It's official!

It's official!
David Stubbs Photography

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Can someone be too nice?

I'm all about being nice, I mean c'mon, I won Miss Congeniality when I was running for Miss Wyoming.  It doesn't get any better than being nice to women you really want to hate while cutting a hole in their panty hose or stealing their lipstick.  (True story, at Miss USA, someone cut the straps of Miss Montana's high heels.  Brutal!)

But sometimes I feel like people are too nice, and maybe you'll agree.  Do you ever feel like your server or sales person is going a little over the top?  The other night, Mike and I had a really nice waitress, but it may have been a bit much....

Her: "Here, let me take that plate out of your way."
Me: "Sure, thanks."
Her: "There you go, it's out of your way now." (Okay, great.  Do I need to thank her again?)

Her: "How is everything?"
Me: "It's great, thanks."
Her about 2 minutes later: "How are you guys doing?"
(Still good!)

Her: "Can I get you guys anything else?"
Mike: "Nope, we're good, thanks."
Her: "Just let me know if you change your mind and need anything else."
(Okay, okay, we get it.  Did she have a dose of sweetness for breakfast?)

I don't know, maybe I'm just getting used to being called a "*ITCH!" by crazy bums for no apparent reason, so niceness now feels a little foreign.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

You never know what you have until it's gone

Dear Garbage Disposal,
Oh, how I miss you!  I'll be honest, I never really thought about you when I had you, but now that I don't?  You're all I think about.  How you grind up last night's dinner is amazing.  The way you take stinky chicken and make it disappear is phenomenal.  The way you accept all our leftovers without ever asking a question makes you a girl's best friend.  You make kitchens all over this country a better place.

But now that I live in the city, I can't have you.  Apparently there wasn't room for you in our tiny 660-square foot apartment and tiny kitchen, but there's always room for you in my heart.  Now, our garbage stinks within 4 hours because we don't have you and are forced to put my crazy cooking in the garbage can.  Without you garbage disposal, we are forced to sneak out at midnight to make trash shoot runs, embarrassed by the dead body smell coming from our Glad bag.  People aren't glad to smell that!

There is hope though.  This weekend, Mike and I did a walking tour and saw really amazing homes in Lincoln Park and Old Town, so perhaps one day, garbage disposal, we'll move into a home of our own and we can reunite.

Until we meet again...
Love, "Stinky" Jeannie

Monday, March 29, 2010

Windy City Rules: Follow them

Talk about truly experiencing Bright Lights, Sweaty Armpits--I had to drive today and run 3 errands!  Why the exclamation point and sweaty 'pits?  This Wyoming girl is still scared to death of driving in the city.  But I totally aced it today, and I was even swerving around the slow Hoosier drivers.  (Sorry Indiana friends).

I've decided there are four tricks to successful driving in the windy city...
  1. Painted lines on the road mean nothing; they are really just a guide.
  2. Understand that cab drivers are on suicide missions, and don't care if they hurt you or their already banged up yellow death machines.
  3. City bus drivers are apparently the 2nd or 3rd highest paid in the country, regardless, they act disgruntled and don't care about you.  Know that they will take up a lane and a half, and if they are driving a double decker, count on two.
  4. Tourists, both driving and walking, are apparently overcome by the sights and sounds of it all, so they'll stop on green and walk/drive on red.  Watch out!
Know these simple Chicago rules, and you're good to go.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Why does my______?

A couple of days ago, Buckeye developed a red bump on his leg that seems to be bothering him, and probably means I have a $200 vet bill in my future.

Today I decided to google his symptoms to try and figure out what the problem is.  I am getting such a kick out of google searches these days!  Today when I started typing, "Why does my..." here were the top 5 choices.

*  Why does my eye twitch?  (Super annoying, I agree!)
* Why does my belly button smell? (Gross, and how do you know it smells?  I can't even touch my toes, so I'm thinking smelling my belly button is out of the question)
*  Why does my poop float?  (I'll leave that one alone)
*  Why does Kim Zolciak wear a wig? (Who?  I had to google her too, and apparently she's on the reality show "Real Housewives of Atlanta."  It's a show about caddy women who have a lot of plastic surgery.  Don't waste your time.)
* Why does my cat lick me? (Because what feels better than having a creature with a sand paper tongue licking your face?)

By the way, don't you love the picture?  That's why having a creative, internet-savvy fiance is awesome!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Security questions are tough!

