Thursday, July 29, 2010

Last night

My lovely sitting outside looking at pictures of friend's trip to Europe was brought to me by:

Um, can you say YUM?

I love Allagash, it's delicious.

I also love sitting outside at a bar, having a few drinks, good naturedly swatting away bugs. There's nothing quite like Chicago in the summertime.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

WILD life

Y'all recall the fairly recent "racoon incident", as I like to call it? Well, here's what happened last night: Pulling up to my house last night. A little tipsy, and on the phone with Shannon. Me: "I gotta go!! There's two skunks right in front of my house!" click These two baby skunks (awesome, there's a big fat momma skunk somewhere too) look at me, give me the finger, and RUN UNDER MY CAR. THAT I'M SITTING IN. I call VonSis "Halp!!!!! Halp!!!!" "What?" "There's two skunks under my car! Oh my God! Are you home!?!?!" "I'm looking out the window at you. I don't see them" "That's because they are under my car! Halp!" "Put your car in reverse." I do. One skunk runs out and across the street. He sits just across the street, grinning and glaring at me. The other skunk? MIA. Fuck "Halp!" "Only one came out. I see it! Come up the front stairs!" "No! Halp!!!" I decide to risk it, and try to jump out of my car. My backpack strap gets stuck on my emergency brake, and I can't get out of the car!! I'm shaking and bouncing around, totally looks like I'm having a seizure. VonSis is watching this all from the safety of her second story window. Angry punk skunk is still looking at me from just barely across the street. He gives me the finger again. I get the bag loose, fly out of the car, walk quickly to the front door. Going "Eek! Help!Eek! HALP!Eek! Bleh!" the whole time. Get in the house. Look out the window. And the evil brat skunk? Back in front of my house. What is up with the Chicago area wildlife!?!?!?

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

More throwing $$ away

I'm thinking about getting a cleaning lady. For reals. But, Von, you ask, don't you live in like 418 square feet? Why, yes, reader, I do. And thanks for paying attention these last couple of years. No, I'm not that lazy, as some might think. It's more of a time thing. This past weekend I cleaned and scrubbed and dusted and scrubbed the hell out of my bathroom. This took time. The bathroom is now immaculate. And then I ran out of time. The living room crapet (not a typo. I hate the carpeting so much, it's now the crapet) is in need of vacuuming. Or wacumming - direct quote from old room-mates very German father: "Wonnie! Und you must wacuum!! Dis whooooole room! Wonnie! Must wacuum!!!" Ahem. The living room crapet is in dire need of a good solid vacuuming. I.ran.out.of.time. No kidding. So. I'm thinking of throwing yet more $$ away and hiring someone else to clean my place. Not weekly or anything, it'll be more of a once a month deep clean, with me doing the weekly maintenance. I like a clean neat house. Of course, the German in me will need to be there, at least the first couple of times, to make sure things are done right. This, then, will save me no time at all. But it'll be done right. Hey, don't judge.

Monday, July 26, 2010


Man. No one can ever really hurt you as much as your friends can. Call it a life lesson.

And this is the concert I went to last Sunday:

He was totally on my "Concert Bucket List". Such a great show. One of the best times I've had this summer.

