Thursday, December 28, 2006

Worst Post Ever.
Due to the increased and intensive amount of family time this week, 17-year old brother has been in tow for most events and gatherings. We've (and by 'we,' I mean, his older brother and me) been teasing him when he texts his friends (and by 'when,' I mean approximately every hour or so) during said events. Here are the texts we surmised he was sending:

1. Worst Christmas EVER. No Wii.
(He did get some kind of digital camera/mp3 player/camcorder deal, though).

2. Worst Boxing Day EVER.*
(My parents took us out to a proper lunch and movie on the 26th. Erik totally slept through the first half of the movie)

3. Worst Afghan dinner EVER.
(That's what we did tonight).

* Robin thought that Erik might not know what Boxing Day was, so I don't think he got that joke.
One Moment of the Night
We watched "Blood Diamond" tonight which was engrossing and good, but stressful. Afterward, I found Robin doing an impromptu jig (think Irish step dance) in the kitchen. I don't think it was related to the movie, but if I didn't know better, it was like he was dancing because: "Yay! Child soldiers!"
Vacation is the best.
I really, really like vacation. It is very awesome not to work, to stay up late, to glut on sleep, and to generally goof around. It also makes me lazy, hence the non-blogging.

So, what has happened in the past week or so?

--I turned 30, officially. I feel no amount of trauma.

--Lots of family time. Robin's home for the holidays, which is great.

--I rolled about 200 spring rolls for my parents' open house last week. It was worth it for the spring rolls, though.

What will happen in the next week?

--Lots of shopping. Friends and family were so kind as to give me many gift certificates so I can get some grown-up clothes for work and I need to use them.

--Todd arrives tomorrow. Yay for that!

--More birthday and new years festivities.

--We drive back to Chicago. It will be good to be back, but it will also mean being a grown up, starting a new job, and just generally dealing with life again. Boo to that!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Time to Vote

Amie just sent an email about this awesome news about Jenny. I'm paraphrasing since Blogger won't let me cut and paste the email.

The Denver Post nominated Second City's "How I Lost my Devirginity" for Best Comedy and Jenny Hagel for "Best Comedy Actress" in their annual Ovation Awards which will be awarded on 12/31.

People can vote for Readers Choice through 12/27. So vote for Jenny!

Go to the Denver Post web site and click the light blue box along the top that says Ovation Awards.

Answer questions 7 & 11, and then clock "Done" at the bottom of the page.

I drove back to DC straight from Chicago yesterday. It was wise to get on the road at 6 because I forewent all of the Chicago commuter traffic in the morning, which made the start of my trip MUCH easier. I also managed to elude DC commuter traffic getting in, by skipping the beltway (which Google maps urged me to try) and going alternate country routes that my dad gave me. I was home in time for dinner after an 11.5 hour drive, but I was pooped.

Luckily, I had the book on cd called Don't Know Much About History. It's 24 hours of American History. I've listened up the begininning of the civil war. I was embarassed recently when I realized that one of the questions given to one of the "beauties" in the show "Beauty in the Geek" (I know that you watch it too) gave me pause. The woman was asked to name the first three American presidents, and I had to really, really think about it. And then guess. This was not a good thing and exposed me for the ignoramus that I am. So I'm trying to edify myself, and now I feel much better about my knowledge of US history. Also, I didn't know that Aaron Burr shot Alexander Hamilton in a duel! Man, it's like an olden version of "The Wire." I never knew what I was missing out on.

I'm sitting at the kitchen table today intent on getting the last geology assignment before the midterm done. It's a paper and I want to do nothing else less. Plus, it looks nice and sunny and fresh outside. Feel sorry for me?

Sunday, December 17, 2006

General party crowds. I know that this is a shitty picture, but I wanted to capture what it looked like when you were wading through. Maybe I'll frame it.
Todd and me. Note that gold necklace on me. Lindsay had gotten it for 50 cents out of a vending machine; it came in one of those plastic eggs. I totally got compliments on it.
Northwestern girls Part I.
Some of the NU classmates. I don't know what I'm doing with my neck here since it kind of disappeared.

