Thursday, December 24, 2009

Rejected, you tattooed b!tch

As I was driving home in the cold with the rain drip, drip, dripping on my arm, I thought: forget this, I am getting a new car this weekend. Currently I drive a 1998 Chevy Cavalier convertible. My car needs new tires, new shocks, new brakes, the heat/ a/c only works on high (so right now, I am either freezing or sweating), and the right turn signal is broken. But, is that enough to justify me going out to buy a new car that I cannot afford, or do I just get those things fixed and gamble that my ’98 baby is going to hold out a couple more years?

Today, after getting rejected to give blood on Christmas Eve (story to come), I was driving home and I had forgotten one of the big problems my car has. If you are driving in the rain, the water does not leak in my windows, but if you open the door, you have broken the ‘seal’ so to speak (the seal of the convertible top), and the water will now come in on you. So, there I was: not feeling the Christmas spirit, getting rejected to give blood, in the horrible holiday/weather traffic, freezing or sweating depending if I have the heat on or off, just trying to get home and into sweatpants for this Christmas Eve, and my car is dripping on me. Drip, drip, drip on my arm as I drive home. Yeah, that problem can’t get fixed and it might be the final nail in my car’s coffin.

Now the real story…… Christmas Eve is always our family’s biggest gathering, normally held at my aunt and uncle’s house in Chesterton, Indiana. I remember as soon as I would walk in the door, I would find my dad and sit next to him. There was no premeditation, that is just what happened. I was always daddy’s girl. This being the first Christmas without my dad, I knew that there was no way that I could go to the family gathering and keep myself together, so I opted to stay home. Not to mention, that my father played Santa Claus, not just for the little ones, but for everyone, as long as I can remember. I don’t know if they have a new plan for Santa this year. I just know that I would not be myself and I would feel more comfortable at home buried under 2 cats and a dog, and looking at old pictures.

Here are a couple pictures of my dad being Santa. One from probably 1968 or 69 and then more recent pictures.

It’s like in order to be ‘normal’ at a family gathering right now, I have to try to forget my dad so that I don’t become emotional. I don’t want to forget my dad this Christmas, so I am home.

I had heard a radio commercial last week about blood banks really needing blood at this time of year. I thought that was a great way for me to celebrate on Christmas Eve. I would work a half-day, then go straight to LifeSource to give blood. I was nervous they might reject me because I have been sick, but off I went anyway. I was filling out the paperwork and answering the questionnaire and then I saw my downfall: have you gotten a tattoo within the past year? I circled Y, and thought, well it was just about a year ago, so we’ll see what happens. My brother and I got kanji tattoos that mean ‘beloved father’ two weeks after my father died. So, when the lady asked me when I got the tattoo, I could pretty much tell her the exact date in January. She looked up the rules, and saw that it has to be a full year after getting a tattoo before you can donate blood.

So, there I was stuck in traffic, trying to get home, feeling like a rejected tattooed b!tch, with my car drip, drip, dripping on me that I decided I need a new car.

Monday, December 21, 2009


The other evening, Ignacio, Jodee, Steve, and I went to the movies. We went to the new movie theater that had just opened the night before: SHOWPLACE ICON located just west of Roosevelt and Clark. Oh yes, walking distance from home. That means, I can WALK there. Which means, I can WALK to the movies. Ignacio, the movie lover, and I have been waiting for a long time for this place to open. It is a fancy joint, that has a bar/lounge upstairs that serves food and it also has two theaters that offer VIP seating with love seats and drink service. Also, all of the theaters have assigned seating, so you pick out your seats when you purchase your tickets. Did I mention that I can WALK there?
The 4 of us planned to see "Invictus" at 7:45, so we met at 6:15 so that we could get our tickets and try out the lounge to get a bite to eat. The girls ordered pizza and wine, and the boys ordered beer and paninis. The drinks took a looonnnngggg time to arrive at our table, and at 7:30 when our food was just arriving, we told them to send it back because we obviously did not have enough time to eat it. I was upset because one of the cheeses on my four cheese pizza was GOAT cheese. Oh, how I love goat cheese. Fromage de chevre, je t'aime. We did get our drinks for free, and off to the movie we went with a quick stop at the concession stand since we didn't get a chance to eat. I will say that we are all certain that in the future the lounge will have much better service, and we just experienced opening weekend hiccups.
The concession stand offers popcorn with real butter, and they ask if you want butter in the middle and on top. Ummm, yes! We sat down in our pre-picked seats. When we go to the movies, we try to get the seats with the railing in front of us so that we can use the railings as a footrest. There we sat, feet up, eating popcorn with real butter. The employees came to give a quick schpeel before the movie, and one of them told us to take our feet off the railing. Jodee said, "at AMC they let us do this." The worker replied, "this isn't AMC, it's ICONIC." Snap.
"Invictus" was a great movie with a couple of great messages. Obviously, the message of forgiveness was so powerful, but my favorite words of the movie were: I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul. Those are the last words of the poem Invictus by William Ernest Henley. To me, it meant no matter how horrible your life is/was/could be, you have the power to make it what you want it to be.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Girls Christmas Dinner

