Archive for October 2008

30 October 2008

Attracting crazy people

By: Jessica B.
Tagged: Chicago, CTA, Random

I am a freak magnet. If there is a crazy or wildly insane person with a certain radius, they find me and somehow lose their sh*t at me. This point has been agreed up on by several of my friends. The phrase, “that only happens to you” is said to me a lot.

I have zero idea what I wear or do that attracts these people to me. Perhaps it’s some sort of sick pheromone that brings them in my direction, without me knowing it.
For example, over a year ago, a woman bumped into me on the sidewalk across from a CVS. I told her to watch where she was going (she didn’t even fake apologize) and the woman promptly turned and started s-c-r-e-a-m-i-n-g at me. She used words I can’t even say on this blog. Yes, my comment might have antagonized her a bit but she got so out of control that my friend Ryan had to physically hold her back from attacking me.  
Then, last January, I went grocery shopping with my dad and an elderly woman at the Jewel began screaming swear words at me when I moved my cart around hers and dinged her cart by accident. I did apologize after it happened but that didn’t stop the woman from tearing into me. Dad looked horrified but I just sighed, as it did not surprise me in the least.
Yesterday even, I was sitting on the bus, en route to work, and a woman behind me grabbed or petted my hair as I was getting ready to leave. To be fair, there is a 50 percent chance my hair was grabbed by accident in the crush to exit the bus, but there was a definite grab and hold before my hair was relinquished. Maybe the Bumble & Bumble shampoo I use does smell that good. People are apparently compelled to hold it.
See, I bring out freakish behavior! Watch out if you’re ever around me because I can’t guarantee what will happen. You’ve been warned. 
FYI: Happy Halloween everyone! I’m not a costume person so I will be dressing up as a young-professional-woman-dressed-for-casual-Friday. I hope no one steals that idea.
Big Halloween weekend plans for anyone else? Costume choices or ideas? I’m always open to hearing people’s creative choices. One year a friend made a costume out of an old moving box and went as “box of wine” with Franzia painted on the side Genius.
Reader note: Thank you SO much everyone for your kind comments on my rockin’ legwarmers. Everyone’s sweet comments really made my day :) I’m glad you also enjoyed the 80s TV flashback, but I did forget “Saved by the Bell,” which was a horrible oversight. I will post a link on Sunday to the pattern for the legwarmers in case you want to make them yourself. It might be tough to knock out in a weekend but definitely in two weeks, depending how tall you want them to be. You guys are awesome!

28 October 2008

Rockin’ the 80s one leg at a time

By: Jessica B.
Tagged: Fashion

Oh that’s right, I have something very exciting to share on my blog tonight…the introduction of my finally finished, much anticipated (by me) legwarmers.

Ladies and gentleman, meet Leggies, my legwarmers, which I finished this weekend with a little swearing, needles and sewing. 
This is very exciting for me because I did them, all on my own (with some help from Yoda Amanda). Sure they don’t look professional and yes in hindsight I might have changed a few things, but I did it on my own and I think they look pretty hot, especially with these flats.
So watch out Chicago, Leggies and I are taking it to the streets! The tourists should have a field day when they see me, fortunately Speedy will help “class them up.”
Now I have to find my next knitting-related project. Hmm, might be scarf time again but time with some purl action.
I am a domestic goddess. Now I just need to find a way for “jelly” shoes to come back, oh how I miss those.

To celebrate this knitting achievement, please enjoy more favorite things of mine from the 80s because looking back, I can laugh ;) Let me know what else I’m missing from this wonderous list.

27 October 2008

Laundry wars

By: Jessica B.

When I first moved to Chicago, I lived in a studio apartment that would the equivalent of a dog cage in size – but with a park view. So as I would relax on my bed while watching TV, because I didn’t have luxuries like a couch or chair, I would dream about apartment amenities that would help me know when I “made it” in the city.

