It's official!

It's official!
David Stubbs Photography

Friday, April 29, 2011

Oh the Joys of City Driving

Well, it was bound to happen. In a city of millions of drivers, narrow streets and crazy cabbies, it was inevitable that I would hit someone or something with my car.

And I did.

In a city where people are frustrated sitting in traffic and the sounds of honking horns are commonplace, I was bound to get into a road rage incident.

And I did.

All of this in one week too! Sheesh.

Yesterday I had to drive to Bed, Bath and Beyond to get a bridal shower gift. As you loyal blog followers know, driving in a city is as scary for me as speaking in front of a thousand people. My heart pounds, my 'pits are sweaty and I'm constantly talking to myself, saying things like "Watch out buddy!" "Where did you come from?!" It ain't pretty.

As I was coming home I had to take the dreaded North Avenue. It's Lincoln Park's busiest/craziest street. As soon as I got on, a man cut me off, but that's pretty common, so I didn't do anything about it. I did however, when he subsequently slammed on his brakes at a light, and I nearly rear-ended him. The light was greenish/yellowish, and I was counting on him and I to both make it through. So, I did what's only natural. I honked.

Then I see his car door fly open. Uh-oh. (I'm hoping he doesn't have a gun.) In a thick accent, he proceeds to yell, "What the (bleep)? The light itsh red, so I stop. Thesh people, they has to cross street, so I stop. What you want me to do, hit them? What the (bleep) lady??" People on the street all stopped to watch this display.

The funny thing is-- in true big city form, he never looked me in the eye. I was to his east, and he looked south the whole time as he yelled. (If he had a gun, this would be a good thing because without looking at me, I bet his aim would be pretty bad.)

Now you're asking, why the nasty scrape on your car? Oh, that's because parking garages in Chicago were made for my niece's Barbie car, not SUV's. There is no room, so as I was leaving a dentist appointment and had to exit out the midget-sized door, I scraped the side of my car, taking with me white paint from the garage.

Sheesh. And to add insult to injury, gas is now $4.49 in the city.

I guess I'll stick to walking.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Royal Wedding-Who Cares?

What will Kate be wearing? Will her hair be up or down? Will William drink at the reception? Why isn't he wearing a wedding band?

Oh my god, WHO CARES?

The whole world is all a flutter with the royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton that takes place in 10 hours, 28 minutes and 56 seconds. Some are predicting this will be the most watched event...ever. Since it's on at 5 a.m. Chicago time, I can tell you one person who won't be watching it--this gal.

People Camped Out to Watch.
Seriously, what is our obsession with the royal family and this wedding? Why is there still a royal family? Do they make important government decisions? Help lower taxes? NO! If I were an English taxpayer, I 'd be pretty mad that my hard earned money was going towards this ridiculous event. (Because I'm pretty sure William's military salary isn't enough to cover a multi-million dollar event.)

Everyone is so excited right now, but I'm sure it's only a matter of time before the ruthless English paparazzi turns on Kate. As a little girl, I vividly remember seeing a picture of Princess Diana on the cover of a tabloid magazine with a close-up picture of the back of her legs, with the caption, "Lady Di has cellulite!" It went on to question how she could have that since she worked out daily. Let me tell ya, I started getting cellulite at 18 when I was barely 100 pounds. It's heredity people, not laziness.

My guess is it won't be long before the magazines are putting these headlines, "Is Wills and Kate's marriage in trouble?" "William caught looking at another woman." "Kate leaving William for brother Harry, because well, he's got more hair!"

Sheesh. As one friend pointed out, every news story begins with, "It's every little girl's dream to be a princess." Yes, but only if I get to sing all the time and have talking squirrels and birds around me. I'm not as much into living in gloomy London, having a snotbucket for a step mother-in-law and grandmother, and having to bow at my relatives.

