Saturday, December 30, 2006

Don't worry: unlike my blog, I edited and proofed my grad school writing samples before I submitted them.

My friend, Robert, reminded me that I had only 2 more days to write something in my blog for the month of December. "You don't want that blog to have a blank spot on the right side where all the months are listed," he wrote in his email to me. I considered telling him that I can easily pre-date my blog entries; I needn't write something in December to post it as a December entry. But, that's beside the point. ...I have been a bit neglectful of my Daily Observations.

Ever since the wedding (and before) I've been writing a lot, you just haven't been privy to what I've been writing. The only people who will get to read my recent work are Chris, the folks who have helped me edit and proof it, my mom, and the admissions office of Northwestern University.

In the past, I have swung from either divulging too much information, or too little. I was very private as a youth. No one, except two friends, knew that my parents got a divorce until the absolute last moment. And only then it was because I was forced to divulge the info to my friend, Andrea, who wanted to drop my Christmas present off at my house, not knowing that I had for some time been living with my mom in a small apartment across town. I felt this powerful need to make everyone think I was okay and normal, when of all things I was definitely not okay.

Well, I am okay now, but mostly because I've grown to realize that I'm not normal. None of us are. With this realization has come liberation. With this liberation has come the desire to shout this from the mountaintops. Unfortunately, all too often, this puts you (yes, you!) or some other semi-acquaintance in the corner of a party hearing stories of how the supplements I take for my iron deficiency give me heartburn and make me poo black.

As my friend, Jill, would say, "T.M.I." Too much information.

In a way, this blog is part of that journey in the Land of Getting Personal. For me, it’s about finding that fine line between things I shouldn't be so scared to share with the world (earnest writing, for example) with things that I should not (see blackened poo tidbit, above).

I've always been a terrified closet writer and also had an extreme fear of looking stupid. Anyone who knows me is probably thinking, "But you look stupid all the time, Carrie! Shouldn't you be used to it by now?" That's different. That's on purpose to make people laugh. The idea of doing something earnestly and having people think its stupid or silly is petrifying to me; it scares me into inaction. Inaction makes for a pretty boring and fruitless life, especially when what I want to do with my life (write) is that which I find terrifying (having people read my writing).

As such, I have begun to make a real effort to Get Over It. Part of that effort is this blog—a place where I am forced to post my half-baked story ideas and be accountable for them. Sometimes I wish I didn’t have to post under my name, so I could write some juicy tidbits that I didn’t mind folks knowing were from me, but as it is, I can’t post anything I don’t want people to know I’m thinking.

Which should make you wonder about all the things I’m thinking that I’m not posting.

My point of all this is that today I officially applied to graduate school for an MFA in Writing for the Screen and Stage. This program only accepts 12 people. Yep, that’s One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six, Seven, Eight, Nine, Ten, Eleven, Twelve. When I discovered the program earlier this year, I kept it a secret that I was going to apply. After all, the odds of getting in are not in one’s favor. But then I realized that if I want this, really want it, and if I was going to have any chance whatsoever of beating those odds, I was going to have to admit that I really wanted it to myself. Once I admitted it to myself I realized that was the hardest part of it all. Telling other people was a breeze.

So, in the end, I want to let my readers know that now that all of the official writing is over (until Fall semester, when I am Number Seven of Twelve, of course) I will be back to making regular posts in this blog.

And, thank you, whoever you are, for stopping in. And, bless you, kind stranger, if you check back regularly. My old private, too-afraid-to-take-herself-seriously-in-just-the-teensiest-way would have said I don’t care if you or anyone reads this. But, who I am now would be lying if I told you that your presence didn’t matter.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

My Very Successful 2006 Resolution

Some time in late 2005, I started realizing that all of the things that I was always complaining about were actually situations where the ball was in my court. Or at least situations where I could grab the ball and put it in my court. (You see, I'm using easy to understand and technically correct basketball analogies here.) One of those things had to do with friendships that I had lost over the years. In a lot of ways, I'm an easy going gal, but at the same time, I'm my grandmother's daughter--or a leo. Either one would explain my tendency to get hurt easily by some people and my quickness to turn to roaring anger when hurt. Anyway, I realized that I had "unfinished business" with about 5 people.

And through this year, I not only forgave the people who hurt me, but I did so in a ceremonious way, which coincided with my other New Year's resolution: To outwardly declare to the world in very certain terms those things that I wanted from it.

It was definitely awkward and hard to do. And my pride has taken a beating, but just like a broken bone, its healed stronger than ever. Some of these people I had spent the last 4 years pretending that they didn't exist. One of the girls refused to talk with me about it. I think she is ashamed. I forgave her anyway and we are civil if not friendly to one another. I worried that peeps would think that I was in a 12-step program or that I was resolving issues before going home and killing myself. Or some other dark and dramatic reason. And the timing was off on a few of
them. One of the girls with whom I talked it out, an old friend, she thought I was suddenly trying to take advantage of her new position at a theatre where most performers in Chicago want to work. So I had to try to explain my resolution, which made me feel like a hateful bitch, because who has so many grudges that she has to make a New Year's resolution to get rid of them?


Anyway, there is one last person out there. I can't say I am still holding a grudge, but I definitely haven't spoken with the Asshole about it, so I haven't exactly committed to not holding a grudge against Douchebrains either. The funny thing is, I completely forgive the Blowhard when he's not around. But when I see his Smug Donkey Face, I find myself wanting to slap it to high Heaven. I mean, Fucko isn't a part of my life or thoughts anymore. I'm happy and have great friends who aren't Ego-Manical Freakshows like he is. And I'm sure the Tool has changed, even though he HAS THE MOST INCAPABLE HEART I HAVE EVER HAD THE SORROW OF KNOWING. Anyway, I should talk to the Dirtbag about it, tell him that I forgive his slimy self and that I'm no longer putting pins in the eyes of the voodoo doll whose body I keep trapped under the foot
of my bed.

So, yeah, for the most part my resolution was successful.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Toucs Says Hi

Toucs says hi. He’s been kinda down lately. It all started because he missed you. He was asking all about you and where you lived. I told him. He asked me to drive him there. I told him I didn't have a car and his face fell. I fetched him a pink tissue, from my purse. It was the designer kind with flowers on it. He blew his beak into it.

All of the sudden, his little fabric eyes lit up: he had an idea! He could fly to your house! He started bouncing up and down on his soft fabric bum, made one giant leap off the bed towards the open window and fell beak-first on his head. Thankfully, my navy throw pillows were on the floor under him to soften his fall. He just lay there, looking cross-eyed and dazed. He asked me why his wings didn't spread when he tried to fly and I told him it was because, like the rest of him, his wings were woven into the fabric of his body.

He grew sad. It was the saddest little bird face I’ve ever seen. He fell into a long depression. Every morning when I left for work he asked to be tucked in the covers rather than sitting on the top of the bed all day while I was gone.

Then one day, I came home and found him on the internet. He was excitedly typing out words with his beak. I asked him what he was doing and he told me he finally got out of bed and decided to see if there were any online support groups for toucs like him - flying challenged toucs. He told me that he came across a touc in Brazil just like him and they talked about all the downfalls of being built like pillows. In the process of doing this, they also realized there were advantages too. People like to squeeze them more and they got to live in nice, dry climate controlled bedrooms, rather than rainy forests. And best of all, they got to live much longer lives! So now he's all cheery and excited to see you to tell you of his realization.

If he talks about it, pretend I didn't tell you.

Monday, November 20, 2006

I am married.

Chris and I got married on November 11. It was the best party of my life. Expect more entries as we near the New Year. Weddings, however untraditional, are a lot of work. At least my wedding was; I'm a Do It Yourself kind of gal.

Friday, October 13, 2006

She's back!

Chris said to me yesterday, "She's back!" She being me, of course. I've been pretty down around home, hence the soul-searching blogging, nothing more than a little funk. I’ve just been so busy that I haven’t been flourishing creatively, thus the funk.

With the pending wedding and the fact that my agent has been calling me in for Mom roles, I’ve started to feel the effects of getting older for the first time in my life. I’ve noticed little tiny lines creeping onto my face and, and the downside of pursuing commercial print modeling, is that I’ve been thinking more and more about my appearance. And I thought being an actor made you insecure... Although I am merely 27, at least I am also comforted by the fact that 30-something actors work a lot in this city. And getting older means that I am coming into who I really am. There is comfort to be found in getting older.

Meanwhile, Poor Chris. He’s been so good to me and I’ve been such a self absorbed pissant lately. I'm sure he's sick of hearing me complain about looking like a plus model in my comp card photos. The photographer took shots of me in 4 "looks" to be used in my modeling comp card. To be fair, there were 3 looks wherein I photographed fairly well, to the point that I came to terms with those little lines around my mouth and eyes, the slowly sliding features. After seeing the photographs I said, “I look older and I don’t mind it in these photos. I like my older face.” Of course, the photos were carefully styled by a stylist and shot by a skilled photographer whose job is to make me look really good, but nonetheless it is part of growing into this new-old skin of mine.

Smoke and mirrors be mine.

Anyway, in one series of shots, the "suit shots," I actually look like a plus model. Chris confirmed. It would have pissed me off had he not, because there was definitely an elephant in the room. Ha! And I can’t stand anyone patronizing me, much less my Love.

Of course, I’m exaggerating about the elephant part. I realize I look like a Plus Sized model mostly because of the way my jacket is hitting my pants and the angle at which they are shot, straight on. But, to be fair, I’ve gained weight and the suit pants are tight. So there is some truth in that comedy.

Do I think I'm fat? No. Have I gained weight for only the second time in my life, the first being when I was 19 years old and drinking beer and eating pizza and oversleeping every night of the week? Yes, I have. Has it been hard to lose the weight, for the first time in my life? Yes, it has. Can I hardly fit into my wedding dress? Yes.

The last time I tried it on, it was very tight.

Boo-hoo!!!! Wah! Poor Carrie finally has to deal with hard truth that the other 4.5 billion humans (minus the poor, sick and starving 2/3 of the population) have to deal with--that most human beings can't eat anything they want and never go to the gym and maintain the same weight.

I realize that it seems pretty ridiculous that a 5'10'' 135 pound girl should be complaining about this. To look at me in clothes, I am very thin. To look at me without clothes (ew, gutter brains!), I am still thin, but I am flabby. I have no muscle, no firm padding, yet my fat percentage is surprisingly high because I don't exercise. As the ex-model, makeup artist at my comp card shoot said, "People don't realize, skinny people can be flabby." Hear, hear! There is no amount of weight gain that would really bulk me up and make me curvy. Until I get muscle, I will always look like a skeleton draped in pasty flesh colored Jell-O. There is no amount of explaining that will make strangers accept that.

