Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Leftover Ham

Sick Co-workers. Thankfully an employee who I nicknamed "Typhoid Michelle" isn't in today. Starting last week, she was walking around the office with a cough so horrendous, I seriously told her I would do whatever it took to get her out of the office. Her work, drive her home, whatever. It was that bad. On Wednesday I diagnosed her with walking pneumonia. On Friday I was convinced she had no idea she was at work, that she was so delirious, she thought she was at home in bed. Anyway, she insisted on sticking around and I asked her (I thought it was pretty funny, but you might think I'm really mean) if she wouldn't prefer to die at home. She laughed pretty hard at that, which prompted quite a coughing spell. Anyway, my point is, please stay home when you're really sick unless you've used all your sick days for hangovers, interviews, or nooners with your married boyfriend. You'll be doing America a favor.

Gerald Ford and James Brown are dead to me. And also to the rest of the world apparently. I'm spilling a little of my diet coke on the floor of my cube right now in their respective honors. I walked around Christmas weekend asking people if Fidel Castro died. I had some weird vibe that he bit it, so I think he's going to be next.

Is anyone working this week? There was no one on my bus yesterday, which was kind of nice. But it reminded me of the days when I took the week off between Christmas and New Year's. I never stayed in my hometown the whole time, I'd come back and shop, drink alone, go to museums, movies, make crazy resolutions, and play with my new Barbies. Good times.

I'm going to save a TON on sweet marjoram. A couple of Saturdays ago, Rusty called me to see what I was up to. "I'm planting my Chia Herb Garden. It's kind of hard." I replied, completely serious. This shit is actually growing, and you wouldn't believe how fast cilantro comes up. Does anyone know what you'd put sweet marjoram in? Email me if you have a sec.

Friday, December 22, 2006

No Justin, I'm bringing sexy back

Sorry to be such a buzzkill with the last post. Geez. Perhaps I was murdered by a Mall Santa in a former life.

I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Oh, that's WHY I think Christmas sucks

I almost forgot.

See Christmas for me growing up for the most part, consisted of my my mother stressing herself out over trying to buy us the shit other kids were getting and then saying things like "I wish it could be more," when you'd thank her on Christmas day. Like every goddamn year. Seriously, God bless the woman, but we really weren't THOSE kids. You know jumping up and down, and crying for this and that. We knew what the deal was. Useless shit wasn't worth her getting depressed over.

The reason why I'm sharing this, is I'm seeing that same look on the faces of people I work with. A lot of them don't make much money and kind of sigh and frown when you mention Christmas. It's pretty sad. A father feeling bad about himself because greedy retailers and insane consumers have to gorge themselves on gifts and profits, and he can't go along for the ride. I mean really.

Monday, December 18, 2006


Doesn't the image in the bottom right hand corner look suspiciously like the Baby Jesus? I snapped this picture yesterday at a Little Italy Christmas party. The cannoli-filled cannoli is always my favorite at this party so I wanted to photograph it. Unfortunately no one can make a pilgrimage to this particular sweets table because that righteous dessert is loooooong gone!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Have fun fighting in Iraq. I'm outta here!

Iraq Study Group, Shmyrack Shmudy Group, this war ain't ending, the draft is coming and I'm going to Canada!

Well just for New Year's Eve. And I'm making two friends come with. Both redheads, I'm sure I'm in for a whole lot of trouble. For this blog post, I will name them Red and Rusty.

We're taking Red's SUV and driving to Toronto from Chicago (only really smart people drive through the heart of the Great Lakes in the dead of winter, but this is what you'd call an adventure.) I'm in charge of producing the soundtrack for the trip, and have dutifully downloaded several tracks by Canadian artists. Everything from Celine Dion to Corey Hart. Red is bringing snacks (Rusty said she wants pizza combos) and we'll have lots of magazines and celebrity gossip to discuss. It is likely that Red will prepare a full spread of appetizers and dips. That's just the kind of gal Red is.

Hopefully Rusty doesn't hold us up at the border patrol (is that what you call it?) Just a few months after 9/11, we went to London and Rusty had a HUGE machete in her carry on (ok, just a little key chain pocket knife) and it was quite the ordeal to get her through (ok, maybe it took her a couple of extra minutes.) She lost the pocket knife though! Shit, what's a girl without her pocket knife in the big city? Poor Rusty. We have our passports ready. And we're really excited about using different money and drinking beer that's about 10 percent cheaper. Maybe we'll get sick and enjoy some free, universal healthcare!

