Friday, July 30, 2010

The sisterhood of my (short-lived) traveling pants.

This morning was a sad, sad day.

It is Friday, a jeans day, and I got my colleague to cover court for me. I was all set to strap on my favorite jeans, the heat wave having made it oppressive to have anything snug and denim on my body until this very morning. I did the usual routine: one leg in, a little stretch, and then the other leg in and a stretch. I proceeded to yank up the waistband up over my hips and butt and do the appropriate stretch to settle the butt cheeks in when I heard a rrrrrrriiiiip.

Yep. My post fabulous pair of jeans had ripped in the most awful place. Only two years old, they were bought on a rather depression-filled shopping trip with one of my best friends. I was going through something awful in life, she was pregnant and willing to lend her ear, and we were set to spend the day together in the best way I know how to handle depression: shopping, manicures and tequila. Well, tequila for me. Not for her. Duh.

I remember trying on several pairs in the department store while we were shopping. Having to deal with massive amounts of student loans, I don't usually pay so much money for my clothes aside from work-related attire. But these jeans were special. They fit me very well, the store would alter them to be the perfect length and the price tag likely meant I could wear them forever. Right? I mean, normal people don't plop down two hundred bones to throw out a pair of jeans at the end of the season. Despite the fact I had never spent such a sum on a pair of jeans, I needed them. These were just the ticket to get out of my depression, I felt it. I plopped down my credit card, signed the little slip and was on my way.

I received them shortly after, altered to the appropriate length. I loved them so very much. They made my butt look great. They went with everything. I wore them any time jeans were appropriate. While I might have noticed over the past year that they involved a bit more deep stretching to get up over my slightly wider hips, I continued to don them all the time. The fabric was looking a little drab, yes. I was developing a bit of a muffin top at the waist. There were areas where the material seemed bit thinner and the seams appeared a bit more strained.

ALRIGHT, I GAINED SOME WEIGHT. Fine. I realize that. But those jeans were supposed to stretch! When I bought them, the lady tried to talk me into the size smaller because they would stretch. Haha. Laugh's on her...apparently they do not stretch enough. Oh. Never mind. Laugh is on me. I'm the one with the big butt (and I cannot lie).

Let it be known that this is not a ruse (a ruse? A ruse. A cunning attempt to trick you.) to get people to tell me my butt isn't big. I'm not that shallow. I'm aware of the harsh reality that my usual twenty-something lifestyle must be overhauled to fit into this impending decade of a slower metabolism and wrinkles.

Truthfully, I am more sad to kiss those jeans goodbye than I am that I'm a bit heavier. While they were bought at a difficult time in my life, they make me think of that wonderful day with my where I spent entirely too much money, we had our toes painted and then celebrated with margaritas (again, me, not her). Maybe those jeans were not meant to cross into my thirties. Sisterhood of the traveling pants, they clearly were not meant to be. But the sisterhood that brought those jeans into my home in the first place is well settled to be coming with me into my new decade. (Love you, K!) And maybe with a little effort I can bring a little less butt.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

But was it in a copper mug?

My grandparents (dad's parents) are ones who enjoy a cocktail. When my grandpa was working, he and my grandma would have a cocktail every day when he got home from work around 5:30 p.m. I love to hear of their stories of their days in supper clubs, dressed to the nines, having real cocktails before dinner, then dancing away the night after dining. (I imagine them living a very Mad Men-esque life. Well, in relation to the cocktails, that is.)

After my grandpa retired, cocktail hour became earlier and earlier in the day. I think that their cocktail hour is now around around 2:00 p.m. Additionally, age and poor health has limited consumption of said cocktails to a rather rare occasion. Well, Grandpa can have one martini a day, two on a holiday. Grandma, who used to drink scotch (hard-core, right?) now drinks white white almost exclusively. Or the Two Buck Chuck. (She loves that merlot.) But the stories of them in their hay days continue over their more tame drinking.

Suffice it to say, I was raised to appreciate a well-crafted cocktail. Not that I was drinking when I was a child. Nope. I just was able to witness the high esteem in which they held their drinks of choice. For Grandpa it is a gin martini. Dry. Rocks. Lemon twist. Always.

Back in the day, there was more variety. I can tell that simply by their hoarding of enough glassware to stock a small bar. Martini glasses of various shapes and sizes, wine glasses so tissue paper thin I was never able to touch them for fear of breaking them and the copper mugs. Oh yes, the ever-so-important copper mugs. I had heard about them for years. They were a staple to the drink known as the Moscow Mule.

