October 16, 2006

Watch Out Jessica Alba

Today I learned that my face is an oval/oblong shape. I always thought it was round. Looking at pictures of me sometimes, all I can see is my big round face staring back at me. However, little did I know it was more of an oblong face staring back at me all these years.

There is a reason this information became important to me today. I’m thinking of cutting my hair and decided to do some Internet surfing for a style that might suit me. It was not until I ran across and article titled “Is Your Hair Making You Look Fat?” that I decided to do a little digging. According to the article, if your hair style is uncomplimentary to the shape of your face, it can give the appearance of added weight. And here I thought horizontal stripes were my enemy.

I found this Web site that tells you how to measure your face to determine its shape. I got out my measuring tape expecting to find that my face was round - that is having roughly the same length as width. I was a little surprised to find my face was about 7 inches long by 4 3/4 inches wide. AKA, not round.

Consulting the page, I found that an oval face is roughly 1.5 times as long as it is wide. I did the math and figured I’m actually more of an oval shape. Of course the description of an oblong face is that it is longer than it is wide, so I guess I’m both. I have an oblongy-oval face.

Reading on I found this about my face shape:

“This is the most versatile face. You can pull off almost any look -- short, long, straight or wavy. No matter the length of your cut, you'll look best with layers near your cheekbones, lips or chin -- basically whatever feature you want to highlight. Celebs who share your face shape: Think Kate Hudson, Jessica Alba, Jada Pinkett Smith.”

This was good news. I have a face shape that should work with almost any haircut. The bad news, however, was that I spent about 30 minutes determining it didn’t matter what kind of haircut I got, but being no closer to deciding what to do with my hair.

October 15, 2006

Bringing Sexy Back

I did something this weekend I’ve never done before. I caressed my own butt in a public setting. But before you go thinking I’m turning into some sort of pervert, let me explain. I wasn’t doing it alone. In fact, I was with a group of about 20 other women. And we were being instructed to as a way to better get into our routine for cardio striptease. That’s right, Teri Hatcher is a fan of cardio striptease, and now, so am I.

I had heard of cardio strip tease long before I attended my first class on Saturday. I’m pretty sure it was all the rage in New York and LA about a year ago. Well it has trickled to the Midwest and now gyms and dance studios across Chicago teach cardio striptease.

The idea of going was brought up a few weeks ago on one of my girls’ nights out, and I thought it was a fantastic idea. I figured even if the class was not that aerobic, I’d get a good laugh at my friends and me strutting our stuff like the pros. Well this past week, one of my co-workers mentioned she signed up for the class and convinced another co-worker and me to join her Saturday. Although, I admit it was not very hard to convince me to go.

I have found most women’s general reaction to strip teasing classes is first mild shock followed immediately by curiosity. This type of class plays on a woman’s desire to be seen in a different light - one we all want to be seen in from time to time. As women, we want it all. We want to be masters in the boardroom as well as the bedroom. It is the struggle we all have with the Madonna/whore complex. As much as men want us to be able to fulfill both rolls, we want to be able to do it. Ludacris said it best in one of the most popular hits of 2004: “I want a lady in the street, but a freak in the bed!”

While in the boardroom, women can exert power to equalize ourselves with our male counterparts, the bedroom holds an entirely different appeal. The bedroom is a place where we can hold all the power. By the bevy of advertisements that feature half- to more-than-half naked women for seemingly no reason, it is overly apparent that when it comes to sexuality, women have the upper hand - one that it seems men are content to let us hold for quite some time. So while in the boardroom, we can be equals by way of hard work and determination, in the bedroom we’re in control with seemingly no effort whatsoever. Hence, the appeal of cardio striptease - it allows for women of any walk of life to indulge in their whore side while doing the respectable Madonna-like thing of taking a class.

And let me tell you, women do go.

When I stepped into the class with my coworker, we firmly planted ourselves in the back row amidst the room of twenty or so women. Our instructor arrived shortly thereafter - a blond twenty-something with heavy eyeliner and a saucy saunter. If anyone was going to teach a room of women clad in tennis shoes and t-shirts how to move like strippers, it was her.

She put on the music and our ears were flooded with thumping beats I’m more accustomed to hearing later in the day than noon on a Saturday. We began with some warm-up moves, which had this not been cardio striptease I am certain would have had a little less hip gyration. Once we warmed up though, the moves turned into a series of arm exercises, sit-ups and butt crunches. It now has me understanding why it is strippers are in such good shape. It lasted longer than I thought it would, and I had to pause a few times to rest my aching muscles. And today our warm-up has me looking more like 80-year-old lady than a stripper. I’ve said “O wow o wow ow” every time I’ve stood up and then proceeded to shuffle across the room like I needed a walker.

