Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Busy day in the office doing the stuff nobody else wants to do. I just finished writing out some forms that had to be done by hand, and now I think I have carpal tunnel. Lawsuit! Just kidding. It's going to be a busy night at home tonight as well. My mother and sister are coming into town tomorrow to see Wicked, and they are staying at my apartment, in which I have spent approximately 24 hours tops since the beginning of June. Which means there is atleast an inch of dust on every surface of the apartment and the floors really need a scrubbin'. But those who know me know I love a good floor mopping. When I worked at Dairy Queen in high school, nobody ever wanted to mop the floor, but for some reason, I loved it. It's good exercise, and at the end you have tangible evidence of your hard work: a sparkly clean floor. And what's better than a sparkly clean floor? Nothing, I tell you.

I am REALLY looking forward to the long weekend. Nick and I are taking an impromptu getaway to Door County, Wisconsin, which promises to be relaxing, revitalizing, and superfun. We are planning to tour some wineries and a brewery, possibly do some biking and hiking, and whatever else our little hearts desire. I haven't gotten out of the city much at all this summer, so I'm ready to take in some nature and fresh air. Nick is also very excited to sample Door County's signature delicacy, fried cheese curds. Mmmmm.

The next two days are going to be pretty busy, so it may be Monday before I get around to posting again. But rest assured there will be photo documentation of the beauty of Wisconsin, and a (hopefully) well-rested, bright-eyed gal.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Meat on a Stick

As promised, a picture from my trip to Greekfest on Sunday afternoon. If I've learned one thing about Greeks from the trip (and the past ten months of dating one), it's that they like meat on sticks. Often I'll come home from work to find Nick on the balcony, roasting a chicken on a spit...

Kidding. Usually I come home from work to find Nick in his underwear watching Sci-Fi. But I'm pretty sure somewhere in his blood lies the desire to roast whole animals, since that's what Greekfest was all about. And let me tell you, that lamb was delicious. Readers (of the non-vegetarian variety), I urge you to seek out Greekfests in your own towns, because these people know how to have fun. I ate way too much, heard to some festive (and very loud) Greek music, visited the Hellenic museum, and got a chance to practice the two Greek phrases Nick has taught me thus far: Efharisto (Thank you) and Do onoma moo inay Emily (my name is Emily). Keep in mind that I have spelled these out in pure phoenetic spelling, as I have no clue what the Greek letters are, depsite being in a sorority for 2 years. I think I'm well on my way to learning the language!

Aaaaand it's back at the office for another week of administrative fun. Today I had the task of calling and discussing logistics with the flaky artist who has been commissioned to paint the President of the Association's cat. She was a real peach. The high note of the day was the celebratory free coffee cake break mid-morning, since I didn't have time for breakfast and apparently didn't have time to zip my fly either. That's right, I got on the bus today with my fly down, and had to awkwardly stand with my book pressed against my crotch until I could get a seat and inconspicuously zip up.

A couple things I've been pondering: I've noticed, as of late, that lots of women walk sort of funny and bow-legged-like. Is this because of their shoes? Is it an attempt to look skinnier? I mean, I guess they could just be bow-legged, but I'd think their parents would have been kind enough to have them straightened out during childhood.
Also, the word guestimate. I really hate this word, and people in this office love it. Just choose one: guess or estimate! They mean basically the same goddamn thing, right?!?!

And now back to work planning a luxury retreat for real estate executives. If you're reading this and you have not yet chosen your career or are in a position to change careers, I urge you: GET THYSELF INTO REAL ESTATE. You will be glad, very, very glad.

Reason 923839847234 why it's good to be tall....

Taller people are smarter: study
Fri Aug 25, 2006 5:53 PM ET

NEW YORK (Reuters) - While researchers have long shown that tall people earn more than their shorter counterparts, it's not only social discrimination that accounts for this inequality -- tall people are just smarter than their height-challenged peers, a new study finds.
"As early as age three -- before schooling has had a chance to play a role -- and throughout childhood, taller children perform significantly better on cognitive tests," wrote Anne Case and Christina Paxson of Princeton University in a paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research.
The findings were based primarily on two British studies that followed children born in 1958 and 1970, respectively, through adulthood and a U.S. study on height and occupational choice.
Other studies have pointed to low self-esteem, better health that accompanies greater height, and social discrimination as culprits for lower pay for shorter people.
But researchers Case and Paxson believe the height advantage in the job world is more than just a question of image.
"As adults, taller individuals are more likely to select into higher paying occupations that require more advanced verbal and numerical skills and greater intelligence, for which they earn handsome returns," they wrote.
For both men and women in the United States and the United Kingdom, a height advantage of four inches equated with a 10 percent increase in wages on average.
But the researchers said the differences in performance crop up long before the tall people enter the job force. Prenatal care and the time between birth and the age of 3 are critical periods for determining future cognitive ability and height.
"The speed of growth is more rapid during this period than at any other during the life course, and nutritional needs are greatest at this point," the researchers wrote.
The research confirms previous studies that show that early nutrition is an important predictor of intelligence and height.
"Prenatal care and prenatal nutrition are just incredibly important, even more so than we already knew," Case said in an interview.
Since the study's data only included populations in the United Kingdom and the United States, the findings could not be applied to other regions, Case said.
And how tall are the researchers?
They are both about 5 feet 8 inches tall, well above the average height of 5 feet 4 inches for American women.
A copy of the paper can be found at

So, in addition to being able to eat more and having a better view at movies/concerts, I can add being smarter and making more money to my list of reasons why it rocks to be tall.