It seems like all websites these days are making us fill out security questions to keep our banking and credit cards safer.  Usually they ask three questions like "What is your mother's maiden name? "What was the first street you lived on? and "What was your first car?"  There's something so fun about filling out "Red Fiero," because the memories of being the hit of Central High School come flooding back.  Sure, I was an ultra-dork with braces, glasses and stringy hair, but somehow that was all forgotten when I rolled up in my Italian ride.

Usually these security questions are easy, and I'm confident I'll be able to answer them without a problem.  However, the other day I had to fill out these questions, which seemed a bit strange to me....

* Who were your two best childhood friends?  Whoever wrote this question clearly doesn't remember how quickly that can change when you're younger.  Mary Purcell and I had Best Friend necklaces, but we'd take them off whenever we got in a fight, so does she count?  For awhile, I remember being best friends with a girl name Drenda, but I can't remember her last name now.  If I make up a last name, I'll never remember it again.  I could put my mom, but that would make me a Big. Fat. Dork.

* What is your favorite TV show that isn't on anymore? For me, it's out of sight, out of mind, so if the show isn't on anymore, I don't remember it.  Sorry--but there's no use living in the past.

* Who is your favorite person in history?  Um, the writer of this question clearly never saw my history grades.  Not. Good.

* What is your favorite childhood story?  Strange, the only one I can remember is the one my parents told about having to walk up hill.  Both Ways.  In a foot of snow.

C'mon, I need easy questions, people!

Friday, March 26, 2010

We're going to the Chapel, and there's a good chance you are too!

Um, excuse me....did you all not get the memo that we're getting married in 2010?  As you'll recall, Mike and I got engaged in the summer of 2008, and many of you made fun of our 2010 wedding plans, laughing and saying your calendar didn't go that far.

Now, here we are 99 days out, and other 2010 weddings are coming out of the blue just like Justin Beiber.  (You're thinking who?  Exactly...apparently he's some major pop star, but I've never heard his music.)

Mike's cousin is getting married in April, two friends of ours are getting married in May, our wedding is in July, we have another in August, two during the first two weekends in September, and one in October.  Phew!  That's a lot of unnecessary china!

So as I settle into the city, I'm careful not to make any new friends because I can't afford to invite them to our wedding, or worse yet, go to theirs.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The 3-1-1 Rule: Learn it!

If you've flown in the past several years, you know you need to take off everything before going through the security line, and lord help you if you have something like an artificial hip.  You also know that you can't take liquids on-board unless they are 3 ounces or less and in a 1 quart bag.  This seriously puts on damper on my toiletry addiction and 10-step hair care program.

As a former reporter, I can tell you the 3 oz 1 quart bag rule was sprayed all over the news.  I probably did 20 live shots on it myself.  So how do people still not know?

Case in point: I'm at the security line this week leaving SW Florida heading back to Chicago.  The airport worker tells the man in front of me, "Mr. Jones, you have fertilizer in your bag and you can't do that.  Fertilizer can be used to make bombs."

Really Mr. Jones?  I can't pack my favorite Pina Colada lotion, and you think fertilizer is okay?  Have you missed watching the news for oh, let's say, 3 years?  I wasn't worried because apparently Mr. Jones also packed soil, so it seemed like he was more into landscaping than terrorist activities. But sheesh Mr. Jones, you need to get out more.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Have you ever been naked and startled?

When you live on the 31st floor, you don't expect to get out of the shower in your naked bits to find two men standing on your balcony.  But of course, that's exactly what happened to me.  I was so startled when I actually made eye contact with one of them, I ran back into the bathroom before getting a picture.  Getting clothing on was at the top of my To-Do List, but I did capture these shots a little later.  

The window washers use their tiny little ropes to hoist themselves onto each balcony to clean our inside patio door windows, and then they wash the outside of the building.  They don't even use platforms!

To these men:  You deserve the show you saw in my apartment because you have the Scariest. Job. Ever.

P.S. Yes, we still have our Christmas tree on the balcony.  Don't make fun.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

To Tip or to Not Tip-that is the question

Do you ever wonder what the deal is with everyone asking for tips?  I'm at Southwest Florida International Airport right now getting ready to head back to the Chi.  When I was checking my bag via skycap, the worker told me the only difference between him and his Southwest Airlines counterparts inside is that he works for tips.  Okay, so he clearly wanted money for lifting my ridiculously large bag, which I always give, but are you telling me he only works for tips?  Why is this different than checking your bag inside?  In Chicago, I tip because I feel bad for the workers standing outside in Lake-Effect misery, but I don't feel pity for the shorts-wearing workers here standing in 75 degree weather.

