August 25, 2009

Still In A California State of Mind

My mind is still buzzing with the constant hum of vacation vacation vacation vacation... So in lieu of well-constructed, coherent thoughts, I give to you the top 10 things I'd like to do or see while on vacation in California:
1. Take lots and lots of photos of the coast
2. Spot a celebrity
3. Sample various California wines at a bonafide California winery (and bring at least one bottle back with me)
4. See the redwoods at Muir Woods
5. Swim in the Pacific
6. Soak in the Avila hot springs
7. Eat an amazing (fresh) fish dinner
8. See the seals at Fisherman's Wharf
9. Bike, kayak or snorkel on Catalina Island
10. Not think about work for even one second.

Item number ten on my list will be by far the easiest. I welcome additions or suggestions to my list. Having never been to California, I don't know if my list is completely lame or not. I hope not, but I won't know until I get back. And I promise you, at the very least, a kick ass slide show of my trip will be posted upon my return.

August 19, 2009

In A California State of Mind

My mind is stuck in the future right now. The majority of my thoughts are centered around or lead to the vacation Mike and I will be taking in a little over a week. Things like, nine more days until we leave for California, or six more work days until we leave for California or only one more weekend before we leave for California, are on a continuous loop in my mind.

It's made me incredibly unproductive at work. My mind has not focused for long expanses of time because I'm going on vacation! V-A-C-A-T-I-O-N. I often call my mental state the week after a trip the post-vacation funk. I always get it. My most unproductive weeks at work are those that immediately follow a vacation. I sit at my desk and think "How can I be at work? I was just driving up the California coast five days ago?"

Mike and I booked this vacation in April. I desperately wanted to take a vacation in the spring, but it just didn't work out. Mike was recovering from his foot surgery, and then when he was healed work overtook my life in such a way that we couldn't book anything until July. Cheaper tickets weren't available until the end of August/start of September, so we booked them. But unfortunately that means I've been thinking about this vacation for four months. Four months is a long time. It's so long that at this point all I can do is think about my vacation. And while the week after I get back from vacation my focus will be non-existent, I'm pretty sure this week leading up is comparably unproductive.

August 16, 2009

Sleeping Quarters

This is a common sight in my and Mike's house. Our cats don't really have beds and take to sleeping where ever they deem most comfortable. For Leroy that often times is in Mike's laundry basket. I don't know how many times I've walked into our second bedroom to see Leroy napping in one of these baskets. I think it's Leroy's happy place.

Unfortunately for Mike, that means the impossible task of keeping our clothing free of cat hair becomes that much more impossible. What makes that task even more impossible now is this.

Oscar must have picked up a thing or two from Leroy. This is a new development as of this morning, and I don't think Mike's too happy about it

August 13, 2009

An Open Letter to All Environmentalists Who Try To Stop Me On A Daily Basis

Dear Recent College Grad,

Yes, I see you. I do. And yet most days I walk by. You always try to stop me, but thanks to you I've become a master at avoiding your gaze. You keep switching locations on me, but I still spot you a mile away, wearing your bright blue t-shirt, messenger bag, impossible smile and holding your clip board. You are a hard one to miss. Yet I still try to pass by as if I don't see you. But it's getting awkward.

Really all I want to do is to go to lunch or get coffee or catch my train at the end of the day. But you're always there, always with your line of questioning so unfair in its phrasing that you basically make me admit on a daily basis that I hate the environment. Why don't you just ask me to punch a baby seal in the face as I walk by? I imagine it would make me feel just as good.

But I'm done. I'm done letting you make me feel this way. I've had enough of your guilt trips and misleading chatter. I know what you want, and I'm not buying it.

You see one day, a few years ago, I did stop. I stopped out of guilt and talked to you. You and your army was three deep on Michigan Avenue, and I had already passed you by with a half-hearted "sorry" three times that day alone. So when you asked if I loved the environment, I stopped and finally said yes. Because really, how can I say no. No one hates the environment. If anything, people at most are indifferent about the damage they do to it. I've never once seen someone raise up their fists to the heavens and scream "Damn you fresh air!"

I asked you to give me your spiel. And you did. Somewhat convincingly. And honestly, if I hadn't been a broke college student at that moment, I might have committed to giving your cause $10 a month to save the water, save babies, save puppies and stop pollution. But I didn't because at that time I was back in school and buying groceries on my credit card. I didn't have $10 a month to give. Or so I thought. But then you, you did something I didn't see coming. I guess I should have. I've seen the ads for your job. I know how little you are paid. You asked if I ever bought coffee. It's true that being in class for up to eight hours in a day, I did buy the occasional coffee. It was necessary. Well you reasoned that the money I spent on that one small splurge could easily be put toward your charity. I didn't need it as much as that proverbial starving child in Africa. I walked away from our conversation thinking two things: one, I am a horrible person and two, you are one pushy SOB. That was the last time I stopped to talk to you.