If you have never had a Moscow Mule, you must get on board. According to Grandpa, this is a Moscow Mule:
-Crushed ice
-Copper mug
-Ginger beer
-Fresh squeezed limes

This was why they always kept a stock of ginger beer. I remember that was my favorite thing to pilfer from the garage fridge. I couldn't resist those little baby green bottles filled with gingery pop. (Yeah, it's pop to me. Deal with it.)

A MM sounds delightful, right? Of course, as a girl in my young twenties (and a student for much of that time), I didn't patronize bars that might serve up such a fancy cocktail. Face it, when you're ordering a Miller Lite in a plastic tumbler you are able to take home, you're not concerning yourself with a nicely crafted cocktail. (I mean, come cups! When you're a poor student, this seems like a swell deal. Lots of beer and free dishes!)

Two years ago, I had my first opportunity to have a Moscow Mule at a very lovely spot known for its hand-crafted cocktails. Vodka, ginger syrup and lime. I remember visiting my grandparents and excitedly telling the that I had ordered a Moscow Mule. How excited they would be for me, I remember thinking.

"Was the ice crushed?"
"Was it in a copper mug?"
"They did it wrong, you know."


"Yeah. I know."

While the actual ingredients and presentation of my first MM was incorrect to my grandparents, the taste was incredible, and I knew I must keep ordering said drink. Fast forward to another bar known for its cocktails. Another Moscow Mule ordered. Sadly, they were out of ginger beer. The horror! Not to worry, the bartender hooked me up with something somewhat comparable. It wasn't quite the same, but the gingery goodness was still there.

My closest encounter with a truly correct MM (of course, this is all according to my lushy grandparents) was last night. I was out to dinner with P.I.C. to celebrate his birthday, so we decided to begin with a cocktail. MM on the menu? This chick is ordering. The drink's ingredients sounded accurate: vodka, lime juice and house-made ginger beer. Yes please! After a few moments, my drink was brought out. In a freakin' copper mug. Even P.I.C. took notice.

"A copper mug? Whoa. They did it right."
"I know, I'm so excited!"

I can just imagine the conversation I will have with my grandparents on Sunday (they have called me every Sunday at 10:00 a.m. since I was in college):

"I had a MM that was in a copper mug!"
"Well, now, that sounds about right. What about the ice? Was it crushed?"


"No. I guess it was just almost right."

My mission is clear, kids. Maybe I will never find a cocktail up to my grandparents' lofty, lushy and old school standards. But that doesn't mean I can't try.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

What's the deal...with this blog?

Lately, I've been experiencing some insomnia. I'm not certain if it is a big upcoming change, money woes or a combination of the two, but the fact of the matter is I. Can't. Sleep. This means that when I don't get up to power through another episode of Nip/Tuck (seriously, how have I just now just discovered this show?), I lay in bed and stew.

Why is my desk such a mess at work?
Why can't I fall asleep? I'll never make it back to the gym in the morning.
Will I ever feel like I have enough money?
What if the movers don't show up on time?
What if the people in my new apartment aren't moved out by the time we show up with the movers? (I had an actual dream based on this fear.)
Is my blog like one of Seinfeld's comedy skits?

Hold the phone on the last question. This one feels dangerous. I mean, what do you think?

What's the deal with retail clerks these days?
What about those smelly guys on the bus?
How about the people who constantly post their mileage online?
And elevators in the courthouse? What's the deal there? (GOT YOU.)

I'm having an identity crisis as a blogger.

And, for the record, if you find this particular entry neither funny nor interesting, you can just suck it. I'm running on four hours of sleep and have partially lost the will to be funny or interesting, or original. Partially.

I feel like this guy. (I mean, that's not all bad. Who doesn't love Scrubs, right?)

**On a completely unrelated note, happy birthday to my P.I.C. May I fully recover from this unfunny slump to be the best dinner date for you this evening. Love you, Scooba.**

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Outrage of the day.

Do you ever imagine shopping in the "old days?" You know, you'd walk in, tip your hat and say "Good day, Shopkeeper." You're a man in this scenario, obviously. Ladies didn't do the whole hat-tipping bit, I'm pretty sure. You could just walk up to the counter and tell the gent what you needed, and he'd fetch it for you. He'd even tie it all up with a string and send you on your way. He probably knew your name, your family and your usual list of required items.

Of course, times have changed. We shop online much of the time. Most men don't wear hats and if they do, well, they aren't taking them off for much else other than the National Anthem. Well, I am here to tell you that shopping today is a sad state of affairs compared to those days of yore (that admittedly might be based on reading the Little House on the Prairie series when I was younger). Sometimes when you walk into a store, no one even acknowledges you. It's awful. And, quite frankly, it makes me ten times less likely to make a purchase. I don't need someone following me around, but get with the program, peeps. A friendly "hello" and "how are you" (or "good day" if you're feeling nostalgic) make a big difference.

