Monthly Archives: July 2009

Foto Friday: I really love my… white sunglasses

In looking for something to post this week, I realized that I’m a HUGE fan of my white sunglasses.   As you may remember from this post, “I really love my…” is a feature in some dumb magazine that I like to replicate from time to time.

Without further adieu, the life and times of my fave white sunglasses:

July 2009, Cubs/Cards game, Chicago

July 2009, Cubs/Cards game, Chicago

June 2009, Cubs/Reds game, Cinci

June 2009, Cubs/Reds game, Cinci

July 2006, Jamaica... after waaayyy too many rum runners!

July 2006, Jamaica... after waaayyy too many rum runners!

Yep, they’re *that* old.   They now have paint specs all over them.  Might be time for a new pair.

i refuse to wear leggings

  • I don’t care how trendy they are or how many stores send me promos for them, I’m NOT wearing leggings.  No way.  No how.
  • My paint still isn’t done.  It’s almost done.  That’s like almost being pregnant.  I don’t want to talk about it.
  • Yesterday I almost started an office fire with a pop tart and saw a guy riding a bike with a ferret around his neck.   All in one day!
  • I had a minor case of baby fever this morning when my co-worker brought her twins in.  This has never happened before. I must be 30.
  • I spent entirely too much time  looking for a picture of a bulldozer running over some records for an “inspired” blog post idea.   Suffice it to say I abhor that song about “doing the Helen Keller.”   FAIL.
  • I’m going on vacation in a little over a week.  I finally decided two days ago.  My planning skills are sub-par while my procrastination is at an all-time high.
  • I had granola bar on the front of my shirt all morning.  Which is sad, because I thought I already brushed it off.  Twice.
  • “I wanna change my clothes, my hair, my face”   And update my iPod.  Bruce is getting old.  Literally and figuratively.
  • I’m starting to remind myself of the “Always Wear Sunscreen Guy.”  You know what I’m talking about, right?  (Fine. I’ll go look it up for you)

(didn’t know Baz Luhrmann did that.  Hmm.)

That is all.

Foto Friday: During

Painting is still not done.

The Devil is in the details, as they say, and I think there’s a little bit of burn-out going on, too. But I can’t resist sharing a few “during” pictures.  This whole project was pretty much started because of the poor state of the garage. Paint was flaking off of it and it was in DESPERATE need of a paint job.

garage, before

garage, before

Garage, during:  After scraping and sanding

Garage, during: After scraping and sanding

back of garage-- paint peeling off (again, after scraping and sanding)garage, during (back)–paint peeling off (again, after scraping and sanding)
garage, during:  paint is cut in!

garage, during: paint is cut in!

garage, during-- almost done!!

garage, during-- almost done! You can see the detail at the top

garage, after. Please ignore the debris in the pic

garage, after. Please ignore the debris in the pic

Yeah, the garage is done!  And so is most of the house, but we need to finish up some small things before I can post the “big reveal” pics.  I’m soooo happy with how it turned out.

15 in 15

This blog thing is kinda funny.

Inspired by some of our 5-10-15-20 lists, Lisa wrote this piece for our education newsletter blog.   In the comments, someone posted a link to THIS blog exercise which, in turn, inspired me to write the entry you’re now reading.

Since many of you have posted about reading lately, I thought I’d take the challenge, so here goes:

The rules are simple—think of 15 books in no more than 15 minutes.  The titles don’t have to be cool or influential, just books that stick with you.

Here’s my list (posted in the order in which I thought of them):

