Thursday, August 28, 2008


I'm flying to San Francisco in October for a weeklong conference.  It's the BIG DEAL all year long for my organization, so at the end we're all breathing a sigh of relief.
For my big sigh, I'm staying in town three extra nights for a mini vacation.  And the best part?  My pallie Christie is flying in from Las Vegas (where she lives now) and joining me!  We're going to, as I say, "give San Francisco blue balls."
We just booked a little Euro-style hotel for less than 200 smackers for the whole weekend, so we're a little excited.  I decided to post some of the best exclamations that have come out of our emails.  Please to enjoy.
  • PS, we can probably get crabs there, if you catch my drift.
  • I don't need no steenking television!  We can make shadow puppets!
  • I'mma need to pack a bunch of uppers!  Let's just do meth all weekend to get the most out of it.
  • Do you realize how much fucking fun we're going to have?  Do you?
  • I can't wait until I'm tipsy and try to go to bed at night, but realize I have to pee like 20 times and have to keep going out into the hallway bathroom to tinkle. 
  • 'cept I ain't going back Chicagy way till Sunday!
  • I can't wait to share a bathroom with strangers.  Do you think we'll make lifelong friends on this journey?  I'll have to leave a few pubes in the tub for them to remember me by.
  • Girl, you know we're gettin' seafood, right?  I'm sick of this midwest bubba gumpery. 
  • I wanna see flayed ducks and pigs hanging from windows.  I wanna see Jet Li in a street fight.
  • We should have a picnic on that hill in front of Danny Tanner's house, like they do in the opening credits to Full House.  Better yet, we should film our own shot for shot reenactment of that opening sequence.  Right?  Right.
  • We should find a shady store that has a secret back room full of knock-off designer handbags.
  • I can smell the pleather Gucci bags and taste the dumplings as we speak!
  • I wanna buy a mogwai from an oriental.
  • You what else I can't wait for?  To take a gigantic dump in the shared bathroom. 
  • I can't wait to get drunk and walk the streets with you just like old times.  REALLY MARGE?!
  • every time i get an email about this trip, i clap my hands together like a baby seal!  OR OR OR! 
  • Everytime I get an email about this trip I fart in a jar and close the lid and then open it and smell it later.
How effing excited am I?  AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!
So there's that,


Friday, August 22, 2008

Tomorrow's Walk

I've been hitting the gym all week in preparation for tomorrow's walk. This one has me taking the Metra to Kenilworth, marching east toward the lake and heading south back home. This is the map:

View Larger Map

I figure it's better for me to start at the top of the line so that if I start to crap out or get injured a few miles into the trek, I won't have to travel far in the city for a bus or a train.

The estimated distance? Between 12-13 miles. The map estimates 12.6, but I know I'll be heading a little farther east on the walking paths. I'm taking my pedometer along for a more accurate measurement.

Please pray that I have no problem finding toilets along the way.

So there's that,


Thursday, August 21, 2008

A Whole Weekend of Events and All I Have to Show for It is a Lousy Fart Blog?

