We love sportz, and Robert Frost knows!

Interested in some ADHD pills? You can buy Adderall pills online using that url.

Between the holidays, work and wedding stuffs, I don’t have time for a lot of creative writing these days. SO, why not recycle old moments? This is something I drafted out circa 2008 – with some grammatical updates and other additions.
……….

Chicago folk love their sports. Blackhawks. Bulls. Bears. Other ferocious animals who can skate/run/throw a ball. From this source

I have serious issues with sports. Especially professional sports. I don’t get it. Why do people waste so much time and money burying themselves into meaningless sporting events? And how does each event differ? It’s all the same to me. “Did you see that catch?” Yeah, I’ve seen one just like it every time I flip on ESPN. Which is never, because a) I don’t have cable and b) I hate sports.

So OK, I see some benefit. I think that ”striving to be the best,” being goal-driven and learning how to work as a team are very important elements necessary for a life of success, BUT, let’s be honest: you can learn these lessons elsewhere (i.e. – The Muppets). I’ve heard that sports activities teach us how to befriend our enemies (aka – “friendemies”) and respect friendly competition. It reminds me of those nerdy Successories posters (easily found on every corporate wall in America). You know, the one at your insurance agent’s office displaying eight people skydiving whilst holding hands in a circle with the word “TEAMWORK” floating below in bold sans-serif font (run-on sentences are fun)? Let me let you in on a little secret, pals: Successories posters are worthless (and not to mention costly) office accents outlining a bunch of shallow junk that strives to convince people to better their lives. Then it doesn’t work because most people hate heights.

But regardless, this post is not about participation in sports – it’s about being obsessed with watching other people play sports.

Someone once told me that sports are both unifiers and a dividers. They unify people who root for the same team, and instigate brawls between people who root for rivals. Ah-hah! Now it all makes sense.

That statement got me thinking. Let’s consider these two scenarios:

Scenario 1: The Sports Fan
You walk into a party alone. The only person you know is the host. You hang your coat and immediately spot the keg in the back corner of the room. You think to yourself, “…the quickest way to avoid this uncomfortable situation is to start getting drunk.” So you naturally stroll over to the keg, grab yourself a cup and pour. While you’re fillin’ up, one of the party-goers approaches you.

“Yo bro. Can you pump for me?”

“Sure.” So you do. Everything is going great.

“Dude- I love the Cubbies too!” (He’s referring to the cubs hat you’re wearing.)

“Sweet. Awh man, can you believe what happened this year in the playoffs?”

“Unbelievable.”

You both proceed to spout out a bunch of meaningless stats. Before you know it, you’ve consumed five brews. Suddenly you find yourself getting ballsy and you begin inviting other Cubby fans at the party to partake in some beer bong action.

It seems like the whole party shares your love for the Cubbies. Of course, there’s Lew, who is unfortunately a Cards fan. You all have a good time cracking jokes at his expense. He can’t say anything because…well…everyone knows St. Louis sucks.

Suddenly, someone new walks through the door…gasp…wearing a Sox hat. The music screeches off. Silence ensues. Tumbleweeds roll across the carpet. Everyone stands there, wide-eyed, staring at the audacious idiot who strolled into this party with a stupid sox hat on! The NERVE!

Suddenly a brawl breaks out…beginning with some below-the-belt jabs about various Sox players. The Sox fan gets lippy about Wrigley Field…and then the poop really hits the fan. Beers are thrown…then chairs. Before you know it, the cops show up. You think there is a chance they’ll understand…if only they rooted for the Cubbies, too. Unfortunately, wearing uniforms, it is too difficult to determine.

You opt out by jumping over the balcony and making a run for it. And as you’re bleeding from the mouth, jetting down some dark alleyway, you think to yourself, “Stupid Sox!” When the coast is clear, you stop to catch your breath and analyze the damage to your jeans and polo. You feel a pat on your back from your new friend who has been running close behind.

“Dude, that was awesome! Go Cubbies!”

Scenario 2: The Poetry Fan
Now let’s revisit this scenario. Instead of sports, let’s imagine you’re a Robert Frost fanatic. You have the fedora on with his logo to prove it. The jerk who walks through the door is into Thoreau…he has that stupid Thoreau scarf on! That son of a—! Who does he think he is?

Immediately you walk up to him and yank his scarf in disgust. ”Thoreau? Hah, more like Bore-au!” The newcomer glares at you and then notices your fedora. ”Frost? Pshaaw. Please. Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening was a complete humdrum.”

