Thursday, January 28, 2010

Good News/Bad News

The good news is that this has been a MUCH better week.

The bad news is that I really can't think of anything to say about it.

It's been pleasant. I went to a play Tuesday night with Dan, Denise, Polo and a nice couple who I don't know very well but like I said they're very nice.

I had a birthday dinner this evening for our family friend Karen. I made a delicious lasagna and garlic bread.

Tomorrow I'm supposed to go to dinner with some of my high school friends.

But that's all I got. I'm fine with that, but it's not very interesting. I'm sorry.

I'll try to do better next week, as long as it doesn't involve a bad week. :)

Monday, January 25, 2010

As if it couldn't get any worse...

In the midst of my bad week, I heard a news report of a fatal car crash that took the lift of a 23 year old. They said the name on the news and it caused me to look up. It was someone with the same name as the grandson of a close family friend.

Unsure if it was him or not, I set out doing research, finding articles online. I had no indication though that it was him, and the last thing I wanted to do was to call this friend and say "hey, I heard something on the news today..."

Two days passed and I was still uneasy about things. I checked the obituaries, then after lunch on Thursday, I found an article about the accident. The driver survived, he was being charged with a number of things as he was driving with a blood alcohol level of 3 times the legal limit. Then the article went on to discuss the deceased. 23 years old, named his parents, where he went to school, the fact that he had served in the Navy but had not continued because he wanted to get a degree in law enforcement and marry his high school sweetheart. As I'm reading all this my eyes were starting to tear. It was my friend's grandson. A kid who when he was born, I heard endles stories about him because he was the first grandson and grandma was proud. A kid that I remember having at my house a few times. A kid I remember carrying around and playing with. And now he's gone.

The wake was last Friday. I can't begin to tell you how crowded it was. An endless line of people waiting to pay their respects. His parents looked stunned as they were greeted by guests. First on my list was to find my friend. When she saw me, she grabbed hold and just sobbed. We both did, we hugged for about a minute. I still couldn't believe it. Neither could she. We talked for about 20 minutes. I was there about a half hour. Part of the time I tried to step away from my friend so that she could greet other guests but she grabbed my arm and wouldn't let me get away.

Wakes, like funerals, are sad. Nobody likes going to them. But I have to say, this is probably the most difficult one I ever had to attend.

I guess it's kind of selfish for me to complain about my bad week, considering the alternative. I think my friend's week was by far worse than mine.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

One of Those Days

I don't often have really bad days, this happens to have been one of them.

It began with the drive to work, one block from the parking lot a car pulled out of an alley and almost ran into me. I swerved and slammed on my breaks and avoided being hit. My adrenaline was pumping.

I parked, walked towards the door. I looked in and from outside, I could see an employee waiting outside of my door. So before I even had my coat and hat off, I was answering the first complaint of the day.

I finally took my coat off, and I had another employee on the phone, upset over a large payroll adjustment that had been deducted from her check. I had the explanation as to why it took place but she wasn't having it. She finally decided she was finished listening to me and hung up.

I had another employee who two weeks ago had an issue with his benefits back in my office because he still had an issue with his benefits. We resolve benefits issues by emailing our corporate office and waiting for an answer. This wasn't good enough for him, and he came back with his manager so the both of them could question me about it. Fine, the issue was valid and I was making every effort to fix it but at that point I didn't need it.

Then I had to deal with trying to fix an issue with two employees that were terminated who needed to be returned to active status, one month ago. This matter was turned over to another department at corporate.

Just because I didn't have the energy or the mind-set to do anything else in the office, I spent the day filing, my most hated task. So hated I do it once or twice a year. Today just seemed like one of those days to start on it. One cabinet is done, one to go.

It was a day from hell at work, I earned my money today.

With all that being said, I have to remind myself that I don't live in Haiti. The worst of my problems don't even compare to the least of their problems.

Tomorrow will be a better day.

Monday, January 18, 2010

What is art?