Furthermore, it makes me feel bad when I am not greeted. It is not as if I dress grungily or don't wash my hair don't comb my hair. Why don't you acknowledge my presence, pray tell?

I had one of those incidents recently. I walked into the store to no acknowledgement. There were three employees at the cash register, chatting, ignoring my very presence. I tried to shake it off. After all, there were lots of cute dresses and tops (AND on sale). Very soon, I had my arms full of garments for the trying. Yet no one came to me and asked me to start a fitting room. Very well, I will help myself to a fitting room. I tried on my picks, vetoed some, loved others, and walked out of the fitting room. I nearly walked into a salesperson. She sneered and continued on her path.

Seriously. I continued to peruse, holding onto the top that I just adored. Sadly, the employees just watched me, not saying a word. So do you know what I did? I took that top and put it on the WRONG RACK and walked out.

While I don't need you to fetch me anything and everything and tie it up with a string, I do appreciate common courtesy. If you don't provide me with a little respect as an individual who desires to spend money in your store, I will serve you up with a slice of my own passive-aggressive pie.

Good day to you. B*tches.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Raise your hand if you're sure.

This morning I boarded my bus with a slight hangover. (Don't judge. I was at a party with fabulous free cocktails and a glass of wine that seemingly was never empty. You'd be in the same boat as me has you been at this party, trust me.)

When I am hungover, I experience a certain heightened sense of smell. I can't handle perfume or cologne on anyone, and the whiff of someone with a rad case of body odor makes me wretch. This morning, after waiting a good ten minutes, the bus arrived and it was standing room only. Of course, I was forced to stand right over a man who really smelled foul. (Of course.)

Unfortunately, I have a certain case of paranoia when it comes to bodily odor, even when I haven't over-imbibed the night before. I get paranoid that it is not someone else that I am smelling, but rather me. It turns out that I have a somewhat irrational fear of being the smelly girl on the bus, or anywhere for that matter. No matter that I shower daily and use the appropriate hygeine products, I almost always worry that it's me. This can be a problem for someone who relies mostly on public transportation to get around.

I remember my month-long stay in Rome, being at mercy to the Italian public transportation. Trust me, they pack 'em in on those subway cars so much more tightly than in Chicago. Couple the extreme close proximity to other people with the hottest summer in 200 years (or so they told us), and I was facing a funky odor dilemma on a daily basis. While our usual tactic was to stick our noses close to our own bodies as we clutched the poles because we were pretty sure we were the clean ones, sometimes it was difficult to figure out the source of the smell. My roommate and I would shower three times a day, and do what we called a "sink shower" at least once during the day.

So back to this morning, feeling slightly under the weather, near a smell man, and close to a full-on wretch. In true fashion, I then become relatively concerned that I am the smelly one, and not the man in front of me wearing a t-shirt that says "If you see a Police! Warn A Brother." Nope. Despite the rational thought that I had showered that morning and that walking two blocks to get on the bus would make me smell like a sweaty foot, I was slightly concerned.

In times like these, I am glad that I choose to keep deodorant in my office.

Public Apology.

After my "wah wah stop posting your mileage" entry yesterday, I feel I owe my ever-so-diligent running pals an apology.

(Deep breath.) Here goes.

I'm sorry. I shouldn't let my jealousy get in the way of my awe at anyone's ability to run more than three miles. Perhaps one day I will run far enough that it warrants posting my mileage. Because, let's face it, your grandma can probably run as far as I usually do. It's not entirely my fault: when I put my mileage into my running log, it laughs at me. I feel shamed. However, I realize that it is not an excuse.

Yeah. I'm a jerk.

But I am sorry. So keep on doing how you do. You guys really do kick ass, and I will allow that to inspire me, rather than throw a brat fit.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

It's a beautiful day...

...don't let it get...away? Thanks, U2, for that little diddy.

After what seems like many days of very oppressive heat and some thunderous storms, today is a glorious day in Chicago. The sun is shining. There are puffy white clouds in the sky. And the sky is that color of blue that seems to never end. It's amazing.

So I decided to get outside and run. And I ruined the beautiful day for myself.