“Moron! Robert Frost is highly regarded for his realistic depictions of the rural life and his command of American colloquial speech. He won four Pulitzer Prices, you knob! What did Thoreau do? I don’t see any Pulitzer on his resume, punk!”

“Shaw! Thoreau is only considered one of the most influential figures in American thought and literature! A supreme individualist, he championed the human spirit against materialism and social conformity. A-hole!”

I think the second brawl is significantly more interesting. Don’t you?

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Bridal Shop of Horrors

A haunting tune floods the room as you cautiously glide along rows of white. Taffeta, silk, satin, tool (and a little too much of it, you note), organza and lace tower around you like an army of white stallions. Your eyes burn from the relentless glare of “diamond-white,” “off-white” and ivory. As you turn down another colorless corridor, a chill runs down your spine: someone is watching you.

You continue down the aisle quietly, holding your breath in fear that you will be discovered. Beads of sweat begin to form on your brow and stash-line. Suddenly, you catch site of a ghostly reflection in a dozen gaudy rhinestones pinned on one of the off-white numbers. The ghoul’s muggy breath steams up the stones and fills the air with a potent moth-ball aroma. Before you turn to face the spirit you can’t help but notice: did the steam manage to form a 666 pattern on those stones? No … it must be your imagination.

“Good evening, young lady! What brings you to the shop?”

You turn around, nearly falling into an ocean of silk. “Well…” you gulp in terror, “I’m getting–”

“That’s great! Come sit with me over here, let’s get an idea of what you’re looking for.”

She takes your sweaty palm into hers (icy, you note) and drags you to a worn velvet couch surrounded by a hexagonal prism of mirrors and lace.

After handing you a heavy catalog full of bridal gowns she begins her round of questioning: The date, the venue, number of attendants, time of wedding, colors, height/weight/bust, etc. After ten minutes of detail gathering, she finishes up by asking one very intriguing question:

“Okay, so, last question: tell me one fun fact about yourself!”

You laugh, assuming this is some sort of cheesy joke, but after an awkward moment of grinning at each other blankly … you realize she is not kidding. You kindly respond with the first thing that pops into your head: your major in college.

“Great! So, a fun fact about me, I’ve worked here for 18 years and I’ve never once been invited to a wedding! Weird, huh?”

You think “not so strange” but instead shake your head and put on your best “no way!” face.

“Okay, so let’s find some dresses in here that you like. Then I’ll go ahead and pull them for you and we can get started!”

You ask if you can just browse the shop to check out the gowns instead. She freezes and stares at you in perplexity, still maintaining that enormous grin. For a moment you think, “Booger? Do I have a booger?”

“Umm…” For the first time you can’t see her top row of teeth, “it’s more relaxing for you this way … I do all the work, see?”

You hesitantly point to a few pictures in the catalog and, with a wink and a nod she prances away and disappears into a blinding cavern of chiffon.

She returns with two dresses (you pointed to at least five) and a strapless bra-girdle thing.

“Go ahead into the dressing room and put this on, then let me know when you’re ready.” She hands you the undergarment and shoves you into the “dressing room” (aka broom closet).

The instant you manage to hook the last notch on the girdle-contraption she throws open the door (which opens out to the now-bustling shop). Before you can react to your embarrassment she hands you dress #1, which looks nothing like any of the dresses you selected in the catalog.

“Here you go, come on out when you get it on.” She abruptly closes the door, trapping you in a dark casket of itchy fabric.

The dress fills the room like pudding in a cup, drowning you in a heap of vanilla-white. It takes you some time to figure out how to step into the monstrosity without losing balance. Your mind flashes forward and you see yourself falling through the door, tumbling onto the carpet (naked) in a web of ivory lace. You’re sweating again.

Finally you manage to get into the gown and proudly announce that you are ready. As you wait for her to open the door, you envision you/the dress oozing out of the dressing room as soon as the door opens … like frosting out of a tube.

You continue to wait. Nothing. You call out again, “READY!” … but hear nothing other than your own panting breath. You begin to fear that you will suffocate and die in this awful dress that you never liked to begin with. You panic and begin feeling around for the door knob. Just as you find it the door opens, flooding you in florescent lighting. All you can see in the brightness is a familiar, colossal grin.

Your eyes adjust and you can see her standing before you in awe.

“WOW! That looks amazing on you, come stand on this platform and take a look!”

You shimmy to the platform and turn to the mirror in absolute horror.

