It's official!

It's official!
David Stubbs Photography

Monday, February 28, 2011

Annoying people

Onward and upward. I'm at Denver International Airport right now getting ready to head back to Chicago after being in Wyoming this past week for my grandmother's funeral. The service was very touching, and it was nice to see all my family again. It will be good to get back home though, and I'm really looking forward to some Chihuahua kisses.

As I went through airport security today, I had a very annoying man behind me in line. What's with people who want to chat with everyone they encounter? In the 5-10 minutes we stood next to each other he informed me that my left Ugg Boot was folded over and then asked where I was heading to. He then said "sorry" because he hates Chicago, but he does love a BBQ restaurant in Barrington. He knows this because he used to have family in Barrington, but they now live in California. He commented on my Ziploc baggie of toiletries, and laughingly said he knows who he should ask if he needs any lotion. He said his wife packs the same amount of stuff. (He's married? Apparently there is someone for everyone.) He then told security 2-3 times that he'd gladly put on some plastic gloves and help them do security checks if they needed. He then proceeded to dump every single quarter, penny and dime in his pockets straight into the security bins. I was able to dress quickly and get out of there, but I later saw him on the same train heading to our concourse. Luckily he was chatting up some woman standing next to him, and didn't see me.

How annoying is he? I pity whoever is stuck next to him on today's flight (I don't know where he's going, because I didn't ask. Why? I don't care.)

I'm about to board and I'm praying for an aisle seat next to a quiet, skinny and clean person. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

I'm truly blessed

Wow, thanks to everyone for your very kind words about my Grandmother. I read the most beautiful messages on Facebook and I enjoyed each one.

To Mike's family-thanks for all your calls, texts and messages. I truly hit the lotto when I gained you all as my own.

To Brooke and Jackie--you pass the friends test with flying colors because you texted me right after I posted yesterday. Much appreciated schmoops.

Love you all. I'm heading to Wyoming tomorrow morning, so I'll be offline for a couple of days.

Monday, February 21, 2011

A life lesson

Here's when even bubbles are fun
At what point in our lives do we lose those innocent child-like beliefs? When does driving fast go from exciting and cool to dangerous and scary, not to mention a sure-fire way to get a speeding ticket? (Which in turn, will likely lead to higher insurance premiums.) My goodness, when did we start worrying about higher insurance premiums?

When does skiing down the black diamond seem less like a thrill, and more like a bad idea that will surely hurt your knees and/or back and/or hip?

In our mid-20's and early 30's, we suddenly realize we are indeed mortal, and man, it stinks. We kick ourselves for laying in the sun with nothing but baby oil on our skin. For some friends, they regret picking up that first cigarette, thinking it was cool, and would now give up most anything to quit. For some, they realize they should have taken better care of their bodies and watched what they put into it. One friend of mine even jokes she wished she would have walked around in nothing but a bikini in her 20's, because she now she realizes her body will truly never look better.

For all of us, losing friends or family members is also a sure-fire way of kicking us in the gut, and making us realize we only have one shot at this thing. Last night my grandmother Crofts passed away after a long battle with Alzheimer's. The disease is truly awful. There's no way to explain the pain you feel when your own grandmother doesn't recognize you. But man, she was tough. She was nearly 91 years old. She grew up on an Indian reservation. She later lived on a ranch called "Rattlesnake" which wasn't just a clever name--there were lots of poisonous snakes there. What there wasn't a lot of, however, was electricity which made for some brutally cold Wyoming winters.

My grandmother, known as Grandmommy, taught me how to sew. How to cook. She always made my favorite coffee pies, which I loved more for the massive amounts of whip cream, rather than the java. I used to spend weeks during the summer with my grandfather and her in Lander, Wyoming. I'd spend all day in the creek that ran through their backyard, enjoying the cold mountain water streaming from the Wind River mountain. I had nothing but time and innocence to build little rafts and play with my cousins.

I miss you already Grandmommy, but I feel so much better that you're no longer in pain and I know you're happy to be with Granddaddy again. I'm also very glad I have another guardian angel watching over us.

