Monthly Archives: January 2009

Dear Body

Dear Body,

Hang in there– the 30 days of 30 are nearing an end.  Yes, that means you’ll be older, but  I promise to treat you better when it’s over–only a few more days! .  I vow to feed you better food (maybe even stuff I make myself!), to exercise consistently and to return to a normal sleeping schedule.

You have served me well for nearly 30 years and I know the last month has been hard on you.   I’m especially grateful to you, liver, for the hard work you’ve put in.  There’s a break coming real soon.  I promise.

Best,

Cari

P.S.  Please give my regards to Roxie.  I know she has  had a hard time as well.  There are long walks, car rides and trips to Petsmart in her future.

I figured it out…

No, not the meaning of life.  Or even what I’m going to wear tomorrow.

I just figured out how I can like music lyrics so much but have a hard time with poetry.  It’s because I can HEAR the songwriter’s intentions.  I know where they want to place emphasis and what parts of the music are supposed to be stressed.  I guess there are clues in poetry (rhythm, meter, line breaks) but I haven’t quite learned how to interpret all that quite yet.

Oh, and I figured this out at the gym… a culmination of sweat, poetry, Jay-Z, and a book I’m reading for book club.  I love it when world’s collide.

30 days of 30 Q & A

Whenever I go out for my 30 days of 30 (or even talk about it), people tend to ask the same questions.   Here, for your reading pleasure, are the answers:  

Q:  Do you have all the days filled up?
A:  Almost .  I don’t have anyone signed up for Sunday (today) and my Monday “date” backed out on me.   But I’ve had plenty of days where I’m double-booked so I can always count those for any “missing” days.  (And, yeah, if anyone wants to hang out tomorrow. I’m free.)

Q: What’s your favorite day so far?
A:  There’s no way I could pick.   It was kinda cool to go to an Illini game and sit so close.  Janet’s day was special because of the thoughtfulness she put into it.   And the most unusual  thing for me was to go see a story teller*.  But all the days have been fun.  I’ve hung out with tons of people I don’t see on a regular basis and that’s cool.

Q: Are you getting sick of it? Are you tired of going out all the time?
A:  Honestly, no.  I’m having a ton of fun. It’s nice to have some time to myself, but it’s great to know there are actually this many people who want to hang out with me.    

The downside is that I have been eating–and drinking– a lot!   Plus, everyone wants me to pick the destinations and I’ve run out of ideas!  I’ve definitely learned to slow down and pace myself, so it’s a little better.  I’m hoping my 30 days doesn’t turn into Supersize Me.

Q: Are there any things you haven’t  done?  Any places you haven’t been?
A:  A few.  I haven’t been to 7 Saints, The Blind Pig, or Ko-Fusion.**  I’m also dying to try out Jack’s Grill , a new Mediterranean take-out joint that looks really good.   I haven’t been to a single movie and I haven’t seen any live bands, yet, either.   I think I’ll get a chance to see a band on Friday, so that’s cool. 

Q: What are you going to do when it’s all over?
A:  Well, by that time I’ll be 30, so I guess I’ll apply for a membership in AARP,  scope out the senior citizen’s discounts at area restaurants, and check to see if dentures are covered by my dental plan. 

No, seriously… I’ll probably slow down a bit in February, but I already have some fun stuff planned, including the resurrection of Bunco!!

———

* Oh, and the entire ski/snowboarding weekend was awesome and different.  I can’t believe I forgot that.

** And Guidos.  I haven’t been there once, which is odd ‘cuz I used to spend a lot of time in that bar.

30 days of 30: Week 3

I’m almost on the home stretch in my 30 days of 30.  Here’s how week 3 played out:

Monday–   Drinks at Boltini with Scott, Kurt & Charlie.  I was drinking Pear Gimlets, which I fully intent to re-create at home with the Pear vodka I got as a gift.

Scott got me a book of T.S. Eliot poems to help me with my resolution to appreciate poetry.  Kurt photocopied a poem for me later in the week, too.  Books are some of the most thoughtful/personal gifts you can give someone, especially if it’s something you enjoy. I’ve been reading the poems before I go to bed and I’ve certainly gained a better appreciation for the craft.  

Food Note: I highly recommend the goat cheese crostini and the pretzel “fondue.”  Not your average bar food, but oh-s0-good!

Tuesday–  Dinner with Kelli D. at Olive Garden.  Kelli is a childhood friend of mine.  We recently re-connected and through the magic of facebook we stay in pretty close contact. But it was nice to see her in prson for a change and to get an update on her kids, work, etc. It was her first day going back to working nights after being off for a long time, so I’m glad we were able to hang out, even for a little bit.  