“Oh my god, this looks so perfect on you. It was MADE for you! I think this is the one – I mean, it rarely happens that the first dress you try is the one, but I really think this is it, don’t you?”

“I–”

“Wow, do you want to call your mom to have her come look? It’s just perfect! I’m so happy for you! Congratulations!”

All you can do is laugh in disbelief.

“Awh you are so modest! I know you love it because you’re smiling and laughing! How exciting for you!”

She yanks you off of the platform and hugs you in excitement. “Go ahead and get undressed and meet me at the front of the store – we’ll work out the price and get everything ordered there.”

You are shoved back into the closet and before you can utter a word she closes the door with a giggle, leaving you in darkness (again).

At this point you aren’t smiling anymore. It’s time for an escape plan.

After twenty minutes of worming your way out of the gown, you get dressed and sneak out of the dark stall. After what feels like hours of snaking through a series of aisles and hiding under satin trains when necessary, you finally spot the front door. You impulsively let out a sigh of relief … but your heart drops when you recognize your mistake. The sigh was not a sigh at all, but instead a victorious cry: “YESSSS!!! THANK YOU SWEET JESUS!”

Time stops as you assess your surroundings. It isn’t long before you see her. In slow motion her head spins around, revealing her grin-stamped face. You flinch in anticipation of a pea-soup explosion and shield your head with a nearby unity candle. Once you realize she has not vomited exorcist-style all over the shop, you drop the candle and make a run for it.

As you leap over dozens of flower-girl baskets and fake bouquets you can hear her shrill voice calling out behind you, “Hey! Getting your wallet?” but you continue to run: you are in survival mode.

You finally reach the door and pounce through it like a caged animal escaping its prison. The outside air slaps your face as you fall to your knees and weep in joy. You made it out alive… this time.

Then you realize you left your purse inside.

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C&K Jump The Broom

Here’s something I wrote recently for our online wedding site …

About the Bride and Groom (to-be)

Kristi and Chris met in the fall of 2009. Kristi’s company purchased a set of career videos from Chris’ company, and Chris was assigned as the producer of the project. Since Kristi was technically Chris’ client … he knew that one misinterpreted flirtation could pose some serious repercussions and might even cost him his job.

Obviously the stakes were high for Chris, but he took a chance when Kristi extended an invitation to a Cub’s game in Wrigleyville later that week. The “purpose” of her invitation was to thank Chris for his hard work and dedication to the project … but underneath it all, she just wanted an excuse to sit next to him in 90 degree heat (during a ball game she cared nothing about – and apparently he cared nothing about, either!). A brunch at Lula Cafe followed the sporting event the next day … and then, two painful months later, Kristi received two pounds of gouda cheese at her doorstep in Bloomington. The note: “To: Space Mouse From: Chris Weiher.” (If you want details on this bizarre note / exchange, please inquire at the wedding.)

“That’s the gift that keeps on giving!” Chris told her that evening over the phone. And he was right. After a series of “first dates,” the two became inseparable (at least, during the weekends). Unfortunately, the geographical distance between the two lovebirds made their left and right ventricles ache with longing. How long could they go on like this? The weeks dragged along and the two Skyped incessantly to make up for lost face-time.

Finally, in April of 2010, Kristi was able to convince her employer to let her move to Chicago and work remotely out of her apartment. She still has no idea how she was able to pull it off, but she has been forever grateful to her company since.

The following May 2011, Chris and Kristi moved into a Palmer Square apartment together. After three months of ceaseless laughter and fun under the same roof, both realized this ease of co-habitation was not common and thus a very good sign in terms of their romantic future together. After a few brief conversations on the matter, Chris decided to pop the question – but it had to be a complete surprise.

Chris and Kristi share a rather quirky sense of humor, so the ideal place to propose was obviously Gate B10 at the Midway Airport.

Kristi was on her way to New York City for a work function and Chris was coming along with her for a mini vacation … but, due to work constraints, Chris informed Kristi he would be coming to NYC on a later flight. Little did Kristi know … Chris had tickets on the same flight! Twenty minutes after she hopped into a cab to head to the airport, Chris was in his car on his way there as well. When Chris approached Kristi at Gate B10, obviously confusion ensued. Chris informed Kristi that she had forgotten something – her hair dryer – and that he had followed her to the airport to bring it to her. “They have hairdryers at the hotel!” Kristi said, still confused (and a tiny bit incredulous). He handed her the dryer (on one knee) …

“Well I figured you might need it now.”
“What? Why would I need it now?”
“I dunno … to dry your tears … of joy!?”

