It's official!

It's official!
David Stubbs Photography

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Talking and tinkling: Why?

There are only a few times in my life that I've gone to the bathroom while talking on the phone and it was a) because it was an emergency or b) I was just talking to my mom and since she's changed my poopy diapers, I figure she won't mind me talking and tinkling. But I can say without a doubt, I have never talked on the phone while in a public restroom.

Isn't it strange when you walk into the restroom and you hear someone talking and laughing, all the while doing their business, wiping and flushing? Doesn't the person on the other end hear that?  How do they wipe? How do they keep their phone clean? I have so many questions!

Our 14-hour drive
While driving home yesterday from Wyoming to Chicago (14 short hours), I went into a public restroom at a gas station in nowhere Iowa. The girl next to me in the tiny restroom talked on the phone the entire time. I learned a lot about her in a few short minutes...

A) She was driving from nowhere Iowa to New York with her boyfriend
B) She had the "talk" with him about kids (apparently first comes love, then comes marriage doesn't apply to her), however she found out, he'd like to have kids, just not with her. Ouch.
C) Yep, her girlfriend was shocked too!
D) Indeed, this new found information was going to be awkward considering they had hours left to drive in his tiny truck
D) Luckily, she won't have to be childless because she already has two kids she is picking up in New York on the 28th
E) Yep, she's definitely dumping the boyfriend after the new year

I used to think I should be kind of quiet when someone was on the phone in the bathroom, but now I think it would be kind of fun to play with them. I'd like to get a whoopee cushion and make it continually fart while they're on the phone. Then I'll start moaning and crying and say I can't believe how painful Mexican food can be. Won't that be fun??

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Holiday Getaway to Cheyenne, Wyoming

When you live in a city of 9 million people and have to deal with trains, buses, traffic and crowds, it's nice to get away every now and again. For me, there's no greater escape than my hometown of Cheyenne, Wyoming.

For the holiday, we decided to pack up our SUV with two dogs, presents and lots of other crap to make our Chicago escape by journeying 14 hours west. What was that like, you ask? Let's just say Nebraska is the longest. state. ever. to drive through and yes, you'd think the Rocky Mountains would be a whole lot rockier. (Great Dumb and Dumber scene.)

For those of you who have never been, Wyoming is a pretty cool place. It's the country's least populated state, and everyone here seems to be just fine with that. In Wyoming you have space and room to move with plenty of sunshine and blue skies. It's funny, as a child I thought this state was boring and sparse looking, and now it seems relaxing and beautiful. It's exactly what this Chicago girl needed this week.

Mike in my parent's backyard

Mike and I taking a walk to the mailbox. Yes, it's far away

Merry Christmas everybody!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

I'm in "Boss!" with Kelsey Grammer

When did life get so busy? Do you remember about a year and 1/2 ago when I was underemployed, working at Ann Taylor Loft about 10 hours a week? Or two years ago when I was unemployed? When I prayed that I would find my path and get a job, someone was sure listening.

Now I'm going to grad school full-time which is about 30 hours of class time a week. Then there's homework and projects on top of that, which is at least 10 hours a week. Despite my adviser's warning that people don't work while in this program, I'm also continuing to do freelance PR work, which is about 20-25 hours a week. Then just for extra kicks, I'm also working at WBBM-AM as a writer, which is about 8 hours a week. Phew. I finally understand when people say they are so busy, they feel like instead of being good at one thing, they are sort of mediocre at a lot of things. (Hence why the lack of blog posts lately).

In the "Boss"
This weekend, something happened that truly made me realize how crazy things are. A friend of mine sent me this's me making an oh-so-quick appearance in the Starz show "Boss" starring Kelsey Grammer that aired Friday night. (I did some extra work this spring and summer. Side note--despite what his ex-wife says, Kelsey is super cool). Isn't that fun? Apparently, my Pops saw me in last week's episode too. But instead of being super obsessive like I was when I made an oh-so-quick appearance in "The Playboy Club" by watching the show, making all my friends watch the show, freeze framing the shot, and telling the world about it---now, I don't even have time to watch. I'm thinking I might be able to during Christmas break?

In other news, anyone have suggestions on how to write a 10-page paper, get interviews, edit and voice three videos and write four print stories while squeezing in three WBBM shifts and PR work in the next two weeks? Oy vay.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Chicago transportation: Not all created equal

When it comes to using public transportation in Chicago, you quickly realize one thing: it ain't equal.

For the past six weeks or so, I've been part of the daily grind for grad school. I've had to take a train downtown in the morning and back home in the evening. I learned quickly there is a fine art to have to time it out just right so you can actually get on the crowded train without having to start your very own mosh pit. (Look out people! I'm coming in!)

I had been taking the red line L train for about a week when I started complaining to Mike that I could never get a seat because of all the bums passed out on it, and I was pretty sure I was getting the H1N1 virus just by touching the train's handles. He suggested I take the brown line since it goes to the financial district, so it might be a little cleaner.

The brown line. Look, there are seats!
The next day, I decided to give the brown line a whirl. As the doors opened, it was suddenly like everything was in slow motion and the angels were singing a lovely tune. There was not only room for me to get on, everyone on board was clean and reading things like the Wall Street Journal. Score! I thought, "How have I not discovered the awesomeness of the brown line earlier?"

As I was riding towards the Quincy stop, I started thinking about just how different the red and brown lines really are....

--On the red line, fellow train goers offers you a hit on their bong. On the brown line, they offer you a dollop of their Grey Poupon.

-- On the red line, fellow train goers are reading "How to successfully rob someone on a train." On the brown line, they're reading "How to protect yourself in a city" or "Why not to take the red line--one victim's story."

-- On the red line, you don't want to have your cell phone out, for fear it could get stolen. On the brown line, you can easily Skype your family back home in Minnesota.

-- On the red line, you'll likely smell like a mix of urine and Cheetos after you get off. On the brown line, it's more like an expensive cologne or bourbon.

--On the red line, you'll hear some crazy person yelling that the world is ending at the end of the day.  On the brown line, it's more of a warning to get your stock options in order.

