Archive for March, 2003

Vacation: DAY 2-3

So, while we toured Florida, visiting all of the finest airports in the region, we discovered a few things about Floridians.


First of all, they are terrible drivers. The great state of Florida has permitted drivers to jet along their expansive freeways at high speeds of 70 mph. For us Illinoisians, this is like romping in the Garden of Eden. WOOHOO! I thought as I saw the posted speed limit signs.

Turns out that Floridians have earned that limit despite the fact that fewer than 10% of the drivers actually travel at these speeds. Oh, no. These drivers go at about 35 mph. This is terrible! First to not take advantage of your god-given right to cruise along at speeds that other states would envy. Secondly, there are a lot of turns and curves. Many times I rounded a corner and find a car just crawling along. I had to stand on the brakes to avoid a collision!


Cows. Florida has a lot of cows. This means that sometimes cows get tipped. We saw one cow sort of floundering around in a field. It was sad–yet quite funny.


Here in Illinois we run across our occasional pink flamingo… but in Florida we came across an 11 ft long cement alligator with neon orange eyes. While that was quite impressive, it wasn’t as cool as the homemade tank in the next yard. CRAZY!

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Vacation: DAY 1

Sunday was beautiful in Chicago–nearly 60 degrees. Craig M picked us up and drove us to the airport at 10:45 that morning–despite his wild Saturday night.:-) Arriving at the airport in plenty of time, I decided to take advantage of some yogurt with little M&Ms and hot fudge. Yum! Unfortunately, as is usually the case, my eyes were bigger than my tummy and I wound up passing the rest of the yogurt on to Frank. Such a good fiance.

We boarded the plane and got cozy with our knees tucked under our chins–airplanes, as it turns out, are not made for tall people. Ah, the irony.

Once all the passengers were on board, the captain backed the plane out of the gate and we were off! Whee!

And then we came back.

See, if the hydrolic fluid is leaking in the wing, this means that there could be trouble either taking off or landing. This repair is also a 24 hour repair. We deboarded. Once back in the terminal, we saw a line of over 150 to get rerouted. Fortunately a very friendly young man directed us back to the ticket agents where we came in.

After a little negotiating, we managed to get bulk head seats from Chicago to Atlanta and first class from Atlanta to Tampa. We also got a free meal. Yum. More food!

The rest of our trip to Tampa went fairly smoothly… and then there was the rental car.

BEND OVER–and grab your ankles, please…

Frank was getting the luggage and I decided to run over and get the rental car. I was feeling pretty ferocious after our negotiations with the ticket lady. Once at the counter, however, my ferocity dissipated. The gentleman at the counter helped me assume the “take me for everything I got” position.

“Under 25? hmmm… Do you want our insurance package?” I thought about it. I thought that perhaps it wouldn’t be such a bad idea.

“Sure,” I said.

“Okay, that’ll be $37.99 per day. Great,” he said. He was so smooth that I couldn’t even figure out how to say no. I looked over at Frank who was now sitting on some benches, waiting for me to return with the car keys. He had no idea, the poor boy, what kind of mess I was getting myself into. Like a silent choking victim, I could only plead with my eyes. My plea was SAVE ME FROM MYSELF!! But I think he thought I was making eyes at him so he gave me his best James Dean smile and kind of winked. Crap.

I turned around to look at the car guy, who was now writing my liver and kidneys into the contract, smiled warmly at me.

“Just for you, I have the Ford Explorer,” he said, handing me some keys. I was signing and initialing–but what, I wasn’t sure. I think my firstborn now has to be named Budget.

Frank came up to me, smiling and patting my shoulders. If he only knew…

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How did it happen!?

Frank and I have known each other since we were wee freshman at our respective universities. We met at Illini Life’s Saturday Night Grace service when I visited our mutual friend, John Nichols, in December of ’98. Sure, it would be nice to say that it was happily ever after, but that was not the case. Instead Frank and I gradually became close friends over the four years we were in college. It wasn’t until Frank took a job in the Chicagoland area that we were able to spend more time together.

Last week, Frank said that he wanted to have a date night. So at 6 p.m., amidst the protests and craziness, Frank picked me up from work. He looked simply dashing in a suit and tie. Ow-ow!!! When I asked him where we were going, he said, “Portillos–I just wanted to get you in a skirt!” Always the comedian 😉

Anyway, we parked in the Hancock and walked across the street to Bloomingdale’s to do a little shoppy-shop. YAY! What girl doesn’t love a little post-work shopping?? Then we had cocktails in the Four Seasons and I was definitely feeling refreshed from my day of working. Ahhhh!

We walked back across the street to the Hancock and took the elevators up to the 95th floor–the Signature Room!


The host seated us near the windows on the north side of the building. We had some delicious bread and ordered our dinners. (Salmon for me, Filet for Frank, just in case you were wondering). The view was mesmerizing and we pretty much daydreamed out the window for a while.