I'm ready to say, "What are you talking aboot?" when someone tells me about their gun control laws. And it's a given that Rusty and I will have this back and forth inspired by Tommy Chong in That 70s show. I'll ask in a dopey way, "What are YOU doing in Canada?" and then she'll say "What are YOU doing in Canada?" And then I'll say, "What are YOU doing in Canada?" and then she'll say "What are YOU doing in Canada?"

And then Red will throw us out of her SUV. Probably on 8 Mile in Motown. Yikes!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

CTA and Metra, listen up!

After seven months of taking BOTH* the Metra and the CTA to get to work, I'm officially declaring myself Chicagoland's Queen of Public Transport.

Queen Angie is making a declaration. Enough already with the To-do lists announced over the PA. Seriously, I'm listening to music, or reading, or trying to keep from kicking every other passenger in the head. I'm too busy to do anything else.

According to the messages, I'm supposed to be watching for people hopping on the bus without paying, because when someone does that "we all pay." I'm supposed to move to the back of the bus. And I'm supposed to report anything suspicious. Or anyone partaking in "unusual" activity. I've lived in Chicago for 10 years, I really have no concept of "unusual" anymore. I'm not supposed to leave my bags unattended, but apparently a certain Metra conductor, who's too concerned with chatting up the ladies, can leave his unmarked black duffel sitting at the top of the stairs for several minutes until Queen Angie walked up to him and called him on it. What else does the PA tell me? Oh, I'm not supposed to talk loud on the phone, I can't play music, I can't solicit, I can't gamble, I can't eat or drink, and I can't assault a passenger, conductor, or driver.

That's it, I'm hopping on the bus tomorrow for FREE, then I'm punching the driver with one hand and eating a turkey leg with the other. I'm gonna leave my bag at the back of the bus, and while I'm talking LOUDLY on my cell phone I'm going to walk to the front of the bus, panhandle a couple of folks, and start a game of craps on the floor.

Just watch me.

*It's ok to think I'm crazy and/or feel sorry for me.

Monday, December 11, 2006

I'm throwing my support behind this hottie

Dennis Kucinich is running for president, again. I know next to nothing about him except that he couldn't deliver Ohio in 2004. So he's dead to me. He's also got those weird eyes like Jim Lehrer that creep me out.

And can someone explain the Obama thing to me? Two minutes in the Senate and a better-than-average speech at the 2004 convention and he can be President? Overlord Oprah's endorsement aside, I'm so waiting this one out. And as his constituent I have no idea what he's accomplished for Illinois.

Friday, December 08, 2006

So glad we got rid of cholera

I was kidnapped last night, and oddly my captors forced me at knife point to tour two 19th century historical homes in the South Loop. Very strange behavior for criminals. Since I've officially given up on Grey's Anatomy, it wasn't that big of a deal to miss Thursday night t.v.

The Glessner and Clarke Houses, decked out for the holidays, turned out to be a nice way to spend a couple of hours. They did a great job restoring the houses, however it was a little disconcerting to see my Target floor lamp in one.

Thankfully it wasn't a walking tour (it's like Artic circle cold here) and our tour guide was a pretty smart gal. A given on any guided tour, you always have at least one annoying person who asks stupid questions or expects the tour guide to like travel back in time or something to get ridiculously accurate information.

Example. The Clarke House is Greek Revival, which the guide said emphasizes symmetry. On one side of the house, there are three windows. The other also has three windows, with one actually being a "fake" but they put shutters on the outside, for you guessed it, symmetry. Here's a little taste of the exchange.

Annoying Dude: Why did they put the window there if it's not real?

She had all ready gone through the above explanation.

Guide: Because the other side has it.

Annoying Dude: Why?

Guide: For symmetry. There are three windows on either side.

Annoying Dude: But why?

In the second house the guide talked about a holiday gift giving tradition the Glessner family had, and they weren't sure if it was something family came up with themselves or if it was an established practice of the time.

Annoying Dude: Why did they hide the presents like that?

Guide: We don't know.

Annoying Dude: Did they come up with it themselves?

Guide: We. Don't. Know.

At this point, we just threw him into the fire and made a solemn pact to never speak of it again. But no one said I couldn't blog about it.