Friday, August 25, 2006


Wow, I didn't realize how much the blog culture has stepped up since I deleted the first edition of MP last October. I've already gotten two lengthy emails from strangers: one positive, one negative. Truthfully, I'm quite flattered that anyone is reading my blog besides my friends and family. Maybe I never wrote anything controversial before, or maybe nobody cared, but here is the reply I received to a post from the other day:

I read "Fast Food Nation" too, and I saw "Supersize Me", and I've been watching "30 Days". And I'm disturbed that you are angry at people who promote their views, showing heinous pictures, as if those very people are responsible for the acts depicted in those pictures.

You sound like a Nazi sympathizer--"I can't believe those people harassing me about those concentration camps... how dare they try to upset my standard of living with hard facts about the massive slaughter of individuals, collecting their hair and gold fillings..."

Better to come to terms with your conscience, which is obviously in cognitive dissodance mode.

It's freeing when you discover the facts behind something you take for granted (like fast food). The abortion industry makes the fast food industry look like Mother Teresa.

Yikes! A Nazi sympathizer! Mein Gott! Perhaps my feeling about the topic was misconstrued. And anyone who can tell me what "cognitive dissodance mode" is will officially be my new shrink. Or maybe I should hire this anonymous commenter to be my new shrink, who only signed the comment as "a friend". Firstly, reading back over the post, I see that the part I wrote about the pro-life people on the show 30 days may have sounded a bit one-sided and judgemental. I didn't mean for it to sound this way, and I am certainly interested in hearing both sides of every argument. The abortion debate could go back and forth forever and ever and nobody would ever be right. I'm not supportive, however, of people who harrass women going into abortion clinics or people who put bombs in these clinics. That's what I think about that.
Secondly, I don't think that reading this book has "upset my standard of living." I don't eat fast food. I live in a city where I can walk or take the train many miles without seeing a fast food restaurant. Yet, the fast food industry still affects me. I don't like the fact that I can't take a train to my hometown to visit my parents. I don't like the fact that I have to own a car. I don't like the fact that my grandpa died of obesity. Reading this book hasn't changed anything about the way I live, rather it has given me solid facts about why things are the way they are. To me, this isn't freeing, because it's something I'd like to change, and I know I can't.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that if I came off sounding irritated that these things shook me up so much, that isn't the case. I read everything I can get my hands on; I like to know what is going on in my world. I think I have been surprised at the reaction and turbulence that I feel in the very core of my being. I feel more responsible for the way my actions affect others and the world around me, because in lots of situations, it was a single person's ideas and actions that spawned major events (such as the Holocaust!). I feel more compelled to live a life that is concscious of what is going on around me.
So anyway, now that I got that out, we can go back to our regularly scheduled programming of me talking about my neuroses and fun weekend activities. I'll try to stay away from the "issues" if I can, because this blog is supposed to be fun and funny. Stay tuned for some words about my trip to Greekfest yesterday and pictures of dead animals on spits (animal activists can feel free to voice their hatred, just don't expect to get your comment published on the blog).

P.S. I visited Dachau while in Munich several years ago and it was horrifying. Truly a life changing experience. So I really took that e-mail to heart. Perhaps the title of my blog gave our anonymous reader the impression that I'm some sort of "princess" who leads a sheltered life of luxury. I'd like that reader to examine their own conscience next time they call someone a "Nazi sympathizer" from reading one blog posting on a personal website. My suggestion to you, reader: take it somewhere else where your voice might acutally be useful.

