April 2009

I spent this weekend in Denver, visiting my recently-relocated best friend Tribecca.  Visiting one’s best friend seems like an excellent reason to act like a crazy person and sleep too little, and I did my level best:


  • Get up at 5:30 am, go to work at 6:30 am, work all day, go straight to airport, fly to Denver.
  • Go straight from airport to an amazing concert.  Dance awkwardly, sing along, get second wind.
  • Feel like I’m going to pass out.  Realize I haven’t eaten since noon central time.  Use nifty Yelp iphone app to find a restaurant still serving food at midnight, eat nachos for dinner.  Follow up with several beers.
  • Go to bed at 2:30 a.m.


  • Wake up at 8am to get coffee and accompany Tribecca to work.  Fall in love with her workplace, start contemplating move to Denver.
  • Drive in stupidest rental car ever (note to Dollar: like hell that’s a compact!  I ordered a compact!) to have delicious brunch with the delightful Jess and Torsten.  Head back to their beautiful new house, where I try to count all the purple items.  Lose count at 34.
  • Return to Tribecca’s just in time for epic shopping trip to procure goods for dinner party.
  • Cook.
  • Eat dinner with very hodgepodge, yet completely entertaining, group of strangers.
  • Somehow get persuaded to go out to a bar.
  • Fall over dead when I realize that two of the people in our group just used FAKE IDs to get into the bar.  Contemplate how it is, exactly, that one week  away from my 30th birthday, I find myself at a bar with people who are not old enough to legally drink.
  • Conclude the only option at this point is to take shots of whiskey. Do so.
  • Fall into bed at 2am


  • Inexplicably wake up at 8:30 am.  Clean up dishes from party.
  • Gorge self at fancy brunch place.  Waiter asks if we’d like mimosas, and the very thought makes me want to hurl.
  • Drive to gorgeous park, take long leisurely walk in sparkling sunshine.  Make plans to play tennis.
  • Return to house to retrieve tennis rackets.  Notice it is starting to get cloudy.  Agree to rest on couch for a few minutes.  Notice that “The Notebook” is playing on tv.  Also notice that there is a roll of chocolate chip cookie dough in the fridge, begging to be eaten.
  • Several hours later, notice that we have watched the whole movie, eaten half the roll of cookie dough, and it’s time for me to pack and head to the airport.

Call me crazy, but the lazy lame afternoon was probably my favorite part of the weekend.  I’m embracing my loserdom.


Sorry about the delay, but I didn’t forget:  the winner of the big Earth Day Giveaway is Commenter #3, Stephanie, of Completely Irrelevant.  Congratulations, Stephanie!  Hit me with your address and I’ll put the pretty treats in the mail!



They say that you can tell if someone is a real chef by looking at their hands: hard core chefs’ hands are covered with scars, cuts, and burns.

Yesterday, while dicing onions, I sliced a dime-sized chunk off of my thumb, by the knuckle.  The wound keeps bleeding through bandaids, so there are little smears of blood all over my laptop.  That is exactly as creepy as it sounds.

This new cut matches nicely the bulging red scar from my last run-in with a knife. I am proud to report, though, that last night’s mishap with the chef’s knife did not deter me from finishing the overly-elaborate dinner I’d planned for last night’s book club meeting.  I just wrapped it in a bunch of bandaids and continued chopping.

I’m choosing to believe that this latest battle scar is evidence that I am a hard core chef, rather than draw the more-obvious conclusion that I am a huge effing klutz.


Reminder! My Earth Day giveaway is continuing through 5pm tonight- go enter to win a cool hand-made prize!

So, hey, today is Earth Day!  And for weeks, I’d been plotting a little Earth Day contest for you peeps, and then I went and forgot to post it, and now I’m at my office, where I have no camera to take photos of the prize, and where I should probably not technically be writing on my blog during work hours.

Briefly, then, here is the deal: as you might remember, I have taken up sewing.  Much like when I took up knitting and John and I ended up with like 15 hand-knit hats each, we are rapidly approaching our house’s saturation point for hand-sewn items that are within my skill level.  But I still want to sew!

So I’ve decided to sew something for an Earth Day contest.  I am giving away two hand-sewn picnic mats, complete with reusable plastic utensils.   I will update this post with actual photos of the actual items when I get home, but they look like this:

(Tomato not included.)  The mat rolls up and ties with  ribbon, making it easily portable for picnics:

These are a great way to cut down on the use of paper napkins and disposable utensils.  And they’re not just for picnics: I bring mine to work and use it as a placemat when I have to eat work at my desk (which is often).  I actually put regular old metal flatware in it so I can feel like I’m eating with real utensils instead of plastic.  Using a proper fork somehow makes eating at one’s desk feel a little less sad.

So! I have TWO picnic mats to give away to one lucky winner (perfect for use on a romantic spring outing.)  They are made with this gorgeous fabric:

If you’d like to win this set of two picnic placemats (and I know you do,) just leave a comment on this post.  If you’d like, tell me about your favorite spot to take a picnic.  (That’s not required to win, but I would like to hear about everyone’s favorite picnic places anyway!)

Contest will remain open until 5pm CDT on Friday, April 24, and the winner will be randomly selected.

Happy picknicking, and Happy Earth Day!

Despite the fact that it had been raining for three straight days, John and I bundled up last night and made our way over to Wrigley to watch the Cubs.  Miraculously, the rain cleared up just as the game was starting, but the temperature at game time was still a toasty 39 degrees.  Note to Chicago: it’s been spring for a month now!  Temps in the 30s are annoying in April! Get on that, please!