Also Mirhiyah flew back from San Francisco to celebrate with us this weekend. That was another big treat.
Lee, Pam, Jenny and myself.
Mo' La Tengo playing their brief but stupendous set.
Party time!
It's been the weekend of celebrations. Friday night, Todd and Kiley threw a joint birthday/graduation bash for Steve and me (it was Steve's 30th birthday a few weeks ago). Kiley and Todd arranged to have the fete at this bar called Phyllis' Musical Inn in Wicker Park. Phyllis is this old bar with a tiny stage, high ceilings, and lots of character. It comes complete with a gaggle of regulars hanging out at the end of the bar. While they weren't able to rent out the bar, they arranged the musical line up, so the owner allowed them to do what they wanted in terms of the party. First up, Josh Kalmus. Josh is Steve's friend from high school and plays really impressive blues guitar. Also playing were Vamplifier (a band Steve used to play in at one time) and Bear Claw (a three-piece band that includes Todd's roommate/bandmate, Rich).

There were some changes. Todd, Steve, and Kiley made it up there to play a number under the name Mo' La Tengo (influenced by YLT). . Although three minutes long, it was my favorite performance of the night. Also, Bear Claw wasn't able to play despite their best intentions since their van broke down right as they were getting ready to load their stuff.

I told Todd and Kiley afterwards that it was my perfect idea of a party. Lots of different friends were there, so it was full but it never got so crowded that you couldn't manage the crowds. Kiley ordered insane amounts of pizza for everyone and made cupcakes to share. The venue was dimly lit and warm and the party lasted until the bar closed down. Rich even made a poster for the party/show that is so awesome, I'm waiting for him to get an electronic copy of it to me so I can post it on ye olde blog.

So again, lots of fun. Thanks to everyone for coming out on Friday night to celebrate the early birthday.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The Space Needle, Office Dinners, Hot Dogs, Country and Western Bars, and St. Lucia's Day: A post that is officially all over the place.
I've had a pretty nice past few days. This week has been awesomely great mostly because I don't have a whole lot going on besides a few appointments and trying to wade my way through more Geology assignments (this is proving to be the longest class in the history of time, solely by my own doing).

Every day this week, Lauren, Hillary, Megan, Laura and I have been getting together; each time doing a little celebration of our *graduation.* Today, Megan and Laura had us over to their place to celebrate St. Lucia's Day, which I understand to be the Swedish version of Christmas. Correct? Megan told us that St. Lucia was killed and had her eyes gouged out. I'm pretty sure that there was more the story, but that's the part that stuck with me. Yesterday we met for lunch at Hot Dougs, which was surprisingly crowded for a Tuesday afternoon. No reindeer hot dogs on the menu that day.

This past week I finished up with my exam, papers, last client sessions, and also went out for Hillary's birthday last Wednesday. That was great since it ended up being an extremely flavorful tour of the Northside. We started with dinner at Pho 777 in Argyle and then ended the night at Carol's Pub, which is this dimly lit country and western bar on the fringes of Andersonville. There were about three people in the place besides us and the live band. Two of the people were a newly minted married couple who informed us that they had met in the bar a year ago, and proposed in the bar as well (we were the only people who didn't know since everyone else attended the wedding that past weekend). The groom looked like a character out of Bloom County with the cigarettes rolled up in his t-shirt sleeve and aviators that didn't come off of his face. The bride was extremely warm and she sent Hillary a birthday drink across the bar. The country and western band also organized a birthday singalong and accepted a birthday request from Hillary. Friendliest bar ever.

Thursday night I went with Todd to his company's holiday dinner. Fancy affair! Steak! Fancy dessert! Open bar! I love company holiday parties.

This past weekend, we took a whirlwind trip to Seattle. Kiley had done us the favor of bringing us back maps, magazines, and bus schedules from her recent trip, as well as a list of places to visit. This had stupendous worth since we visited every place she recommended. Our hotel was in the downtown area (2 blocks from the space needle; believe it.) so we walked much, more, and a lot all weekend. Todd was excited to see the reunion of Juno on Saturday and Sunday nights, we got to see Don, and we got to try lots and lots of coffee places. Kiley named one place (Vivace) as the best place in Seattle, so we found it and I will wholeheartedly agree that it is mah-velous. Some things that struck me about Seattle:
- It smells so fresh! Definitely compared to Chicago, which can often smell like exhaust and urine.
-The buses operate on hybrid-electric! Very impressive and progressive.
-Seattle is a lot more hilly than I recollected. Good to get the exercise, but I couldn't park a car on some of those inclines. Or ride a bike up them.