Thursday was our monthly dinner and annual gift exchange.  Our dinner was at EVE located at 840 N Wabash in Chicago.  There were 7 of us, and it was a delicious time. The wine was flowing, the gifts were being passed, and as always, the laughs were loud.

Most of us had a salad before dinner, and a couple of us had soup/bisque.

For dinner, 3 of us had the risotto, Liz had the chicken, and rest of us had the scallops.  It was delicious.  The plates were licked clean (not that that is an unusual occurrence).

When it was time for dessert, there were 6 dessert items on the menu.  We ordered 3 out of the 6.  The waiter said, "order 3, get 3 free".  I fainted out of sheer bliss.

I love our dinners; I love the crazy stuff we talk about.  I am a lucky woman to be included in such a great group of women.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Walking in a Winter Wonderland [with used crap]

My grandmother was a very thrifty woman. Hell, who am I kidding? She was cheap as hell. I remember eating government cheese in her house even though she could afford the good stuff. One winter, I was lucky enough to get a winter coat that she had garbage picked out of her alley. Yeah, my mom had it dry cleaned, but I still didn't like it. I was in 5th grade and it was the late 70's and those awesome Eskimo coats were the RAGE. They were a navy blue parka and had this snorkel hood that could extend out past your face and was trimmed with synthetic fur and they looked sooooo warm. I wanted one, bad. Does anyone remember these? I was stuck with the garbage picked coat. It was a rust red, and it wasn't suede, but maybe a fake suede. I hated that sucker.
One day, during recess, there was huge patch of ice on the playground, and all the kids were lining up to take their turns.... You would get a running start, and then at the edge of the ice patch, you would land on your belly, and slide for hours (minutes? seconds?) to the end of the ice patch. Awesome, right? The parka coats had a lining that was made of some nylon type of material, and those suckers slid really well. Can you see where this story is going? I lined up to take my turn for a slide on the ice patch. I had my running start, hit the edge of the ice and went to my belly. Thud. I was like the rough Velcro ball on a Velcro wall. I stuck like I was dipped in super glue. That damn garbage picked coat with its fake suede didn't slide. Not even an inch.

That day, recess sucked.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Winning isn't everything

I've always loved the TV show 'Charmed'. I've always known I was a witch with special powers, I'm just waiting to find out what my powers are. I'm sure I'll be informed sometime soon. Phoebe, played by Alyssa Milano on the show, had the power of empathy at some point. She could feel people's emotions. (she also had an awesome body, and I'm sure that is just around the corner for me too!) I have often felt like I was an empath. I hate conflict, and when people are fighting or arguing or being treated badly, I have to leave the room. I feel bad inside, just like the people who are involved in the conflict. I am over-sensitive, that's for sure.

When watching sport games, I feel so bad for the losing team (as long as they aren't playing a Chicago team). The cameras always show the defeated team/opponent and they look so sad. And inevitably, I feel terrible. I have to change the channel.

Growing up, I went to most of my brother's baseball, football, and wrestling matches (thank goodness wrestling only lasted for one season). If Tiger got upset on the field, I would get upset in the stands. If he cried, I cried. Wrestling was the worst.

This year, my nephew, Cooper, started wresting. He is the littlest guy as usual, but he is scrappy, and is holding his own.

After his last match this past weekend, he told his parents that he felt bad for the other kid when he beats him, and that he doesn't have to win all the time. Yeah, I think Cooper has special powers too.