--On the red line, if someone sneezes on you, you're most likely getting a flesh-eating virus. On the brown line, well it doesn't matter, because they covered their mouth with an embroidered handkerchief.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Do we give up too easily?

Courtesy: TV Fanatic
You've probably heard by now The Playboy Club got cancelled after just three short episodes. So sad! I was bummed when I heard the news, knowing how many good Chicago people were employed by the show.

What I was also bothered by is how quickly networks pull the plug on shows before really even giving them a chance. Three episodes, really? That's it? Have you ever gone back and watched the first few episodes of Sex and the City or Friends? They're certainly not fabulous yet, and the actors look sort of awkward or uncomfortable.

It seems like that's how we're becoming as a society...we need things to be instantly amazing, or else we're done with it. Before we're so quick to judge...I think we all need to remember how we were in the beginning. For example...

One of my first live shots in television news, I was so nervous, I even wrote my own name down on my notepad, fearing I would forget the basics for the sheer terror of being live. I was covering an attempted prison outbreak, and the blaring sirens in the background certainly weren't helping my nerves. During my live shot, I started saying the suspect's name, but to my horror, I couldn't remember it. I looked down at my notepad, but it was a blur of ink. I kept waiting for the graphics operator to pull up the suspect's mug shot with his name, but each time I said, "Let's take a look at the suspect," nothing happened.

So finally, without knowing what else what to do, I said, "I'm sorry, I can't remember the suspect's name."

I was humiliated and the live shot was just plain awkward. Thank goodness my news director wasn't like NBC, and decided to give me another shot.

Or how about the time I was learning how to drive a stick shift? My mom and I were coming up to a stoplight at about 40 miles per hour when the light turned yellow, and I panicked and slammed on the brakes. It became very obvious that if we came to a complete stop, it would be in the middle of the intersection, so my mom yelled, "Just keep going!" My nerves were rattled, so instead of putting the gear into 3rd since we were still going about 20-30 mph, I instead put it into 1st. We jumped, skidded and I'm sure, looked like total idiots. Thank goodness my mom decided not to take away my driver's license that day, deciding she'd give me another chance.

How about you? Do you remember the first time you did something? Perhaps you got a skinned knee while riding a bike? Or while trying your hand at playing hairdresser, you gave your Barbie a buzz cut? We're not always brilliant at first, but luckily we have people who don't give up on us so easily.

Now, do you get it network TV?

Monday, October 17, 2011

What a weekend!

Wow, what an unbelievable weekend in Chicago! On Saturday, the sky was as blue as Lake Michigan, and the leaves were vibrant yellows and greens. (Yes, God is just teasing us before he sends months of gray skies and piles of snow to us).

My pops was in town for a visit, so we decided to walk to Navy Pier to check out Oktoberfest. What we didn't expect to find was some beautiful colors from flowers and trees on our walk there, so I took a ton of pictures. Here's a collection of some of the ones I thought turned out the best, so enjoy!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Secret of My Success

Courtesy: CDC
As a kid, I loved watching movies that showed the daily grind in big cities. Movies like "The Secret of My Success" with Michael J. Fox, where everyone on the crowded street walked in perfect harmony despite all the people and taxis whizzing by. All the women looked smart and beautiful, and I knew I wanted to be just like them someday.

So, here I in Chicago and now taking part in the daily grind, and instead of feeling smart and beautiful, I've never felt more frazzled, crowded, rain-drenched and confused. I'm here to tell ya..the daily commute is so. not. glamorous.

Why didn't the movies show the bleeding blisters? The soaking wet girl who forgot her umbrella? Or the girl who always seems to get on the wrong train. (3 times now. Seriously, why is it so complicated? You go to the brown line stop, you expect you're getting on the brown line train, right? Nope, they throw in a purple line train just to confuse you. Although I did enjoy my long, scenic journey around the Chicago loop. The entire loop.)

What I've learned is that the daily commute is a fine science. You have to be alert, on your game and act very much like a defensive driver. For example, when you walk around the corner of a building, you need to make sure someone isn't coming around at the same time, or you'll smack into each other. You have to get around the slow people on the sidewalk, making sure you don't step in the street, because a cabbie or bus could hit you. You have to look both ways before crossing at a green light, just to make sure a crazy cabbie isn't running a red light. And while waiting to cross the street, you have to make sure your toes aren't too close to the edge, because they could easily get run over.

In terms of public trans, you have to have stamina to run up two flights of stairs when you hear your train coming and you don't want to miss it. You have to make sure you keep your train card in a pocket, so you don't have to fumble through your bag while people are waiting behind you. When the train is full, you have to quickly decide if you'll wait for the next one, or lunge your body onto this one, hoping you can fit.

I don't remember Michael J. Fox giving me a heads up on any of these things.

What I can also say is I have a new found respect for all the men and women in this country who work for 9 hours a day, and spend another 2-4 commuting. Their whole day is either working or trying to work. And from what I've seen, they look pretty darn good doing it.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Playboy Club Premiere!

I know, I know, you're probably getting sick of me talking about it, but I just need to milk my 15 minutes of fame a little longer. (Or really my 5 seconds of fame, but who's counting?)

I asked (forced) friends and family around the country last night to watch "The Playboy Club" on NBC because Mike and I were extras when they filmed the pilot here in March. Since that time, I've been watching extras in movies and TV shows and I've noticed two things: they are almost always blurry or you just see their bodies and no heads, so I didn't have high hopes of seeing us when the show aired. I feared I cut off 7 inches of hair just to be a blurry streak behind the gorgeous Amber Heard.

To my pleasant surprise, about 2 minutes into the premiere, there I was! (Terrible teased hairdo and all.) Did you see it? If not, no worries, I grabbed some pics from online.

1st pic: That's me on the lower right, and yes, the super hot Eddie Cibrian is right behind me. Look, he's checking me out! I can totally tell.