It's not just skycaps either, there are tips jars everywhere.  When I got a yogurt parfait this morning at Starbucks, there was a huge jar asking for tips.  When I bought a Carrabba's gift card yesterday, there was a line for a tip on my credit card receipt.  Even when I get a Subway sandwich these days, there is a jar asking for tips.  Should we tip in all those situations? 

Here's my tip: Don't ask the unemployed girl for a little something extra, because you just might find a dirty Kleenex and a chewed up piece of gum in your jar.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Do you have a Hello Phobia?

I guess because I grew up in Wyoming, I may expect a little too much friendliness from folks.  As a kid, I remember tooling around in my dad's pick-up truck and waving at anyone who passed by us on the same dirt road.  I also remember walking down Main Street in Lander, Wyoming at Christmas time and giving each person who passed a hearty "Merry Christmas!" or "Howdy!"

In my adulthood, I'm discovering that certain people appear to have the "Hello Phobia."  They either don't know how to say "hi" or just don't want to.

Two instances: When I worked in Indianapolis, I always said "hi" to the people passing me in the hall and usually made small talk about the weather.  There was a certain co-worker of mine that I always said "hi" to, and in return, I got nothing.  In 3 years she never said "hi" back once.  It became a fun little game to see how she'd ignore me on any particular day.

This week I'm in Florida (lovely!), and everyday I walk on the trails around my future in-laws house.  When I walk by someone, I say "hi", and get a very nice reaction from 90% of the folks.  But then the others look at me like I have a 3rd eyeball.  The "Hello Phobia" seems to be inherited too, because as I was passing a couple and their 8-year old son I said my hello, and the boy looked up at his mom as if thinking, "Why is this woman talking to me?"  Perhaps they're afraid I'm selling something or trying to convince them to switch religions.  Those Wyoming Methodists are known to do that.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Selfish People= Unhappy Jeannie

Has this ever been you?  You decide late on a Wednesday night to pack the whole family in the minivan and go to DQ Grill & Chill.  Everyone is super hungry, so you decide the drive-thru is the best option.  You realize you're even hungrier than you thought, so you order nearly $100 worth of food, more on the grill side versus chill side, so it takes longer to make.  Then as you see the line of cars behind you getting longer and longer, you decide to add a few more burgers to your order, and then refuse to move up in line.

If you've ever done this, please kindly stop reading my blog, because I don't like you.

To the white minivan that did this to me tonight, shame on you.  All I wanted was an Oreo Cookie Blizzard, that's it.  I don't ask for much in life.

Southwest Florida is the best

The sun is shining, the windows are open and there's an ocean breeze in the air.  Yes, I am back in Southwest Florida people!  Okay, it's actually raining right now and unseasonably cold, but I guess I always think of Florida as sunny.  I lived in Fort Myers for three years in my Mid-20's, and worked as a reporter and anchor at the local CBS affiliate.  Every time I come back to visit, I wonder why I left.  It's what my step dad calls revisionist history--meaning your mind has an amazing way of forgetting about the lack of pay and benefits, and only remembers the beach getaways.

I'll try to blog as much as possible this week, but if I don't, just know that I'm having a fabulous time and probably trying to get my old job back.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Wyoming's Rockin' U.S. Attorney

I just have to brag a little more about my's an article written about him.  You're the coolest Dad!

RMC Member Receives Prestigious Appointment from President Obama

Rocky Mountain Chapter member Christopher “Kip” Crofts received confirmation from the U.S. Senate on December 24th as the new United States Attorney for the District of Wyoming.  Crofts, 67, previously served as legal counsel to Wyoming Governor David Freudenthal and before that, he worked as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Wyoming for sixteen years.  In 2005 Mr. Crofts served in Iraq for eight months being detailed by the Dept of Justice to the Dept of State to serve as a legal advisor in the Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) program.  

Kip is an All-American (Life) Member of the Association and he served as a Rifle Platoon Leader in A CO 3/325, 3rd Bde, 82nd Airborne from March ‘65 to May ’66 with a combat deployment in the Dominican Republic. In May 1966, he served a combat tour in Vietnam with the 3rd Brigade of the 25th Infantry Division in the central highlands around Pleiku.  