Friday, July 23, 2010

The big wedding

So, here's the rest of my awesome weekend last weekend. Saturday was VonBro(the elder)'s wedding. He married WW, who is a super awesome woman. From Hong Kong. This meant not your typical wedding, uh-uh, no way, not even close bub. The parts I didn't participate in: VonBro had to go to China Town to WW's house and perform feats of loyalty and strength to get to see his bride. I hear there was running, wasabi ice cubes, bribery - VB had a $1,000 bill that he offered to the bridesmaids, to no avail. The final offer was leaving the ladies the limo to take to the church. I hear it worked. Day after wedding dim sum (or however you spell it) the day after. I was somewhere else. I'll tell you where later. Whole roasted pig. Um, bleh. . I was second reader in the Catholic mass. It didn't help that for the three days leading up to the wedding the only practicing I did was "Love is patient! Love is kiiiindddd!" said in a loud, horrifying southern mans voice. God only knows where I got this idea in my head. But it made me laugh. First reader was eldest nephew, who has *ahem* an effeminate way about him. And oh-sweet-Jesus, he's an uptalker. His reading went something like this "A REEEEding from the Boook of Genissssssisss? And GOd? He said to Adaaaaaam?" Ok, at least I could not possibly do worse than he did. I did get reprimanded for not bowing or some shit before I went up to read. Um, really? As a lapsed Catholic who really does not believe in Mass, you're lucky I even knew where to go to do my reading. The church part was ok, but anytime the Catholics want to spend some $$ and get some a/c in the churches, that would be good. It wasn't too bad, but lining up for pictures was hot. We took many many many family pictures. This is a little rough, considering there are seven of us kids, five have spouses, four have kids, that's a LOT of people to corral. Best part of church, my poor skinny little VonDad made it through without fainting, so that's good. Most interesting part of church - I cried like a sissy pretty much the whole time. WTF. Either I was more tired than I thought, or I'm ready for a boyfriend or something. It was weird. I usually confine my crying to the privacy of my own home. Blubbering mess I was. Went from north side Chicago church to China Town recepti0n, which is south Loop, point being TOTALLY FAR AWAY FROM EACH OTHER. VonSis and I hauled ass as we had some reception prep to do. Namely, the god-damned cupcake monstrosity. Long story short, there was a VonMom vision that involved miniature and regular sized cupcakes, one ginormous cupcake that VonSis and I were tasked with making happen. The making happen part involved a Styrofoam ball and tooth picks. We were supposed to make this orb look like a big pretty flower with mini cupcakes. Cupcakes are no strangers to gravity. Put a cupcake on, move on to the next one, blop, there goes the one you just put on. We were short on both time and cupcakes, so the situation just got worse and worse. VonSis and I were laughing to the point of crying. VonSis was also crying kinda because she did not want anyone to know that she had anything to do with this. "This is horrible" "hahhaaahahahaaa" wipes eyes "I hate this. I hate butter cream" "Hey! I watch Food Network Challenge!! If they can make a working roller coaster out of sugar and chocolate, we can make an orb of mini cupcakes look like a flower!!" "ahahaaaahahaaaa" holds sides, doubles over, nearly pees on self "Back to work!" Not going to lie, it was pretty bad. Ugly, even. It looked like a 1976 Tournament of Roses parade float on acid. But it was soooo funny to work on!! WW had no less than four dresses at the reception. She looked lovely. She had an American white wedding dress, a red and gold Chinese pants suit, a grey (gorgeous!!!!) American evening gown, and a red and gold super awesome Chinese dress. So very cool. Every time she left the room, I was excited to see what she was wearing when she came back. That part of it was very cool. The menu It was a gigantic Chinese menu. I'll try to remember all that we ate: Cold pork platter - I didn't eat this. I ate a little of the jelly fish garnish that was on it. Crab claw stuffed with crab and lobster - um, yes please!! So so so good Shark fin soup - I ate this. Even though Shannon called the consistency viscous Shrimp and scallops - so so so so good! Crispy skin chicken - good, but could have done without the head being on the platter Beef and Chinese vegetables - meh. Ok, not great Lobster with garlic - so so so so good. No one else really ate it at our table. Shannon and I went to town. Yin Yang fried rice - I was full, I didn't eat it Noodles with mushrooms - again, full, didn't eat it Mango and coconut flan type thing - full, didn't eat it Dessert - um, i hear it's hot bean soup, with beans that have soaked in sugar for a long time. bleh. no thanks and there's one or two other dishes I can't remember. A huge huge meal, and way better than I thought it was going to be! Dancing, cake cutting, etc etc. Me trying to get 16 year old nephew to drink with me. Didn't go so well. I tried. I'm the cool aunt. Cried some more during the first dance and cake cutting and such. Again, wtf? Was forced to the dance floor for the bouquet toss. Oh, hell no. Was the tallest girl in the group - Damn Asians!!! I lined them all up in front of me as a defensive tactic. All the sudden I hear "Go Von!" and I look over, there's VonMom and VonSis sitting with their fingers crossed. I daintily gave them the finger. Defense worked, no bouquet for me. Many Grey Goose vodka & tonics later, I was ready to go. Overall, a good time. I forget that sometimes it can be fun to be with my crazy, huge family.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

But then

I was going to give you the VonBro wedding recap, but my work day turned to major scheize. So You'll have to wait another day. Spend your free time cursing really stupid people for me, would ya? Thanks