Again, I have pictures. I just have to figure out how to download them onto my computer.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Also, Happy 30th to Madeline!

I'm done with graduate school.

I accepted a job offer to start a month away.

This is what I will be doing for the next month.

More soon with further, but I had to post this now.

(thanks to Todd for sending me this, as this clearly shows that he knows me too well.)
(Fat baby + Fat Cat )(In Repose) = Truly Fantastic

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Another comment.
Oprah is on in the background, and Il Divo is singing. Has anyone seen them? They crack me up because they're like walking caricatures. And the people in the audience are seriously losing their shite. I love the guy with a deep voice because his eyebrows are forever cocked as if he has an inside joke with every mom in that audience. I think that he's the attention hog. And they have a goddamn orchestra playing behind them.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Second Official Distraction of the Night
Campus Ladies, season 2, on Oxygen. I swear, this show slays me.
I studied finally today!
I went to my favorite coffee shop to study and secretly spy on first dates. The Caribou by me is always full of boys meeting in person for the first time. Seriously, I estimate that 60% of the time I am there, there is a first date occurring within 10 feet of me. I love it. Most, I'm sad to report, are kind of losers of first dates. You can tell that the people are definitely not into eachother. Tonight may have been one of those, since when the second dude walked up, the first dude clippily announced: "You're late." I'm pretty sure that it was a first date too, since the other guy was kind of nervous and their small talk was about their living situations. So yeah, I studied for about 30 minutes and then I was distracted by the date happening directly across from me, and I ended up spending 20 minutes listening/eavesdropping.

May I also discuss my new favorite method of procrastination? There is a website where the blogger details the happenings of his two cats (I know, but hear me out). One of the cats, Winston, definitely gets more of the exposure and man does he deserve it. For the love of all that is good, round, and roly-poly, check it out.

Monday, December 04, 2006

98% There
Man, I'm so close to being done that I can taste it! I confess, it's all very surreal. I finished with my school placement on Friday, where my supervisor was very kind and brought two enormous sheet cakes as well as a few gifts for me. The school experience was an extremely positive one. Now I've got one exam left and one more client session and need to round up signatures. Again, so close.

Oh, yes, and there was a snow storm in Chicago on Friday! The news was talking it up all week, warning of 12 inches on the ground before noon on Friday. That morning started off scarily with blustery snow everywhere and no traffic on the road. I woke up early, deciding that I would take public transportation to school if it wasn't canceled. It wasn't. Apparently, Skokie school districts haven't canceled for snow in something like 8-9 years. The snow wore off by noon, though, and the roads were pretty clear by quitting time on Friday. I have to give it to Chicago city services because they are very efficient about salting their roads.

Todd treated me to dinner out on Friday at one of my new favorite restaurants, Darwins, in celebration of the occasion. Two words: baked brie (although, Lauren's baked brie with apricot still rules the roost in my opinion). I decided to swear off work for the rest of the weekend, which I did quite effectively, thank you very much.

Saturday we headed over to Roscoe Village. Todd got a haircut, and I decided to hit up the local thrift store there for toys and books for therapy (can't remember the name right now, but it starts with "Village"). Roscoe Village is a cozy little neighborhood full of young professionals and starter families. Needless to say, their toy and book collection was *awesome*. I got some great wooden puzzles and really nice books and large plastic blocks and bundles and bundles of assorted toys and figures. I left with a huge bag of stuff. What was the cost you ask? Well, my friends, you better be sitting down since the grand total was $6.50. I am definitely hitting that place up as my main source of materials. Sarah was telling me about how she hit up all of the yard sales in the rich suburbs this summer for her materials and made out like a bandit with super quality toys and games. I am totally following her lead this coming summer.

The best way to celebrate a shopping coup such as that was to try out a restaurant, so we went to Kitsch'n for lunch. YUM. Another new favorite. I had their famous green eggs and ham (scrambled eggs with basil pesto and honey ham) and I think I was about to die for belly happiness.

The rest of the weekend was spent inside, hiding from the cold. We also glutted ourselves on Netflix. It was quite awesome.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Happy Belated Birthday, Robin!

The big day was yesterday, and I hope that he lived it up in Texas.