Saturday, December 11, 2010

For SALE

Yesterday I played hooky.  I mean I really blew the day off.  After a meeting at a friend's in the morning, I just stayed.  We ran errands, baby sat the cutest little boy and went to the BIG private school here to see her kids' holiday program.  This school is the kind of school that costs about as much a year to send one child as I make in a year.  They are, however, very good friends, down to Earth and I love them.  And, they're Irish.

The Irish are a tight knit group of people, especially in Chicago.  All of them immigrants, they made their millions in construction and development.  Some of them with barely a third grade education.  But they are the warmest people.  Friday night dinners are something I always look forward to.  Anyone and everyone is invited to come for dinner and drink, and boy can they drink!!  Finally, after being gone for 12 hours and feeling guilty for leaving Meow Mix, another friend dropped me off on her way home.  Guess what I saw in the window of the first floor apartment:


Yep....I mean I know they're terrible landlords and pretty much neglect the place, but I'd think they'd at least tell us. The best part is...they're Irish and I have spread the word to my Irish friends.  

Not sure how long it will take for it to sell but I'm betting the new buyer will probably tear it down and build some lush million-dollar single family home.  Just hope it doesn't happen before I head out....I've got a business plan in mind just have to get it all in place.  

I know, I'm not forgetting about a job, but I am moving to a market 1/10th the size of Chicago, and while there might be 20 jobs I'd apply for here, there are only three in Kansas City.  :(  So, at least I'm working, picking up clients and things look good.  Really good. I'd rather be doing this and making some money then sitting around looking for a job....ya know?  

God is speaking. Everything is in play, it seems, for me to definitely proceed with my plan.

xoxo


Monday, December 6, 2010

Christmas Ideas Numero... I Don't Even Know. Call It IV, V and VI

I am constantly amazed of what I find around my house.  I may not have spent any money, but two dollars (thanks to The Dollar Store) on wrapping but some how I churned out the cutest little packages tonight.  I'm absolutely beside myself.  Yes, even if I am a creative person.  It's just that I don't get a chance to sit down and make anything anymore.  Tonight cured that....for awhile.



Some more affordable gift tips:
1. Instead of buying labels - make them or print them
A couple of years ago I started taking old holiday cards, cutting out a graphic and then writing the person's name on the back.  Can be very cute (especially with all the fun cards out there today) and simple if the gift is wrapped in several sheets of tissue paper - another one of my ideas for you.

Of course, if you don't have them around then go to a site like Free Printable Gift Tags or About.com for very cute and traditional gift tags you can create with any color printer.

2. If you're the creative type like me, then you have some random stuff in your "craft bin" - yes, I have a craft bin.  It's small.  Shutup! You can heckle at my craft bin but don't you dare make fun of my glue gun.  It's brought happiness to loads of people! - I dug out scraps of fabric and tons of ribbons which became pretty much the cutest gifts I've ever wrapped, if I do say so myself - and that's after working in high school doing gift wrap at a department store!  Sure it took a little bit more time and the "wrapping" will be tossed, but the detail and love won't be forgotten.

3. So I burned CDs for Brother-in-law1.  Well, for the gals and gay boyfriend I printed pictures and actually, believe it or not, got the cutest frames at.....The Dollar Store.  No kidding.

Running tab of what I've spent thus far on Christmas gifts for family and four friends (drum roll).....roughly $12.  Yep, and just about everyone is taken care of.  Next is some postage but I think I will easily spend 1/3 of what I have in years past and it will still be a joyful, generous and surprising holiday for all.  Gosh, who knows how I'll be able to top this next year....Ideas?  LOL

xoxo





The Family Photo

Before I start, I just want to say that, in theory, the concept of getting a family photo is a really good one.  We haven't had such a photo since we all pretty much living in the same town and it was for the church directory.  So, yes, it was definitely time.

I am unsure if I was instantly annoyed because Sister2 (the Milkman's baby) came up with the idea or if it just seemed like a major inconvenience to battle Black Friday traffic and parking to make it happen.  I'm thinking it's the first, especially because she wanted us all to dress alike - never really been a fan..but she did promise it was only going to be a half hour. 

Overall the holiday was very nice and peaceful.  It was great!!!!!  No arguing, no temper tantrums, just plenty of wine to keep us all medicated and a little too tipsy to do much of anything but lift the glass.

Black Friday....Parking in one of the major shopping areas in Omaha was surprisingly not too bad.  We walked into the photo studio and I stop in my tracks.  There are about 100 people hanging around waiting to get their family photo. I look at Sister2 "Thirty minutes, huh?"  Okay, I can deal with screaming babies, kids running around uncontrolled or visibly lacking parents with any shred of common decency.  First things first - find Dad a place to sit.  Spotted.  I should have known that with the slightly bad taste in my mouth that this was going to turn into a debacle.

E: "Excuse me, do you mind if my father sits here? He can't stand long and I have a feeling there's quite a wait."
Woman: "I'm sorry this seat is taken"
E: "Oh, okay, I'll see if someone else will be considerate enough to allow an old man to sit"
Woman: "I'm sorry, I didn't realize..."
E: "That's okay.  I'll bring him over"
Woman: "Well, you see the seat is still taken by my husband"
E: You mean the able-bodied, 30-something looking gent over there standing looking otherwise engaged in conversation versus my 70+ father whose leg issues don't make it easy for him to stand long?  IS THAT WHO YOU MEAN?  "Oh, well, I'm sure someone else will be courteous enough to allow my father to sit."
Woman: "I didn't mean to be rude."
E: "You kind of are." And I thought I had been very nice to her
E: "Excuse me, sir, would you be kind enough to sacrifice your seat for my father? He can't stand very long and I have a feeling we'll be waiting for awhile."
Man: "Of course, no problem."
E: "Thank you so much.  Very kind." As I throw a glance back at the bitch on the couch.....seat next to her is STILL open and hubby still chatting in corner

For the next thirty minutes I checked email on my phone, sent some replies, played Legos with my nephew with my niece hanging off of me.  "Family X. We're ready for you."  FINALLY!

Photographer: "Okay so we'll do each family and couples and then move on to the next room for the family photo"
Dad: "Uhm, we're just here for the family photo"
Photographer: tongue as sharp as a guillotine "We don't do it that way here.  You must sit for all photos"
Brother-in-Law1 (nicest guy in the world!!): "I'm sorry, I thought we were the customers"
Photographer: pause, blank stare "Uhm, hum, yes, well this is the way we do it here"
Mom (the smoother-over-er): "Okay fine, everyone just take the photos"
Photographer: "Okay, Sister2's family. Okay, Sister1 couple. Okay, Mom and Dad.  Great.  Now you" she turns to look at me
E: "Uhm, yeah, I'm not taking a picture by myself"
Photographer: "Well, is your husband or boyfriend on his way? I can wait."
E: humiliated - full on "NO! There is no husband or boyfriend, thanks so much for sharing this in front of the whole world.  I am NOT taking a photo alone."
Photographer: "Well, I'm required to take everyone's photo.  How about you step in with Mom and Dad"
E: and look like the spinster who lives at home with Mommy and Daddy.  I don't THINK so! "Uhm....no!"
Brother-in-law1: why he rocks "You know I think that if the customer says no that means no. We've waited long enough and would like to move on"
Photographer: "Okay then, you need to stand in line here for the next photo"
Dad: "How long will that be"
Photographer: "Like five minutes"

TWENTY-FIVE minutes later we're still in line waiting.  I was able to find another chair for Dad and he was happy.  Meanwhile, cutey niece and I fell into a game of "Would You Rather" - quite fun, actually.

Photographer finally comes up and says you're next.  Four shots, 20 seconds and we were done.  Whoops!  Until we now have to sit down with the photographer and decide what we want.  I whisper to Mom "I just want a 5x7".  "Okay," she says.  I then walk away and take myself out of the situation and continue "Would You Rather" with cutey niece.

Then we were out of there only to discover that the geniuses who run the shopping center have closed every entrance/exit but two for traffic exiting. The rest is all incoming.  What the...? We drove around and around, almost got backed into twice and my Dad got his verbal assaults for the day out of the way, rolling down his window to yell at the stupid people who just jumped out in front our car.  He could have seriously injured one and there was some yelling.  Don't mess with the already annoyed chica.

