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November 25, 2004

Week at Home - Update!

I'm home! I've actually been here the better part of a week, but as busy doesn't begin to describe it, I haven't had the chance to post.

My flight arrived Saturday afternoon without incident, which is exactly how I like things. The hour in the security line at LAX was not unexpected, and therefore not altogether infuriating or anything. I met some nice folks on the flight who gave me their number "just in case," since my family is not in California with me. We also watched The Notebook, which I enjoyed as much as the first time I saw it. I cried. Again.

Saturday night was the annual collective birthday party, this time at Meg's. I felt bad in not really helping with much of the planning (basically just showed up...), but Em and Meg did a wonderful job and it was much fun. We went dancing at the Living Room, which was almost a wedding-reception-like atmosphere (old people gettin' down!). Good times were had in boogying to the oldies. Then some of us went to Fox and Hound for drinks, where we avoided being picked up by a group of young punks. Silly boys.

Sunday was filled with doing things around the house, and then Finding Neverland with Tammy. Great movie. I laughed, I cried, and I was amazed once again by the depth of Johnny Depp's acting abilities. Love.

Sunday night, I finally gave in to the exhaustion caused by four hours of sleep, followed by a late night partying, followed closely by housework and movies and I fell asleep about 8pm, to awake at 10 am the next morning. Fourteen hours, baby!

On Monday, Mom and I went to meet my godmother at Oakbrook for lunch and a bit 'o shopping. How cruel is it to take someone acclimated to a southern California climate and drop them into an outdoor mall in Chicago during winter? Brrrr. Got home from shopping (and arguing my Sprint bill... finally, finally got that taken care of!) and headed back out to the mall, this time with Dad. He needed some guidance on an appropriate gift for Mom.

Tuesday was a bright and early morning, during which I went to Naperville to visit the old coworkers at the bank. I had business to do, too, in changing my address and closing my old checking account. I visited with people for about an hour and a half, and then pointed my (borrowed) car toward Addison and Theresa's. We went for lunch at the Indian place (I loved it; she did not), and then back to her house for a bit. Went back home for about an hour before Meghan picked me up and we made our way to Milwaukee to see Em.

The three of us, Meg, Em and I, had dinner at a yummy Italian place called Louise's. We then went back to Em's apartment (way cute!), where we met up with Frank and headed out to a bar for some drinks. We went to an Irish pub that had live music played by a lovely Irishman. I was hoping I could find him online to see if he had some sort of CD (he mostly covered familiar songs, but there was one Irish song he snuck into his second set that gave me hope of an outside recording), but I was unsuccessful. Boo. After the bar, Meg and I headed back home to good old Illinois.

Wednesday was really the day of housework! I got up early and went to not one, but two grocery stores. I came home and cooked, cleaned, and watched the rain turn to snow before my very eyes. I thought for sure it wouldn't stick, but as the afternoon wore on, I began to realize that the world was turning white. Poor Jessica's usually-three-hour drive home from school was stretched to more than six hours. Mom and I decided to meet her in the Woodfield area for dinner, as it would cut at least 20 minutes from her trip. It took us an hour to get there. An hour to Woodfield! It's usually no more than 15 minutes. Crazy! We ate, and then Jessica and I went into the mall to purchase birthday gifts for Dad. Made it in under the wire this time.

Today, Thanksgiving, was quite nice. One family of relatives didn't make it out of Kansas City (they were to be driving, but the weather got in the way... boo!), and another family was delayed many hours. Instead of a 9:30 arrival last night, they finally rolled in about 2am this morning. Yikes.

Aside from the family stuck in Missouri, all of my "immediate" relatives were here. We had people in from Wisconsin, Texas, New York, Kansas, and, of course, Illinois. And me, from California. That's weird to think about. The day was nice, dinner was delicious, and the company was grand.

Tomorrow, we're braving the madness and heading downtown to eat under the Christmas tree at Marshall Field's. I hope it's not too too crazy. Meep. Saturday is decorating Grandma's for Christmas, and the big family birthday celebration (covering the five birthdays that occur in a week's time), and Sunday I'll go home.

The week is going by so fast. I haven't been able to slow down or relax, and there are SO many people I wanted to see that I won't be able to. It makes me sad. :( The next trip I make (not counting Christmas, as that will be measured in the number of hours I spend in Illinois) will be more comprehensive, friend-wise.

But my kitty, my sweet, sweet cat, is doing well with his three legs. I miss him so much when I'm not here. I didn't realize how much I love just watching TV with him curled up next to me, and how much I miss it. *sniff*

And now that my nails are dry from my little manicure, I can go to bed.

November 17, 2004

Charles in charge of our days and our nights...