Thursday, August 24, 2006


Well, I've almost completed another week of getting paid very little to do very little work. I guess it evens itself out in the end, but I feel like my time should be worth a little more, people. C'mon, I almost have a masters degree--shouldn't that mean I make more than $12/hr? Two weeks of work barely pays my rent! It's very depressing, but as Robert says, atleast my boyfriend has some money and takes me out to nice dinners alot. Could be worse. I just hope I can take him out to lots of nice dinners someday (seriously honey, someday). Soooo since I'm really bored and have to kill another hour before I can go home, we're going to play a fun game called, "What's in Emily's purse?", inspired by that gameshow from the 70's where they call out something and if you have it in your purse you win. Or something like that. Here goes:

1. iPod Nano with blue case
2. Sprint cell phone, also blue
3. $1.09 in change
4. almost finished pack of light blue Orbit gum
5. transit card with $1.00 on it
6. 1 bottle of Fexofenadine (generic of Allegra)
7. 1 bottle of Mucinex DM (almost gone)
8. 1 bottle of Nasonex nose spray
9. 1 bottle of Alprazolam (generic of Xanax)
10. 1 bottle of Paroxetine (generic of Paxil)
11. 1 brown coach wallet with credit cards/IDs and $14
12. 1 pair large black sunglasses
13. blue day planner
14. checkbook
15. small flowery notepad from Grandma
16. brown hair barette
17. yellow highliter
18. pen that looks like a tube of lipstick (also from Grandma)
19. old tube of real lipstick
20. a tampon
21. a small mirror that looks like a button
22. travel pack of kleenex
23. a baby

Just kidding about that last one. I really can't believe I carry all that shit around with me on a daily basis. That's pretty freaking ridiculous. If I were to, say, fall down on the street, the contents of my bag spilling everywhere, people would either think I was either a)obsessive-compulsive (true) or b)channeling Karen Walker from Will and Grace (may be true in a few years when I coerce some more doctors into giving me more drugs).

Thing is, you can tell a lot about a woman by what she carries in her bag. In my case, my bag says that I'm a bit neurotic (true) but will make a great mother someday because I'm prepared for any disaster that might arise. If a woman has in her purse cigarettes, a flask, and some bar napkins with phone numbers on them, she's probably a loose hussy. See how it works? So for all you male readers out there, next time you want to know something about a girl, just knock her down and cause her purse to go flying.

Oh my lord I'm going crazy.

two dreams

I just rememebered my dreams from last night, and they were just too weird not to blog about.
In the first dream, I woke up at 4:30 in the morning and decided to go get a pedicure at the salon. They were open, but wouldn't give me an appointment until 9:00 in the morning. I screamed at them that obviously I had to work at 9:00, which is why I came at 4:30 am. I proceeded to bitch the girl out who worked at the desk. Weird.
In the second dream, my therapist made me sight read music with her. Really weird.

Caution: May Require Xanax

As I mentioned in a previous post, I started reading Fast Food Nation this week. I realize I'm about 4.4 years behind everyone else in reading this book, but I also recently saw Morgan Spurlock's documentary Super Size Me, which was really quite disturbing and increased my interest in the topic.
Yesterday, while on some particularly long train rides (CTA is really, really losing points with me this summer), I had the opportunity to really get into the book. The more I read, the more the rage began to grow inside of me, until I really considered pulling my bottle of Xanax out of my bag and popping one or two. Since it was only 6:30pm, and I didn't want to fall into a deep sleep on the train and have my iPod stolen from my person, I thought better of it.

I realize that much of what this book contains, namely how large corporations have shaped the way Americans live their lives, is what many people think makes America "great." Our efficiency, our economy, our technological advancements, our pursual of higher, better, richer, happier. The author, Eric Schlosser, is quoted as saying "By looking at fast food I'm trying to explain, among other things, how communities throughout the United States have lost a lot of their character and individuality." This makes me really sad.

Ever since I studied abroad in Vienna four years ago, my views of American life have changed drastically. Studying abroad isn't for everyone: some people don't take well to being separated from the lifestyle they have known since birth. For me, it was the most brilliant, eye-opening, self-affirming experience of my entire life. I adapted immediately to the European way of life, and although there were times when I yearned for home, I truly thought: "these people live better lives than we do." They are healthier, more relaxed, more committed to family life, more aware of their history and culture, more grounded and level-headed. I loved every moment of my time there, and when those four months were up and it was time to go home, I was very sad. When I returned to the States, I was so critical of American life that my family grew extremely irritated. After graduation, I knew I needed to get myself to a big city where I could escape urban sprawl. So I came to Chicago and continued to irritate my family on return visits with a refusal to eat at chain restaurants and an affinity for organic food.

I'm getting off-track here, but the point is: I'm thinking that reading this book could be dangerous to my mental health that I've worked so hard to repare this summer. I already knew in my heart what was wrong with America; having it backed up with mind-boggling facts is making me crazy. The latest chapter I read was about the prevalence of violence in the fast food industry: my sister was held at gunpoint several years ago at the local Dairy Queen where we both worked. It turned out alright, but situations like that have NOT turned out alright for so many people. My question is: when will the madness stop? When we elect a new President? When Americans get so fat that they all just blow up into tiny fragments of french fries? When the industry somehow makes it ok and possible for five-year-olds to flip burgers? Hang on, I think I need a Xanax...ok, that's better.
If that wasn't bad enough, last night Nick and I were watching Morgan Spurlock's show 30 Days on Fx, where people test an "alternative lifestyle" for 30 days. The woman on this particular show was a Pro-Choice activist who worked in an abortion clinic and had to spend a month in a pro-life home for un-wed mothers and expectant mothers run by a Christian minister and his wife. Listening to these pro-life people talk about their views and harrass people outside abortion clinics...let's just say more Xanax necessary.

