Monday, February 28, 2011

The Road and The Radio

You have a lot on your mind.  Some of it’s good, some of it’s bad.  Either way you just want to clear your head.  So you get into your car after work and start driving home.

You turn a different way than normal.  You drive until you find a road that you don’t recognize and you turn.  Maybe it’s right or left, it doesn’t really matter.

You keep driving.  You drive until you’re on a road that you can drive freely on.  Perhaps it’s an empty highway or a lone country road.  There are no other cars around and no stop lights.  You just keep driving.

You take turns periodically, just to liven things up a bit.  Maybe you don’t, whatever – it’s your journey.

You fumble with the radio, trying to find the song that your soul needs to hear so you can start healing.  Amazing how the right song can change you.  You don’t know what it is you need to hear, but you’ll know it when you hear it.

It’s beginning to get dark out and a few raindrops are beating down.  You turn your lights on.  You flick your windshield wipers on.  They swipe across, wiping the rain away.

The street is all glittery now.  Everything glistens in your headlights.  The scenery is dark, glittery and empty.  Everything seems darker in the rain.  And yet, there’s a beautiful, eerie iridescence to it.

Finally, that song you need comes on the radio.  For a few blessed seconds, the world seems to stop.  The thoughts leave your mind and your soul feels warm.

And you cry.  Or you don’t, it’s of no importance.  But you start to feel better.  And as the song ends and you stop crying (if you ever started) you realize it’s time to go home.  So without even knowing the way, you find your way home. 

The lights are reflected back brightly in the black, liquid puddles on the asphalt.  The tires splash through sending droplets of glitter scattering through the air.

You get home, turn off the radio and fumble for your keys.

You walk to your front door feeling lighter.  Less thoughts cluttering up your mind.

Maybe you even feel a little free.

And you won’t tell anybody because it’s a secret. 

A secret between you, the road, and the radio.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

My morning smile

So, I woke up this morning and walked down my hallway. I was greeted, as usual, by a frantic chinchilla bouncing around for her raisin.

I squatted down and took a picture.

Apparently, the flash was too bright...

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

February Weather

So far this February has been the month of crazy ass weather.

Let me explain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up.*

We start off the month with a record breaking blizzard. Then, it turns bitterly cold. And THEN it warms up to the 50's (I know, you're thinking "...the hell?" too).  And, tonight, there was snow. Followed by a thunderstorm.  Followed by rain.

I'm beginning to feel like Ed Harris is going to cue the sun at any moment.*

And, they say March will come in like a lion and out like a lamb. Is sure like to know what February came and left as...

*You're welcome for the two (two for the price of one) pop culture references.  From two of my favorite movies The Truman Show and The Princess Bride.

Friday, February 18, 2011

You Know You're A Grown Up When...'re standing in your local MegaMart and are bypassing the Easter candy.

The clearance in the Junior's section.

The wine.

        No, wait - you actually stop and go back to that.

You bypass the shoes.



         Damn.  No, you go back to that too.

You head straight over to the vacuum cleaners because you need a new one (since someone's fur has clogged it all up).  And that is all you purchase.

Yes, I know, she's adorable.  Furry but adorable.

Even though there was a $12 bottle of Merlot.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Be Careful What You Wish For

So, I took some advice from my mom (yes, Mom, I do periodically listen to you) and thought I'll ask the Universe/God/Powers-That-Be for a nice little surprise today.  Thinking that it might come in the form of something pink.

So I was going about my morning throwing together lunch, getting dressed and making scrambled eggs for breakfast.  I looked at the clock and realized that I had far less time than I had realized.  So I wolfed down my breakfast thinking that it may have tasted a little odd but added it up to eating so quickly.  I skipped out the door in my new (and insanely comfy) $12 shoes form Meijer.

I get to work reminding myself to be on the lookout for a nice little something today.  I eat lunch and come back from my break.  I start filling an order and answering some questions from my coworkers only to start feeling...odd.

You know that feeling: cramping, nausea, slightly warm and clammy.  And in dire need of a bathroom.  Now.

I run back to the bathroom - I might have even punted a kitten and knocked over a little old lady on my way. I realize that I cannot stay at work.  Or, rather, if I do I WILL BE working from the restroom.  Not a good idea.

So I go home.  Which is something I never do.  Migraine?  Pfft, I'll work through it.  Missing a leg?  Please, just get me a tourniquet and I'll be hunky-dory.  Passing out after hitting my elbow (true story, by the way)?  Meh, I'll just regain consciousness and start working again.

But I cannot work through this.  No way.  So I go home.  And drink some rice wine vinegar (don't give me that look - it works) and run to the grocery store and buy some Pepto Bismal.

What do you know.

It worked.

I got my surprise.

And something pink.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Why I Don't Buy Kitchen Gadgets

I recently bought a food processor.

I had wanted one for quite some time and finally found the perfect one:  red, 10 cups, and under $100!

In the past two days I have made my own hazelnut butter and Nutella (which, seriously, if you have the capability make it yourself - sooooo much better).  Unfortunately, this has "released the hounds" in my culinarily creative part of my brain.

