30 July 2006


We played a doubleheader today. Or, we would have if we hadn't been thwarted by a near-flash flood that finally brought the end of the heat wave...in Kalamazoo. The weather in Chicago is still hot and humid as ever.

The "managers" (if you only knew how ridiculous the whole thing was) got together before the game and decided that since it was so hot and it was a long backstop (editorial note: boo hoo), we'd play only two steals per inning and runners couldn't advance on wild pitches.

Makes sense, right? Except, no. Here are the reasons that drive me almost insane. For one thing, either we're playing a game or we're not. And since I got up at 5:30 this morning to drive to good old Western Michigan, I really hope it wasn't just for practice. But most important, this would never, ever, not in a million years, be done to a guys' game. And though I, for one, like softball better anyway (don't tell anyone that though), the mission of our team/organization is to "bring the national pastime to the other half of the nation", which I really respect. But if we're going to do that, then it needs to be the same game. Not a watered-down, beer-league rules to suit the weak little girls who aren't going to make it through the heat.

And I made that comment, and a few of my teammates damn near took my head off. At which point I proceeded to play the best game at shortstop I've ever played. In your face!

27 July 2006

Sprinkles and IP

Last night, I went to get gelato with my brother's friend's girlfriend (long story, apparently we're friends now). We went to Mario and Gino's, the lovely neighborhood storefront that's open for approximately five minutes per year. I have no idea how they make money.

A (the girlfriend): I'd like the Bailey's flavor.

Scooper: Cup or cone?

A: Cup, please. And could I have rainbow sprinkles on that?

S: Oh, uhhh...I'm not allowed to put toppings on the gelato, only the ice cream.

A: Oh?

S: No. It's their policy or something. I can't use it for shakes either. But I can give you the sprinkles and then you can put them on.

Me: Do you know why?

S: No, that's just what they told me.

As far as I know, Mario and Gino's is a one shot deal, not a chain. And I can't decide if this is the weirdest thing I've ever heard or kind of cool. On one hand, you're in business to make money and if someone wants to put weird combinations of food together, what do you care? I mean, I think it's pretty weird to put rainbow sprinkles on high-quality gelato too, but as long as she's willing to give you the extra quarter...

On the other hand, they're proud of their gelato and this is their attempt to protect their intellectual property? Which is kind of heroic, if perhaps misguided.

If there was a third hand, it would wonder why anyone would ever get anything besides the hazlenut biscotti kind.

25 July 2006


Sorry for the lack of posts recently--my mommy was in town for a while, which was delightful. There's something about having a parent around that just makes everything feel safer or more comfortable or something. The fact that she's willing to drive everywhere probably doesn't hurt...


I've always been pretty darn happy single. Though there are times when I want a guy around (a lightbulb goes out, I want to see a sports movie, I watch a couple kiss goodbye on the el, etc.), it takes a lot to convince me to give up my alone time. Or my cat time for that matter. But last night I was headed over to J.'s house for date #4 and I have to admit, I loved picking up two sandwiches. I almost tossed a needless "my boyfriend" at the clerk. Which is funny, because it's date #4 for god's sake. Though being single is much more acceptable than it once was--and I like it!--there's a small (I hope *really* small) part of me that feels more comfortable as part of a pair.

As a side note, I made him watch Moulin Rouge and he had the good sense to at least pretend he liked it. Which is nice, because otherwise, I would have concluded that he had no imagination. Not only are musicals hilarious, they're great litmus tests!

16 July 2006

The Grinch of Summer

That's what I am. It's about 95 degrees here in Chicago today with a heat index over 100 and I'm supposed to be all excited because "it's summer!"? We played three hours of baseball this morning and I swear, it felt like we were all playing in my shower. Do you realize that it would feel just like this if you were occupying space in your own bloodstream? How does that qualify as good weather?