2nd pic: Because I sense Eddie is checking me out, I decide to start writing him a love note on my "Playboy Club" cocktail napkin. 
"Dear Eddie, I know I'm just an extra, but I think we can make this work..."

3rd pic: Here, I've closed my eyes and I'm thinking about Eddie and me walking hand in hand on the beach in Bora Bora. I'm also figuring out how we can break it to LeAnn and Mike gently. 

All-in-all, working on this show was a great experience.  I learned even if you're just an extra and only on screen for a hot second, people think it's pretty darn cool.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Football Horror

In my 1+ year of marriage, I've realized there is one thing that is testing our relationship more than any other: we only have one television set.

Can you believe it? All of you reading this in smaller towns across America are probably spitting your drink out right now for the sheer horror/humor of it. You probably have 5+ TV's in your 4+ bedroom home, so you can easily watch Real Housewives of Beverly Hills while your husband watches ESPN Sportscenter. But for all of us living in small one bedroom Chicago apartments, we have to agree on what to watch 365 days a year. It ain't pretty.

Last night, Mike looked at me with a smile on his face and glee in his eyes, and said, "Are you pumped to watch football tonight?"

Um, what? It's Thursday night. I thought I escaped that torture until the weekend.

Nope, come to find out, there's football on nearly everyday of the week during season. I'm not just playing dumb, I truly had no idea. He told me with college football, there are some Thursday night games, Friday night games and Saturday games (all day.) For the NFL, there are games all day Sunday, Sunday night, Monday night, and after college football is over, the occasional Thursday night game.

Um, what?

So what you're telling me is that I only have Tuesdays and Wednesdays for RHOBH, RHONY, The Bachelor, Dancing With the Stars, Extra, Access Hollywood, Jersey Shore and any of the other can't miss shows? I don't think it's possible.

I responded with, "Do you realize I'd be perfectly fine if I never watched another football game in my entire life?" He looked shocked and sad, and I realized it's best I saved that nugget of information until after he put a ring on it.

I said, "Look at it this way. You'd die happy if you never had to step inside a multi-floor Macy's ever again."

I think he gets it now.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

September 11, 2001--We Will Never Forget
10 years ago today, I was working at my first job out of college, as a master control operator at the CBS station in Cheyenne, Wyoming. I was in charge of running all the programming and commercials. Since we were 2 hours behind New York City, we were taking a delayed version of The Early Show. For some reason, I turned around and saw the live feed, showing that the first plane had hit the twin towers. I figured it was big, so I switched to a live feed just before the second plane hit.

Because of my job, I ended up watching all 9/11 coverage for 8 hours a day for several weeks. I cried every day, I even stopped wearing make-up, because it ended up running down my face anyway. I heard stories of the families missing a loved one, children who lost their parents, and husbands and wives who called their spouse one last time to say goodbye. It was brutal. I truly believe I left a big part of my innocence in that control room in 2001, realizing for the first time no day is a guarantee and there are some really bad people out there.

10 years later, it still feels so raw, I'm even crying as I write this. But I want to take a moment to thank all the heroes who emerged that day, who without even a second thought, helped save lives.

To Todd Beamer, Mark Bingham, Tom Burnett, Jeramy Glick and the other heroes on Flight 93, we thank you. With the words "Let's Roll", you fought back and kept the plane from hitting perhaps the U.S. Capitol or The White House. Your bravery and sacrifices likely saved thousands of lives. (Click here to watch a really great story on Mark Bingham.)

To Rick Rescorla, a security worker who helped 2,700 people escape despite being told to stay put, we thank you. You ran back in to save more people when the south tower collapsed. Your sacrifices will not be forgotten.

To the countless number of police officers and firefighters who ran into the burning buildings without a moment's hesitation, we thank you.

9/11 did not break us. It has made us stronger and showed what humanity at its finest looks like. We will never forget.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Ew, shots?

I'm getting ready to start grad school in a couple of weeks, and today I came to two horrific realizations: I've already spent thousands of dollars and have nothing to show for it, and before I start classes, I have to get a ton of shots. Are you kidding me?

Yep, I guess in case I go nuts and start biting people, they need to be protected, therefore, I have to get a tetanus shot. (Side note: I actually did get bitten in kindergarten, but I'm guessing grad students have more mature ways of communicating.) I had my tetanus/diphtheria booster in 1995, but they only last 10 years. Dang.

I also had chicken pox as a kid, probably around 1984, but considering my former family doctor is retired, (probably in Florida probably playing golf right now), I really don't have a way of proving it. (Plus, I don't think I even went to the doctor because what's he going to do other than give me calamine lotion?) I have a small scar on my belly, so I wonder if that will prove it?

I also have to prove I've never had tuberculosis. Considering I pass out nearly every time I get needles, I'm hoping I don't have to have blood work for this one.

Who knew going back-to-school was so intense? I feel like I should be waved from all of this because I'm super health conscious. I think they should know I never touch the bars in the El train and I always use hand sanitizers before I eat. Oh, and at the gym, I always move away from the person coughing on the treadmill (and give them a dirty look.) This makes me healthy, right?

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Would you really say that?

When I worked in the public eye of television news, I was disturbed by what nasty things people would e-mail anchors and reporters. I once had a woman tell me she could tell I was a *itch because of the way I tilted my head. Really lady?? In reality, when it was loud at my live shots, I apparently leaned my head towards my ear piece hoping I could hear better. People will e-mail and say all kinds of gross things online, because they are hidden behind their computer screens. Most people would never say these things to a person's face.

But I was lucky because my public eye was just a small one in Indianapolis. I really feel bad for movie and reality stars, because they have to deal with this nastiness on a daily basis. For example, I'm constantly shocked by what people post of the Facebook walls of the famous. It doesn't make sense because these people have a) gone to the trouble of looking this person up b) have chosen to "Like" them but then they c) decide to write something nasty underneath their posts. WHY? Why not just save the trouble, and not "Like" someone you really don't like?

I'm going to give a few examples of things I've read on FB walls this week and put them in real-life situations....

