Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Private Conversations on the Train

On the train ride in this morning, a Very Important Businessman felt it necessary to conduct a Very Important Business Deal on his phone.  The entire train car was silent except for this guy’s incessant chatter.    

“I’ll circle back with you tomorrow…”

“I’ll make the introduction to the proper investment banker…”

“We can find a solution to fit your needs…”

“I’m an ex-employer, and one of my former employees came to me with that exact issue…”

He was loud.  I felt like he wanted us all to know how Important he was.

Although the train is a public place, so there was technically nothing wrong with him having this conversation, I’m beginning to resent having to listen to people’s private phone conversations everywhere I go.  This man is no exception; it is happening everywhere.  Walking down the street, in the stores, on the trains, on the buses, at the airport.  Everyone is having a conversation with someone who isn’t physically present – often loudly.  People are ending relationships (often tearfully), attending meetings, gossiping, making business deals, catching up with friends and making plans in front of a live audience.

It wouldn’t bother me if Mr. Businessman had been having the conversation in person.  We expect people to have conversations when they are sitting right next to each other.  However, something about the entire conversation being conducted on the phone in front of a train full of people felt so…smug, a clamor to “Look at me, look at me…”  I’m so Important I’m attending a meeting on my way to work; it can’t even wait until I get to the office.  

I suppose people don’t feel embarrassed or awkward to have private conversations in public anymore.  Maybe they should.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

I'm Really Bad, Aren't I?

I can't even believe it's been since March that I posted.


I'm terrible.  Truly awful.

Please forgive me.  Please.  And let me update you!  Living together is going great, even though it never really occurs to him to unload the dishwasher.  I'm also still waiting for him to finish unpacking his office stuff.  But, whatever, right?  We are still due to get married in March of next year, and we are eloping to Hawaii!  Yay.  We are making the arrangements, but it is going to be an epic trip. 

More importantly, I have the most phenomenal, best fantasy football team of all time.  I'm not even kidding.  The league I am in is run through CBS Sports and after we did the draft, I got this canned e-mail from them that advised me I had drafted the worst team ever and I was going to come in dead last.  Well, guess what CBS Sports?  I'm about to be 3-0, unless Matt Forte can score 75 points tomorrow night.  And on top of that, I haven't won by slim margins.  I'm blowing every other team out of the water.  So, thank you Andrew Luck, DeMarco Murray, Calvin Johnson, Reggie Bush, Jeremy Maclin, Rob Gronkowski, Marques Colston, Justin Tucker, et. al.  On what planet is this a losing team, CBS? 

 Also, I'm 40 now.  Holy smokes!  I don't feel 40.  Hopefully I don't look 40. 

Monday, March 24, 2014

Living Together

For the first time in my life, I am now living with a man.  Only took 39 and a half years.

I never thought I would live with someone without getting married, but it make sense.  We’re engaged and have a wedding date set for next year.  It will make things easier for us.  No more shuttling back and forth between places and having to pack a bag.  (We only lived around 2 miles apart, so this wasn’t a huge hassle, but still.)  Plus, we will save a lot of money now that we do not have to pay double rent and utilities.  He moved in to my place over the weekend.

I’m only slightly terrified.  This has a sense of permanence about it now, as I inventory our kitchen supplies to determine where we have duplicates.  Some things will be given away; it makes no sense to keep two…unless we plan to split up again at some point.  How odd, right, to think that way?  Should I keep this in case we have to split everything up someday?  No.  I’m not going to think that way.  For now, I’m going to assume that this is it.  From now on, we are a unit, even though I’ve lined up his glasses on one side of the cupboard and mine on the other.  It’s hard to let go of that “mine” mindset.

