Sunday, April 27, 2008

Who's better at Procrastination -- Me or Me?

So our car broke in November. It was probably the week before Thanksgiving or so. I got a little freaked out because we couldn't identify what was wrong with it -- which of course meant that we couldn't identify how much it would cost to fix it. Plus it was the holidays, we were heading home for Thanksgiving and then Christmas.

Well right before Christmas I called to get it towed to the shop. (We think it was the starter, because a jump wasn't doing anything at all). Because God did not want me to get my car fixed, the tow company never showed up. So we took this as a sign that we should wait until after the holidays.

Boy January, February, March and April went by fast, didn't they? Yeah, we still haven't gotten it fixed. There were plenty of rationalizations. The old faithful excuse was that we never need to drive it anymore so the day car would have just sat there all winter and probably broken again. We thought about selling it, but really want it for Buffalo, where mass-transit is not often helpful. Strangely enough I was totally going to have it towed today, but then, um... it was cold out?

Well we just noticed that there is street cleaning tomorrow. Ooops. So we went outside to move it. And yup. Can't. It literally will not budge. Put the thing in neutral, all brakes off, key turned, etc... WILL NOT MOVE ONE TINY LITTLE INCH. So, it's probably going to get towed tomorrow. Just not to the place that I would like it to be towed. That's right, I am so lazy that I would rather walk every where than actually take the time or money to get my car fixed.

And the moral of this story is, a bird in the hand is worth two in the bus (or something like that).

Monday, April 21, 2008

Oh, yeah and one more thing...

I know I already blogged today but I just saw something on the news that reminded me of something else. Did anyone hear about the CTA train that got stuck in the subway? Those of you who know the L, know there aren't too many places where that can happen. But last week, a blue line train got stuck underground. After a while of knowing nothing, passengers pulled the emergency door opener and decided to evacuate into the tunnel (thus risking life and limb -- I'm not kidding I know someone who died on the third rail about 4 years ago!) Anyway, what with passengers walking in the tunnel, the CTA had to cut all the power to the tunnel (also what they do in the case of suicide which anyone who rides the red line has a story about that!) With the electricity cut, the CTA folks couldn't do anything to try to move or fix the train, so they just let everyone off the train to walk through the tunnels and climb up through the escape hatch on the sidewalks of the loop. Nice, right?

Our transit system ROCKS. (No, I'm not serious). I spent the past 8 months waiting for the fabled 8-car train system, made possible by rebuilding half the Brown line stations. They finally started running the 8-car trains, but of course they run them half as much. So yes, I don't need to wait for 8 trains (sometimes 3) but I still have to wait just as long. AND unless I get the very last car of the train, it's just as crowded.

Furthermore, I'm a little bit of a scaredy cat. When I first moved here, I was a little afraid of some of the 2-3 foot wide platforms (not so much now that most have been rebuilt). But I still am a little scared about the trains themselves. I've blogged before about how I've seen people fall over on the train as we round a corner at a gazillion miles an hour. I saw somebody else fall the other day (that's what happens when the train tips and you're crowded in there like sardines!) Well today, I was standing on the train, and it takes off out of Chicago station, heading towards Sedgwick where those 2 big 90 degree turns are. I kid you not, our car was tipped at a 45 degree angle. And then we heard the metal stopper things scrap the ground. Everybody on the train looked terrified. I firmly believe it is indeed possible for a train car to tip over. Only 4 more months folks. Four more months.

Luckily the other half of the Brown line trains are now closed. So that means I get to take what is essentially an express train for the remainder of my time here.

Fun Facts

1) Rob really likes Charles in Charge. I really do not. This was the one part of the 80s that I just didn't get. (And the one part of the 2000s that I really don't get would be the "Scott Baio find me a bride reality show"). So Rob put Charles in Charge Season 2 on his Netflix. He asked if I wanted to watch it with him. I stared at him and asked if he remembered my response when he asked me to watch Season 1 with him. So we decided to watch our other netflix. Rob puts in the DVD for We Own the Night, and pushes play. Surprise surprise. The Charles in Charge theme comes on. Same thing the next night. I expect to see Rescue Dawn, instead nice chipper Charles In Charge theme song. Seriously am I the only one who does not enjoy this show??

2) Rob bought a little kid's fishing rod at Target. It's actually a Dora the Explorer Cast n' Reel fishing rod. Well it now has a little green fluffy cat nip mouse attached at the end. And IT IS ENTERTAINING. By the way, when I was little we didn't buy toy fishing rods, we used a tape measure and stood on the footstool and threw it out, then spent forever rolling it back up. Our cats are spoiled.

Friday, April 18, 2008

A New Observation

I always watch people on my morning train commute, much like my friend Literary Aunt. I try to see what books people are reading, what people are knitting, what people talk about on their cell phones. Mostly, I like to look at what people are wearing and I often pick out in my mind what outfits I would like to own (more than which outfits I hate!)

In the past two weeks I have had quite a few episodes of this....