A) Your friend comes over to show you recent pictures of her wedding. She's just beaming as she says, look at my dress, my shoes! Your comment to her..."I bet your shoes will last longer than your marriage." Ouch. Or you say, "You're so sick! So many people are dying because they have no food, but you're buying these shoes. You're disgusting!" We'd never say these things, right? But that's exactly what "Sandra" and "Mahaly" wrote on Kim Kardashian's wall this week.

B) Your mom, who's been trying to launch her singing career, finally gets an appearance on a local morning news program. She's getting interviewed about her career and family. She's so excited..until your response is, "I pray to God that you're not singing!" Not happening, right? Well that's exactly what someone posted on  LuAnn de Lesseps's wall of the Real Housewives of New York City.

C) You can't wait to show your friends all the pictures from your recent New York City trip. As you're going through each one, your girlfriend says, "Wow, look at your camel toe! Gross!" Please. Do any of you have friends that would honestly say that? That's exactly what someone wrote on Jill Zarin's wall (also from Real Housewives of New York City.)

My point is this: Before any of us type anything, we should think about how we'd feel if someone said this to our faces, or worse yet, to our children, nieces and nephews. Let's teach them kindness and not hatred.

Now, do you want me to tell you about the time a viewer called me a slut?

Friday, August 26, 2011

Preparing for a hurricane--I've been there

Watching the coverage of Hurricane Irene feels eerily familiar to what I was doing 7 years ago while living in Southwest Florida. During a crazy weather pattern in the summer of 2004, I ended up covering four Hurricanes-- Charley, Francis, Ivan and Jeanne. (no, not Jeannie. Although I do pack a punch when needed.) 

I feel bad for everyone on the east coast going through this right now. I know when a hurricane is churning towards you, you get a pit in your stomach wondering what its path will be, question whether it will hit your town and if you'll be okay.  Best wishes coming your way, east coasters.

My summer of '04 taught me an important lesson about myself: I'm a pansy.

Punta Gorda, FL
It's true. You see, I have reporter friends who love covering storms. My friend, Melissa, is the first to come to mind. Before, during and after Hurricane Charley, she was such a trooper. She asked to go to an island location to get the most action. Me? I cried when the news director told me I had to leave with a photographer before they boarded up the newsroom doors.

"Where will we go??" I wailed. He said, "Someone secure. I'd recommend a parking garage." I then called my mom and Mike to tell them my final goodbyes. (What, dramatic? Me?)

Melissa then hopped in a live truck, ready for action. Me? I cried for another 10-20 minutes. (30 tops.)

Melissa looked like a solid pro, reporting live on the scene as the storm approached. Me? I looked like a drowned rat, ready for my impending doom.

Melissa then braved the category 4 storm, ready and willing to do live shots. Me? I hid in my photographer's apartment, using his pregnant wife as an excuse. What if she went into labor? I needed to be there to deliver the baby! (Although I pass out at the sight of blood, so I'm not sure how that would work.)

Melissa then spent the next 36 hours or so reporting from various locations, never skipping a beat. Me? Normally a calm person, I threw my work cell phone at a brick wall after being told I'd have to do yet. another. live. shot.

I guess part of getting older is accepting what you're good at and what you're not. I've realized I really do love journalism...just a whole lot better when there are sunny skies.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Is that an Olive Garden?

On a daily basis, I see Chicago tourists taking pictures of everything. And I mean everything. I'll be walking behind someone who abruptly stops, looks up, and takes a picture. I'll then look up expecting to see Superman, yet all I see is another building. Am I'm missing something? (It's kind of funny, because I wonder if all these pictures eventually become very boring slide-shows families around the world are subjected to. "Here kids is a brown building. Now here's a slightly different gray one...")

But I guess that's the thing about being somewhere you're not used to.... everything seems so cool.

I felt like a picture-taking tourist when I visited the lovely suburb of Evanston a couple of weeks ago. I needed to register for classes at Northwestern, and I talked Mike into going with me. As we were driving through the multi-million dollar neighborhoods, I started exclaiming, "My god, it's so green here! What's the deal??"

Mike: "Um, they have lawns, so it just looks greener."

Me: "Oh."

Me a few minutes later: "Wait, what's that crazy loud humming sound?"

Mike: "It's nature. I think it's locusts."

Me: "Oh."

Me a few minutes later: "Oh my goodness, they have a Red Lobster. Yum!" I immediately yell again, "And an Olive Garden right behind it! This place is heaven!" (Chicago doesn't have too many chain restaurants, hence the squeals of delight.)

We then parked downtown so we could eat dinner. It actually took me a second to figure out how to pay the meter. That's because it was a traditional meter box you put coins into it. In Chicago, all our meters were replaced by pay boxes where you put in your credit card, hit how long you'll be there and then print a ticket for your dash. City living actually made me forget the basics.

"She's Having a Baby" home
After dinner, I talked Mike into driving me around the neighborhood where John Hughes filmed the movie "She's Having a Baby" with Kevin Bacon and Alec Baldwin. (Every time I'm in the 'burbs, I find another John Hughes home. Jake Ryan, here I come!)

While we were driving around, we saw kids playing in the street and people sitting outside in lawn chairs just like in the movie. Isn't that cute? People were actually interacting with their neighbors. (For us, we don't know any of our neighbors and outdoor coversation is hampered by the loud sound of the El train whizzing by every 3 minutes.)

I guess the moral of this story is that everything seems much cooler when you don't see it everyday. Case in point: I almost took a picture of the city's first Chick-Fil-A the other day, because I was so stinkin' excited. Who needs city views, professional sports teams and museums when you have nuggets?????

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Life If Michael Bay Directed It....

Bumble Bee
About a year ago, I told you about all the excitement here as Michael Bay and crew filmed "Transformers 3" in Chicago. What made it even cooler was that many of the scenes were filmed in our neighborhood, in fact, some where right outside our high-rise windows. (Read those blogs here.) It was fun walking to coffee and seeing Optimus Prime and Bumble Bee right outside our building.

