It's official!

It's official!
David Stubbs Photography

Monday, November 30, 2009

We're baaaaaccccckkkkkkk!

Awe, Home Sweet Home. I never thought a 660 square foot apartment could look so good. After hundreds of miles, and about 16 hours of driving, Mike and I are back in Chicago after our Kentucky/Ohio extravaganza. We first went to Louisville, Kentucky to spend the holiday with my family and celebrate my grandmother's 85th birthday. Happy Birthday Mama Mays! We then went to Canton, Ohio to finish out the weekend with Mike's family. Here are some observations I've made about the holidays/life/traveling. You can probably relate.

* Even though you just eat and travel, the holidays are way more exhausting than cramming for a college exam ever was.

* Michigan drivers apparently make a vow to drive in the left lane and go 10 miles under the speed limit. Always.

* Hardee's is single-handedly contributing to this country's obesity problem, but their mushroom melt is oh-so-good.

* Your dog and a relative's dog will get along fine one minute, but the next they are trying to bite each other's snouts off.

* Older women fart when they go to the bathroom to pee. Always.

* You think you are a better driver than anyone else because you ARE.

* You feel like your family is crazy because they are. But don't worry, you're not alone.

Happy Holidays everyone!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


I'll be off-line for a couple of days for our Ohio/Kentucky Thanskgiving extravaganza. Happy Thanksgiving everybody!

He has a flesh-eating virus!

Mike thinks I'm a hypochondriac, and he might be right. This weekend I was brushing the doggies' teeth, and I noticed Buckeye's gums were swollen and he had a loose tooth. I immediately called the vet, but they were closed until Monday. Dang! Then I called Mike, who was hanging out with friends, and told him to come home immediately. I sobbed, and told him I was convinced Buckeye had gotten a terrible flesh-eating virus from the doggie daycare.
The next night as we were sleeping, Bailey threw up in bed. (Yes, they sleep with us.) I woke up Mike, and wailed, "Bailey has the virus too!"
His response: "Relax! Didn't you feed her leftover Chinese food? It probably just upset her stomach."
Luckily, the vet assured me, Buckeye doesn't have a flesh-eating virus. He says small dogs are just prone to losing teeth. Hey, this is good training for having kids, don't you think?

Monday, November 23, 2009

Jiffy Lube should be Jiffy Don't!

Getting things done in the city, like an oil change, is just not as easy as it is in the 'burbs. Period. I can't even think of a gas station nearby.
So today I decided it was time to drive on the interstate (scary!), and get my oil changed before Mike and I hit the road for our Ohio/Kentucky Thanksgiving extravaganza.
Jiffy Lube is only about 3 miles away from the house, but it takes about 45 minutes thanks to construction. Then when I get there, the worker tells me I need to get everything filled or changed. She asks if I want to get my transmission fluid changed. I say sure, considering I want us to have a safe drive. Then, she tells me I need my radiator fluid changed. All told, the final price is $350. Wow, for an oil change? Seeing the shock on my face, she gives me %15 off. Wow, thanks.

Luckily I call my mom who sifts through bullshit better than anyone. She yells, "Oh, no! You shouldn't be paying more than $50 or $60! They are scamming you!"
I quickly tell the worker, "Stop! I just want an oil change!" So I leave paying a much more reasonable $66.33.

So to my mother: Thank you!
To the Jiffy Lube at 1049 West North Avenue: You should be ashamed of yourselves!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

John and Kate: Be Gone!

If you've ever tried to watch TV on a Saturday, you know there are NO choices. Seriously hard to believe considering we have like 300 channels.
As I was flipping through, I first picked the movie "Steel Magnolias". But it was the scene where Shelby is in the hospital and dying. Depressing! Then I start watching one of my Grey's Anatomy recordings. It's always depressing! So I decide on "John and Kate Plus 8." Ugh, I know, right?
If it was a bad show before, the "divorced edition" is even worse. In one scene, Kate takes the 3 boys to visit a war ship. In the background, you can see paparazzi photographers everywhere! Really, does US Weekly and People actually pay money for shots of that?
Then Kate had the nerve to say, "Despite what people think, this show doesn't harm the kids. If it did, we wouldn't be doing it." What? Having the paparazzi follow everyday of their lives is normal??
But here's the good news: The last episode is Monday. Hopefully the kids can get serious therapy before their awkward teen years.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Oprah, you can't leave us!