Wednesday– Dinner and drinks at Flat Top with Bridget.   She got me the coolest Juno card.  It speaks the line about being cool w/o even trying when you open it.  Awesome!   We then went back to her house for the LOST premiere.  We’re both huge fans and it was nice to watch with someone as crazy, er, dedicated as me!  I also got the opportunity to meet her super-cool boyfriend and their dog Oscar.  Fun night (once we figured out how to open the wine bottle. lol.)

Food note:  We didn’t have dessert at Flat Top, but the guys next to us had some sort of molten chocolate/ice cream concoction.  It looked soooooo good.  I never have room for dessert when I go there, but it might be worth a try.

Thursday–  This was officially Erin’s day since we missed our date earlier this month.  I had lunch with my besties– Steph, Erin, Kim at Houlihan’s.   Including me, this represented half of the email circle, so I guess you could say we had a quarum.   It’s never a dull moment with those girls and I love them dearly.   

Friday– Bobbi and I had planned on going to see The Dark Knight because it was allegedly going to be re-released in the theaters this weekend.I even held off watching it on DVD because I was excited to see it on the big screen.  But apparently it’s not playing here.  So Bobbi, Cory, and I did our usual Friday night happy hour at Bunny’s.  I met their friend Jamie, who was super nice. It was fun and low-key and just what the doctor ordered!

Saturday–  Because of the (relatively) early Friday night, I was uber-productive Saturday during the day.  Then I went to Fat City to celebrate Kristin and Muffy’s birthdays.  It was good to see everyone, but I think I might (gasp!) be getting a little sick of the bar scene.  Shocking, I know!

Sunday–  No one had signed up for today, and I was okay with that.  Cory and I talked about maybe going bowling, but decided to wait for another day when more people could come.  

I stayed in bed reading until noon.  My mom came up to deliver my computer desk (a  Christmas present that was still at her house!), we went to lunch and I’ve been reading, writing, and messing around online ever since.  So, I’m officially marking this day on my 30 days of 30 calendar as Cari day!

Productivity…

We’ve already established that I’m a procrastinator.  I like to think it’s part of my charm, but I’m sometimes forced to admit otherwise!

I realized today how far a little productivity can go in improving my mood.  Due to my 30 days of 30, I’ve been gone a lot.  And my “chores” have suffered.  My dog hasn’t been walked, my house hasn’t been cleaned, and the clean laundry has been sitting in the basket for probably two weeks now.

This morning, instead of lounging around the house, I decided to be productive.  Here’s what I’ve accomplished thus far:

  • Cleaned the house
  • Unloaded/loaded/unloaded dishwasher
  • Put away laundry
  • Sorted through pile of “junk” that had accumulated on my counter
  • Finished this week’s laundry; put it away
  • Went to gym
  • Took Roxie on a long-ish walk

Now that all of this is done, I feel good about lounging around for the next few hours before going out again.  My house is clean, my mind is cleared and I feel like I deserve a little R & R.

Foto Friday: Congratulations, Stephanie!

I was struggling with what photo to feature this week when I came across this shot of Drew and Stephanie.   It was taken at my 28th birthday bash and they had just started dating.  In fact, I think this might have been the first time he met all our friends at once.

They’re getting married in August and I’m thrilled to be part of their special day.   Two years ago, who would’ve thunk that our little VJ would be getting married???   I’m a sucker for a good love story!

February 2007, Geo's

Drew & Steph: February 2007, Geo's

Lost is Back!!

I didn’t take notes on last night’s ep.  Thought it was good, not great, but I’m glad the show is back on-air.

BIG questions:
– who is Faraday’s mom?  We think probably the white-haired lady
– why are Desmond and Locke “special”?  Are they “constants” for island people (i.e. Alpert, Ethan)
– who was the baby in the opening montage?  That *has* to be significant.  I’m thinking there’s a Jin/Sun connection
– why does time keep changing?  Is Ben still turning the wheel?
– why do they all have to be on the island to make it right?   A Back-to-the-Future kind of thing?
– How did Locke get back to the island?  Who joins which “team”?  Is Ben good or Evil? When/how did the pilot (can’t remember his name… looks like Nick Nolte) die? Is Jin really dead?  Is Locke really dead?  Will he be “reanimated” once he returns to the island?  These are probably the season-long questions…

Other thoughts:
–I have a crush on Faraday.  Yes, Sawyer was shirtless for 2/3 of the night, but Faraday is cute to me.
–Hurley is still funny.  I loved the “I need a cool code name” line and the exchange with the woman in the gas station. ‘No, I think you heart them.’ ahahah!
– It was good to see some old characters re-appear.  Except Hurley’s dad.  I hate his hair.
– I don’t understand why Juliet isn’t giving up more about what she knows of the island.  It seems as if Faraday/Charlotte/Miles are now the “information keepers.”
– Speaking of Charlotte, it’s pretty clear that she’s dead a la Roger Workman.  The bloody nose gave that away. Originally I thought it meant that they had moved to the future (after her real-life death), but that’s not the case.  Has she been dead the whole time?  Or does time travel somehow make her sick?  And how did Roger Workman KNOW he was dead, yet she’s oblivious?