The funny thing is that no one ever gets bothered for complaining about winter. Nope. From January to March, the capacity people have for listening to whining about the weather is essentially unlimited. But put the sun out and the temperature above 65 (no matter how far above) and it's "nice out."

Baseball is a blast though, and I appreciate being able to be outside. I think I'm really just sore about it because Chicago may have the worst weather anywhere (well, Minneapolis...). Okay, it could be worse than 100 degrees, but it's not like this is the tropics--in five months, it could be ten below zero! That seems just a little unfair. Just saying.

The temperature is supposed to break a bit (down to 85-woohoo.) on Tuesday for the much awaited arrival of my mommy, and I'm looking forward to perhaps the only person who can complain more about the humidity than I. Mom, I am impressed by your almost complete metamorphosis to a desert person in a year and a half after a half century in the midwest, so I will do my best to lower the humidity to something below swimming.

I did get an opportunity to get a good zinger in today though. I was on deck pretending to do something besides sweat, and I turned to the dugout and asked, "So, how much hotter than this do you think hell is?" The consensus was maybe about 30 degrees. Good night everybody! Don't forget to tip your server!

13 July 2006

Official Good Deed Day

1. I donated blood today. I'd pat myself heartily on the back except it has been nearly two years since the last time I did it, so maybe not so hearty of a pat. For the first time ever though, I felt seriously lightheaded. Tunnel vision, sweating, nauseous and everything. I know that's totally normal, but I think I honestly used to pride myself on my ability to give blood (and even watch them stick the needle in) without so much as blinking. Still, ice packs saved the day, I got my lovely Cran-Raspberry Drink (Dear Lifesource: bring back the clearly superior Cran-Grape!), and even got a free test for the West Nile Virus. So all's well that ends well I guess. If you can handle the needles and aren't from Africa, find a center and go do it. I hate to be morbid, but we're all one unlucky coincidence away from needing it.

2. If you haven't seen 'An Incovenient Truth' (yes, the Al Gore movie), please do that as soon as possible. As a public education/healthcare freak, the environment has never really been one of my pet causes. I think because I thought that it wasn't really an immediate problem. Turns out, that's exactly what they want you to think. It's not a conspiracy theory, it's a conspiracy. To make a long story short, environmental degradation is an acute problem that we have the tools, but unfortunately not the political will, to solve. Get that political will. See the movie and go to www.climatecrisis.net

You can make a difference for yourself, your children, and your grandchildren, even where your country won't. Whew. Better go to bed before I vote for Al Gore for president.

10 July 2006


I'm at the grocery store checkout and I've just finished unloading the cart. I pull out my trusty bright yellow debit card and swipe it, congratulating myself for not yet succumbing to the 'Pay by Touch' phenomenon (hello, Big Brother). I enter my pin, okay the amount aaand....

Cashier: "Oh, it didn't work."

Me: "It didn't?"

Cashier: "(sighs) Just try again."

I do and...

Me: Nothing.

Cashier: into microphone (bringing up major 'price check on tampons' associations) "Floor coverage to 3."

Floor Coverage Lady: "What's up?"

Cashier: "She used her TCF card and it came up as 'incorrect transaction.' I've never seen that before."

FCL: "Oh, yeah, sometimes TCF has that problem."

Me: (turning head incredulously to look at TCF branch a mere 30 feet away) "They do?"

FCL: "Yeah, do you have a check maybe?"

Me: "(sigh) no, but I live five minutes away. I guess I'll be back in ten minutes."

On my way out, I decide to stop by the TCF branch next to the door

Teller: "Oh, sorry we're closed."

Me: "Yeah, I know."
(mutters to self: Apparently, 'convenient hours' means you're open for an hour and a half on Sunday).
"My card didn't work at the checkout and I was wondering if you knew of any reason that might be the case?"

Teller: "Oooh, yeah, sometimes we have that problem."

Me: "So I've heard."