He’s being almost annoyingly wishy washy in some ways, asking me “Do we need this or that?” And I ask him…”Do you use it?  Are you attached to it?  Do you want to keep it?”  He doesn’t seem very attached to anything.  That is one thing I like about him, actually, but I wish he would put his foot down and tell me that he wants to use his alarm clock.  I really don’t care whose alarm clock we use.  I tell him to make himself at home and to feel free to put things wherever he wants since he lives here now, but he still feels the need to clear it with me.  I had to tell him it was okay to put his own pillows on the bed, for example.  It will take time for him to feel at home, I know.  I’m no help because I have my place decorated just so, and it is hard for me to let go of that, even though I know I have to do it.  He wants us to use his red entryway rug that matches nothing in my condo.  He doesn’t understand colors and home d├ęcor.  To him, since the rug is still in fine shape we might as well use it.  I will likely cave on this issue, because who cares?  He will smile when he sees it laid out when he gets home from work.  It makes me happy when he’s happy, so I suppose I can live with a red rug. 

Why Is Kim Kardashian on the Cover of Vogue?

I’ve been contemplating why Kim Kardashian’s Vogue magazine cover upsets me so much.  After all, who cares?  It doesn’t affect me personally.  I don’t watch Keeping Up With the Kardashians, I don’t buy tabloid magazines, I don’t buy any of the Kardashian clothing line at Sears.  (Sears!  Classy!)  I do not contribute to the Kardashian fortune at all.  Occasionally I laugh at Kim Kardashian’s clothing choices, but that is about it.  Instead, I try to ignore the Kardashians, to hope that their fifteen minutes of fame will end soon.  It has to, right?  After all, they are nothing more than reality television personalities.  These types of careers are notoriously short-lived.  It wasn’t so long ago that Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt were all over the place, and now they are nowhere to be found.

Over the past year, Vogue has featured the following women on its U.S. cover:  Rihanna (actress), Lena Dunham (actress and writer), Cate Blanchett (actress), Jessica Chastain (actress), Kate Winslet (actress), Sandra Bullock (actress), Jennifer Lawrence (actress), Claire Danes (actress), Katy Perry (singer), Kate Upton (model), Carey Mulligan (actress), Michelle Obama (First Lady), and Beyonce (singer).  And then…Kim Kardashian!  One of these things is not like the other, is it? 
Has Anna Wintour lost her mind?  One wonders what Kim Kardashian has done to merit the cover of Vogue.  Vogue!  The Fashion Bible.  A Vogue cover seems to give an air of legitimacy to Kim Kardashian’s “career.”  But what has Kim Kardashian ever done to deserve a Vogue cover?   Unlike the women who have graced the cover before her, she is not an actress, singer, model, writer, or the First Lady.  What does Kim Kardashian actually do?  We know she goes shopping, dates athletes and other celebrities, had a very large and expensive wedding paid for by TLC, which was rendered moot within days.  She goes to yogurt shops, restaurants, and clubs.  Cameras follow her around.  The paparazzi takes her picture.  She follows Kanye West around like a puppy dog and seems to have lost what little fashion sense she had once he got into the picture.  

Let’s recall why Kim Kardashian is famous in the first place.  A sex tape.  A sex tape.  Has anyone else with a sex tape ever appeared on the cover of Vogue?  Isn’t Vogue supposed to be a classy magazine?  Suddenly it’s lost all class.  Luckily, Kim’s mother was intelligent enough to parlay the sex tape into Keeping Up With the Kardashians, which created the Kardashian empire.  (I don’t understand why anyone would want to watch this show, but apparently people do.)

Kim Kardashian is nothing more than a reality television personality.    She’s Honey Boo Boo all grown up.  She has no discernible talent. She can’t act, sing, or write.  She’s not a model.   Is she pretty?  Sure.  But so are a lot of women.  She does not seem particularly intelligent when you hear her speak.  She’s in her early 30s and a mother and is taking selfies of her ass and posting them on Twitter and Instagram.       
Being on the cover of a magazine like Vogue used to mean something.  I may not like some of the other women who have been featured on the cover of Vogue, but at least they do something.  I can’t stand Lena Dunham, but she has a hit TV show.  I think Rihanna is dumber than a box of rocks based on her Twitter posts, but she sings, dancers, and performs for stadiums full of people.    