When we ended strength training, we began the dancing part of the class. The instructor slowly walked us through an 8-count routine. It wasn’t a terribly hard routine and didn’t really feel all that stripper-ish. It’s a routine that could have been a part of any hip-hop class, it’s just that we were instructed to bite our fingers playfully, toss our hair and rub our butts periodically. My co-worker and I giggled a lot at first.

Once we gone through our routine a few times without music, our instructor cranked up some bass-filled tunes again. She played about five songs, each a little faster than the last. As each song played, I got the hang of our routine a little better. I love dancing, but I’m used to more of a free-form manner. Having to keep time and remember steps is a little more challenging for me. By the last song though, I resolved myself to stop watching the instructor and just to do the steps. It worked and by the last time around, I felt like I finally got it - ass rubbing and all.

There certainly was something freeing about getting so in tune with my feminine wiles - even if it was only for about 30 minutes. When the class ended, I looked at myself in the mirror. I was drenched in sweat and laughing. (Note - this is far different than I feel after most other workouts.) I can honestly say it was one of the best workouts I’ve had in a while. I also honestly can say, I will go back.

Lesson learned: You can bring “Sexy Back” at noon on a Saturday.

October 8, 2006

F*cking Cabbies

My general mode of transportation is the public route. Most often you’ll find me waiting at a bus stop, riding the L or walking before you’ll catch me hailing a cab. I have friends who are cab people. They more often than not will forsake a two block walk for a two second cab ride. I am certainly not one of them. I do, however, have a rule that I stay off public transportation after 10 p.m. I stick to this rule especially on weekends where I may find myself heading home past midnight. It’s these times where I take cabs because it is so much safer than public transit. Usually, that is.

I found myself on Saturday night heading home at 1 a.m. after movies at the Brew and View followed by drinks. It was late when I parted ways with my friends, so I hopped in the first cab I saw and told the man where to go.

Usually, I sit back in the cab and enjoy the ride home in silence. I figure that cabbies have hauled around a ton of people already and who am I to think they care about the mundane details of my day. But occasionally I get chatty cabbies, and I will participate in the banter. Sometimes it leads to humorous conversations - my favorite being a marriage proposal by one cabbie. I was wearing a cowgirl outfit at the time and, yes, it was Halloween. And yes, I think my outfit may have had something to do with the proposal.

I sank into the back of the cab, and my cabbie asked how my night was. I replied good, but that I was glad to be heading home. It didn’t appear he was going to make an effort to continue the conversation, so I zoned out.

A few seconds later though, I noticed he was still talking and in somewhat of a hostile voice. I tuned back in to try and clue myself into what part of the conversation I missed. Unfortunately, his accent was a bit thick and the only word I could clearly make out was “f*cking,” which he used repeatedly. I also then noticed this cab was racing down the street, and the faster the cab went the faster he talked and the more times he said “f*cking.”

I’m not going to lie. I was a little scared.

I was able to piece together amidst his profanities that he had been recently pulled over by the cops and, I assume, harassed for a bit. I sat forward trying to act as if I were at rapt attention and sympathetic to his situation. In reality, I kept my eyes toward the road, keeping watch for unsuspecting pedestrians in his path.

“The f*cking cops had me get out of my car…. and they f*ucking… for a while… f*cking cops… do I look like I f*cking… gave me a f*cking ticket… so that’s why now I gotta to make a full stop because otherwise those f*cking cops are gonna pull me over again… you know I can’t just f*cking stop like this… I got to f*cking make a full stop.”

It was that last part I remember because in order to show me how he was no longer allowed to stop, he slammed on his brakes, and I flew into the glass partition.

He was speeding down Broadway, at am I guessing at least 10 miles above the speed limit, when I praised God that we were finally approaching my street. Afraid in his blinding rage he would miss my street, I raised my voice in the middle of his rant that my street was next, on the left.

“Oh, I know sweetie. I’ve been driving f*cking cabs for 15 years now. I know where your street is.”