The Clarke House had the sweetest middle aged security guard who told those of us in the back of the tour that the house was haunted and she was scared of the place. She said she sees and hears things there all the time (old man Clarke died of cholera in the home) and even heard things while we were upstairs with the guide last night. We thought that was awesome and wanted to hear her stories instead.

"I'm a terrible security guard," the fraidy cat said, wide-eyed. "I don't like to be here alone."

"That's ok, we got your back." I told her.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

A whale of a an interview

While many of you have forgotten the Sea World orca who attacked her handler a week or so ago, I've been trying to get an interview with the tempestuous Kasatka to no avail. A true diva, she's protected behind a wall of publicists a mile thick.

Late last night, Kasatka called me. Here's a little sample from our Q and A.

Me: Geez Kasatka, it's like 2 a.m.

Kasatka: Look lady do you want this interview or not?

Me: Sure. Sorry. So what happened?

Kasatka: God, why is everyone so transfixed by this story? You'd think I flashed my whale coochie to paparazzi like Brittney or Lindsay.

Me: Actually Kasatka, no one really cares. I just need something for my blog.

Kasatka: Oh. Anyway I was having a pretty bad day--bloated, tired, you know--and I was trying to send that idiot Ken Peters the I-don't-wanna-be-your-trick-pony vibe but he wasn't getting it. So I decided to kill him.

Me: Kill him? That's kind of bitchy. Couldn't you just, like quit?

Kasatka: Dude, I'm a KILLER whale. That's what I do.

Me: It seemed like you had second thoughts. What happened.

Kasatka: Yeah, the guy's got a family and shit. The holidays are here. . .

Me: I didn't know whales had such hearts!

Kasatka: And, we're highly intelligent you know.

Me: I thought that was the dolphins.

Kasatka: Fuck that, most plankton's smarter than your average dolphin.

Me: Kasatka, you have quite a mouth.

Kasatka: I'm kind of drunk. I gotta go.

Me: Ok. Drink a ton of water before you go to bed. Less of a hangover that way.

Kasatka: Thanks for the tip.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

I was attacked by Christmas decorations

I don't know if my left eye will ever be the same after a strand of evergreen garland fell off the entrance to my living room and slapped me on the eyeball. Eeewwwouch

Regardless, I'm still filled with holiday cheer. And I apologize for taking a week to share my tales of my trip home for Thanksgiving. I knew it would be blog worthy, so I carried a notebook around for most of my visit.

Aunt Sheila, not in the mood for Angie's "crap"

My Aunt Sheila picked me up the day before Thanksgiving at the Amtrak station in Mendota, Illinois, a one horse town and the village of my birth.

"What are you wearing?" she asked, eyebrow raised as I hopped in her car. "What is up with that hat?"

"I wasn't aware there was a dress code." I was sporting sweats, a denim jacket, baseball hat, scarf, and probably some eye boogers as I had gotten up at 5:30 to catch the early train. I didn't expect any flack from her of all people--a woman who shops at a place called the Underseller and has never stopped wearing legwarmers. However, she is hands down my favorite relative outside of my immediate family and is allowed to make fun of me. I gave her a playful shove, and we were on our way south for the 15 minute drive to my hometown.

Acting as an unsolicited tour guide of sorts, Sheila began to regale me with the latest busines news of the Illinois Valley. And oddly she had adopted some sort of twang as she spoke.

"Yeah, we're supposed to get an Olive Garden, and I went to the Super Center in Ottawa. I walked the whole thing! It sure is big." Then she paused a bit and said, "We're really growin' here ya know ."

"Why are you talking like that?" I asked.

"Like what?"

"With that Southern accent? Where in the hell did that come from?" I asked, no demanded of her.

"Oh, shut up Angie. I don't want any of your crap today," she said.

My crap? I wasn't aware I had "crap" that would upset a person so. Anyway, we had a good laugh and went to my brother's job to hit him up for money. Chad's new place of employment is located right next door to a massage parlor called "The Spa" and appropriately housed in a trailer. Later that weekend, Chad would point to a Spa employee taking her cigarette break on the back steps and say, "Now there, there's something for your blog."