There is a reason that I have been hesitant to go to the gym. “Why do you need to exercise?” I have been asked in regards to my small frame. I have been on the receiving end of remarks such as “Do you eat?” and “You are too thin.” and “You need to eat something.” A few months ago, I was told by a co-worker, “If I didn’t know you, I’d totally hate you because you are so tall and thin.” And when I was in high school people would just come out and ask, “Are you anorexic?” How do you answer that? What can you say in response? It is a touchy subject for all involved. And by discussing it, even in this blog, I run the risk of being called a braggart or “high on myself.”

It doesn’t matter that you may grow up to be thankful for those traits that earned you teasing as a kid. I was called “Bony Barrett,” among other names, as a child. And I am thankful that I’ve been blessed to not have to worry about my weight. But at least part of the insecurity stays with me for life. I have constantly felt judged for being too thin. Judgment is judgment, even if it seems a ridiculous complaint to some.

So it is funny, ironic even, that I am complaining about looking like a plus size. Shouldn’t I be happy?

I've been 128 pounds since I graduated high school nearly 10 years ago. And all of the sudden, I'm ten pounds heavier and I can shed it to save my life. What kills me is that because of my stomach ailments, I already eat so healthfully. Oatmeal and nuts and fruit and whole grains. I can't remember the last time I stepped into a fast food restaurant. Eating well is good for you, but not enough to lose 10 pounds in time for your wedding. I sit at a desk 45 hours a week--I need to exercise, for more reasons than just my weight. It has been a hard adjustment to the way I have lived my life for the past 27 years. And change is hard, even if its relatively silly to the ails of the world.

Other than that, I realize I am blessed.


Thursday, October 12, 2006

This Morning

Cab Driver: Huh, it looks like that guy’s using a garbage bag for a roof.

Cab driver points to convertible car with duct-taped garbage bag ragtop billowing in the wind.

Me:Yeah, it does look like that.

Cab Driver: He must have holes or something.

Me: Yeah. Looks like it.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

And not far, my love, from where we were before.

Last Friday, while I was listening to my iTunes on shuffle, a song came on that I hadn’t heard since I was a child. It was I Loved You Once in Silence from Camelot, sang by Julie Andrews and I don’t remember downloading it.

Unexpectedly, a wave of nostalgia washed over me and I started sobbing. These were not silent tears; these were levies being broken open by a storm surge of tears; guttural, animal-like sounds escaped my body; my eyes were throwing up tears. It was pain and catharsis. I haven’t cried like that in a long time.

When I was a little girl, my mother used to sing to me all the time. Like me, she was a performer, an actor, a dancer and a singer when she was young. She wanted to study theatre and acting, but her parents refused to support such a cause. My grandmother has told me she regrets not watering my mother’s talents. My mother’s singing repertoire was mostly show songs from the days of her youth; I Feel Pretty from West Side Story; My Favorite Things from Sound of Music; and I Loved Him Once in Silence from Camelot.

I loved you once in silence
And mis'ry was all I knew.
Trying so to keep my love from showing,
All the while not knowing you loved me too.
Yes, loved me in lonesome silence;
Your heart filled with dark despair.
Thinking love would flame in you forever,
And I'd never, never know the flame was there.
Then one day we cast away our secret longing;
The raging tide we held inside would hold no more.
The silence at last was broken!
We flung wide our prison door.
Ev'ry joyous word of love was spoken.

And now there's twice as much grief,
Twice the strain for us;
Twice the despair,
Twice the pain for us
As we had known before.

And after all had been said,
Here we are, my love,
Silent once more,
And not far, my love,
From where we were before.

The song from Camelot is beautiful and sad indeed. But that is not why I cried then--and cry now writing of it. It was homesickness that made me sob, the wistfulness of remembering those intimate moments with my mother singing during long night drives, the overwhelming warmth and comfort I’m so lucky to have had, the awareness that with age I travel farther and farther from that home in search of my own home, my own family and my own daughter to whom I’ll sing.

I very much look forward to that journey with Chris. But I love my mother so very much. Despite our low lows, I think of our relationship in terms of our high highs. She is a very good mother and I am lucky to have that. I cry tears of joy that I have and have always had such an amazing love in my life.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Its a small world after all.

When I was in first grade, Mrs. Barnes tried to explain the phrase “Small World”.

“If you were at Disney World and ran into someone you know, you would say, ‘What a small world!’”

Crickets. The class blinked confused looks at her. “Its hard to explain,” she conceded.

Like the rest of the class, I had no clue what she meant by that and it took me years to figure it out. I would go so far as to say I would have figured it out sooner had she not tried to explain in it at all. The fact that she used Disney World to explain it only made it worse, as I kept thinking it had something to do with the Small World ride. Would I say “What a small world!” anytime I ran into someone I knew? Why not just say “Hi! How are you?!” And could I only say it in Florida?

Years later, when I was a senior in high school on a European holiday, I saw a girl I knew in Pisa, Italy. I first saw her singing opera at a talent show at the Virginia Governor’s School for the Arts summer program. A 16 year old opera singer, they didn’t have any of those in my hometown. I was blown away. The program was small, around 200 people, but I never got a chance to meet her, but I remembered her nonetheless.

When I saw her in Pisa, Italy, my jaw dropped again. There she was in her signature oversized sunglasses with a group of teenagers all wearing kelly green youth opera program t-shirts. Her group was walking away from the leaning tower, we were walking to it. We locked eyes, and stared at each other inquisitively, me dumbfounded. She recognized me, but I can only presume that she couldn’t quite place me. I am not, after all, something as memorable as a 16-year old opera singer. I smiled weakly and we went our separate ways.

The world is indeed small, Mrs. Barnes.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Blowing off the dust...

When I was 12 or so, I mentioned to my mother's friend that I wanted to be an actor. Linda casually told me that actors live difficult lives and that I'd be better off picking something easier. My cheeks burned and my heart sank. I was crushed by her comment--not because she was telling me something I didn't know. It was her condescending, teaching tone, her presumption that my wanting to act was nothing more than a naive childhood fantasy. Her remark, so seemingly fleeting, has left an ugly scar on my heart. It has very much shaped how I view myself, how I view others, and how I’ve conducted my life.

After my first year of high school, I gave up performing and enrolled in a pre-business program at the University of Virginia. My mother begged me not to do it. I thought I was being practical. Although I loved UVA, probably for its aloof un-attainability, I was miserable there. I wore pearls and sorority pants and drank a lot of bad beer. I made out with boys at parties and tried to be someone I'm not. But all in all, it was good that I went through that then and not when the stakes were higher. And I had a lot of fun so, of course, that year and a half was not a total loss. I joined an improv troupe, which is, in a roundabout way, the reason I am so happily living and performing in Chicago.

More than she could ever know, Linda made me afraid of living the life I wanted for as long as I can remember. I have been afraid of looking stupid, afraid of wanting something so difficult to attain, afraid of dreaming, afraid of not conforming to untailored expectations. I would love to be naive, but I can’t take myself seriously enough for long enough to know what that’s like. And these fears have extended beyond my career choice. I have since defaulted to the role of the cynic, which is not fun for the cynic or her friends and family. It wasn’t until I met Chris that I resolved myself even to love without feeling silly.

For a while, I have struggled with these issues, a sort of quarter-life crisis, if you will. It wasn’t until about a year ago that I realized that I wasn’t willing to put my neck out to get what I want. And if I wasn’t willing to do that I might as well give up. A little courage was needed to repair the damage Linda’s words wrecked on my confidence.

I have since rectified the situation and my neck is out further every day. I like to think myself as one of those African women with beautiful gold bands piled high about my shoulders and below my regal chin. To spite my reservations, to spite Linda, I tell anyone who wants to hear that I’m an actor. It doesn’t matter that my executive assisting pays the bills; I am and have always been an actor. At first I couldn’t do it without proactive wince. But the more I said it the more proud I’ve become that I, most likely unlike Linda, am exactly where I wanted to be when I was 12.

But, oh, what damage advice can be. I wonder how easier things would have been had she not said it that day. No doubt I’d have heard it elsewhere, but would it have been different? Who knows? We’ll both have to wait and see how this story ends.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Teach me!

With my wedding 2 months from today, things are getting a little crazy in CarrieLand. My mind is so filled with my To Do List that it seems that's all I can think about. (Even with a really laid-back wedding, there is a lot of stuff to think about!) I don't want to blog about my wedding. Can you say snoozefest? And I certainly don't want to blog about all that other stuff I've been doing--my job and my improv/comedy stuff. Zzzzz...

So I would like to take this opportunity to reach out to you--the 2 or so of my monthly readers and the 3 or so random South Americans who wander here by googling "Denise Richards"--and ask you for ideas of stuff to write about.

All ideas are welcome, within the realm of decency. Inspire me. Get creative, and I'll try to too.

I may not use your idea. It might be stupid. But at least I'll laugh at you and your brainless ideas. Kidding. Sort of. As amazing as sexy story about a racy love affair between Christopher Walken and Drew Barrymore sounds, I will probably not write that. I'll leave that to the kid who lived on my brother's hall his freshman year of college.

In all seriousness, it may take me a while to get to your idea or find a way to make it work, but I'd love to hear it nonetheless. So, on the count of three use the comments feature of this blog to give me an assignment.


Friday, September 08, 2006

The Christian Science Reading Room

One morning about 2 years ago, while cabbing it to work, I struck up casual conversation with the driver.

"I used to live in Marina City Towers. We had a balcony with a great view of the Christian Science Reading Room. In the five years that I lived there, can you believe that I never once saw anyone enter or exit that building?" he told me when we drove by the monolithic stone building. "Not once!" he incredulously exclaimed. "And I drive by it all the time now. Still haven't seen anyone. Kinda strange if you ask me."

Ever since then, I have paid careful attention to the building, about a block from my office, with its dark and shadowy entrances. And like him, I have not once seen anyone come or go.

Not once! Kinda strange if you ask me.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

The Love Affair of Egg and Sperm

From the College Vault:

Thursday, August 17, 2006


The sunflower that was given to me as a birthday present and that sits on my desk beside my computer, it has worms. When I received the flower from my coworker last week, I nuzzled my nose in its soft brown center and breathed in its sweet perfume. The next day, I saw a few flies swirling around its gold petals and a little green bug manically hopping around from leaf to leaf. A few days after that there were worms; tiny spring-green guys inching around the petals, snacking on microscopic goodies at the flower’s center.