The ring was then revealed in the middle of the terminal. It was Wednesday, July 27 2011. And she said yes! So, that’s how we got here.

Chris and Kristi love to do everything together, from cooking both ordinary and unusual cuisine to listening to newfangled podcasts and offbeat music. Their best Sundays involve long bike rides around the city, Irv and Shelly’s Fresh Picks produce, Mom’s Pizza, Dexter OR True Blood OR Game of Thrones OR Woody Allen flick OR a fun documentary, a glass (or two) of wine and some bohemian popcorn with 7up/Orange juice mixers to wrap it all up.

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The summer of 2011 was one to remember – the weather balmy and the laughter bountiful.

As we roll into a pile of crunchy leaves and wave goodbye, we bring along a trunk of memories that we will reflect upon with a swelling sensation of pleasure.

Just in case that trunk of memories falls off the back of my car on I90/I94 and bursts open like a walnut, splattering the summer’s fondest recollections on the pavement for traffic to smear and stampede, I figured I should note a few here for safekeeping.

So here they are, my fondest memories in an Ode to Summer 2011 …

1. Steve Martin and Martin Short - June 19

2. Logan Square Summer Concerts - June 23

3. Holy Hail Storm! - June 25

4. Pride Parade - June 26

5. Tour De Fat - July 16

6. Pitchfork - July 16

7. Millennium Park Picnic / Concert - July 25

8. Engagement - July 27

9. NYC - July 27, 28, 29

10. Beth and Nick Baby Shower - July 29

11. Houston - August 10

12. Diggers Ping Pong Champs - multiple dates

13. Feisty Badminton Matches - multiple dates</strong>

Posted in Snafus |

May I recommend …

1. – Getcha some swanky eyeglasses for the price of a bean burrito. (Unless you are legally blind without your contacts or specs, then it’s more like the price of 49 bean burritos. I can’t decide what I want more … neat eyeglasses or 49 delectable loaves of beans and cheese.) Credit: Bryn and Rachel

2. – Live off the local organic lands without leaving the confines of your cave. Fresh produce can be delivered weekly, bi-weekly or monthly at a competitive price. Be aware that you don’t choose the produce, it chooses you. Ok, actually the season is the dictator in terms of the contents of each delivery. A handy description of every veggie/fruit is included so you can impress your friends by naming all edible material in their salad come suppertime. Credit: Cdubs

3. – Feeling saddlebaggie? Download this app to your phony device and take it with you whilst you practice your startled deer impression on the streets. It will track distance, speed/pace, time and calories burned. Then you can upload it to the website to track your progress. Make sure you check your privacy settings though – unless you want it posting your running business for the world to see via twitter and/or Facebook. Credit: moi.

4. – Good selection of unique flowers and plants in Logan Square. Please note that if the world laughs in flowers, you’re constantly the butt of the world’s jokes. Credit: Logan Circle

5. – Looking for a place to eat tonight? Something casual? Something fun? Something toothsome? Something expensive? Something in your neighborhood? Something in his neighborhood? Go here. Credit: Google.

6. – Too busy to read the news? Too ADHD to listen to NPR? Too lazy to care, but you’re worried you’ll be ridiculed if someone asks and you have no idea what is going on in the world? Use the Cheat Sheet. Works like a charm. Credit: moi.

7. – How do people always seem to find these hilarious Youtube vids before you!? This site posts every golden video goose on the interwebs. Impress your friends and eliminate boredom and/or the weeknight blues. Credit: Cdubs.

Posted in Snafus | 2 Comments

Urban Yoggers

I promised a brief yet informative blog describing the various characteristics of Palmer Square yoggers, as well as the conclusions I’ve drawn from my haphazard observations of them. I’m sure the promises I casually make on this blog are not particularly memorable to my readers (all three of them!) but I’ve made a commitment and I plan to stick to it! So here it is …

Yogger types observed in Palmer Square, a random sample qualitative research study that is not backed up by any concrete evidence / data other than personal observation made by highly scientific instruments known as my eyeballs:

1. The high school track team superstar yogger.
This yogger has been running since diapers and competing since pimples. He/she is typically a pale beanstalk who whisks by with a trailing aroma of suntan oil and . Surprisingly these yogging types are rather hearty individuals despite their rose-leaf complexions and gangly, flailing extremities. They effortlessly zip past me with the speed and grace of an agile cheetah … not a single bead of sweat visible on their blonde brows.