On Saturday, I met up with my friends Robert, Maria and Pete for a visit to the modern wing of the Art Institute of Chicago and dinner. Robert, Maria and I worked together, Pete is Maria's very nice and very patient husband who comes along on our adventures. He's a lot of fun so it's nice when he joins us. We settled on the Art Institute because we thought it would be a nice indoor place where we didn't have to be completely quiet and we could take our time or just stop for a while and talk without worrying about holding up a table or disturbing others. Then again, we probably disturb others just a bit, but too bad.

About a year ago The Art Institute opened a modern wing. We headed right for it.

What we found was very interesting, to say the least. It's interesting what can be defined as art. I tend to have an open mind about things. That's not to say that I don't have an opinion, and I'll let you know what it is, but I don't profess to be the authority on art. Yet I can't help but question some of it.

Take for example an exhibit in one of the rooms that consisted of a long, oval shaped installation that hung from the ceiling. On the exterior were fluorescant tube lights, arranged in a staggared pattern. It was about 25 feet long from end to end. Standing at one end, inside you saw all of the transformer boxes and wires. From a distnce it looked like a big sling. It hung in a room that had drywall flooring that was broken in spots (like a city street with potholes all over). For whatever reason, this is art. Or is it?

There was another room that was about architecture. In it were framed blueprints and sketches of famous buildings all over the country, some were the actual plans, some were just ideas, but you could see where those ideas lead. They had a number of scale models too. Is this art?

Then there was the room with the odd things hanging in it. There's me studying one of those odd things now. It's a piece of steel with a piece of yellow silk hanging inside of it. The name of the piece? Steel and silk. Art?

Another room had white metal panels affixed to the wall. The walls were white, the panels were white. Below is Robert, he's pondering all the white. Does he think this is art?

One of the most intersting installations was this room, it had a wedding dress standing in the center of it. Below is Maria posing behind the dress. Her boobs aren't quite that big. The wallpaper was a repeating pattern of someone sleeping in a bit paired with someone hanging from a tree. The description on the wall talked about prejudice and opression, marriage, gay marriage and death. The artist had a vision and shared exactly what they were thinking. Art.

When I think of art, I think of Michaelangelo, Rembrandt, Monet, Degas, Renoir, Seurat, Hopper. Picasso and Warhold are more modern but are well known. At one point, they were all "modern." But at any time, did someone walk up to "A Sunday on La Grande Jatte" and question it's worthiness as a piece of art? Were people confused by Monet's waterlillies? One wonders.

I guess art is something that stirs the soul, makes you think, and causes discussion. I may not agree with it, but it gave us all something to bond over, to study, to discuss and talk about over dinner and drinks. And as far as I'm concerned, I've turned drinking into an art form.


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Modem Madness

It was my intention to be a better blogger, to post more in 2010. Not that any of my readers have stayed with me, I think everbody has moved on. But if any of you are still there, first of all Thanks, and second of all I promise I'll have more to say in '10.

Long story short, my DSL modem crapped out. It took a nearly comedic 3 days of trying different things to make it work. Tonight I finally bit the bullet and just bought a new one. So, I'm back online. It feels good. I had my Blackberry but it's not very user friendly when it comes to blogging.

It's late, I'm heading to bed, we'll catch up soon. Hope you're well, whoever you are.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Belinda's Son is Out

While I'm not fond of Perez Hilton, this was posted on his page the other day and one of my Facebook friends posted it.

Belinda Carlisle has a gay son, James. He's very vocal about it and outspoken when it comes to gay rights. They recently were both interviewed for Attitude Magazine. An excerpt from the interview was posted on Hilton's website, Belinda talks about the day James came out to her. Read it here.

The magazine is a UK publication, I haven't found it in Chicago, yet. I'm still looking...

Here's a picture from the article. Sweet, huh?

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

New Year's Eve and Beyond...

It seems like so long ago (6 days!!) but I'm finally getting around to posting about New Year's Eve and the weekend that followed it.