So we sat in our excellent seats, trying not to shiver, watching cats wander across the field.  It was cold, but I’ve been way colder at football games- no big whoop.

Until  the end of the 8th inning, that is, when I realized I couldn’t feel the the index finger on my right hand.  Strange.  I pulled my hand out of my pocket, took off my glove, and was startled to see that from the tip to the second knuckle, my index finger was a creepy blueish-white color, and I couldn’t feel it at all.  It seems I had gotten a two inch-long patch of frostbite on my hand.

Since the Cubs had a healthy 5 run lead at that point, and since I’m going to need my index finger for some important projects today,  we decided to do the prudent thing and head home early.

Can anyone explain this?  I am totally mystified.

The scene: Lincoln Park, around 8:30 am Saturday morning, where we have just finished running my first-ever 5K

Pseudo: Wheeze.  Wheeze wheeze wheeze.  Holy crap I did it!  I might barf.

John: You did it! And faster than you thought you could!  Good job!

Pseudo: It WAS fast, wasn’t it?  Go me!

John: I knew it!

Pseudo: Knew what?

John: Knew you could go faster if you were pushed!

Pseudo: Pushed?

John: Like, if I went out at a faster pace than you were used to!

Pseudo: I thought you said you did that just at the beginning, to get us a better position in a less crowded part of the pack?

John: Well, yeah, that was part of it, but the other part was that I had a goal.

Pseudo: You had a goal?

John: But I didn’t want to tell you about it.

Pseudo: You had a secret goal?

John: I wanted us to run it in under 27 minutes.  I knew if I told you that, you’d freak out and say you couldn’t do it, so I decided to just run faster than you wanted and make you keep up.

Pseudo: So even though my self-proclaimed goal was just to finish, because this was my first-ever race and I was nervous, you decided to make it about speed anyway, though I’d specifically asked you not to?

John: Yep! I knew you could do it!

Pseudo: And back around the third mile when I felt like I might die and I was having trouble breathing and wondering why my inhaler didn’t seem to be working- that was you?   You were doing that ON PURPOSE?

John: Yeah! Isn’t it great? You ran so fast!

Pseudo: And now, when I’m sitting here trying my hardest not to barf, wondering why I’ve never felt like I needed to hurl at the end of a run before- you caused that? INTENTIONALLY?

John: Uh Huh! Awesome job, sweetie!

Pseudo: On second thought, maybe I want to barf after all.  ON YOU.


(Um, except now that I’m recovered from the barfy feeling, I’m kind of hooked and want to run another one.  Stupid running, proving John right.)

Helpful fitness attire tip:

The “dry fit” shirts that get doled out to everyone who signs up for a road race are some cheaper, less-awesome version of the dry fit shirts you buy in an actual store.

If you receive such a piss-poor excuse for a dry fit shirt in a nice heather gray color, and you subsequently decide to show off about how you once registered for a road race by wearing said shirt to an early morning spinning class, you will emerge with a huge, dark, impossible to hide, basketball-sized wet patch on your STOMACH.  There will also be matching dark patches on your shoulders, back, and chest.  This will suggest to your fellow spinners that you have a  particularly sweaty belly, and perhaps that you are some freak of nature whose armpit sweat glands have migrated upwards to your shoulder region.  People will stare.

You will be sufficiently mortified that you will vow to stay away from spinning for a week or two at least.  So if you’re committed to maintaining some sort of exercise regimen, probably best to avoid these shirts at all costs.

Look, it was really not my intention to write two posts about Family Feud in a row. This is true for many reasons, not least of which is that I occasionally like to try to convince people that I have a life.


This is too good.  So good that I am willing to reveal the true depths of my homebody-ness to share it with you.

Toss Up Question: “Name a country, other than America, that starts with A”

Now, Wikipedia tells us that there are 11 Internationally Recognized Sovereign States that start with the letter A.  (Incidentally, “America”?  NOT ONE OF THEM.)  Americans are not widely known for their geographical expertise, however, and there are only 4 answers on the board.

(Poor Azerbaijan, always forgotten and alone.  Also Andorra. A real underdog, that Andorra.)

Back to the toss up:

Family A buzzes in:  “Argentina!” he shouts.  It is the number 2 answer.  Pass or play?  Pass!  It goes over to Family B.

The first woman the host approaches from Family B looks panicked.  She glances around desperately, for a very long three seconds, before she runs out of time and gets the first strike.

Next up.  The host approaches the head of Family B, who grins confidently and shouts “ASIA!”

Um, no.  Asia = not so much one country as a diverse collection of more than 50 countries.  (Though maybe,  after Asians finish changing their names to things that are easier to pronounce, they should further simplify things for us and just combine Asia into a single country.  Get on that, Asian friends!)

Two strikes.  Family B looks stricken as the next person is unable to come up with anything and time runs out.

Three strikes- it’s back over to Family A for the steal!

Now, let’s review: there are four answers on the board, only one of which has been guessed.  Family A has had several minutes to confer as Family B has floundered around.  The host approaches the head of Family A.

“We talked about it,” he said “and I’ve always wanted to go here. I’m going with: AMSTERDAM!”

John and I stare at each other incredulously.  The host shoots a disbelieving look at the camera.

Family A does not get any points for guessing the capital city of the Netherlands, and Family B gets the points (having not guessed a single country!).  The points are just enough to get them the 300 they need to try for $20,000, which they subsequently win.



Dude, I may have to go back to teaching.  Law is great and all, but I suddenly feel my services may be more desperately needed in a social studies classroom somewhere.

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