Had my first celebrity-I-recognized encounter on Monday. I feel a little weird writing this on the internet! I'm not sure why. Let's just say he was very nice, and still looked quite good, and he has to come back again in the next week or so to take care of one more thing, so hopefully I'll get to help him again. Who was it? Here, this'll help:

New boy in the neighborhood
Lives downstairs and it's understood.
He's there just to take good care of me,
Like he's one of the family.
Charles in Charge of our days and our nights,
Charles in Charge of our wrongs and our rights!
And I sing, I want, I want Charles in Charge of me.
Charles in Charge of our days and our nights,
Charles in Charge of our wrongs and our rights!
And I sing, I want, I want Charles in Charge of me.

In other news, I'll be home in Chicago on Saturday. Whee! Busy, busy week, of course. What else would I expect? Ha. I feel like every minute is accounted for, so it won't be very relaxing. The entire (and I mean entire) family will be in for Thanksgiving, so I should get to see all my aunts, uncles and cousins (well, one family is unconfirmed as of yet, but I HOPE they come!). Shall be a good time.

November 09, 2004

IQ vs. Voting Trends


November 07, 2004


This weekend, Jamie and Craig came to visit. I had such a good time, and I'm so glad I got to see them. :) Unfortunately, I had to work late both Friday and Saturday, which stunk big time, but the time I did have was great.

Theme of the weekend: DRIVING

I got down to downtown LA (traffic on Friday nights = not good) after work on Friday to pick up Jamie and Craig, and we headed over to Venice to pick up Caitlin. Then we drove up to Santa Monica so that Jamie and Craig could see the ocean. The American Film Market is going on this week, so the place was hoppin'. We walked along the beach for a bit, but the wind off the ocean can be a tad chilly! We headed inland a few blocks to the Third Street Promenade, where we strolled along, saw a couple street performers, raised our eyebrows at the Christmas snow/ice/stone "sculptures" mixed in with the dinosaur topiaries, and found the Gaucho Grill for dinner. After we ate, it was back to downtown, and back up to the Valley for me (which took about 1/4 as long as it had taken me to get down there earlier). Of course, not before being harassed by a couple homeless men on the corner. Yipes. Some of the richest people in the world live in LA, and so do some of the poorest.

Saturday I had to work (due to a messed up vacation schedule and an untimely interbranch transfer of a coworker). I would have gotten off right quick, but a woman was trying to rob us, I swear. I haven't been more sure of a thing in all my life. She was wasting time, making excuses to stay in the branch until all other customers had left (which, by this time was a good 15 minutes after the doors had been locked for closing), and her attempts at her account were fishy (guessing at her mother's maiden name, having to sign her name three different ways to try to match the signature... needless to say, the teller did not complete the transaction). And I was almost positive she had a gun in her purse. If our security guard (god bless 'im, we hired him temporarily after the last robbery) hadn't stuck to her like glue, I'm sure she would have tried something!

Anway, left work late due to that little fiasco. So by the time I got down to Hollywood to meet Jamie and Craig, it was getting on a little past lunchtime. Plus, the roads in Hollywood (at least Hollywood and Sunset Blvds) were closed due an anti-war/anti-Bush rally. We had to take a detour before we made it to Mel's on Sunset for lunch. After stuffing ourselves, Jamie and Craig wanted to see the big houses, the view from the hills, and the ocean in the daylight. It was almost 4pm. So I took them a bit through Beverly Hills for the nice level-ground estates, and then up into the Hollywood Hills for the views and hillside homes. We drove along Mulholland and pulled off to the side for some pictures. Mulholland dumps you out into the Valley, so I made a valient effort to drive up Ventura Blvd and through Topanga Canyon to get us to the beach before sunset. I was, sadly, unsuccessful. Sun sets too early these days! And it's really a breathtaking view, Topanga Canyon. It's very steep and windy, and you go around one final curve and all of a sudden the Pacific Ocean is straight ahead. The road lets you off onto the Pacific Coast Highway. I wish it would have still been daylight. We stopped for pictures, anyway, before taking the PCH back through Santa Monica and towards home.

We stumbled in around what, 7:30? After a good 3 1/2 or 4 hours of driving. Heh. I gave them the Grand Tour, we looked up some real estate (hee) and then we were off to Blockbuster to rent a movie. Blockbuster was crazy croweded, for no good reason. We came home with movies and beer (for Craig and Caitlin) and settled in. Then I drove Jamie and Craig back to their hotel, and they were off.

The weekend was FAR too short! I'm so glad they came, though. There's so much more to do next time, and of course there's the trying-to-talk-them-into-joining-me-and-moving-here thing. *wink* My roommates also really liked Jamie and Craig. Good times!

Anyway, the couches in the living room and the bed in the kitchen are always available for anyone who wants to visit. *wink wink, nudge nudge*

Today, Caitlin and I ran some errands, ate at Olive Garden, and saw Shall We Dance. Good way to spend a Sunday.

November 03, 2004

The Election.

Not my vote
Not my choice
Not my president

This is my voice, this is my protest.