The top story on every Chicago station today is the announcement that Oprah's show will end next year after 25 years on air. I can't believe it's been that long! She started when I was just 6 years old, so I've grown up with her. No matter if you are a fan or not, you have to admit she's had a huge influence on people's lives. I watched a show a couple of years ago about how easy recycling is, and how it can make a huge impact, and I've been doing it ever since. I've also encouraged the people around me to recycle, and they are too.
I have to admit though, I cried during her announcement. That seems normal, but here's my concern. I also cried during a Hallmark commercial the other day. And when Mike and I visited a museum, the orchestra was playing music that made me cry.
Have I become a major sap? Is this what you do when you get older? Or do people just cry more often when they're out of work? Hmm....maybe it's a good topic for the Oprah show.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Mr. Shuttle-man, Part Two

Okay, okay, hear me out for one more funny story about Mr. Shuttle-man. Confused? Read yesterday's blog.

Along with the anchor name-game, I also told my Bulgarian shuttle driver that I'm planning to go back to school to become a teacher. Most people's response is, "Oh, that's wonderful!". Or, "Following in you mom's footsteps, huh? That's great!" But here was Mr. Shuttle-man's reaction:
"Oh, no! You don't wants to be a teacher. They don't make mush money. Only like $50 or $60 thowsand"
Ha! I wanted to ask how much he makes driving a shuttle 2 days a week.
Here was my response, which he clearly didn't understand.
"Well, considering at my first broadcasting job, I made $14,000, this will seem like a dream! In fact, even in a top-25 market, I didn't make $60 thousand. Wow, come to think of it, I've never made much money!"

Not convinced, he says, "Oh no, you need to be just like Bawbara Walters."

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Is this a better alternative than walking 2 miles to the grocery store?

I recently discovered that instead of walking 2 miles to the grocery store, and schlepping my bags home in the rain, our apartment building offers a free, shuttle service on Tuesdays and Sundays.
Along with the service comes a very hard to understand, but sweet, driver from Bulgaria.
Yesterday on the way home, he asked if I had the day off. "Yes, I guess you could say that."
He then asked what I did, and I told him I was a reporter and anchor for 8 years. He thought that was the coolest. He wanted to name all his favorite anchors, only he couldn't remember their last names, or even their first names for that matter. Here was our conversation-- in broken English, of course:

Him: "Oh, I just love Bawrbara....?"
Me: "Walters?"
Him: "Yesh, yesh, wery good."

Him: "Oh, I just love that hanchor on CNN.."
Me: "Can't guess that one. I'm pretty sure there's more than one anchor!"

Him: "Did you know Opwrah made $200 billion last year?"
(I don't argue)

Him: "Whosh was the anchor before Tom Brokaw?"
Me: "I'm not sure."
Him: "You know. Briyan something.."
Me: "Brian Williams?"
Him: "Yesh, that's it!"
Me: "Brian Williams was after Tom Brokaw."
Him: "No he wasn't."
(Once again, I don't argue)

I realize now Mr. Shuttle man is like a leaky faucet. Once he turns on, you can't get him to stop!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

You look just like.....

I realize now that telling someone they look like a famous person is not always a compliment.  At Sushi last night, when the waitress greeted us, she said, "Wow, has anyone ever told you you look just like Britney Spears?"  I said, "I hope pre-breakdown!"  She laughed and said, "Oh yeah, before she gained weight."
Hmmm.  I guess I should say thank you??

Monday, November 16, 2009

To all health insurance companies: Why are you so difficult?

The most common question I get about this blog is, "Why do you blog?  Isn't it a pain to do it nearly everyday?"
I tell those people it's a great release for when something isn't going my way, or if someone is rude, I can blog and then stop worrying about it.
So, please hear me out on yet another COBRA (continuation of health benefits story).  Get some popcorn and get comfortable!

If you read this Blog often enough, you know it took me more than 2 months to get health insurance after I quit my job in Cheyenne.  One reason is that Blue Cross never received my check.  So I stopped payment on it, and paid with a credit card on-line.  My bank charged me $20 to do that, but I didn't want to worry someone else would cash the check.
I then called the COBRA department, and told a "Brian" that I was stopping the payment, and he said "Uh-huh" with so little interest I knew he really didn't care or write it down.  I'm pretty sure he was playing Solitaire.
Today, I got a letter from Blue Cross saying I also owed them $25 for the stop payment. What?  Were they so embarrassed that the check didn't cash,  they think $25 will heal their wounds? 
"Nicole" tells me she'll put in a request so I don't have to pay the $25.  So in another 2 months, I should have an answer!

