Monday, January 30, 2012

The Case for Uggs

Some scenarios:

1 - You have what is clearly a deathly bout of the flu.  You have been lying around and moaning for hours only to discover you are out of the healing nectar that is ginger ale.  You probably won't pass out on the street but you are also not putting on a bra. It is 20 degrees in Chicago. You throw on an extra sweatshirt and your fluffiest scarf and prepare to battle the elements with some seriously weakened humors.

2 - You have a busy day!  First you have to go to ballet/yoga/zumba then you have to play with some super adorable little kids who will inevitably demand that you watch them run around in circles outside. You hurt your shoulder (in a past ballet/yoga/zumba class) and are trying not to carry around a giant bag.  Luckily, you can take class barefoot - but hanging with the tots? Not so much. Its 20 degrees in Chicago (and if you think that kids don't run around outside in 20 degree weather in Chicago, you are missing the point of this assignment/do not know kids from Chicago).

3 - It's Friday night and you just got home from work only to discover that you are starving and there is nothing in your house.  Literally nothing because you just ate the last snack sized thing of pickles. You call your favorite pita joint and ask for them to deliver some chicken shawarma with a quickness.  They say it'll be about an hour.  You will be long dead by then.  You still have on all your work clothes but have kicked off your super cute but uncomfortable pumps in a symbolic gesture of throwing off the bindings of paternalist female objectivity...or whatever. You know that if you leave now you can be back on the couch in baba ganoush heaven in fifteen minutes. Its 20 degrees in Chicago as you get ready to put back on your coat but recognize that no amount of caloric necessity will get you to put those monsters from Aldo back on. 

The question at the end of all of these scenarios is (of course) - what do you wear on your feet?

And one acceptable answer for all of these situations is you wear your Uggs (or your bear traps or whatever my knockoffs are called - I am calling them Uggs because I can type it faster, but to be honest I love my $40 version far more than my o.g. pair of the real deal).  You wear them and it is totally fine.

So many blogs have been coming down hard on Uggs in the past few weeks, trying to explain that there are so many other less-ugly boot options, which is true, but every shoe has its moment and for Uggs it is all these moments.

Once you get to be a grown-up, it becomes socially unacceptable to wear your slippers outside, no matter how much you might want to.  You know you've seen that woman on the 10 PM news who just lit her cheatin' boyfriend's car on fire - she is always (always) wearing slippers.  You don't want to be her.  But why would you turn up your nose at the most slipper-like thing you can wear in public without having the Channel 10 news team chase you down?

I wouldn't recommend wearing Uggs on a date or a job interview but if you need tampons and a bottle of Little Penguin?  Sure. You're spending all day running around because despite the freezing cold, everyone is either getting knocked up or married and you have to go spend your life savings on gifts they will return for cash? Fine. You're about to go into the office on a god-forsaken Sunday because your boss conveniently did not scan nor email you the files you need before your presentation on Monday? Do it. Go.

Sometimes you just want to be comfortable and warm. And you deserve it.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Adventures in sticky sushi rice

A few weeks ago Boyfriend and I were lazing about on a Friday night.  I complained about wanting sushi and he complained about not wanting to go out. He then brought up the fact that our first Christmas together I bought him a sushi making kit. 

I confessed that I bought him that anticipating that we probably would not be dating any more by the time he got around to using it.  He wouldn't take that as an excuse so off we went to Whole Foods to get all the other things you need.

Surprisingly - you don't need much to make sushi.  You need rice, seaweed wrap and things to put in it.

The rice is the worst part.  When you are cooling it - do not put it in a regular bowl.  Put it in some thing flatter or it will take about 400 billion years to cool and you will just be getting hungrier and hungrier and seriously regretting your choices before you even start.


When chopping your fillings always think long and skinny. Also cucumbers are the best.  So crunchy and easy to manipulate. Boyfriends who read instructions are always good to have around too.