At first, I was fascinated by this sudden infestation. Where were these little fellas when I was inhaling the flowers fragrance? How curious that they had waited until after my birthday to surface. How interesting that an entire microcosm of insects and other squirmy little things was living in a flower that was sitting in a vase in a fluorescently lit office; a flower surrounded by paper, plastic and electricity and that was hanging on to the illusion of life several days, possibly a week, after it had been cut from its stalk and taken from its home in nature.

I sat next to this infested flower for a few days after that. Every day, I’d monitor the progress of the little zoo. Each day, as the golden petals browned around the edges, the worms got a little bigger. After a few days had passed, I could barely discern their little mouths, always eating, perceptibly smiling. The way they’d stand, balanced on their one little leg, they started to remind me of Richard Scarry’s Lowly Worm. In my comfortable office without predators--birds and spiders and Mother Nature--and with the abundant feast of an enormous sunflower, they were growing exponentially and multiplying all the while.

I am generally squeamish of all things creepy crawly, but it didn’t occur to me to be grossed out by these little worms and bugs. Until yesterday, that is--when I looked up and wondered where they suddenly had all gone. The brown center, their favorite chomping grounds, had been deserted. Then, I noticed the ten or so worms were stop the petals at the crown of the flower reaching, stretching their quarter-inch bodies up to the sun of my desk lamp doing what looked like a belly dance in unison. It was a worm ritual of sorts and it creeped me out.

I sat beside this squirming spectacle for about 30 minutes. Each time I looked over, the worms seemed to get more assertive and my stomach soured a little more. I tried to put mind over matter, to enjoy the last days of this beautiful flower, but I just couldn’t so I made an impulsive decision to lay to rest the drooping sunflower.

As I picked up the flower with its large sunny face and walked to the office kitchen, I felt conflicted. But then I noticed a few of the tiny worms were now dangling in the air down from silky threads they were somehow making with their bodies. I immediately pictured other such expeditions on my desk and, worse, my person. I high-tailed it to the kitchen holding the vase and flower far from me like a peeing baby and dumped the flower in the trashcan without hesitation. I spent the rest of the day swatting invisible bugs from my body.

Today at the Farmer’s Market, a farm stand was selling sunflowers for $1/bunch. I picked up 3 bunches and arranged them on my desk, in the same place as the old one. We’ll see what happens.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006


It is a beautiful day. The sun is shining and the sky is cornflower blue. While I am sitting under the umbrella of a table in the Thompson Center Plaza, at least 6 people walk by and sneeze. Usually multiple times. Always in the same spot. Weird.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006


The elation of success, especially creative success, is such a fleeting feeling. It’s a hunger, much like that for food. You may go a long time feeling hungry, with an heated pit in your stomach. Then one day, you find it; you gobble it up; you are warm and sated in the moment and for some time after. But no matter how much you devour, how full you feel, you always end up hungry again. Unless you are grounded and are at peace with yourself, with a steady stream of mind and body nourishment, you will always end up feeling empty inside. And the search for food can take you farther and farther away from home, through rough and rocky terrain. The key is to making success last, is keeping home in your heart and making sacrifices for the things that really matter (things that pump blood) in a way that won't breed resentment, which can eat away at your stomach as much as hunger. It’s a hard balance to strike.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Don’t come to breakfast at my house...

If I hear his fake laugh one more time—that slanted cascade of cackle paired with wild eyes and a gum-exposing joker smile; those booming guffaws; the come-and-go-lightly hoot that is habitually preceded by some lame comment and stalked by a sharply punctuating sigh-moan—I will rip my intestines out, twist them at intervals of 4 inches, hang them in a smokehouse for a week, brown them on a sizzling skillet and serve them with eggs and pancakes.

Laughter should never be forged.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

You are what you eat...

From what I can tell its mostly crap.

Crap that pickles organs and corrodes pipes like rust.
Cancer-causing, memory-deflating, a second cousin to plastic, third-arm growing crap.

Frozen dinners that have a huge sub ingredient list for Chicken.
Shouldn’t it just say chicken?
Why does “Chicken” need 25 other ingredients, mostly chemicals, to make it Chicken? At least list it as “Chikin” so there can be no mistake.

My lawyer friend says that KFC is called KFC because it’s not technically chicken and to call it such would be false advertising.

Our food should be made in kitchens--not factories and labs.

Can’t a girl get a good tomato without having to take out a loan?

I’m about this close to selling my possessions and moving to The Farm.
Hell, I’ll drink the organic Kool-Aid, although my vendor can’t afford the organic label.

Call me granola.
(Make me some granola—with homegrown fruit and homemade yogurt.)

Play me some Yanni.
(He’ll be the most synthetic thing I’d love.)

Give me a turban.
(I’ll use any excuse to wear a turban.)

I yearn for the simple life.

I just love the city too much.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Furrowed Brow

She sort of regrets shaving off her eyebrows. It seemed like a pretty good idea at the time. Her eyebrows were thin and scraggly. No amount of plucking would give her the plush sexy arched brow she so desired. So in a fit of frustration she swiped a pink Lady Bic over the right one. She looked at her face in the mirror. Her face looked eerie and lopsided. The razor took care of the left one too. She felt liberated. The skin was so smooth and sensitive. And she looked so much younger—like a baby, almost. She was free to create the brow of her dreams.

But she failed to anticipate the amount of effort involved in the daily brow draw. Often, she had to try several times before they’d look symmetrical. For many weeks she looked confused, angry, sad, astonished because of slight deviations of the drawn eyebrow’s curve. Before she invested in waterproof brow pencil (which wasn’t truly waterproof) her drawn brow would run down into her eye on a rainy or sweaty day, leaving her looking run down and crazy. Forget ever going on a swim. That’d be a disaster!

But growing them in is a test in patience and humility. Patches of dark hair will pop up unevenly in undesired places—off the beaten brow. Her decision to make friends with her razor had sealed her own fate: Either she will have to endure the embarrassment of a scrappy looking halfbrow for a good couple of months weeks while she waits for her hair to completely grow back or she’ll have to resign herself to getting up earlier to pencil in that damn brow.

Monday, July 31, 2006

McSorley's Old Ale House

This past weekend, I was in NYC to perform a little long form improv. For a large part of my short 48 hours visit, I was alone. Not in a lonely, sad way; I'm fairly independent and not afraid of being alone. But I lacked the funds and complete knowledge to know what to do for a random hour, so there were times, I'll admit, I was a little bored. Not to mention more than a little hot. With temperatures in the high 90's, New York was a sweltering, sweaty and smelly mess. I lost my desire to move. But, excuses aside: boredom is a sin--especially while on vacation.

I'm very comfortable in Manhattan. I know my way around on the subway and, with the exception of Harlem, I'm pretty well-travelled on the island. So on Sunday afternoon, with 3 hours to spare before my last show, I wandered off to Astor Place in search of McSorelys Old Ale House. Established in 1854, its the oldest continuously operating bar in NYC. And it really hasn't changed a bit.

I first read about it in Joseph Mitchell's "Up in the Old Hotel," a compilation of essays and articles, many of which he wrote for the New Yorker in the 1930's and '40s. Even in the article, Mitchell alludes to a feeling of stepping back in time in McSorely's tavern. I promised myself to stop in, so on Sunday afternoon, with no one to sip an ale with, I went down to SoHo to see what it was all about.

I walked in, looked around. The sawdust floor was soft under my feet. The smell was uniquely 150 years of spilt ale and tobacco smoke. In the bright afternoon, the room was dark and filled with quietly talking patrons. The air was dusty, and though smoking is no longer legal in NYC bars, I could almost imagine it thick with pipe smoke. I took it in for a few short moments and then walked out.

On my way out, a drunk regular asked me where I was going so fast, "Grab a beer and stay a while." Caught off guard I replied, "I'm looking for a friend."

He grandly waved his hand to the large black dog tied to the bar, "Your friends are here."

"Hi, Dog" I said, not wanting to be rude. His dog, like its owner, had sad, friendly eyes. Then I smiled and said goodbye.

I truly regret that I didn't pull up a stool and start talking with this nice man. Instead, I put on this whole, "One shouldn't drink by onesself at a bar". I should have been more fearless. For someone who loves people (and reading stories about people) I'm so shy sometimes. I probably would have brought home with me some interesting stories--tales of strangers, like those I love to read in the Joseph Mitchell book. But intead, I came home with a lesson learned: put yourself out there. You only live once. You will be rewarded as long as you aren't wreckless about it.

Check out this link

Monday, July 17, 2006

I am here, you just can't see me.

I am working on several projects that are taking up much of my time. But I am still here, lurking in the shadows. More to come soon.

Thank you for stopping in!

Monday, July 03, 2006

A Realization

Her mother never dreamed she would see her daughter drunk in a hot tub, engaged in foreplay to a house orgy, but ever "The Real World" season started her mother began to realize her daughter wasn’t who she appeared to be during family dinners at the kitchen table.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

A Beautiful Sight!

A bike ride along the lake on a hot summer day. A posse of skater boys slogging up the hill on their boards. I am coasting down with the wind in my hair. I pass 30 or so hot faced fellas skating in a band under the glaring summer sun. That’s a lot of skaters to see in one place. An assault of the senses, they continue to go by. 50 red cheeked dudes, ages 10 to 35, pushing down the trail, their collective wheels roaring loudly. 200 guys with long, hair and dirty jeans, propelling themselves onward on all sorts of boards and wheels. 500 men and boys, with their hair glued to their faces with sweat, skating together.

Ten minutes and over 2 miles later, the skater procession keeps coming. All in all, a parade of nearly a thousand boys on skateboards. All unseeingly unaware of the power in their numbers, most unassuming youth.

It’s a scene from a movie. A seventies movie, its film has faded with time, too much cyan and magenta. Its stars all raw and pure, a mix of innocence and corruption. Salty, sweaty air, the wind and their wheels a loud howl in my ears, the sun searing my skin and broiling my blood. A spectacle to behold! I am giddy with delight. My 14 year old self would have been blushing.

Friday, June 02, 2006

The Lost Sock

When I was transferring my laundry from washing machine to dryer, I discovered that a tiny baby sock accidentally had been washed in my load. It must have been separated from the washer’s previous batch. (I pictured a baby doing his own laundry. Imagine a baby sized washer and dryer! It’s too much to bear.)

I decided I would dry the little sock and leave it on the counter for its owner to claim. My heart melted into a puddle when I felt its thick white cotton in my hand. Imagine teensy toes nestled inside the sock. My ovaries twitched.