I still can't believe I haven't written about my amazing weekend yet.
In preparation for Saturday's 10 mile march, I stepped out on Friday for a 5 mile walk to the gym and over an hour of intense calisthenics, followed by a cool down on the elliptical for 20 minutes.  It felt great!  My new favorite thing is the Bosu Ball:
I like to use it for back support when I'm doing oblique work with a medicine ball.  I also like to turn it upside down for use as a balance board.  A few months ago, I was AWFUL at balancing on this thing.  Now that my legs and core have gotten stronger, I can handle it pretty well.  My gym has a room full of stripper poles for pole-dancing classes, so I put the ball next to one of those and use it to support myself as I climb up.  Then I  do some squats, grabbing the pole only when I'm going to crash.  I like to link my fingers and stretch my arms over my head, seeing how long I can stay balanced.  The possibilities are pretty endless.
I also got me a baller ass pair of New Balances.  I don't want to dig up the pic, but they're babe blue, and they cushion my heels like God would if He were a foot fetishist.
I carbed up on Friday night with a baguette and my favorite Italian bean salad from L'Appetito.  I need to learn to make this stuff - it's amazing!  It's made up of 3 types of beans tossed in this herbed vinaigrette.  I use the baguette to sop up the excess vinaigrette.  Normally I'm not a fan of oily dressings, but this sauce is PERFECT.
I woke up Saturday and l stayed in bed for awhile to make sure I wasn't going to fall back asleep.  Okay, I was just avoiding the inevitable.  I made an egg white omelet with asparagus and horseradish cheese (raved about in Hot Beef Injection), downed a pot of coffee, and checked the weather.  I took my time getting dressed up because I wanted to make sure I was prepared...and I needed to take a precautionary dump before I hit the trail.

I finally left the apartment at 12:00 pm, took the Red Line north to the Purple Line, and took the PL all the way to the end of the line - Linden.  I'll tell ya, the Linden stop is nothing to write home about, so I will.  I know the area pretty well now, because I had to scour it for a public bathroom once I got off the train.  I went to this little coffee shop, and knowing they probably wouldn't let me pee with out purchase, I got one of their "all fruit smoothies."  When I asked what it was made of, the guy was like, "It's all fresh fruit."  Suuuuuure it is.  I didn't want to argue so I laid my money down, went to the bathroom and picked up my smoothie.  Another customer came in and asked what was inside it, and he said, "Well, it's ice and this frozen fruit puree we get shipped in....but it's made from real fruit."  I KNEW IT!  I was eating a sugar-happy treat.  Oh well.  I guess I needed the carbs.
The walk pretty much went according to plan.  I headed east, took a gander at the Baha'i temple, and headed south back home.  The first part of the trip was pretty boring; Wilmette's lakefront is pretty much private property of mansion dwellers, so I had to stick to Sheridan road.  I went through the Northwestern University campus and had to stop for a pee break at a chapel, which I practically had to break into.  Not really.  I just couldn't work the door closest to the road, and had to walk around back to the public entrance, but I left through the first door I tried.  I think I left it unlocked.  Oh well, they have security guards for that business.
When I hit the northside of Evanston, I got to a beachfront path that was more enjoyable.  I got to see some of the aircraft whizz by for the Air and Water Show.  Saw a stealth bomber that nearly made me soil myself.
I stopped at the 6 mile mark for a brief rest at the Subway on the Loyola campus.  They were kind to me last weekend when I asked to use their restroom.  I got a turkey sandwich and took a half hour to refuel.  I had to train myself to walk again once I left.
The rest of the trip was uneventful.  I started to wear down at the mile and a half mark, but I did succeed in my quest.  I thought I would jump up and down once I got to Irving Park Rd, but I just couldn't.  I stretched and bounced my knees a little, but I don't think anyone could confuse that with the joy of a champion.  Plus I had a pretty shitty look on my face. 
I stopped for some G2 - the lower-cal Gatorade that I love.  The clock by the cash register read 5:30, and for the first time in 4 miles, I smiled.  I made in just the time I expected. 
I took a shower and a long bath, read some of my book.  At about 7:30 I headed out to get some dinner, and I had no idea what I wanted.  I wasn't feeling hungry, but I was, and I could eat anything - my mind raced between chicken, pancakes, Taco Bell, White Castle.  The world was my oyster.  As I left, I was talking to my friend Eric on the phone, and I ended up mindlessly hobbling for another mile or so down the street when I realized I was in painful ballet flats with no arch support.  I hung up, and walked into Stella's Diner, if only because I didn't want to walk anymore.
I got me a side salad with ranch dressing, a roast beef Manhattan - an amalgam of white bread, sliced roast beef, gravy and mashed potatoes - and I finished the whole thing off with apple cobbler a la mode.  It was glorious.  Again - I didn't feel hungry, but I attacked that Manhattan like I was King Kong.  I shoveled food into my mouth without cutting it, some pieces as big as 4 inches in diameter.  I couldn't get enough.  The salt, the carbs, the protein?  I could have had another plate of that shizz.
I went home and popped some Tylenol, and I wasn't even sore the next day.  It was a pretty good weekend.
This week:  Kenilworth to Irving Park.
So there's that,