It took us awhile to figure out how to cut them evenly. So they were pretty ugly for awhile.  The most important part of sushi?! A bowl of vinegar water that you dip your hands, knives and anything else that comes in contact with the rice or seaweed wraps.  The rice is so sticky and the vinegar water magically makes it unsticky-to-your-hands. Don't even try making sushi without it.

The best thing about sushi is you can pretty put anything in it.  We were stressed out about the whole "raw fish" bit - so we only used imitation crab.  But we also put in cukes, 'cados, sweet potatoes, cream cheese, pineapple, strawberries, regular mayo, fun strawberry wasabi mayo (homemade), and as seen above - cheddar cheese & giardiniera.  Some taste better than others (obviously), but when you dunk everything in soy sauce it tends to taste pretty good. 


Our most perfect, perfect sweet potato and cream cheese roll. Look how pretty it is!  Making your own food is so satisfying.

Not only is it satisfying (but labor intensive) - it is incredibly cost effective.  While we had some of the ingredients lying around the house but - we only spent about $30 on supplies and made all this sushi (at least 9 or 10 rolls). If you have ever bought mid-range sushi from anywhere you know that $30 will maybe get you two - four rolls.  So this felt good - also, now I know that I can do it.  I can make sushi.

Its nice to know I can make things.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

a dark alley update

This should come as absolutely no surprise to anyone who knows me - and so knows about my complete and total lack of self-control when it comes to hedonism - I went down the dark internet alley, full of pop-up ads, praying that no viruses would befall my precious, precious macbook.

I am now well beyond the American viewing public in episodes of season 2 Downton Abbey. I am not done yet (but will for sure be done by this time tomorrow).

After talking to a wise man who first broke my heart by telling me that I would NOT be touring Downton Abbey during my currently hypothetical trip to London for my birthday (apparently its only open April - June, boo). He helped me see that I can still watch it on Sundays and find a great deal of enjoyment, but its worth it to just know everything now. I'll sleep better, I'll probably focus more at work, and I will be able to turn my entire attention to some other completely fictional world.

I promise that I will try really, really hard to not post about Downton Abbey again*

*Until after the Christmas Episode**

**and when it starts airing again in September.

Monday, January 23, 2012

to the Abbey

Over the weekend I started a whirlwind and torrid love affair.  One that kept me up much to late and even once I went to bed I simply lay there thinking about it, wanting more. Thank goodness Boyfriend is in sunny Orlando because he would raise a serious eyebrow over this current obsession.

Guys! Downton Abbey!! Holy Shit.  This is one of those moments where I am so.mad at everyone for not making me watch this a Year ago when it came out (conveniently forgetting that everyone, including my mom, told me to watch it a year ago.  Shake me harder next time, people).

It was okay though, because instead of having a long drawn out romance - we got right to business. 10 episodes in 28 hours or so (with breaks for sleeping, rehearsal and book club). No time for anything but tragic entail drama and real, real good hair.

But now? Its been almost 48 hours since this business started and we're done (until next Sunday) - we're out of artsy reflection shots, sweet hats and gut-wrenching, longing looks... and I do not know how I am going to survive until next week.  All day I have had this little thought bubble full of plot lines and interior decorating trying to get my attention, it is like the boy who keeps glancing at you at the bar. And he's really cute, but its supposed to be girls night so you're trying to ignore him, but he is just so cute and clearly wants to get with you.  How are you supposed to resist that?? (answer - you can't. I got NO work done today).

Apparently there are dark, dingy back alleys of the internet where I could go to get my fix, but then? I will watch it all in a night and have to wait until September (Seriously, I cannot even imagine...) and so I will tough it out like a good little solider.

There are so many things about this show that are amazing.  Here are some:

1- Maggie Smith. Oh my Maggie Smith. Can she do anything wrong, ever? She's perfection in this role. She drops one liners that, literally (I swear to the moon this happened) made me hoot, "Oh Shiiiiiiit." by myself, in my apartment.

