Saturday, December 31, 2005

Field Trip

We bid adieu to Marshall Field’s yesterday with an official ‘goodbye tour’ of the venerable Chicago landmark that is slated to become Macy’s in fall of 2006. (And never shall I enter it afterwards…)

A girlfriend and I took the free audio tour of the flagship store on State Street Friday and enjoyed it immensely. Do take the opportunity if you’re in town

We arrived just before ten a.m. and went to the Walnut Room as we heard they were giving out ‘pagers’ that would alert you when a table was ready for your lunch, and wanted to be assured a seating.

Upon approaching the desk, we were asked if we would like breakfast or lunch. Some other shoppers said lunch, and were directed to follow a maze-like route that would end in a line for a pager. At that time, the wait for a pager alone was half an hour!

We opted for breakfast and had a delicious meal of scrambled eggs with cheese and chives with a salmon-red potato hash. This might sound unusual, but was quite delicious. The tree was decked out in
Swarovski crystal, prompting our speculation about promotional tie-ins and did they pay for ‘placement’ on the tree?

After making fun of some other diners and taking a few pictures, we left to pick up our audio tours from the Visitor’s Desk. The tour is free and there’s a handy coat check right next door. We wandered about listening to tales of the retailer’s history narrated by Bill Moyers (who apparently speaks six other languages, including Japanese, just press four).

It looked like the lunch line (just to get a pager, mind you) was up to about two hours by then! We weren’t sure just what the appeal of bringing three bored kids to stand in line all day in order to not finish their strawberry pancakes ‘because it’s tradition, damn it’, was exactly, but there were plenty of families on hand to prove us wrong. But this did explain why we saw so many parents having cocktails with breakfast that morning….

One of my favorite stops on the tour was the Narcissus Room, a banquet area that was silent – and unlocked. We wandered about listening to the story of the Narcissus Fountain (now topped by a Christmas tree – no
Greek god in sight) and I found the light switch so we could take pictures. As I handed the camera to her, I sat on the edge of the dry fountain. She said the shadows were still covering my face, so without prompting I hopped in the fountain for my close-up. How appropriate. Ms. All-About-Me gets her portrait taken in Narcissus’ pool!

Daniel Burnham figures prominently in Field’s history, and I’m glad I read Devil in the White City, which I recommend heartily as a history of the area and a darn good mass-murderer story. Bet Jeffery Dahmer’s apartment building doesn’t have half as an exciting back-story. Take that Milwaukee!

Sorry. Anyhoo…we discovered Lost Staircases, Tiffany Ceilings, Juliet Balconies and Burnham Fountain (which I believe was not erected until after Burnham’s death, as Field thought it too ‘gaudy’)

In traipsing through seven floors of retail space, I came across an awesome little fainting-couch like piece with matching ottoman. It was soooo comfy – just the thing needed for reading by the fire. Gasping, I pointed out the $1100 price tag on the ottoman. Then I found the $3300 price tag on the seat. Nice to know I just had my shoes on it! That was followed by the admiration of the $11, 235 table and eight matching $1600 each dining room chairs…perfect for your next Boardroom meeting. You paid how much for this dinette set? You’re fired!

My friend complemented me for pretty much staying on track during the audio tour – she knows how hard it is for me to pass shiny things without buying them. We returned the equipment and got down to the business of shopping, buying a few clearance items at Fields. I hear the Christmas ornaments and anything imprinted with the Field’s name has long been sold out to rabid souvenir seekers and eBay profiteers.

We looked at the outdoor window displays a little; this year’s theme is Cinderella. I was disappointed I couldn’t discern any secret messages or sabotage efforts by disgruntled employees upset by the sale to Macy’s in the windows. Guess turning into a pumpkin doesn’t upset them all that much. They don’t seem creative enough for that stuff. We agreed we could have done much better window displays. At least make the wicked stepmother look like Ron Klein or something. I would have done A Christmas Carol with the head of Fields as Scrooge being visited by a Sam Walton Marley warning of the folly of profits first (and the dangers of not cleaning your public toilets – that hasn’t been done since 1921 either, I assure you). That’s just me.

We then visited a few other stores, where I fell in love with Nordstrom’s Rack. Great petite section and stupendous prices – I got a turquoise cashmere cardigan for only $19.98! Whoo hoo! Shopping success! Lots of other nice things too, lord knows I don’t have anything to wear in the New Year!

Well, that’s all for now, I need to get ready to play Emergency Waitress for the New Year’s Eve crowd at the restaurant. Hopefully everyone will be drinking so much they don’t notice I never brought their salad.

"Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men's blood"

Daniel H. Burnham, Director of Works, Columbian Exposition, 1893

Monday, December 26, 2005

What's Your Winter Look-Miserable?

Your Winter Look is Fashionable

You're the type of girl with a dozen coats and scarves, even if you hardly wear them

Long Winter's Nap

I was surfing the web, looking for a definition of 'brumation', when I stumbled upon a fellow blogger with an excellent site...

As you can imagine, my turtles are fast asleep awaiting the spring and I can only dream of joining them. Somehow it's not working out... I'm sleeping a good 14 hours plus a day (we have some nice four-day weekends for the holiday) but eating incredible amounts and putting on weight! This is so unfair! Bears will wake up thin and hungry in the spring while I'll just waddle to the shorts and tank tops only to find nothing will fit. Then I will cry and want to find a cave. Very backwards. But anyhoo...

Did you know reptiles brumate, rather than hibernate? Now you do. You can learn the meaning of this and many other fascinating terms at Answer Girl's blog. Each day she takes a term, gives the meaning and industry or discipline in which it is used. Kind of a word-of-the day plus. She lists herself as a writer and editor and gives a little personal info as well. Also, the Virginia Beach resident is a Snake in the Chinese Horoscope, just like myself.

I don't agree with the Zodiac symbol of Aquarius as an assessment of my personality type. Typically they cite the altruistic nature of this sign. Great humanitarians. Wants to advance mankind. Supposedly they are not materialistic and want to save the world. Yeah, right. I must have been brumating when they were handing out those qualities.

Cafe Astrology:

One of the standout characteristics of those born under the Sun Sign of Aquarius is their unwillingness to follow the beaten track. Ok, true. It's not a track, it's a rut.

With advancement and progress on their minds, there can be an irreverence to old and outdated ways of thinking and doing things. Ditto

Many Aquarians aim to free themselves of personal and social conditioning. Although open to change in theory, Aquarians can be surprisingly stubborn. Their idealism runs strong, but they can be very fixed in their opinions. So what's your point?

Often a bit aloof and even standoffish, Aquarians nonetheless are usually well-liked. They are curious and observant, and tolerant in a broad sense. Prejudice and bias is offensive to the typical Aquarius. True

Aquarians are generally very clever, witty, and intellectual. Yes, we are

They value progress and frankness. It's difficult to throw Aquarians for a loop they're generally on top of things. Guilty as charged...

Meanwhile over at

Diplomatic and popular, the Snake has the sensual art of seduction down. This Sign is an interesting mix of gregariousness paired with introversion, intuitive reasoning paired with savvy business skills. Of course.

Snakes tend to be rather tight with cash Towards others...

The Snake is somewhat insecure deep down Who me??

Slightly dangerous and disarmingly smart, the Snake's philosophical and intuitive mind generally supersedes logic in favor of feelings and instinct. Guilty!

Snakes are hard workers (when they see good reason to be!) and are possessed of a keen intelligence Aw, shucks!

Snakes must try to learn humility Note to self: take an on-line course...

Most compatible sign: The Ox (Mr. Right!)

But the number one reason to love the Chinese Zodiac? I get to be a reptile! Not some dumb guy with a bucket.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Beyond Blogging, or Blogging Beyond...

As if having a blog isn’t enough self-absorption, ever wonder if you could blog from the great beyond? Paul Davidson hasn’t let the fact that Al Gore’s invention of the internet was a few hundred years too late for some folks… He’s written a book called: The Lost Blogs with over 200 entries from your favorite deceased celebrities like Jim Morrison, Abraham Lincoln and Jesus!

As for posthumous blogging, I have stuffed my blogspot password in a sealed envelope to be bequeathed to another Blogger upon my demise. I mean, how hard could it be to continue blogging as me?

Topics to include: It’s Wonderfully Hot Here! or You Call This Heaven? Where’s the Preferred Parking?

Politics of Poo

Alas, the United Kingdom's descent into dhimmitude is beyond parody. Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council (Tory-controlled) has now announced that, following a complaint by a Muslim employee, all work pictures and knick-knacks of novelty pigs and "pig-related items" will be banned. Among the verboten items is one employee's box of tissues, because it features a representation of Winnie the Pooh and Piglet. And, as we know, Muslims regard pigs as "unclean", even an anthropomorphised cartoon pig wearing a scarf and a bright, colourful singlet.