So, it seems like sometimes, it's time to get a new bank. There's this teller that flirts with me (half creepy, half fun) at the Citibank where I perform gopher duties for work. Maybe I could make his day...

07 July 2006

Hot Rod

Date went well, I'd say. The guy has a sense of humor, seems to be an adventurous eater, and cares about public education--I think I'll see him again.

On the way home a little before 10 (school night after all), I'm stopped at a red light going north on Western Ave., and a big 'ol beater slowly pulls alongside me and slightly past. The movement catches my eye and I turn my head and see the driver, average looking and maybe about 25, all-out staring at me. Head over his shoulder out the window and everything. Now, this has happened before--men are not subtle and I no longer look like jailbait. But when he sees me catch him, he doesn't look away! Instead, he maintains eye contact and gives me that cocky little head incline that all guys seem to have in their repetoire. For some reason, this really throws me off of my whole 'you're a perv' eye roll and before I know it, I'm grinning at him. Not a smile, mind you, this is a grin. I may have actually giggled.

The light changes and he speeds off. Perhaps not surprisingly considering the condition of his car, he drives like a maniac. Stopped again under the tunnel just south of North Ave, I know I've caught him (see kids, driving quickly really doesn't save you any time) and I can't help but sneak a peek. He's got his head out the window again, onlly this time, he's holding up his open phone. Fun is fun, but I don't really know about a guy who picks up girls while driving like a bat out of hell on Western Ave. I awkwardly pretend not to see him.

So all's well that ends...the same, I guess. But I'm still grinning about it and I'm not quite sure what to make of it. Do I need someone unpredictable? More forward? (Before you ask, no the date didn't kiss me, though I knew he wanted to) Does every girl once in a while need to know that she's a choice cut of meat? (why do I suddenly feel like a traitor to women?) Thoughts from the four people who read this?

05 July 2006


It's official. We found a subletter to replace my roommate, who is moving out at the end of the month. The lucky winner is Z., a New York-based podiatry student who will be in town for some sort of summer rotation. Z. is male, a fact that I am pretty excited about. I had a good experience with the current roommate for sure, but there are many ways in which I'd prefer a guy. The same qualities that make girls terrific and interesting friends (intensity, chattiness, complexity) make them really annoying roommates. Men tend to be...simpler, shall we say...but they're consistent and suggestible. We'll see if I eat those words later. Or possibly tomorrow, as another in the series of first dates is looming. We're meeting at Cafe Selmarie, so at least the food will be good.

On another note, why is there someone outside setting off fireworks right now?? Go home, it's over. You missed it.

04 July 2006

Damn Yankees...

There's two things people always say they hate that bother me. One is the Taste of Chicago and the other is country music. So imagine my delight when the Country Music Festival coincided with the Taste over the holiday weekend! A lovely Sunday complete with jerk chicken, pierogis, and italian ice to the strains of Phil Vassar, SHeDAISY (silly name, catchy tunes), and Jo Dee Messina. And a few tickets left over for lunch next week.

So first, let's discuss the Taste. Yes, it's crowded. Considerably less so between 11 and 1 than later in the afternoon. Also, you know there will be a lot of people, so stop complaining and jump in and fight for that meatball. And actually, the people watching is really the best part. Yuppies from River North meet yokels from Wisconsin meet gay couple from Boystown meet that woman behind me trying to order a pierogi in Korean. Good times. It happens once a year, there's free live music from great bands (Liz Phair and Fountains of Wayne are facing off against the World Cup championship next Sunday...tough choice), shut up and go!

Now, country music. Is it just that people who say they don't like country have only heard 'Achy Breaky Heart'? If so, don't worry, that is objectively bad music. Today's country actually edges toward pop and is really just feel-good, down-home, easy 4-4 rhythym for a sunny summer day. I know you think you're all indie-rock naming bands we've all never heard of and that's fine, but if you don't like Phil Vassar's 'Joe and Rosalita', you don't like music. Period. (see post title)