Oh, and when I see you again, you'd better have a coffee pie waiting for me....

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Arianna Huffington: Charming and Humble

This week I had the chance to listen to one of the world's richest women, Arianna Huffington, speak. She is the founder of the online newspaper, The Huffington Post, which as you may know, just got bought by AOL for a cool $315 million. I know money doesn't buy happiness, but sheesh...think of how much easier life would be with $315 mil. I was hoping by meeting her this week, we would end up "besties" who'd go shopping and lunching together.

Sadly, that didn't happen, but listening to Ms. Huffington was really enjoyable. I found her to be honest, charming and humble. She talked about the importance of volunteering, and how much it has enriched her and her family's lives. She said it's easy to get down on our circumstances-- relationships (she said, Lord knows that's certainly true for her--online is says her ex-husband is now bi-sexual), our jobs, children, etc. She said the quickest way to feel better about ourselves is to volunteer with people who really have it rough. Her daughter struggled with an eating disorder until she volunteered at an at-risk home for children in a tough L.A. neighborhood. Suddenly her daughter didn't think her own life and image issues were so bad.

I really need to learn how to use my camera
Ms. Huffington says volunteering is especially helpful for people who have lost jobs/homes and even self-esteem in the recession (I can totally relate.) She say helping others makes you feel like you're a contributor instead of a victim.

I'm so glad I went to hear her speak, and I'm going to start looking at volunteer opportunities this week. Anyone care to join me? I'm looking for the ones that pay $315 mil--I'll let you know what I find.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Ole' Mighty Dollar

This is the view from a friend's apt. Isn't it great?
Man on street: "Hi! Would you be willing to support gay rights?"
Me: "Of course."
Man on street: "Great! One of the biggest ways you can help is money, so if you would kindly give me your bank account information, we'll deduct a small donation each month."
Me: "Dream on, buddy."

It's amazing to me how many people on the streets of Chicago have absolutely no problem asking for money. Of course, there are plenty of bums with signs saying they are war veterans and deserve some change. One bum on the corner of Rush and Delaware touts he's a Vietnam, Korea and World War II vet, in between singing one verse over and over again of Sam Cooke's "Cupid" song. (Three wars? Really buddy? You were busy. And really, only one verse? That must get old.) We also have plenty of other bums who will either shout obscenities at you or kindly tell you to have a good day as you walk by. (I'm much more likely to give money to the latter.)

But then, there are also very ordinary looking people asking for money. Last week when it was dipping around zero, there was a man standing near my apartment without any gloves or a hat on. I felt bad for him, so I stopped and chatted for a moment. He told me his mom is a cancer survivor, and he was raising money for a cancer walk last weekend. He just needed one more donation and then he could get in from the cold.

I'm thinking, are there really any cancer walks in the dead of winter in Chicago? A quick google search confirms that is a no.

I asked the man for the website info so I could research it first, and he didn't know what it was. Really? Does anyone give these people money? The answer must be yes, or else they wouldn't be doing it.

At least put some effort into it, like the guy on Michigan Ave. who dresses in all silver (including a painted silver face), stands on a milk crate and does Michael Jackson break dancing moves for tourists. He's at least trying to earn your dollar.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Thoughts and Prayers Going to Lara Logan

Courtesy: NY Times
I normally like to keep this blog light, but something is weighing heavy on my heart. It's the news that CBS reporter Lara Logan was viciously attacked on Friday while covering the political unrest in Egypt. According to CBS, Logan and her crew were surrounded by a mob of 200 people. She got separated from her crew, and "suffered a brutal and sustained sexual assault and beating before a group of women and about 20 Egyptian soldiers saved her."

I first heard about this awful attack last night, and I cried. Such brutality against women is disgusting, and the fact that I can relate to her being a reporter and wanting to be where the action is, made it even more unsettling.

Logan is an extremely talented and beautiful reporter. She could easily be a main anchor in any market, but instead, decided to take a dangerous assignment that has sent her to the middle of war zones. For that, I admire her.