Awe, that feels good.  Thanks for hearing me out.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Just Say No!

My son, Buckeye, is only 4, so he's too young to remember Nancy Reagan's "Just Say No" campaign, but I think it's a message he needs to hear.
Ever since we moved to the city, his behavior has changed. He doesn't want to do anything but eat or sleep. Look at the picture on the left. He can't even keep his eyes open during the day! He's lethargic and doesn't do any chores around the house like I ask him to.
I'm pretty sure he's getting his drugs from the Puggle next door. I knew that dog was trouble.
(P.S. I'm sure you're shocked to hear that I'm making all of this up. I was just looking for an excuse to post this ridiculously cute pictures!)

Saturday, November 14, 2009


I've never planned a surprise birthday before, but since Mike turned 30 this week, I thought it was the perfect time. We went to McFadden's on State and Division Streets, and we had a blast. It's the perfect bar for 30 somethings because they play all the best music from our youth.
But there was one problem. The usually laid-back, and not at all worried about being on time Mike, suddenly wanted to go out right away last night. I told everyone to get there at 8 p.m., and we'd be there by about 8:15 p.m. At 7:30 p.m., Mike was chomping at the bit to go out. So I told him I had to go to the ATM. Considering I really don't pay for anything these days, that was a weird request.
Then I said I needed some extra hairspray for my 'do.
Then I told him I just had to say goodbye to the Chihuahuas. I'm talking about all out cuddling and kissing.
Mike's like, "You're home with them all day, what's your deal?"
I said, "I just love them so much!"
But the greatest gift came from our cab driver. He's apparently lived in Chicago for only a few hours. He kept getting in turn lanes when we needed to go straight, and he drove down State Street which is a construction mess.
So thanks to hairspray, small dogs, and a non-English speaking cabbie, we timed it out perfectly!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Can you hear me now?

I'm in a city of millions of people. 2 or 3 million, I've read different figures, but either way, it's a lot. So why can't I get a cell phone signal?
I got one on a ferry to Key West. I got one in the caves of Kentucky. I even got one in Lander, Wyoming, population 5,000.

When I was talking to a potential employer, he said, "Oh, it sounds like you just walked under a bridge." "Nope," I said, "That's just my living room."

When I was talking to my mom today, the phone cut out 3 times on Michigan Avenue. I can land some crack cocaine there, but I can't get any cell phone service!

And when I had to order a new remote control from someone in India (Slumdog Millionaire style), my phone cut out three times, and all three times the order hadn't been completed, so I had to call back. And talk to someone I couldn't understand. And explain the problem again. And be told, "Please hit every button on your remote, just to make sure it doesn't work."

So Verizon, I ask you, "Can you hear me now? Do something about this awful reception!"

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


Thank you Pops for your service to this country during Vietnam and many years in the Army! And thank you Shaner for your service in Kuwait and also many years in the army. You both have always made your Jeannie Bug very proud.

How do they get a driver's license?

Sure, we've all thought about death, but living in the city, it's impossible not to think about it more. Not because you're morbid, but because of the scary fast yellow flashes you see, otherwise known as taxis.
No longer am I worried about a knife-wielding robber, or a terrorist on an airplane. I'm pretty sure if I go, it will either be in the back seat of a taxi, or
while crossing the street and getting hit by one.
Today when I went for a walk, I had to cross at a crosswalk. I looked to my right, and saw a cab coming towards me at no less than 50 miles per hour. Most Chicagoans would probably trust that he'd stop, and they'd go ahead and cross. Not me! I have more to do in this lifetime, like attend my big fat Italian wedding!

And the other day, Mike and I took a cab back from a concert when it was raining. The cab driver was going about 55 miles per hour down Michigan Avenue, splashing poor pedestrians, swerving and hydroplaning. Wow, I thought, I've never going to have children.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The gender saga continues...

The quest by employers to figure out my gender got even stranger today. As I mentioned before, I applied for a job where there were 3 choices for gender, Male, Female, and "Unknown Gender".
Today, the third choice was.....are you ready for this?
Not applicable gender?? What does that even mean? I can appreciate choosing not to reveal your gender, but saying you don't even have one!?
I guess this job market has changed a little bit since I got out of college 8 years ago.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Hangin' with Stifler's Mom!