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Back to the Brau Haus

Friday night found me hanging out at the BrauHaus. We were there to celebrate TheMarty's birthday. Funny thing, BrauHaus is the first place I met TheMarty. I was sooo much nicer that time!! Dinner was at 8:00, a little late for dinner, I thought, but that's ok. It gave me time to take a quick Friday afternoon nap. Got to the restaurant first - what a shock. Table was set for way more people than I had thought would be there. People trickled in, and by 8:45 we were ready to order. I had me some yummy Thuringer and some spaetzle. I guess a lot of people ordered that, from the looks of things. There was much drinking. I actually had planned to not drink, due to StepBro's wedding the next day, but when it became clear that the bill was going to be split evenly, I ordered a beer. Here's the thing. Generally, when I am with really good friends, OR if I am with a larger group and we are all drinking about the same, I don't mind splitting the bill. However When there's a dozen people I don't know and/or these people are all drinking liters upon liters upon liters of beer, and I'm having Sprite, how it is even possible to have the cajones to ask me to split the bill?? I wtf that in a big way. But It was TheMarty's birthday, so I shelled out quite a bit of cash for my pop and hot dogs. **I don't want to say how much, as TheMarty reads my blog** I kinda let it roll off me then, but I'm still a little miffed about it. I planned for the evening, I didn't go into it with $3 in my wallet and some lint. But still. A fun evening. I got to be catty/bitchy to one of Shannon's friends who deserved it. I tried to talk to one guy. Turns out I'm not allowed to talk to that guy. Um, ok. So Good restaurant, good food, I hope TheMarty had a nice time. Movin' on.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Going back to go forward

My weekend was so fantastic, that I think I can make a week's worth of posts about it. But. I have to start with my Friday afternoon. SO I had a summer day Friday, which is supposed to mean NO work. Out of the goodness of my little heart, I logged on mid-morning to get some things done for LB1 (Chicago boss) and LB2 (LA Boss). LB2 was on vacation, and she had something big going on, so I wanted to help out with that. Well, one thing led to another, and I started doing all kinds of things. I got annoyed with both myself and my co-workers. So, not only did I log out, but I left the house to get work out of my mind. After running some errands, I decided to stop by my last place of employment. Um What a hovel. They have moved three doors down from the last location that I worked in. The new space was tiny, with only one office, a closet of a lunch room, a small "conference room" and one bathroom. Ick. The conference room had my old desk in it, but now it was covered with ashes and loaded down with crap, and ashtrays (I mean, is it 1976? that people can smoke in the workplace?), and more crap. I walked around they very small warehouse, and noticed how bare the shelves were. Part numbers started getting my attention. It's been just over three years, but I can see what problems the have, and the dark hole they seem to be headed into. I went into the office to visit my old co-worker J. There was a memorial poem and mass card on the wall for our co-worker who had been murdered by her husband in the last year that I was with the company. I had (almost) forgotten about her, and her sad fate. There were also cards that J had kept after the death of her boyfriend, who was another co-worker and friend who had died suddenly while in traveling for work. This also happened in my last year at that job. I was reminded how sad we all were, losing two co-workers and friends within six months of each other. I was reminded how I myself used to smoke like a chimney - yes, sometimes at my desk - at that job. Especially when I worked 12 hour days in the summer and the winter. I was reminded that I was miserable and feeling trapped and knowing I was in no way living up to my best potential there. I stayed for about 45 minutes, in which a few people let me know that even now, my old boss P would love to have me back, and in fact says that every now and then. I let J know that by no means could that company afford me. Sure, that job let me wear shorts in the summer and sweatpants in the winter. True, it was a seven minute drive from my house. I do, though, miss the people there. When you work somewhere for 10 years with pretty much the same core people, you come to care about them. We weathered tragedies, our company being sold, then bought, then sold and bought again, successes, failures, crazy people, great people........I do miss them. These are the only good things I think of that place. I said my good byes and got in my car. I looked around the nasty dirty little industrial park that I called second home for 10 years, 4 months and a few days. I wondered how we ever ate out lunch, where did we go? Did we just order in? There's nothing over there! As I drove away, I called LB1, who was at home. "Hello?" "LB1?" "Yeah?" "I just have to thank you for hiring me away from that shit hole three years ago. Like really. Like thank you thank you thank you." "?" "I mean, I'm so much better than that place!" "?" Sometimes to know how much we've changed, we need to revisit where we had been.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Swell season - Into the mystic - a fantastic show

So, last night was hot. Super hot. Like sitting in the pavilion at Ravinia, just sitting, and sweat was just running down me.