Cllr Mahbubur Rahman is in favour of the blanket pig crackdown. "It is a good thing, it is a tolerance and acceptance of their beliefs and understanding," he said. That's all, folks, as Porky Pig used to stammer at the end of Looney Tunes. Just a little helpful proscription in the interests of tolerance and acceptance.

And where's the harm in that? As Pastor Niemöller said, first they came for Piglet and I did not speak out because I was not a Disney character and, if I was, I'm more of an Eeyore.

Mark Steyn, London Daily Telegraph

If you ask me,
Winnie the Poo is the real threat – this soft dim-witted captialistic hedonist has corrupted too many youngsters!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

So It Begins

Kong Premier Party

First day of winter. Blah. I don’t know how I will ever get through another three months of this. Seasonal Affectation Disorder is just another of my many charms. Another little observation: for someone who hates snow, I sure do love sweaters with snowflakes on them. This is right up there with the fact that I can’t swim, yet have seven bathing suits. Oh, well.

Keep hearing rave reviews about King Kong, but hesitate to see it, as I hate apes and monkeys, although I loved the (original) Planet of the Apes*.

What does Kong symbolize? Man’s desire to subjugate the Id? Can’t miss the metaphorical message of having the U.S. Military successfully kill anything that threatens tall buildings in New York, now can we? What of the helpless female? Suggestive of the desire to possess beautiful women no matter how inappropriate the relationship might be? Personally, I’m going to play the
race card on this one.

The real reason I don’t want to see King Kong is because he kills dinosaurs! These images will be far too disturbing for a herptophile like myself. As far as I’m concerned, the whole planet has been going downhill ever since mammals took over. Dinosaurs ruled for sixty million years and it’s taken man only about 40,000 to foul everything up. Peace on Earth Goodwill to Men? More like: Peace on Earth, No Men.

And who really did win the
King Kong-Godzilla war anyhoo?

*(Hey, there’s a sequel that really needed to be made, eh KaneCitizen?)

Sunday, December 18, 2005

What Fashion Style Are You?

Your Fashion Style is Urban

You've got a style all your own... and it works

Not too trendy, not too freaky - you've got streetwear down to a science

You always look cute and put together, but keep it comfortable too

You're the type of girl that creates trends and inspires others to be funky

Yet Another Prime-Time interruption

Look too dorky to be a threat to national saftey! Try this hat.
Why does the President insist on calling it a war? It's an occupation. And we're doing a lousy job at it. Those spying incidents Bush has admitted to authorizing? Want to bet one of them is me? Time for the tinfoil hat. No, wait, wool. Warm, fashionable and doesn't conduct radiation as well.

But We All Feel Good About Ourselves

Jersey Village High School teacher Carol Pearsall went to Adopt-A-Classroom to ask for a high-tech system that makes class discussions a little less threatening for shy teens. It costs about $1,000.

"I'm hoping to get an electronic system where all the kids have their own little remote control and I can ask a question and they can respond to it," Pearsall said. "If they're wrong, the other kids can't see."

Houston Chronicle

Gosh, whatever happened to High Schools preparing students for real life? For public speaking? For interaction with their peers and the world around them?

No, instead we have 'shy teen' outreach programs like the above. This way kids can answer electronically and anonymously and not face ridicule. Great. Let's put 10.000 class clowns nationwide out of a job. How else is High School supposed to scar you for life? Most schools have already eliminated gym class.

Heck, this blog is more open to discourse than the above suggested system. Answering questions with no one else seeing the answer used to be called a TEST. Having to raise your hand and speak intelligently and convincingly used to be called CLASS DISCUSSION, and you were graded on it. Let's replace the debate team with the write it on a slip of paper and don't offend anyone team.

What real life situations are we preparing these teens for? Middle East Peace Negotiations?

Now Israel, I want you to write down what you would like on a slip of paper and fold it in half... No peeking Palestine!

These ambitious, well-prepared leaders of tomorrow will go right from High School to - On Line College Courses! Where they will get A's and be ready for - a real live job interview! Not. Perhaps they can just design video games from home. Yes, that would be best. Don't push them.

Still Here (Kinda)

Hey everyone,

Sorry I haven’t posted sooner, but I wasn’t feeling so well this weekend… was it Germ Guy at Wal-Mart? Coughing Co-Worker? Or the fact that I put my bare hands on the shopping cart at the grocery store? At any rate, I would once again put forth the theory that it’s all a vast right-wing conspiracy to keep me weakened by denying our area flu shots for the second year in a row.