E:  roll down the window "Dude, be smart.  You're in a parking lot and there are clearly marked pedestrian zones.  How about you try not to give your family the gift of dying today, stick to the designated areas and live to continue making their life a living hell?"
Dude: "Uhm..."
E: I'm sorry did I speak too fast for you?  "Please move out of our way"
Dude: "Uhm..."

You know, I'm really trying not to be irritated by things, but I think it's the nature of the holidays.  I truly can't believe I spoke to these people the way I did - highly unusual for me, but therapeutic! For me and Brother-in-law1 to say what everyone was thinking but no one, including us, never has the guts to say. I've decided that I just wasn't putting up with people's shit anymore.  Don't be stupid, use your head, be thoughtful and everything will be fine.  It's not rocket science.

Although, life is anything if isn't entertaining! 

So, I promise I won't be a Bah-Humbug. After all, a majority of my holiday gifts have been done for months and overall I'm really quite a happy person these days!  No, I'm not getting any, sadly.  That would definitely help keep me in this mood continuously, not to mention provide a nice furnace in my bed at night.  Note to self: stop working so much, go out and find a suitable candidate and ask Santa for a stocking stuffer....a hot man! 

Meanwhile, I'll be doing more meditation, have a chill December and refrain from any human contact.

Hope you all had a lovely holiday.  I missed you!!



xoxo


Another Great Low-Cost Gift Idea

Chatting with my brother-in-law (Numero 1 - he rocks and fellow music lover) I decided to burn two of my CDs for him.  And if the law wants to come after me they can and they'll probably feel sorry for me and then mutually agree a gift given is better than one not given.  Not only this, I've made "mixed-tape" CDs for friends.  The total cost - $14 for 10 CDs of which I'm only using about five, leaving opportunities for future gifts.  So, I burned them this weekend making the remaining gift list this:

1. Nephew - will probably spend money to buy him clothes.  He's still smallish, so still pretty inexpensive.  Nothing over $20
2. Bro-in-law 2 - This says it all.  His favorite foods are Mountain Dew and Reese's Peanut Butter Cups (can't fault him for that excellent choice) but he doesn't exactly believe in exercise. 
3. Chocolate chip cookies for Dad - he's always easy to please

I am however in need of splurging on something for myself - a good, REALLY good........shredder.  Okay, I realize this is kind of a downer-nothing-special-gift, but super practical, a business right off and....I will be so happy to get rid of all those stupid credit card applications (Remember: I'm a purger!) The companies would turn me down anyway, so they should just save their paper and stamps! 

xoxo

Saturday, November 20, 2010

How Did She Do That & Why Can't I?

So, girlfriend meets boy.  In two months they buy a house together.  Two months later I meet him and think, he's not good enough for her.  One year later they break up and she's stuck with house in shitty market.  Three weeks late she meets boy at bar.  They are now together and when I mean together I mean TOGETHER.  Planning trips, making arrangements to be together.  And, when I looked in his eyes I was attracted to him and SO mad that I couldn't have met him or someone like him.  I haven't had anyone even close to that in almost a year and she just turns around and finds Mr. Wonderful and Perfect.  I'm pissed and lonely.  And this is why I dive into my work.

My Mom told me that my abusive psycho ex ruined me, and she's right.  While I feel I've forgiven him, he has not really let go.  Over the years he sends me unpostmarked, no return address letters and cards, left me voicemails, emails and tried to friend me on FB.  No wonder I'm jacked.  I've let my past go but it won't let me go.  It just keeps lingering and it's out of my control.  Is it written on my face?  Or am I just too scared to let anyone in because I think that in six months I'll find out who they really are? 

After tonight I'm feeling very lonely and wishing I had someone like that. I don't get it.  So I do what I do, blow it off, act tough and look to myself, and my vibrator for happiness.  Work is a decent substitute for thinking about the on thing I actually want the most in this life. Now, I will go pack and then cuddle with my precious Meow Mix whose unconditional love is the one thing I can't be without.

xoxo

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Which Direction Did You Say To Go?

The last few months I've really been questioning where I'm going and what I'm doing.  For real?  Is that what you just said?  Yeah, fer real! And you thought I had it all figured out.  Me TOO!  Psych!

Yes, the decision to move is still a good one but the real question, the thing that has left me in limbo is whether to get a job or not.  Seems that since all this crazy shit went down that things have really been turning around and now I have all this opportunity in front of me.  I feel like Job.  You know, the guy who lost everything, faced every challenge and tragedy, remained faithful and was rewarded 10-fold?  Yeah, that guy.  That's who I felt like and who I still feel like.  It's crazy!

I was really, really leaning to taking a secure job and almost even more so when I FINALLY did that interview.  Interesting and easy really.  I suppose I'm so used to selling myself on a constant basis to clients that the job interview process seems like a breeze.  Let me tell you that all in all, if I were to take a job, this one is the BOMB!  We're talking relo, great salary, bennies and flex work (read: ability to work from home).  I thought it went really well but know they're talking to seven of us.  I have yet to hear from them about moving further into the process.  If I did they'd want to fill the position by end of December.  Needless to say, lots to think about.  But then....


This week I've had two new business proposals to do - one still to finish - and now I'm teaching my first 3-hr workshop to small business owners, who, I might add, are paying a whopping $60 bucks to attend.  Here's where it get's funny, or a little scary....a local reporter saw the class online and decided to do a story that would include me.  Yeah, wait...it gets better.  She's not just writing a story, but apparently producing one for a syndicated TV program that airs in 100 markets across the country.  Holy SHIT!  LOL  Fer real!  And those clients I'm pitching new business to aren't talking to anyone else.  Two I've worked with before and one saw that I was teaching this workshop, called the organization for my information and then called me.  Now that's the kind of competition I like.  None!

So, if I'm supposed to be listening to the Big Guy I would say that he's telling me everything I need to know, right?  All I can say that I've been so busy as of late (two pro bono clients suddenly just took off, along with loads of fun things happening for paying clients) that I haven't even had time to look for jobs.  I'm sure it will all settle down soon, but I keep wondering....if all of this is happening it must be for a reason, and if I move forward in the interview process for this position and get offered the job how do I know what decision to make?  Fuck!  Hate this.  Then again...there I go making mountains out of mole hills.  I have no idea if I'll move forward in the process, so until then I keep doing what I'm doing and controlling what I can control.  That's all any of us can do, right?

Time will tell and I have faith that it will all be laid out for me in due time.  

Man, I need a vacation!  I'm really looking forward to seeing my family next week (I'm sure I'll blog about that craziness), get some rest and a major change of scenery.  In the meantime, you should know that my Christmas is TOTALLY DONE!  Well, okay, with the minor exception of my nephew...but I'm loving it!!  It's cut my stress, and drinking, by more than half, I'm sure.  Thanks to all of you for your awesome ideas for inexpensive and creative gifts.  You totally rock! 

xoxo

Monday, November 8, 2010

You Get What You Give

I've always believe this one thing: You get what you give. There's a great song by The New Radicals that truly inspired me to continue living in this way.  It is my theme song, of sorts, and always lifts me up.

While I am on my journey I continue to follow this sort of Golden Rule.  It truly works but it can be difficult.  I often wonder to myself how it is that I am so busy and yet not generating the revenue to reflect it.  Well, it's because I do pro bono work and I'm a big believer in it.  My pro bono clients are some of the best for generating quality referrals for my business.  They are, at times, the clients I am most happy working for.  The joys of success feel higher. Now, there are some, which I will not name, that come and go or simply ask too much of me and I, eventually, have to let them go.

This year, in an effort to focus on me for a change, I let go of some of my volunteer work because it was just taking too much of my time. I have one regular pro bono client, a 17-year old, extraordinary nonprofit founder who is generating tons of press.  I'm so happy to be part of her life and inspired as a factor of her being part of mine.  She is changing the world in a way I used to think I would, but, well, I do, but in a much smaller way.  I'm happy to be part of her good work and to help her realize her dreams for her organization.