The evening began with Dan, Luis and I meeting up for dinner, and then we made an appearance at a party. We excused ourselves from it so that we could make our way to Jackhammer, our regular watering hole where we were being joined by our friends Tina, Denise and Polo. I could not think of a better way to ring in the new year. Drinks were poured, laughs were had and when the big ball dropped, there were hugs and kisses all around.

Dan and I, celebrating the end of one decade and the beginning of another.

Teri Yaki, the hostess for the evening. Please note that the original picture is in landscape, but for some odd reason, this site decided the picture should be in portrait.

At about 2, Denise, Polo, Tina and I had our fill of drunk people, drag queens and messy strippers losing their clothing so we left Dan and Luis at the bar and went all of 10 feet south to the Mexican restaurant for burritos. We crowded around a tiny table and enjoyed our feast and each other's company. Alas, it was time to head home. Unfortunately, this was made difficult by the car that had blocked Polo's car in the parking lot. Tina felt festive so she left the offending driver a new year's greeting on their windows "Happy New Year, ASSHOLE!" We laughed, and hailed a cab. I saw to it that Tina and Denise got home, Polo went back in the bar for a little while.

Friday was a quiet day at home, I had company over for New Year's Day dinner. Denise joined mom and me, along with my sister and our friend Karen. Traditionally we eat black-eyed peas on New Year's Day, for good luck. My mom grew up in the South so this is something we've done every year. I've grown to like them. Denise and Karen, who have joined us in the past look forward to their yearly dose of good luck.
Saturday, I joined Dan, Luis, Polo and Denise for a movie. I don't often go to the movies, I blame it on my short attention span and the fact that a movie has to really interest me otherwise I won't sit still through it. Well, we saw "The Blind Side," and going in, I wasn't 100 percent sold that I wanted to see it but once it began, I was glued. I loved it. Sandra Bullock gives such a great performance. I highly recommend it.
Sunday was Christmas, revisited. Try to get six relatively busy people together around the holidays and it's a crap shoot. It wasn't until January 3 that the six of us could get together to have our gift exchange. We decided to turn it into an Italian feast. Dan and Luis opened their home to us and made pasta with sauce and sausage (Luis makes the most delicious marinara saucee!), along with some delicious puff pastry appetizers. Tina brought a huge antipasti platter, I brought a roasted tomato caprese salad, Polo brought enough garlic bread for two dozen people, Denise brought delicious desserts.
Knowing that we were attending this party without a Christmas tree, Denise and I took matters into our own hands and created a tree for the party. I had a gold tinsel tree in my store room at work. I brought it home, we adorned it with colorful ornaments and a giant glittery poinsettia. We stood back and were very proud of our creation. I believe that Dan and Luis were momentarily speechless when they saw it, no doubt they were stuck by it's overwhelming beauty. Perhaps a tear was shed.
The Christmas tree, and some of the delicious food on the table.
Round 1 of the food was served. We cleaned off Tina's platter of goodies and were too full to move. So, we rolled ourselves into the living room and exchanged gifts. In no time, paper was flying, laughter filled the room and a series of "oohs" and "ahhs" along with an "oh wow" or two were spoken.
Well into the gift exchange, yet there are still more gifts to go. Luis is wearing one of his gifts, a yellow down vest.
When the paper finally settled, we went back to the table to finish our dinner. Round two left us all pretty close to unconscious but happy.
What a great way to end a long, fun weekend. 2010 is off to a good start.

Me, cuddling a present from Dan and Luis. It's a beer bottle shaped sausage. Mmm...

Happy New Year!!

Monday, January 4, 2010


On New Year's eve, I ordered Chinese food for my mom for dinner. She had been cooking all day, preparing for a New Year's day feast. Since she's a diabetic, she left the fortune cookie for me. I had forgotten about it until this evening. While in the kitchen fixing dinner, I saw it and decided it was the perfect time to eat the cookie. I cracked it open and as I ate the first half, I read the fortune. It said:

"Just be yourself; you are wonderful."

That's not really a fortune, but I'll take it. :)