When it came time to pull my warm dry clothes from the dryer, I inspected the sock once more. It was so warm and soft and fuzzy and it smelled so clean and fresh. I pictured it laying unclaimed on the soap-sticky laundry room counter. Surely the building supervisor would sweep it into the trash after too long. I couldn’t bear that thought. So I did a very emotional and perhaps inappropriate thing: I kept the sock.

When I got up to my room, I felt happy with my decision. It is unlikely that the owner would have realized that the sock was missing until it was too late. My apartment (albeit babyless) is the best home for this little lost sock. My satisfaction was cemented when I found that it fit perfectly on the paw of Asta, my wire fox terrier stuffed animal with the name “Asta” embroidered on the colorful kerchief around his neck. I’ve always loved to hold onto Asta’s front paw, I derive a lot of comfort in that. Now it is especially warm, soft and squishy when squeezed.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

My Dark Secret

I have a dark secret: I stalk my neighbor’s dog. His name is Toby and he’s a wire fox terrier. The dog, that is, not my neighbor. My neighbor is a nice elderly man named Mark. I know this because when I first introduced myself to Toby, Mark offered his name and address. Mark is married to Anna who is equally warm to strangers such as me.

Toby is a good dog. He has curly white hair with caramel and grey spots and a cute black nose that wriggles and sniffs. He has a little clipped tail nub that wags when he’s petted. He likes to walk on a leash, bark at squirrels, walk over to groups of people to see what all the fuss is about, but mostly he can be found patiently watching his parents as they stop to talk with other neighbors. On the rare occasion when Mark and Anna are taking a walk without him, he likes to sit in their front window and watch them to make sure they're okay. His two front paws will be rested on the windowsill and his little nose will be fogging up the glass. He can barely reach the window. That is my favorite glimpse of Toby and the scene I watch. I've been known to ask my sweetie, Chris, “What goes on in that house?” prompting him to reply, "Toby lives there." Maybe, I do that every single time I pass his house? What's wrong with that?

Mark doesn’t know that I am infatuated with his dog. Sure, I’ll stop him on the street every time I see him. I’ll admit, to get Toby’s attention, I often make high pitched squeals that only a dog can hear. All right, I spy on him out of my 4th floor window and run down the stairs to the street, where I’ll coolly walk by him as if I’m going about my business and just happened upon his company. But Mark doesn’t know all of that.

Of course, I’ve told Mark and Anna, on numerous occasions, that I love wire fox terriers and have loved them ever since I saw the famous movie dog, Asta, in the 30’s screwball comedy, The Thin Man. But they are both aging and do not remember my stories, thus. I’m casual during my encounters; When Mark points to his apartment and tells me to stop by anytime for the name of Toby’s breeder, I crane my neck and ask, “Now, where do you live again?” as if I haven’t figured out this information on my own and pass by his window daily to spy on his pup. To be safe, I'm sure to lament that I’m not allowed to have pets in my apartment. Nor do I have the time to care for a puppy, I'll say sadly, hoping he'll offer to let me come by and play with Toby.

But, Toby knows that I love him. Although he doesn’t think I know he knows. I can see a twinkle in his eye every time I see him. When I walk past him, he nonchalantly sniffs my leg. His tail perks up and his head cocks to the left when I’m within his eyeshot and, on occasion, he’s even looked up to my fourth floor apartment window.

I mean, really, does it count as stalking if the Stalked is also in love with the Stalker??! No offense to sweet Mark and Anna, but Toby and I are meant for one another and we both know it. He just doesn’t know how to say it yet. But he will. Oh, he will.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

For Sale: Luxury High Rise Condominiums

For the couple of weeks, construction crews have been dismantling one of my favorite buildings in Chicago. I haven’t been able to tell if anyone has lived in the building for the last 2 years that I've lived nearby. Although it seemed to be okay structurally, boards went up over the lower floors’ windows about a year ago. I would walk past the house and fantasize about the al fresco dinners I could have on one of its terraces and dream of the vintage ports I could savor inside in its sitting room.

It was a very stately brick building, probably built in the 1950s. While it had the air of a single-family home, its grandness led me to believe it was comprised of several luxury units. The building’s log spanned two streets so that it had two entrances; one on my street and another on the next street over. It was nestled that way between two towering apartment buildings, Charleston-style, so that the side of the building, with its shuttered windows and porticos, was actually the front of the building. The walls that faced the street, although stacked upon one another at different stair step levels, were relatively unornamented as though they were actually the sides of the building.

Earlier this year, I noticed two tall pylons had been erected on the street side of the building. I grew excited. Obviously, someone who saw in that building the same potential that I had seen was going to fix it up so that I may one day inhabit it. But a week later, a mammoth advertisement was slug between them. “For Sale: Luxury High Rise Condominiums.” I drooped when I first walked past it. Chicago doesn’t need anymore luxury high rise condos. What we need is more quirky, but stately buildings like the one on its deathbed behind that ugly sign.

The building remained untouched for several months. I was relieved when the sign was knocked down in a windy storm. It was never replaced on my street side. I hoped that the investors had backed out or the building was saved by folks as caring as me. It wasn’t until I was riding past the next street over that I noticed that the sign had been re-built at the building’s second entrance. That street has more traffic. More traffic meant more money.

Then, about a month ago, the construction crews came. Every morning, I heard their destruction from my room while I was getting ready to go to work. Loud and ugly sounds. Scraping and tearing and banging. I couldn’t stand to think about my future beautiful terraces being smashed to the ground.

On my way to work I surveyed the damage and my sadness was replaced by awe. It is rare to get to see a literal cross section of a building. As each day came and went, new treasures were uncovered. A powder blue tiled bathroom with a crystal chandelier; Scarlet velvet covered bedroom walls that conjured Rosemary’s Baby-esque images; Mahogany kitchens fit for a chef; interior windows acting as portals to other rooms. Everyday, I stopped and read these stories of past-tenants lives. Each room was every bit as quirky as the building’s exterior and told a very particular tale of its inhabitants’ existence; a story of which I wanted to be a part.

I kept telling myself that I was going to take photographs of these rooms. I imagined that my photographs would reveal mysterious “mists” in each room, the ghosts of residents’ past. But I never got around to taking those photographs. In some way, I think that is appropriate to the life and death of that building.

Then last week, on my way home from the bus, I saw that the building was completely gone. All that is left is a flat, barren and dusty lot. And an ugly sign that says, “For Sale: Luxury High Rise Condominiums.”

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Lost Dialogue

. . .

GLENN: I used to go muddin’ in my daddy’s pickup without his permission when I was 17. ... As mayor I believe we should help those in our community who may have alcohol or drug problems or mental illness. We should help them to get better, we shouldn’t lock them up. Unless they’re drunk or bothering other people with their illness. I had a father--

LORI BETH: Awww. Bless your heart.

GLENN: (Confused.) Thank you. (Back to the matter at hand.) I had a father who had dementia, which can be a mental illness. He would sometimes believe that people were in his house with guns and were about to kidnap him.

LORI BETH: (Matter-of-factly) I was kidnapped once.

GLENN: When was this?

LORI BETH: Two weeks ago. But enough about me. You know what sounds like dementia? Paprika. (Sprinkles Paprika on biscuits they are making.)

LORI BETH: (Awed) Are those your real eyes?

GLENN: (Pause) Oh! You mean my colored contacts. Without them, my eyes are a dull gray. Certainly not swimming-pool-blue like Paul Newman’s.

LORI BETH: (Alarmed) He was in a swimming pool?

GLENN: At some point I’m sure he was. He probably even has a pool. But I was referring to his eyes.

LORI BETH: I love Henley.

GLENN: (good-naturedly) Well, as mayor I bet I love it more.

LORI BETH: (laughing) No, I love it more.

GLENN: (laughing) No, I disagree. I love it more.

LORI BETH: (still laughing) No, I love it more!!!

GLENN: Well, then ... I guess we’re at a stalemate.

LORI BETH: What’s a stalemate?

GLENN: Well, it’s when two people ... you know what? You win. You love Henley more.

. . .

(Written by Carrie Barrett and Robert Cass)

Monday, May 29, 2006

Selling Out

I dislike the term “sellout”. It doesn't really mean anything to me. Its a blurry, shady area that is almost impossible to define because we can never truly know the motivation of others. Likewise, it is difficult to uncover the real driving force behind our own actions. Only rarely does time allow us the genuine objectivity needed to expose the truth behind our own reasons for making any given decision. Or maybe I'm just terrified of being a sellout. I definitely have it in me.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Over a year ago I wrote this email to my Sweetie:

Last night, I was researching old Chicago night spots when I recalled that one of these old haunts still remains intact in the basement of my old dwelling on Astor Street. As you may remember, The Astor Tower was once an extension of the famous Ambassador East Hotel. It was alike in its chic, but it was reserved for long-term guests – many of them entertainers with longer Chicago engagements. It was the stage for the major Beatles press conference wherein John apologized for declaring that the Beatles were bigger than Christ. It has a history of its own.

When I lived on Astor Street, I was fascinated by this old basement haunt. Its only entrance was through the back doors of the building, from which I only exited once – when I was escorting my mother’s friend, Robyn, to the car. I only caught a shadowy glimpse of its entrance. The bright red carpet in the entryway was only a tiny indication to the rest of the restaurant, but it spoke volumes of another era - one filled with a lively and elite set of Chicago’s finest. Robyn told me that it was an exact replica of Maxim’s de Paris, a very famous restaurant in, you guessed it, Paris. She also mentioned that it was only used for private events.

During the year and a half that I lived there, I only recollect Maxim’s being used twice. One of these times, I was stared down by a gang of strong men in tailored blue suits. As I walked outside, I saw that the street had been barricaded and there were helicopters flying overhead. Naturally, I was very curious as to what was happening. It was an hour or so later than I got my answer: President Bill Clinton was in town and was being entertained at Maxim’s. If my memory serves me, it was also used months later for a wedding reception.

So I knew that it was still being used, and was nice enough to accommodate the President on one of his rare visits. But, I didn’t know the full story behind it until last night, when I came across this website:

Now, as you can imagine, I am fully obsessed with it.