So, do you recognize the woman standing next to me? That's actress Jennifer Coolidge! She's been in a ton of movies and TV shows including Legally Blonde, Best in Show, and episodes of Nip Tuck and Desperate Housewives. But she's probably best known as "Stifler's Mom" in the comedy American Pie.

It turns out the wedding reception we went to in New Orleans was at her house. She bought a very old and dilapidated 1800's home in Coliseum Square that she's been fixing it up for several years. The house is very cool and very big! I've read that she also bought an apartment building in the French Quarter that she planned to fix up and live in during the renovation of this home, but the building collapsed during Hurricane Katrina.

I have to say Jennifer was very gracious by taking pictures with us, and she even hung out at the reception. She's also very tall! (I'm standing in 4-inch heels next to her)

It was fun watching people at the reception react to seeing her. Older people had no idea who she was, and everyone in their 20's and 30's were like, "Dude, that's Stifler's mom!"

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

There are three choices for gender?

As I mentioned before, I get nervous at the end of online job applications where they ask you to "voluntarily" give your gender and race. I worry that if I don't fill it out, they'll think I'm uncooperative, and if I do, I won't fit what they're looking for.
So I think I've found a solution.
On my latest application, I got to the gender question, and there were three choices. Three!
  • Male
  • Female
  • Unknown Gender

What? Unknown gender? Wasn't that a Maury Povich episode? Regardless, that's what I'm choosing from now on!

In other news, the doggies passed their behavior test. Yes! I think the girl at DoGone Fun just felt bad for us, but hey, I'll take it! So for the next four days, I probably won't be blogging because we'll be in New Orleans. I'll update you as soon as we get back!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

We will NOT be granting you an interview.

When you're on the job hunt, you run into some interesting employers and their sometimes strange ways of handling things.
For example, I love what my good friend Janet posted on Facebook yesterday. She was wondering why a company she applied with sent her a letter, saying they would NOT be granting her an interview. As she puts it, she pretty much got the hint when they didn't call. To me, this sounds like a really popular high school kid calling a dorky girl, and saying, "Just so you know, I will NOT be asking you to prom."

Or the boss that I interviewed with a couple of weeks ago. He called me, and seemed really excited. Then as soon as I sat down, he said, "Let me tell you why we have real concerns about your work experience." What? You called me. I should have said, "Let me tell you why I have real concerns about you wasting my time."

And I just love the e-mails saying, "Thank you for your interest in _____ company. Unfortunately, we found someone more qualified for the position." Here's what I'm going to write back....
"Thank you for posting the _____ position. Unfortunately, I found a company with way better-looking people who actually have personalities."
Jeannie Crofts

Monday, November 2, 2009


Being the responsible parents we are, Mike and I realized this week we're leaving for New Orleans on Thursday, and we have no one to watch the dogs. Oops! I was hoping to make amazing friends on our floor, but considering Bailey and Buckeye tried to attack our next door neighbor's dog today, I don't think we'll be sending her a Christmas card.
I called a local doggie daycare/spa, because I figured if they do puppy pedicures, they'll take good care of the kids. One problem: I have to bring them in beforehand for a "temperament test." They have to behave themselves around the workers and the other dogs. So yes, I'm currently trying to figure out what plan "B" with be.
By the way, the fake sod on our patio I was telling you about is a success! The dogs learned how to use it in one day. Sorry for the graphic picture, but hey, I'm a proud mama.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Why are there three?

If you're driving around Ashland and Division streets in the East Village, you'll probably do a double-take. Or I guess a triple-take. That's because there are 3 La Pasadita restaurants. 3! There are 2 on one side of the corner, and 1 on the other. I can't really tell you why, expect one family owns all 3 and I guess they like having the market, or in this case, the block cornered.

What I can tell you is they have the best Carne Asada tacos you'll ever eat. In his best cowboy costume, and me dressed as "I Dream of Jeannie" (clever, huh?), Mike and I went there about 1 o'clock this morning. We ordered 8 tacos, and yes, we ate all 8. They are AMAZING! (Are they that good when you haven't been drinking? I can't say for sure.)
A word of caution: the tacos will make you incredibly thirsty about 5 a.m. As I went to the kitchen and downed a 7-up, I looked over and saw Mike chugging water from the Brita filter. But I say it was La Pasadita worth it!