So this morning this woman gets on the train. She's wearing a really nice jeans - top - springy jacket combo, all perfectly tailored. Her hair is nicely cut, her makeup tastefully applied. All of a sudden she puts her hand out to grab the post and hold on, and I am absolutely shocked. Her hands are the most manly hands I have ever seen. First I do a double take -- is she a he? Then I check out the man next to her -- nope his hands are less manly. Guy sitting next to me, less manly. Guy across the aisle, less manly.

Now, this one incident just interesting. But I'm not kidding, it's happened at least 3 times this week.

Rockin' and Rollin'

Hey, we had a Earthquake this morning! Yeah, it was at 4:30 this morning, so I didn't feel anything. But Rob was up and on his way to work. So maybe hell blog about it:)

That makes my second earthquake. There was a shaker my junior year of high school during Latin class. The news reported it was a gas line break/explosion and then had to retract the story and confess that it was actually an earthquake. So there.

OK, it's early and I need to go to work. See ya suckers.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Divided No More

OMG - Joachim Phoenix is now in a TV ad for Divided We Fail. Dammit. Now I have to join that one. Except for one thing...

Why exactly is it wrong to be partisan nowadays? Most people actually are partisan, but there seems to be some cultural stigma stuck onto people who actually speak about governmental issues with passion. I often feel shy about admitting that I'm a liberal -- not shy about discussing my liberal stance but about the word "liberal." As if somehow, by being a liberal I am unAmerican.

Then of course there is the awkward aspect of discussing politics with family, which has of late become tense and frowned upon. Why wouldn't we discuss politics? Sorry to diss any friends reading this, but whose political opinions do I most value other than family members? I would love to know why my family members vote the way they do, or for them to ask that simple question of me. Hasn't happened yet. Still waiting.

Altough, Uncle Gary has asked. But he's a Republican.

Monday, April 14, 2008

There was an Old Lady...

Seriously, I hurt my back again. This is at least the second time in 2 months. I think I actually may have pulled a muscle, which has subsequently led to a pinched nerve (maybe Syatic? sp?) which has thereby ruptured a disc. OK, I made up that last part but the rest is totally true.

The sad thing is I have NO clue how I did it! It started hurting last week, and then on Wednesday night when I was taking dinner out of the oven it just gave out. I tried to stretch a little bit, and it started spasming. The next night was worse. Then I miraculously started getting better. Then on Sunday I tried to stretch a little bit. Then I tried to make dinner. And it gave out AGAIN and started spasming AGAIN.

So from now on (a) I'm not making dinner EVER again and (b)I'm never stretching again either.

WHat is wrong with me?!? Does anyone else have these problems? Who isn't 90?

Friday, April 11, 2008

The Great Cooking Scheme...

A few weeks ago, I mentioned that I was going to do some blogging on my recipe blog about my cooking influences. Oh, I had great plans. Really I had at least 5-6 blogs plotted out with lovely recipe ideas. The nicest part was that it involved calling some of those wonderful cooks to discuss their recipes. I got as far as my Mom (whose recipes I know, but I did tell her how much I appreciated her). I then forced my Mom to read my blog, because she doesn't really go for the whole blog thing.

My next step was to call my Grandma. When I was little, there was nothing that I enjoyed more than going to Grandma Mac's house for dinner. We really only went to Grandma's during the summer because she and Grandpa would spend all winter in Florida. Since during the summer we would practically live at the cottage right down the street from their farm, we'd spend a lot of time with them. Jim used to love to go and spend time in the fields with Grandpa, I liked to spend time in the kitchen with Grandma. When my cousins were there we used to play grocery store in the kitchen, completely emptying the cupboards to ring up our groceries (I suspect we never played grocery stock-girls and put the groceries back).

Sometimes we used to make cookies with Grandma. Her cookies always came out differently from my Mom's. Grandma always used to use a metal bowl and an electric mixer, so the butter and sugar would be completely creamy. Good cookies, I'm telling you!

I called Grandma to get her recipe for Swiss Steak for Fuss Free Recipes. I always remember her making this, though I've never had swiss steak anywhere else. She would serve it with at least 2 vegetables, PLUS a salad. And there would always be fresh, home-sliced bread.

[At the risk of making this blog LONG, too late, I will tell you that I always thought my grandma made that bread from scratch. When I was in high school I asked my Gram how she made the bread and she told me she bought a frozen bread dough and just threw it in the oven. All of my childhood beliefs were dashed.]

When I asked Grandma for her recipe she said, "Well, you have to flour the steak and then pound it." This was not the recipe I had envisioned. "Then what, Gram?" I ask hoping to steer this discussion in a helpful direction. She replied, "Well, I don't know. You should check your cookbook I'm sure there's a recipe for it."

I really should have known this would happen. I once asked her for her macaroni and cheese recipe (known throughout the universe as the best mac and cheese ever to exist) and was told well "I don't know, you just make the pasta and add cheese." It's not that she wants to keep the recipes secret. I think she just cooks completely on instinct. OK, now I'm going to give finding a swiss steak recipe a go... Wish me luck at replicating Gram's recipe!!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008


Hi everybody... Just a warning, if you don't hear from me for a couple of days or try calling and get our weird voicemail... That's right... Comcast has struck again. I have no phone, internets (or cable which doesn't so much affect you all.)