Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Show it to Angie, she'll buy anything

I’m convinced there’s a picture of me hanging in the conference room at the ad agency responsible for marketing useless shit to consumers.

“What’s Angie buying this week?”

“Uh, just got the numbers, sir. Let’s see, some headbands she’ll never wear. Sweaters that are too big, but we priced them right, so she bought two. And avocado oil.”

“I bet she has no idea what to do with that,eh?”


“God, I love her.”

Last night at my neighborhood grocery store, La Casa Del Pueblo, I almost bought something called saliva soap, but then put it back when I realized it was “savila” soap. At this store I’ve finally realized my threshold for impulse buys. Items like pig hooves, 6-ft lengths of sugar cane, and calf stomach lining don’t find their way into my cart.

But there is lots of stuff at Mexican grocery stores that I never realized I had to have until I laid my eyes on it.

Like jalapeno shampoo. Makes me look just like Salma Hayek after use. And a medicinal tea called Smooth Move. Don’t think I have to explain that one, do I?

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

I think we missed our exit

Months back my bosses--these would be my adorable and surprisingly easy to impress bosses---told me that they were moving our office out to the suburbs. Immediately I was filled with disgust and dread and made it quite clear that it would be a bitter pill for me to swallow. Kicking and screaming, I'd go. . . maybe, I thought. Regardless, I was going to make them suffer dearly.

But then the days, turned into weeks, and the weeks turned into. . (you guessed it!) months and here I am less than a week away from COMMUTING TO THE SUBURBS and ya know what?

I'm O.K.

There's been no panic attacks. No fits of crying. No waking in up in the middle of the night screaming because I dreamt I was trapped in an Olive Garden and I couldn't get out. I'm really O.K. Not even an iota of self-loathing because I didn't run out and snag me some brilliant job that would make everyone who knows me pea green with envy.

I've completely suprised the shit out of myself.

I'm going to give this carpool thing an honest to goodness try. Which is prompting me to brew up a big ol' post on my momentary farewell to rush hour public transit--I'm thinking three parter--because I can pretty much predict what any expressway commute post would say:

Yeah, co-worker dude picked me up late again today. BUMPER TO BUMPER traffic, man. Then this ugly guy totally winked at me in the toll lane, and then we were at work or whatever. I thought that Channel 9 bitch said 35 minutes to the Tri-State? What is she on?

Luckily for the guys, not only do they treat me like a human being, they realize my genius. Can you really ask for more?

Sunday, April 23, 2006

What brings you to see Road Angel?

Plot: Angie goes to her hometown for the weekend to attend her nephew’s 16th birthday party. She and friends Mr. and Mrs. P have dinner after the party and make plans to go out for a couple of cocktails–just a few as Angie has to get up early to return to Chicago and the Ps need to be responsible homeowners and plant flowers or whatever.

Cast (in order of appearance)
Drunken Motorcycle Dude--------Butch
RitaEmm----------Aunt Rita
Lisatee----------Cousin Lisa
Ronniedee-----------Cousin Ronnie
Jimmydubya-----------Cousin Jimmy
Chardonnay, cigarettes, beer----------Hangover

Angie, Kim, and Jeff have well surpassed "just a few" and are belly up at the third-to-the-last bar of the night.

Enter stumbling, drunken motorcyle dude

Butch: AHHH. WHATTHEFUCK. WHATTHEFUCK? WHAT. .. . THE . . . FUCK. Ahhhhhgrrghhh

He sits down on the stool next to Angie

Angie: Hi!

Butch: Do you know how to drive a Harley? (hiccups)

Angie: No.

Butch: Wellwhythehellnot? What the fuck?

Angie: Ok. (she turns back to Kim) I bet you 10 bucks if we go the bar across the street (the scary one with motorcycles lined up out front) I’ll be related to at least one person.

Kim: Let’s go.

Jeff: Let’s go.

The trio leave and cross the street coming upon several, very pleasant bikers out front of the bar where Angie is convinced she’ll find her kin.

Angie: Good evening gentlemen!

Bikers (in unison): Good evening!

They enter the bar where they’re immediately struck by the number of patrons crammed inside and the not-so-lovely ladies suggestively dancing on the bar, unsightly bulges spilling to and fro. Angie spies a familiar face.


Rita: ARASHDY DHGIH BLUP GOOHIN! (Struck by seeing her niece, she’s beyond words.)