Just kidding. I'm at the point in my life where I realize I need to take better care of myself. That means eating better and working out. You know, the least fun things in the world, especially for a girl who loves her food and her downtime equally. Oh, and my efforts at eating more healthfully, I am pretending that I did not consume an item last night called a crispy pig face. In no world is that ever a healthy thing. But it IS delicious. Trust me. (Excuse my carnivorous appreciation, vegetarian readers. I love my meat.) On the whole, I have been eating better. You know, I eat egg whites instead of whole eggs, I use skim milk instead of half and half (usually) and I don't eat french fries as much as I crave them. Basically, it sucks.

And sometimes, I get out there and run. I'm not fast, and I'm not particularly good at it. However, it makes it nearly impossible for me to walk up the three flights in my apartment building afterwards. I figure that means that it's doing something, right? Much of the time, I have an irrational anger at those people who boast their mileage and their running frequency via social media. That irrational anger is based on my own jealousy and my own brand of laziness that expects change with minimal effort. Boo to me. I always feel like I have my own personal victory each and every time I complete a run. I guess that's all that really matters.

So, today is beautiful, truly. And, honestly, what's a beautiful day if you can't kill it with some veggies and exercise. (I don't think this is what Bono had anticipated when he wrote that song.)

Friday, July 23, 2010

Learning to do things on the internet

While I am a bit old for the millenial generation, I do have a blog. (Duh.) I am also learning how to play around on twitter which has been good times for me lately. However, because I'm not hip to all the functions of this social networking, much of the time when someone references an internet thing, I have to google it. Seriously.

The other day, I was writing a yelp review and posted it. I themed it to a Rick Astley song, because who doesn't love that, right? Well. Turns out, there's a thing with respect to Rick Astley and the internet. It's called "Rick Rolling" someone. For those of you who haven't heard, here's a handy how-to guide on how to rick roll someone:

Get it?

Oh, wait. You didn't WANT to be rick rolled. You wanted to learn how to do it. My bad. Here you go:

Sound stupid? Perhaps. But it's undeniably fun. In fact, I attempted to rick roll P.I.C. this afternoon.

His response?

"I'm refusing to open this, in case I'm being rick rolled."

Well. That's no fun, now is it? I feel like the little girl who cried wolf. No one will open my tinyurl links anymore.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Ups and Downs.

Do you ever have those days where something happens that lifts your spirits so very much, then something happens to crash you back down to reality. And then it happens over and over again?

Well, this morning was one of those days. I had to wear a suit, so the morning was a little rough starting out. Everyone knows that for the most part, lawyers have to wear suits. But most of us don't fully love the constant suit wearing, particularly in Chicago summers when it's quite steamy. It's hot. We don't like that. However, I was going to court on one of my favorite cases with one of my favorite opponents. Suffice it to say, my day is always very interesting when I appear on his case.

So, I step out of my office building, semi-excited to find out what would happen today. Sadly, there was some sort of fair going on so there was a greater number of people asking me to sign up for things than usual. I hate that. But then I crossed the street and my ears and eyes were delighted with one of my favorite characters. I call him "Sun Times, Sun Times" man. He sells the paper outside of the courthouse and has the raspiest, "smoked more cigarettes in his life than any other person"-est voice you have ever heard. He just says "Sun Times, Sun Times" over and over again. Sometimes he will throw you for a loop and say something absolutely crazy like "Buy a Sun Times, I'll have your baby." Well, that doesn't even make sense, now does it? Don't care, it delights me to no end. He has been missing for awhile, so the sight of him hocking his paper put a giant smile on my face. There's my up.

Then I walked into the courthouse, flashed my badge and walked over to the elevators. Oh, the elevators in the courthouse. Truly this is the place where civilized people turn mad. Suited people as far as the eye can see are tossing elbows at the crowd, fighting for an elevator. Catching an elevator during rush hour is very serious business. Trust me. I had to wait a good ten minutes for an elevator due to short men in suits edging past me. Truth be told, I attempt to be civilized and let them go. I prefer to stew inside my overly passive-aggressive brain. Naturally. There's a serious down. (Couple the lack of civility with a multitude of hot and sweaty suit-wearers and unpleasantness is all around.)

Ten minutes later, I was able to squeeze myself onto the elevator. At last I got to my floor and was able to attend my hearing. It did not disappoint. Life was good again.

I only had to wait a few minutes to catch a down elevator.

(By the way, no lawyers or court personnel were harmed in the writing of the blog. And as for the Sun Times guy? Perhaps I will see what he does when I buy a paper when he offers up such a proposition as having my baby, yes? Stay tuned.)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

I'm a Barbie girl...

I realize that I run the risk of being labeled a ditsy girl or the like by writing two blog entries about how girly I am, or how blond I might be. That being said, this is my blog, and I am who I am: A blond girl. Oh yeah, and I like pink too.