Honorably discharged in 1969, Crofts taught English at Laramie Jr. High for two years then went to law school at University of Wyoming on the GI Bill, graduating in 1974.  He was a county judge in Fremont County, WY before working as legal advisor to the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) in the Attorney General’s Office. Appointed Director of DCI by Governor Herschler in 1981, he served there until 1990 when he was appointed an Asst U.S. Attorney.

Congratulations Kip! 

(Source: 82nd Airborne Assn, Rocky Mountain Chapter)

Sunday, March 14, 2010

St. Patrick's Day: Fun or Annoying?

As I mentioned before, yesterday was the huge St. Patrick's Day celebration in the city.  I saw green everywhere...the river, people's t-shirts, fake eyelashes and even little green mustaches.  The day was a lot of fun overall, but it started out very annoying.  Hopefully you can relate.

* Annoying is starting your St. Patrick's Day celebration at 1 p.m, but quickly realizing everyone else started at 9 a.m., and are all very drunk.  And. Very. Annoying.

* Annoying is realizing the parade just got done and there aren't any cabs to be found--anywhere.  This discovery occurs after walking 1/2 mile in the rain that is blowing sideways.

* Annoying is your fiance telling you he found a cab and he'll pick you up on Lower Columbus so you need to walk down the stairs to find him.  Only you discover the entire Chicago Irish Band from the parade is walking up the stairs with their gigantic big bagpipes and heckling you for going the wrong way.

* Annoying is your fiance calling and telling you he meant Upper Columbus, so you have to fight with the Irish Band to get back up the stairs.

* Annoying is then getting to the Wrigleyville Bar which has to be violating fire codes with all the people, and again, everyone is hours ahead of you.

* Annoying is the 22-year-old girls dancing out-of-control and hitting you with their giant Louis Vuitton purses.

* Annoying is the fact that 22-year-old-girls can even afford Louis Vuitton purses.

* Not annoying--one of Mike's friends seeing that you're not in a great mood, and feeding you beers to catch up.  It's amazing how much more tolerable people are with a Bud Light buzz.

Happy St. Patty's Day everybody!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Post Office Experiences: Part Two

If you read this blog a couple of days ago, you read about my encounter with a post office worker who may have help defined "Going Postal."  Yesterday, I had the sinking realization that I had to go back.  I decided I better have the wedding invitations weighed so I have the right postage before sending out 150 of them.

When I got there, I realized Ms. Unhappy was working again, sitting at the same desk with the same sour look on her face.  Great.  I got in line and she called,  "Next!"  I told the woman behind me to go ahead, because I wasn't quite ready.  Not quite ready to get yelled at again!
The woman who calls me up is much nicer, but we still had somewhat of an encounter.  Imagine this...

She totals up my purchase, and the amount pops on the credit card machine, so I swipe my card.
She says, "Now, did I tell you to swipe yet??!!"
Me: "Um, no, I guess not."
Her: "Well then you need to just hang on!"

So I guess we have some improvement.  Now instead of being treated like a total idiot, I'm treated like a child.  I say that's success!

I'd better's the day Chicago celebrates St. Patty's Day, perhaps the biggest holiday in the city.  It's time for green beer, a green river, drunken debauchery and making total idiots of ourselves.

Friday, March 12, 2010

I'm saving money, but....

Do you ever find yourself doing something to save money, but it ends up being a huge pain in the butt?  I had what I thought was a great way to save money on the wedding.  I decided to make my own invitations.  Okay, so it's not as creative as that sounds.  You buy the stationary, and then print it out at home.  I calculated it would save about $200.

But here's the problem....what I saved in money is clearly costing me in time.  I've spent about 10 hours so far just trying to get the kinks worked out because you have to change all the settings on your computer, and then get it lined out just right.  I laughed at the simple instructions which may as well say, "This will never work out like it's supposed to, so good luck!"

I've decided if marriage is as tough as making the invitations, I'm in trouble.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Why I avoid human interaction

I realized yesterday I hadn't had human interaction at the post office for three years, and now I realize that was a beautiful thing.  In Indy, there was an automated system, so I could do what I needed to do, including printing out the packaging slip, without ever talking to anyone.