(Side note: On you can type in your name to find out your royal name and's mine.
* Marchioness Jeannie Ticky Croftscock of Chicagopool
Okay, I don't like the middle name Ticky, and let's face it, the kids on the playground will tease me about Croftscock. So I typed in my married name and here are the results...
* Duchess Jeannie Arabella Evanchancock of Chicagopool
(Sheesh, I guess a girl can't catch a break.)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

New Blog

As many of you know, I'm a product and beauty treatment junkie. If it promises better skin or reduced fine-lines, I'm so buying it. So I figured I should take all my treatment experiences combined with my bathroom full of products to let you know what's worth the money and what's not.

Check it out!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Chopping Block in Chicago--Such a Fun Date Night!

9 months after getting married, and we're still enjoying wedding gifts (which totally rocks!)

Last Thursday, Mike and I cashed in a gift certificate and went to a cooking class at the Chopping Block in Chicago. It's a really cool place that offers a variety of cooking classes like "Meat 101" (every man's dream), "Mary Ate a Little Lamb" (a little creepy) and "When In Rome" (that's the one we went to.)

When you walk in, there are several beautiful kitchens set up for the different classes. They have all the food and tools set out that you'll need. On our night we made White Bean and Rosemary Bruschetta for an appetizer, Homemade Fettuccine Alla Carbonara, Sauteed Broccoli Rabe as a side, and Ricotta Cheesecake with Roasted Pears for a dessert. It was so good!

You're able to order wine (we ordered a bottle, which totally rocked) so you drink and cook. There is a chef and an assistant who walk around and help you through the entire process. I learned some cool tricks for cutting veggies and also learned the best techniques for making homemade noodles (Which I'll likely never do in real life unless we win the lotto and I don't have to work so I have time for this.)

All-in-all, if you're looking for a great date night, I'd totally recommend couples cooking classes! Mike really enjoyed it, and the best part is that you get to enjoy your creation at the end. You also work with really big knives, so your hubbie won't talk back.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Do you ever feel old?

I think for all of us there are specific moments in life when you just feel old. For me, I remember a few specific examples....

* Being called "Ma'am" by the cute guy who works at my gym

* The time I told the young gal washing my hair at the salon that I was a newlywed and she replied back with, "Oh awesome, I want to wait until I'm older to get married too!"

* Finding my first gray hair (January 17, 2011). Of course, I blogged about it...

* And today. Finding out a former classmate of mine, who is the same age as me, is going to be a grandmother.

I was perusing Facebook when I saw this friend posted one of those creepy sonogram pics of a baby. You know, where it looks like a little alien or the dancing baby from Ally McBeal. I was expecting to read the caption, "I have exciting news to share!" but instead it said, "I'm going to be a grandmother. I'm so excited!"

Really, is she excited? She's 33, so her son has to be 15 or 16.

I haven't even had a child yet, and now friends are having grandchildren?? The reason I'm waiting is because I don't feel like we're financially stable enough. Hmm...I'll have to find out what kind of job the 15-year old has, because it must pay more than mine.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Charlie Sheen--Winning?

Okay, okay, I know you're thinking it. Wondering why me--the queen of all smart asses--hasn't yet blogged about Charlie Sheen. I even had a girlfriend make a request for such a post! (Because that's how I roll. I'm getting so popular, I now get requests for blogs. Winning!)

Really people, what is going on with this freak show? His interviews, quotes and antics are getting more ridiculous by the day. There's even a website, that lists the best of Charlie's verbal vomit. My personal fav?...

“I am on a drug – it’s called Charlie Sheen. It’s not available because if you try it, you will die. Your face will melt off and your children will weep over your exploded body.”

It's sad to see another star losing his mind, doing drugs and going down a roller coaster that's about to go off track. But I think we're partially responsible. Here's why...

* Someone is made a star at a young age, and we treat them like they're better than the rest of us. We tell them how great they are, and make sure they don't have to wait in line or pay for anything.
* We pay them ridiculous amounts of money, like 1.5 million an episode, to memorize lines someone else wrote, dress them in clothes someone else bought and have them play a character someone else created.
* We have photographers follow their every move, making sure to catch those "must-see" moments of them walking out of the grocery with loads of toilet paper so we can say, "Look, they're just like us!" (What do we think they wipe with? Freshly spun silk cloths?)
* We gossip about every break-up, mishap, car accident, painful revelation and divorce they go through, like it's our right to know what's going on in their lives.