This year for little co-worker Christmas gag gifts I’m giving out these tiny tissue packets I found at a World Market store. They have little pictures of reindeer and snowmen printed on tissues wrapped in cellophane with the word “Sniff” on the front. Nothing says I Love Working With You, But Cover Your Mouth When You Sneeze like a personal packet of tissues. And since they’re from some foreign country that most likely lacks environmental or health standards, the dye used might “wipe” out a few sickies to boot…

Just when you thought I was going to be driving rice rockets forever, news from DaimlerChrysler (the Industry joke on the pronunciation of this name is, “the Chrysler is silent”) announces the resurrection of the Dodge Challenger. Slated for the 2006 auto show circuit, this car might make me brave Chicago’s winter and crowds at McCormick place for a glimpse of the latest 6.1 liter Hemi V8 to be mated to a six speed manual. (Yes, right now I’m exclaiming “I coulda hadda V8”, although MPG figures have yet to be estimated). One article notes that 45% of all vehicles offering the Hemi are sold with that engine. I wonder how the latest Challenger will stack up against its big brother the Charger I lusted after earlier this year? I for one was ready to purchase the Venom prototype that never came to showroom floors, but am encouraged by the thought of a flashy two door retro-mobile.

Ever wonder how much professional rivalry exists between
Calvin Nichols and Robert Sabuda? Enough to warrant an exacto knife to the eye? Paper cuts alone are lethal.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

It's all relative

Could Einstein himself solve Indiana’s time zone problems? Should time zones be tied to commerce or along state lines? Is driving back in time every day to get to your job harmful?

A Salt and Diehard

Each winter North American put 10 to 15 million tons of salt on their roads – 10% of all the salt in the world for all purposes combined”
Elizabeth Royte,

I am convinced the vast majority of this amount is accumulating on the frame and finish of my precious new arrival*. I’m afraid to park it in the driveway for fear the woodland creatures will come out of the forest to lick it. She hasn’t even gotten her first set of snow tires on yet, but she's been trudging through more snow than most Decembers are alloted. It’s not even the official first day of winter yet, and we’ve had record breaking cold and accumulating snows. I just don’t know how I will handle another three months of this. Yes, I’m flaking out.

* KaneCitizen asked if I had a baby monitor set up in my garage, and I had to admit he had a good idea there…

Battle of Midway

No, I'm not referring to a seminal WWII event, but rather the disconcerting fact that the day after a Southwest airline jet skidded off the runway in Chicago and struck a passenger car, the family's lawyer was releasing statements in regards to the loss of a six-year-old boy. Could this law firm still be on retainer from the time the boy's father won a $27,500 award in 1999 against Yellow Cab Co.?

Battle of Midway
Central Pacific island of Midway
U.S. Pacific Fleet surprised the Japanese forces
Cloud cover a factor
More casualties on ground
Superior surface force loses
Turning point in the Pacific
Accident at Midway
Central Ave. and 55th
Member of Southwest fleet surprised commuters
Landing strip covered with snow
More casualties on ground
Runway loses surface force
Turning point in argument to increase size of O'Hare?

Thursday, December 08, 2005

That's what crawlers are for

Ticked off as my big Will and Grace* Christmas Show was broken into (and destroyed with little hope of a replay this season) with news that a jet had skidded off the runway at Midway Airport.

A) I don't want that brand of snow tires for my car...

B) Had the jet traffic been lighter due to an operational Miegs Field, this wouldn't have happened

C) Didn't another NBC show, ER, just do a big episode about a plane accident? Are they upset it didn't happen during their show last week? Or would it have boosted ratings by occurring the week before?

Although, you have to admit, "I was hit by a plane" would be a pretty funny thing to call and tell your boss...

*I so relate to Karen

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

T-t-too C-c-cold to T-t-type

Gosh, remember the good old days when I was crowing about the Hottest Summer Ever? Well guess my luck with the gods of extreme weather has run out. It's now the coldest December in 100 years. Great. And speaking of conspiracy theories, heating fuel is at all time record high prices. This should thin the herd a little. But not nearly enough.

Friday, December 02, 2005


Thank you, mystery man who was ahead of me in line at Wal-Mart. When the cashier told you to go home and get some rest, why did you have to linger and answer her about how you were just too busy to do so while coughing and hacking all over that little stylus that she then directed me to use to sign off on the Magic Credit Card screen?

And Thank You, evil government entities, for once again neglecting to supply the country with enough flu shots in my area so that once again, I must go without. Oh, give them to the elderly, you said. Yeah, well who needs to stay healthy enough to work and pay taxes for the elderly and their health care? Me! Me! Me!

It's not about flu. It's about ME.