The amenities I dreamed of were in this order:
  • Dishwasher
  • Electric stove
  • Bedroom (no more studio living)
  • In-unit washer and dryer
  • Doorman
I’m pleased to say that in my near four-years here, I have achieved three of the five, with the real  “crown jewel” aka in-unit washer and dryer still alluding me. I daydream about being able to lounge around my  home in only a robe, doing laundry so all of my clothes are being washed at one time. That’s acceptable in your home but not out in public (shoot.)
So if I don’t have laundry in unit, that means I hang out with the rest of the people in my building, fighting for three washers and dryers, doing laundry some times at very odd hours. Normally, doing laundry isn’t an issue, but there are some tough old people in my building who like to make it difficult on me sometimes.
For example, in my building we have the beauty of a “free dryer,” which is a dryer that somehow has malfunctioned and doesn’t require change to dry the clothes inside. It’s like a gift from heaven, except that people purposely wait to use that dryer because they get to save $1 in change. And because I’m ridiculously cheap, the free dyer is the greatest thing ever. Sure laundry takes a little longer but it helps me extend my quarter stash a little bit more. So it’s worth it, except when someone starts hogging it. I don’t like that.
I don’t encounter this woman aka “the hogger” often, but when I do, I have to sigh because I know laundry will not go smoothly. She brings her laundry down in plastic bags, which she also uses as rain boots and rain hat. She’ll do a few loads at a time and make sure everyone knows that she has “reserved” dryers ahead of time. Which you can’t do. And she’ll tell me that she’s “reserved” the free dryer already because she’s put money in it, even though her clothes are in the washer. Really? Put money in the free dryer? I smell a liar. Don’t piss on my back and tell me it’s raining honey, I didn’t fall off the turnip truck yesterday.
I recently challenged her on these reservations, saying that she can’t hold dryers and that it’s first come first serve. My laundry was in first so as long as I get down there before her, I get to pick whatever dryer I want to use. She starts getting upset and sputtering at me, telling me that I don’t know what I’m talking about. I try to calm her down, saying I meant no harm (seriously who wants a fight?) but she starts to yell and I opt to back away rather than continue this. Fast forward 32 minutes when my load is done (yes I set a timer in my apartment so I don’t forget or lose my spot for the dryer) and she is WAITING THERE next to the dryer, reminding me that it’s reserved for her. O-M-G are you kidding me?
I realize that she’s older, lives alone and likely doesn’t have anything better to do than to worry about her laundry. I’m sad enough already doing laundry on a weekend night, but you will be proud to know that I was the bigger person….and told her to get the f*ck off the dryer. We were going to do this the easy way or the ugly way.
After a little sputtering and telling me I’m a bad person, she surrendered the dryer and I got to use it for free. A note though, telling me I’m  a bad person doesn’t faze me, that’s like telling me my hair is brown. I know that. 
Please tell me I am not the only person who had laundry-related issues like this?
Reader note:  I really liked everyone’s comments from yesterday. I’m so glad that we’re learning things together. Rebekah’s comment about “save the purse, save the world” made me laugh hysterically and Joy is right, going out with her might melt my brain, but it would be so worth it. I also appreciated the “Sex and the City” movie comments. I really wanted to like that movie, being a huge fan of the TV show, but it fell short for me. Too much product placement, but awesome fashion.

26 October 2008

Key learnings, prowlin’ and randoms

By: Jessica B.

It’s Sunday again and in Chicago, we have gale-force winds outside, which are gusting up to 50 m.p.h at times. So earlier today, I rescheduled my regular walk because I was nearly blown over from the strong winds (and to blow me over, that has to be a strong). Now, I’m sitting here and looking back on my weekend, enjoying a Honey Crisp apple (my favorite fall treat).