I don't usually get so riled up about things like this. I'm pretty laissez-faire about politics, but I think that as I near twenty-five (the "now you have to be a responsible adult" age), I'm starting be less selfish and care more about what's going on around me. Yes, I want to live well, but not at the expense of making life miserable or dangerous for anybody else. It's a good think I'm not still temping at the National Restaurant Assocation. Let's just say I may have created a scene...
If you've actually read this post to the end, bless you. I guess I just needed to get that out. If I can persuade a few people to read this book, or to eat less fast food, I feel like I'll have done something to help the cause. Maybe I'll also write some strongly worded letter to a senator or something. Or just take some more Xanax.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006


To my Grandpa, who for his 80th birthday this year, rode in an Indy 500 race car going nearly 200 miles an hour on the track in Speedway, IN. Doubt he'll ever read this blog, but I just want all my readers (all 10 of you) to know how freakin' awesome my grandpa is. Not only is he 80 and has a rockin' beard, he takes loving care of his handicapped wife and son, grows crazy plants, and drinks lots of Jack Daniels* and Old Milwaukee. I love him, and he's my hero. YOU ROCK GRANDPA!

*Originally read "Jim Beam". Thank you to reader Elaine from Ft. Wayne for pointing out that Grandpa drinks Jack Daniels.
You may be wondering, since I claim to be pursuing a classical singing career, why I haven't written anything about singing for several weeks. Well, there is a simple answer to that: I haven't been singing. I had all of these grandiose ideas about "designing my own summer program" and "taking lots of lessons" and "learning on my own time." After last year's rather intense summer of singing in Austria, followed by a harrowing year, I didn't really have the energy to make anything significant happen this summer. Sure, I went on a few auditions for summer young artist programs, but y'all in the business know how fruitful going on three (3) auditions turns out. In this biz, you have to do probably upwards of twenty-five (25) auditions if you want a prayer of acutally getting a "yes" out of a company. Things I actually did this summer:

Career related:
Activity: Signed up for a Feldenkreis class at Victory Gardens theater ($160)
What really went down: Napped on the floor for two hours every Saturday for eight weeks, attended 5/8 classes.

Activity: practicing/learning new music
What really went down: had a panic attack every time I sang, got Xanax and Paxil

Activity: take lessons/coachings, make audition CD
What really went down: lessons taken (3), coachings taken (1), too poor to continue

Personal well-being related:
Activity: work as office temp/save money
What really went down: who am I kidding? making $400 a week temping barely allows me to pay my bills and have any semblance of a social life. monies saved: $-32

Activity: relax and do fun Chicago things with my boyfriend
What really went down: now this I think I can acutally report some success in doing: re: free evening at the Art Institute, new restaurants such as Frontera Grill, beach time, First Fridays at MCA, LP Zoo, LP Botanical Gardens, lots of movies and general walking around

Activity: figure out what I want to do with my life
What really went down: lots of great (free) sessions with my shrink (God bless NU insurance), may be slightly closer to finding the answer

So, I think what this all is telling me is that, although I did not accomplish much in the career department this summer, I did accomplish something on the inner-self front. And all things considered, my psychotic, one-minded-ness toward my career only ended in disaster last year, so I think that I can consider it a successful summer. Also I have a few weeks of it left, hence a few weeks of working left, and I may actually be able to come out on top in the finance department. Now I'm off to see my shrink, who rocks my world on a weekly basis. Again, GOD BLESS Northwestern insurance and free counseling.


Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Run, Lola, Run

I found this pretty amusing today: In Berlin, a 25 year old psychology student was awarded 10,000 euros for winning the first ever Stiletto Run Race. She ran 100 meters in 12 seconds in three inch heels. Damn gurl. Sure, it's probably an invitation for a sprained ankle, but 10,000 euros, hell. The girl is quoted as saying "I prefer tennis." She prefers tennis to sprinting in stilettos? This seems obvious to me. Perhaps something was lost in the translation.

Monday, August 21, 2006

glowing boobies

As promised, the weekend's events were festive and funny. Diversey Rock n' Bowl is quite the experience. Beer and bowling always makes for a good time, but when you add black lights, loud music, even more beer, and lots of fun/drunk people, it becomes a ridiculously good time. Unaware of the consequences of white bra/slightly see-thru beige shirt/black light, I entertained the entire bowling alley with my glowing boobies all night. As soon as the black light came on, Lauren pointed at my chest and started laughing hysterically, while I did my best to hide the glowing boobies with little success. After awhile I just decided to rock the look, which apparently, as I was later informed by my mother during our phone conversation last night, girls did on purpose in the 70's. Sluts! All in all, it was a great time had by all, and I totally kicked ass and rolled tons of strikes.
Alas, the weekend was far too short, and now I'm back in my cube, feigning interest in my tasks and thinking about what I'm going to get for lunch. It's somewhat of a "mice is away cat's will play" sort of day, so hopefully I'll get to read some of the book I just started, Fast Food Nation. It is fantastic so far, so good, in fact, that I nearly missed my bus stop this morning. I'll report more later, but let's just say that my disdain for America may escalate. I've already discovered that major car companies such as General Motors bought and purposely destroyed railways in order to promote "car culture" which infuriates me to no end, because I love trains. And hate cars. So if I up and move to Europe in the next year, don't be surprised.