We finally got in front of my building. I told him to stop there and my ride of terror came to a screeching halt. I leafed through my wallet searching for another dollar. I was a little short. I had enough for the ride, but not a tip. Normally, I would just ask the cabbie to run my card (because most cabs take debit/credit cards now), but I wanted to get out of there. I apologized and told him I thought I had another dollar and began rounding up my change.

“Don’t worry about it sweetie. It’s ok. Don’t worry. You just have a good night.”

I said thanks give him my $5 bill and some change, wished him the best of luck and scrambled out of the car.

Standing on the relative quiet of my street as my manic cabbie sped away, I questioned my late night public transit theory. Would it really have been any less safe to board a bus? Probably not. Road rage is terrifying, even moreso when you’re subjected to it at the mercy of a deranged cabbie.

The lesson learned here: Never drive angry - especially when you have paying customers in your cab.

Quittin' Time

Today I learned that Judge Stephen E. Walter served as Chief Justice in Lake County, Illinois in 1994 and 1996. It is my guess that these two years served one of two functions that lead to Judge Walter’s retirement announcement on Oct. 4. Either he felt no need to continue his career much longer after having reached such a prestigious position or his two years as cheif served to be so stressful it catapulted him into retirement.

You may wonder why all this matters to me. Well you see, it’s of great importance to me. Judge Walter is the judge who was to preside over a case I am on. The trial was scheduled to begin Oct. 23. Judge Walter's last day is Nov. 1.

Being on trial is hectic and frantic and full of deadlines which must be met. Being on trial is why I put in 12 hours of work last weekend and was never home before sunset all last week. Judge Walter had scheduled our trial to last six weeks, but not continuously - more of an intermittent schedule. That meant Judge Walter had destined my co-workers and me to a fall in Waukegan, Illinois. (It’s not lovely there this or most any time of the year.)

But seeing as how you can't cram a six-week schedule into one week, chances are good that trial is not anywhere in the immediate future for me. It also means I can have my nights and weekends back and won't be spending the coming months in Waukegan.

Because of this I wish Judge Walter the happiest of retirements. He has no plans, which I found out thanks to this Web site, but I imagine he will use it to pursue some of his hobbies - ”playing golf, reading, and listening to all types of music.”

October 3, 2006

Big, Fat, Stinking Liar

I apologize. I lied. I promised I’d write soon and when I did it would be about my fabulous four-day, four-night trip to New York City. Neither of those things is true.

I last wrote 6 days ago, longer than I had anticipated it would be. And when I did finally write, I planned to elaborate upon my trip to New York City with humorous stories thinly disguised as lessons. Well, have I elaborated on my trip yet? No. And there is a reason for that.

It is now 10:52 p.m. and I need to go to bed soon. I still have a sink full of dishes and a pile of laundry that in two days time may take me five loads to complete. I had all kinds of plans for this past weekend to get me caught up on those things that had fallen to the wayside immediately before, during and after my trip. That list of course included writing about my trip. But the truth is they are not done. They were not done this weekend, and I seriously think unless things start growing in my sink or my laundry piles begin to block the entryway to my bathroom, things are pretty much going to remain status quo until the weekend. I have a one word answer as to the root of all this. Usually it would be procrastination, but today it’s not. Today’s word is work.

Work is busy. Busy to where if I leave the office midday for a lunch break I feel lucky. Busy to where I worked almost 40 hours last week despite having Monday and Tuesday off. Busy to where I’m happy if I’m home before 7:30 p.m. during the week. Busy to where I can’t even contemplate doing something creative at home when life’s small, daily tasks scream for my attention first.

This is my own doing. About a month ago work was slow, my cases all incredibly inactive. If anything, I was hounding for work. I asked for more work, and now a month later everything I asked for is begging for 6 hours of my daily attention. That’s why I put in 11 hours at work today and have been told to bring my comfy shoes tomorrow. My coworker and I will apparently be at the office late enough to where the firm dress code will no longer apply.

Perhaps some day when my cases aren’t heading to trial and when attorneys don’t assign me five projects before I’ve finished the first, I’ll sit down and write about my trip to New York. I’ll tell you how I ate ridiculously well, saw Ground Zero, went to my first meet and greet with a band, took in some of the most beautiful fall days in Central Park and laughed until I cried when Dave Attell called my friend, Yvonne, big nipples wet gas. (I still laugh about that just typing it.) But that can’t be tonight because it’s 11:03 p.m. right now and by the sounds of it, I may just be getting home at this time tomorrow.

Instead I will leave you with the lesson I take away from all this: Be careful what you ask for.