I am getting married in Maxim's in November.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Please call me Henri

I am eating what I believe to be Old Frenchman's Lunch. Two thin slices of dense rye bread, bits of cheese, green olives, a mini cucumber and yellow melon. I think its the best lunch I've ever had. If only I had a glass of red to go with it.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Quitting Is for Quitters; I Am Not a Quitter

Riding one’s bike against 20-30 mile per hour gusts is not as easy as one might think. One might have made the mistake of bicycling downwind on the first leg of one’s journey only to find that the ease that one found on one’s arrival was quickly and painfully diminished upon departure into a now blustery bike trail. If one is not an avid bicyclist (or an avid exercisist, for that matter) one might find that one must downshift to a very low gear so that one’s thighs do not burn in a matter befitting only hell. One who is out of shape might find that a jogger is running alongside one’s bicycle at the same speed yet with much less difficulty and a smile on his face. One might have to set aside one’s pride and health and either endure this slow and painful route or realize that walking one’s bike might prove to be easier. In the case of this one, one persevered with clinched jaw and sweating brow and last night slept like an exhausted baby.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006


As I walked down Lake street I was showered soap bubbles falling from the sky. I looked up to see that high above me, hundreds of feet in the air, were 3 harnassed window washers, zipping up and down on their thick soft ropes, surrounded in bubbles.

Monday, May 22, 2006

The Awesome Andersons

Jenni Anderson doesn’t want to spin 14 hula-hoops while standing on top of a chair that is teetering on her jumping father’s forehead. She wants to be getting rides to the mall from her friend Katie’s older brother, Thom. She doesn’t want to juggle freshly sharpened machetes while walking a tightrope held by her brother Russell and Uncle Eugene, who are balancing on huge brightly colored balls. She’d rather be wearing pink a lip gloss to Rec League baseball games to look at cute boys baseball caps. Why is she swallowing a flaming torch while submerged in a tank of sharks when she could be lying by her friend Christina’s pool and eating Fruit Roll-ups and tater tots? Jenni should be doing all of the things her friends instant message her about, but instead she’s stuffed in her family’s cramped RV, touring between waterlogged towns and musty theatres that have seen a better years.

She’s sick of answering awed audience members’ questions about her young age (14) and when she learned how to contort her body into a heart shaped medallion that swings from a cable in the air (She was 3). And if she has to take one more Polaroid with old ladies in green plastic visors and American flag t-shirts she’s going to scream. In the winter, she had to miss her favorite shows to train and now she has to miss reruns to her favorite shows to tour. But how can she stop? It’s what pays for her new Gameboy system, her father reminds her while he sharpens the Machetes, and if she didn’t tour with the family where would she stay?

Besides, her Mother repeats while sitting twisted like a pretzel at the RV kitchen table, everyone knows that she’s the most popular attraction.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Hotmail Haiku

Hotmail is for fucks!
Years of memories erased
All because they suck.

Thursday, May 18, 2006


The lady on the bus informed us that something was going on with Pluto and secrets now are being revealed. This angered one of the woman with whom she was in accord, just moments earlier, in a jolly rabble rousing exchange about the travesties of modern corporations. The middle section of the bus, all strangers, had struck up a group discussion about Haliburton and Enron when the Pluto comment was made.

“So you’re saying that Kenneth Lay and Jeffrey Skilling did all of that stuff because Pluto told them to?” Her transformation from warm to frigid was easy and immediate. “You’re saying that a rock has feelings?”

“I’m sorry, a rock?”

“Yes! Pluto is a rock! It’s a rock and it doesn’t make people do things! People are in control of their destinies. Not rocks!” Ms Volatile looked away, shaking her head as if she just had seen someone lick a dumpster.

“Oh, no, I didn’t mean that Pluto made them do it--certainly not--we’re in control of our lives. We all do what we want to. I just meant that the stars are aligned in such a way that those bad guys aren’t getting away with it this time because Pluto won’t let them.”

“That is ridiculous. Absolutely ridiculous. That’s one of the stupidest things I’ve ever heard.”

The other conversationalists looked away partly with pity for Ms Pluto and also with fear for Ms Volatile’s unanticipated wrath. Ms Pluto was visibly flustered, but she maintained her original stance.

“Well, we are made of the earth and the earth is made of the stars. The sun and the moon control the tides. And we are made up of nearly 80% water, so of course we’re all connected in some way. But you don’t believe in astrology, so...”

“You’re right. I don’t believe that stuff. I make my own choices.”

After a long awkward silence, Ms Volatile gathered her stuff and moved to a seat at the front where she wouldn’t be bothered. Ms Pluto immediately turned her attention to the window. The streets of Chicago were flocked with sun fed people happily shopping, cycling and otherwise enjoying the beautiful day.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

For Real: I Overheard a Guy Walking Down the Street Yelling This into His Phone...

...He was all the way across the street, but I heard every word. He was carrying leftovers.

"I had my first slump buster last week. Brutal. She looked like Chewbacca. She had to be the ugliest fucking girl in Chicago. I busted a nut, but when I looked down there was blood. She was on the rag. Dan was busting my chops for days about it. It was so brutal. She was so fucking ugly. If she had been skinny, it wouldn't have been so bad, but she was fuckin fat."


Tuesday, May 16, 2006

The TV

When I was young, my parents had a very peculiar old TV in their bedroom. While it wasn't so old that it had its own built-in hutch, it was old enough to be a relic. It was given to my parents by my grandparents and, since the early 1970’s, had remained perched atop a rickety TV stand at the foot of their bed.

In his working days, my mother's father was a successful home builder with his own construction company and is, to this day, known for being a very kind and generous man. When his friend, the owner of a competing company, fell ill and lay dying in the hospital alone with no family to care for him, my grandfather was there to comfort him. He would get his sick friend anything he needed, my grandfather. He wanted a color TV, his friend.

Despite the fact that the sick friend was bleeding rich and could afford about 100 TV’s with enough chump change left over to buy a fast car, my grandfather granted his request by buying him the best TV he could find, a very state of the art color TV with remote control, and installed it next to his bed in his private hospital room. Sadly, the TV didn’t get much of a workout, as the friend passed away shortly after the TV’s introduction. The TV was given to my parents, still a young couple.

The TV was peculiar because it was a color TV in a black and white TV’s shell, in that it couldn’t hold a signal, was blue around the edges, was just as archaic as any old black and white. It was heavy, made of metal and plastic, with a column of big silver dials. The remote was a big black plastic box with one big white button on it that, when pressed, would make a loud clicking noise that would turn the top channel dial. It would turn the TV on, cycle through all 12 channels, and then once the rotation was complete it would turn the TV off and so forth. A sound activated remote—the Clapper’s predecessor.

After a while, the TV started to fall apart. The antenna broke off, in its place went a metal wire dry cleaner hanger propped up against the door molding. And the knobs eventually fell off exposing a scary metal shaft that would only turn with the aid of my father’s strong hands and a wrench. So often, when I wanted to watch TV in my parents’ room in myself, I would need to get creative. By this time, the cover of the remote had also broken, exposing a metal coil that would make that loud clicking noise to which the TV would respond. After a few years of manually clicking the TV on and off, the coil came out and was lost.

This presented a problem; the TV could not be turned on and off unless my father volunteered to stop his hard-earned maxing and relaxing and come up to be my TV slave. “Yeah. Right.” So I did what any normal TV-grubbing child would do and I reached into my dad’s big glass jug filled with spare change and I shook the hell out of it until it made the same frequency of noise that remote made and the TV would spring to life.

I would like to say that I am the genius who discovered this, but alas, I am not. It was discovered by accident; whenever my father would shake the jar to add up his change, the TV would pop on.

Watching TV in my parents’ room took a lot of practice as the channels would erratically change at seemingly arbitrary moments when the many coins were clanging around. The worst was trying to turn it off. Sometimes, the shaking would mean that it would click off, and then on again, because it is hard to shake a jug of coins with precision. But by the time I got to middle school, I had perfected the art of channel “changing.” (Pun totally intended.) I discovered that you could get more control if you put a piled a bunch of change on the floor and dropped several quarters at a time into the pile. That seemed to do the trick just fine. But it took many frustrating attempts at watching Wheel of Fortune to get to that point.

The TV remained a fixture in my parents’ bedroom until the early 1990s, when my father and mother got a divorce and much of the house was dismantled and re-decorated as the households shifted. The old curtains went down, new ones went up and new furniture was brought in to fill in the gaps left by the old half leaving. The old TV was put out to pasture, along with other childhood relics; green plastic tubs filled with Lego blocks, baby dolls and tea party sets. But there is still a place in my heart for that damn TV.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Recurring Dream

I used to have this very scary recurring dream. I haven’t had it in years. In fact, when I think of it, I see it through the eyes of my seven-year-old self, which is to say that I don’t remember the details of it. I remember the color red. And black. And a huge mass—perhaps a rubber band ball—that is twirling and turning and wrapping around something. Although I can see it from a bird’s eye view, that something it's enveloping feels like me. I am in the middle of this vice as it is clamping down on me in slow motion. Meanwhile, I hear a cacophony of sounds, tinny sounds that are slightly louder and faster and higher in pitch than they are in reality. I simultaneously hear people talking, dogs barking, music playing, ambient noise; all jumbled together like an excerpt of Revolution #9. And when I’d wake up, startled having sweat through my nightgown, I’d not be able to shake that horrible feeling--that I was slowly being suffocated while the dissonant sounds of the world whizzed around me.

Naturally, I would run to my parents’ room to ask for comfort. “I had a bad dream,” I would tell my mother. “What was it about?” she sleepily would reply. Not knowing how to describe what I had just experienced, I would tell her I had a dream wherein I was in a car that was rolling down a hill and I couldn’t make it stop.

Clever, you are thinking, that I could improvise on the spot such a realistic alternative dream. Not really. As it were, my mother had mentioned to me that she had a recurring dream as a child. In this dream, she was trapped in a car with another little girl unable to apply the breaks while the car was rolling backwards. In her dream, her father could be seen on the horizon clutching his stomach, doubled over in pain. I thought that telling her that we shared the same recurring dream would make her sympathize with my pain. For the most part, I was right. Upon hearing the story, she would often let me sleep in the bed with her, whereas she’d usually turn me away when I woke her for other reasons.