2- Maggie Smith (again).  Because she is that awesome AND because they call her Granny which, of course, makes me think of my Granny.  And I think that in my own Granny's head the life of the Crowleys is exactly the life we are supposed to be leading.  I can imagine her sitting around Rockville, MD thinking, "how come no one calls me the Dowager Countess?"

3- Here are my all-time favorite things to look at: clothes, architecture (and interior design) and puppies. OH WEIRD. This show has the holy triumvirate. #Winning.

4- Everyone is an asshole.  Even the people who are not assholes, are kind of assholes.  Name one character and I will tell you the dick things they did.  Sometimes they do dick things with the best of intentions, but most of those good intentions are really self-indulgent. I love watching people be jerks (next on the docket, The Wire).

5- Things don't go the way I want them to. As everyone knows, I am a cold-hearted commitment phobe who hates both love and happiness (but mostly love).  I am the girl who is always saying, "yeah, but you just know Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis are going to break up in two months." But secretly, I want stuff to work out and for everyone to be perfect and in love.  This show is killing me because things don't work out (see above about everyone being an asshole) and that makes me so sad and anxious.  This show is revealing my true colors of being a die hard romantic (seriously, if Mary and Matthew don't end up together I Will Die).

6- It's the antidote to Dance Moms and Toddlers & Tiaras (which is what currently makes up at least 50% of my appointment viewing right now). The British are good at everything.

7- I needed a new addiction. My life felt empty and weird and I was starting to turn to human interaction to keep me entertained. This will keep me going until The Hunger Games movie comes out (at least).

8 - THIS.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

5 Minutes to Freedom

Of all the technological advancements of my lifetime- nothing had been quite so amazing and game-changing as Bus Tracker.

Since I haven't had a car to call my own in over 10 years, I have been a dedicated parishioner of public transit - dutifully paying my monthly dues to ensure that no matter what (as long as I bring my CTA card) I'll get to where I am going.

I may get to where I am going, but chances are - it won't happen in a timely or very lady like fashion.

I have made a promise that, now that I am 27, that I will not run for public transportation.  No matter how late I am running, no matter how cold it is, unless I am already inside the station I will not run.  I break this promise on a very regular basis.  You could probably set a clock to how often I find myself hustling down the street trying to look as relaxed and calm as possible.

Also? Sometimes I will pretend that I hear the train coming and start running, just because if someone sees you running they will start running too and there is a small amount of satisfaction I get on having that kind of impact on some one's day.

And with the advent of bus & train tracker, my life has been made considerably warmer, for sure (I now know exactly how long it will take me to get to the bus stop & will not walk out of my house until my phone tells me the bus is 3 minutes away) but in some ways, it has been made insanely more stressful.

Back before the internet controlled my entire life, I would get to a bus/train stop and I would wait. I had a book or a disc man (lies. I was never cool enough to carry a disc man) and I always gave myself enough time to ensure that even if the transit gods were against me, I would get to where I was going in a timely manner.

Now however I Know how long its going to be - and while in theory, this is ideal, in practice it means that sometimes it means I KNOW the next bus is 28 minutes away and there isn't really anything I can do about it (refreshing the bus tracker feed in a frustrating manner doesn't help like you think it would). Normally when this happens I figure out another route that doesn't require me to stand, exposed to the chicago elements for as long as an episode of Whitney (you decide which is worse) - but occasionally I am simply just forced to stand there and think about the old days where if a bus didn't show up in 10 minutes I Just.Walked.

And since I have figured that with bus tracker, everything will just magically appear (which it doesn't) - I tend to be late to everything when traveling by bus alone (CTA trains while smelly, terrible and full of people who don't know how trains at rush hour are supposed to work, tend to run fairly punctually)

My new least favorite thing is the bus-to-bus transfer (which, when executed correctly is called the "Perfect T") because I can now track when both buses will be arriving at my transfer intersection. If I am ever running late, or need to pee or whatever - the chances are extremely likely that the buses are slated to be at the intersection at the Exact Same Time. 

