And All That Jazz

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

L and I decided a few weeks ago that since Valentine's Day also fell on a 3-day weekend this year that it might be fun to forgo Valentine gifts for each other and take a trip instead.  Since we're so close to so many places that we've never been, we plan to do this pretty frequently.  This was our first opportunity since we had so many visitors in January, and it couldn't have come at a better time.  After spending a full week completely housebound (after I'd worked already a full week at the house), we were both ready to be out of the house and away from snow.  So off we went... to Chicago.

Yeah, Chicago in the middle of the winter.  In case you were wondering, it's definitely cold there.  And windy.  It's not for the faint at heart.  But the weather was decent while we were there (ie, no snow or precipitation and even sunny!) and we got to do a lot of fun things. 

I could bore you with the minute-by-minute retelling of our trip, but instead I'll hit the highlights:

Day 1
Check in to hotel, which was AWESOME (Palmer Hotel -see pic below)
Puppet Bike
Lunch at Giordanna's
Lots of walking
Food coma/ nap - plan for drinks at the Empire Room at the top of Hancock Tower and dinner in Chinatown (it was Chinese New Year - seemed like a cool idea)
Nap ran long; not hungry anyway.  Get sucked into Olympics.
9:00 - finally decide to move and do something.  I decide to start the showering/ dressing process.  Slow-going process due to Olympics.
10:00 - Still in bathroom.  At this point I'd gotten sucked into the amazing magnifying mirror in the bathroom.  My eyebrows now look better than they have in years.
10:30 - Forgo original plans and just go get drinks in the hotel lounge.  We shut the place down.

Day 2
Brunch at the hotel
Art Institute of Chicago
Puppet Bike
Shopping on Michigan Ave.
Back to hotel to change for dinner and evening activities
Drinks at Empire Lounge
Dinner - originally planned for Chicago Pizza Oven Grinders but had to change plans on the fly.  No idea what the name of the place is that we ate at but it's a charming, little Italian place next door to CPOG.
Second City Show
Late night drinks at Miller's Pub (or something like that)

Day 3
Extremely late start.  Someone "ate something bad" but might actually be hungover.
Pepto obtained, and lunch for me.
Art Institute of Chicago - Round 2
Brief shopping stint for L.
Head home.

I now have experience using the "El", which apparently smelled like the packaging to a new Barbie doll or a perm (both according to the family sitting a few seats back in our car on the way into the city).  L and I just kind of thought it smelled like pee.  I much prefer the Metro in DC to the El.  Cleaner, bigger cars, and the stations are all less creepy and Phantom of the Opera-like. 

I forgot to take pics of the hotel (and most of the trip, as you'll soon see) but here's a pic of the lobby, courtesy of

You might be wondering what Puppet Bike is and why two adults "did" that two days in a row.  Friends, Puppet Bike is magical and heartwarming.  When we first came upon it, we didn't understand what was going on; we just saw a crowd of people standing around staring at something.  As we got closer, we could hear music (Baby Elephant Walk) and then L said he could see two cats fighting (I thought he meant real ones) and then I realized we were looking at a puppet show. 

And it might have been one of the cutest things I've ever seen.  I wish we'd stood around and watched longer but I was STARVING and we figured we'd catch more of the show after lunch (we didn't.  Puppet Bike Room was closed when we walked back by).  Consequently, we both really wanted to try and see another show on Sunday or Monday.  This is what we were able to catch on Sunday:

I do recommend catching a Second City show if you ever have the opportunity.  Very funny.  Maybe one of the cast members we saw will end up on SNL some day, as so many other alums of SC have.  If you go, don't fall victim to the "souvenir glass deal", because it's the easiest way to end up spending $60 on 4 beverages, which is ridiculous.

You're My Best Friend

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Two o'clock on a Tuesday afternoon.  Cell phone rings.  I glance at the screen to find out who's calling.  I pick up.

Me: "Samantha*!"

Samantha: "Sooooo... I like a new cd and I don't know who to tell so I called you."

Me: "Okay..."

S: "I feel like I should be embarrassed about this and I am a little bit.  I haven't told anyone about it.  I've been hiding my ipod on all the planes I've been on so that no one sitting next to me could see what I was listening to.  BUT I HAVE TO TELL YOU, I know the words to like half the songs now and they are SO. GOOD.  AHHHHHHHGGGGHHHHH  IT'S SO GOOD!"

Me: "Okayyyyyy...  You definitely have my attention.  I'm very intrigued."

