices, bills, paperwork, blah, blah, blah.

Calculator, here I come. . . Is there no other means of escape??? Help!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

No Further Ass Washing Required

Easter was fun. Chocolate bunnies, Bellinis and all that.

My friend Ellen and her daughters came including the youngest who's going through the "I must poke you endlessly" and "Say the opposite of everything I mean" stage. Cute at first, but four hours later I tired of being poked and having to be so contrary every time I said something. Oh yeah, and did I mention the child is a dog chaser?

The Bug does not like kids one little bit and especially does not enjoy being chased by them. The poor dog was so terrified by the poking, backwards-talking chaser that she trembled in the kitchen corner for an hour and had diarrhea. After noticing a really unpleasant smell emanating from the dog's safety zone, Craze and I had to take her outside in the middle of our gathering to wash down her furry behind. Lovely.

Happy Easter every one!

I (and the Bug) breathed a BIG sigh of relief when our guests finally went home, leaving us to a quiet afternoon/evening of lazing on the couch and TV viewing. And, thankfully, no further ass washing was required.

Friday, March 21, 2008

The Last Easter Basket

Brunch is back on. My friend Ellen and her three kids are coming--maybe one or two other straggling friends. We talked about hitting an Easter buffet but the prices here in Chicago are kooky--anywhere from $50-$100 per person. With three teen/pre-teen kids, that's a no go for Ellen. And Craze and I don't feel like blowing a couple hundred on breakfast either.

So as usual, because I am a total goof, I volunteered to host. Back on is the egg casserole and Bellinis, though I think I'm gonna pass on the drive to Skokie for lox and bagels.

The second day of spring has brought with it more snow. Not a ton, but enough to cover the ground in a blanket of white. I usually love snow, but with almost five feet of the stuff having fallen already this winter, I'm a little over it. Yesterday, I saw my daffodils and tulips beginning to peak through the soil and I was all like "Hello, little flowers! Please, come join us."

I woke up this morning thinking about Easter baskets. I got my last one when I was twenty. April 1985. My mom had encouraged me to try and find a way home for Easter from college. But, unbeknownst to her, I was in the middle of a torrid affair with a boyfriend who was going overseas in the middle of May. Leaving me for months and, I suspected and rightly so, maybe for good. And I couldn't bear to lose a moment of being with him. Not a weekend. Not a day. Not an hour.

So, I decided not to go home. And then a couple of days before Easter, I got a note in my college mailbox saying that I had a package. My lovely mother had made me a giant Easter basket topped with a big pink satiny ribbon and filled with curly green Easter grass and brimming with colorful, foil-wrapped chocolate eggs, jelly beans, speckled malted milk balls and a smiling pink chocolate bunny. And not that nasty, cheap candy. Nothing but the good stuff, carefully measured by hand and bought by the quarter and half pound from Kirlin's Card and Candy Shop on the little Main Street of my hometown.

My friends, especially my gluttonous boyfriend, eyed the basket with envy as it sat on the desk in my dorm room in the days before Easter. More than once, I slapped away a sneaky hand trying to steal its tasty contents before Easter morn.

Finally on Easter, I took off the cellophane wrapping and shared the bounty of my Easter basket with Lee and my girlfriends who were going nowhere for Easter and didn't have a mother as thoughtful as mine.

A week later, most of the candy was gone. The bunny long devoured. And my precious days with Lee were also slipping away faster and faster.

A month after that Easter, it was time to say goodbye. To Lee. But also to someone I didn't think could ever leave me.

May 16th, Lee and I said our goodbyes on the blacktop of a sunny campus parking lot. Later that afternoon, my parents came to campus, helped me load my belongings into the mellow yellow family car and drove me home to Illinois. I cried quietly in the backseat for the whole three-hour drive.

In the days that followed, Lee called me often. Telling me how much he missed me. But we never made plans. He always actively avoided talk of a future. At least, a future together.