The other day, I was talking about my accessories with P.I.C. I told him I feel like I am a Barbie lawyer because I have a pink protective thing on my phone and carry my work I.D. card in a pink holder. Honestly, the real reason behind having everything in pink is because I am prone to losing things. Don't believe me? Well, let's see. Before I had my pink I.D. card holder, I lost my work I.D. Since I got the pink holder, I am always able to find it. Same with the phone. Pink case? I haven't lost it! (Yeah, so I've lost a phone or two in my day. What of it?)

Sadly, there is one thing in pink that has gone missing: my water bottle. It is the one thing that disproves my "make it pink so I don't lose it." I was discussing its disappearance with P.I.C. and trying to figure out where I may have left it. We decided I should ask at the front desk of the gym to see if I had left it behind one day.

P.I.C. says, "Just ask him if anyone left a pink water bottle there." He was quite for a minute, then looked at me slyly and added, "Barbie."

It's a good thing that when you slap someone across the face, it leaves a pink imprint.

(I'm JOKING. I didn't slap P.I.C. I swear.)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Not as dumb as I look.

I like to fancy myself as an intelligent woman. For one, I know how to use "fancy" as both a verb and an adjective. Two, I understand the difference in those forms of speech. I'm sure it's mostly because I went to a fancy college and law school. (See, there you have it. Used 'em both.)

Sadly, however, because I am a young, blond woman, people underestimate my intelligence. Whether it was my very first boss making comments such as, "You're not as dumb as you look" or my clients at that same job asking if I was a secretary (despite the fact we were clearly in my office and my diplomas were hanging on the wall), I have had to deal with people treating me as if I am the village idiot. At these times, I really want to shake the individual treating me so and yell, "Hellllooo, I went to college, graduated magna cum laude and then went to law school. I was on the freakin' law review. Seriously!" (How's that for your braggy blog bit?)

Of course, all the education in the world does not necessarily make a person smart. And I am the first to admit, I have my moments. For example, despite the fact that I am capable of conducting a jury trial entirely on my own, I still have trouble with figuring out my left and right.

Sigh. The other weekend, Bro and his girlfriend were driving out to visit me. He got a bit turned around with directions, so he called me to finish them off. I very definitely told him: "Drive two blocks, then take a LEFT at the light." I think I told him that twice without even thinking about it. He gets to that intersection and says "F.A., there is a car blocking the street!"

Then it dawns on me. I meant to tell him to turn RIGHT. I admit my mistake and he exclaims in laughter (and I'm sure a little bit of exasperation), "YOU STILL DON'T KNOW YOUR LEFT AND RIGHT? Oh my GAWD."

Yeah. So I said I fancy myself as intelligent. I never claimed to be good at directions.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Thoughts on a new blog

My life is full of little moments. Obviously. But what makes these moments in my life special to me is the way I twist and turn them into little stories that hopefully make my readers laugh. Well, they make ME laugh. So, in turn, they should make my readers laugh. Right?

I know you are all nodding your head in agreement. Excellent. Well, it's because of those funny little moments about which I treasure writing that I named my blog "Life of the Fabulously Awkward." However, my head is always churning out other ideas.

For example, I have my rarely used blog about which I intended to chronicle my cooking adventures. Sadly for me, my cooking club disbanded and I have been supremely lazy this summer. Stay tuned to see if I pick that up anytime soon. (Please?)

A couple of weeks ago, I had a brilliant (to me) idea to create a blog about a certain someone in my life that was causing me a considerable amount of stress. To protect the anonymity of the parties, I shall use a fake name. I intended to entitle it "Life with Larry." However, I've decided that it probably wouldn't be very nice of me to consistently make fun of someone especially when I am sure that I get irritating to certain people in my life. However, if I was to create a new blog entitled "Living with Larry," this would be my first entry.

A little back-story: Larry and I had taken a road trip together to interview some people. We aren't friends, so I imagine he had just used my phone number written on the post-it I'd handed him to call me when he picked me up that morning. Shortly after he dropped me off, I received a call from Larry. Thinking it was important, I answered the call.

Larry: " this....uhhh....Orlando's Orthopedic....uhhh..."
F.A.: "No, Larry, this is Fabulously Awkward."
Larry: "Wait...uhhhh....who am I speaking with?"
F.A.: "Larry, this is Fabulously Awkward, remember, you just dropped me off."
Larry: "Uuuuh......ooooh.....yeah, F.A. Uhhh....sorry, was trying to call my chiropractor. OK, sorry, see you tomorrow. Bye!"