In explaining her decision to put Kim Kardashian on the cover of Vogue, Anna Wintour explained that “being able to feature those who define the culture at any given moment, who stir things up, whose presence in the world shapes the way it looks and influences the way we see it. I think we can all agree on the fact that that role is currently being played by Kim and Kanye to a T.”  Have we really sunk so low as a country that Kim Kardashian and Kanye West define our culture?  Is Kim Kardashian really that popular…for doing nothing?  Or is she popular merely because the paparazzi will not let us forget about her?   

The ratings for Keeping Up With the Kardashians have been plummeting and hit an all-time low last month.  At its peak, an average of 3.39 million viewers watched.  Now ratings are around 2 million viewers per episode.  There are over 314 million people in the United States, if that shows you how few people actually watch this show.  Rumor has it that sales of the Kardashian Kollection at Sears have been less than optimal.  (Does anyone want to dress like the Kardashians?)  Although Kim’s Cosmopolitan (April 2013) cover sold well, her Allure (March 2012), Glamour (January 2012) and Marie Claire (December 2011) sold poorly.  While tabloids featuring the Kardashians sell well, is it because people like the Kardashians or because they want to laugh at the Kardashians?  Sometimes it’s difficult to tell.  

Which leads me to wonder…if the paparazzi stopped taking pictures of Kim Kardashian, would anyone notice?  If she stopped Tweeting, would anyone care?  If talk show hosts stopped interviewing her would we even miss her?  How long would it take for people to move on to the next reality show (remember how big Jersey Shore was a couple of years ago?) and the next tabloid fodder?  If the media was not constantly shoving the talentless Kardashians down our throats, wouldn’t we all find other people to read about – people who might actually contribute something to society?   

Wouldn’t it be amazing if, rather than featuring a woman who is famous for a sex tape, Anna Wintour had put Marissa Mayer (Yahoo’s CEO), Mary Barra (General Motors’ CEO), or Meg Whitman (Hewlett-Packard’s CEO) on the cover of April’s Vogue?  Wouldn’t that be a better message to send to young women today?  Instead, the message is that you can do nothing and still land the cover of Vogue.  No wonder so many young people just want to “be famous” when they grow up, without bothering to consider how they might become famous.

At any rate, I’m stunned that Anna Wintour has done this, even though she might just be crazy like a fox and counting on the publicity to sell issues.  I’ve been done with magazines like Cosmopolitan and Glamour for several years (who have also put various Kardashians on the cover).  Now I’m done with Vogue as well.  It’s a shame.  Their September issue used to be my fall fashion Bible.  No more.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

"Selfies" in the Car - Why?

I don’t understand “selfies.”  Maybe it’s because I’m not photogenic so I don’t like having my picture taken.  Or because I grew up in an age where there were no digital cameras, so it was important to take your pictures wisely because there was only so much film in the camera.  When I take a picture, I don’t need a close up of my face.  If I’m taking a picture, it is either to mark an occasion with friends or to mark a location where I happen to be.  Or of my dessert, if it is particularly memorable.  But even if traveling alone, it’s usually very easy to find another person who will gladly snap a photo of you in front of the Statute of Liberty.  

I can think of very few instances where a “selfie” seems logical.  For instance, if you are somewhere scenic in the middle of nowhere all alone and there is no one else around to take your picture.  Or maybe if you run a blog where your clothing or make-up is part of the blog, so you take a picture of yourself to showcase what you are wearing or your eyeshadow that day.  That makes sense to me.   
Unfortunately, that is not the typical "selfie."  People seem obsessed with taking pictures of themselves.  Is it narcissism gone bad?  They are everywhere!  High school “friends” in my Facebook feed.  There is one gal in particular who posts a new "selfie" every week.  I saw a news story today about Obamacare and the picture they posted of the poor woman who can’t find a doctor to treat her was – you guessed it, a "selfie."  I mean, really?  She didn’t have another picture of herself?  (This is aside from the fact that sometimes I’m stunned at the terrible pictures of people that news stories use.  What's worse, is the news source must have gotten the pictures from the family, so I often wonder why the family would give them such a bad picture.  I saw a news story in the Daily Mail today that had a person in it with their eyes closed.  I mean…what?)  Pictures people took of themselves in the mirror are all over the Internet.  Celebrities are tweeting selfies.  And it’s kind of hilarious because the angle is always so terrible and unflattering.  So...why? 