After our delicious meal, we sat back in our chairs, chatting about work and life and so on. I was telling him about all the uncertainties in my life, etc.

“Oh!” he said, “I forgot to give you that book last night.” (Frank said he had a book for me the night before, but I forgot about it…)

He handed me a small, square book wrapped in tissue paper. I opened it. “For the Bride.” WHAT???!!!! I looked up at Frank. All I could see was his face. The rest of the room disappeared. I almost couldn’t breath! He had an open box in front of him and I knew it was a ring, but that’s about it.

I must have squawked. I think I said yes.

“Is that a yes?” asked Frank, smiling.

“Yes yes yes yes yes!” I said, my hands shaking and my heart pounding.

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Guess what???

Frank and I are engaged! I will write more later…. YAY!!

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Word of the Day:


1. Hinduism. A sacred verbal formula repeated in prayer, meditation, or incantation, such as an invocation of a god, a magic spell, or a syllable or portion of scripture containing mystical potentialities.

2. A commonly repeated word or phrase: “Today’s edutainment software comes shrink-wrapped in the magic mantra: ‘makes learning fun.’” (Clifford Stoll).

For those of you who read the previous post, you may have noticed that I used the word “mantra” in a sentence. After I posted, I realized that I wasn’t entirely sure what it meant. So here it is, mantra.

What’s your mantra?

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Shopping Thoughts

So Jamie, Kate and I went shopping. This is usually a joyful experience for me. Not so much last night. Why is it that tall sizes are 33inches in length?? What genuinely tall person wears that length of pants? I’m practically a 36. This is ridiculous. And I really REALLY don’t want to spend in excess of $50 on a pair of pants that I have to dry clean anyway. GR!


First of all, what is it that these war protesters do for a living? Or are they of the many unemployed? What is the deal? Of course, they did start their protests after 5 and there were a few people in business suits…

Secondly, I work for the company that has the Army account. This means that we are automatically evil. Therefore we have protesters outside of our building. It’s a mild nuisance because sometimes we have to use different doors. But even then, not a big deal. And it was really not entirely a surprise when I heard on ABC this morning that there would be protesters at the Federal Buildings, the Boeing Headquarters and Leo Burnett. Not too shocking at all. The news cast indicated that the protesters would arrive at my office around the same time I would. I kind of looked forward to the excitement of rowdy protesters at 8 a.m.

As I walked to work, I passed the Boeing HQs. There was a paddy wagon in front of the building and blue barricades on the sidewalk. But, alas, no protesters! It was a few minutes past 8 a.m. I thought, “Perhaps these protesters are stuck in traffic or there was a long line at Starbucks.” A few minutes later, I arrived at my building. A block west of my building there were a few more squad cars than normal. There were a few officers putting on their riot gear, which was kind of thrilling. I always wanted to have a dangerous and exciting job!

I walked through the back entrance of my building and up the stairs to the lobby. Nothing was different. The doors on Wacker were free of any crazy protesters. I checked the time: 8:10 a.m. I talked to the security guards at the elevator.

“Hey guys, where are the protesters?” I asked.

“I dunno,” said the shorter one, shrugging his shoulders. “I guess they’re late.”

Which brings me to the greater societal issue at hand. Punctuality. Movies, shows, trains–never on time any more! It’s not to say they’re always late–sometimes trains have been early (something that also strands me on the platform if I don’t get there to cross in time), sometimes movies close the doors before the previews. Being ON TIME is a lost art. I am guilty. I bet you are too! You say you aren’t, but I know you are. What’s worse about the people who are early is that they then complain about people who are on time or late. They have cheesy mantras like, “Early is on time, on time is late.” This is to guilt the rest of us into their sick game.

What it all boils down to is it just isn’t good enough. And maybe that’s what the protesters are REALLY protesting.

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Good things for a buck? Candy and me… for $1.

Shoppy Shop

Last night Kate and I went shopping. We had planned a date with Target. I love Target–I can’t leave that store empty handed! As we pulled into the parking lot, Kate said, “Oh! A dollar store!” Now, when I think of a dollar store, I think icky interior with cheap-o toys. It brought back memories of Christmas shopping when I was little.

But last night, Kate and I walked through the doors into our very own wonderland of happiness! They had all sorts of fun books, toys, games, candy–you name it! I got Frank a present at the dollar store–aren’t I an awesome girlfriend? Kate and Jamie are planning to go back to see what other treasures they can uncover.

This leads me to my job… I think that I saw my resume at the dollar store… “Hire me–$1”


So, I was chatting with my lovely cubemate, Angie. I was whining to her about how we don’t make any money and how we work all these crazy hours. She mentioned I may have missed the memo.

“What memo?” I thought. She emailed it to me. It is here in its entirety. Poetry, really.



To: All Employees

From: Management

Re: Your Paychecks

We don’t do it for the money, we do it because we LOVE it!


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