2. The couple yogger.
Occasionally Cdubs and I fall under this category when we’re feeling particularly devoted to each other’s physical health. As they say,”the couple yogger that runs together, sticks together.” (I’m sure that saying can be taken both literally and figuratively.) There are two types of couple-yoggers: pro and amateur. Pro-couple yoggers are the more aesthetically pleasing of the two types – not only because they’re usually more fit but they also tend share strides, eerily resembling one massive (and attractive) torso with three gracefully gliding lower limbs. Amateur-couple yoggers are typically easier to spot as they haven’t yet achieved the level of dexterity that pro-couple yoggers handsomely display on the running path. Amateur-couple strides lack the rhythmic quality necessary to be considered at pro-level. Note: Typically amateur-couple yoggers are training for an upcoming 5K of some sort.

3. The sprint-then-walk yogger
I am ashamed to admit that this is the yogging category I most commonly fall under as an urban yogger. The sprint-then-walk yogger is out there to get fit but also can’t handle someone passing him/her or someone thinking he/she is a wimp. This yogger has a firm sense of pride and an inner burn for competition. Once the sprint-then-walk yogger’s reputation is threatened by another fast-moving yogger (most commonly the high school track team superstar yogger and/or pro-couple yogger), he/she will kick the pace up to a speed that can only be described as ludicrous. After about 1 minute of this intense and ridiculous display of physical “stamina,” the sprint-then-walk yogger has no other option but to decrease speed … eventually strutting down to a brisk walk. Then, after he/she beats him/herself up internally for a good three to four minutes (i.e. “you fail! Slowpoke!”), the strut works its way back up to a startled-deer pace. This cycle continues until the sprint-then-walk yogger feels completely drained of all energy and heads home.

4. The slow-moving-yet-never-stopping-yogger
These yoggers are tenacious – they run at a snails pace but learned a thing or two from the famous tortoise who beat that pompous hare. These folks understand and embrace the importance of pacing themselves and never waiver regardless of other yoggers who relentlessly run circles around their short yet sturdy strides. The slow-moving-yet-never-stopping-yogger typically yogs for physical and mental health. Examples: the young mother who just needs 30 minutes peace and quiet, the older gentleman just looking for some fresh air and perhaps a bluebird on his shoulder, the middle-aged woman fighting hot flashes, and the young adolescent working off his baby fat before the commencement of his freshman year.

5. The body-builder-whose-coach-said-to-incorporate-cardio yogger
This yogger yogs at his / her coach’s request. Typically the individual has more muscle definition than you can shake a stick at, and the boredom in his/her eyes instantly tells you that yogging is not his/her forte. Their speed is average and sometimes lackadaisical (they’d rather be tossing around the cold steel in a gym somewhere), but their face is always grim and serious – it’s obvious that yogging is not their cup of creatine.

Here are a few other yogging types I’ve observed but are too unique to fit under one category:
1. Tatoo-chick yogger
She runs in baggy yoga pants and a sports bra – the rest of her body splashed with art. According to her lower back, she loves the Chinese zodiac and kittens.

2. Purse yogger
This young lady runs with a hemp cross-body purse. At first glance you may think she’s running late for a bus.

3. Hipster yogger
In my neighborhood this guy is difficult to spot. He runs with his calve-high tube socks (red/blue/brown stripes at the top), short shorts, a sweatband (typically matches the socks) and aviators.

What other types have you observed in your homeland? Anything I’ve missed?

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James Earl Jones! I’m bored beyond belief! It’s Friday night and I’m sitting on the couch with my fat cat eating fat-free cool whip out of a bowl and reading The Daily Beast. My bud Tara is up for a visit tomorrow and I decided to stay in and recharge my batteries before her triumphant arrival.

So … I’m bored. Why not blog? The trouble is that I have nothing to blog about at the moment. Nothing is moving me tonight. The little writing tickle I typically get in my chest – that tiny urge that pokes me in the heart and sets my brain into bloggernerd mode – has apparently skipped away to Maifest in Lincoln Square, leaving me here ALONE and UNINSPIRED with only a vat of whipped cream drenched in my tears to keep me occupied.

Then I thought, let them eat blog! Meaning, why not let my readers blog for once? It isn’t as nerdy as it seems, really. It can be fun! I’ll make it easy by asking a series of general questions … and you can respond as you see fit. Answer any of the ten questions below or ask your own. Yeehaw!

OK, here are ten questions I’ve always wanted to ask my readers:

1. Do you ever eat cool whip out of a bowl?

2. Do you occasionally find the word maintenance difficult to spell?

3. Do you think Jewel’s flowers are just as nice as Fleurs selection? (And if you don’t know Fleur, just let me know what you think of Jewel’s flowers.)