Anyway…on to my point.  Why do people take “selfies” in the car?  In my Facebook feed, on the Internet, and even in news stories I see “selfies” of people in the car.  I don’t get it.  What motivates someone to get in the driver’s seat of their car, put on their seatbelt, and think “Damn, now is a great time to take a picture of myself!”  They always have their seatbelt on!  I don’t get it.  What am I missing? 

Monday, March 17, 2014

Gaining Weight While Dating

What is it about dating that makes the weight pile on?  CTF and I love wine, craft beer, and food.  Lots and lots of food.  One of our favorite things to do is to stop in at a new place to have drinks and eats.  As a result, we have both gained weight.  I’ve put on around 10 pounds in the year and a half that we’ve been dating.  I think he’s put on close to 20 pounds.  I glanced over at his gut over the weekend and found myself thinking “Where did that come from?”  But I’m no innocent party either.  While I’m still fitting into my “skinny” jeans, another couple of pounds and I’ll be digging back into my fat clothes to find something to wear.  Squeezing into my jeans is starting to make me feel like a sausage.  
You’ll recall that I went through quite a fitness craze in the months leading up to meeting CTF.  I quit smoking, started running, did Insanity, and got myself down to a weight I hadn’t seen since college.  I felt great!  I looked great!  Life was great!  And while I have continued to work out (although without nearly the dedication) and generally eat fairly healthy during the week, the weekends have turned into a pit of gluttony.  Chicago is a bad place to live if you like to eat.  

Let’s just put it this way.  Yesterday I did Jillian Michaels’ No More Trouble Zones DVD and today I am finding out that most of my trouble zones haven’t been worked in a long time.  I can barely hobble around the hallways here at work.  But at least I worked out.  That’s the bar these days – at least I did something. 

Part of the problem has been the weather.  It has been nonstop snow and cold since November.  Not only did I lose motivation to do anything healthy, it was impossible (and miserable) to spend any time out of doors, even to go for a walk.  As a result, I’ve barely been able to run since November.  The other night it hit fifty degrees, so I went for a run and the endorphins hit hard.  I felt phenomenal.  Then two days later it snowed again.  It was frigidly cold yesterday.  Today is a little better.  Who knows when we will see true relief.  And the cold makes me want macaroni and cheese and Pequod’s pizza and a tall glass of beer.  

But CTF is a bad influence on me.  He gets me out of my workout routine.  He convinces me to go and have fun when I should be working out.  He wants to split dessert, split a bottle of wine, try that new steak place.  Oh, and Goose Island has new beers every week that we have to try.  And the pastry counter at Whole Foods calls my name.  

But I know it's my fault.  I can't really blame the weather or CTF.  I know how to say no.  I know how to lose weight.  I just need to muster up the motivation to do it.  CTF is moving in soon.  I find myself wondering if we will get better or worse.  I tend to think that once we are living together we will stop going out to eat so much, and will settle into more of a healthy routine.  I tease him that now we can both really let ourselves go.  Will we?  Tough to tell.

All I know is that I need to try to lose 5-7 pounds before summer hits.  So does he.  I can’t wait for the weather to warm up so we can start going for long walks again, as we did last summer and fall.      

We Are Going to Elope

Have you set a date yet?

Where are you going to have your wedding?

What are you going to do for your wedding?

Let me tell you something – these are three questions I never thought would apply to me.  Even now, three months later, it’s still completely surreal to see this rock of a diamond on my finger.  