The more interesting part in regards to my mother’s recurring dream is that, after 5 or so years of having this dream and explaining it to her mother, it came to life. When she was about 11 years old, her parents moved into a house on the hill. By this time, she had 2 sisters. One of them, Lynne, was in playing with her in their father’s station wagon, parked on the circular driveway in front of the house. Something happened, my mother pulled the emergency brake or shifted gears, and the car started rolling backwards. Both girls were screaming, my mother yelling, “My dream! My dream!” The car rolled down the driveway and into the street, where it slowly came to a halt. Thank God there were no oncoming cars speeding around the bend. Upon hearing the story, my grandmother immediately recognized the similarities between the dream (as told to her by my mother) and the real-life event. That night, my grandfather had to be hospitalized with what turned out to be a bleeding ulcer, making the reenactment of my mother’s dream complete.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Her fingernails

While he was cleaning up his desk, he came across a sliver of her fingernail. It had been flung across the desk by the force of clamping clippers. She used to absentmindedly groom herself—trim her fingernails and toenails and pick her nose and pimples-while sitting in front of the computer. It was cute. But today, the site of the yellowed fingernail made his stomach lurch. He ran to the bathroom and vomited into the sink. Was it or wasn’t it a myth that one’s fingernails keep growing after death?

Thursday, May 11, 2006

What a drip!

Me, that is. I’m the drip. I’ve spent the better half of my morning fervently reading “Guide to Grammar and Style” by Jack Lynch.

Juicier than any issue of USWeekly, the Guide has pretty much everything you’d need to know about the proper use, or, as Mr Lynch would prefer, the widely accepted use of English language. Too bad my memory is such that next month I’ll be back to bugging my copyeditor with non-work related grammar questions. I love to see the look on her face when, thinking that my questions are in regards to work, she asks, “Now, who wants to know the definition of an antecedent?”

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

A short treatise on the word “Frond”

Frond. Unless you are a botanist, I don't see a need to use this word. Of course, I think choosing the right word is important. It just seems to me that this word is used only in conjunction with romanticizing an event.

"We had a little picnic under a palm frond."
"Oh, the party was gorgeous! Each table was set with Waterford and fern fronds. A real top-shelf event!"
"Hark! To hell my broken heart goes flying with wings of tree fronds.”

Its not that I am irritated by the sound of this word, such as the case of “Swab” and “Hoist” and “Adhere.” It makes a rather pleasing shape with the mouth as it rolls off the tongue. Frond. Fronds. I’ll admit, yes, its nice. And I like fronds as objects. I spend hours in conservatories, digging the hell out of both fern and palm. What city dweller hasn’t enjoyed a surprise encounter with a beautiful green frond? Show me who, and I’ll show you a cold-hearted bastard.

My dislike of the word is simply a tragedy of associating it with type of people who would use this word in casual conversation. You know who I’m talking about: Girls in gauzy dresses who are always casting nasty looks and writing in their leather-bound journals; Beige-suited meeting planners who pride themselves as “animal lovers” “well traveled” and “friends with homosexuals” although they don’t own an animal, have never stamped their passport and the only homosexual they know is their hairdresser or temporary co-worker; Creepy men who stalk their ex-girlfriends; Murders; Rapists; and Baby Torturers.

It’s sort of like the name "Mandy." I've had a handful of bad experiences with different persons of this name--excepting, of course, Mandy Patinkin who is great in Princess Bride and Crestor commercials alike. But, alas, I just cannot come to love that name. I shudder to think I was almost named Mandy.

To you, if you are a user of this word, may I suggest a few synonyms (as gathered from Roget’s Thesaurus): blade, bract, flag, foliole, frond, leaflet, needle, pad, petal, petiole, scale, stalk, stipule. I would give special consideration to using “foliole,” “petiole,” and “stipule.”

“I cannot see through all those folioles!”
“I’m happy to have the shade from these petioles!”
“Damnit! That stipule just poked me in the eye!”

Muuuuuuuch better, indeed.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

“I have a long stride, so I have to wear pleated skirts,”

...said the woman on the phone who called me mistaking my work line for a Pharmaceutical Drug Assistance Program Hotline. She has always lived within her means, always cooks at home, never buys prepared foods and never dines out. She sews all of her clothes (she has a long stride, so she has to wear pleated skirts) and always hangs them dry. Sometimes that’s tricky—when her clothes are still wet and she’s got to go to work. But it saves money. Since the age of 14, she has worked, most recently in Manhattan at her son’s jewelry store. She wouldn’t be working there, but her daughter-in-law “got a bleeding brain” so she’s helping out. Its all okay, though. God has graced her with a beautiful family. Every day she counts her blessings. She does not want to do anything illegal or lie or cheat but if it’s on the straight and narrow, she’d like to find out more about this drug assistance program. Her doctor ensures her that she’s doing the right thing in calling, because she needs these drugs, but she feels really nervous about it. Its not something she’s comfortable with—taking handouts.

Monday, May 08, 2006

The Urban Witch

The Urban Witch walks about the streets of Chicago, waiting for mothers to turn their backs on their children. The Urban Witch has hair the color of raw steel that sweeps her waist. Taking utmost pride in it, she is sure to tangle it 100 times before bedtime. Her skin is draped about her face like tanned leather over skull. Taking utmost pride in it, she is sure to dry it out in front of a smoldering radiator for at least 2 hours a day. Her nails are yellowed and clubbed and caked with grime. Taking utmost pride in them, she is sure to gnaw at her cuticles upon waking every morning.

When she walks the sound of a tuba waltz echoes off the skyscrapers. Little ones look up from their ice-cream cones and lollipops to see the source of this music. Is there a circus in town? The wind kicks up in salute, disguising itself as a cold artic gust off the shores of Lake Michigan. The sun fearfully ducks behind a cloud. Birds, perched in rustling trees above, hush their song uneasily to watch her pick her next prey. The Urban Witch’s icy blue eyes are alert, darting from side to side, and waiting. Her pointed ears are listening for sounds of laughter. Her sharp cliff of a nose is worming and twisting to the scent of fresh-washed ears and baby powder wafting in the breeze.

Just as Mom turns around to ensure that her mocha will be served “sans whip,” the Urban Witch will briskly snatch her little apple cheeked darlings and take them back to her Urban Witchhole, her studio apartment in Uptown. Her little Hate Nest smells like cat pee and coffee and cigarettes and grapefruit and steak and is cluttered with a jungle of plants in macramé holders that have been trying their damndest, for over 15 years, to end their own misery. She will deposit each screaming toddler in his own antique curio cabinet, where they will stay until there are no longer cute. Then she will chop them up and eat them in a stew.

Friday, May 05, 2006

The Sage

My friend, Robert, wrote me to tell me that while packing for an upcoming move, he came across a book about Photography that I loaned him over a year ago. Apparently, during a subsequent conversation about borrowing and returning objects, I had said that I wasn’t any rush to get it back, but that he shouldn’t move with it.

I was surprised to hear that I had specifically advised against that. Although its sound advice, it’s not something that might come to my mind these days. But then again, I’m not surprised that I gave that recommendation I do love to give advice, suggestions, alternatives, etc. about pretty much anything.

“Always make the bed with hospital corners.”
“You should try putting cumin and nutmeg in your spinach.”
“You have a headache, eh. Are you dehydrated? Maybe you should try drinking water.”
“Here’s a great shortcut to the theatre.”
“A good iron and ironing board is a great investment.”
“I have the payroll clerk wire money into my savings account before I see it. That way I don’t miss it.”
“You should watch The Wire. It’s the best kept secret on the boob tube.”

Not only is this surely annoying, but also it often results with me having to put my foot in my mouth. More than once have I been caught red handed by friends who tell me that I once recommended a certain course of action, despite the fact that I myself have never done things said way.

“Practice what you preach.”

I certainly don’t follow that one. Case in Point #1

Carrie: Why are you putting the pillow cases on the pillows in that odd fashion?
Fiancé: Because you told me to do it that way.
Carrie: Really? When?
Fiancé: Last year. When we first moved in.
Carrie: Oh, that's smart. I'll have to start doing it that way.

Case in Point #2

Friend: I think of you every time I put on my mascara.
Carrie: Oh yeah? How come?
Friend: Because in high school, when you were doing my make-up, you told me that you should always put mascara on both sides of your top lash line.
That way, when you blink or look down your lashes are dark on both sides. And they look thicker.
Carrie: Really? I’ve seen that done before, but I haven’t done that in a while. I should start trying that!

(It really works, by the way.)

It’s no surprise that I’ve turned out like this. I’ve always been bossy. “A Leader” as my gifted specialist mother would say. And I have always been fascinated with “How To”. Saturday morning cartoons were for babies; I watched Bob Villa’s “This Old House”, Bob Ross’s “Joy of Painting” and “Quilting” by that lady who talked like she had had a stroke. Afterwards, I used to hole myself up in my bedroom for hours, pretending I was on a DIY television show about any number of activities:

How to Clean up Your Room
How to Decorate Your Wicker Trunk as if it were on the Cover of a Holiday Card
How to Write Carbon Copies of Things Like That Secretary in Granddaddy’s Office

Put me in the kitchen and I was a regular TV chef:

How to Scoop Mashed Potatoes with an Ice Cream Scoop Like They Do at School
How to Put Spices in Little Bowls Like They Do in Cooking Shows
How to Cut Cucumbers Like You Learned From Your Aunt

And it didn’t stop in the bathroom:

How To Wash Your Hair Correctly
How To Make Tonics Out of Things in Your Mom’s Medicine Cabinet
Bathroom Safety: How To.

So I am not to blame, you see. It was my upbringing. For as long as I can remember, giving advice has been programmed in my brain.

“Don’t make excuses for yourself. Just own up to your faults.”

Yeah. Right.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Your Wedding

You would meet at a dance. He was from the north. A Yankee stationed near your hometown. He thought you were pretty. He made you laugh. You might go out for drinks. If you lived in a big city--or if you were from a small town and came from a bad home--you might spend the night together. Dancing or walking and sitting on a park bench together, you would fall in love. You would write love letters to one another. You would gaze into each others eyes.

When the timing was right, after a few months or a year, he might write you a letter. Or he might propose while visiting you after the war. Would you be his bride? He’d present you with an engraved wristwatch. Or a ring. Or he’d offer a promise for a better future. Accepting that wristwatch, you would say yes. In your return letter, you would make arrangements. You would write a letter to your mother to tell her that you were engaged.

A month or two would pass. You were anxiously awaiting the ceremony. You might get married in your family church. Or you would have a small ceremony in a courtroom or in the country by a babbling brook. You’d wear a new suit with fresh stockings. Or an invory dress with a white hat. Afterward, your sister would have arranged a luncheon for you. Or you’d adjourn to the Fellowship Hall to have punch and cake. The cake would be wonderful. Smooth, white icing with ribbons and roses made of frosting. You would be too excited to finish your lunch. You’d spend most of it referring to your husband and laughing and hugging your friends and relatives. You were married.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

A Proud Moment

Today is a big day for me. A day wherein I did something of which I am tremendously proud: I ate spoiled cottage cheese.

