It's official!

It's official!
David Stubbs Photography

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....

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

A Little Bit Can Go A Long Way

Mail is a funny thing. When you're waiting for something important (paycheck, college acceptance letter, birthday check from your Pops) it seems to take forever. But the things you don't want (cable bill, magazine selling women's moo-moos or yet another credit card offer) always seem to be there waiting for you.

We moved into this apartment in October, so our mail was forwarded for several months. As you loyal blog followers know, not everything got forwarded so I had to pay $120 in late fees for a parking ticket (so it was $240 all together, and no, I never got a ticket on my windshield) and I had to pay late fees for a dermatologist bill, therefore costing $100. But sure enough when I checked my mail yesterday, I discovered the post office forwarded our old vet's reminder to get our Chihuahua her annual visit. Isn't it strange how that made the cut, but official looking letters saying "Final Notice" in big, red, bold letters didn't? Weird.

For me, junk mail is not only a hassle and something that fills up our wee-sized mailbox, it's also something that makes me cringe when I think of the environment. I look around this city of millions, realizing how much we're putting into the landfill.

I found a great website that helps you control what catalogs and mailers you get. It's called It's a non-profit who contacts companies for you asking them to stop sending you crap. It's free, they just ask for a donation. For me, I never use phone books, so I asked to stop getting those. Also, I get tons of catalogs for things I don't want or can't afford (Yes Crate and Barrel, I'm talking to you), so I've stopped those too. Think one person can't make a difference? According to the website's environmental impact calculator, by stopping 3 catalogs and phone books I'm helping save 1 tree, 59 pounds of greenhouse gases, 141 pounds of solid waste and 21 gallons of water. Isn't that amazing??

I also found another cool website where you can opt out of credit card offers for 5 years! Check it out here.

Both websites are super quick and again, free. Think of the amazing impact this would have if we all did this!

Now, help me figure out I can charge the post office for all those late bills...

Monday, June 6, 2011

Keep An Eye Out for the "Boss" TV Show

As a kid, I dreamed of being an actress. I remember watching "Footloose" and thinking I was born to dance and be a movie star. Sadly, I discovered I have no real rhythm and when I went to L.A. as a bright-eyed 21-year old, I was told everyone there is trying to "make it" and you can work your whole life and never be anything more than a waitress. So I pretty much gave up my acting dream and pursued broadcasting instead.

However, it really is funny how life works. Fast forward 10 years, I end up in Chicago because my hubbie gets a job here and suddenly I'm getting to pursue my acting dream. Well, sort of.

"Boss" shoot
As many of you know, I got to be an extra in "The Playboy Club" TV pilot that shot here in March. Turns out if you aren't too high-maintenance and a total diva, the casting agency uses you again. So on Friday night, I got asked to be an extra for a new TV series called "Boss" starring Kelsey Grammer. Score!

I can't give away details of the show, but what I can say, it was pretty darn cool working next to Kelsey all night. (Or should I say Mr. Grammer??) I kept thinking, my god, I've watched this actor my whole life and now I'm standing right next to him! I can also tell you that Kelsey is the first actor I've seen that chose to eat dinner with all of the extras and the crew instead of in his trailer, which I thought was pretty darn cool. I can also tell you there is a very good chance you'll see me in this show because the director asked me to "be stage left and look at this actor, and yadda yadda.." I didn't understand a word he said, but hopefully I did it right.

All-in-all, extra work is extremely tiring and the pay isn't great, but as I was standing in the Field Museum in a cocktail dress with cameras all around me, I remember thinking, "Yep, this is definitely something I'm telling my grandchildren about." Only in true "walking up hill both ways" form, it will be more like, "See kids, I was only an extra, but then Mr. Grammer and the director decided I needed to be the star of the show, so well, they plucked me from the extras holding area and made me the lead actress." Yep, I like that.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Woe Is Me

Wow, how does that happen? Everything was going great yesterday--I ran and had a great workout. I got lots of work projects done. I'll never believe traffic to run errands! Then all of a sudden, botta bing, botta boom, I felt like crap. I felt like I'd lost playing a game of Mike Tyson's punch out, only instead of losing an ear, my voice was no where to be found.

Colds are a strange thing. They hit you like a ton of bricks and always at the worst time. After a whole winter of crappy weather and a delayed spring, the weather is finally nice now. Only I can't enjoy it, because I'm stuck inside looking a lot like the girl from The Exorcist.

Don't you agree the worst part of a cold is trying to sleep? Last night, I was stuffy, couldn't close my mouth, and felt like I had to swallow flames of fire every couple of minutes. Let's be honest, when we feel like this, we want our spouses/significant others to share our pain. I wanted Mike to hold me all night while singing and getting me 7-up and chicken soup.

Only I didn't get that.

He was lights out, snoring all night long. And so was our boy Chihuahua. Both were sawing logs the entire night, not even waking when I coughed. Seriously, is it a male thing? How do they sleep through everything? How do they fall asleep immediately? It's maddening. (Maybe I should rent-a-friend to take care of me! Confused? See last blog post.)

In other news, I've discovered that pinching your hubbie's nose and poking your Chihuahua in the stomach does wake them up (albeit, temporarily.)