I’ve never really thought a whole lot about planning a wedding.  I don’t have a scrapbook or a Pinterest board.  I don’t think I’ve ever even looked at the inside of a bridal magazine.  Even when I go to weddings, I barely notice the decorations or the flowers.  To be honest, most weddings I’ve been to have felt very similar.  Mostly they go by in a blur.  The last time I was in a bridal shop was around ten years ago when I was buying a bridesmaid dress.  So, this is all very new to me.  I’ve also found that a lot of wedding “things” don’t apply to me.  I’ll be 40 years old by the time I get married.  My father has been dead since I was 19.  My siblings are all either married or will be married by the time I get married.  (My youngest sister, H, is getting married in August.)  

I’ve gone through some phases since I got engaged:  

1.       Let’s just get married at the courthouse and go on an awesome honeymoon.  I don’t want to waste the money on a large wedding.

2.       Let’s just get married at the courthouse and then have a big party in Chicago with all of our friends.

3.       Let’s get married somewhere else, like Hawaii, and do a destination wedding with only our immediate family and close friends.

4.       Let’s just get married at the courthouse (or elope) and go on an awesome honeymoon.  I don’t want to waste the money on a large wedding.

You can see I’ve come full circle.  A large reason is cost.  Holy cripes are weddings expensive.  On some level I knew this…but until I actually started researching the pricing it never occurred to me how expensive it is to feed and booze up a couple hundred people for four to five hours.  Add in your venue charge, photographer, music, chairs, tables, linens, centerpieces, flowers…and you could be talking $30,000-40,000 easy (if not a lot more) in downtown Chicago.  All of that money for one evening?  I can’t wrap my brain around that.  It feels like a colossal waste of money for something that is not important to me.  I would rather buy a new BMW.  

A destination wedding is a nice idea because then we can put the money toward a few days’ worth of activities with the people we love, since the guest list will be much shorter.  But will it really save us that much money?  My first choice place would be Hawaii, but it is so expensive to get there that I feel it’s asking too much of our guests.  Northern California would also be a nice option.  But after reaching out to some venues and pricing things out, a destination wedding surprisingly isn’t that much cheaper than doing something in Chicago.  Can we afford it?  Yes.  Do we want to spend our money that way?  Not really sure.  Because at the end of the day, the wedding itself isn’t all that important to me.  The thought of even having to walk down the aisle in a white dress is kind of nauseating to me.  I’ve never dreamed of that day, or even thought much about it.  It’s just not important to me.

What is important to me is getting married. I’ve been thinking about what I am most looking forward to…and I really just want to be in Hawaii with CTF for two weeks touring the volcanoes, lounging on the beach, going hiking, and doing other touristy, fun stuff with him.  That’s what I want.  I don’t want to have to deal with planning a wedding or stressing out over the costs or who to invite.  CTF doesn’t care either way.

So, at the end of the day, we have simply decided to elope.  It will be less stressful and save us a lot of money that we can put toward our honeymoon, other trips, or our retirement fund.  I already feel a huge weight lifted off my shoulders…   

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

I'm Engaged!

Yes, me, who never wanted to get now going to get married.  He popped the question over the holidays and I didn't even blink when I said yes.


Well, a number of reasons.  Not all of them are entirely romantic, either.

I'm tired of being alone.  Yes, I said it.  I'll be turning forty later this year and have never been married.  It feels like everyone is coupled up.  It's nice to feel like I have an other half now.  It's nice to feel like someone has my back.  And boy, does he ever!  He is a wonderful, considerate person.  I feel very lucky to have met him. 

It's time for a new adventure.  At this point...why not get married? 

I love him.  Duh.

We are very compatible.  I can easily see us retiring together someday and having lots of great adventures.

I'm tired of dating.  On Friday night I was out with some girl friends, and we were at a club, and I looked around and thought "Thank God I have a wonderful man at home and don't have to worry about any of this nonsense anymore!"

We both love our red wine and craft beer.  This is very important.

Of course, I've never wanted a wedding, so that is going to be the next hurdle.  (I looked at The Knot web site last night and about broke out into hives.  I can't believe how serious some of these girls are about linens and place settings.  Who the hell cares?  The thought of planning a wedding is so distasteful to me...but more on that later.)   

I need to convince him that we should elope to Hawaii, just the two of us, and get married on the beach.  We'll see, though -- I think he may want us to have a big party!