Friday, August 18, 2006

week in review

Sorry, it's been a slow posting week, since I've been extremely busy with my new important job. Luckily these people know how to utilize my best skills, such as packing boxes, proofing documents, looking things up on Google, and reading blogs. Ok, not so much the last one, but that's what I've been doing for the majority of the day. This is my new fave of the moment:
This guy is freaking hilarious. Anyways, back to the office. Yesterday there was this big real estate convention in town, and since this is the headquarters for the national assocation, they were giving tours of the building. There were actually those red velvet rope thingies in front of my cube, keeping visitors from stepping into my cube while at the same time making me feel like an exhibit in a museum or zoo or something. Since I didn't have a lot of work to do, everytime a tour came by I had to switch my screen from the current blog I was reading to my inbox and pretend that I was working diligently. It was really annoying, but sort of humorous all at the same time.
Besides work, I have been pretty consumed with my physical health lately. As I told my therapist the other day, "All I can think about this week is pooping and sleeping." It's amazing how not doing enough of either will really wreck a person's spirit and totally domintate their thinking. Since sleeping and pooping do not an interesting blog make, I haven't had much leftover brain power for thinking of posts. Hopefully this will change in the near future so I don't lose my readership (of 10 people).
This weekend should be a good one. I kicked it off last night with a great two-gin-dirty-martinis-straight-up buzz and some fish n' chips with Nick at the Irish pub next door. A good friend and former roommate from college is in town, and she just called to say she's up for some Deutches essen tonight (German food for those who don't sprechen the language), so it should be a fine evening of das bier und der schnitzel. Tomorrow is my oldest friend Allison's birthday party (shout out! Happy 25th lady!) at Diversey Rock n' Bowl, which I've never been to but promises to be a fabulous time. So I should have some interesting stories to report after the weekend.
Have a good one!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

true love

Today's post will serve to enlighten readers on a fact about the author: I love food. I've always loved food and eating, and depsite a short period of pre-adolescent chubbiness, I've always been pretty thin. Being five feet, eight inches with a speedy metabolism helps, no doubt. I've gone through some strange eating phases, such as four months of vegetarianism, three days of the South Beach diet just to see if I could do it (on day four I ate a giant bagel), and a refusal to eat chicken for several months. But the truth remains that I just love eating and everything that goes along with it: restaurants, cooking, trying new foods, alcohol, even grocery shopping.

So today at work there was a big meeting for the executives and therefore a fancy catered lunch. Since there was a lot of leftover food, and I was in charge of helping the caterers set up, I took full advantage and heaped a plate with yumminess. Upon passing my coworker on my way back to my cube to consume the food, she says: "Wow, that's a quite a chowdown plate you've got there. I had you pegged as a bird eater." I laughed uncomfortably and darted into my cube. Now, I didn't think that I had an inordinate amount of food on my plate; it looked like an average sized lunch to me. Either this woman's concept of a lot of food is very different from mine, or she was just surprised to see a skinny woman eating an entire plateful of food. Sorry lady, if you thought all skinny people were skinny because they don't eat, it ain't so.

Luckily, I've found myself a man who is also a good eater. Our first date was a five hour dinner, and the rest, as they say, is history. Many of my best relationships have a history of food as well: my first experiments in cooking with Robert, pinching pennies with Andrea so that we could afford fancy restaurants, talking cookbooks and recipes with Angela. When I was bored last week, I made a lasagna from scratch (and damn was it good--sorry straight male readership, I'm taken). I have an intense desire to grow herbs, despite my failed attempt at maintaining a basil plant from the grocery (we don't talk about this at the Nick/Emily household due to an unfortunate incident involving his sixth floor balcony and a parked car).

So now you know about my love affair with food. It's one that shall continue throughout all my days, unless I start to get fat, and then it's tuna and cottage cheese for two meals a day (basically, the best get skinny diet I can recommend). But until that happens, I will continue to seek out delicious meals and remain unphased when someone remarks at the quantity of food I'm consuming. They can suck it.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Apparently, I'm eighty-four.