I hope that Lara can heal physically and emotionally, and eventually can get back to doing the job she loves.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Sixteen Candles Back on the Big Screen

This morning, I woke up with a smile on my face because my Valentine's Day was the. best. ever. (Ewe, get your mind out of the gutter.)

Last week, I found out my all-time favorite movie, John Hughes' Sixteen Candles, was back on the big screen for two nights in select cities. Chicago was one of them, and I was pumped. Even though I've seen the 1984 movie at least 100 times, I had to go. It came out when I was 6 years old, so I'd never seen it on the big screen.

I've blogged before about why this movie is so important and popular for women my age. (This summer I even went to the house where it was filmed. Read here.) In the film, Samatha Baker (Molly Ringwald) is geeky and awkward, and has a major crush on the hottest guy in school, Jake Ryan. In the end, she gets the hot guy, which is exactly what every geeky girl like me dreamed of in our glasses/braces/stringy hair stage.

Can I just say Jake Ryan still has the same effect on every women in her 30's or 40's? In the scene where he's laying in bed thinking of Samatha Baker in a wife-beater (Grandma-that's slang for a white tank top), the women behind us actually moaned a little. I chuckled. And in the final scene where the cars clear and Jake's standing in front of his red Porsche, everyone in the theatre gasped and nervously chuckled. 26 years later, and Jake Ryan still makes us giddy.

What was really cool about seeing it on the big screen, is that I saw things I'd never noticed before. In the scene where Long Duk Dong is eating dinner with the family, he's using his utensils like chopsticks. Have you noticed that? When I was describing this to Mike as we were leaving, the guy in front of me said he'd never seen that either. Also, when the grandparents are getting into the car to go to the wedding, watch the dark-haired grandma. There's actually a blooper there--I won't spoil it for you.

Second to Jake Ryan, the lines in the movie are the best!  Here are a few of my favs--feel free to add your own!

* No more yanky my wanky, the Donger need food!
* What are you bitch*** about? I have to sleep under a china man named after a duck's dork.
* Unbelievable. You make someone a bridesmaid, and they sh** all over you.
* I thought you my new-style American girlfriend
* Lake, big lake!
* I really love Rudy. He's totally enamoured of me. I mean, I've had other men love me before, but not for six months in a row.
* What's happenin' hot stuff?

Monday, February 14, 2011

Grammy Observations

Okay Christina Aguilera, I took a lot of flack for you this week defending your national anthem flub, and this is how you repay me? You sing like that at the Grammys?

Do any of you remember when Christina had this beautiful voice, circa "Genie in a Bottle" era? (By the way, that was totally my theme song of 1999. Do you know how many men asked if they could rub me the right way? Ew.) She was a rising star with vocal chords that wouldn't quit.

Now? Her singing is more like a throat gurgling/animal dying/cat in heat in the alley kind of sound. Christina--seeing how low your voice can go and how wide your mouth can open is not cool. Just sing normally. (By the way--did you notice she fell leaving the stage? Poor girl.)

Here are my other Grammy observations:

* Will Smith, I love you. You are the coolest, but your kids? Are perhaps the most annoying little people ever.

* The music business is certainly hot and cold. Wasn't it just last year that Taylor Swift was the belle of the ball, and won like a billion awards? But where was she last night? Next year, we'll all be like, "Bieber who?"

* Speaking of Bieber, yes you're a talented teen, but I'm not sure you deserve to be performing with Usher and getting nominated for Best New Artist. (Also, white tuxes were huge for my high school prom, but you were one year old then. They are? Not so popular anymore.)

* Lady Gaga, really? Being brought in in an egg/womb, wearing plastic buttocks and having horns put on your head? You're 24 years old, so how are you going to top yourself every year? How will you sustain your career? Take it down a notch. (Besides, everything you wear looks SO uncomfortable.)

* Bob Dylan's performance--need I say more?