Monday, August 18, 2008

Blue Flame

I'll tell you all about my walks this weekend, but quickly:  A story.
Shana and I went to Chipotle for lunch, where we shared a booth.  The interior of Chipotle is designed like an upscale junkyard - corrugated aluminum paneling, lacquered plywood chairs and benches - all very stark and echo-y.
So Shana's across from me, talking about her life's path, resting one foot on my seat.  I have to fart.  And I think, "How wicked would it be if I just let it out?  It's loud in here, no one will notice.
This fart was a Level 5 CheekQuaker. 
I didn't think Shana would catch on...until I saw her shift in her seat.  My ears were still ringing from the rumble, my mind spinning from the sheer joy of anonymous flatulence, so I didn't hear the first few sentences she uttered post-fart.
"What?"  Quoth I.
"I felt that."
"Felt what?"
"The bench rumble when you farted..."
"What!  You felt that!"
"In my foot.  Then I saw the look on your face, like a baby that's trying to poop."
Then I laughed and LAUGHED.  Because nothing is funnier to me than a fart among friends.  It truly made my day.
Now I can't stop.  I had loads of fiber last night, a high-fibe cereal this morning, beans at Chipotle, AND Diet Coke.  I'm burp n' fart factory.  I imagine my bowels operating like a bouncy cartoon tugboat in my belly.  The human body is an amazing machine.
So there's that,

Thursday, August 14, 2008

BT Dubs? I Love Omelets

Dig this:  I used to not be so crazy on eggs.  Now they're a major part of my life:  weekend breakfasts are incomplete without them; egg sandwiches are the perfect cheap lunch food; and omelets are quick dinners.
I bring this up because I think I've got a new favorite omelet.  It was born out of a need to get rid of a wheel of brie that I bought on impulse a few weeks ago.  I didn't really buy it on impulse, but I wanted to have a wine, cheese and fruit dinner without having to walk too far in my pajamas for the provisions.  So I went down to the corner market and the only decent cheese they had was this 6-inch wheel of brie.  After I had my dinner of sauv blanc, cheese, water crackers, and nectarine, I needed to think of ways to use the leftovers.
My answer?  The Yuppie Omelet.
The Yuppie Omelet
Serves One
3/4 c egg substitute (or 3 eggs or 5 egg whites)
1/2 c chopped frozen asparagus (or fresh)
1-2 oz brie, cubed (rind removed)
salt, pepper, garlic powder, red pepper flakes
Side Salad:
2 c fresh spinach
1/2 c halved cherry tomatoes
1 nectarine, thinly sliced
Your favorite balsamic vinaigrette (I use Trader Joe's Low-Fat Bals Vin or Annie's Pomegranate Vinaigrette)
Heat a nonstick pan over medium heat.  Spritz with nonstick spray or 1/2 tsp of olive oil.  Toss in chopped asparagus and saute until heated through and crisp-tender.  Sprinkle with salt, garlic powder and pepper, toss together, and spread asparagus evenly over the pan.  Pour on the eggs/substitute, season with a little more S&P and red pepper flakes.  Don't stir.  After the eggs have cooked for 1 minute, drop the cheese evenly over the eggs.  Cover the pan and reduce heat to medium-low.
While the omelet finishes, take out a plate and put a little vinaigrette on the bottom.  Pile on the spinach and tomatoes, and using your fingers, toss the veggies with the dressing.  Arrange the salad so it covers half of the plate, then top the greens with the nectarine slices.  Salt and pepper if desired.
When the omelet has puffed up and the cheese has melted, fold it half.  Creamy cheese grease should ooze out of the sides.  That's the stuff.  Let the omelet cook like that for another minute while the cheese seals and the eggs are sure to cook through.  Slide the omelet on the other half of your plate, and you've got a yuppie treat.
Late for The Webinar
So there's that,