Last night as I was waiting in line at Walgreens, a large jug of prune juice and a bottle of Benefiber tucked securely under my arm, it dawned on me that I may be a an eighty-four year old living in a twenty-four year old's body. My digestive tract certainly thinks it's eighty-four, hence the prune juice and Benefiber. (Sidenote: no matter how backed up, NEVER buy prune juice. It was a complete waste of $4.49, because it's so incredibly disgusting that one whiff of it made me gag.) While I was waiting in line, Nick was playing with Family Guy pens that talked, intermittently coming up to me and pushing said pen over and over so that I could hear Quagmire say "Are you a parking ticket, because you're FINE", or something like that. Actually I don't think that's the right wording, because it doesn't really make sense, but I can't remember because I really wasn't listening. You get the point. Then this morning I woke up with an extremely stiff and sore neck/shoulder, either from jaw clenching or sleeping wrong, I'm not sure, and that confirmed it. My body thinks it's an elderly woman. I really want to be in bed with a heating pad, watching the food network all day, but instead I'm here at work, making binders and booking manicures for real estate executives.
Hopefully this elderly-ness will pass soon, since it's beginning to get on my nerves. The, ahem, irregularity, I can deal with to an extent, since (as anyone who has traveled with me can attest) I've had some experiences with it and am pretty good at consuming more fiber in one day than most people get in a week. The neck really gets me though, because I've been back in the running groove lately and loving it. Oh well, it's a good excuse to sit around and watch TV all night I suppose. Oh wait, I do that anyway.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Short post today. The MP is tired and cranky, but I've secured a job that looks like it will last until school starts up again, it isn't too painful, and the people are nice. I've made about 200 address labels today and bullshitted some Microsoft Word documents (meaning, I don't know how to do crap but somehow managed to pass something off as looking professional). Since I don't have the energy to write today, I'll just leave you with this li'l treasure of a soon to be married sister's new puppy, Starburst.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Midwest Bookworm

Since my life has been terminally boring since my last post (yesterday's activities included jogging, grocery shopping, a two hour nap, and making a lasagna from scratch), I decided to create the first ever Midwest Princess Book Club (like Oprah's but WAY better). Since most of you readers probably have way less free time than I do, I thought I would do you all a service and bring you up to date on what I think you should be reading. (Some of it is admittedly girly, but most of it is really excellent literature).

1. The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri: This is one of the best new works of fiction I've read in ages. The author has won a Pulitzer, and her prose is captivating. It is a story of an Indian family who comes to America and attempts to assimilate themselves to American culture. It is beautiful and a bit melancholy, and I felt like a better person for having read it.

2. Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld: Also won some sort of award, though not as prestigious as the Pulitzer (I don't think it gets more prestigious than that). The main character in this book, a girl from South Bend, IN who attends a prep school in Massachussettes, has been likened to J.D. Salinger's Holden Caulfield. I'm not sure how she did it, but this author managed to caputre exactly the feeling of being an angsty teen. Maybe if you were the coolest cat in school you won't get this book, but then again I can't think of anyone who hasn't felt like an outsider at some point in their lives.

3. Of Human Bondage by W. Somerset Maugham: Maugham is one of my favorite authors. He also wrote "The Razor's Edge", which is another of my favorites and the short story that the movie "Being Julia" is based on, which is one of my favorite movies. This book took me a while to get through, but it was worth it. Maugham really gets inside the soul of his characters and delves into the basest and deepest of human emotions. I loved it.

4. A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle: This English gent writes hysterical books. I love travel memoirs, and this book is based on his experiences owning a house in the south of France. Basically the language barrier and attempting to renovate a house causes hilarity to ensue. A lighthearted yet witty read.

5. A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway: His memoirs of his years in Paris. If you love Paris, you'll love this book.

Now, get to work on that and then we'll talk. I just started In Cold Blood, and already I can't put it down. I welcome anyone else's suggestions for what I should read next!

Happy Reading!

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Baby's First Trip to Ikea

Today was a big first for the Midwest first trip to the Swedish superstore Ikea! Nick and I had talked about making the pilgrammage out to Schaumburg for months now, and this morning we decided we were finally up to the daunting task. (And we didn't have anything more exciting going on). Only one word can describe the place: overwhelming. It was difficult to contain my excitement.

Visiting the store on a Saturday may not have been our best move. We had to park about two miles away from the store (it seemed), and on my way into the building I heard several crying children. But we battled our way in and took the store by storm--immediately taking the escalator up to the third floor and working our way down ("The only way to DO Ikea", according to Nick). We sat in funky chairs called Malung and Tullsta. I really liked Tullsta.