My goodness. Swell Season. I adore them, have for a long time, but I got so much more than I was expecting.

Glen was very cutely mis-pronouncing Cicadas, he called them "Cicasias". He knew it was wrong, but he just ran with it.

They sang the above, which is one of my favorite songs ever.

At the end of the first part (pre-encore, I guess), Glen called out the ushers. He asked that they let the lawn-sitting folks come into the pavilion. He was pretty adamant about it. So, even though it was very likely a fire hazard, it happened. Now, we were pavilion folk, and even I was happy and impressed that that happened. What a great experience for those people. Good for him.

So, aside from the Ravinia usual suspects (= entitled, snobby, asshole, ill-behaved suburbanites) I had a lovely time.

** for those of you unfamiliar with Ravinia - it's an outdoor festival grounds in Highland Park, IL. They have a small pavilion with assigned seats, and a gigantic massive lawn for seating and listening. There are speakers everywhere, and rumor has it the pavilion is accoustically perfect. It's really beautiful, filled with trees and flowers and art and fountains. There are a couple high end restaurants, and a few food courts. Most people bring picnic dinners and wine. Lots and lots of wine. Google it - it's a beautiful place.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Folk and Roots Wrap up!

Ah, Folk and Roots, how I love thee. Like, a LOT. Like way more than pretty much anything else I do every summer. Things I hated about F&R:
  • Only three friends visited me. Y'all are lame.
  • PBR. Bleh. Even free, it's bleh.
  • Rain is good, but not when it cancels the last band Sunday night!
  • A little too hot. Like sweat under my boobs hot. Bleh.
  • The stupid vol who dared to call me a bitch, but then ran away like a scared little school girl. Bitch, I've got your number. And please note that the volunteer coordinator heard you, and you're kinda in trouble. Stupid.
  • The lingerers. Like the silly brunette: when your shift was over at 6:00, and you are standing around at 8:30, looking for someone to talk to, and no one wants to talk to you - GO HOME
  • The GuitarDuo. Way too mellow for a festival.
  • Double wide strollers. Hate you. Hate the people that buy them, and sometimes the children that are in them.
  • On the same strain - drunk parents and wayward kids. Last I checked festival grounds do NOT equal free babysitting by perfect strangers.
  • Receiving three pitchers of red wine that we thought/hoped was sangria. Alas, it wasn't.

Things I loved about F&R:

  • Can I say pretty much everything else? Kinda want to. I really love this fest. I'll try to elaborate.
  • The backstage magic. These people run a very large, awesome, tight ship. You'd think it was easy breezy to do this music fest thing, with the way they've got it DOWN.
  • The appreciation. I'm not a appreciation-seeking-whore. I'm there because Old Town is my super happy place, and the fest is a part of that. No less than a handful of staff thanked me each night as I dragged my tired ass out of there.
  • The spontaneous concert/jam session that happened backstage after the Sunday night show got cancelled due to lightning. I am so very very lucky to have been around for that. It just personifies, to me, what Old Town is all about.
  • All of the people I worked with this year. (Except that whole "bitch" thing). I'm lucky to get the roles that I ask for, and it's easy to work hard for/with a bunch of folks that I consider friends. I want to buy drinks for TH, KO, DJ, CM, AB, SJ, JK. I'll have to put that on my to-do list.
  • The t-shirts this year. You need to see this. I'll post a picture of it soon. Y'all are going to be jealous! (Except ZRM, because I got him one)
  • Ok, even the rain on Sunday (before the lightning - shakes fist at lightning). It was cooling and kinda fun, for a while. Nothing like running around in the rain in the middle of summer.
  • The mood and/or vibe. You just can't beat it.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

How much you ask?

In an effort to have a good follow up to yesterday's blog, I asked VonHairdresser: "About how much of my hair are you cutting out?" She thought about it for a minute, continued sawing away. "It's about 1/3 to 1/2." "I'm sorry, what?!!?" "1/3 to 1/2. Of your hair. Gone. You asked a question, I answered it." There you have it. 1/3 to 1/2 of my hair. Gone. *lone tear....tracks down my cheek.....I miss my hair....*

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The thinning....