This week has been full of opportunities including helping promote a documentary that is getting rave reviews and awards all over the world.  I'm simply helping raise awareness in Chicago, but the film's content and meaning are moving and something I'm lucky to be part of.

It's hard not to live by the motto "You get what you give" and not consider what you will receive in return.  What I am receiving....new clients, opportunities and connections.  They just happen.  It's inexplicable and I can only consider it as God or the universe.

A good friend of mine in recovery said that the best thing that ever happened to her was The Program.  "Let go and let God" had a meaning to her that she reminded me was powerful.  We can only control what we can.  Just get up and do daily.  Live up to your obligations and never forget to do for yourself, and the rest will fall into place.  There is a plan for each one of us that is greater than even we can imagine.  We just have to stick to the path, get up every morning excited for what might happen and go with the flow of that which does happen.  In her wise words, "Let life happen.  It can't be controlled by any of us.  We can only control those things which do happen to us, the blessings, and let Him reveal the rest. And it always happens at the exact time you need it."

As I consider what I want for myself, I also start doubting.  I doubt my choice to leave the city I love so much and all the connections I've made here.  There is a wonder if I will be forgotten and whether these amazing things - connections, networking and connecting people or even achieving new business - will continue.  I know that many will forget me, in time, but I hate that.  I feel like, despite technology, that people are more and more "out of sight, out of mind".  Including the Gay BF who recently announced how he will replace me.  I suppose that's what got me thinking. We can only hope to make a mark on each person's heart the likes of which is unforgettable.

So my mission to live with that in mind and remember to give more than I receive is what makes me believe I have, am and will continue to leave a mark no matter where I go.  Again, this week, despite the tug and pull with doubt, I was reminded of my desire to be closer to my family.  And those I've touched, well, it will be a blessing for them to remember me and stay in touch. 

To the city I love, Chicago, my good friend *Susan sent me the best article for my birthday.  It came to her about the time she was deciding whether to move out of the city or not.  Much like this writer who left New York City for the wide-open spaces of Arizona, I may be confusing the heartbeat of the city with that of my own.  I love you but I can create my own heartbeat and energy wherever it is I go. 


A couple of updates:
  • The Job Interview: She finally called last Monday to schedule an interview for 10a the next morning.  After not hearing from her and working to track down her phone number, I called her at 10:25 and left a message.  It took her three days to get back to me.  She did apologize and asked to reschedule.  I have yet to hear back from her per my email....So far, I'm not impressed with them, but it's an interview.  I was reminded by a friend that I should have no problem interviewing because I'm always pitching new business, and myself.  
  • The SHOES - a couple of you wanted to know the overall effect of my "Tone and Walks".  Well, they're comfortable for sure, but as much as I wear them, I can't tell if they're making a difference. It is an uphill battle, though.  They have to compete with wine....
  • Love life - pretty dead right now, since I've decided to be selfish and really focus on me.  I'm still open to any opportunities, but believe me, if a guy wants to go out with me, he'll fucking call!  I can only say that, sadly, it's up to lip slut to have fun and the fact I'm not meeting "the one" or anyone resembling him is based solely on my current goals.
Go out and give!  Love is the greatest gift we have to give to one another and it will come back.

xoxo

Monday, November 1, 2010

Holiday Shopping at Home for the Girl on a Budget

This weekend was so busy that I decided to take today (Monday) off and finish my house cleaning.  It always amazes me how the house can go from clean to a complete war zone in the matter of minutes.  Cleaning is enjoyable to me (I know, I need help).  It's a great stress reliever and as an organizer-type there's something calming about putting everything in its place.

This weekend I attend a Swap Party that was rich in goodies!  I took four bags of shoes, clothes, jewelry, some housewares and purses.  My intention was not to refill those bags, and I did a pretty good job.  I did score some awesome stuff, many of it for Spring.  If the Swap is really good, one can even find some fun gifts for others.  This one didn't have as much, but I'm regretting not picking up the Stuart Weitzman ankle boots for a friend.  Where was my head?

As I finally found a home for everything today, I also felt the purge bug again.  It's addictive, this little bug.  It feels so good to get out from underneath your stuff and get it out of your home.  When you've been some place for a long time it's easy to get settled and then...the collecting starts.  I can't live in clutter, so the last few years I've been doing major purging.  Crazy as it sounds, but it's kind of euphoric, especially when others find so much joy in the things you no longer want.  Today, was no different.

I sat down and started cleaning out accessories when it hit me - I'm not sure what I'm going to do for Christmas gifts with a very limited budget.  I stopped looked down and saw a wealth of gifts before me.  If I only concentrate on my family and one or two friends, I've got it covered. Hardly used or worn accessories which I could easily pass on to others.  Fifteen minutes of cleaning and polishing and they're good as new! Yes, each one is specifically chosen for each person.  One is a necklace I got around the age of 10-12 years old and not worn since college.  I love the piece - it's shaped like a descending dove with three opals - and decided that it would be the perfect, and very special, gift to pass on to my niece.  I just can't believe how much I have that I've hardly or never worn.  It's fantastic!  Who knew most of my Christmas shopping would come from the third drawer? And let me tell you, some of the women in my life are scoring!  Meanwhile, I'm saving about $100+ in cash.  I wouldn't say it's trash, but it's definitely untapped treasure.

At the moment, each is in it's own box and labeled and the bug is still eating away at me.  Or...it's the spirit of Christmas.  'Tis the season to be purging...falalalala-lalalala.

What are your creative or inexpensive holiday shopping tips and ideas?

xoxo

My Birthday

Halloween is my birthday.  Before you get all "that's so cool, you must have the birthday ever every year", let me just say it has it's ups and downs.  Really, I don't know why, maybe I think it should be so extraordinary, but it's not.  However, that's not to say it isn't great.  After all, I can become someone else for a night or put on my "birthday" wig and be incognito for a day or two.

When I was younger, my birthday ROCKED.  Probably because I was a kid and it was all about trick-or-treating.  My mom used to make my costumes - one year I was Sleeping Beauty and she did an amazing job with the dress.  Another year I was Dorothy from the "Wizard of Oz" and I put our black Lhasa Apso in a basket as Toto.  My parents let me take her to school and show everyone my costume and then they took her back home.  And...there was always more candy and cupcakes for the class.

As I grew older, it became harder but my family did amazing things for me: Sister1 taped a huge plastic pumpkin outside my bedroom door.  When I woke up I ran right into it and couldn't stop laughing.  One year my parents turned our garage and basement into a haunted house.  It was a family affair and my friends thought it was amazing!  For my Sweet Sixteen I came home to my boyfriend and a handful of friends hosting a surprise party.  It was mellow but so much fun.  That's when I began to realize that it's more about who you're with than anything else.  I didn't get a car, a real piece of jewelry or anything else extraordinary, just my family and friends.

I love the effort my family always put in.  Most years my Dad would dress up as a ghost and as kids walked into the entry way and rang the bell, he'd jump out from the garage or off the chair he was sitting on.  He continues to do something fun.  He loves Halloween.  For him, it's the greatest night of the year.

Since I moved away and became (cough) older, things changed.  There was no longer family, family but there was a new family.  My Urban Tribe and they have done some pretty awesome things from a surprise party for my 31st to simply dinner at our favorite sushi restaurant.  Or the few years I've shared my birthday with others and had a mean girls night of manis/pedis and BYOB sushi.  The last two years I've gone to the parade in Boystown, which is every gay man's national holiday and a riot!  These people go far out for incredible costumes - of course all I can think about is how do you go to the bathroom in that thing?  And...of course my family has visited.  Sister 1 has rang in the Big 30 and Bigger 35 with me and my aunt and uncle celebrated numero 32 with a night filled with Italian and champagne.