This means that my fate is in one person's hands.  And not just any person, a person who drives a Chicago City Bus. This means that all bets are totally and completely off. Sometimes bus drivers stop in the middle of the street to let random people on. Sometimes they run red lights. Sometimes they refuse to let you off at a red light because "its against the rules." Occasionally they are awesome and will do some sort of morse-code honk to let the other bus driver know you're gonna make a run for it.  And then? Your life, timeliness and commute is in the hands of yet another single person who may hate people who wear pink don't know. That's the chance you take. Although, most of the time they will wait for you because in general, bus drivers are pretty reasonable people.

Though, once you are on the bus, you are then at the whim of all the other people on the bus, the bus driver's inability to shift higher than 2nd gear, and all the drivers of cars on the roads who really cannot fathom that their terrible right lane driving is, in effect, making everyone in the bus behind them late to where they're going.

Really - my studies in public transit have taught me that, when in doubt, you should probably just stay home.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

belly for two

Okay, this is my second cat picture in a row which is bordering on crazy-lady town, BUT this belly greeted me this morning as I was running late for work and how could I not stop to take its picture?

Boyfriend is out of town on & off for the next 3 months so its just me and the cat for a while. We have never spent this much time just the two of us (before Boyfriend there was a house full of ladies always around to provide crunchies and pets), it'll be a fun little experiment full of take out food, midday naps, Colin Firth movies and learning to survive without the best snuggler in the house.

That belly deserves a scratch when I get home.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

1 or 2

As I hastely write this knowing that there is a mountain of work growing on the window behind the one I type it - I realize there are two types of bloggers (originally that said bloogers - and I almost didn't change it, it entertained me so).

Type one are the ones who write carefully crafted pieces that they then put in to an internet weblog because they don't work for the Washington Post or Cosmo or Parent Magazine.  Their pieces could just as easily fit in those places as they do in my google reader.  But they don't go there, they go here, for whatever reason. These are the bloggers who take pictures not just to capture a moment but with a thought of, "I am going to blog this" as they click the shutter button. And they don't just upload pictures and words, they Edit to capture everyone in the best light.  Even when blogs are about being frustrated or mad or whatever - it is so goddamned glamorous you feel almost envious of them.  Perhaps problems would be better if I wrote about them in sepia tone. I envy these people for their commitment to the interwebs (and I am not an idiot, I know many of them do this for the hamiltons and the free swag) - to be willing to give up other things (sleep? mostly seems to be the first to go) just to write something as silly as a blog.

Type two are the ones who blog with the unbridled passion of your friend who plans spontaneous trips to Las Vegas. The ones who see no flaws in quitting a job over the quality of the coffee in the break room. They post nearly constantly, more than daily sometimes - it can be no more than a phrase or a single picture, sans caption, but it carries its own weight and you never think to question if the internet needed it. Perhaps its that these people tend to be amazing writers who do not need the filter of an edit (or Instagram), they just can exist and make that existence matter.

I feel like I wobble slightly between the two.  I so desperately try for number 1 but more often than not, the pictures just stay on my memory card. I start a long blog and it takes three days - so by the time I am finished, I don't bother to edit it - leaving it with all the inaccuracy of a type two but without the brevity. I wish I felt like my thoughts validated the existence of posting on my blog more often but in most cases, I end up just second guessing myself so much that I have whittled the blog idea down to something that I can't even bring myself to care about... something to work on.

At any rate, here is a picture of Miller. He is a very clever and handsome cat who doesn't have these problems.

Friday, January 13, 2012

The time is now

I don't normally write about politics because I believe someone who admittedly gets a majority of her news from The Daily Show and the Wonkette app for iPhone can't really call herself educated. And if I am going to spend most of my waking moments judging people for talking about things they know nothing about - I feel like I should keep my mouth shut when I can.

Despite the fact that I am some what undereducated, I still have Beliefs and Concerns. These aren't knowledge-based so much as they are intuition and morals-based. And really, they are what shape my political ideals (that's fairly standard, right?).