Please join me on my learning expedition.
Key Learnings
  • Channeling E.T., Rocky and the Unabomber when dressing for your weekly walk will get you strange looks on the street
  • There is no shame in hiding your favorite purse under your coat to protect it from the rain, even if you look ridiculous
  • If you can help it, don’t come home to a messy apartment after a long day
  • Volunteering can actually be fun
  • When in doubt a milkshake or chocolate donut will make you feel better
  • It’s okay to nap before going out to the bars, even if you’re in your late 20s
  • When it’s cold out, fashion doesn’t matter. Wear a proper coat and keep the cute outfit on underneath (example, a gold lame, backless dress with a chain back is not appropriate when it’s 40 degrees outside)
  • Carpenter jeans do still exist and still make your butt and hips look big
  • No matter how cold it is, ice cream always tastes good
  • The “Sex and the City” movie, even on second watch, wasn’t any better than the first time I saw it
  • The lack of available champagne at my salon is unacceptable
  • Beer hungover is better than wine hungover
  • Prowlin’ is fun, when there are guys to be on the prowl for
Yes that’s right, Cheryl and I went “prowlin'” Saturday night for guys…because I still have to make out with three of them this year. 
We got dressed up and went out in Lakeview, but unfortunately I missed the memo that this weekend everyone was going to be out of town. It’s like those weekends in college when everyone goes home and you don’t and there is no real reason (like a holiday) why everyone is gone. Two unpacked bars, three beers and two vodka tonics later, it was time to call it a night. 
Guess we’ll have to try prowlin’ another time. Watch out guys! I was unsuccessful in my makeout mission now but that will not always be the case.
I completely forgot to mention that I was able to do a mini-bloggy meet-up last week with D from All Things G&D. A Madtown, Wisconsin blogger, we got together for dinner at Grand Luxe Cafe (with a window seat) and had a lovely time chatting. It was so nice to talk Wisconsin, design, blogging, work and shopping. Plus, I introduced her to my “happy place” aka Nordstrom’s and its shipping policy to Wisconsin. I cannot wait to meet up with her again and go shopping!
Finally, I finished Twilight today, after going on a marathon reading session this afternoon. I’ve been delinquent in my reading because of my legwarmer mission, but fortunately reading is back on now! Overall, I liked the book and I’m curious to see what happens in the next installment. Fortunately, it’s an easy read, but I thought it definitely got more interesting in the last several chapters of the book. Promise, no spoilers but so far it’s good :)
How was everyone else’s weekend?

23 October 2008

Superstar dancer

By: Jessica B.
Tagged: music
No I’m not actually a superstar dancer. I’ve even commented on here before that I’m more of a “she looks like she’s having a seizure” dancer, but in my head, I’m the lady of the dance!

So it’s hard sometimes to keep the need to dance hidden inside. I practically have my iPod attached to me so I’m always listening to music, in fact, I prefer to think of it as living my life to an awesome soundtrack of the Beatles, Paul McCartney, mix music and classic rock. Yeah that’s a good way to think about it.

This means that I’ve been “moved” to dance in public at times, especially when a good song comes on. I can’t help but shake my hips a little bit. Normally, I reserve this to happen when I’m alone in an elevator or at home. My parents house is pretty big so when they’re gone, the music is on and I’m Flashdancin’ or Risky Businessin’ it around the living room.

But the need to dance or sing out loud to music also comes at inopportune times, like at work at my desk (it’s so hard to keep quiet in a cubicle) or when I’m walking down the street. You’ll regularly see me mouthing the lyrics to songs or busting out into a Mariah moment in an elevator (sometimes when I forget people are standing behind me). Oh, I also am totally tone deaf (thanks Rock Band for reminding me!) so imagine the sound of my voice with no music and some 1980s dance moves and you would think I’ve gone totally insane.

But in my head, I am bustin’ a move and droppin’ it like it’s hot. And it is. It’s even more fun when friends get in on it too. Ryan, Sarah and I started dancing at a restaurant once and some people were more than horrified but sometimes, when it’s pouring rain and you’re soaked, why not? I’m even more proud to say that at a San Francisco bar (with no dancing) several of us sectioned off an area just to dance. It was very clear we were a) confused as to where we were drinking and b) tourists.
I even feel like dancin’ now, so it’s time to turn on my latest song addiction, “Disturbia” and bust a few moves.
Am I the only one who does this? Or does anyone else have a song that triggers the need to dance? Plans for the weekend are also welcome!