My point is: We lift these people up to unrealistic expectations, but we're always ready and willing to see them fall down. We mess with their heads by making them think they are special, but so often, forgotten just a few years later. We intervene in every aspect of their lives, making it impossible for them to have normalcy.

I honestly feel bad for Charlie Sheen. His life has been a crazy circus filled with people who probably loved his money and fame more than they loved him.

Now let's leave the poor man alone so he can get on with marrying a tree. (Yes, that's a Charlie quote. He says that's probably the best option since his other marriages didn't work out.)

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Well, that wasn't easy!

It's over, it's over!! I took the GRE this week (test to get into graduate school) and I scored about average for math and a little above average for the verbal. It's probably the only time in my life I've jumped for joy after scoring right in the middle.

What a crazy experience. The workers are very careful there's no cheating going on. I went downtown to a testing center which is on the 16th floor of a high-rise. You check in and you have to sign that not only do you promise not to cheat, you write out a full paragraph saying bascially, "I, Jeannie Crofts, swear not to cheat..."

Then they make you empty your pockets. I even brought my own kleenex (because I am my mother's daughter, of course), but they made me throw those out and take theirs. (I guess in case I wrote out the Pythagorean Theorem on them? Trust me, having that wouldn't have helped.) They gave me scratch paper and pencils, and made me count how many pieces of scratch paper I had. I said "4" and they marked it down on the sheet. Then they made me put all my stuff in a locker, including my watch.

I told them I needed to go to the bathroom, so they asked for my driver's license, and I gave that as colloratel for a bathroom key. (Just like a dingy gas station bathroom!) When I was ready for the test, I signed in, along with the time. They took me into a room where about 5 other people were taking tests. I noticed that there was a camera above every person, watching their every move. I wore a light jacket, thinking I'd get cold, and they told me I couldn't take it off during the test.

Not long after I started, another guy came in and sat down next to me...and then he coughed. And coughed again. For the next 3 hours, he coughed every 30 seconds. It was? The worst! I put on headphones, but it didn't help...I could still hear him every time he coughed. I'd start reading a problem, and then he'd hack and I had to start over. (I blame him for my low math score. It couldn't possibly be my fault.)

When it came to the math portion...I did a lot of guessing. Who I am kidding? I guessed on every single answer. I had to laugh at myself, because with each question I wrote down the problem or equation on my scrap paper as if I knew how to solve it. I'd write it down...stare at it....add a couple of numbers, then multiply them...but I never got an answer that was any of the mutiple choice answers. Oh well, I thought, let's go with choice "C"!

I told my mom later, "It's okay that I'm not good at math. I'd rather be socially smart than book smart." Translation: "I just felt like a total dum dum and I'm trying to justify it."

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Burning Ring of Fire, I Went Down, Down, Down....

Okay, here we go. In three and a half hours I'm taking the hardest test of my life. As I said on Facebook,
"After months of studying words like "opprobrium" & "untrammeled" and figuring out hypotenuse triangles, I'm finally taking the GRE today. I'm pretty sure it will do three things: make me feel dumb, want to drink and cry."

Last night I was studying analogies where you look at the relationship between two words (usually words you've never seen before) and you have to determine out of the four choices, which set of words best expresses a relationship similar to the sample given. For example, if you're given CARPENTER: SAW, you choose SEAMSTRESS: SCISSORS, because those are the tools they use for their jobs. (Trust me, they get a lot harder than that.)

Instead of focusing on the task at hand, I kept thinking of analogies that best explain my life right now...






Have a great day everybody! If you get a chance, say a little prayer for me!!

Monday, April 11, 2011

You've got to give a little....or a lot

On more than one occasion (including today) I've seen blood on the sidewalks in Chicago (I'm always dying to know the story behind this too. Robbery gone bad?) There have been plenty of times I've tried to buy an L train ticket, but the machine wouldn't work or take my money. After a weekend of partying, it's not uncommon to see a lot of trash on the streets including empty liquor bottles. And if you don't watch where you walk, you may end up ankle deep in dog poo. My point? The Windy City will let a lot of things go, but one thing they're always right on top of--parking tickets.