Finally last night, I got to see the movie and I thought it was really good! It was tough seeing Chicago getting blown up and destroyed, but a nice mixture of Patrick, Josh, Shia and Tyrese helped comfort me through. (I just can't decide who's the dreamiest!)

The thing about Michael Bay films is that they are a little predictable and have a certain amount of cheesiness, but I can't help it, I lap it up like a kitten with milk. Here's the thing--I think life would be SO much cooler if Michael Bay directed it. Think about it...

For example, we'd all walk in slow motion to a romantic song, and just when we thought our loved one was lost forever, the crowds would part and there they'd be. We'd run to each other, (again in slow motion) we'd embrace, and then the man would pick up the woman and twirl us around. We'd finish with a nice aerial shot from a helicopter showing everyone around us.

Also, every scene of our lives would either be a beautiful sunrise or sunset. And just to get perspective, we'd throw in some nice shots of Africa, India or Japan.

When times get tough, we'd have a nice montage with symphony music, showing us preparing for the fight. Tough day at work? Just throw a rifle on your back, and stare longingly out the window. Never fear...because you're a WINNER!

Worried about that bad hair day? With Michael Bay directing, you'll never have to again because you'll be a hot actress or model. And don't worry, even if you have to fight off autobots, you'll never even have a scratch on your face.

Frustrated with all the political wrangling in D.C.? I'd say it's time to get NASA involved and have some shots of low-flying helicopters, because people in low-flying helicopters know how to get stuff done!

Seriously though...I really enjoyed the movie and I made a decision about my own life. Mike and I need a montage of our love. You know--show the tough times (him not putting the dishes in the dishwasher)....but then showing him save the world, therefore I forgive the dishes in the sink. Won't that be cool?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

My Kind of Town....

In my year and a half in the Windy City, I've seen some pretty crazy stuff just walking around the streets.

For example, more than once, I've witnessed a drug deal. The funny thing is, they do it exactly how you'd think a drug deal looks. Two men  stand really close together (first obvious clue), they'll look both ways, one will hand the other something, and then they exchange money. Duh! We all know what you're doing. (I'm thinking there are ways to make this less obvious. Maybe only look one way??)

Another time I saw a man either having a heart attack in the middle of the street, or he was just crazy and rolling around. Not sure...either way, 911 was called. The truly scary part--he was in the middle of the bus lane, so what was likely going to kill him is a crazy city bus driver, not clogged arteries. Those folks stop for no one!

Then there was this weekend when I saw a bum take off his shirt exposing his really large belly, and then he stood in front of the Potbelly's to show of his "physique" to everyone in the restaurant. Wasn't that nice of him?

Okay, so you get it. But truly nothing in the world could have prepared me for what I saw last week....

I was walking home when I saw three older women on the sidewalk. One was hunched over, and as I got closer, I saw that she was bleeding profusely on the sidewalk. (Like more blood than I ever saw at any crime scene or car accident I covered as a reporter.) She was dabbing her feet (which she appeared to have stubbed and cut) with a Kleenex, trying to get the bleeding to stop, but she really needed something the size of a beach towel. I offered to call 911 before I blacked out and nearly passed out. Isn't that crazy? My aunt, who's a nurse, says the woman was likely taking blood thinners, hence the Chainsaw Massacre scene. (Because that's the thing about old want everything that's thick to be thin and vice versa.)

So when you walk down Oak Street and see what you think is a murder scene, I can assure you it's not. (And this also explains why I often see blood on Chicago sidewalks.)

Now don't even get me started on all the bums I see either singing/talking to themselves/or yelling expletives at me....

Friday, July 22, 2011

Blog Wars

As I've entered the fun and super fast-paced world of public relations, or PR, I've learned a few things about the media I never knew before. One thing I recently realized....everyone is a blogger.

You can find rantings or personal experiences on just about everything. Did you know there are actually blogs about the Muppets? Yep, there are several blogs dedicated to Muppet news...isn't that cute? I guess they follow the comings and goings of different characters and the highs and lows of Kermit and Miss Piggy's relationship. (FYI-I hear it's not going well. Kermit says he's looking for someone with a little less "junk in the trunk." Jerk.)

There are also blogs dedicated to everything geek. These bloggers describe ways to find your inner dork (they should just ask me how I did it for most of the 90's.) These blogs get huge readership too! (I guess not that surprising, because dorks are at home on the computer, not trying to get into Chicago's Paris night club. Hehe, see my last post.)

The biggest blog kick I've gotten is how many blogs are dedicated to breastfeeding. Breastfeeding Moms Unite! Mama Knows Breast! etc, etc. These women are keeping people educated on the fight to breastfeed. (I didn't know this was a fight.) They blog about things like the benefits of sharing breast milk with other moms (ew) and their right to breastfeed in public. Here's the things ladies...I don't think any of us care whether or not you breastfeed, we just don't want to see your boob while we're eating our pasta carbonara at Carrabba's. And we also don't want your kid to be so old he can walk up to you and ask for the boob, because that's just disturbing. 

I guess the moral of my story is to thank all of you for reading this blog. 86 confirmed followers and over 41,000 hits, score! (If you haven't officially "followed" me yet, what are you waiting for? It makes you smarter and better looking.)

I know you have a lot of choices out there, so thank you for choosing my blog which my brother describes as the "Seinfeld Blog" meaning it's a blog about nothing. Thanks brother (Side note: he wasn't breastfed long enough.)

Monday, July 18, 2011

Chicago's Paris Club: Major letdown

I started this blog about a year and a half ago as a way of describing what it's like for a small town girl living in Chicago. I try to explain, with some humor, my experiences on the L train (like ending up going the wrong way) meeting crazy cabbies (and having them explain their philosophical beliefs to me) and seeing some pretty crazy stuff (more on that later.)

But sometimes as a blogger, I just like to vent. To call out someone or someplace that did me wrong. Yes, to complain. So to you-- Paris Club in Chicago-- I'm calling you out right here, right now.