Angie: Yes, Aunt Rita, yes. COUSIN LISA!!!!!!

Lisa: Hi. It’s been a long time. Ronnie’s here.


Ronnie: I love you!!!Ahhhhh! (Gives Angie a big hug. Aunt Rita grabs her and tries to dance)


Angie: I’d love a cigarette, thank you. No I don’t think that cowboy is cute. I’m not really into cowboys all that much. Let’s do a shot!

Angie purchases four shots of tequila and brings them back for a "family shot." Her cousins and Aunt thank her profusely. Angie, Kim and Jeff leave for one last bar. At the new bar, a band is entertaining the crowd. Jeff and Kim go to shake their money makers on the dance floor. Angie is at the bar. A man approaches her as her back is turned.

Jimmy: So what brings you to see Road Angel?

Angie: COUSIN JIMMY! (They hug) What’s a Road Angel?

Jimmy: It’s the band. I thought the name was really cheesy so Jackie and I came out. Hey, we’re moving to Chicago. (Jimmy is a brilliant artist and his girlfriend is finishing graduate school)

Angie: (at this point she has caught whatever was ailing Aunt Rita) You have to shake the dust of this crummy little town off your feet and SEE THE WORLD!

Jimmy: (realizing she stole the line from It’s a Wonderful Life) Merry Christmas, Movie House! Merry Christmas, Emporium! Merry Christmas, Old Building and Loan!

Jimmy exits. Enter hangover.


Friday, April 21, 2006

I don't do busy

This morning was an air dry the hair and put on the glasses kind of morning. I rarely RARELY (did I mention rarely?) have something going on every night of week, and this morning I felt physical pain opening my eyes when the alarm went off.

I was out of town last weekend, and will be shoving off again tonight. My apartment is such a disaster that a family of orangutans have taken up residence. I know this because I got about a foot away from my pantry curtain this morning when a hairy arm sprung out and handed me the Cheerios. And I’m plum out of bananas. Obvious conclusion, no?

Last night was well worth any added grogginess. If you live in Chicago RUN, don’t walk to the next performance of the improv group Schadenfruede. And pay particular attention to Justin Kaufman, someone who has talent oozing from his pores (among other stuff maybe but I don’t know him that well). He’s also someone I had the pleasure of greeting every morning when I was a receptionist at WBEZ. Justin, it was the way I answered the phone that made me so special, right? A friend and I went to Schadenfruede’s Rent Party—nothing whatsoever to do with that brutal musical—where we drank $1.50 beers and were blown away by such performances as a Karate Kid-inspired Rock Opera. Beyond funny.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Why the better to head bunt you with

On Easter Sunday I was at my brother’s house sitting on my ass while he was busy cooking a dinner that I told him he needed to host. Talking to his son Zach is always a trip so I was more than happy to pass the time with what has to be the world’s most unusual 7-year-old.

A couple of months back when Zach and Chad picked me up from the train station, Zach told me that in order to get a true measure of the weight of your head, he’d have to cut it off. That’s cool, I said, why did he care anyway? Well he weighs his head quite a bit, he said, but being the stickler to detail that he is, he knows he’ll never get the accuracy he craves. Again, cool, I said and decided not to talk to him the rest of the way home.

So on Sunday I notice him with both hands on either side of his dear little head, patting away with a concerned look on his face.

“Do I have a big head? Kaylla says I have a melon head,” Zach asked, not remotely sad or shy about it. Just very matter-of-fact.

Now as an adult, I should have assured him or tried the change the subject, but this kid is beyond his years and we get along best when I’m totally straight up.

“Uh, Kaylla has a big head. We all do. That’s why we’re so freaking smart.”

He laughed. He’s a gorgeous kid and he knows it.

For the most part, my immediate family has robust, shanty Irish-sized heads. We’re by no means freaks, and we all manage to attract the opposite sex so it’s certainly not an issue but it when it comes to hats and stuff, well it can be a problem.

I’ve actually kept this in mind when I think of the man I’ll possibly pro-create with. He must have a pea-head so our children will have the chance at a normal life. Thank God things didn’t work out with this one guy whose head was so big, his high school football coach had to order a special helmet for him.

Saturday, April 15, 2006


Mel Gibson has nothing on the folks of Pilsen! I just saw these pics on the Chicago Tribune Web site, and now I'm glad I worked yesterday.