May 19th, I woke with a start hearing my mother in the hallway, gasping loudly for breath. She collapsed and just three hours later, she was gone forever.

Only a few days later, just a day or two after the funeral, Lee left for an internship in Germany. I got a couple of postcards that summer and finally a letter informing me of a fate I'd suspected all along. He was leaving me for an old girlfriend who lived in Europe. And I was left alone in Illinois to mourn for my mother and my lost love. At the time, it seemed impossible to separate the pain of the two losses. They became one. One giant, gaping hole in my heart. The loss of one who was dead and one still living, still breathing, but gone all the same.

If I had that one Easter to do all over again, I'm not sure that I would do anything different. Given my frame of reference and self-confidence at twenty, I'd probably do exactly what I did. But if I had the luxury of knowing then what I know now, the course of my life might have been very different. Getting that Easter basket in person, might have changed everything. Or perhaps nothing.

There's no way to know really. But given the choice between another day with Lee or an Easter or any ordinary day with my long-gone mother, there's no doubt in my mind who I'd choose today. And I'd be the one making the Easter basket. The grandest, most beautiful Easter basket anyone has ever seen. Perfect for the deserving woman who always gave me so much.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

PJ's Pertetuate the Doldrums

One hour later. . .showered, attired in "real" clothes, tarted up. Professor Craze always says that you feel better once you ditch the pajamas and get dressed. I think he's probably right. Lazing around in the PJ's seems to simply perpetuate the doldrums.

Did anyone say late lunch? Oh and I guess I'll tackle a few things on my to-do list. . .before I get too tired!


Since the demise of my every-hour-consuming, 6-week Secret Project and non-pregnancy, I can't seem to get with the program.

Easter Brunch is a bust. My brother and family are too busy to come, so forget it.

I went to see my old dementia-addled dad the other day only to find out that his 93-year-old room-mate Saul is now deceased. He was a cranky old guy but, unlike my dad, had it all going on in the brain box. I liked chatting with him whenever I stopped by to take Dad out for lunch. His sudden departure bummed me out. Of course, luckily for Dad, he doesn't even remember that he had a room-mate, so Saul is not missed. There's no lingering sadness there.

It's 1:20pm and I'm still in my PJ's. Feeling lazy and blase. There's laundry to do, errands to run, groceries to buy, dinner to figure out and a Bug to be walked out in the sunshine. Oh yeah. I also need to clean up my office, sort out all our tax paperwork, the kitchen could use a good Spring clean, blah, blah, blah. So MUCH to be done if you really think about it. I have the luxury of time on hands but it all seems so tiresome.

Can't I just take a nap. . .again? Or maybe muster up the energy to take a shower and put on some real clothes?

What the fuck is wrong with me?

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Easter Indulgences

Easter is fast approaching and I've taken a mad fit in my head to do something a little Eastery. Brunch that is. . .Easter Brunch. Let's just see if I can actually get some people to show up.

While it's a strictly Christian celebration ("He is Risen" and all that), I'm thinking about getting yummy lox and bagels from one of those great Jewish delis in Skokie, plus make an egg casserole, fruit salad, freshly-baked cinnamon rolls or coffee cake. Oh yeah, and Bellinis. I love a good Bellini. It's making me hungry just thinking about it.

Which of course is not good for my diet. I lost no weight this past week, but thankfully didn't gain any either. My possibly-pregnant-but-not nausea combined with pre-period hormonal cravings had me eating some un-point friendly offerings last week. I went a little crazy with the cream cheese and freshly baked whole grain bread if the truth be told. Crazy.

Now though, it's back on the wagon. Counting points and dreaming of Easter morning indulgences. Just keep those damned but so, so delicious Cadbury mini eggs away from me. They are like kryptonite to my super dieting self. I curse you Cadbury.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Not Preggers

After experiencing a whole host of delightful pregnancy symptoms over the past week, it turns out that I am actually not pregnant at all. Huh!