  1. Crashing Through by Robert Kurson
    I read this one on vacation two years ago and I’m hoping to read it again this summer.   It’s the story of a blind man who gets his vision back, but it’s soooo much more than that. It’s about courage and commitment and a live-life-to-the-fullest philosophy we can all learn from.   Utterly fascinating! Read my review, which was originally posted on mySpace.
  2. Ishmael by Daniel Quinn
    When forced to pick one favorite book, I always list Ishmael. It was assigned reading in a sociology class in college and I immediately fell in love with its approachable themes of sustainability, responsibility, and the questioning of “facts.”   As I’ve become more educated on many of the issues illustrated in the book, I can understand why some people criticize it for being too simplistic, but it got me “hooked,” so it will always be one of my favorites.
  3. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
    Before I read Ishmael this would’ve been my “favorite book.”  I borrowed a copy from Mr. Kleiss’ classroom library in 5th grade and never returned it!   From the first sentence to “stay gold, Ponyboy” this book has a permanent place in my heart.
  4. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime by Mark Haddon
    We read this in book club and I remember liking it. It’s different. It’s quirky.   I usually like books where I learn about something outside of my realm of experience and this kicked off my fascination with Asbergers Syndrome.
  5. Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton
    I read this during my “books that were made into movies” stage and then I read a bunch of other Michael Crichton books soon after.  It has stuck with me after all of these years SIMPLY because there are a couple of scenes in the movie that make a lot more sense after you’ve read the book.  Of course, I don’t remember details now, but one of them has to do with dinosaur dung.
  6. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
    I’ve probably read this book 3 or 4 times for school.  Any time we could pick our own book for independent reading or for literature circles, I picked this one because a) I’d already read it and b) it’s really, really short.   Steinbeck is a great writer, but at the time I was impressed with his conciseness more for my own good than for its literary merit!
  7. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
    Around the time Scarlett came out (the Gone with the Wind sequel, Google tells me it was 1992. I was 13), my mom had hardcover copies of both of the books in our house.  I was impressed by the length of the book (“It’s bigger than the dictionary, Mom!”) and decided to read it one summer.  I remember laying out in our backyard for HOURS devouring the tale of Rhett and Scarlett and wishing I lived in the South.   It was YEARS before I saw the movie and although I appreciated the whole making-a-dress-from-curtains thing, it wasn’t nearly as good as I’d hoped.
  8. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
    I don’t remember much about the plot of this anymore, but I remember loving the book when I was younger.  And I’m sure it has helped shape my current obsession with Lost and all it’s time-travel loops.   Time for a re-read on this one as well.
  9. Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling
    I jumped on the HP train kinda late. I refused to read them when they first became popular simply because they were popular.   Then I took a trip to visit my grandma.  Was reading the books and had the first 3 in paperback by the bed in the spare room. I couldn’t sleep and didn’t have anything to read, so I opened up the first one and was immediately enchanted.   I made it almost halfway through the first book that night and she let me borrow the other ones.    The next day was September 11, 2001.   During the days that followed, I watched the news like everyone else, but I’d spend my nights reading about Harry and Hogwarts.  Perfect escapism.
  10. Lamb by Christopher Moore
    I love Christopher Moore’s books.  The first one I read was about the grim reaper.  This one is a fictionalized story of Biff, Jesus’s best friend. It’s funny (and not quite as sacriligious as it sounds).  Moore’s books are great vacation/easy reads.
  11. Same Kind of Different as Me by Ron Hall, Denver Moore, and Lyn Vincent
    This book was given to me as a gift and even though the gift-giver described it as “kind of spiritual” I read it anyway. (I don’t usually go for “spiritual,” but I almost always feel obligated to read things people give me.)   I’m so glad I did.  It’s the story of a homeless man and an upper-crust art dealer who become friends.  But, more importantly, it’s a story about love and sacrifice and just being a good person.  I read the ending on a plane and couldn’t keep the tears from rolling down my face.  I highly recommend it.
  12. Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice
    I’m not sure how or why I started reading Anne Rice.  I’m not especially interested in vampires and I never was much of a “horror” reader, so maybe it was the Brad Pitt/Tom Cruise movie that encouraged me to read the book.   I loved it!  And I quickly devoured more of the books in the Vampire Chronicles series.  They are MUCH better than that *other* vampire series.
  13. The Family Nobody Wanted by Helen Doss
    This was my mom’s favorite book growing up.  We had an old, tattered hardcover copy at our house, the kind with the cloth cover (you know… it wasn’t slick and shiny like hardcovers are today.)   I remember picking it up because I needed something to read, but I have NO CLUE how old I was.   It’s the story of a couple who adopt a bunch of “unadoptable” kids– racially and ethnically diverse kids who “nobody wanted.”   Another for the re-read list as I wonder how well it would hold up today.
  14. The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
    Like just about every kid I know, my first introduction to poetry was through Silverstein’s Where the Sidewalk Ends and A Light in the Attic, but the book that actually sticks with me is The Giving Tree. My aunt Linda gave me this story about a boy and his unusual relationship with a tree when I was fairly young, and that book has followed me to college, to internships, to various apartments/houses, and now it has a place on my bookshelf at work.  It’s cheesy and sentimental, but–at it’s heart– has a good message of friendship and of, well, giving.
  15. Scruples by Judith Kranz
    This is by far the most random book on the list. I remember buying a box of books at a garage sale when I was in 7th or 8th grade.  My cousin and I “shared” the box and sifted through it to find something to read.  We landed on this story of a woman who does something in the fashion business.  I’m not a huge fan of romance novels, but I REALLY liked this one.   We both read the book and would take turns looking for the “good parts.”   This may have been a precursor to my short-lived fascination with Jackie Collins!