Reenactments of any ilk freak me out. I still haven't recovered from a Lincoln-Douglas debate I saw in Ottawa, Ill., in 1995.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Ode to my hot neighbor

Hot neighbor. You're so hot.
You walk two dogs That you got
You smoke cigarettes And I'm guessing pot.
Hot neighbor. You're so hot.

I'd like to invite Vanderbilt Ignoble, poet laureate of Bored for Now, to critique my first poem.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

You think YOU have problems?

A coworker of mine has been dealing with an unruly daughter in her terrible eighteens. Unsavory boyfriends, friends with undue influence--all is driving the woman batty. In an attempt to make her feel a little better today, I shared--at least some of--the story of a cousin who is two months younger than me but has lived a life James Frey would kill for.

My brother and I have two cousins who are the same age as us, and we spent a lot of time with them growing up. While my brother and I were fairly sedate and well behaved, these two were animals. And while I can't speak for Chad, I have to wonder what my life would be like if they didn't move out of our hometown 23 years ago.

Hanging out with Dawn always ended in disaster and/or illicit activity. I had my first drink of booze with her when she moved back from California the summer of 1980. When we were outside playing she'd get bored and say things like, "let's hitchhike" and I'd say things like, "ok!" We got caught shoplifting at the IGA (her idea). I smoked pot (I definitely didn't inhale) for the first time at age 10 with her. We practiced the drinking game quarters with Grape Koolaid. She was very good at it, and I was throwing up the shit all night. Her mom teased me saying, "Geez, Angie sure can't hold her Koolaid." Dawn even tried huffing the cooking spray Pam, one of the few things I said no to in the those days.

Late in my 7th grade year, Dawn called me and said she was picking me up in her grandma's beige Topaz. I thought she was kidding. She wasn't. We spent the day driving around, and we had plenty of money since Dawn had written one of her grandma's checks to the local grocery store for cash. There was a fifth of Jack Daniels in the glove compartment and a gun under the driver's seat.

I wish I was making this up.

I'm not.

And to this day I can picture the two of us at the corner of 3rd and Joliet Streets in LaSalle, ready to make a left turn when I saw a very familiar blue station wagon with one of my normal friend's mother behind the wheel coming toward us. I slumped down and prayed. I think that's the day I decided there was a God.

That Thanksgiving my mom let me head down to their even smaller town to spend the holiday with her. I rode down with her grandma, the gun toting alcoholic who had a serious gambling problem. On the way, the old lady who was loaded, suggested we stop for a steak dinner.

"Uh, Nancy, aren't going to have dinner at their house?" I asked.

"Ahhhhhgguh. I'll buy."

I'm 12. Isn't that a given, I thought.

I talked her out of it and we continued on to one of the most fucked-up Thanksgivings I ever had the pleasure of being part. Dawn's drug addict mom, apparently clean at the moment and possessing a conscience, had a problem with her mother showing up drunk with a minor in tow. Major fighting ensued which resulted in Dawn pushing Nancy in the kitchen, who in turn fell backward into the garbage can.

Again, not making this up.

At its core, this story is really very sad. Dawn had a mother who not only abused just about every substance she could get her hands on, but she pushed it on her children (and her visiting niece on occasion). I luckily had the chip that taught me how to deal with some of the more fucked-up adults around me. Pity them, piss them off by exhaling instead of inhaling on their one-hitter and blowing all their pot all over their car, but don’t emulate them.

As I write this, I have no idea where Dawn is. Over the last 18 years or so, I’ve seen her half a dozen times. Once when she was pregnant at 16, she greeted me at the door with a Bud in one hand and a joint in the other. About 10 years later we got together after her family was busted by the Feds for operating a Meth lab. She told me about the day when she walked out of their trailer and was met by dozens of agents with guns drawn, from just about every agency you can imagine.

Me: DEA?
Dawn: yep.
Me: ATF?
Dawn: (pauses) yep.
Me: FBI?
Dawn: Of course.
Me: Were they hot?
Dawn: Actually, yeah. They were.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Jesus freaks and ice cream trucks

An onslaught of bible-thumpers hits the streets in my neighborhood once winter says its final goodbye. I think those people, and the relentless parade of ice cream trucks playing “Pop Goes the Weasel” are far more detrimental to my well-being than anything the mean streets of Chicago can throw my way.

On Saturday I left my apartment to suck up some free WiFi and caffeine when I saw packs of evangelists knocking on doors and stopping folks on the sidewalk, to spread the good word. I’ve always tried to be polite in the past if I’m approached, but Saturday I was feeling a bit combative.