4. Does a question ever pop into your head spontaneously and make you feel a little dense because you should know the answer? Then you can’t shake the question out of your skull … it sticks to your forehead and slowly eats away at your frontal lobe until the pain makes your nostrils sting and your eyes water. You try to brush it away with the back of your hand but you feel like everyone can see it … like a humongous new zit … everyone can see that you are uninformed and question your hygiene! But you are too proud and too embarrassed to admit your ignorance! So it continues to fester until you decide to just be an adult for once and find a quiet place to Google or Wiki it! THEN when you read the answer you think, “oh yeah, I knew that!” even if you sort of didn’t …!?! Me either.

5. Has anyone ever vividly described place/location and asked if you knew where it was, and even though you didn’t you replied “yeah, yeah!”? Explain.

6. Do you ever step out into a beautiful day and think, “If only I had an hour, a nice pair of gym shoes and an Enya cd”? (sub question: When you listen to Enya, do you replay parts of your life in your mind’s eye in a very dramatic fashion?)

7. Do you ever find yourself in a public space thinking, “what if I broke into song at this very moment?” or “what if I just kicked that guy in the toe for no apparent reason?” or “what if I took this grape soda in my hand, shook it up like spray paint and opened it with an eerie laugh … drenching everyone in line at Walgreens head to toe in purple stuff?” or “Can that woman read my mind? What about that baby, can he/she hear my thoughts?” or “If I collapsed from a lethal bee sting right now … would that guy save me?”

9. Have you ever, right before drifting off to sleep, conjured up a perfectly feasible idea and thought to yourself, “Now, why didn’t I think of that before tonight? I’m going to do that as soon as I wake!” But when you roll out of bed in the morning and reflect back on the concept or plan you think, “Uhhh … did I eat raw bacon last night?”

10. Have you ever wanted to learn how to play trumpet just so you can burst into your friend / significant other’s room at 6 a.m. and abruptly play the Morning Call song? Alternative: if someone ever woke you up to the Morning Call song via trumpet at 6 a.m., would you forgive him/her?

I look forward to your responses.

Posted in Snafus |

Being a square

Hullo, big city lights!

Whelp (that’s a slang version of “well” … this isn’t a birth announcement! No mammal offspring in the vicinity!), Cdubs and I have officially made the previously mentioned Palmer Square gem our home. We’re finally settled now … all snug like a couple of bugs with big brains and bigger hearts on a nice big rug. And this just in: we love it. It’s been four weeks since the move and yet we still manage to announce the following sentence to each other on a daily basis: “Wow, this place is SO cool.”

After scouring this rad apartment, our hands and noses as our trusty guides … we haven’t found one iota of ick or bad or dumb or lame … well, except for the water temperature / pressure … and window sills that leak nasty blood-water (see for yourself, I dare ya:)

Someone call Stephen King ...

But despite awkward (and cold … and non-pressure-ful … and blood-like … and not delicious gravy) drippings, we’ve pleasantly nestled into this joint like a couple of Nestle(R) crunch bars (I selected “crunch” and not the “caramel” variety for good reason: we both fried ourselves on a sand skillet under the hot sun two weeks ago in Panama City Beach, Florida).

Side note: At this point I want to keep the metaphors brewing because they’re oh-so-fun … but I’m on my last diet ginger ale and my brain power is waning like the eggplant I sauteed earlier for dinner. (OK that’s the last one.)

Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah, our view. It isn’t anything to cry over …

Lookit, maw! I can see Palmer Square from here.

And the park across the street doesn’t stink either … (well, figuratively – doggy play dates are prevalent down there and thus so too are the oceans of turdlagmites.)

The pathway to Palmerness

Cdubs and I plan to take full advantage of this urban oasis anchored in front of our new home (picnics, anyone!?). In fact, I’ve become an ol’ regular at Palmer Square Park as of late. After measuring the pathway using Gmaps Pedometer AND confirming my findings with MapMyRun.com, I determined, through science, that one lap is approximately .5 miles. So that means two laps equals a MILE … which is both convenient and enticing.

But the convenience isn’t why I’m sharing this particular piece of information with you. Every time I head down to the path for a run I learn something new about this city … about my neighbors … about their dogs, their drinks of choice, their strollers, their sunscreen selections and more. But sit tight for a few days (bad metaphor alert) as I’m beginning to feel the weight of twilight on my forehead like a cowboy hat that is just a leeeeetle too snug.