At any rate, this Ron Paul kid has been garnering a whole bunch of attention and I heard all of these people, who, I thought, shared my Beliefs and Concerns, saying how they thought he was the right choice.  So I did that internal double take, the one where you don't say, "Wait. What?" out loud because you feel like clearly there is something you're missing.  There is no way these people would be for a candidate who, you're pretty sure, is a blatant racist, and misogynist

Welp. Turns out I was right on this one. Ron Paul is exactly as bad as I thought he was before. Thanks to Tim Wise for breaking it down all simple & metaphorical like right here.

And if you are a Ron Paul fan - please read this op ed piece and let me know if you have a counter argument.  I know I came down a little harsh and if you think I am wrong - I am legitimately interested in hearing the argument for this candidate.  I mean that completely seriously.  Please tell me that I (and Tim Wise) are wrong and explain how.

Until then, Tim Wise is my favorite for making me feel like even if I don't know a lot, my gut tends to be pretty spot on.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Elevated Theater

The scene: the Lawrence platform of the red El line at night. THE GIRL stands minding her own business in the corner of one of the little incubator nooks. She is exhausted after working a 12-hour day trying to do her part to make the world a better place. She hears the sound of a tin can hit the tracks behind her. She turns to find the source of the noise (rookie mistake).

SKETCHY DUDE: That was me. I threw that tin can because I was done with it.

THE GIRL realizes her mistake in even looking up from her magazine.

THE GIRL: Oh. That's fine. Hopes this is the end of the interaction.

A moment goes by while THE GIRL holds her breath and tries to stop existing to prevent any more communication.

SKETCHY DUDE: approaches girl in the creepiest way possible Can I borrow your phone? I can't find mine.

THE GIRL: It just died. I am sorry. She tries to sell this lie as hard as she can. 

SKETCHY DUDE: Oh. I mean, I am not going anywhere.

THE GIRL sees how he treated a tin can that he was done with and realizes she probably made the right choice not handing over her phone.

THE GIRL: Sorry.

SKETCHY DUDE produces a disposable black & white camera from his trench coat pocket and aims it at her. THE GIRL immediately puts her magazine over her face.

SKETCHY DUDE: Can't I take your picture?

THE GIRL: No. Sorry. Yeah, Sorry you're a creeper, she thinks

SKETCHY DUDE: I am in school.

THE GIRL grips the magazine in front of her face for dear life and wonders what he could possibly be in school for that would require a disposable black and white camera. Also where do you even get those any more?

THE GIRL and SKETCHY DUDE stand in silence for a while while THE GIRL reads her magazine two inches in front of her face.  Suddenly out of the corner of her eye, she sees SKETCHY DUDE's hand extended towards her.

SKETCHY DUDE: Hershey Kiss? He holds out a silver wrapped Hershey Kiss that has probably been laced with LSD. He is the reason your parents warn you not to take candy from strangers.

THE GIRL shakes her head while silently wondering where the fuck the train is.

SKETCHY DUDE: Do you mind if I smoke?

THE GIRL: No, its fine.

SKETCHY DUDE: lights a cigarette No really, tell me if its a problem.

THE GIRL: Its fine. I don't mind.

SKETCHY DUDE: I can go outside.

THE GIRL thinks about the fact that they are outside and if he considers this exposed-on-three-sides nook "inside" then she really does not know what to say. Also, he is already smoking.  She shrugs noncommittally and goes back to her magazine.

SKETCHY DUDE wanders outside the nook. 

SKETCHY DUDE: Is this better?

THE GIRL: its fine.

a moment passes.

THE GIRL hears the very clear sound of SKETCHY DUDE urinating on the nook, from, thank God, the outside of it. She quickly walks away from the nook, recognizing warmth is not worth the smell of fresh crazy man urine. THE GIRL thanks her lucky stars she was not flashed, laughs out loud, shakes her head and revels in the insanity of Uptown and gets on the, finally arriving, Red Line train.


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

watch your zone

"I am so glad we don't live on the East Coast."

That was the moment Boyfriend and I almost broke up last night.