And this, my friends, is Classic Larry.

Perhaps one day there will be a blog dedicated to Larry. Not today, though. I'm not about to share my awkward moments with anyone for longer than a day. I might be awkward, but the fabulous part of me won't share. Or wait. Is that me being narcissistic?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

It's a matter of life and death.

Do you ever have those things in life about which you refuse to think, mainly because they make your head hurt? Of course you do. We all do.

Mine include:

1. The internet. I just don't get how it works. I use it obsessively and I love it, but I don't get it. (And please don't explain it to me. Sometimes when I say I don't understand something, I don't really want to understand it. I don't really want to know how it works. Thanks.)

2. Death.

The second one is definitely a deeper unknown and one that has been causing P.I.C. some concern lately. I am not sure if it is the fact he has a birthday looming, or just that he is really that introspective, but it is just one of those things about which I am perfectly content not knowing.

Well. In light of his concerns, P.I.C. began to do some research. About death. On the internet. My head just imploded typing that William Shatner-esque train of thought.) We had a conversation about this research shortly after the fact.

P.I.C.: "You know how I've been concerned about what happens when you die lately?"
F.A.: "Yes."
P.I.C. "Well, I have been doing some research and learned something quite fascinating."
F.A. "Oh really? What's that?"
P.I.C. "There are two creatures that do not die. Ever."
F.A. "And those are...?"
P.I.C. "A jelly fish and a hydra. Both sea creatures."
F.A. "What is the source of this information? Wikipedia?"


P.I.C. "Yeah. I found this out on wikipedia."

So. I have solved the death conundrum. Ladies and gentleman, P.I.C. and I will not be moving into an apartment together. Rather, we have decided to don SCUBA gear and relocate to the ocean. We will then live forever.

Stay tuned for our new forwarding address.

(Now you see why I do not ponder these things. It creates some seriously hairbrained schemes.)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

My super secret, not really useful gift.

"What kind of dog is that?"

"Australian shepherd, I think."

The above question and answer session is a typical one between myself and P.I.C. on a walk through our neighborhood. Apparently, I have a gift for just knowing dog breeds. P.I.C. likens it to "the way dudes know cars." My family had dogs when we were younger, Great Danes to be exact. As I grew older, the parents decided that dogs plus kids were just too much to handle. Therefore I really had no dogs as pets for most of my life. However, I have always loved dogs. Perhaps it's my love of them that makes me more interested in identifying their breeds. I certainly hope that this is not my only super all-star gift in this world. (What, like you don't have a deep-seated desire to one day realize that you really are a fantastically gifted singer or that you are really telepathic a la Sookie Stackhouse? Get real.)

Whereas I might be able to identify dog breeds at nearly the drop of a hat, my brother has an even better gift. He's more of a "dog whisperer." There are such things, I tell you. Bro is capable of training dogs in ridiculously short amounts of time. Furthermore, the tricks he trains his dogs to do are hysterical. Who doesn't want to mime a gun and say bang and watch their dog fling himself to the ground in the hope of a treat? (Answer: Not anyone that I want to know. It's HILARIOUS.)

The other day, as P.I.C. and I were on our way home from work, we see a peculiar-looking dog. P.I.C. asks the usual question, "What kind of dog is that?" I estimated it to be either a labradoodle or a golden doodle. I then began to explain that people don't realize that standard poodles were a type of hunting dogs and not just the miniature versions toted around by socialites.

P.I.C. then reminds me: "Oh. I know. Remember the poodle party in Central Park?"

Who can forget the poodle party?

Honestly, I don't really think I had a real purpose in writing this other than bragging about my special skills in knowing certain dog breeds. Oh, and bringing up the poodle party. I will always look for an excuse to bring up the poodle party. If only I had photographic evidence....oh wait. I do.

Well. You can only really see two of them. Trust me. There were more. I was trying to be discreet when I took the photograph.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Ukrainian Stare-down

I have to be to my office by about 9:00 a.m. on days where I do not have to travel out of county. Therefore, my schedule is rather regular on those days when I walk the two blocks to my bus stop and take the bus to the train. I see quite a few of the same people.

Sometimes I see my neighbor, only my hipsteribility isn't so great so he doesn't usually see me. (You see, yuppies tend not to register on the hipster-o-meter. Doesn't bother me. When I see him in the building, he's warm and friendly, as if my yuppie shield doesn't impede interaction. We're cool.) Usually, I see the shortish brunette, probably a professional based on her attire, walking south on my street (the opposite direction of me). I remember her because she complimented my scarf one day. For awhile, I would see a cute Hispanic family, a mother and two little ones, always holding hands, that would return my smiles every day.