Then there were the beginning years in Chicago when everyone talked me into hosting a party at a bar.  I did that and 200 of my closest friends RSVP'd to attend, however, in the end maybe 35 showed and stayed, another 35 came, said they were just coming in to wish me "Happy Birthday" and then leave, and, in the end, I was left holding the bag for the room.  Their excuse - "We have, like, five more parties to go to..." And I was like "Listen, sister, I vaguely remember holding your hair back from your face while you puked into a trash can in the "Viagra Triangle" (locals know what I'm talking about) at 4:00 in the morning on your birthday and you can't stay and have ONE drink to help pay for the room?"  Whatever.  Sure friends pitched in so I wasn't alone in paying $1,000 to the bar -yep, you read that clearly - but I was embarrassed and mad, and the rest went on credit card.  Obviously, I've not done anything like that since. 

I often wonder if it's because I'm single and alone that I don't feel like my birthday is really that great.  There's no waking up in the morning to "Happy Birthday, babe", someone to take me to dinner or dress up in a couple's costume.  Reading through this, I know that I'm pretty lucky and it's not so bad, but I feel like something's missing.  Aside of the costume and parties it's just another day.  I do want to give my gay boys a shout out for Saturday night.  I came out of the bathroom to trick candles on Twinkies and happy birthday, followed by a Tequila shot at Midnight and more singing.  Now, I DO NOT DO Tequila.  He and I had a bad one-night stand in college, and since then we just don't interact without Margarita mix.  Needless to say, it was not pretty and, to that point, I'd only had three and half drinks over five hours.  I was done.

There's also a new need.  A need to not be hungover or worthless the next day.  Besides, Sunday was my actual birthday and I wanted to enjoy the day.  I could have slept a few more hours but at 7am my eyes opened and I decided to get the day started.  What did I do?  I cleaned my house.  Seriously, it's the best gift I could give to myself, aside of a day off (today) to finish the job.  Later a could gay boys took me to yummy Mexican, I hooked up with Tequila again, in a Margarita, and then to the parade.  I wish I had taken pictures to share.  Laughing was the medicine I needed and I received it.  After wards, I we went to a gay bar (me in my brunette bob wig) where I had my butt grabbed twice and one telling me how much he liked it.  My response "Honey, I'm not what you think I am".  A compliment is a compliment!

I guess at the end of the day that my birthday is child-like and youthful, and I've begun growing out of it.  Not in a way that I will never dress up and go to parties, but in the "I want to celebrate my day in a new way."  Or, maybe I need to accept a new, exciting normal and I'm really just a big whiner who needs to dump her expectations.  What that "new normal" is I have yet to determine, but I can tell you the Big 40 is on the horizons and I'd like to be in a place to do something BIG with family and friends!

Hope you had a wonderful and safe Halloween!

xoxo

Friday, October 22, 2010

The First Job Interview

I'm finding it really hard to concentrate and motivate today.  Not really sure why but I'm thinking it has something to do with the fact that a major company in KC contacted me regarding my resume and want to do a phone interview next week.  Eek! My first interview in TEN YEARS!  Not to mention that for some reason, all week long, I would settle in to work and then something else happens and I feel as if I've accomplished nothing this week.  Yet, was in my office everyday, all day.  How does this happen?   

And...I'm nervous.  And scared.  I'm starting to second guess myself and wondering if these are the right decisions. I hate being in limbo.  At this moment, I am working my clients, new opportunities have been coming in, a couple will once their product testing is done, and they don't care where I live.  But, what if they don't come through when I need them too?  What if I get this job?  What if, what if, what if!  It'll make you go crazy and I know because there are more than the usual number of wine bottles in my recycling bin at the moment - thanks to all of my friends who've come over this week and encouraged this behavior. 

I will tell you one thing.  It's times like this when you find out who your friends are.  Then there's the friend who has been going through a tough time because his former employer stopped paying unemployment benefits and now he gets barely $900 a month.  I was happy to have him over and cook him one of my famous $3 dinners, if that.

Reflecting on my life, I realized that every time I get down, break up with someone, a mountain suddenly grows right in front of me, that I almost always go and volunteer - give to someone else who is worse shape than me.  It feels awesome to do it.  You walk out a little straighter and taller with a perma-grin.

Helping a friend, like the very few of you who have helped me in the last few weeks, means something more.  Especially, since he is the only one who understands what I'm dealing with and how it effects me emotionally, spiritually and mentally.  He really is one of two people I can talk to honestly about everything.  He has some big things on the horizon and I'm happy to help him because I know he wants to work with me - it's pretty crazy software.  Then again, what if I take a job and I have all this business start to come in.  I'm going to keep my business website up but...do I attempt to manage both.  Maybe I just need to determine when I'm moving.

E!!!!!  It's only a job interview.  You may not make the first cut.  Calm the fuck down, girl!

xoxo

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Did your car just say what I think it said?

Alright...I clearly need a lot to laugh about these days, but this is the fucking topper!

I was walking down the street with an innocent college student from my alma mater (Rock Chalk - I will give that part of myself away cuz...it Rocks! LOL) after coffee.  I'm mentoring her.  Yes, I think it's fucking hilarious too.  Anyhoo...she's a tall gal with long legs and a relatively short dress on with a jacket and killer shoes (color me JEALOUS!) and...no shit...we hear a whistle (aka you're sexy catcall that one usually hears from "men at work").

E: "What the fuck was that?"

Sweet student I'm mentoring to be know as my Baby Jay - as in JAYHAWK: "I am not really sure, hee, hee, hee, hee"

E: "No, seriously that wasn't real"  I look over and see a gross man in a fucking mini-van oogling my Baby Jay.  I'm like NO YOU FUCKING DON'T!  This is my Baby Jay, an innocent from Kansas not savvy to the crazy fucks in the city.  I'll scratch your fucking eyes out if you attempt to come near my Baby Jay.  FUCKER!
Baby Jay (I will not use BJ cuz she's simply too innocent): "hee, hee, hee I can't really tell"
("Hey baby!")
E: "What the fuck?  It's that dirty soon-to-be-a-criminal in that beat up piece of shit mini-van circa 1988.  I think it's a horn affect."
Baby Jay: "Really, that's kind of cool."
E: thinking "poor Baby Jay are you sure you want to move to the big city.  There are some seriously crazy and weird fucks around here"
Baby Jay: "Wow, I think you're right.  Okay that's weird."
E: thinking "Of COURSE it's weird, right next to his creepy glasses like the ones Stanley Tucci wore in 'The Lovely Bones', that dudes scary. And I WILL smack that creepy, potential molester smile right off your face.  Right after I scratch your eyes out! " Outloud: "Don't look at him Baby Jay. Just keep walking forward."
Baby Jay: "I kinda love weird shit like that.  I can't wait to move to the BIG city."
E: "Oh, Baby Jay, just promise to keep your wits about you, trust no one, and never, ever go home with a stranger (i.e. learn from E what NOT to do, even if nothing bad ever happened, I have had my stupid moments)"
Baby Jay:  hee, hee, hee, hee

SWEET, innocent girl.  I do worry about her moving here, but even more disconcerting is the fact that some jackass actually thought it was COOL to install some jacked up horn alternative that would allow him to, in his mind, woo the girls, when in fact he comes off as one creepy MoFo whose alter ego comes out when the sun sets.

Seriously?  Who sells this SHIT and thinks it's acceptable?  SERIOUSLY?  You're either as stupid or a big freak who lives in his mother's basement with her 10 cats or BOTH to have a. created this product and b. decided to sell it, most likely online.  And what brilliant mechanic would actually put this in someones car to replace their horn.  You know those guys are laughing out back at the stupid douche bag who thought it was so cool to have this horn sound installed.

It kills me.  Think about this.  In a city where honking is standard procedure to scare the buh-gezus out of anyone clearly a foreigner to the Big City, or really bad drivers (and there are a lot of them), what kind of effect is your measly little horn going to have to get someone asshole driver's attention?  I can see it now, driving in the city and some jackass pulls in front of you so you swerve to try and miss him, but he stops suddenly and you honk your horn only to hear "HEY BABY" and you slam into the backend of a gangsters car.

Oh, well, maybe it's for the best.  Let the gangsters take care of all the fucking freaks!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

What Finally Made Me Laugh....

A VP at the Tribune got in trouble for sending this out to his staff in extremely poor taste, but it is the first thing to make me laugh this week and I love it. The Onion is truly the most brilliant source for laughter.  Enjoy....sluts, especially Crazy Brunette, who is probably in this video! 