My body is beginning to annoy me with its inconsistent weirdness. Think I'll go take a non-pregnancy fatigue nap. My brain is tired from thinking about all this crap.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Saltines and Ginger Ale

Free Day!

Secret Project finally complete: check!

Time is my own again (no calls to wait for, email to check, nothing to write or review or blah, blah, blah): check!

Sun is shining and I'm going out to shop: double check!

I'm so excited about having some time to myself, I hardly know what to do first (napping is the first thing that comes to mind, but not gonna happen 'til later). I think I'm going to head to Target for odds and ends and then onto TJ Maxx to see if they have a lovely purse for spring that I really don't need. I'm jones-ing for a new purse.

Could the afore-mentioned jones-ing be the reason for my persistent queasiness today? I'm either pregnant or about to have a visit from my aunt (as some say, but I've always found annoying). Time will tell. . . saltines and ginger ale anyone?

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

At the Start of Something Great

I am proud to say that even with all my overwork, "Secret Project" lunacy of the past weeks that I have still managed to stick to my new diet regime. I'm down another 1.5 lbs this week for a total of 14 lbs in the past nine weeks. I realized today, that's like losing one of those plastic containers of kitty litter that always seem so heavy. Wow! I have to say, I do feel lighter and better. My clothes are looser, my joints don't hurt like they did and I just feel more awake when I get up in the morning, more energetic.

I am really pleased with my accomplishments and feel like I'm on a great path.

Other than that, I'm pretty much hanging out this morning to see if I have any last minute assignments from the afore-mentioned "Secret Project" which is finally winding down. Hurray!

As I've said before, I have LOVED making the money on this thing even if the work has been a little overwhelming at times and the subject somewhat dull. It's been good just to have a place to go on some days that wasn't my own home and interact with smart people on a daily basis (versus spending most of my day chatting to the Bug, Grey and the Alley Cat). They are loyal business supporters and good listeners, but have little to offer when it comes to real input (unless the Bug's daily barking rant at the mailman counts).

I'm excited that Spring is on its way and that the sun is shining today. With the end of this big work project, I feel like I'm at the beginning of something great again. Stay tuned and we'll see what it is!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Worn Down and It's Only Monday

Up again working until 2:30 am this morning and then back downtown to client's office 7.5 hours later. I clocked just under 65 hours of work last week.

I know I'm being really boring and repetitive about my stupid "Secret Project." BUT I AM TIRED!

Only one more day to go and it probably won't take the whole day. Maybe a couple of hours on Wednesday morning at the worst. I'm actually hoping to get a full night's sleep tonight. What a treat.

No work this evening though. Going to book club. It's all about the Oprah Webcast for her new book club selection, "A New Earth." Very enlightening. In fact, I could use some enlightening right about now. And a BIG nap! Maybe even a BIG drink.

Highlight of the weekend (the only time I wasn't working or getting limited sleep), Craze and I went to the trendy sushi spot Bob San. It was pretty good, but not as good as I remember. That said, I'm thankful to say that there were no digestive side effects from consumption. Bad sushi on a train! Bad! Sushi on a regular plate delivered by waitress, good.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Work, Work and More Work

Secret project is doing me in! Work, work and more work. Yikes--I'm knackered. I've worked close to 60 hours this week including yesterday and today. Thank god it's almost over--just a couple more days and I am DONE!

I've only had a couple of weeks that have been off-the-charts busy (the past week being the worst thus far), so it hasn't all been terrible. And I sure have enjoyed my big fat checks that have been arriving with unfamiliar regularity in my mailbox.

For that, I am really thankful. It's nice not to be broke for a change!

As soon as the secret project is complete (maybe Wednesday afternoon or sooner possibly), I'm sleeping in, ignoring my email for a couple of days and cashing in a gift certificate I got and getting a facial (and, hell, maybe even a massage!). I plan to be a lady of leisure for a good week. . .