S: "I mean, seriously.  It's that good.  And I know you won't judge me."

Me: "So who is it?"

S: "Heidi Montag.  Her new album is SAH GOOD!  And if you want to change your life, listen to #4 - Superficial."

I have to say, I have some fabulous friends.  And several of these fabulous friends have (unknowingly to them) said exactly the right thing at exactly the right time this week.  Samantha continues his obsession with The Hills by investing in Heidi's latest contribution to the world (which I kind of secretly hope results in a me receiving, "To LC, Love Heidi Vol. II" because Volume I was so great and I listen to it all the time in the car)...  Babs had a date with a boy that got a little too attached after one date and turned into a bit of a stalker (a lesson to all: don't use your phone to locate people because that is just WEIRD), but all is well and he finally got the hint and disappeared to pursue greener pastures.  Babs, please start writing publicly again.  I miss it.

And finally, a big thank you goes out to Pink Slip Gourmet (one of my most favorite reads- definitely check it out). I've known Pink Slip since 1991 and she's a very cherished friend, even though we rarely see each other and haven't actively kept in touch in about 5 years. One of the things I love most about her is that every time we talk, we pick right up where we left off the last time we talked.  I've been feeling very disconnected from my friends in Texas and Pink Slip made contact at the right time on Wednesday and said exactly the right things.  Sometimes it's nice to have a friend who isn't trying to solve your problems or be a "fixer"; sometimes it's nice to just hear that someone else understands and can relate.  Again, thank you Pink Slip, and I wish I'd had the foresight to realize you were just like 3 months ahead of me on the same things.

*names have been changed to protect the innocent (Or guilty. Your call.).


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Definitely channeling Madonna on that one from her 1997-ish album, Ray of Light.  Why?  Because that's our current state of living for the short-term future (oxymoron?).  Witness the following:

This is what the view was like circa 9:30 a.m., except you can't tell how windy it is.  I experienced my first white out about an hour after this was snapped... I was working from the living room so I could keep an eye on the weather from this window and I was typing away on my laptop, when suddenly the window got REALLY bright, so I looked up and I swear to you that it looked like someone was holding a white sheet up against the window.  That kind of made me panic for a second, but then it ended.  Very creepy and now I totally understand how people can get lost in snow.  Also, please note the snow in the street.  The snow plow came through around 3 a.m. and YOU CAN'T EVEN TELL.

Clearly we headed back out to do more shoveling (I helped this time).  Note that the snow comes almost all the way up to L's hip.

 Check out how much snow is on the roof.  Which is responsible for this:

Yeah, the roof on our porch is coming apart.  We're hoping it doesn't cave completely.  L definitely spent time yesterday knocking snow off to help lighten the load, so we'll see what happens.

Another way to see how much snow has fallen: check where my car trunk is and focus on the fact that all that white stuff is on top of it.  Not awesome when you are responsible for digging it out.

My trusty yardstick back in action.  That's all that would stick out.  And that does say 35".

So, needless to say, we've been housebound for 5 full days.  We started running low on food on Monday so L WALKED to the nearest store (a little over 3 miles, roundtrip) with a duffel bag and a backpack and got as much as he could carry.  And then he pretty much collapsed through the front door upon return because he was so exhausted (lots of hills + cold weather) and simultaneously freezing and sweaty.  Don't worry; he's fine.  Such a trooper and totally my hero.  The best part of all this: we're getting more snow on Monday!  SUCK FEST!

And now, here's my recommended cold weather playlist:

Frozen - Madonnna
You're As Cold As Ice - Foreigner
She's So Cold - Rolling Stones
Break the Ice - Britney Spears
Ice, Ice Baby - Vanilla Ice
Freeze Frame - J Geils Band
Hazy Shade of Winter - The Bangles
Snow (Hey Oh) - Red Hot Chili Peppers
Velvet Snow - Kings of Leon
Freeze - T. Pain
Snowblind - Pink Floyd
Winter - Joshua Radin
Winter - Tori Amos
Ice - Sarah McLachlan

Quit Playing Games with My Heart

Monday, February 8, 2010

During the first blizzard in December we realized we were severly lacking in the board games department. We had several decks of cards and 2 versions of Trivial Pursuit to pick from. (For the record, I'm shockingly bad at 80's trivia- even the music questions- but awesome at 90's.)  I decided to fix that last month so that we'd be prepared for any future major weather phenomena that might result in us being shut-ins, and we are now the proud owners of Yahtzee, Monopoly, and 3 puzzles.  Here's my question for all 3 of you followers out there and the others of you who follow anonymously: what are your favorite board games that can be played by 2 people?  Post a comment or send me an email.  I found that it is surprisingly difficult to find fun games for just 2 people.