My next post will unleash a band of stories from my days of yore in Palmer Square Park. And by “yore” I guess I don’t mean yore at all since my only experiences in the park are recent. I just wanted to use the word yore. How often do you get to use “yore” in a sentence? Definitely not as often as as.

ps. Music download of the week – Mango Tree by Angus and Julia Stone (the ain’t too shabby either)

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Papa knows best!

Deep-dish delights (DDDs). Cheese-meat-sauce-dough-fat bombs (CMSDFs). Pizza-bowl muffins (PBMs). Italian Sausage-stuffed pies (ISSPs). Baked mozzarella and marinara dream-boats (BMMDBs). Beer’s fatty sidekick / stuntdouble (BFS[s]). Hangover helpers (HHs). Greesy gut-filling friendlies (GGFFs).

Whatever pseudonym you (and your appetite) have conjured up, this delectable, savory treat will always refer to itself under one name: Chicago-Style Pizza.

Pizza = the secret to Bruce's shiny coat!

I like to consider myself a connoisseur of pizza for a few reasons:

1. Since solid food became acceptable to my digestive system around age 1, I’ve made sure to maintain a steady diet of pizza (average 2 – 3 times / week) to help me grow into the strong and limber woman I am today.

2. My best bud Tara and I started our very own Pizza Steering Committee with some of the coolies at work. This club, although incredibly exclusive and very secretive, enlightened our taste buds and effectively quenched our thirst for the zesty combination of meat, cheese and marinara sauce on a bi-weekly basis.

3. I’ve had my share of pizza at a variety of times during the day: breakfast, lunch, dinner, and even forth meal (originated by Taco Bell, ironically). Re: breakfast – I must say, those Italians know their coffee cake. HA! Get it!? Italian coffee cake = pizza? Give it a minute.

4. My favorite part about pizza is eating it. I don’t get into the highly scientific sniff test or discuss the consistency of the dough with my fellow pizza-scarfing cronies. When a pizza is plopped in front of my face, I get right down to business, no questions asked.

5. I think calzones and hot pockets are disgusting posers! Nothing infuriates me more than a party sans-pizza yet avec pizza rolls. Don’t even bother inviting me, I’ll just throw the garbage on the floor and jump out the window in the name of pizza. Hopefully I’ll have my pizzachute with me.

6. If anyone ever spelled pizza with a “K” … I’d punch them with a pepperoni. (I got that one off of our ol’ PSC twitter account … which I urge you to find because it’s hilarious if I do say so myself)

So, bottom line, I love pizza. But here’s the kicker: my favorite pizza is not some hidden gem serving deep-dish-delights by the slice on lower-Wacker. It isn’t some famous parlor, neitha! So what is it, you ask?

It’s Papa Johns. You read me right.

Sauce in non-eco friendly tubs!? Yes please!

I love everything about Papa Johns. I love its sweet-sassy-zesty sauce, its not-very-but-sorta-greasy cheese, its non-creepy-nor-mystery meats, it’s fresh veggies (and plenty of them), its soft, soft, sweet dough (like a lovers touch!), its plethora of tantalizing sauces (who needs milk for calcium when you have a vat of aromatic and tasty garlic butter!?) … not to mention Papa’s ease on my bank book. Thanks for dinner and now the ability to buy more pizza or maybe go on a trip somewhere, Pappy!

So there you have it. In a city full of “chicago-style-pizza” … I still place all pepperoni on Papa. When it comes to meat and cheese pies, these papa-cats know what’s up.

Although I am ashamed to admit it, infidelity has wedged it’s way into my relationship with Papa since my move to Chicago. I think he understands, though, deep down … seeing that I am in deep-dish territory and he doesn’t really have anything deeper than 1″ to keep my heart and stomach from wandering into another Italian’s parlor.

So, to be fair (and completely transparent to Papa), here are some other Chicago pizza joints I’ve tried and rather liked:

1. Sunday specials include a free growler of microbrew (YUM!) with any large pizza purchase.

2. This pizza, when enjoyed on-location, appears as a delightful pizza-shroom and is served in a bowl in which it is baked. Unbelievably delish.

3. Cdubs introduced this deep-dish-delight to me, and for that I am forever grateful.

4. If you want an absolutely delicious thin-crust pizza with fresh everything, go with Pete’s. Fast delivery too. Plus you can get a side of BBQ ribs or manicotti if you so desire.