Gone are the days of yore when I would anxiously throw out milk the night before its expiration date. I’ve said good-bye to wasting Perfectly Good Food on the trash can for fear of food poisioning. After today, I can no longer say I’m a freak about Possibly Tainted Food. Because I’m not; Today, I ate suspect cottage cheese.

The expiration date had yet to come, but I wasn’t sure when the package was opened. My old self, I called Chris to confirm that date. He said it was it was opened about 5 days ago. We buy the organic kind. Real Food spoils rapidly, you know. I suscpiciously eyed the little hand-dipped tub of tiny curds, trying to discern whether or not it was trustworthy. Cottage cheese is my friend, I told myself. He would never hurt you. And despite the fact that it was questionably old and had been sitting at room temperature for 2 hours, I ate it. And I enjoyed it. And, for once, I wouldn’t let myself be nervous about it.

The 5 hours that followed were blissful, peaceful hours. Sunny skies and smooth sailing. But shortly after lunch, just as the cold and dampness settled on the city and large back thunderclouds blackened the skies above my office, my stomach started gurgling. And burbling. And bubbling. And Sloshing. And all of those other unpleasant things that one’s GI tract does to tell one that Something Is Rotten in Demark, were Denmark one’s bowels and that Something cottage cheese.

I will spare you the sordid details and simply say that I had one hell of an afternoon. Thanks to the power of adrenaline, my discomfort subsided long enough to audition for a Comedy Central pilot about an automotive body shop. (The irony being that I’m the one who needs the tune up.)

For as much as I my insides are now grieving and as largely the thought of food currently makes me want to vomit--a thought that would normally send me on a tailspin, as any one of my 2 consistent readers/friends would know—I am proud of myself for taking that risk. Because the cottage cheese tasted real good and the product is that I feel empowered (if not empty and lightheaded).

This isn’t so bad after all. I survived today, I can survive tomorrow. With that having been said, the first thing I'm going to do when I get home is to throw out the rest of the offending cottage cheese.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

The Sidewalk Astronomer

After my show last night, on the way to the bar, the castmates and I came across a man standing on the sidewalk next to a large telescope on a sturdy tripod. Initially, I gave little more than a smile to this man and his telescope. I was distracted by the barking beagle tied with a rope to the parking meter next to the telescope. The beagle was in a staring match with a tall, leathery homeless man who appeared to be in his 50s and who was standing across the sidewalk next to the entrance to the theatre. It seemed as if these two were communicating with one another: the man, telling the beagle to scram and the beagle barking his reply that he was here first.

But when we walked past the man with the telescope, on the way to the bar, my friend and castmate, Jeff, craned his neck up into the sky to look at the moon. It was slightly obscured by the 5 story building we just exited. Joe, another friend and castmate, stopped to talk with the man with the telescope. It wasn’t until I looked back at him that I saw a brown boxboard sign hanging from the front of the telescope. It read, “Sidewalk Astronomy Club: Look at the Moon” with the word, “FREE” written in mad scientist handwriting at the bottom.

The Sidewalk Astronomer was professorial, with a silver beard and unkempt hair. He has a starry twinkle in his eye. He was wearing a khaki safari vest with various pens and papers stuffed in its many pockets.

“Wow! Is that a waxing gibbous?” my friend Joe asked, still peering into the telescope.

“Yes, it is! You know about the moon!” The Sidewalk Astronomer replied smiling. Joe is a science teacher at an alternative high school in Chicago. They began to talk.

While Joe was talking with The Sidewalk Astronomer about the moon, Jeff and I spent some quality time petting his beagle. The homeless man had left defeated in his staring match. His sweet old eyes looked like his owner’s. He was comfortable with strangers. I imagined many evenings outside spent tied to various light posts and street signs while his over tried to catch glimpses of activity in the starless Chicago sky.

After Joe finished, I took my turn behind the telescope.

The moon was breathtaking. It was bright white and with perfectly crisp edges against the black sky. A small sliver of darkness crept up on the left horizon. There were hundreds of craters. Each crater was sharply outlined in shades of blue-gray. One ridge was especially deep. The sidewalk Astrologer informed me that it was the largest mountain range on the moon.

I have seen many photos of the moon. I have spent many nights on the beach, or in my front yard, or in my car, gazing at the moon. I have seen it through the telescope that my brother had gotten from Santa for Christmas ’86. I have seen photos taken from space. But this was different. It was one of the first mild nights we’d had since winter. A clear, warm night is a May novelty. No wonder The Sidewalk astrologer decided to take to the street. Seeing the moon in this city, surrounded by concrete and car fumes and a scary homeless man with a crazy look in his eye, was a singularly beautiful experience.

“Can you believe it is a quarter of a million miles away? Tonight it looks like you could reach out and touch it,” The Sidewalk Astronomer said while I was taking in its magnificence.

A moth flew in front of it. Amplified by the telescope’s enormous lens, it looked like a bird.

The Sidewalk Astronomer gave us a piece of paper with various star charts on it “These diagrams are pretty up-to-date, although you can’t see any of these constellations in the city.”

We thanked him. He smiled, thanked us and told us to have a good night.

As we walked away, on the way to the bar, I noticed there was a cardboard box between the legs of the telescope’s tripod. I could see that there were a few crinkled dollar bills and some loose change in it, but they were mostly obscured by a few books and papers on astrology that were set on top of the box. I did a mental inventory of my wallet. I didn’t have any small change on me. I didn’t want to make an awkward scene about it.

Later that night, on the way home from that bar, with my belly filled with beer and humus, I walked past the area where he had set up. He and his beagle were gone. I regretted that I didn’t make change to give to The Sidewalk Astronomer. He provided one of the loveliest memories I’ve had in the six years I’ve lived in Chicago.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Mamma Doesn't Always Know

She didn’t know that the free Lysol Sanitizing wipes were provided for customers to wipe off their carts and cart handles. Fox News says that there are more germs on your cart than in your toilet. So her neighborhood grocery store (in conjunction with Lysol) started providing two free containers of Lysol Sanitizing Wipes (in Citrus and Spring Waterfall). By 5pm, they are usually all gone, but she was lucky. There was one left and it was dripping wet with a mixture of Dimethyl Benzyl Ammonium Chloride. She did not see “Not Intended for Personal Hygiene” and “Do Not Use on Food Surfaces” written in bold on the container. She could not read English. So she grabbed her son’s hands and hastily wiped them clean. And then she scrubbed his face with the wipe. He started to cry. His face grew red and blotchy. She admonished him in her native language. He continued crying. She wiped away his tears, threw out the used wipe and left the store. Her son screamed all the way to the car.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Look Man, No Cavities!

In the last year, I have gone through not one, but TWO spools of dental floss.

At work.

That's right. I floss my teeth at work. Unwaxed or waxed, mint or regular. My grill looks good. Ask my dentist. He's also my husband.*

*Not really.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Don't Cha wish the Pussycat Dolls would Bite The Dust? I'm soooo Witu on that.

From L-R: What’s Cool About Re-enacting Child Porn?, Hangs Out With the Older Men In the 7-11 Parking Lot, No Amount of Bleach Will Disinfect That Shit, Being A Bitch Is So Not Cool, Yikes!!!, and Honey I Shrunk My Hoodie!

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Shave That Shit!

That thicket of hair growing like black mold on your chin, it needs to be shaved. That small hairy patch that nestles your lower lip and lounges to the bottom of your chin, leaving your upper lip smooth as a baby’s bottom, it does not love you. It is too lazy to be a full goatee, but still proof that you are a man. Or so you think. I’m sorry to say that so much care should never have been taken in shaving around it.

Tomorrow morning, when you are shaving your upper lip, cheeks and neck, please swipe your razor over your chin and erase it. You will feel liberated. After all, it was the only thing holding you back from being cool.

Hair doesn’t have feelings. Lying in a pile in your trashcan, that hair will never know what came over it. Think of the fun it will have fun swimming in your shower water! What adventures it will have away from your face! You don’t need it. It was weighing you down. You thought you loved it. You thought it separated you from the other starched businessmen in your office. But it didn’t.

Its time to say goodbye.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Forward Colonials!

Remember that time that Price Williams was received those black roses after The Colonials beat the Blue Devils on the road to Regionals? Dead dogs were discovered on high school football players’ doorways and Mothers and Fathers were being woken up in the middle of the night to scratchy, muffled voices telling them to “Watch Your Step.” And the toilet paper. Toilet paper everywhere. You couldn’t drive a block without seeing toilet paper clad trees like flapping in the fall breezes like giant ghosts.

That one teen was stabbed at the championship game. Stabbed! I was over near the concession stand right before it happened. Chowing down on Pixie Sticks and Sugar Daddies. The victim was okay. Or so I heard. My mom quickly herded us to the car and drove us home before the fourth quarter. It was a violent act culminating a terrifying week.

And really what mattered was the trophy. The Colonials beat The Blue Devils on the road to Regionals. For the first and last time since.

Price is probably fat and balding now. But we still relive his stories.

It was awesome.

Monday, April 24, 2006

10 Gruesome Office Injuries

(in no particular order)

1. Stabbing yourself with the scissors that you're delivering to your boss borrow because he's too lazy to walk to the supply closet (Is this what you went to college for?)

2. Lodging a staple in your eye while replacing staples in the automatic stapler in the copy room (You're the only one who replaces them.)

3. Absentmindedly swallowing a thumbtack while eating Kettle Corn style popcorn while you're working at your desk fixing your boss's spreadsheet that won't print correctly (Apparently you're IT.)

4. Hyper extending your knees while trying to move a huge file cabinet filled with 1997 account records that the person who had your job before you should have had stored in Central Filing (What's new?)

5. Crushing your ribs when the rickety supply shelves fall on your while you're trying to move messily opened boxes of file folders to their correct place in the supply closet. (Apparently you're the Office Manager.)

6. Choking on the stringy cheese that's in your Lean Cuisine French Bread Pizza (They were on sale 5 for $9.99.)

7. Amputating your hand while trying to change the over-filled bin in the paper shredder (You're the only one who changes it.)

8. Decapitating yourself while trying to stop a closing elevator door (That bitch inside obviously hit the "CLOSE" button when she saw you.)

9. Electrocuting yourself while trying to un-jam D3, D5, and D7 of the copying machine (You're the only one who un-jams the machine.)

10. Waking up every morning with the realization that your post-college dreams grow more and more faint every day you go into work. (You're not the only one.)