What does this mean?

I have raided my cookbooks.
And magazines.
And the Food Network website.
And any website that mentions recipes ever.

I have found more toys to play with in the kitchen than I know what to do with!

I want tart pans.
I want a pop machine.
I want a kitchen torch.
I want a rice cooker.
I want an ice cream maker.  (Okay, fine.  I've wanted one of these for awhile.)
I want a digital probe oven thermometer.
I want everything in the King Arthur Flour Company catalog.

My kitchen is 8 x 8, so there's not much counter space.  I have enough room for my toaster, microwave, and Keurig coffee machine.  My waffle maker, food processor and blender now live below my stand mixer (which is on an island thingy from Ikea.  So I DO NOT need more gadgets.

But I would totally use a pop machine.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Stories from the Front Lines of Retail: How to Endear Yourself to No One

I'm aware that most people forget that those who help them in retail locations are people and not faceless, soulless automatons.  For that reason, I have compiled the following list of egregious errors.  If you wish to receive the best customer service please keep the following in mind in a retail situation.

1.)  If your total is less than $20 do not pay with a $100 bill.  Now I have to give you all my change and the person behind you has to wait because you're self important.  If you don't have a smaller bill, pay with a credit card.  We don't mind - seriously.

2.) If a sales associate is helping you, don't grab her.  Or him, for that matter.  I am not your slave.  Wife.  Daughter.  Girlfriend.  If you grab me - I will cease being nice to you.  Especially if you do so after I answer another customer's question and you respond my grabbing my arm and shouting, "Whoa, whoa, whoa!  You're still with me, right?"  What is this...the Stone Age?

3.) If you ordered something from us and there was a RECORD BREAKING BLIZZARD understand that we do not control UPS.  We cannot control that the package is sitting in the same city for a few days.  Don't chew us out because there was a RECORD BREAKING BLIZZARD.

4.) 9 times out of 10 I break/bend/shatter the rules for the person who is inconvenienced but nice to me.  If you're a jerk, I dig my heals in.  The ruder you are the less I bend.  Most people in retail subscribe to this theory.  Keep that in mind.

5.) Just because I work in retail does not mean I'm an idiot.  So, unless you're positive I'm in high school, keep the "'re saving up for college and going to get an education" to yourself.

6.) Don't be afraid to be proactive when looking for help.  Standing in the corner and staring at me doesn't make me want to help you.  It makes me want to run screaming the opposite direction.  It's creepy.

7.)  Don't just grunt when we say "thank you" (or something along those lines).  We really mean it - without you we don't have jobs.  And if we say "have a nice day" we mean it.  Unless it's a big box store and is something they have to say.  In that case, if they add something extra - acknowledge it.

8.)  Be nice to us.  We do talk about you as soon as you leave.  If you're super nice - we want everyone to know so you get great service.  If you make us want to bash our head's in with a car door, we want our coworkers to know about it as well!

9.)  Watch.  Your.  Children.  Nothing induces a migraine faster than a store full of customers and three rambunctious small children running around and moving our product around.

10.)  Don't ask for something to be custom made and then bark at as at the last minute that you need it super quick because you have to be somewhere 10 minutes ago.  Pick something already made.  We'll work as fast as we can, but it's going to take as long as it's going to take.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


, Chicago had snow envy.

Stop laughing.

Are you done laughing?

I'll wait.

Done?  Good.

Seriously, there was intense snow envy going on.  [cue whiny voice] But we always make the headlines!  We always have the worst winter storms!  It's not fair!

I swear, the weathermen were peeing all over themselves with excitement.  Well, I'm pleased to announce, the storm did not disappoint.  [No, I'm not really pleased.]  This ranked as number 3 of the top 5 blizzards to ever hit the city of Chicago.

It started last night when I got home from work.  Never before have I ever considered laying down in the snow and just given up until last night.  Oh, my God it was like crossing Antarctica!  The wind was HORRIBLE!  Snow was up past my knees (okay, that's not too hard seeing as I'm 5ft).  I almost contemplated sitting in my car because it seemed easier than trudging onward.

Yeah, I know it doesn't look like much.  If you look closely, there's a bench.

Once I made it inside I changed into my insanely warm jammies and wrapped myself around a heating pad I looked out my window and saw this.

So, I went to bed and woke up to a blissful winter wonderland.

Yeah - I laughed at that too.

 So, I went to go sweep my car off.

And was greeted with this GIANT mound of snow from people shoveling out their cars.  And clearing space for the pack mules to make their deliveries.

I think it was probably 6 or 7 feet tall

These pictures don't do the snow justice - it really looks MUCH worse

God bless the grounds crew.  They were out ALL DAY clearing the paths and parking lots.  I'm going to make them cookies.  Or brownies.  Or a 5 layer, buttercream frosted cake.

 These are both pictures of the river by my place.  10 bucks if you can tell me where the snow ends and where the river begins.

Another shot of one of the pathways that cuts through.  The snow was about 2 feet on each side.

No, that's not a snow covered Beggar's Canyon it's a ground level view of one of the pathways.

Tomorrow we're expecting -40 windchills.

How divine.