It's Saturday night and my girlfriends from Indy are in town, so we decide to get dressed up and hit the town. We have a rockin' sushi dinner, and then decide to hit Hubbard Street. I tell them we should go to the new hot spot, the Paris Club, because I haven't been there yet and I've heard it's fun. When we get there, the line isn't too bad, about 15 people deep (pretty standard on a Saturday night), so we decide to wait.

As we are waiting, we see 20-something girl after 20-something girl go to the front of the line, chat up the doorman, and then he lifts the rope and lets them in. We witness about 20 women cutting in line in front of us. Annoying, but not that surprising. Eventually, everyone in front of us has either gotten in the club or decided to give up, so we are next in line.

At last.

Just as we're expecting to get in, the 20-something doorman says to us with a snotty tone, "If you don't know someone inside, you might as well leave, because we're full."

Are you serious? Not only are we not getting in, I'm getting 'tude from a snotty kid making $9 an hour.

Now, take a look at this picture. This is what we looked like that night. Not bad, right? Sure, a couple of us are in our 30's and have rings on our fingers, but we're still fun! We can shake our tail feathers with the best of 'em. And the best part is? Unlike most of the 22-year old girls you just let in, we won't end up crying at the end of the night.

So to you Paris Club....when one of my girlfriends ends up being the CEO of her own company, or I get my first book published, we will not be celebrating at your establishment. And when someone asks me where they should go in Chicago, it won't be your club.

To the 20-something doorman who wouldn't even make eye contact with me: you'd better be careful who you don't let in, because she just might have a blog.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Bachelorette--Where Do They Find These Guys?

The following blog post has been approved by my husband...

Tonight I put my hubbie through what can best be described as torture--I made him watch The Bachelorette with me.

I've told you before why this show absolutely fascinates me, and a few months ago, I blogged about the "Top Reasons I Could Never Be On The Bachelor" including,

"Sure I had a feeling Mike was 'the one' after our first date, but I kept that information to myself for oh, about three years, not two dates. In real life, those kind of love admissions get you dumped, not another rose."

The Bachelorette is even more entertaining, because the producers actually find 25 straight guys willing to talk about their feelings, even shedding a tear every now and again. Also, most are pretty good looking too! Where on earth do they find these guys? (I've never met one, so this apparently excludes Cheyenne, Laramie, Lander and Riverton WY,  Grand Junction, CO, Fort Myers, FL, Indianapolis and Chicago.)

I laughed and told Mike tonight, "You'd be terrible on this show! You hate small talk and never want to talk about feelings!"

Case in point: It took him a year and a half to tell me he loved me. Granted, he did it live on the radio when he worked at WINK-FM and I worked at WINK-TV in Fort Myers (Very nice touch and totally made it worth the wait), but still, can you imagine how frustrated the producers would be when they asked how he felt about The Bachelorette after week 2? He'd probably say, "She's okay" or "I'm feeling her out."

Another case in point: Whenever Mike's on the phone (which he hates and tries to end immediately), he's like a toddler only capable of one-word answers. Trying to get a soundbite out of this guy would be tough.

All-in-all, I guess it's good Mike and I met in real life and not reality TV, because I don't like doing handstands in my evening gown and he doesn't like to talk about his heart singing.

I love you honey!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Running outside=terrifying

In keeping with my 2011 goal of doing things that scare me, I did something the other day I've never done before for fear I would majorly suck at it: I ran outside in the heat with my husband.

Okay, okay, doesn't seem scary to you? Perhaps running comes naturally to you, but to me, it doesn't. In junior high when we had to run the mile in gym class, I lied and said I had asthma. I got an inhaler and everything. Truth is, I felt like I really had asthma considering running at 6,062 miles above sea level, your chest will burn to the point you think you're going to vomit your lung. I would huff and puff around the track, until I was the very last one to finish. (Even the fat kids lapped me.) You see, I'm that weird anomaly of being skinny but totally out of shape. When I walked to classes in Laramie, Wyoming (7,165 miles above sea level, mind you) I would be so out of breath after walking there, I would have to pause at the top of the stairs before entering Psychology, for fear the other students would wonder who this deep-breathing crazy person was.

The point is, I'm not athletic, and it's taken me years to build up to running. The thought of running outside totally frightened me, because I worried all the buff runners on the Lake Michigan track would laugh and point.

Well, they don't do that, but they do lap me every chance they get.

Mike and I took an evening run around the lake recently, and it was interesting. The ol' feelings of wanting to vomit a lung certainly came back, but something else happened that was totally unexpected. My face turned bright red. Cherry red. (See picture) I could actually feel the blood in my face. I realized I will never look like that graceful light-on-the-feet runner who seems like she could go on all day: instead I turn freakishly red, I sweat up a storm and I look like a wounded animal who's moaning and groaning because the pain of the bullet stings so much.

To add insult to injury: a few days after my run, I see this picture on Facebook. It's a picture of Kim Kardashian and Heidi Klum running on the streets of New York, and of course, they look beautiful. Bitches. I read later that they did 4 miles. Seriously?? They ran 4 miles and look like that?

So apparently reaching my goal of running outside is not enough, somehow I have to figure out how to look good doing it. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Anniversary Dinner or groceries for the week--you decide

Do you ever have that feeling of not belonging? The realization that you can't afford anything in the store, and you're fairly certain the workers are going to say, "We don't have anything that fits you" Pretty Woman style.

Celebrating our one-year anniversary last night, Mike and I decided to go to the very nice Spiaggia restaurant on Michigan Avenue. I looked at the prices online, and thought they weren't too bad. Pricey, but you'll never have a one-year anniversary again, right? (Well, let's hope not.)

We arrived at the restaurant dressed  in our finest. Luckily a friend warned us that Mike needed to wear a sports jacket, or they would have given him one that's been worn by a ton of people. Ew. (After working as television extras, we know borrowed clothing always stinks.)

We sat down and looked at the drink menu. The wine list was about 36 pages long and completely daunting, so I asked our waitress to show us the Cabernet section and she recommended a bottle for a cool $300. I smiled and say, "We're looking for something a bit cheaper." She then recommended the $200 bottle. Ouch.