Unless of course another job comes along. Gotta make hay while the sun shines. Damn it, I'm still getting that facial though!

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Double Yum Not Such Fun

Ok, my title is not entirely true. The experience was fun. The aftermath, not so much.

After driving out to Arlington Heights to our strip-mall destination, Sushi Station, we dove into the conveyor-belt-coming, sushi-grabbing, yum-yumminess of it all with reckless abandon. Unfortunately, several things we wanted to eat never came around on the belt and when we asked the somewhat surly Japanese waitress if we could just order them, she told us to wait for them to come around on the belt. Huh?

Finally, we gave up hope on the shrimp tempura and futo maki rolls steaming their way towards us while we indulged instead in Boston, San Diego, California, Texas and other geographically anointed rolls.

I even broke a cardinal rule of the belt by taking something off and then hurriedly putting it right back on. Here's a tip: unless they explicitly tell you it's chicken tempura don't be surprised when it turns out to be jellied squid salad. YUCK!

Craze was engrossed in the conversation to our right between a couple of 16-year-olds on a date. The girl was blond and lovely, with exaggerated Amy Winehouse maquiage. Her dinner companion was a gangly and somewhat dorky looking guy (bless him). Between the two of them, they discussed the merits of early versus later episodes of Rugrats and their hopes for the future. He wants to be a stand-up comedian. Ms. Winehouse's alter ego said that she may pursue psychology at college or just go to cosmetology school.

They were quite a hoot as they tried to make the best of the evening before their stated 11pm curfew. Sadly, then they left and soon, too, did we.

Since Craze had indulged in a really big bottle of Japanese beer, I took the wheel headed back to Chi-town. It was not long after hitting the highway, that I realized that something wasn't quite right in the stomach department. Needless to say, pulling up to the garage finally nearing home, I jumped out of the car, left Craze to park it and made a run for the house. I'll spare you the gory details only to say that much quality time was spent in our downstairs WC and I've been downing Pepto Bismal tablets ever since. And damn, people, I didn't even eat the jellied squid salad!

Something was clearly awry with our meal selections. As a result, my opinion of sushi on a train may have been derailed I fear. . . at least for the time being.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Double Yum!

Last night Craze, our friend Thea and I went to a dance performance. Dance is not something that usually falls into our set of entertainment considerations, all a little too high-faluting and la-dee-da. But, we went because Thea's client's mom is the head of the dance company and scored us free tickets.

Aside from it being a rather lengthy endeavour (nine separate performances over a two-hour span), it was pretty entertaining. It's not something I would seek out, but I really enjoyed it (even if they could have shortened it up a bit). And I was totally envious of the buff dancers bods. Wow--lithe and muscly at the same time.

By the time we exited the Athenaeum Theater, it was 10:05 pm and we were all starving. Much discussion took place about the eating options at that late hour. Thai, sushi, Ethiopian, Colombian, Vietnamese, middle-eastern. . .aye yaye yaye. Finally, we decided to try one of our fave Lebanese places that we hoped would be open. Thankfully, they didn't close until 11 pm, so we enjoyed a delicious assortment of chicken soltani, tabouli, hummus, falafel, kibbie, pita and on and on. We ate a LOT, but it was so good.

Other than that, we've spent a lot of time in the past week (and again this morning because of the results of the ritual morning thermometer reading) trying to impregnate me. Time will tell if it's working this month. I'm hopeful. At 43, I finally feel that being a parent would be a great thing and something I would not only enjoy but I feel I now have the insight to actually be a pretty great parent. Fingers crossed.

Tonight it's off to Sushi Station, this cool sushi place out in the northern burbs where the sushi comes around on sort of a train track and you grab what you want off the conveyor belt. There's nothing I like better than the thrill of scoping out your favorite maki roll as it hurtles towards you and scooping it up before someone else does. The thrill of victory combined with a culinary delight. Double yum!