Stroll down memory lane

I got to my mom's apartment and had my fill of day time TV by the end of The View, so I bid her farewell, grabbed my iPod and went out for a walk. It was unseasonably warm, beautiful even, so I was a bit surprised to see so many townsfolk stare at me from their cars as they passed me. Like Los Angeles, people in my hometown love their cars. They drive (frequently drunk) everywhere. So it's weird to see someone on foot, I guess. I wondered if the freaky guy I saw whizz by me on a bike with a cross and a sign that said "Jesus Saves" on the back got as many looks. Anyway, they probably just thought I got a DUI.

I passed what used to be a liquor store--a place where I bought six cases of beer along with a classmate at the age of 16. I had the biggest boobs, and he had a full beard since the age of like 10 so we were the chosen ones. We used to drink outside in the woods--a place called the G-spot--and the six cases of cheap beer, if I remember correctly, was for a summer party there.

I ended up near the downtown area and decided to walk by the house where I grew up. My family moved from there about 10 years ago--so I'm way beyond the nostaligia thing. But it was a little sad to see our neighbors house where two of the nicest people on the planet had lived. Frank and Rose, and elderly married couple had never had children and were de facto grandparents to the neighborhood kids (something I never shared with my real, crazy, quasi-agoraphobe of a grandmother.) Frank even knew about my early obsession with politics and said he was amazed how a junior high girl could blab and blab about it (it was my inner-50-year-old woman talking.) Poor Frank, may he rest in peace, told me about the Congressional Page program and urged me to give it a whirl. It's probably a good thing that I never realized that dream Frank had for me.

Also of note, I walked by the Catholic Church were I had cheated on my confirmation test and then showed up hungover for said sacrament (I had been out the night before at a community college keg party. I had THE biggest crush on this gangly basketball player.)

Does God hold grudges?


Chad, Zach, and I went for lunch Friday afternoon and took a little spin out by this new resort called Big Bear, or Grand Bear. Something like that. Illinois, for the most part is pretty flat and boring, but where I grew up there are rivers and bluffs and state parks where folks hike and fish and fall to their deaths if they have too much to drink and do stupid shit.

We ate in an even smaller town called Utica, at bar where an old cronie of mine--Pork Chop, or Chops if you're familiar--tends bar. I never liked that name for him, because I assumed some local jerks gave it to him. Thus, I always make a point to call him by his real name, Kevin.

"Hi Kevin, what's up?" I asked him. "Oh, same old same old, Ang." He sighed, washing glasses.

I knew the feeling. A few years back I ran into a guy I knew down there and he asked me what "I was up to." I told him, and he kind of stood there silently, frowned, and then said, "Nothing changes with you, still the same thing everytime I see you." Besides the fact that this guy was and is an unmitigated asshole, in some circles if you're not reporting marriages, new babies, or home purchases, you might as well use Chop's reply of "Same old, same old (insert name)." It saves everyone time and the energy spent on feigning interest.

That night I had dinner with several friends at a local place called the Right Spice, a restaurant whose name I have problem with. It reminds me of deodorant. Like, "Honey, can you pick me up some Right Spice at the store?" Or "I just took a whore bath--you know a little Right Spice under each arm, a spray of perfume and out the door!"

Anyway, we were all at the bar having some pre-dinner drinks when someone pointed out a guy that looks an awful lot like Ogre from Revenge of the Nerds. Older, grayer, fatter, but it was him. It turns out Ogre married a local girl and was home for the holidays. Ogre also owns a Wrigleyville bar, fyi.

After dinner we made our way to the local watering holes, of which, let me tell ya, there are several. My favorite--a place called Elle's is run by the newly svelte (and single) bartender nicknamed Slubba (pronounced sloo-ba.) On happening holiday weekends past, the bar (what Chicago yuppies would call a dive) would be packed. Slubba would be slinging drinks with a dollar bill stuck to his sweaty forehead. On this night it was quieter and Slubba doesn't sweat as much. Slubba and I have this crass, flirty back and forth going on. I remembered this episode of Seinfeld where George gets his bald head oiled up and rubs it on some chick. Slubba and I decide (jokingly and hypothetically, of course) that we'll do the same, except I say we should use non-stick Pam.

You know, less calories. He's slimmer now. Get it?

Friday, December 01, 2006

Don't I look like a suicide bomber?

Behold my mini-photo essay from my commute.

No one should have this much fun trudging 8 blocks through the snow and then waiting 20 minutes for the 60 Blue Island.

Watching . . waiting . .

Alas, salvation!

Special commuter shout-out to the girl I sat next to. Sorry for all the snow I inadvertently shook off on you.