VH1 Reality Show Bus Crashes In California Causing Major Slut Spill

xoxo

Monday, October 11, 2010

I am officially worth....nothing

Why is it that when bad things happen they just snowball?   You can never get ahead.  All signs point to....nothing.  Today, I am officially worth nothing, except a measly $50 I have in my bank account.  That's right, kids, Epiphany had to cash in her tiny stash of retirement to pay my credit card company.  Oh, and that comes with tax implications.  Add it to my fucking tab.

Everything is worse.  I am fearful that it's driving me into a depression.  I only want to sleep - the stress is zapping me.  I don't want to do any work, because I think "what's the point".  I am one who always feels hopeful.  Always sees opportunities, but today I can't see them through the tears.  And let me tell you, this woman has cried a lot in the last month.

Ever since I made my decision to blog about my journey and make a change in my life, I had hope that the awareness, the shift in energy, would catapult me in the direction in which I am supposed to go.  It hasn't.  It's just been more work emotionally, mentally and spiritually. Work for clients and late nights looking for a job, and part-time work for the time being.  How did I get here?  The worst part is the being alone.  I have no one to share this challenge and frustration with.  Maybe it's time I got myself a sugar daddy!  No joke. I think I could do it for the money.  But then again, that would be the lowest place I could take myself. 

I just don't understand and feel more lost than I did before.  I hate this place.  I'm totally in my head, thinking all of the time and not listening.  I need to meditate and connect but it's difficult to focus.

This weekend a very close gf of mine celebrated two-years of sobriety.  I went to an open meeting with her and then brunch following.  I was her only non-AA friend in attendance, and I feel grateful for her including me.  Hearing the stories of those who spoke reminded me that as bad as I think things are at the moment, they could be much worse.  But it still feels pretty bad.

"If you can still look up when you're down on your back, you can get up".  Great quote from a mentor, but right now I just don't know what I would get up for.

It comes so easy to some people.  Why is that?  I have so many inspirational quotes and messages to remind me around my house but I suddenly feel like Stuart Smiley having to do and say things I've never had to before.  I used to be confident in who I am.  Now I have to say "I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it, people like me!" Unfortunately, that won't pay my bills.


Monday, October 4, 2010

The BIG Business Pitch

Big, HUGE, new business pitch tomorrow.  Proposal is almost done and feeling really good about it.

Actually, I feel different now that I have let go of my business and know that if it doesn't work out that a. it doesn't define me to others (you win and lose), b. I have options in my life.  It isn't over.  Ironically, I should be a little nervous because this is the first corporate client to come my way in ages, and they found me.  

Will let you know how it goes!

xo

Friday, October 1, 2010

And Just When I Thought....

It couldn't get worse....I love Meow Mix and I'm SO happy to have her home, but the cost of it all wiped me out and now...I'm in a bad place.  Thanks to my parents for helping out, but today I feel like I've hit rock bottom.

I don't like to ask my parents for money.  Never have.  That's why I got my first job at 16 working at Dillard's in my hometown.  I hated taking their money and I was willing to work for my own.  But...when you've spent thousands on your baby and the bills are still due...you can't be surprised when they take action on you.

Today is a low day.  However, I am truly grateful for the blessings I do have.  At the moment, I am at my neighbor's who is moving this weekend and I'm REALLY bummed about it.  Good neighbors are hard to come by and one who has become a good friend is even harder.  Sure she's just moving a couple of miles away, but she is someone who I can count on.  She watches and feeds Meow Mix when I go out of town and I take her dogs on walks and to the park when she's out for a long day.  We even give each other food.  When I bake I share it with her and her boyfriend.  When she buys a huge bag of tangerines she always gives me a few.  When I need $10, or vice versa, she's always willing.  Good neighbor and friend.  I'll miss her being around but know I will see her soon.

Things have to change.  They WILL change. I have a big, HUGE new client presentation next Tuesday and I'm feeling really good with what I've created for the proposal.  It could really change things.  Then there's another project I've kind of done on and off but realized I don't have the skill set to make it what I want.  That is until my friend mentioned the project to his friend who said he'd totally develop it for me and I would pay him off the proceeds.  Seems to good to be true, but my friend is currently working with him on a software project on the same basis.  So, while I'm at home without computer I will work like we did without them - pen and paper.  I can't stop just because roadblocks are once again in my path.

A wise friend once said "If you can look up while your laying flat on your back, then you can get up!"  Besides, it's not like I don't have work; clients who are paying me.  It's not like I'm jobless and clientless.  Today is just today and it will, I hope, be all better by Monday.

xo
E

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Meow Mix Comes Home

First, thanks for your comments, thoughts and prayers.  It has been an incredibly shitty week and quite the emotional ride for me, personally.  From blaming myself, sweating the money (It cleaned me out.  I'm now overdrawn. Thanks to Mom & Dad for helping out and all my friends for offering to help out) to finding faith to believe that she will be okay.  I am still not quite myself.

Thursday, her tests came back with increased levels in her kidney chem panel.  Fear kicked in.  I cried all evening until I went to see her. They upped her fluids, she took it like a champ, and on Friday...well one test came back clean the other a pretty significant drop, but she still needed to stay a day.  I was overjoyed and filled with tremendous hope that the miracle would happen; that she would be able to flush it all out and in time, recover.  Saturday, her tests came back.  Everything normal but the one that was still a bit high actually went up a bit more.  Nevertheless, they decided that it would be best for her to come home as her behavior did not indicated she felt ill and her chatty personality was entertaining everyone.

Thankfully I have been able to visit her on Thursday and Friday nights.  Thursday I was petting her and talking to a vet tech:

E: "I just turned my back for three minutes...."
VT: "We've all been there"

Everyone's been telling me that "mistakes happen", "we all make mistakes" but I just couldn't get over feeling the blame for it.  For some reason, the way he said it really helped me let go.  I mean, I still have guilt, but I'm not beating myself up like I had been.  No one else had said it quite this way.  Later another vet tech came in singing a song with Meow Mix's real name in it.  Apparently, they all start humming it as soon as they see her.  She is truly special and has a way of making people fall in love with her.  She's part dog, part human and cat physically and when she wants to be.  Meow Mix has always had an unique effect on people.  Even my friends who are allergic to cats jump at the chance to care for her while I'm out of town.

Overall, the doctors have been very positive and I continue to ask for prayers that she will still flush it out with daily fluids under the skin, a special diet, love and prayers.  A girlfriend, who got me into meditation, is going to come by at some point to do a healing on her.  I know it sounds crazy but the first healing I got my allergies cleared up in days instead of weeks.  Sometimes, as Meow Mix's namesake said to me, you just have to "believe".

I am so happy to have her home.  She is acting normal.  Totally into everything and it was nice to have her curl up for a snuggle last night.  This morning she threw up her food.  I was pretty sure it was her IBD acting up - stress with coming home - but called vet anyway, as it can be a sign of kidney problems.  Gave her some pepcid and she's all good.  Going to feed her this afternoon and then fluids.  Here are some pics:

 Tuesday after day at vet - on to 24-hr emergency care

Friday night - loves to lay on you.  My Christmas ham!
 "I'm fine! When can I get the IV out?"  Curious as ever.

 All these barking dogs are exhausting me.

Like nothing happened.  Curious as ever.

 A midday Sunday nap

I, and one of her doctors, are now on a mission to spread the word of Lilies and cats.  There is NO safe part of the flower.  NONE!  I am totally surprised how many people don't know about it.  I may be unable to identify flowers (I thought it was an orchid) but as soon as my gf emailed it was a Stargazer I knew I had to get her in ASAP.  One doctor says they see a lot of cases around Easter - makes sense. So, spread the word.  Don't keep lilies in your house if you have cats.  People need to know!

Needless to say, this has been life changing and pushed me further in the direction I need to go in.  

