Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Shiny New Gym
So, this gym has been in the works close by to Todd's and my place for at least a year now. I think it was last summer that they had their skimpily dressed employees handing out promotional flyers in the main, very crappy intersection by which it resides. In fact, we got a flyer a couple of weeks ago and I finally called today since the deal was about to expire. On the phone I was told that I HAD to come in, and with some reluctance (I wanted to go home after work, dammit!), I faced the bad traffic and went by. The place is opening in a couple of weeks and I got a tour today before they nailed me down with the contract.

Dudes, it's NICE. It has tons of equipment, and each cardio machine has its own personal television. That's high living for me. It has a pool, a resistance pool, and a jacuzzi. It's got a steam room and a sauna. It's got a room for spinning classes, one for yoga and pilates classes, and another for other aerobic classes. It has a rock climbing wall and a basketball court, which isn't my thing, but it still kind of fancy. I paid one bulk rate for the year at a promotional rate, but it's worth it since it worked out to $35 per month, which is dirt cheap in the world of gyms in Chicago.

Since it was their last day of their promotion, their theme was "Hawaiian luau" and I was kind of embarrassed for them. Everyone was dressed a la Miami Vice circa 1985 and they were "spinning records" really loudly and dancing outside the building...which is right across the street from a Target parking lot.

The dude who took me around was a nice enough guy, but kind of a caricature of himself. He was super friendly and to every person we passed he called out something like "How's it going, Big Guy!" or "Yeah! That's what I'm talking about!" All I could think about was how Todd would say that he'd bet that this guy would like "bro-ing it up" and watching some "Entourage." I ended up signing up for some personal training sessions (not with him--he was too enthusiastic for me) mainly because the rate was pretty good and I can take advantage of them with the summer coming up. Each salesperson bamboozled people into signing up for them, though, because immediately after signing you up, they take your fat percentage and calculate your BMI! I kind of resented that, but whatever. I'm a little scared of personal training since I'm so goddamn weak, but that's exactly why I need to face my fears. Ugh.
Todd's 30th
So this past Saturday was Todd's birthday...he's finally 30! He still looks way young, but maybe now people won't think he's 18 anymore. Regardless, it was my duty as the Future Wife to plan the shindig, and in my usual state, I left it till two weeks beforehand. We did some scrambling, but managed to get the private room at my favorite old neighborhood bar, Spyners, in Lincoln Square. We used to go there to watch/do karaoke and soak in the comfortable, slightly grizzled atmosphere. It's an earthy kinda place. Anyway, I knew that they had a back room and when I called I was told that: a.) the room was open that night, and b), we could have it.

It was great and I can't recommend this place enough for your private parties. First of all, the back room is enormous and was NO COST (way bigger than the regular bar and way nicer as well since it's brand new--you even have your own new bathrooms to use). Also, Maureen, the owner, catered the party and let me just tell you that it was dirt cheap. She put out a spread of nice salads, dips, cheeses, crackers, spaghetti and meatballs, italian sausage, pasta alfredo with shrimp, italian beef sandwiches, and shepherds pie along with german chocolate cake for dessert. It worked out to about $3.12 per person and it was GOOD. If our wedding were small enough, you're potentially talking about the cheapest wedding reception ever.

Enough about the food, though...More about the party.

Todd, Steve, and Kiley played a short set, which was awesome, and a fun spectrum of people showed up. Afterward, people wandered into the main area and partook in the karaoke with the rest of the bar. We didn't end up leaving until 1:30, which is like staying out till 6 in the morn at this point in my life. Todd had been sick that weekend, but he rallied and seemed to have a good time. Also, people brought him a lot of nice beer as gifts, so that sweetened the party for him.

So, fun times! Todd resides in the same decade as me! Call Maureen at Spyners if you have a private party to plan!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

37 Days
Two teachers came up and told me that there are 37 days left to the school year, and then another teacher told me that there are 7 weeks left. People aren't stoked for the summer in the least, are they? I think what makes it so tough--besides overall teacher exhaustion--is that the weather is so glowingly amazing outside all of the sudden. It makes people all the more itchy to be free. I know that I'm excited.