Lately, I've been encountering an older Eastern European woman with a cute little boy. He's darling, probably five years old, with very blond hair. Because I find children rather darling, I first began to smile and give the usual "good morning nod" to her, acknowledging the cuteness of the child-in-tow. That first day, she stared at me. No smile. No head nod. No words of acknowledgement. It was eerie. I figured that perhaps she thought I was the creepy one (as if!), never having seen me before, so I shook it off.

The very next morning, same routine. Head nod to the brunette professional who likes my scarf, then a smile to the Ukrainian with the cute little boy. Another stare-down. She would meet my gaze and stare at me rather expressionless. There was no smile to her eyes, just blankness. Once again, I was completely creeped out, and this time, irritated.

My inner monologue went something like this:
Oh. Really? You just saw me yesterday. I attempted a friendly gesture at you then. You're gonna snub me two days in a row. Hell no. See if I even LOOK at you tomorrow. You just wait and see.

Sure enough, it's day three, and I encounter them again. I kept my eyes to my right, completely ignoring their existence aside from noting the fact that the little boy had his own little umbrella he was manning and it was so utterly adorable. Must. Keep. Eyes. To the right. And I did. But then I felt slightly guilty, because it's not really in my nature to snub someone. Well, unless you are Attorney 409. Then consider yourself snubbed.

Of course, the next day, the little guy has his umbrella again. So I decide, alright, I'll be the bigger person. I will smile again. Besides, I couldn't help but smile as I saw him expertly folding it down. So I smile at the older lady and she staaaaares me down. Again. I decided I would call her brand of greeting the Ukrainian Stare-down.

Annoyed. Tomorrow I'm going to add an overly chipper good morning. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

One incident with a homeless man.

Chicago, like any other big city, has its fair share of homeless people. It's sad, but true. In the rare event that I have some spare change, I will drop that change in that particular person's cup with the hopes that he will use that money for food and not drugs or alcohol. Who really knows.

However, one encounter with a homeless gentleman stands out in my mind: the one that called me a bitch. Now, perhaps you're not entirely surprised by the name-calling, but the reasoning behind the nastiness is what makes this particular episode interesting.

One lovely day, I was walking during my lunch hour to Subway. Let it be known that I really don't like Subway. If I was going to Subway, it was likely due to the fact that there was absolutely nothing else I could fathom eating. To me, eating Subway for lunch is like giving up. No offense, Jared. I just think it's gross for the most part. Subway problems aside, I was on my lunch hour. As I rounded the corner, a homeless man was standing there asking for change. I shook my head and kept walking. He walked the eighth of a block right behind me and then said, "Hey, get me a meatball sub."

I walked through the doors of Subway, in awe that a homeless man made a specific request for a sandwich. The daunting line quickly moved my mind to what would be most painless sandwich for me to order. I placed my order, paid, then walked out the door to go back to work. The homeless man was waiting for me.

H.M.: "Where's my sandwich?"
F.A.: "What?"
H.M.: "I asked for a meatball sub. Where's my sandwich?"
F.A.: "Oh. I'm sorry, I didn't get you one."
H.M.: "You're a bitch."

I had no words for this man who called me a bitch for not springing for a sub for him, so I just walked away, dumbfounded.

That day will forever be memorialized as "The Day A Homeless Guy Called Me A Bitch." Over Subway. Yuck.

Monday, July 5, 2010

So, Fatty had a party...

This weekend, a lovely three days of not working, turned into a real eating fest. As I sit here and nurse my swollen over-eating belly, I am evaluating what I ate.

We started the day with a bottomless mimosa brunch. So, aside from the obvious, I enjoyed a lovely omelet with spinach, feta and mushrooms alongside some crispy potatoes. (I had fruit too, so that helps.) Then we were off to the ball park where I had several cold beers (the only way to stay refreshed on a hot day, aside from a dip in a pool) and lots of peanuts. Saturday night was a bit of a date night and we classed up the joint a bit with a jicama and grapefruit salad after which I nearly polished an entire bowl of mussels topped with frites. A few beers later, I decided that pizza would be a good idea. One slice for the walk home, of course.

Breakfast casserole at Casa de Yo (eggs, cheddar cheese, swiss cheese, cottage cheese, bacon and hash browns all cooked to a gooey hot mess) with more fruit (as if that evens out caloric consumption) then we decided to go visit the Taste of Chicago. Eat some more, of course. I had bites of pirogies (amazing), jerk chicken, an upside down caramel cupcake, mustard fried catfish and a churro. Only bites, of course. Then to the brewery for bacon fat popcorn, pulled pork sandwich and some garlic cream cheese mashed potatoes that nearly made me cry they were so good. And, since it was a brewery, we sampled the beer too.