He clarified that he was glad that we didn't live in the Eastern Time Zone because it would have been 11 PM when there was 10 minutes left in the LSU-Alabama game (instead of 10 PM like it was in Chicago).

It's surprising how fast I was ready to give up 3.5 years of a good thing over a simple statement that is (for now) completely hypothetical.

Also the fact that we were still watching that sham of a BCS game means that clearly we both hate ourselves and deserve nothing but misery.

Monday, January 09, 2012

Out with the whoops

I bought these shoes in Chinatown ages and ages ago (when I lived there, so at least 6! years ago).  They are not very comfortable and clearly cheaply made (as they should have been. I think I spent $3 on them).  I hardly ever wear them, but kept them around since they seem pretty practical.

But one of my many goals for this year is seriously (seriously) getting rid of some of the clutter cluttering up my life. So into the donation box they went.  But since I am at the whims of my Driver, the donation box is still in the back of my closet...

Which is good because today I was in desperate need of some flats.  And I discovered that I own brown, blue, and green flats.  But these crappy mary janes are the only non-work (meaning, not noisy when I walk) black flats and since I apparently live in North Carolina, where its 50 degrees in January - I needed them today.

Here is the problem with getting rid of things - I need to make sure they don't fill a very necessary hole in my life.  Some how, some way, these are the only functional, comfortable black flats I own. Clearly this needs to change, immediately, but until then, back on the shoe organizer they go.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

when a door isn't a door

Dear Residents of Cold Places (this means you Chicagoans),

You may have noticed a sudden dip in the temperatures recently.  We call this Winter (or "Winter" if you prefer).  It happens every year, despite what your selective memory may have told you.  We all wear coats, lose mittens and complain a lot.  It's not fun, but for some reason it happens (what? I'm not a scientist).

Anyway, in conjunction with the mercury dropping like panties during a Ryan Gosling movie you may have noticed extra doors on some of your local establishments.  "A second door?! That's so weird." (you think) "Was there a sale on doors at the door store?"


There is a second door to protect the people inside who (due to their inside-ness) are not wearing coats.  And believe it or not - like most things in this world, there is a protocol to them to help make the world a better place.

Just like escalators, subway cars and ordering drinks in a bar (clearly Chicago never got the manual on how to function in a large city) - there is a way to do this that is right and a way to do it that makes you a flaming pile of douche bag.

Let's break it down real simple like.

Only one door should ever be open at a time.

I am going to repeat that, because it bears repeating.

Only one (1) door should ever be open at a time. 

What this means is that if BOTH doors are open at the same time you are Doing. It. Wrong.

Buh.uh.. I don't know how to do that?!

Yes you do. I believe in you.  You open one door and then close it behind you and hang out in that little vestibule area. And then once its closed, you open the next one and go to where ever you please. Seriously, you can go ANYWHERE - you can go to the g.d. moon as long as you promise that when you are leaving the moon you will open one door, close it and then open the other one.

With love and in need of warmth,

Monday, January 02, 2012

come over...

I want to play hostess way more this year.  I get really, really excited to have an excuse to "plate" things (like veggies!), and try new recipes.  Plus having all my friends come to my house means I can wear slippers the whole time. I know it means we're getting old and lame - but at least it seems to be something we've all agreed on -- and it also makes us enjoy a night out at a bar that much more. 
Tonight was Rose Bowl - with veggies (look at those cherry 'matos!), mimosas and jalapeno cream cheese dip ( 

Whats next?

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Teh rezzies

Some things I would like to accomplish (but that I will not beat myself up over if I don't accomplish them):

-Learn to walk in heels. Wear them more often. Buy heels that aren't super painful. Invest in some of those inserts that make wearing heels for a whole day feasible.

-Take more pictures and put them on the internet.

-Stop playing with my phone & computer all the time.  Use the additional time to keep my apartment clean, read books, increase my heart rate.

-Think critically about my future and what I want to be when I grow up.  By this time next year, I want a comprehensive future plan.

And with all that planning out of the way, I am going to take a nap.

She's pint-sized and amazing.