In cat news, we're still loving it. Todd has taken to calling him "Heff" and "El Jefe" (sp?), and we both call him "Kitty" by default, but it doesn't seem to confuse him too much. Bottom line is that he's totally dying for you to love him, so he'll come running when you sneeze. I hosted book club the other night and he immediately snuggled up between Lauren and Becky on the couch. His idiosyncracies are coming out as well. He likes to lay beside you and fall asleep while having at least one paw pressed against you, which is particularly endearing. At one point yesterday he nestled up on the cushion behind me on the couch and all of the sudden I felt a paw on my face, which he was happy to leave there for as long as possible. I kissed it and Todd reminded me that that's the same paw he uses to push his kitty litter around after he poops. Last night Todd commented that someone must have been sad to give this guy up along the way, and I agree but their loss is our gain. People, I love my cat.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Happy, Happy Birthday ADD!

lervs youse!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

HF channeling Bill the Cat

We haz a Kitty
Finally, after years of waiting a kitty is mine/ours! Todd and I went over to the Anti-Cruelty society armed with tab numbers of favored cats that I carefully scribed after looking at the web site. We met one young kitty who was super, super active and we could barely keep him from escaping the bench where we sat. One of the cats was out since he wanted to be an only cat, and we definitely want another cat down the road. So we decided to meet this black and white guy with cow markings. I had listed him at the bottom of my list since he was 4, and we were originally looking for a young kitty. But, he was so, so awesome. He was large and lazy and lay in our arms and accepted brushing with no squirming. It was love and he was ours. It was also a good sign that the lady who worked there confessed that he was one of her favorites.

So we had already chosen names for our future cats, and we knew that we wanted to name our first cat after this Yale football player from the late 19th century named William Walter "Pudge" Heffelfinger. We had first heard his name on Antiques Roadshow and it had stuck. Todd and I debated what to call him for short, since the entire name is a bit ungainly and it was decided that we would give it some time to figure out what was the best fit. "Pudge" seems like the obvious choice, but that ain't it, and we're going with H.F. (initials for the last name). It seems to fit him, and it also has a Coen brothers/old-fashioned feel to it, which I like.

Within an hour of taking him home, he crawled into Todd's lap. He also likes lying between us and accepting a crazy amount of petting. I am stoked that we found the lazy, affectionate lap cat that I have sought in this world.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

WTFCNN is hilariously awesome.
(via neatorama)

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

This doesn't quite do it justice...
...but we tried Pinkberry while in NYC (tart! refreshing!) and Clarence chose green tea Pinkberry with chestnuts as a topping. I saw them and thought first that he ordered green olives, and then thought they might be little sausages. Either would have been a funny option.

I had to include a picture of Libby: the sweetest bunny cat. Clarence showed his method of scooping her up for a cuddle, but she eluded me.
New York!
Grace, Clarence, and Jonathan were gracious and super fun hosts, and planned visits to interesting bars, lunch at Ukrainian diners, dinner at Korean restaurants, plays by Columbia playwrights, crepes, and walks through the neighborhoods by Columbia and Barnard as well as the Lower East Side. We also took the subway from Grace's place to Clarence's place and I made the mistake of drinking a lot of coffee and water that day so Grace and Todd were gracious enough to let me get off the train and out of the subway and find a bathroom (at that point I was considering peeing in the pants). Thanks to Grace, Claro, and J for opening their homes and their weekends to us.
Bits and Pieces
Gah! Has it really been almost a month since I've last posted? Yeah, it has. What's happened in the last month? Well:
- went to NY to visit Grace, Clarence and Jonathan
- spring break for a whirlwind 3-day wedding planning extravaganza in metropolitan DC (most of the stuff got done!)
- moved most of my worldly possessions into Todd's place, so now it has become *our* place. Moving sucks so very much, but we're getting settled in here and it's getting less chaotic every day with boxes all around.

Oh, and last night we went to see Explosions in the Sky play at the Congress Theater, which is only a couple of blocks away now. It was my first time at the Congress, and I was expecting it to be kind of gross, but I liked it. It has enormous and decaying, but grand--you should see the ceiling. Plus, the main floor is sloped, so wherever you stand, you can totally see the band. It was my second time seeing them, but I really like seeing EITS live: their music sweeps you up and the increased loudness makes it amazing.

The crowd is mostly people who stand/sway quietly taking in the music, but there were some noticeably loud, noticeably drunken people. There were two girls there who looked like they had returned from Spring Break CANCUN! just yesterday: they kept on shrieking over the music and one kept on bellowing "YEAH: Motherfucker!" Todd heard the same girl yell "I'm going to see my sorority BITCHES later!" EITS is instrumental and therefore not what I would classify as a partyitup-music kind of band so I'm puzzled how those people ended up there. I don't begrudge their good time, but they were annoying, so we ended up moving across the floor to escape them. Then we stood next to two loud drunk dudes, one of whom yelled "Freebird!" at one point. Again, so weird.