Breakfast was a vegetarian croissant sandwich with some more fried potatoes.

I may have a heart attack by day's end. Send help.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Tender moments.

Are you ever going about your daily business and, out of nowhere, you see something that just warms your heart?

This morning, I had a lovely drive with the windows down, blasting some Band of Horses and the like on their Pandora channel. (Best ever, trust me.) I was in Waukegan on my way to court at the Lake County Courthouse and passed an auto repair shop. In front of the auto shop, there was a basket of bright pink petunias. They were really lovely. But what was even more lovely was the older hispanic gentleman carefully watering this basket. He was wearing his auto mechanic's shirt, stained with grease from repair after repair, and not quite dirty for the day. The sight of this rougher looking guy tending to such pink and girly flowers in such a careful manner put a smile on my face.

Some days, it might be seeing a really big, tough-looking guy walking a tiny dog, cooing to him in his puppy voice. Other days it might be seeing a very business-looking young guy on the el playing peekaboo with a little girl in a stroller.

Nearly every day, I find something unexpected about which to smile. Life is good.

For all those cynics who think I only take joy in others' misery a la the CTA bus incident of last week, you're wrong. I try to take joy in nearly everything. Life is so much sweeter that way.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

One reason I call myself awkward...or maybe just a snob.

I am sure that you have people that have come through your life, have been a part of your life, and then left it? Generally, you are not too disappointed by the departure, as this person didn't really add anything to your life, and in fact may have made it worse.

Sadly, in our city, the legal community is a compact group of professionals and no one ever really goes out of sight, out of mind. If that person you knew is still in Chicago, you are highly likely to encounter him or her at one point, whether it be in court or another type of activity.

I had a random encounter with just such a person recently.

It was the evening that P.I.C. and I went to Millennium Park for a picnic to listen to live and free music. We were unable to get seats on the lawn, so we perched our blanket on a grassy knoll right across the sidewalk. Truly it was prime seating because we were very close to the lawn, and also close to the walkway where we could watch everyone pass by our seats. For a stalker person with a staring problem curious girl like me, it was ideal.
After an hour, I mention to P.I.C., "I find it hard to believe that we haven't seen anyone we know." At that very moment, we both saw someone we knew.

Arrogant Attorney Number 409.* (For sake of brevity, I will call him 409 from here on out.) I knew 409 from when I was in law school. He was an attorney at the law firm at which I was clerking. While he was never a jerk to me, I could sense his misplaced cockiness from back in the day. Fresh out of law school and working for a very profitable, yet small firm, he would get yelled at on the regular. On those days, he would come back into the clerks' office and complain, taking his tie off every. single. time. We suspected he was trying to impress us with his importance as an attorney. Needless to say (and yet I'm going to say it), we were not impressed. He left for another job not long after I started at the firm. After he left, the only time I saw him was after I had my first lawyer job and he'd say something relatively stupid as in, "Hello there, counselor." In typing that, I realize that this doesn't seem stupid, but trust me, his mannerisms made it so.
Only I had no idea that P.I.C. knew 409 and he had no idea that I knew him. I enjoy pretending not to see him and P.I.C. mutters under his breath, "Ugh, what a d-bag."
Turns out, P.I.C. went to law school with him. 409 was as cocky then as he was when I knew him. P.I.C. gave him an awkward half-wave, half-head nod and I proceeded to look the other way. As I mentioned, most encounters with 409 were awkward and rather stupid. Furthermore, I can be snobby, I readily admit that. There are just those days when you don't really want to be pretend nice. This was one of them.
P.I.C. and I spent the next ten minutes or so discussing 409 and comparing stories. The concert proceeded and we had a lovely time.
The very next morning, I was in court and guess who was on the other side? 409. Of course, at this moment, I was unable to pretend that I hadn't seen him at this time, so I chatted him up. No mention was made of the evening before snub. Additionally, I learned that 409 is engaged to be married. We had to schedule a briefing schedule around his Jazz Festival bachelor party.

Of course, this entire story had to be reported to my fellow clerks, us having known him as a bachelor on the prowl (and one who brought a completely inappropriate girl to our firm holiday party) and finding it hard to believe that he was getting married.


*I honestly don't have a reason as to why I picked the number 409. It popped into my head and I went with it. Honestly, have you met an attorney? It's not that far-fetched to imagine there being over 408 arrogant ones, right? He's one of many.