It's maddening.

I told you a couple of blog posts ago that Mike and I forgot to get an updated city parking sticker (which you need to park anywhere) because we don't drive much. Recently we got a $240 ticket in the mail for parking on quiet street at 8 p.m. a couple of months ago. The ticket is $120, but a $120 late fee was tacked on because we'd moved, and the city didn't have our updated address. So today we went to pay this and get another parking sticker. The sticker itself is $70 but in true Chicago form, the city clerk's office tacked on a $40 late charge. So little did we know when we went to dinner with friends in January, our dinner would really cost another $280.


Now back to the blood on the sidewalk near LaSalle and Division--I bet for $280 the city can hire an excellent cleaning crew.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Big Trouble in Little China, or really Chicago

Okay, I'm in big trouble. In T-4 days, I'm taking the hardest test of my life, and I'm not at all prepared.

On Wednesday, I'm taking the GRE to try and get into Northwestern's Masters in Journalism program. When I started the process last August, I thought I had all the time in the world. Now it's becoming blatantly clear that I'm still on the first chapter in my math workbook and I'm struggling with what's considered the easy "Arithmetic" section. I haven't even touched Algebra, Geometry or Quantitative Comparisons. Oy vay.

Here's what's slowing me down...after reading each question I laugh and say "Who cares?" I'm never going to challenge a friend to drive to Springfield going 60 miles per hour while I drive 65 mph, so we can see how much quicker I get there. Plus, have these test takers ever seen Chicago traffic? Usually it's stop and go with a few bursts of 20 mph, so how do we figure that into the equation? Plus, if I've had coffee that morning, you know I'm going to have to stop and pee. And what if the lotto is big that day? You know I'm stopping to get a Powerball ticket.

Seriously, other than math teachers, have any of you ever needed to know the Order of Operations? You know, Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally which stands for the order you solve a problem--Parentheses, Exponents, Multiplication, Division, Addition and Subtraction. I don't care about that, I'm just stuck on the excusing my dear Aunt Sally part. What she'd do, fart?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Not the Biggest Loser, the Biggest Weirdo!

There are people who come in and out of your life, and you don't think much about them. Perhaps it's the person working out next to you on the treadmill. Or the person standing behind you in line at the grocery. There's nothing memorable about them or your encounter, so you never think about them again. Then there are the people you meet and think, "That person is totally great blog material" and I can't wait to make fun of them. I totally met that woman about two hours ago.

This afternoon I went to get my hair done at Maxine Salon (which is the best by the way! Leslie for color, Evan for cuts. You can't go wrong.) I sat down and saw a woman behind me who looked really high maintenance. She brought tons of stuff to her appointment including two full-size pillows (I guess in case she had time to nap?), her expensive purse and get this...her assistant! Who needs a flippin' assistant at their hair appointment? This woman apparently.

I no sooner sat down, when this woman stood up and hit her head on the hair dryer. Okay, we've all been there, we hit our heads on something like the overhead bins on an airplane. It hurts for a second, and then you laugh with everyone else about how you do that every time. Then you get over it. Not this woman...she started yelling at her stylist for not warning her to watch her head, and she insisted he get her a bag full of ice. Then'll never believe this...she made her assistant hold the ice pack on her head!! Really lady? The stylist told her he couldn't put color on her hair with the ice pack, but she quipped that she didn't care, it just hurt so bad!! (I'm guessing she hasn't given birth to a child.)

Oh, it gets better.

As I'm getting my hair done, this woman actually has the nerve to send her assistant over to me with this request, "Can you please keep it down, because you're being too loud." Seriously? Anyone who knows me knows I'm not loud unless I've had 3 glasses of Cabernet, and I gave up day drinking years ago. So in true Jeannie form, I started talking louder.

Still gets better.