Fast forward to Chicago.  My nearest post office doesn't have an automated system, because let's face it, that would be too easy.  I had the privilege of getting waited on yesterday by a very unhappy looking woman.  I politely told her I didn't have an address label on it, because I normally did that with an automated system.  She let out a deep sigh, and told me I would need to get out of line, and go to the "Shipping Center" to get a label.  Annoying, because I know she has some behind her desk.  Isn't that a post office worker staple?

So I go to the "Shipping Center" and realize there are 999 labels to choose from.  Great.  I pick one that says "Priority Mail," and I grab a pen to write.  Only I realize the ink part of the pen has been taken out.  I go to the next station, and the pen doesn't work.  I go to the final station, and there isn't even a pen at the end of the chain.  So I get back in line.

Unfortunately, the other workers are busy, so Miss Unhappy calls me up.  I smile and say, "It's me again!" only she doesn't look amused.  She exclaims, "You got a priority mail sticker!" implying my package will now cost $1 million to send.

"Okay," I say, "What does that mean?"
"It will be more expensive," she says and tries to convince me to get out of line and get another sticker.  Luckily I ask her to tell me how much more this will be.  She sighs and looks it up.  She tells me $5.00 total.  Seriously?  I think I can pay $5.00.  I ask to borrow her pen, and she makes me get out of line again while I fill out the information.

My experience leads to this advice: If you have to choose between using a real person or a machine, opt for the machine.  It will treat you with more respect.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Seriously Lindsay Lohan, seriously?

Lindsay Lohan is such a weirdo.  Have you heard she's suing E*Trade over their super cute baby commercial?  (Watch here)
E*Trade Baby Commercial.

After its Super Bowl premiere, I blogged that this was my all-time favorite commercial.  The way they put adorable babies in adult situations is simply the cutest.  In this ad, the girl baby asks the boy baby, "Why didn't you call last night?"  She goes on to ask, "And that milk-aholic, Lindsay, wasn't over?"

Lindsay Lohan is reportedly suing E*Trade for $100 million because she says her name is as recognizable as Madonna's or Oprah's.  C'mon, seriously?  I don't think anyone watched, thinking, "You know, I hear Lindsay Lohan drinks a lot of milk.  I wonder if they're talking about her??" As someone who's watched this commercial at least 20 times, I can honestly say I never once thought about you Lindsay Lohan.  In fact, you never cross my mind. 

My guess is your ego is now bigger than your brain.  If they stop playing this commercial because of this frivilous lawsuit, I'll never watch "Mean Girls" again.  Of course, I've never actually seen the movie, but I really won't now!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Social Experiment gone bad

Recently, Mike and I took part in a Social Experiment with alarming consequences.  When you walk nearly everywhere like we do, you get a pretty good sense of the traffic light patterns and what streets are more or less busy.  To get to most places in the Loop, we walk down Randolph and cross at Columbus.  Columbus isn't usually busy with traffic southbound, so Mike and I know we can cross to the median and wait for northbound traffic to clear.

I don't think everyone has put that much thought into the intersection though.  The other day, he and I did our usual and started walking to the median, even though the sign showed, "Don't Walk."  Pretty soon, I see in the corner of my eye,  nearly 20 other people following us.  I'm even talking about moms with their baby strollers.  As we get to the median, we stop, but everyone else keeps going!  Soon the cab drivers are laying on their horns, and I'm expecting to see bodies flying.  Luckily, the 20 pedestrians are uninjured and quickly run back to the median where Mike and I are.

Word of caution people: Pay Attention!  You know the old saying, "If all your friends started illegally crossing Columbus, would you?"  Okay, maybe the saying isn't just like that, but you get my point.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Why Does My Dog.....

It's a parent's worse nightmare....imagine finding your daughter eating your son's poop.  This is exactly what happened to me.  Okay, okay, I'm talking about Chihuahuas, but it's still disturbing.  I guess the question of "Why does Bailey's breathe always smell so bad?" has finally been answered.

After I made this grim discovery, I did what any modern parent does.  I went to "Google" to research why my daughter is doing this.  The funny thing is, I had only gotten so far as typing, "Why Does My Dog..." when all of these topics popped up.

* Eat Poop?  (Yeah, it's number one!  I'm not the only one going through this.)
* Eat Grass
* Lick People
* Eat Cat Poop
* Lick Your Face
* Smell Your Crotch
* Roll in Poop

Okay, if this list isn't scary enough, what happens when we combine these traits?  Such as "Why Does My Dog Eat Poop and Then Lick My Face?" or  "Why Does My Dog Roll In Poop and Then Lick People?"  or "Why Does My Dog Smell My Crotch and then Eat Cat Poop?"