Pray for the miracle!  I believe it can happen!  

xo


Thursday, September 23, 2010

Prayers for Meow Mix

Sorry I've been a stranger.  Been so busy this month.  Busy enough to make some dumb mistakes.  The last one put my cat in the hospital Tuesday and she was supposed to come home tonight, but her tests came back positive for some kidney damage.  She got into a Lily I stupidly brought into my house. How can I be SO STUPID.  It's all my fault.  I am SO mad at myself for being so thoughtless.  My heart is breaking and I can't stop crying, so please forgive me if I'm off the grid a little longer.  I just can't seem to do anything at the moment.


She is the most incredible cat ever.  So loving, sweet, playful, a charmer, knows commands, follows me everywhere I go, waits at the door when I walk in, loves to snuggle, purrs anytime you start petting her, takes her medicine and nail clipping like it's a spa treatment (she purrs), constantly trying to win an Academy Award for most dramatic stop, drop, and roll for tummy rubs, loves everyone and always makes me laugh.  I really need her here now to make me laugh through the tears.  I'm not ready to lose her yet.

Please say prayers, send good thoughts and energy - - whatever you can do for Meow Mix. 

xo

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Ham in My Pants

Well, no surprise.  Somehow those 10 L.B.S. I was supposed to concentrate on losing over the summer turned in to 10 L.B.S. EARNED!  Really, it's my fault.  I wasn't motivated or just a little lazy this year.  (Trust me, if you need an excuse to not work out I've got about 1000 of them).  So, with one of my best friend's wedding encroaching in just a mere few days, I decided it was time to do something.  Nothing like waiting until the last possible hour of desperation to drop some weight. 

I recently purchased a pair of those Champion Stride 'n Tones from one of my secret places to buy shoes.  No, don't ask me where.  I won't tell you.  If I told you it WOULDN'T be a SECRET, now would it?  Bribe me all you want...well, depends on how good the bribe is...but...I digress.  I got the shoes for a steal, really a steal, because who wants to spend $75+ on a pair of shoes that may or may not give me the rockin' ass and legs I see on the TV model, who clearly hasn't worked to be fit her entire life.  Seriously, a trial is needed before serious investment.

Monday I took them for a stroll.  I was kind of stressed (don't act surprised) and decided to close up biz at 4:30 and go for a four+ mile walk to the lakefront, down and back.  At first I thought that two hams were fighting for possession of my ass with each step.  Then I realized, sigh, that it was really the fact that I had a full ham attached to each ass cheek and they bumped up and down as I walked - it's even worse when you're a fast walker like myself.  Still, I kept the faith that these shoes would indeed do what the marketing ploy says they will (Damn marketers!  Wait that's me)  So, I turned up the mp3 and just kept going hoping that no one would catch site of the delicatessen I was packing in my pants.  If only they were spiral hams and just fell apart as I walked....yeah, this is what I was thinking as I walked.

Believe it or not, after a while I started to feel the muscles in my quads and butt tighten a bit.  Even think my sad pathetic excuse for a core was positively effected as well.  I also noticed that the hams on my ass felt tighter as well - less flagrant bouncing up and down and more like they'd finally managed to be tamed.  OMG, my shoes are the ASS WHISPERER!

Since then I've attempted to make sure they're on my feet at all times, sans professional meetings downtown.  Slip on, slip off.  While like all things in life, there is no magic bullet to getting in shape, it takes, ugh, work, I am feeling rather good about my odds in the next couple of months.  If I don't take this off it's going to suddenly double over the winter months when all you can do in Chicago is eat and watch movies.  Baby, it's cold outside!

Maybe the BFF is right.  I should have just Lip Slutted my way to the flu and not eaten for a week!

xo

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Perspective: I Am Truly Blessed

After a cold shower this morning I called the gas company to see what was going on with the hot water heater, as I cook breakfast just fine.  They said they'd send someone out.  And she arrived in a jiffy.  Impressive for the gas company!  I never got her name, but she gave me a dose of perspective that I needed, and you do too, probably.  She reminded me how truly blessed I am and that a woman is strong enough to do it all on her own.


My dad is a talker and I don't mean he just likes to talk, he will trap you, if you're not careful, unless you can come up with a creative way to depart without hurting his feelings.  This morning, Gas Gal, well, I think she just needed someone to listen.  So, after my near death experience with Angry Smelly Homeless Man, I felt God was reminding me....

Gas Gal hasn't had an easy life in her 60+ years (yes, she spilled her entire story to me).  She isn't a pretty woman but I could see in her powder blue eyes the years of hard work, suffering and yet, still, hope. 

After cheating on her, for what she thinks was years, her husband left her with a four and eight year old.  This was nearly 30 years ago, because she mentioned her daughter is now 37.  Her douche bag husband canceled insurance for her and her children and she came to work for the gas company - hey, utilities pay well and have great bennies plus pension (although State of Illinois owes millions and millions to people).  Smart gal - she raised her children on her own, one with autism and now in assisted living, and later met a man who would be her boyfriend for 21 years.  He passed away four years ago.

Since his passing she was rear-ended in a car accident leaving her with a back injury.  The gas company put her on painting duties - meaning she paints gas meters, and such.  Turns out Gas Gal was allergic to the fumes but after several months of exposure  the damage was done and she now suffers from a major respiratory problem.  The steroids leave her bloated and she was no doubt winded climbing to my attic to look at the water heater.  If that wasn't enough, the poor gal had four, count them FOUR abscessed teeth in the next year (I've had ONE and that was enough for me), leaving her with a few holes in her sweet smile.  Still, she laughed through the recount of her personal trials.  It was a cacophony of tragedy.  Every time I felt it couldn't get worse, it did. 

By the time we were in the attic, she announced that she has nine cats - six she found on the streets while working for the gas company and three she's been helping care for since a friend had to move in with her mother and the landlord won't allow them to stay.  She's had them for two years.  So, of course, because of Meow Mix we bonded.  As she slowly bent to her knees on the floor to look at the water heater, she starts talking about Dewey Readmore Books - the famous Iowa library cat for which their is a need-a-box-of-kleenex-to-read-book about.  It's fabulous.  Trust me.  Sniffle, sniffle (thanks to my cat-loving friend and namesake of Meow Mix*).

At that point, Gas Gal just started talking, and talking and talking.

As we made our way back down from the attic, I was somewhat annoyed and thinking I have so much to do today, and then I sensed that she just needed someone to listen.  I praised her for being such a strong woman, for taking a man's job, earning her way, fighting for equal pay, working hard and taking care of her children.  She told me her daughter married a buffoon but had his baby, anyway, at 37 and that there's more than enough years and opportunity for me (love her!).  Apparently this buffoon, aka beloved douche bag, with a British accent (how many times have woman been swayed by less?) had a criminal record for which he never told his wife and mother of his child.  He's apparently stuck in England because Canada rejected his visa after learning of drugs and the small incident of chasing his sister out a window while high as a kite and, after dangling for a moment by her legs, left her to fall two stories below.  Gas Gal, of course, took her in for convalescence.  Douche bag then threatened Gas Gal with her life if his sister wasn't returned to his family.  Wow!

From there it was an ever flowing cascade of children, grandchildren, great nieces and nephews, and cats, for which Gas Gal recounted each place she found them, their names (courtesy of her autistic, but brilliant son who managed to come up with first and middle names that roll off your tongue with a smooth perfection; like a song) and how she nursed them all back to health.  Her loss and hopes for retirement.  Fear of moving and having to release some of her beloved cats to rescue organizations and somberness thinking about her many trials. 

At one point, as she told me that she lost her boyfriend of over two decades four years ago, I felt tears and emotion rising in her.  She told me that she's been lost in mourning and a little depressed since the loss.  Oh, how I related to her in feeling lost!  Mine seems quite trivial after meeting Gas Gal.  Those who know me know that I was compelled to give her a hug, but I didn't.  Instead I told her that good things and many more blessings would be on their way, and that she is in my prayers.  I felt bad inching away from her to end the conversation, so I did and then stayed and listened a little bit longer to her story. What I heard was a woman, whose life has been full of so many, unexpected tragedies, find joy and happiness in her children, family and cats (like children).  We all have to find those things, those reasons to pull through.

Finally, she wished me well and apologized for taking up my time.  I said "You're not taking up any one's time.  It's been such a pleasure to meet you.  Have a wonderful day and enjoy this beautiful weather!"  With that, we parted.  I back into my apartment (which I now know has a load of violations against it!  Another reason to leave), and she into her gas van.