So, there you have it:  15 books in 15 mins (although it took considerably longer to write this post!).  Quick– can you think of 15 books that have stuck with you over the years??

And, yes, I plan on reading Jane Austen now.  You’ve all convinced me!! :)

Dear Readers,

I need your help. 

You might recall a while back when I blogged about the National Day on Writing, a big initiative we’re undertaking at my work.   Well, now we’re inviting submissions, with the goal of getting 100,000 pieces of writing by October.

Since many of my dear readers are also bloggers, I encourage you to upload your favorite blog post (you can just copy and paste the URL) and ask your blogging friends to do the same.    On October 20, 2009 all of this will be visible at

As the marketing genius at Nike once said…. JUST DO IT!

Foto Friday: Before

I know I’ve been talking about my Never-ending Painting Project for a LONG time now… but the end is finally in sight.   As a taste of what is yet to come, here’s the “before” of my house (from when I first purchased it 2.5 years ago)



Inspired by Scott’s post (who was inspired by [dan], who was in turn inspired by Pitchfork), I’ve decided to highlight the music I was listening to at various stages in my life.  I’d like to say that my musical tastes are more refined/hipper than what is represented here, but that’s not necessarily true!

Age 5– Country Crooner
Oak Ridge Boys,  Greatest Hits #2

Road trips.  Grey conversion van.  Singing “Bobbie Sue” and “American Made”  for hours on end with my family.  My dad taking the low parts and the rest of us attempting to harmonize.

The Oak Ridge Boys will forever be solidified in my musical history as the first concert I ever attended.  Even now, I can’t help but sing along to the baseline in “Elvira”  (a-boom-bop-a-boom-bop-a-bow-wow) and “Thank God for Children” tugs at my heartstrings every time.  

C’mon– I was five!!



Age 10– Pop PrincessForever Your Girl cover
Paula Abdul, Forever Your Girl

Forever Your Girl is the first CD I ever bought (along with Whitney Houston’s self-titled debut–the one with “Greatest Love of All” on it).  I saved up all of my Christmas and birthday money, went to Good Vibes and for about $200 bought a state-of-the-art Sony CD player (sans remote) and two CDs.  I thought I was soooo cool!

I would hang out in my “music room” (actually a converted walk-in closet that was once connected to my brother’s room) and listen to this CD over and over and over.  I liked to rap along with MC Skat Cat on “Opposites Attract” and my friends and I choreographed our own dance routines to “Straight Up” and “Cold Hearted Snake.”  Little did we know that years later, Ms. Abdul would become famous as the “nice but loopy” judge on American Idol.

Honorable mentions:  Madonna Like a Prayer, Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation 1814

Age 15–  “Alternative” Angst
Nirvana, Unplugged in New YorkMTV Unplugged in New York cover

By 1994, I was completely enmeshed in “alternative” (i.e. mainstream) rock.   Kurt Cobain was my John Lennon and his suicide had a profound impact on my teenage disposition (and wardrobe).   Even though the validity of its “unplugged” moniker is debatable, there’s something completely mesmerizing about the stripped-down music, the haunting melodies, and the raspy pained vocals of Senor Cobain.   From the opening chords of “About a Girl” to the banter in between songs (“Am I gonna do this one… by myself?”) I can still recite every sound on this album and it will always have a place on my list of all-time favorites.

Honorable mentions: Tom Petty, Wildflowers;Weezer,  Blue Album;   Hole,  Live Through This


Age 20– Rock/Rap Rebellion
Eminem, The Slim Shady LP

What’s more annoying than the rock/rap “craze” of  the late 90s/early 2000’s?… The fact that I got sucked into it!  

I’ll even admit to seeing Eminem and Limp Bizkit in concert together this year.  I also saw Kid Rock/Metallica/Korn in STL, but I’m a little fuzzy on the dates.  