Also, while I was shopping for said games, I saw this:

Isn't that game really called Jenga?  How is that not copyright infringement?

Also, L definitely gave me a very long lesson on how to play craps on Saturday night, so the next time anyone wants to take a trip to Vegas, I can now teach all of you.  I should have taken a pic of the table he created (which involved lots of paper stapled together, a red sharpie, and the lids from Yahtzee from the one puzzle we've worked, stabilized by my hand weights, as well as Yahtzee dice, my blush compact, and some faux chips) but I didn't think about it at the time.  Ghetto, but highly effective.  Also, said lesson may or may not have been fueled by the aforementioned boatloads of beer we purchased on Thursday and a new beverage he created and dubbed the "Baptist Highlighter."  If you are wondering what's in a Baptist Highlighter, it's vodka, Lemon-Lime Gatorade, and Red Bull.  The name comes from the color of the drink (highlighter yellow), the lemon-lime Gatorade (think green and gold), and drinking it out of a Baylor cup.

Hammer Time

Remember the sparkly, black Hammer pants I found at H&M several weeks ago?  I tried them on.  Our friends The DA and Little J were visiting, and Little J and I hit up Georgetown that Sunday and H&M was on our hit list, so of course I used the opportunity wisely and immediately grabbed a pair to take to the dressing room. 

Do yourself a favor and do not purchase pants like these because even if you do not opt to rock a pair of tie-dyed kickball socks with them, they are not sexy and they absolutely do give you a diaper butt.  But do yourself another favor and DO try them on in the dressing room for fun.  The Roger Rabbit, Running Man, Cabbage Patch, Flash, Hammer Hopping, etc. are all perfectly appropriate dance moves to demo in said pants.

Snow Blind

Some people prepare for record-breaking snow storms by stocking up on flashlights, batteries, non-perishable food, bottled water, snow shovels, snow blowers, and other de-icing mechanisms.  What did we purchase? 

Yes, that's right.  A new TV for our bedroom, lots of beer (you can only see Corona here.  We also have Abita- go Saints!- and Rising Moon chilling in the fridge), and a handful of food.  To be fair, the Corona was supposed to be used at a Super Bowl party on Sunday, although we weren't able to go so now we just have an extra case of beer to consume this week. 

We ended up with roughly 25" of snow in the front yard.  To be fair, we still had about 2" from the weekend before on the ground. 

I ran down to the basement on Friday about 2 hours after the snow started falling to get garden shovels so I could help with the digging out and noticed that apparently our resident backyard bunny had been checking out the yard. Some of my evidence:

For those of you who have never had a bunny as a pet, those are the tracks of the bunny's back feet and that third one in the front is where the front feet were together.  I have yet to actually see this bunny with my own eyes, but L has seen him several times. 

Next up: a scary pic of the powerlines that run down our street.  It's sort of hard to see the scary ones, but they are the 4 getting pulled down by the trees across the street.  This is why so many hundreds of thousands of people lost power (luckily we didn't).

Once again, thank goodness for that little sewing jaunt I went on a couple of years ago, because once again, a regular ol' ruler just wouldn't cut it.  L shoveled his little heart out for 2 1/2 hours on Saturday afternoon to clear just the front walk.  This pic was taken before he started doing any shoveling:

It's Monday afternoon and we still haven't seen any signs of a snow plow yet, so we are still stuck in our house and have yet to even begin shoveling our cars out.  Totally dreading that.  It may look like all we have to do is dust the snow off the tops of our cars and out of the back of L's truck, but see how deep the snow is along the sidewalk?  That's how deep it is in the street.  Suckfest.  Note for all of you: enjoy your covered parking and your garages (if you have them).  Relish them.  Hug them the next time you pull into your spot.  This is what our house looks like right now (Monday afternoon):

So at least the snow is melting a little bit (note the extra-clear part of the walkway that's not covered by a shadow).  Meltage is going to be crucial today and tomorrow because we're supposed to get more snow tomorrow and even more on Wednesday.  Try not to be jealous.  Seriously. 

One last thing: a big welcome to our newest follower!  That makes three of you.  Woo hoo!  Thanks for joining my tiny, little corner of the interweb.
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