Friday, April 21, 2006

The Writing on the Wall: Real Life Bathroom Graffiti in the Women's Restroom at the Melrose Diner

Fuck those bitches...
Fuck those hoes...
And while you're at it
Fuck those ogres

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Going Out With a Bang: A Real-life Goodbye Email from an Angry Employee

Well, I have just been informed that I am not welcome to come in tomorrow so I wanted to send a goodbye and kudos right now. I wanted to thank [Manager X] and [Manager Y] for the way they have treated me when I declined the [Big Account] offer. Because of this treatment and [Manager X's] treatment of countless other employees I have decided to pursue an interest that I will actually enjoy. Good luck and good ridiance [sic].

Oh and if you want job security I'd leave [Big Account].

Wednesday, April 19, 2006


Every day, I see hundreds of people shoveling food into their mouths with their grubby little hands. Subway hands, dirty diaper hands, masturbation hands. Hands that have scraped gooey bubble gum off the bottom of high heeled pumps. Hands that have wiped crusty snot away from pink noses. Hands that are visibly dirty with auto grease. Hands that are invisibly dirty with their co-worker’s stomach virus.

These hands belong to liberated people, people with naturally strong immune systems, people who just don’t give a fuck where there hands have been.

But me? I am not those people. I cannot bring myself to eat without first washing my hands. I say to myself, “You are crazy. This is life. You will be okay.” But I cannot do it. I will not do it. I need clean hands to eat my food.

I give a fuck. I am uptight.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

This Morning

When I was younger, I took for granted that all people could change. But as I grow older, I've come to accept that people do not change--cannot change--who they are. Our only hope in this regard is that we will learn to accept who we really are. Its the things we do when we try to deny who we truly are that get us into trouble.

Monday, April 17, 2006


As far as I know, my landlord doesn’t live in our building. At least, we mail our rent checks to a residential address in a suburb of Chicago. But from time to time, he will stay in the “Office” on the first floor of my building. I don’t know what that office looks like, but I like to imagine it’s a dimly lit room with a cot, a sink and a hotplate. Sort of like the “Cold Water Flats” I’ve read about in books about New Yorkers in the 1920’s.

The only way I know he stays in this office is because every once in a while, when I’m waiting for the elevator late at night after a night of festivities, I’ve seen him peeping out of the blinds of the interior window. Presumably, to see who is coming in so late. When I turn to see him looking, he quickly moves away from the window. I’ve also noticed steam on that same interior window. Probably a result of cooking beans on the hotplate.

My landlord is a nice guy. This makes me a lucky tenant. I’ve had my fair share of questionable landlords. Like that seemingly nice, responsible couple who failed to repair the lock on our mailbox—even after months of my complaining. My roommate at the time had her identity stolen as a result of one enterprising thief who noticed that our lock was broken and started stealing our mail. They finally fixed the lock—2 weeks after we threatened legal action. And it took them a week to repair our 1 and only toilet. Needless to say, that wasn’t the most hygienic week. I am lucky that my landlord knows how to fix things himself. Like my leaky sink last year. And that he takes pride in the fact that he takes great care of our building.

I get the feeling that my landlord is married with children. At least, all of our notices come signed from “Andy and Kris”. I am directed to call Kris with all lease questions. She is a very nice woman with a thick Polish accent—just like Andy.

Recently, my landlord has been staying in the Office quite regularly—every night to be exact. And he’s been seen around our building with a mysterious blonde woman. She is an attractive woman, middle-aged. A sharp dresser, she is always wearing lots of gold jewelry. I have overheard them speaking Polish in the laundry room.

I don’t know if this is Kris or not. From the way this woman looks at the floor and stealthily sneaks around the building, I’m beginning to think that it is not. Also, this woman has distaste for me. At least, whenever I see her she will quickly turn any smile on her face to a full-fledged scowl. And then she’ll look at the floor, scowl still intact. Kris would never do that.

I have made up a scenario in my mind wherein Andy is cheating on his wife and brings this Not-Kris to his little “office” love nest. He cooks Beefaroni for her on his hotplate and they spend their nights cuddled up on his twin cot. She is happy with him, but insanely jealous and fearful that she will loose him. Hence the scowl on her face whenever she sees me. Not-Kris thinks Andy is cheating on her with me. She doesn’t know that I’m engaged and live with my boyfriend. She thinks that I am just some little harlot with a penchant for sweet Polish sausage cooked on my landlord’s hotplate. I try to flash my ring to Not-Kris. As an assurance that I’m happy with my American Hot Dog, but I don’t think she buys it.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Lunch Today

I walked a half a mile to my favorite lunchery to buy a specific kind of Belgium dark chocolate that they sell. Sure, 65 cents is a lot to pay for .31 ounces of chocolate, but it is beautiful chocolate. Each little piece, in its thick paper wrapping, is a treat to the eyes. Crisp and dry, and perfect. Each delicate rectangle seamlessly molded and striped in an art deco pattern. And the taste—so delicious, rich and earthy. Besides, it is nice out and it gave me an excuse to go for a little walk. It was a wonderful outing, even though chocolate gives me heartburn.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Ten Food Truths

(In No Particular Order)

--All foods are better when “drizzled” with something (olive oil, sauce, chocolate).

--Mottled mint is pretty damn sexy.

--Food tastes better when eaten with heavy silverware (or chopsticks).

--Water tastes better when it is served in a pretty glass/bottle.

--Brownies taste better when served at social functions.

--Ceviche is really sexy.

--Coffee tastes better if it has been prepared by a man/woman with tattoos (and/or piercings).

-- Kraft Macaroni and Cheese is not food.

--A “Crusty Bread” is ideal.

--Heirloom fruits are the sexiest food in the world.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006


You guys, I’m sorry if I seem like I’m pissed or something. Its just that I can’t believe its 10 o’clock on a Friday night and I’m not drunk. I mean, I should be BLITZED right now. I have nothin else I should be doin. I mean, dinner with Sara, Katie and Jen was okay--I had 3 Jack and Diets. But I’m totally sober right now and its my girrl Jen’s birthday and we should be PARTYIN. Whatevs. She’s engaged and works at StarCom. But that SOOO doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be SLOSHED right now. 26 only comes once in your lifetime!

I mean, I could totes understand it if I was packing for a trip and doing laundry or if I was at home watching The Notebook with Emily. (SO SAD!~) Ya know, a low-key girls-night-in kind of thang. But as it is, its 10:07 on a Friday night and I’m more sober than a pope on Sunday. And ya know, we’d probably be drinking a Yellow Tail Chard with our movie and actually, Sara and I made up this AWESUM laundry drinking game when we were at Iowa. (WUTTUP HAWKEYES!?!) Every time the machines change cycle you gotta take a shot. OH MY GOD, Adam got so shitfaced he peed in my bed that night. GROSS! But totally hilarious. HAHAHA!

But seriously, people. All my friends are WAY to serious for me now. I’ve GOTTA find some fun peeps who can partay til the dawn (Heeeeeeey!) cause I’m SOOO sick of sittin home by myself. For the past few nights I’ve been hangin with the busboys from Wildfire. They totes know how to kick it, but Hose keeps trying to feel me up. At first I was like, “Could I date a Mexican? He’s kind of cute.” but now I’m like, “No means no in espanol, Hose. Get a grip!” But he’s a dawg so he don’t’ care.

I’m so confused over Adam anyway. Fuck him. Its like, when he comes in town he’s ALL over me. But then he’s got some ugly ho in Cincinnati. That bitch is SOO not as hot as I am. I'm a TOTAL hottie!!!! Right!?? He's SOOO GROSS. But I love him.

Seriously, people. WHAT IS UP!?? Where the party at? Why are we not having FUN? There is no reason for that. AT ALL.

I’m so fucking pissed right now!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I miss college.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006


Trump International Hotel & Tower is coming along nicely, you’ll be happy to hear. This groundbreaking structure will combine both a hotel AND a tower into one structure. I love towers, and don’t even get me started on hotels—they’re great! Did I ever think they would be combined? No. But these is modern times we’re living in. Anything is possible. Especially if you’re Mr. Trump.

I work on Wacker Drive, near Michigan Avenue, so I’ve witnessed the construction of this controversial 92-story building from its humble beginnings. And I mean humble. Mr Trump bought the crotchety old Chicago Sun-Times building and dismantled it floor by floor to make way for a behemoth glass structure that will slightly obscure Mr. Van Der Rohe’s famous IBM building. Sure the Sun-Times building was an rusty, crumbling eyesore to the glittery skyline of Chicago, but it was OUR eyesore, Chicago’s eyesore. And even though the use of typewriters went out with the 90’s and most people now get their news online or on tv, you could look at the building and easily imagine the old newspaper newsrooms of the past. No mas.

Seeing a new structure slowly climb to the sky is nothing new to us Chicagoans. All over Chicago (and other major American cities) there is a major influx of new construction, thanks to the interest rate situation. Old buildings are being knocked down to make way for snazzy new condos and skyscrapers.

Sure, I love architecture—good architecture. And I’m not one of those people who throws around the word “new-fangled” a lot. But seeing this phenomenon brings to mind the future: Besides the fact that filling these enormous buildings with people is going to bring a huge glut of people into the city, thus an overcrowding beyond which we already know--that is, if they can fill them at all--what is going to happen to all of these skyscrapers when they are out of date? What’s going to transpire when/if they fail and we have to spend millions of dollars to repair leaky piping or an inefficient air system? Or we grow bored of them? Or we want to replace it with another, more dazzling building?

It is one thing to raze a 100 year old “skyscraper”, as we might do these days. After all, turn-of –the-century skyscrapers were only 15 floors max. But, one can’t just put a wrecking ball to a 100 floor skyscraper. I needn’t bring up 9/11 to prove how dangerous a falling building can be. I can only imagine that any building within a population must be dismantled floor by floor, as in the case of The Sun-Times Building. Otherwise, you’re exposing the city to a host of environmental pollutants, not to mention the danger of something as harmless as a carpenter’s pencil falling from 1353 feet in the sky. How long would it take to dismantle a building as large as The Sears Tower? Surely, years. And millions of dollars.

Perhaps this problem will challenge how we currently live. Perhaps our love of money and instant gratification will force us to make-do with what we have and we will stop knocking down old buildings to erect new ones. Or, perhaps we’ll slow down and realize the consequences of our actions. Or perhaps we’ll just move farther and farther outside of current city limits and keep building new skyscrapers while our old ones lie in wasteland.

I don’t know and, ultimately, does it matter? We are all so blinded by Mr. Trump’s new 1,131 foot penis to give two poops about what happens to us in the future.

Goo-goo, gaa-gaa. Building so pretty and big!