When our legs got tired and our bellies got hungry, we went to the Ikea cafeteria for some discount Swedish food. (After I typed that I threw up a little in my mouth). We ate Swedish meatballs with lingonberry jam and some oddly flavored cake that tasted like booze. I really enjoyed the experience, especially the escalators for carts that make schlepping your prospective purchases around amazinglly simple. For a grand total of $i shouldn't be spending any money in the first place, I got the following fairly useless but aesthetically pleasing items:

I was inspired by a photography exhibit at the Museum of Contemporary Art to arrange it in this lovely still life for you: one (1) package of delicious Swedish hazelnut cookies, six (6) champagne flutes, one (1) cute lamp, and one (1) glass vase with blue pebbles. Not one of the items was over ten dollars, in fact, most were under five. Which leads me to believe that I will return to this brilliant store.

In other news, Nick and I went to the Museum of Contemporary Art last night for "First Fridays", which is basically a giant singles event where they charge you $15 to get in to the museum, play some really loud music, and have free Wolfgang Puck appetizers and a cash bar. It's a very cool concept, and as Nick stated after we'd gotten there "You know why they do this--people need to have some drinks in them to appreciate this kind of art". The main attraction was a photography exhibit by a German that featured scenes such as: dirty laundry piled on the floor, an uncircumcised man peeing on a desk chair (full frontal nudity), and a post-operative transexual's genitalia. When Nick proclaimed that he was going to "go home, take a shit, smear it on the wall, and call it art", I thought that maybe it was time to find the bar. While some of the exhibits were interesting, I have to say that on the whole I don't "get" modern art. I consider myself a fairly artistic person, but I just don't understand how someone deems a canvas with a red smear on it "art".

And for the most exciting news (drum roll please), I am writing this post to you from my brand spanking new MacBook! Yes, that's right, I'm now the proud owner of a laptop. My 2000 Dell desktop served me well for six long years, but it was time to upgrade. I've been playing with my new toy for the past several hours, and I have to say, it's pretty freaking awesome. Welcome the Midwest Princess to the 21st century!!!!

Friday, August 04, 2006

The Unhappiest Place on Earth

As I mentioned in yesterday's post, today I wanted to share my experiences with a little thing called Bikram yoga, or "Satan's Lair", as I've likened it to the fiery reaches of hell. I was first introduced to the practice in February of 2005 when my then roommate, Andrea, convinced me that it was the greatest thing since sliced bread. "I feel like a new person after a class!", she told me. So, we headed out one snowy morning to Om on the Range (yes, that's the name of the place), paid our fee, and geared up for a sweaty hour and a half of yoga.

Now for those readers who aren't knowledgable about the subject, Bikram yoga is yoga practiced in a room heated to 105 degrees fahrenheit. The idea is to sweat out your toxins while holding various poses. Many Bikram websites claim all sorts of health benefits, such as "weight normalization" and "detoxification".

The teacher premised the class by apologizing that their heaters weren't working properly and the room would not be quite up to the normal temperature. In retrospect, I thank God, because I'm not sure I would have made it had the room been heated to the normal temperature. It was ninety minutes of pure hell, and afterward I did not feel like a "new woman". I felt like a woman who desperately needed a shower and possibly and IV of fluids to replenish what was lost.

I went back one more time, God only knows why, and had an equally horrible experience. I vowed never to go again, and stuck to my ashtanga for the rest of the year. Then last week, as I was walking up Clark street to Nick's apartment, I noticed an advertisement for an unlimited month of Bikram for $29. The studio was only three blocks from Nick's, so I thought, why not? Maybe this time it will be different.

It was worse. I had to leave the first class after twenty minutes. I was seeing stars and couldn't bear the thought of passing out in front of an entire class of people (oddly, the Bikram classes are ALWAYS full--why can everyone else do this but ME?!)so I just picked up my mat and ran. The teacher came running after me and made me lie down for ten minutes and drink a bottle of Gatorade. I left feeling sheepish and defeated...and in a state of disbelief that I just paid money to feel like I was dying. However, a few days later I rallied and went back. I drank a gallon of water and ate a Luna bar one hour before class, and surprisingly, made it through without too much trouble. "I can do this!", I thought to myself, picturing the sleek abdominals I would soon possess.

A few days later on my third trip, I wilted once more. Dizzy, seeing stars, and feeling nauseated, I spent the better part of the class lying on my mat. The teacher kept coming up to me asking if I was alright and if I'd eaten that day and brought me several bottles of Gatorade (side note: if you want some free Gatorade go to a Bikram class and act like you're dying). I felt embarrassed, but decided to try ONE LAST TIME. Same story, different day. I've accepted the fact that Bikram and I just can't make it work. While it seems like a good idea at the time, much like colon cleansing seems, it's really not worth the pain and suffering. I'll find another way to get my bod in shape, thank you.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Nick has alerted me that my post about being a classical singer sounds like I have a bit of animosity toward the profession. Although I really don't enjoy some aspects of the process (at the top of the list being broke all the time), I must admit that I am truly lucky for all the places I've been led through singing, all the people I've met, and for the opportunity to make a career out of something I've been passionate about since I was a child. And as self-involved as the career can be, I have to say that I've been moved by my own ability to move people through my singing. So I guess what I'm saying is that...I DO love it, though I bitch, and there is nothing more empowering than the feeling you get after a really good performance or audition. Nothing.