Monday, December 14, 2009

ROAD TRIP!!! (AKA "scared straight")

On Saturday, 6 of us lovely ladies began our road trip to Indianapolis, IN to visit our 7th lovely lady: Miss Tracy.
Things started off just fine. Aimee and Susan picked up Jodee and me, and we made our way to Tinley Park (most desirable city in the nation to live according to Nancy) to pick up Nancy, and then make our way to Indy (Julie was coming in from Kentucky). Well, Nancy went out the night before with her high school friends, and in order to soothe her comedic ego, Nancy drank, and drank, and drank some more. (Nancy's HS friends don't find her nearly as entertaining as we do). So, when we arrived, Kayley was about to exercise her newly acquired knowledge. "Daddy, should we call 9-1-1 for Mommy?" Nancy was sick with what she called the stomach flu (yeah, we didn't fall for that either).
Nancy was able to get herself together, and off we went in Nancy's minivan to Indy. We were smooth sailing down Interstate 65, when we needed to stop for vitamin packed nutrition. Through the drive-thru at McDonald's we went, french fries for many of us and chicken for a couple of us. Aimee took over the driving at this point because poor Nancy's flu was not out of her system yet. "On the road again" we sang as we hit the open road. Ahhh, the wind in our hair, the gossip and giggles coming from the back of the van, we were on our way, baby! Then, that is when it hit. Nancy got a whiff of all of those lovely scented french fries, and the barfing began.....into the McDonald's bag, onto the stragglers of french fries that I long for. Aimee rolled down the window and basically drove with her head out of the window because if she heard Nancy throwing up, Aimee would begin to gag. We went into emergency mode, grabbed a garbage bag that was used as luggage so Nancy could have something a little more leak proof, and we found wipes so Nancy could clean up. Crisis averted without ever even pulling over! Hell if we were going to let Nancy get her stuff together! There was wine to be drank in Indy! Tally Ho! Well, after seeing how bad off Nancy was, I think the rest of us were 'scared straight'. No one wanted to feel bad the next morning. So, when we arrived at Tracy's, here is what took place: texting, checking e-mails, and drinking TEA! I know, right?

After touring Tracy's kick ass townhouse (seriously, 2 bedrooms and a loft office, and 2 1/2 baths..OMG), we gave Tracy her plethora of birthday gifts, and then we had our xmas gift exchange. All of the gifts were awesome!

Finally, we started in on the wine and appetizers. Oh, how I love appetizers. Then, we got ready to take Indy by storm.

On our way, we made a pit stop at a gas station so that we could pool our monies to buy many powerball tickets. I swear, I was absolutely positive that the 8 of us (Tracy's sister, Kristen joined us for the evening) would be splitting the $65 million jackpot. We were even planning what we would be wearing on The Today Show for our interview.
Our first stop was to a wine tasting bar. It was really cool. You put money on a credit card type thing, and then go around to the many wines, and push a button to get tastes of the wine for yourself. I loved the concept and plan to get rich by opening one of these wine clubs in Chicago. Who's in?

After the wine bar, we ventured to Palamino's for dinner. And let me tell you, any Palamino is a pal-a-mine-o. Ho! I love that one. Dinner was delicious and many of us ended dinner with a fabulous Chai-tini. Oh how I wish I had one of those right now.

After dinner we came home and got comfy in our pj's and took a picture as if we won the powerball jackpot. As you can see, there is lots of flannel and sweats, and roomy stuff. Well....except for Jodee....she was in this sexy little number.

Ahh Jodee, always the fashionista, even in sleepwear.

Our road trip was great, lots of fun and lots of laughs. Tracy's new home is awesome, and I'm so jealous. Her new couch is pretty spiffy too!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Eyelashes like Jodee and Cooper

I have puny eyes. My parents used to call me 'Chinese Eyes'. (no offense intended) I had this mad skill to squint my eyes when I was mad, and they would laugh and say, "Natalie is giving Chinese Eyes". They weren't supposed to laugh, they were supposed to be scared. I was, after all, pissed off.
Anyway, back to the puny eyes. I have to wear eye make-up to try to make these eyes appear larger. Recently, I found something that helps out a bit.
Have y'all seen that Brooke Shields commercial (I still love her...did I ever tell you about the time I met her when I was in high school?)? Brooke does the commercial for Latisse, the solution that claims to make your eyelashes grow. Well, I thought, what the heck, I have nothing to lose, and I gave the stuff a try.
It worked! My eyelashes grew, dammit. They got so long that I swear when I was wearing my eyeglasses, they were touching the glass (well, maybe that is exaggerating just a wee bit). I am very happy with the results, and it looks like I will be a consumer of Latisse for a long time. After all, your eyelashes shed, and the new ones are tiny compared to the Latisse enhanced ones.