I still see you though. I am employed I'm in a different part of the city now. Yet you're still there. On the corner outside my office, outside my favorite lunch stop, across the street from the coffee place I used to like going to. But you've ruined it. Your presence makes my little breaks from work not as enjoyable because I don't want my coffee with a shot of calculated avoidance.

I was learning to negotiate this terrain we both share until today. Today you through me for a new loop. You were standing in the middle of the sidewalk on my way to the train station. As I approached I thought this will just be easier for everyone if you don't talk to me. But you saw me. You zeroed in. You pointed at me and said "Hey, you're friendly, and I bet you care about the environment." Not wanting to affirm or deny your assumption of my character, I answered, while not slowing my stride, "I've got a train to catch." As I breezed passed you said, "but you've got 14 minutes." I continued walking and threw out my half-hearted "sorry" as the closure to our conversation. And then I looked at my watch. It was 5:46. My train was at 6:00. I did have 14 minutes. And how in the love of god did you know that?

You just took it one step too far. Never again will I feel bad about walking past and not even acknowledging you as a person. Because well now you just creep me out. I'm hoping once again I'll be able to navigate my work day with as little interaction with you as possible. I'm hoping that you might get the hint. I'm hoping that you'll sense I am not interested. But mostly, I'm just hoping you go away.


Me (and All Those Who Are Annoyed By Your Tactics)

August 11, 2009


I was in GNC with Mike the other day. While he was getting some vitamins I was browsing the women's wellness section. It had vitamins and pills and liquids to cure and speed up all kinds of things. Most bottles I noticed displayed the following clause on their label:
* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

The most unbelievable - a pill that could help its taker become more flexible. A pill that makes you flexible? I was skeptical to say the least. It's a part of GNC's WELLbeING line. A line geared towards women as evidenced by its packaging and pills. (be-HOT? be-FULFILLED? be-ENHANCED? Really GNC?)

When one of the employees asked if I had any question, I held the bottle of be-FLEXIBLE and asked, "So exactly how does this work?" His answer was a whole of lot fumbling for words that eventually lead to him admitting that yeah, he wasn't so sure about those pills. He also admitted he doesn't really sell a lot of be-FLEXIBLE.

However, if GNC had a pill for sale there called be-MOTIVATED or be-AT THE GYM MORE or GET YOUR BUTT OUT OF be-D, I might have bought it. I haven't worked out in a couple weeks now. I took the week off for Jenny's wedding (mainly because I was in Michigan), and then took the following week off the gym as I allowed myself to get back into the swing of things. That means this week I should be working out. Only I'm not. I haven't. I've told myself I was going to the gym three days in a row now. I even got out my gym clothes, packed my gym bag. And yet this morning, I laid in bed chanting to myself as my alarm went off repeatedly I have to get out of bed I have to get out of bed I have to get out of bed. I did. At 8 a.m. Far too late to cram in a workout.

I just can't seem to find my motivation. It ran away during my two week absence and has yet to return. I hope it does soon otherwise I'm sure my mystery five pounds (and then some) are going to reappear any day now on my midsection. Let's hope before they do, I'm back at it at the gym. I know one thing for sure - my motivation has to come from within. Unless GNC's working on bottling it in capsule form as I write.

UPDATED the following morning to add: I totally went to the gym this morning. Yeah me.

August 9, 2009

Guess Where I Went

I don't really have the focus right now to string together words with the hope of making them sound good. See that sentence right there, was not good. I'm just a little drained from the weekend. And possibly the heat. My god the heat. It was brutal in Chicago this weekend.

So what I do in lieu of words? Photos! I know. You are shocked.

This past Saturday morning I made my way down to China town for a little photo exploration with a friend of mine. He's an actual photographer. As in that's what he does. He doesn't just play photographer like I do. He is one.
Well I'm still just playing around, so we ventured to Chinatown and played. Here's what I got.

So this next photo is of a moldy sock. We were walking on an upper level of a strip mall when Brian asked me what I thought the green thing on the roof was. I said I thought it might be a sock. I whipped out my telephoto lens and said, "yup, it's a moldy sock." And then I took a photo of it, simply because the colors were so good.

There are a lot of "happy" dining establishments in Chinatown.

This last photo ended up being my favorite. I was sitting waiting for Brian to show up. I kept looking at the "Three Happiness" sign, thinking it was a funny sign, but not anything special enough to take on its own. And then these three Chinese women, who where chatting and laughing, walked below it. Of course, then I snapped my shutter.

August 5, 2009

Not So Eggcellent

I am getting back into the swing of things after a long weekend home in Michigan for a dear friend's wedding. Getting back into the swing of things means having a stocked fridge once again. Tonight I decided to make pork chops to go along with some sweet corn I bought at Trader Joe's yesterday.

I pulled out eggs from the fridge, so I could make the egg wash that allows bread crumbs to stick to the chops. Only I realized one more thing I should have bought at the grocery store.


The two left in the fridge we frozen.
Lesson learned: Mike and I should do a better survey of our fridge before we run off to the grocery store. Also, we should probably buy less than a dozen eggs at a time. These clearly had been in there for quite some time.