* Does anyone else find the red carpet coverage just awkward? Maybe it's just me, but I can clearly tell when the reporters are just trying to fill time because they don't have any interviews. Also, I'm a girlie girl--I love hair, make-up, clothes--but I don't care who is wearing what a) because I can't afford it and have no where to wear such a fancy dress and b) even if I could, I wouldn't wear 87% of the hot mess of a dress stars have the guts to show up in. (Sorry Rhianna, I'm talking to you.)

Your thoughts?

Friday, February 11, 2011

Super Bowl Controversy Continues

Apparently people aren't just critical of the Super Bowl halftime show and National Anthem flub, they're also offended by some of the commercials that aired during the game. So offended in fact, two companies have now pulled those ads and issued public apologies.

Today, Chicago based Groupon announced it's pulling its Timothy Hutton/Tibetan commercial which in my opinion, is funny and creative. Take a look...

The company said it was taking what they thought was a funny approach to what their company does, while also hinting at the fact that they are hugely philanthropic. They donate tons of money to groups like Greenpeace and the Tibet fund. But of course, there are people who thought this ad was offensive, and urged the company to pull it. The company gave in.

I've always wondered, who are these people who get so offended? They must be real downers at a party! And further more, how do people have the time to get so upset and protest silly things? I struggle just to get my laundry done.

Another company, HomeAway, is also pulling their "smushed baby" ad...take a look.

Ooh, after watching that I kind of want to throw a baby at a wall. Well, apparently that's what some people think--they believe this ad promotes violence towards children. Seriously people? I'm guessing child abusers are more affected by their drug abuse, their own violence they experienced as a child or their mental health ssues, not after watching a commercial with a toy doll promoting a vacation rental company.

Here's the great thing about America: if you're offended by something, you don't have to watch it. Isn't that great news??

I've got to go now...I'm going to protest the Volkswagen-Star Wars Super Bowl ad. I don't think children should be forced to do commercials. Further more, I don't think he should have been forced to wear a mask. He's probably traumatized....

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Ladies, what are you thinking?

Good Morning from a balmy Chi city! It's -7 right now, but thank goodness we're going to hit a high of 15 later today. That will feel so much warmer. Hasn't this been a strange winter? I know friends of mine in the south are even shivering today in very cold temperatures.

A couple of weeks ago, I showed you what many of us Midwesterners look like this time of year with our big coats, hats, gloves, long johns, etc. But I've seen a weird trend lately: women who are still trying to dress cute this time of year. What are you doing? Trying to make the rest of us look bad?

I've seen several women getting out of cars wearing 3-4 inch heels. Let me just remind you that we still have piles and piles of snow and ice from the Blizzard of 2011. There are still places where snow drifts are taller than me. So the women step out with their heels, and they look like baby elephants trying to walk for the first time. They can barely keep their legs beneath them, so their boyfriends have to help them walk. It's almost like the women are physical therapy patients and the men are the therapists helping them relearn the basics. What are you thinking ladies??? I haven't worn anything other than flat boots in 3 months, and my feet won't see a cute pump for at least another two.
And what's with the women in Chicago who wear full-length fur coats? Um, you know that's not politically correct, right? Most women I know don't even eat meat anymore because of reading Skinny Bitch, let alone wearing an entire animal on their backs. At the gym the other day, I saw a women walk into the locker room with a full length fur coat. I can barely fit my boots in the tiny lockers, let alone an entire beaver.

Let me just say there is a time and place to dress cute in Chicago, and it's called July. And there is a time and place to wear a fur coat. It's called December 1985.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

National Anthem Follow-up

Hey everybody! Here's my video follow-up to yesterday's National Anthem/Christina blunder post. Enjoy! (And don't criticize :)

Okay, that's it..I won't bring this up anymore because I wouldn't want to beat a dead horse. (Unless, of course, he forgot the National Anthem.)

Monday, February 7, 2011

Simmer down!

Okay people, what's with being such negative-nellies? Debbie Downers? Wet blankets? During the Super Bowl last night, I checked my Facebook account and there were so many posts saying "Fergie sucks!" "Christina blew it!" "This is the worst performance I've ever seen!" My response? Could you do better?