Big Day

The countdown is almost over.  The day has finally arrived.   No, not Obama’s first full day in office, although that is important.

Today marks the day that the new season of LOST begins. And I am pumped.  I have a dinner-drinks-and-LOST date planned for my 30 days.  And I’ll try to post reactions as soon as possible.

In case you don’t remember, check out my entry from last year on Why I Heart LOST.

Operation: Cutback

Remember all those resolutions?  Well… it’s time to get to work on them.  I paid bills this morning and let me tell you–it was depressing.

Since I’m not going to be making more money any time soon, I need to start making some adjustments in my spending.   Here are the corners I think I can easily cut (I figure if I publish them here, I’m more likely to follow through):

Netflix– We’ve already determined that I’m horrible at watching the movies I have.   I just checked my Netflix account and I’ve had them at home since September.  Time to either get rid of it all together or downgrade.  Potential Savings: $16.99/month if I cancel; $8.99/month if I downgrade to one movie at a time.

Magazine subscriptions– I currently subscribe to both People and Entertainment Weekly, yet I rarely read both of them every week. I could always borrow from friends or pick up an occasional issue at the newstand Potential Savings: People is approximately $10/month (for the yearly plan), so I’m guessing EW is similar.  I could save a total of $20-$25/month if I cancelled both.

Cable– I spent $92/month on cable and internet.  I have digital cable and HBO, but I rarely watch TV.  Yes, the new season of Big Love started this week, and I enjoyed True Blood when it was on.  But is it really worth the extra $13/month? Also, if I downgrade to “basic” cable, I could save another $38.50 Potential savings: $13.00-$51.50

Cell phone– Believe it or not, I need to upgrade my cell phone plan.  Here’s the thing. I have a super cheap phone plan.  I have a ton of talk minutes, but I do not have unlimited texting.  So I end up paying extra money every month for texting charges. So I think if I get a higher monthly texting plan, I’ll actually end up saving money.  Potential savings: I’m not 100% sure, but I’m guessing $50/month.  Maybe more.

With these small sacrifices, I could save $92- $144 per month, which would more than pay for my car insurance and garbage pickup!  And that’s without really giving up anything major. I can live without cable TV and celebrity magazines, right?   Maybe I’ll even read more books.  I’ll have to get them from the library, though.

Anyone have any other “painless” suggestions?  I don’t regularly drink $4 lattes or get weekly mani/pedis, so that’s not a problem.  Also, don’t bother reccomending cutting coupons or shopping at Goodwill–it’s not going to happen. TJ Maxx is a stretch for me.

PS: 30 days of food

I haven’t really written much about the food I’ve been eating for a number of reasons:

a) this isn’t a food blog
b) I’m not much for taking pix of food (I’ll leave that to Lisa!) and
c) I don’t really think my readers need a meal-by-meal account of what I’ve eaten.

Having said that, though, I have a few recommendations to make:

  • Dessert at Crane Alley– We were all excited about the bread pudding, until they told us they were out.  And then they magically had some left–yay!  It was okay, but the lemon cake was to die for.   A slice of that and a favorite coffee drink were the perfect way to spend a chilly winter night with friends.  I never get dessert unless I’m travelling, so this was a great treat.
  • Radio Maria– I’ve never been disappointed by their food. They were serving brunch that day, but I needed some substance, so I got the Cuban Sandwich, which I’d had before.  But the highlight of the day was the cornbread.  It’s served warm with honey and orange zest and something else I can’t remember. Phenomenal!!
  • Soup’s On! I’m a big fan of the soup-and-salad lunch.  Since it has been so cold lately, I’ve had the opportunity to sample soups at a number of different places.   The chicken and pasta soup at Luna was perfect– way better than anything that comes out of a can.   Similarly, the chicken gumbo at Escobar’s really hit the spot.
    I also had an interesting “stew” at Farren’s on Friday.  It was billed as a pork and root vegetable stew, but the consistency and flavor reminded me of vegetable beef soup.  Of course the “beef” was pork, but it wasn’t as thick as a traditional stew.  Very tasty, just not what I expected.  On the other hand, I had a lentil “soup” at La Gourmandise Bistro that was entirely too thick. I like lentils… and have a great recipe for lentil soup that I love,  but this was not what I expected.  Thank goodness for the dessert at Crane Alley afterwards!