I was in college when The Slim Shady LPcame out and my friend (and now sister-in-law) Jo and I would listen to this album nonstop.    It’s definitely not  my favorite Eminem album, but it introduced me to his unique blend of emotional poignancy, celebrity trash-talk and stupid-boy humor.  It’s decidedly non-feminist, but that didn’t bother me back then… it was a rap album I could sing along too!

I make no excuses for liking Limp Bizkit, though.  Fred Durst made the red hat a douchebag fashion symbol before douchebag was even an insult.

Honorable Mentions:  Kid Rock– Devil without a Cause, Limp Bizkit–Significant Other;  Korn– Follow the Leader

Age 25– Single Schmingle
Outkast, “Hey Ya”

It’s probably more telling what isn’t listed here than what is.  25 was a pivotol year in my life.   By this time, I’d been working at my job for 3 years and had decided to end a long-term relationship and move back in with my mom to save money.   Many of my friends were getting married and some were having babies, yet I can’t think of any one album or artist that I was listening to at the time.   I searched the Top Albums and Top Singles charts and nothing really struck me.   Maybe I was downloading individual songs by then.  Or maybe I was just blindly listening to the radio, who knows.

 “Hey Ya” introduced “shake it like a Polaroid picture” into the lexicon and the video was vibrant and colorful, but to say it is in any way indicative of this time in my life would be false.  

Let’s just say it’s a catchy tune and leave it at that, shall we??

What are your definitive songs/albums?  I’m hoping some of my blogger friends will take the challenge and write about what they  were listening to back in the day!

Only me…

Thanks to the weather, we had a much-needed reprieve from the Never Ending Painting Project  yesterday (more on that later… maybe).

Kyle asked me to go to Potomac with him for a family anniversary party.  I was excited to meet his dad and step mom for the first time so, naturally, I picked out the most appropriate picnic-y outfit I could find.  First impressions and all.

We were running late, so I had Kyle drive and said I’d put my make up on in the car.

Powder makeup + bumpy car + white shirt = catastrophe.    Despite my best efforts with the Tide stick, it looked like I dropped an ice cream cone down my shirt.

Crap.  We were  already late, so there was  no time to go home and change.

We stopped in Rantoul to by a shirt.  Yes,  Rantoul.   At a Rural King.

I looked around for approximately 2 mins and the cutest thing I could find was this  tee with WRANGLER written on the front.

you can't really see the WRANGLER written in tan script--but it's there!

you can't really see the WRANGLER written in tan script--but it's there!

So, yeah, I  made my first impression on his family in a Wrangler shirt from Rural King.

Only me.

I Know What You Did Last Summer

Or, well, 2 summers ago, I guess…     Here’s the text of a blog post I wrote on mySpace back in the day.

What did I do over the 4th of July weekend that year?   I painted the inside of my house.   What am I doing this year for the 4th of July weekend?   Painting the outside of my house!

Normal blogging will resume at some point.  Hopefully with before and after pictures.


Monday, July 09, 2007

Beer Tents and Cover Bands

Okay, so I had this weekly blogging goal… and I was doing pretty good until I mentioned ON THE BLOG that I was going to blog once a week… and then it totally fell apart.  But with good reason.  I’ve been busy!

Wanna know what I’ve been up to?  Great… keep reading… and maybe leave a comment!  If not… screw you—ahahah!

Thursday, June 28: Live Karoke Band (yeah, I’m going back that far).

We went to go see Live Karoke Band at Radmakers in Tolono.  If you’ve never heard of LKB, they’re pretty cool.  It’s a bunch of guys from local bands (including Tommy “Tubular” and Guido from the Brat Pack and Jeff from X-Krush, who also happens to be part owner of Rads)…. Anyway, their gig is exactly like it sounds:  a live band who plays cover songs and audience members get up and sing.  Kinda like every little girl’s rockstar fantasy, right.  (well, maybe most little girls have princess fantasies, but we all know I’m not normal).   Anyway, it was fun to watch and I’ll mos def go back… but none of our group went up and sang. Next time I’m gonna try to round up a bigger posse and get a few more drinks in me and maybe—just maybe—my rockstar fantasy will come true.

Friday, June 29: Tolono Beer Tent

The next night was the Tolono Beer Tent to kick-off Tolono Fun Day.  Since I wasn’t able to go to fun day, I figured I’d make an appearance at the beer tent.  Definitely some good people watching. (oh, and the Tons of Fun Band was playing– yet another cover band… I’m sensing a pattern here) I ran into some old friends who only remembered seeing me in my Dolly Parton costume… thank God I looked better that night—ahahah!   Little did I know that this would be the first of many beer tents in my future.