Honestly, I thought the Black-Eyed Peas did a very nice job, and I didn't even notice that Christina screwed up a line of the National Anthem. I watched it again today, and I barely could tell. (Be honest, did you even notice until you re-watched it? If you did, your party must not have been as much fun as mine.)

Getty Images
People are saying her messing up is disrespectful to our troops. Seriously?? I'm pretty sure soldiers are more worried about getting another deployment, missing their child's first birthday or getting shot at versus whether or not Christina Aguilera messed up the National Anthem.  Did you know it's a song that gets messed up more than any other? In fact, many singers pre-record it for fear of screwing up the words. Christina has performed the anthem many times before, as young as 11 years old, and she sang it perfectly.  SHE WAS NERVOUS PEOPLE! Have you ever sang in front of 100 million people? Remember how nervous you were when you had to speak at a convention with 100 people?  Add 99,999,900 people and think how you'd feel. Give her a break.

In terms of the Black-Eyed Peas, they rock. Did you know their song "I Gotta Feeling" is the most downloaded song, ever? They are only one of 11 artists to ever have the #1 and #2 songs on the Billboard Top 100 list at the same time. They've sold 47 million albums and singles worldwide, so I'd say they aren't doing too bad. In terms of their performance, I couldn't do better, you?

Khloe Kardashian, who's family has certainly faced criticism, tweeted this, and I have to agree. "It amazes me how many negative people there r in the world and how badly they want 2 see others fail. Should b immune 2 it but its shocking."

As I've said before, we all need think before we type. We've become such a critical society, but we need to remember stars, athletes and anyone else in the public eye are real people and have feelings just like you and me. And they mess up every now and again too.

(Plus I can speak from personal experience. When I worked in television news, I once had a viewer e-mail saying she could tell by the way I tilted my head, I had to be a total bi***. Really lady? I can tell by your e-mail that you're a total...well, you get the point.)

Saturday, February 5, 2011

New Year's Resolution: Check!

As promised, I'm going to start video blogging in 2011. So here's my first attempt...I tried to capture what Chicago looks like after the Blizzard of 2011. If you haven't already, check out the Chicago Tribune's picture gallery from the storm--it's amazing!

Enjoy and think warm thoughts!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Really People? You Weren't Prepared?

Snowmageddon. Snowpocalypse. Blizzard of 2011. Call it what you like, but one thing is for sure-- baby, it's cold outside.

Illinois and 29 other states are getting pounded with the worst blizzard in years, and we've been planning for it for days. Forecasters warned us. Reporters warned us. And yet? People still act shocked that we got hit with 19.5 inches of snow overnight.

Chicago Tribune- Stranded motorists being rescued
Last night, hundreds of drivers and bus riders were stranded on Lake Shore Drive because of the snow drifts, and many of them weren't rescued by firefighters until early this morning. I read one story of a man and his fellow commuter sharing a snack-size candy bar while waiting hours to get rescued.

Then today, many of those motorists are demanding answers from the city. Why did it take so long to get rescued? Why did it take the city so long to close Lake Shore Drive?

If I may, I'd like to offer my own opinions on this situation. (I know, I know, you're shocked.) First of all, it's called Lake Shore Drive people, meaning it's right next to the Lake. That road can be treacherous on a semi-windy day, let alone a major blizzard! How did taking that road seem like a good idea?

Chicago Tribune-look at Lake Shore Drive
Secondly, we've been warned for days to not get out unless we ABSOLUTELY have why did you get out?? And you only packed a snack-size candy bar??

Third, why should firefighters have to risk their lives saving oblivious people like you? I say this is a great social experiment or survival of the fittest. Only the strong survive, or perhaps those who packed a full-size Snickers.

To the city of Chicago, firefighters and police officers--thank you for all your hard work. There are many of us who appreciate the jobs you do, and if you ever have to rescue me, the first words out of my mouth will be "Thank You!" not "What took you so long?"