Churchie: (in Spanish, handing me some leaflet): Hello, do you have a moment?

Me: I don’t speak Spanish. I’m in a hurry. I’m not interested.

Then I kicked her.

Churchie: You don’t have time for Jesus, you heathen! Ever hear of eternal damnation?

Alright, she really didn’t say that. But I know that’s what she meant when she thanked me nicely and let me pass. And yea, I didn’t really kick her.

I’ve always been of the mind that if you are truly confident and at peace about the choices you made in your life then you will not be remotely compelled to make others follow suit. Devoted your life to God? Rock on and leave me the hell alone. And besides that, I much prefer the Catholic flying-under-the-radar approach to expanding their membership by fighting the expansion of birth control in the 3rd World.

Can I get an Amen? And how about an ice cream sandwich while you’re at it.

Friday, April 07, 2006


Just who is this Harry Taylor guy, the man who stood up to Mr.-I-still-can't-believe-he's-President Bush at a North Carolina townhall meeting? I've googled him hi and low, and it seem like he's maybe just some regular American who told Bush exactly what he thought of him.

Here's what he said in case you missed it:

"I feel like, despite your rhetoric, that compassion and common sense have been left far behind during your administration," he told Bush. "And I would hope, from time to time, that you have the humility and the grace to be ashamed of yourself."

A president getting an earful isn't unusual. It's that this president did. See, Bush events are planted with like-minded, functionally illiterate yokels who pose questions to him like, "Mr. President, why are you so great?" And yes, staged events are not exclusive to the GOP, but the Democrats never quite got the logistics down as well as they did. Remember when Clinton was handed an aborted fetus? Yeah, them Dems aren't too good at insulating their candidates...

Anyway, if I ever see this Harry Taylor guy, the beers are on me. And here's to hoping that the lame ass Democrats will learn to understand the impact of a few, honest, straight-from-the-gut words.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

"And now we will chant 'Ohm' three times. . ."

If I’m not able to put my feet behind my head by Memorial Day, I’m demanding a refund from my yoga instructor.

I took my first real yoga class last night, and after an hour and 45 minutes of downward dog, happy baby, and warrior two poses, I walked out of the River West studio feeling like I was 6 inches taller and made of Jello.

I had my doubts, however. Going into this super-calm, incense-tinged studio immediately made me tense.

I was greeted by this annoyingly mellow receptionist who spoke to me in near whispers. I filled out my paperwork, handed over my dough and sat next to an open window to wait for my class.

As the minutes ticked by, I have to tell you, I can’t remember the last time I felt more uptight.

Chanting could be heard from the classroom finishing up. I started to get creeped out. Barefoot Gwyneth Paltrow wannabes began filing in wearing cute yoga outfits and clutching Prada yoga mats. I looked down at my 12-year-old Georgetown T-shirt and started to panic. Shit. This was supposed to be a beginners class!

I ran over to the desk.

Captain Spastic: Thisisthebeginnersclassright? IdonthaveamatcanIborrowamat?WheredoIgoagain?

Moon Unit: Yes, this is the beginner's class. It will start soon and you’ll find everything you need along the back of the wall. Just through that door.

I felt a little better and did I ever need a yoga class after all that.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

I'm grounded

So there I was at home, on Friday night clipping my toenails and listening to Guns and Roses' Paradise City when I had an epiphany.

What, in God's name I thought, was a relatively young-oh by the way this is my 100th post, yay me--single woman doing giving herself a pedicure when she should be out tearing up one of the world's greatest cities?

And then I remembered. . See this ol' gal to the right? This is how I feel after I tear anything up, much less after throwing back a few cocktails and staying out past my bedtime of 10 p.m. To those rock stars who can go out four and five nights a week, make it to work, and who aren't still being claimed on someone else's taxes, I say: you go, this Christian Rock Star is staying home.

But I'm kind of a forgetful person and Sunday night I attended a work dinner out in a suburb. I think the town was called Timbuktubrook? Anyway, since I had missed Desperate Housewives and Grey's Anatomy, I thought it best to go out with a co-worker and her fiance once we got back in the city.

Let's just say a hangover exacerbated by that daylight savings bullshit, made for a less-than-sunny Monday morning for me.

I've truly earned the number one Google result when you search "degenerate alcoholic."