5. Delightful deep-dish, BYOB, unbelievably peppy and friendly waitstaff.

6. Hipsters rejoice – this place is delicious, hip (pitchfork’s soundtrack buzzing overhead) and all-organic. Eat real!

7. (or as Cdubs calls it: Happy Clown Pizza) I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting this greasy-pie-spoon joint as of yet, but Cdubs has and he wholeheartedly approves.

OK Chicagoans and non-Chicagoans who know pizza in Chicago: what am I missing? Any suggestions? Give me the scoop on the pies, but don’t tell Papa.

Posted in good eatin' | 10 Comments

Nerdisms

I’ve lived in Chicago exactly one year. That’s 12 months. 365 days. 8,760 hours. 525,600 minutes. (which doesn’t really sound like many minutes …)

Although I’ve become a semi-savvy CTA user, a bike rider, an amateur (experimental and not that good) cook, a new restaurant obsessor, a microbrew freak, a recycler, a traffic connoisseur, a local volunteer, a Tony’s shopper, an amazon lover, a neglector of loud city sounds (well … I have developed an ambivalence for noise pollution I suppose … as ambulance #4 rolls by my windows whilst I type) … I’ve still been unable to shake my destiny for lifelong nerdism.

No matter what I do or where I go in this city, I consistently feel like the queen of dorks. I will say that I’ve never lacked confidence (see running blog post … i.e. trying out for the pom-pom squad as a chubby adolescent with two left feet), but living here definitely transformed my “medium-sized crustacean in a friendly and surprisingly talented puddle” mentality to “single-celled organism in a vast body of glorious superstar water” mindset.

Let me provide a few examples.

1. Not only is my bike a rather-upright and comfortable contraption (unlike the “cool” road bike models prevalent in my neighborhood), my helmet resembles an empty fish bowl that sits 2 inches too high on my think-tank … making my head appear large enough to host its own weather system(s).

2. I have homemade bangs (I haven’t found a reasonable beauty-parlor nearby yet … and my kitchen scissors are the next best thing). Sometimes, right after I give my bangs a nice choparooski, I slightly resemble Georgie Porgie (puddin’ pie) or that dude who stuck his thumb in a pie. Either way, I look like someone with something to do with a pie and ABCs… an unfortunate nerd who should be constantly reciting nursery rhymes whilst eating cherry filling.

2a. I say “beauty parlor”

3. I like bad 80s movies and sometimes feel that I would rather watch them than the indie/foreign flicks with oodles of awards and thumbs-ups. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy quality films too … but sometimes I just want to be entertained. Sometimes I crave big hair, keyboards, The Cars, crummy sound tracks that never exit the brain and jokes that don’t need to include bodily noises/sexual references to be hilarious. Examples: Overboard, Earth Girls Are Easy, Troop Beverly Hills, High Spirits, Big Trouble In Little China, UHF, Big Business, Short Circuit, The Last Unicorn, Drop Dead Fred … I could go on forever…

4. I wear makeup. Apparently, in this neighborhood, makeup is a sign of materialism and shallowness. Interesting perspective, but my eyeliner is doing you a favor, punks. You don’t want to see these eyeballs clean.

5. I drive a KIA. Not only that, it’s an SUV. I feel like a complete a-hole every time I hop in.

6. I work in marketing and George Carlin hates me for that. Here, one must be one or more of the following to be cool: artist, musician, video producer, architect, actor/actress, director, chef, social worker, poet, writer, coffee shop owner, vegetarian, vegan or bike repair-person.

7. I have a blog.

8. I listen to Owl City when I run sometimes. Also Enya. Occasionally Yanni. Just kidding. Sort of. But not really.

9. I smile in pictures. This is death to cool in the hipster world.

10. I post photo albums on Facebook. Also, I tweet.

11. I like American / velveeta cheese. And typing that out made me hungry.

12. I have a sweet SLR camera but have no idea how to use it.

13. I feel like high-fiving someone when I successfully parallel park.

14. My obsession with my cat drives me to: let him have my pillow, drink my milk when I’m not done with it, sit on my chair when I’m not done sitting in it, walk on my computer as I attempt to use it.

15. I feel like high-fiving fellow runners when I run past them on Logan Boulevard.

16. I can speak fluent Ewok.

17. I use a Crest SpinBrush (r) and tell everyone about it.

18. I make terrible / boring lists explaining why I’m a destined nerd.

19. I went to Medieval Times for my 28th birthday.

20. I think Lady Gaga is awesome.

Posted in Snafus | 6 Comments