No, not my body, much to VonMom's very vocal and unpleasant disappointment. The thinning of the hair happens tonight. And I can't wait. Here's the thing. I've got H A I R. Not super long, not even very thick, it's just a LOT of hair. I keep it well, it's my very best asset. It's blonde (expensively and falsely so) with rock n' roll dark brown (also falsely so) underneath (this is a recent change). It's longish - a little past my shoulders these days. It's wavy enough that people comment on it, and in these humid days, more so than not. AND IT'S FREAKIN' HOT See, I'm like a dog. No kidding - I have so much hair that my head can't breathe and I sometimes get sores. So, every summer my hairdresser thins the hell out of it. It's an ugly, ugly process. She takes thinning shears to my scalp and just cuts and cuts and cuts. It's kinda funny, in that the first few weeks if you were so inclined you could have me flip my head over and from the neck to about half way up you could see little lines of crew cut. There is a horrible crunching sound as she cuts and cuts and cuts, followed by masses and masses of hair falling all around me on the floor. This process has even gotten unsolicited comments from other salon goers. One woman actually yelled at me. She said "What are you doing?! Are you insane!? People would kill for hair like yours!" Ever since that cobag incident, we now do this at the last appointment of the day, when we are pretty much the only people left in the shop. This needs no audience. When I was younger, we used to have to wash our hair in a laundry tub. One summer, I told my parents that the water temperature actually went up between when it hits my head and when it rinses out. VonDad didn't believe me, so he followed me into the laundry room when I washed my hair. I had him feel the water as it came out of the hosething, and then feel it after it had run over my head. "Holy shit." he said, "There really is a difference." This is how hot my head gets. So, don't mind me as I count down the hours and minutes until thinning time.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Home, home again

I'm back. Those few days in Michigan were too few. I look forward to this trip every year. I took a moment this year and did the math. I've been to Shannon's mom's place in Michigan every year for the the 4th of July for the past seven years. While we forget how much we change over time, when you take a second to think about it, we really do. I'm fairly certain that that first summer I was invited was because I had called off my wedding in January of 2003, and no one, Shannon included, quite knew what to do with me. Take her to Michigan - I'm guessing that's what Shannon thought. It worked. It was exactly what I needed that year, and every year after. I headed up to the snowman room to find that this year SM (Shannon's mom, get it?) has hung very dark burgundy shades because she remembered that last year I was up early every day because it gets so bright in there in the mornings. Who remembers that stuff? Who bothers with anything I say? This year, day one, I slept until 11am. Why? Because there were delightful burgundy shades to block out the sun. The new boat is awesome, there are many convenient cup holders and these reclined things that make each bench a lounge chair. The company, as always, amazing. Shannon and TheMarty are so easy to be on vacation with. I want to read/sleep/sit/stand/ignore/snack whatever....they leave me to it. TheMarty won at Uno on night two. I told him to sleep with one eye open. I think he did. When I walked by their door at 4am headed to the bathroom, I had to let out an evil giggle *hehehe*, just because. I only wish we could have been there another day or two. Or five. Things accomplished on this year's trip: The Sunrise Sampler is really the best value at Cracker Barrel, or so Shannon tells us. Every time we go to Cracker Barrel. Toy Story 3 was even better the second time around. But blue slurpees immediately following Cracker Barrel breakfast is a baaaad idea. TheMarty and I have nearly nearly gotten Shannon to agree to go to Boston in October. Not sure if we're invited there yet, but we think we're going. And there's talk of us renting a RV to get there. Woo hoo!! The fronts of my legs are tan-ish. and a little burnt-ish. So is my scalp, and my ears. I came back on night three and clobbered them all at Uno. I did not have to sleep with one eye open. These are a peaceful people. I was also very honest with TheMarty about one of his friends. (see wedding recap post). I wanted him to know how I really felt, lest I be forced to hang out with this chick again. Not only did he take it really really well, he let me just vent and vent and vent until I was finished. I think they both got it. Ok, and yes, we talked about y'all, but only a little. Like "Hey, TheMarty, MenD's coming to town next month." and stuff like that. And a few other things. I can't tell you EVERYTHING. But I will tell you that's it's very likely Shannon, TheMarty and I are getting tricycle tattoos. Squee!!