I told her we would need a few more minutes to decide. When she walked away I told Mike, "It's okay, I don't need to drink." He insisted that we both would, so we finally settled on a half bottle of their cheapest wine.

Then it was time for dinner. I ordered a pasta and the server informed me that what I ordered is basically considered an appetizer that's really small, and if I wanted an actual dinner size portion, I would need to order from the other page, where meals are all $50-$150 each. Ouch. I told her we need a few more minutes to decide.

I said to Mike, "Let's just order something small, and then hit Chipolte on the way home." He suggested we order one meal and one appetizer and split it. Throughout the meal, I worried about what else was going to cost money. When a man came by offering table bread, I thought, how I can politely ask him what's cheaper, white or wheat? When the server started pouring us bottled water, she must have seen the look of horror on my face because she quickly said, "The water is complimentary."

All in all, I have to say, the food was really good. But the portions were small and I was still hungry when we left. Luckily we made a CVS run for some Haggen-Daz ice cream after we were done.

The good news? We had a very nice anniversary celebration. The bad news? We don't have money to buy groceries this week. But hey, all married couples struggle with money, right?

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

How did we get here?

As Mike and I near our one-year anniversary (can you believe it? We've just beaten 85% of celebrity couples), we've started to reflect on our relationship. (Okay, really it was his mom and me reflecting because as you know, men hate talking about feelings.)

So as his mom and I were talking recently about the beginning of our relationship, we had to laugh because it didn't come easy. We had some very embarrassing experiences that could have had us running for the hills....

Example 1: One of the first times I met Mike's parents, they invited me over for dinner. His mom was making her amazing Italian recipe for spaghetti and meatballs. I'd been having terrible heartburn, so I took a new pill the doctor gave me called Aciphex. I took the pill and then headed to his parents house. Well, apparently there is only one pill in the entire world I'm allergic to and it's this one. As we were eating, my face started to swell up, so pretty soon my lips and cheeks were about 10 times bigger than normal. I felt like my lips were actually going to explode. (Think Will Smith in "Hitch.") I could barely eat, was slurring my words and drool was dripping out of the side of my mouth. My favorite moment is when Mike's super sweet father said, "Really, it's not that bad. You can hardly tell." After that we all erupted in laughter because we knew he was lying.      
Jeannie=0 points Mike's family=1

Example 2: When we first started dating, I asked Mike to accompany me to Lander, Wyoming--my birthplace, and also where one of my good friend's was getting married. I wanted Mike to get the full Wyoming experience, so we visited my aunt and uncle on their ranch. We decided Mike should ride a horse (his first time), so my uncle saddled up "Mac" and Mike was ready to go. Or was he? About 10 minutes into the ride, Mac got a little spooked and took off.... With Mike on top of him.... Galloping at full speed....Towards the mountain. As I saw Mike disappear into the distance, I witnessed him toppling on to the ground. I thought he might be dead, and I wondered how I would explain this to his parents. Luckily he was okay, and still likes to show off his scars.
Mike= 0 points My family= 1

Example 3: One of the first times I met Mike's entire family was at his niece's baptism. We were having an after-party in his parents basement, and with his mom's love of 80 degree year-round temps and with all the people there, the basement was a cool 110 degrees. I've always been what you call a bit of a pansy, often passing out at the sight of blood or talking about anything gross. You add heat into the mix, and I'm a goner. Of course I must have forgotten all of this while chatting with Mike's brother-in-law's brother, who happens to be an ER surgeon. I'm not sure what possessed me, but I decided to ask, "What's the grossest thing you've ever seen?"

Big mistake. Huge.

He proceeded to describe a very bad car accident. All I heard was "cut in half" and "bleeding out" before the curtains closed and I fell over. The next thing I remember is waking up on the couch with Mike's entire family surrounding me, asking if I was okay. Yep, I passed out in front of the entire clan and even wet myself a little bit--not at all embarrassing.
Jeannie= 0 points, Mike's family= 1.

Well, I guess all of that didn't matter, because here we are, blissfully married. The only difference now is that Mike avoids horses named Mac and I avoid men named Dr. Ambrose. (Which ain't easy because there are actually three in the family.)

Happy Anniversary honey!

Monday, June 27, 2011

My Ode to Telemarketers

When you work from home and have a land line telephone, there is something you realize very quickly--there are a lot of annoying people calling you during the day.

By 9 a.m. this morning, the same telemarketing company had called 5 times. 5 times! I ignored the first 3 calls, but was so annoyed by the 4th, I finally answered. (They hung up the 5th time. It was probably because I yelled, "What??" when I answered.) During the 4th call, after a long silence followed by a few seconds of music, a woman finally got on and started talking. In her "I just learned English today" voice she said she was calling because I expressed interest in a car loan. Um, excuse me? Here's the thing lady-- I didn't.

For all you telemarketers out there--I get it, you're just doing your job, but I have some advice that will make you more successful....

First, make sure you do your homework before you call. If you did your research, you'd know I'm not trying to get a car loan.  In fact, if you really knew me, you'd know I hate driving in a city so much, I try to limit my transportation to one mile every week (grocery store and back.) When I do drive, I get a racing heart, sweaty 'pits and an alter ego of a truck driver yelling obscenities at women, small children and anyone else getting in my way.

Secondly, don't lie to me. Yes, I've gotten a little tipsy before and done online shopping I don't remember the next day, but that's always been for super-cute shoes or blouses, not a loan for a Volkswagen. I'm 100% sure I never signed up for "more information on a car loan" by accident when I thought I was on the Macy's website. "Oops! I didn't mean to check car loans, I meant Jessica Simpson ballet flats."

Third, don't keep calling me. Don't you remember that guy you had a huge crush on in middle school, but you kept calling, so then he thought you were desperate? Same rules apply now.

Fourth, don't act like you're not there when I finally answer. Just because I answer with an annoyed voice, I'm actually getting more annoyed when I can hear you breathing but you don't say anything.