As a journalist, and a wear-my-heart-on-my-sleeve-kind-of-gal, I've long believed that every single person alive or passed has a story.  One that will make you laugh; one to make you get up and sing; one that will make you pause and think; one that will cause you take action and one that will break your heart.  No matter the story they are all interesting and important.  They are our stories and lives, and they are all valuable.

So, Gas Gal, I saw you today.  I heard you and your story today and I will pray that you receive all the blessings that God, the universe, whatever you want to call it, so rightly wants to bring to you.  For me, you reminded me that my compassion isn't maybe as compassionate as I'd like to think.  That I, too, am guilty of not wanting to be bothered by anything that doesn't effect me directly or take the time to really hear someone.  You've reminded me that aside of my personal struggles and worries, that my life is all too blessed.  That the little things are what matter, next to family, and that through it all we have to keep on truckin' through life to get to that place of peace and grace of which we're being led. 

More importantly, you reminded me that it's important that we all take a moment to stop, look and listen to someone.  My father always says that one smile, one hello can change the outcome of someone's day.  Go do it, be it, and pass it on.

xo

My Heroes: Chicagoans

Have you missed me?  I've missed all of you!  Things have been a little nutty around here and to keep my head from spinning and turning into Medusa I've been really concentrating on getting some things off my plate.  But now....I'm back and what a way to come back....

Now, let me preface this all by saying that I've worked for and on behalf of the homeless for almost 20 years.  I've served meals, helped to raise money and awareness. Through this I've learned a lot about the homeless.  For instance, I know that many, if not a majority of homeless (including teenage runaway), choose to be homeless. Sounds weird, right, but it's not.  It makes sense...to them.  These people don't want to, or can't, handle the responsibilities of life. They don't want a job or pay rent, etc.  Then there are others who are mentally ill.  No one is looking for them because they don't know who they are let alone where they are.  Then there are those who simply fall on hard times and use every resource available to them to get back on their feet. The one thing almost all of them have in common is panhandling.  It's just that each group has a different approach.

In Chicago, there are even food voucher programs by where one can buy vouchers and give them to someone in need who can in turn use them to purchase food. This is just one of many ways that people are helping each day.  One organization, I'm on the board of directors of, seeks out those in true need on the streets, providing housing, food, clothing, psychological help, medications, living assistance and much more.  So, with that said I am a compassionate and understanding person when it comes to the homeless, but I also know that taxpayers provide services to help these people get back up on their feet.  If they want it, they can get help. I will not give money to the homeless, but if said man below approached me outside the restaurant, I would have bought a bagel for him....I am not completely heartless....

This morning after a coffee meeting I sat down at the bus stop to check CTA Bustracker on my phone (brilliant by the way!  Tells you how long before your bus arrives) when a man walks up to me:

Man: Excuse me, can you help me out?
E: No, I'm sorry, sir, I can't help you.
Homeless Man: Look, I'm homeless and just woke up in the alley.  I'm hungry
E: (Yes, you smell like you just woke up in the alley) Well, I can't help you but there are plenty of places you can go for help.  You can flag down any police officer and they have to take you to a place where you can get food and shelter.
Homeless Smelly Man: PO-LICE! Don't you go talkin' to me about no PO-LICE!  All I want is some damn money to get something to eat!
E: (I stand up and begin to step out of the bus shelter) Sir, I'm sorry I can't help you.  I work with and know of several organizations that can help you get what you need.  I only mention the police because they are required, when asked, to take you to a shelter.
Angry Smelly Homeless Man:  (approaching me) Just give me some DAMN money so I can get something to eat!  I'm homeless and hungry.
E: (Walking backwards towards the building, people are now walking by me...mostly men and as I look at them for help)
ASHMan:  (approaching me again, rambling) Don't be talkin' to me about no PO-LICE.  I did time in a penitentiary and I don't want to see no police ever again.  Do you know what it's like there?  I ain't goin' back!
E: (Great, the penitentiary.  I'm going to die and none of these fuckers walking by me, seeing me retreating from this man yelling in my face are doing a damn thing about it.  Here I am on a busy street corner, fuckers walking by like nothing is happening, fuckers sitting RIGHT THERE waiting for the light to change not doing a thing and I'm going to die and Angry Smelly Homeless Man is going to run off with my free refill of Panera coffee - half-caff, of course)
ASHMan: (approaching me still) I just woke up in the fucking alley, do you understand? And I'm hungry just give me some money to eat something. 
E: (I really wanted to yell at the man, but didn't want to increase the odds that he would kill me right there and then...AND trying to make an effort to get some fucker walking past me to intervene...) Sir, I'm sorry I can't help you.  I told you that there are people who can help you.  You're making me extremely uncomfortable (my back now pressed up against the building and people walking in between us on the sidewalk - HELLO!  DOES ANYONE FUCKING CARE THAT I WILL BE KILLED?)
ASHMan: I'm making YOU uncomfortable?  Just give me some damn money and I'll go away.
E: Seriously, sir, you're making me very uncomfortable and I will not help you.
ASHMan: FUCK YOU, then.  FUCK YOU!  FUUUUUCCCKK  YOU!

ASHM finally walks off to bother other people down the street and I am left, back against a wall with fucking Chicagoans who won't do a damn thing walking by me.  I am completely jolted, stunned and unsteady.  Seriously?  Not ONE person, not ONE man could or would stop to help a woman from being pestered by a a clearly unstable angry homeless man?  I will tell you this one thing: this would not happen in Kansas or back home in the Southern Plains states.  No way, no how would ANY man allow a woman to be put in such a situation without coming to her rescue.

Chicago has certainly changed over the years.  Where once it was the "BIG" city that Midwesterners flocked too, it's now a true melting pot of people who only flocked here after gentrification, after it became so pretty and nice.  Clearly none of them are from the Midwest and none give a rat's ass about anyone but themselves, and that breaks my heart.  Chicago is no longer a Midwestern city.  It has gone the way of other booming metropolises.  I'm so disappointed.  I love my city, but the people....I wonder, if this man had attacked me if anyone would have done a damn thing about it.

And so this is the first step in the slow process of breaking up with the city of Chicago; the best relationship I've ever had.  She was always new, exciting, passionate, sexy, and there when I needed her, but now things have changed.  I've changed.  I need more.

xo

Friday, August 27, 2010

The Lonely Boss Visits

I have always had a sixth sense about men who are interested in me, but, ironically, not the ones I seem to be interested in - I'm always left guessing.  It's a shitty situation to be in, one that can often lead to the end of friendships and that's why I've learned to cut them off at the pass.

When I quit my job in KS to move to Chicago, my Boss was not so happy about it.  I put in my three weeks and I am pretty sure he didn't talk to me until two days before I left.  You can say it's flattering when someone doesn't want you to leave because you're so good at what you do, but the truth is that he and I had a very special bond.  I will go as far to say there was a mild sexual attraction.

Boss is the kind of guy who is always positive, a great motivator.  He knew how to bring out the best in people and as Director of Promotions and Marketing, we spent a lot of time together.  I can honestly say that he made me into the driven, ethical professional I am today, and he's full of quotes.  Throughout the years of struggling with my business and trying to dig myself out of small bouts of depression, he always had a quote for me.  Four I have up in my office today:

1. "If you can still look up when you're down on your back, then you can get up!"
2. "You already have every characteristic necessary for success...you just need to recognize, claim, develop and use them."
3. "The difference between the impossible and the possible lies in our determination"
4. "Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish."

I love that last one. 

After I moved I put everyone back there on hold, giving us all a three-month breather.  It was like a bad break up.  We all needed time to move on and they needed to find someone to take my position.  After time, I called and spoke to him and he began to lament my leaving and that no one could do the job like me.  "Thanks, but you were never ever going to pay me more than a whopping $18,000 a year and I was still going to have to wait tables on the side."  His response was to get into sales.  "Oh, right, because I'm SO good at what I do and there's no way I'll ever make money doing it.  Yeah, I'm the one making you all look good so you can go out and make sales!"  (Btw- I'm also the one who put together promotional campaigns and proposals that helped them win national business, but did I see any of the commission?  What do you think?)