The woman needs to get the color rinsed out of her hair, but instead of sitting in the chair like all the rest of us, she insisted on sitting on her knees and bending over the sink. (See picture) I couldn't believe it! (Her assistant totally caught me taking a pic too...I love it.)

I believe an important lesson was learned here today: No, money doesn't buy you happiness, but it does buy you a one-way ticket on the douche-bag bus. (I'm also guessing it's a single ticket, because this woman CAN'T be married. Men nip that kind of ridiculous behavior in the bud quickly.)

Monday, April 4, 2011

A different time

If you've read my past two posts, you know Mike and I spent last week as extras in a TV pilot called "The Playboy Club." The show takes place in Chicago in 1963, and the producers went all out in making it seem like that year with the clothes, hair, cigarettes, even the cocktail napkins saying "Playboy Club." It was very cool.

One thing I instantly noticed and found very interesting is how all of us transformed into people of that generation. Suddenly we went from being people who are always in a hurry with no time for pleasantries, to these characters who are friendly, polite, even chivalrous.

I told you when I moved to Chicago from Wyoming, I kept my small-town ways and said "excuse me" to everyone I nearly ran into or had to walk in front of at the grocery. Then it became very apparent that in a city, you're always in someone's way, so I stopped being so darned polite. I also decided to no longer get annoyed in someone didn't hold a door open for me, knowing they're probably just trying to catch the L train.

But last week, I felt like I was back in Wyoming in a different time. All of the extras had to share a confined space, so we were always in each other's way. Suddenly though, people dressed in their full 60's costumes were saying "Oh, excuse me," and "Pardon me." Whoa! Also, the men always held the door open for women as we were going on/off set or in/out of the hair and makeup room. At lunch, they had a huge buffet set up outside, and the weather was frigid. The women were shaking in their hose, so the men allowed all the women to go ahead of them. With only a 10-minute lunch break, and a chance of running out of food, that's pretty remarkable.

Now I'm trying to determine if actors are just an extremely polite kind of folk, or if the fact that we were playing characters of a different time made us act differently.

I'm not sure, but either way, I liked it.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

We're done!

Wow, Mike and I are officially done with one of the longest/craziest/most tiring/coolest weeks of our lives. We were cast as extras in a new TV pilot NBC is shooting called "The Playboy Club." It's based on the clubs Hugh Hefner started in Chicago in the early 1960's, and let me tell ya, they went all out with making it look like 1963. We had the hair, makeup, clothes, undergarments...even the shoes that people wore back then. Every morning I spent two hours in the hair and makeup chair getting done up, and the weirdest part? When I looked in the mirror, I saw my mother.

The lead role in this show is the very good-looking Eddie Cibrian (CSI Miami, Sunset Beach, Third Watch--also known as LeAnn Rimes' fiance.) Mike was cast as one of Eddie's friends, so I begged Mike to get Eddie's phone number. Sadly, he didn't. In one scene (which took several hours to shoot), I was so close to Eddie, I could have grabbed his tooshie. Sadly, I didn't. (That automatically gets you kicked out, and that would be embarrassing. Plus I didn't want to waste of all my eyeliner and Aqua Net.)

One of the main female leads is played by Amber Heard (on left-Pineapple Express, Zombieland). She is absolutely gorgeous, and at the beginning of what will likely be a long and successful career. I was so close to her in a scene, I could have grabbed her bunny tail. Sadly, I didn't.

The other main female role is played by the very talented Broadway Actress Laura Benanti (on right). Her voice is phenomenal and her body in a bunny suit? Even more phenomenal. (Luckily I'm secure in my marriage. Plus, I covered Mike's eyes every time the bunnies walked by him.)

Also in the show is the very talented David Krumholtz (probably best known for the show Numbers). Mike chatted with him yesterday, and said he's a very nice guy.

All-in-all it was a tiring experience, considering we worked 16-17 hours a day, but I'm super glad we did it. But let me tell ya, after getting blisters, going to the bathroom in a porta potty, eating a quick 10 minute lunch at 4 p.m. and sitting for hours in a cold tent, I know first hand the life of an extra ain't glamorous.