Finally, don't call me, I'll call you!! If I'm interested in your car or health insurance, donating blood or money, or adopting a pet or small child, I'll let ya know.

Thank you.

P.S. Yes, I'm on the National Do Not Call Registry--so (322) 432-6765 and (584) 514-8365-- you've been reported, suckers!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

My Country Tis of Thee

Wow, what a fun time! Last week, I went on a crazy long road trip with my mom that took us all over this country. First we drove from Chicago, Illinois to my parent's summer home in Jackson, Tennessee. We stayed in Jackson for a few days and then drove to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to pick up my stepdad at the airport. We then headed to Scranton, Pennsylvania for my Great Aunt's 90th birthday party which doubled as her 70th wedding anniversary. Then we headed back to Chicago for a total of 2,204 miles logged. Isn't that nuts? (Even more nuts is the fact that my mom first drove from Cheyenne, Wyoming and then back home.)

During my 2,204 miles across 6 states I made a few observations about life....(color you shocked, I know.)

--First off, there are a huge number of fast food restaurant bathrooms that are always out of hand soap. What's the deal? What bothers me more than not being able to wash my hands is thinking about how many people are preparing my food with dirty hands. Icky. (Although, I must not have been too bothered because I still ate A LOT of fast food. By the way, White Castle two days in a row is not a good idea. They aren't called sliders for nothing.)

-- The left-lane-only driver really boggles my mind. Whenever I'm in the left lane and I see cars behind me, I get out of their way as soon as I can. During this trip, I saw a lot of left lane drivers who seemed totally oblivious to the cars behind them. I even saw a mini van cruising down the left lane about 15 miles under the speed limit with a huge semi riding their tail. How did they not notice that? (Apparently when you buy a mini van you are obligated to drive either slow/erratic/oblivious. It's a law.)

Mom and me
-- There is nothing on the Cracker Barrel menu that doesn't rock.    

-- After seven hours in the car I get really giddy and start laughing until I cry. And snort. It ain't pretty.

-- As I've mentioned before, older women always fart when they go to the bathroom. What's with that? (Are they eating more fiber these days? Nervous travelers? Eating White Castle two days in a row?)

-- Finally, at the risk of offending some readers, I have to say it--a lot of country music is lame. Really, all you can come up with is she left you, your dog ran away and life isn't the same? (Maybe she left you because you complain too much. Perhaps the dog packed up his red handkerchief, tied it to a stick and said, "I'm out!")

What I can also say is this country is truly beautiful. From the rolling green hills of Pennsylvania to river cities like Pittsburgh and Cincinnati, we live in a place that totally rocks.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Southern Livin'

Living in a city, you often get caught up in the hustle and bustle of life. On a 55 mph hour interstate, you drive 75 and curse anyone going slower than that. On the sidewalk, you stride past tourists as fast as you can, quietly cursing anyone taking pictures or getting in your way. At a fast food restaurant, you quickly order before having a chance to decide what you really want, fearing you’ll get stuck behind an indecisive person. You hurry just to hurry because that’s what you do.

I forget just how busy Chicago is until I get out of it for a few days. Since Sunday, I’ve been in Jackson, Tennessee spending time with my mom at my family’s favorite getaway spot. I’ve realized there is one thing that is opposite of a city: it’s called the South.

As I’ve said before, I just love it here. In the South, it seems no one’s in a big hurry. They drive slower and wave to you as they pass. They say darling things like “y’all” and “full as a tick.” They eat amazing dishes like chickin’ ‘n dumplins and wash it down with sweet tea. The men hold doors open for you, and with a nod of their head say, “m’am.” In the South, people are friendly and kind because they don’t know any other way.

Two of my favorite Southern moments this week: As my mom was checking out at a store and digging around for change, I saw the man behind her getting his coins ready just in case she didn’t have enough. Isn’t that cute? And at the Chick-Fil-A, when the worker handed me my cookies and cream milkshake and I thanked him, he said, “my pleasure.” Wow. Did he really find pleasure in that? I know I did.

To all the Southerners I’ve encountered this week—thanks for your hospitality and graciousness. You made this city girl as happy as a clam! (And as full as a tick with pants that are definitely tighter than before.)

Friday, June 10, 2011

Birthday Woes

My 15th birthday was epic. It was 1993 and the start of summer vacation, so knew I had the next three months free from school and homework. My mom and I flew to Kentucky to visit my grandmother which totally rocked because a) I loved flying back then and b) Mama Mays had a sweet pool in the backyard and a plethora of pop-tarts and Kentucky bourbon candies available at all times.

In honor of my big day, Mama Mays planned a ton of fun things to do. First stop- Churchill Downs. My family and I dressed in our finest 90's gear and went to the race track. Because we dressed up, the security guard thought we must be in the VIP section, which I remember thinking was totally cool. We enjoyed an awesome brunch and I bet my allowance on horses like, "Abracadbra" and "Sagebrush Annie."

The Big 15th Birthday
We then took a trip on "My Old Kentucky Dinner Train." For two hours, we enjoyed the Kentucky scenery while I made myself sick on Shirley Temples. I ate all my dinner and dessert, not even worrying about cellulite or getting a food baby or muffin top, because I was all of 90 pounds.

Later we took a boat tour on the "Star of Louisville," where I tried every single dessert and shook my tail feather to songs like "Whoomp, There It Is!" and "Rump Shaker." It was a simple time where I only worried about getting food stuck in my braces and if Rex Lewis knew I had a huge crush on him.

Aww. Weren't those days the best?

As many of you know, I turned 33 this week, and unfortunately, it was nothing like my epic 15th birthday. I had a cold, it rained all day in Chicago, and at dinner, the waiter spilled an entire tray of half-eaten food on me. (However, we did get half of our meal comped because apparently a lap full of pasta equals a free filet. Mike thanked me for "taking one for the team.")


I guess there are good things about getting older. I no longer have a mouth full of metal, I married a guy just as cute as Rex Lewis and I can now add a little vodka to my Shirley Temples. I guess it's not all bad....