Saturday, June 30:  Party Down in Indy

Headed to Indy for Kelly & Dave’s 2nd annual 4th of July extravaganza.   Since I was in Jamaica last year at this time and couldn’t make it, I figured I should make the trip.  (that and I know the Romanos throw KILLER parties… and I hadn’t yet met their son, which makes me a bad former roommate).  Anyway, I was late leaving and then on the way there I got pulled over.  Apparently, if a cop is on the shoulder with his lights on, you’re supposed to move out of the right-hand lane. Who knew?   The cop was kinda a dick to me, but let me off with a warning.  I think it had something to do with my low-cut top—LOL.

After FINALLY making it to Indy, I enjoyed a night of reminiscing about the 10 x 10 with Kelly, meeting her friends and watching Independence Day on their homemade GIANT outdoor movie screen (they even had a popcorn maker… cool!).   We then played a couple of rounds of Circle of Death (which some people called Kings Queen or something) and I got fairly toasted.   After a group outing to Perkins to enjoy their mammoth muffins, I headed back to C-U.

Sunday, Monday– boring normal life stuff.  Nothing remarkable

Tuesday—4th of July Eve Barcrawl

I convinced my friends Lesley, Clennon and Drew to come home and enjoy the pre-4th festivities.  We were going to visit Steph on her last night at Rock’s and then head to the Rose Bowl to see the Feuding Hillbillies….   For those of you not familiar w/C-U, the Rose Bowl is the ONE and ONLY country bar left—honestly, we’re not rednecks.  But we did see a band called the Fueding Hillbillies who were exactly what you might expect…. They did a lovely mash-up of Lynard Skynard/Eminem.  It really was quite interesting.  After that we went to see the Boat Drunks (Jimmy Buffett cover band)  where they had YET ANOTHER beer tent.  I ran into a TON of people I know including my sister and some co-workers.  I barely even saw the people I came with.  After that, we went to Guidos, then the Esquire, then Mary Anne’s and then home…. LONG night.   The out-of-town gang crashed at my house and got up the next morning to go home… sad!

Wednesday, July 4: The beginning of paint

I got a wild hair and decided that NOW is the time to finally get rid of the white walls in my house. I’ve been there for 5 months… and finally got my furniture, so I decided it was now or never.  I took Thurs. and Fri. off just for the task.   Wednesday I got the prep work done.  My mom brought me the supplies from my brothers house and then I started working.

Thursday and Friday: More Painting and Fun

I made great progress on the painting project, with the occasional trip to the pool/email break thrown in for good measure.

Friday July 6:  Bunco and Tuscola Beer Tent

Sorry to disappoint my fans, but Bunco this month was unthemed.  Well, it was supposed to be ugly swimsuits, but the date got changed, so we weren’t swimming.  Lindsey and I decided to show up in ugly swimsuits anyway (which my mom graciously let us borrow)…   fortunately for all of you, there is no photographic evidence of these suits… Sorry!     After that, we went to the Tuscola Beer tent.   Tuscola was celebrating their sequecentenial  (which, apparently, means 150 years), so we felt we needed to help them celebrate  (sorry… I don’t remember the name of the cover band playing that night).  It was much more fun than I thought it would be and I ended up getting fairly tipsy and crashing at my mom’s in Tolono, since Urbana was a little too far for me to drive

Saturday July 6: Surprise– Painting (and a wedding)

was more painting and then my niece’s wedding.  Yep, you read that right: my neice got married!  She’s really my half-niece and she’s 20, so it’s not THAT weird… but I remember when she was born and never thought she’d be married before me.   At any rate, it was good to see my Grannie, my brother and my sister…and a bunch of people who knew me, but I didn’t know them.  I always think that’s weird.

Sunday: The end of the Paint–Thank GOD!

Yesterday, my mom came up and helped me finish the touch-ups on the paint.  Apparently, it takes 8 hours to touch up paint and I was just ready for it to be DONE…. After she left, I cleaned up and hit the sack.


For some ungodly reason, I got up at 4:30 in the morning… and have been going ever since.  Went to the gym. Went to work.  Came home.. got caught up on Entourage and Big Love and here I am…. FINALLY getting back to my blogging with a freshly painted house and a week and a half full of stuff to write about.   I’ve probably left something out, but you get the idea.

Hopefully something blog worthy will happen this week and I’ll find some time to write.