One word: Therapy

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Facebook sucks you in whether you like it or not

Facebook may be the best and worst invention of all time.  The best because I've been able to reconnect with a ton of people from my past.  People I probably would have never seen or talked to again without this popular networking site.

However, Facebook is also bad because it sucks a ton of time out of your life.  I just talked to one of my friends who canceled his page because he was wasting too much time on it, and not enough time studying for his Master's Degree.  The problem is that everyone posts updates of their days, and pictures of themselves with their kids or their wedding day or climbing Mt. Everest.  I find when I should be looking for jobs, instead I'm reading that "Katie is getting married!" or "Shawn just had to get two new tires for his truck after running over nails" or "Heather is heading to Costco to get some much needed Mac and Cheese."  Of course I don't need to know these things, but for some reason I really want to know these things.  Let's face it, who doesn't like to find out the girl who was snotty to you in high school has gained a bunch of weight.

My Facebook addiction got so bad that as I was reading people's updates, I was hitting the refresh button on my computer screen so I didn't miss a thing.

Now, I'm limiting myself to checking Facebook statuses (is that even a word?) only twice a day.  I know there are clearly better ways to spend my time, such as looking for a job.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Get to know your family and friends

Do you ever get those e-mail quizzes you're supposed to fill out and then send back to the person who sent it to you?  Then you're also supposed to send it to another 20 of your closest friends, which means you have to decide who will be the least annoyed at yet another forwarded e-mail.

I recently got one asking to fill out little tidbits about my life so my family and friends can get to know me better.  In my true smart aleck self, I decided to have a little fun with it.... 

1. What is your occupation right now? 
Retired broadcaster?  Freelance writer?  In the words of Meryl Streep, it's complicated.

2. What color are your socks right now? 
Not wearing socks, but I'm wearing a great pair of pink slippers I got for Christmas.  Socks don't go on until after noon on Sundays.

3. What was the last thing you ate?
A steak and cheese taco from La Pasadita in Chicago.  It's amazing, bad for you, and yet so addictive

4. Do you like the person who sent this to you?
 I guess I have to, considering she brought me into this world 

5. How old are you today 
31 which I'm told is the new 21

6. What is your favorite sport to watch on TV? 
It's a toss-up between bowling and ping pong 

7. Have you ever dyed your hair?
Have I ever not?  I came out of the womb with a bottle of Peroxide

8. How do you vent anger?

I beat whatever/whoever is closest to me.  Then I blog and drink wine

9. Who is least likely to respond to this e-mail?
Mom, because I don't think she really likes me

10. Living situation?
A 660-square foot apartment in Chicago.  Jealous?

11. When was the last time you cried?
Just now when I admitted that our apartment is so small

12. What is on the floor of your closet right now? 
What isn't?  My closest is the catch-all for when we have company

13. What are you most afraid of? 
Seeing myself in the mirror first thing in the morning

14. Diamonds or pearls?
Both.  I can't choose my favorite child


Friday, March 5, 2010

The Shedd Aquarium is oh-so-cool!

Last night, Mike and I went to the Shedd Aquarium in downtown Chicago for an Ohio State Alumni event. (We're still searching for University of Wyoming Alumni events.  I'll keep you updated. :)  It was the coolest experience!  If you haven't been to the aquarium, you have to go.  Here are some of the pictures I took.  The bright orange and white fish photograph so well. (I think this one is Nemo's much bigger cousin named Sumo).  Also, look at that cute little frog, he's neon green!  They had all sorts of frogs in different colors I had never seen before.  Isn't the Eel creepy?  He and the other Eels live in these little caves, and pop their heads out when you walk by.  (They kind of remind me of the people on Michigan Avenue always trying to give you a handout with ways to save money/save yourself/save others.)

What's really neat about the Shedd is the architecture.  It was built in the 1930's, and the details are simply beautiful.  When you look up at the ceiling, you'll notice someone carved out little crabs or seashells.  It makes you wish that they still made buildings like that.  They also have a dolphin and whale exhibit with a new baby whale.

If you're on a budget like mine, with your only income coming from selling Coach Purses on EBay, the Shedd offers free days.  Unfortunately, we missed several in February, but they still have several more throughout the year.