Anyhoo, over the years I've remained friends with my old boss, who's about 15 years older than I.  He was happily married, three kids and, like most people in that business, moving around a lot.  Recently he moved to Oklahoma for a job in a different industry and now his wife doesn't want to move to be with him.  Here's where I felt the major shift.

Last summer he was here for business and we got together for dinner and comedy club.  He showed up at my door with flowers - always the gentleman.  It was a fun night, he dropped me off and went back to his hotel.  Then he started calling more....and his wife announced her decision officially in January.  He started calling more.

Last night was totally different, and I felt it.  I mean I felt it in my bones that something was different and that he might, just might make a move on me.  He showed up at the door with flowers, again, this time roses.  I didn't want him to come up so I set them down in the doorway and said I was starving and would put them in water later.  He commented that he liked spoiling me with flowers.  He held the car door open, always, and we were off to dinner.  Cuban.  Something new for him.  Then he suggested we take a walk by the lake.  Whoa!  This sounds awfully romantic to me....quick...think.

"Okay, we'll grab some wine and glasses and go, but I can't stay long because I have a 7:30am breakfast meeting"  (lie, lie)

And we were off.  We drove, parked and sat along the lakefront drinking wine, looking at the harvest moon rise and the lights of the city behind us.  This is one of my favorite things about the city.  It's gorgeous.  Then fireworks went off at Navy Pier.  Damn it!  This is far too romantic.  Think....think.  Throw in something about seeing someone.  Shwew!  The conversation continued, I asked about his wife, etc. and then he stood up and seemed to be moving closer to me.  Damn it!

"Well, we should get going.  I'm dying to go to the bathroom and have to get up early."

We headed back to my house when he announced that when I move back to KS I'll only be three hours away from him (Damn it!  What does that mean?), he walked me to the door, we hugged and he held me a little too long....so I pulled away and started making my way up the stairs and then bid adieu.   I walked in to my house with some relief.

Sadly, I feel that he is simply lonely and sad about his marriage, but I am not the kind of gal to get mixed up in all of that.  No way.  No how.  Not to mention the fact that I'm not interested in him that way.  I like our friendship and do not want it to evolve into anything more.

Why can't men be as intuitive as women are, most of the time, and realize who isn't interested in them?  It would be so much easier if I had a real boyfriend or husband or partner at this point.  I am not the kind to lead any man on and I'm tired of men who are friends hitting on me and then ruining a decent friendship!  Stop it!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Stop Pissing Me Off

Wow, the last two days people have been totally pissing me off.  Seriously?  I'm typically a nice person, patient and accepting.  In business I'm a defuser.  I can defuse those like Ms. McSnippy Bitchy Pants, even though it does stress me out.

For instance, I'm currently sitting on the board for an awesome organization full of "the government should pay us, but wait we hate the government, but they fucking owe us" hippies.  The board is full of apathetic losers who couldn't give a rats ass.  They do nothing but sit with their thumbs up their asses at board meetings.  So when the communications committee, which I chair (lucky me) was directed to plan the executive director's retirement dinner I thought "of course, no problemo".  Famous last words because none of these lazy fucks have done anything (including my committee).  Yep, I've once again been roped into doing the whole thing with no help from fucking anyone and they want to raise $15k off the event for an endowment and spend $500 on a stupid memory book.  Yeah, stupid cuz I just spent all morning scanning in photos that are terrible.  I would never put these in a "memory book", but I don't fucking care anymore.  These asstards can have it but I am in no way, shape or form, fronting the cost of it cuz you know all these lame ass motherfuckers aren't going to lift a finger to recoup the cost.

To make matters worse the ED and his nutso wife are the biggest control freaks EVER.  This woman can't send a short and concise email to save her life, most likely because she doesn't understand the meanings to those words.  So far, thanks to the ED's crazy town USA wife, we're three weeks behind.  Fucking awesome.  Guess who gets blamed for this shit.  ME.  That's right, ME!  The only one who clearly gives a flying fuck at all.  And that is my problem.  I actually give a rat's ass about stuff in this life.  When I make a commitment I don't just sit back and wait for others to do the work, NO, I actually get my shit done. 

I am supposed to be president of the board but I have a big surprise for these stupid, lazy, poor excuses for human beings.  When this event is over I'm GONE!  I'm done.  I've decided to clean my personal house and that includes anything that doesn't feel right and this definitely qualifies.  This board is showing that they CAN'T do fundraising, and guess what?  It's not my fucking fault, losers!  Good luck!

Then there's the male stripper or bartender, or whatever else you do to wind up at the store with $100 in $1 bills.  I was a bartender/waitress for eight years and there's one thing you learn when you cash out at the end of the night, you fucking make an exchange!  Why take home ones when you can get twenties?  Unless you're a guy who desperately needs to stuff his pants with something fat cuz his penis ain't and at least money attracts the chics.  News flash - No one wants to stand behind you at the grocery waiting while you're dumb, but very pretty, ass counts out $76.80 in fucking $1 bills like a first grader.  For real?  Get a clue.

Oh, I could go on.  It's like the universe suddenly decided to shit on me the last 48 hours and I'm probably best staying away from ALL society until this resolves itself.  Until then, it's Noon on a Tuesday and there's a glass of wine sitting on my desk waiting to take away all this unnecessary stress and misery. It makes me want to sit and eat McDonald's and Dunkin Donuts all day long, but that would completely go against BFF and I's commitment to eating better and losing some lbs.

Note to self: be filled with much less hatred tomorrow.

Monday, August 23, 2010

It's funny once you make a decision that's going to change your life.  In this case, I'll be leaving Chicago and now dedicated to have as much fun while I'm here as possible. The downside of telling people, you're social calendar inexplicably becomes fuller than ever before.

Last week my neighbor and I went out.  I was happy to leave at 9p after the second martini, but she talked me into staying, resulting in an additional two glasses of wine (on my part, she continued on with the martinis), two shots and locking lips with a cute flirt late that night.  I used to kick myself the next morning for things like this, but, instead, I woke up laughing.  Too much fun and the flirt has been texting me.  Whatev!  I have nothing to lose anymore and I don't care.

This same neighbor has been trying to introduce me to her bf's bff and we finally had the opportunity.  A* landed four tickets to the Counting Crows concert at Ravinia.  Ugh!  Dude!  I promised a gf I'd head to the burbs to see her and spend the night.  Needless to say I found a way to balance both, but I wasn't exactly happy about it.  I fully enjoyed my day on a deck looking out on a lake, talking, having wine and then going out on the boat.  I didn't want it to end.  I envy her.  Every morning she wakes up in her own little paradise in the cutest house ever.

My gf is SO nice that she drove me from hers to Ravinia park.  So SWEET!  The date went fine - there was nothing 5'10" or even 5'8" about him.  Whateva.  Totally hunky, but....I hate when I'm with a guy and feel like an Amazon next to them.  I want to feel small and dainty.  Again, whateva.  He's totally cute.

Our seats sucked.  I'm mean they blew more than a fucking Kansas gale.  The place was packed and we were all the way in the back of the grass area.  So far back, in fact, that there were no speakers.  We couldn't even hear the fricking band!  However, we had some terrific people watching....A and I shared great convo and it was very easy to hang out with him.  After the concert, the neighbor decides we should all come back to ours, and after they went to bed A and I stayed up talking until 3a.

The verdict:  ironically we're kind of in the same place in life.  He wants to move back to the city but can't sell his house and I'm...done with the city - well, as a full time gig, that is.  He's also one with little faith.  He believes you can control anything and make your life happen, whereas I believe you can control what you can and the rest is a result of blessings or energy you attract to yourself.  It was an interesting conversation and.....we'll see.  He doesn't know I'm moving, so, WHATEVA!  I'm not worried about any attachments.  I'm too busy making a list of the furniture I'll keep and not, slowly purging shit that I've been holding on to for no particular reason and figuring out to make more money now and set a new career path.  The BFF says that this is when I'll meet someone...hahahahaha yeah, whatev!  (xo, girl)