That's my disclaimer. I'll probably refer to this post in the future when I continute to bitch about something wretched that's going on in my life..."remember when I said I liked singing...yeah, go read that post." Another thing I do love about my life at the moment is the fact that sometimes I have random weekday(s) off. Since the heat broke today (finally) and Nick finished working at 11, we decided to head downtown and frolick in the good weather. We went watch shopping (Nick), shoe shopping (Emily), walked through Millenium Park (crazy tourist alert), and took advantage of the Art Institute's free evening to look at the French Impressionists. I love that I live in a city where, on any given Thursday evening from 5-8 pm, I can go look at famous paintings for free. We came back to Lincoln Park and settled down to a nice Italian meal and a glass of wine, when who should enter the restaurant but Nick's brother and brother's girlfriend, so we had a nice impromptu double date. Really a perfect Thursday.

Neti pot update: I purchased my new Sinucleanse neti pot last night, and let me tell you, it feels great. I can actually breathe through my nose again. HOWEVER I would like to warn all my readers about the potential hazards that can accompany the use of such neti pot. Later in the evening, after cleansing my passages, Nick and I were, ahem, in the bedroom shall we say, when suddenly a steady stream of saline solution came spouting out of my nose onto Nick's face. Apparently I did not thoroughly let all the solution run out of my nostril into the sink. Robert said it serves me right for using crazy Eastern remedies.

Stay tuned tomorrow for a post about another Eastern remedy I've tried called Bikram yoga. It's a supposed remedy for that pesky little bit of belly I've developed since I started dating a dentist with a penchant for good restaurants (just kidding Nick, I know I'm the worst influence EVER!), however, it turns out it's a remedy for hydration and general well-being, since it promotes the opposite of both. Seriously.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

I'm buying one of these after work today. It's ragweed season, and I'm dying here.

Temp on call

Now that I've posted about life as a classical singer, I guess it's time that I write about the "career" that has been paying the better part of the bills since I left college--my career as an office temp. If you were an avid reader of the former Midwest Princess (and why wouldn't you be?!), you were privy to some wild tales of my temp jobs. I've been to no less than twenty-five different offices in the Chicagoland area since June 2004; I've met a lot of crazy people, my "skill set" now runs the gamut from sales to gift wrapping. (My sales job acutally required that I do math. I hadn't done math since 11th grade when I decided to become a music major in college and the guidance counselor said there was no point.)
To put it midly, my temp agency loves me. And I love them. We're in love. They call me to go in and "fix" jobs that have gone wrong, meaning some idiot lazy temp they thought they trusted pissed off a client. Let me reiterate that this person had to have been a completely lazy idiot, because these jobs require no great skill besides showing up on time and being awake. So they send me in to be cheerful, cute, helpful, and restore their good name to the client.
Today was what I've now decided to name a "temp-on-call" sort of day. I was awoken at 8:30 am by the incessant ringing of my cell phone. When I saw that it was the staffing agency, I knew it was going to be a temp-on-call day, meaning that they've gotten a last minute "order" for a temp (like I'm a chicken salad sandwich or something), and I've got anywhere from fifteen to forty-five minutes to shower and rush over to some office that has a staffing emergency. It's as though they think I'm up at seven, dressed and ready for work...who are they kidding?! If I'm not working, there's a good chance I'm in my pajamas, drinking coffee and watching Oprah until atleast eleven.
This time, I've got an entire hour and a half to get ready and get to work. Of course, Nick has decided to wait until the last possible second to shower, so upon hearing that I need to get ready, he rushes into the shower so I'm left to shovel some Kashi down my throat and find something to wear that will be the least oppressive in this heat but still appropriate for an office. We fumble around each other in the tiny bathroom, he rushes out at 8:45, and I'm not too far behind him at 9:15. I grab an iced latte and arrive at the designated office a full fifteen minutes early.
You would think that an office would have to be in a state of total chaos to call in a temp at the last minute, as I expected the first time it happened. But this is never the case. I walk in to find a girl calmly sitting at the reception desk, answering the phone and taking messages. She informs me that she has a flight to catch and is leaving at noon for a four day vacation, which is why they needed to bring in a temp. Which brings me to wonder...this girl has obviously planned this vacation, so why in hell did they wait until 8:30 am THE DAY OF to call in a temp?!? Although my life is not incredibly structured at the moment, and I am occasionally available at the last minute, I do like to make plans in advance, for example the doctor's appointment I've scheduled on Friday afternoon, which I am now trying madly to reschedule so that I can be at this job all day Friday as well. It took me over a week of calling the office repeatedly to get the appointment, but it's hard to pass up a day's pay when I'm trying to save for a much needed laptop.
So there you have it, my thoughts on being an office temp, a necessary means to an end in the life of this classical singer.