Sept. 13, 14, 20, 21, 27 and 28;
Oct. 4, 5, 11, 12, 18, 19, 25 and 26; and
Nov. 1, 2, 8, 9, 15, 16, 22, 23, 29 and 30.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Diet Coke=Eww

What's wrong this picture?  If you have the ability to read upside down (see, we all have talents!), you see that it says "Sugar Free."  In my opinion, it might as well say, "Taste Free."  Growing up, people told me that I'd eventually like beer and Diet Coke because they are acquired tastes, and yet I'd pick up an MGD any day over this.  I think why Mike proposed to me isn't my charming personality, but the fact that I keep fat-full Cherry Cokes stocked in my fridge at all time.

Lately, I've been getting a complex about my weight.  Not really, but I've had two instances with Diet Coke that made me laugh.

First, when Mike and I went for sushi a few weeks ago, the woman came to take our drink order.  She looked at me and said, "Do you want a Diet Coke?"  Um, no.  What does that mean?  Do I look like I need one?  I told her I'd like a Miller Light instead.  Hey, it's still light!  Then on Monday we went to Chipolte for dinner.  We were checking out, and I said I'd like a small pop.  (You fill your own cup at the fountain).  She said, "We don't have Diet Coke, so do you still want it?"

So I'm guessing either 1) A lot of blondes order Diet Cokes, so they assume I will too, or 2) Just like they say 30 is the new 20, perhaps "Skinny is the new fat", and I need to lose weight after all.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The story of some really cool wives

We're exactly 4 months away from the wedding.  Can you believe it?  (You're like, yes I believe it, because you keep telling me!)
I just talked to Casey, one of Mike's groomsmen and also a really good friend of mine.  He said he just booked his room for Jackson.  Then he told me he'll likely be rooming with 3 other groomsmen, Chris, Taylor and Mike (remember, our wedding party is 18 people--that's what happens when you wait 'til your 30's to get married).
I said, "Oh, Taylor and Mike's wives aren't coming?"
Casey: "Oh yeah, they're coming."
Me: "Where are they staying?"
Casey: "In a different room."
Me: "A different room???"
Casey: "It looks like it.  They know how we are. (Meaning they party.  A lot.)

So apparently the wives with their small babies are staying in another room so their husbands can have a great time.  Isn't that funny?  I think those are the best wives around!  (It's also looking like our bar bill is going to be huge.  And to my Mike: Don't get any ideas.  When we have kids, you'll be staying with me and the crying baby.  And you'd better learn how to breast feed, fast. )

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Who needs to eat at their wedding anyway?

Here we are: 123 days left until the wedding, and things are really coming along!  I got my dressed fitted today, and it was fun.  I hadn't seen it since I bought it in September, and I'd almost forgotten how beautiful it is.  The seamstress decided to take it in a lot on the sides which means the good news 1) is that it won't fall to my knees when I'm getting down and funky to ABBA, but the bad news is, 2) I won't be able to eat or drink anything.  I wonder if we still have to pay $100 for my meal?? 

There were quite a few other brides in the store today, which always shocks me.  Who else besides me isn't working on a Tuesday afternoon?  Here's one conversation I overhead...
Sales Clerk: "I'll get you a size 10."
Bride: "No, I want a size 8."
Sales Clerk: "Um, but it doesn't fit you."
Bride: "You think I'm going to look like this on my wedding day?  Oh no, I have 10 pounds to lose!  Tell her mom, you know I'll lose it!"  (tantrum nearly starting)
Bride's mom (looking tired) to Sales Clerk:  "Can you just get her a size 8?"

Looks like I won't be the only one not eating on my wedding day!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Men start things, but then....

I don't mean to pick on men, but c'mon, you make it so easy!  My question today: Why can't men finish things?  They open the kitchen cabinet, but they don't close it.  The lift up the toilet seat, but they don't put it back down.  They start their laundry (if you're  lucky!), but they'll leave their clothes in the dryer for a week.  They put their dishes in the sink, but can't quite make it to the dishwasher.

In Mike's case, he goes to the trouble of storing his famous meatballs in the freezer, but one problem: he forgets to close the top of the baggie.  This is what the meatballs look like 2 weeks later--they are covered in freezer burn.  He went to all the trouble of getting his grandmother's Italian recipe, getting all the ingredients, putting it together, rolling each one, and baking them.  But I guess for him mastering this old recipe isn't the hardest part; it's remembering "Yellow and Blue Makes Green."