Big Plans

Over the past few weeks, I've come to take distance walking a little more seriously.  With last Saturday's trek to Evanston under my belt, my confidence in going the distance has been bolstered significantly.
So I've decided to up the ante.  This weekend, I'm walking two towns north, to Wilmette - a good 10 miles from my apartment.  My plan is to take the L as far north as it goes, to the Linden stop on the Purple Line.  Then I'm going to head east toward the lake, check out the stunning Baha'i Temple on foot, and head back south for a 3.5 hour walk back home.
Baha'i Temple, Wilmette, IL - Google It.
What's more, I plan to keep edging my way north throughout the fall, hoping to at least pop-in on my aunt and uncle in Glencoe, 15 miles away.  I have this crazy desire to walk to the Wisconsin state line - 44 miles, estimated walking time 14.5 hours.
Is this crazy?  I don't know...I've been wanting to go distance hiking for a few years now, especially on the Appalachian Trail that runs from Maine to Georgia.  I will probably never be able to do it all at once, but it would be neat to hike sections of it during my vacations.
We'll see how this goes.
This weekend I'm getting all kinds of treats for myself:  new athletic shoes (and I'm not going to settle for any size twelve - I want one to fit my specifications and needs!) and a new haircut at Streets of London Salon.  It comes highly recommended on, and I get a 30% discount for mentioning yelp when I made my appointment.  Yay!  Cost-cutter!  My plan is to let them give me a hip new cut that's still says "I'm Laura, and I'm romantic and virginal, professional yet hip and with it, but never a cat lady."  I think they can get it down.  And the place is run by actual Londoners!  An accented guy took my appointment!  Squeeeee!  I'mma be Euro-in this bitch up!
So there's that,

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Tastes Like Burning

Starbucks? It's over.

It was fun dropping $3-5 a day on you while it lasted, but I just can't do this anymore.

Your blended treats are too caloric, and I just don't trust that your Caramel Light Frap is actually "light." Oh how they tempt me on a warm summer's day; with no milkshakes or smoothies around for several blocks, yours is my go-to slurp factory.

No more.

Your breads are oily, your cookies dry, your pastries unimaginative. They're not your main focus, and it shows. Keep them from my sights. Even the lemon bars I've loved so dearly for so long are dead on my palate.

Never again.

Your coffee is harsh. Acidic. Too much of the burned urn flavor for something so pricey. The iced coffee I sipped on this afternoon left the taste of tobacco in my mouth. It took me years to realize this, and now that I finally have? I feel used. Filthy. All the scalding hot showers in the world can't rid me of this shame.

Get me a rape kit.

Starbucks? I will always enjoy the occasional trips with my coworkers, always have fond memories of the money I spent on you, but I will show restraint in the future. Or until winter comes and I crave some creamy hot chai.

Until then, work on that coffee thing. It's not the best.

So there's that,


Tuesday, August 12, 2008

A Gloppy Day

Did you ever just have one of those days where no matter what you do, you still can't feel good about yourself? This happens to me on days when my morning doesn't start off right, like when I opt to wake up late, or make a lasting wardrobe mistake.

I did both this morning, the most haunting of which is to pair long brown, flowy pants with a brown knit top. I put a sparkly necklace on to doll it up, but it's no use painting this turd of an outfit. When I sit at my desk with bad posture or see my back fat in the mirror, I feel like Gloppy the Chocolate Monster from CandyLand.

Srsly. I am not feeling the sparkle today.

So there's that,


Monday, August 11, 2008

...To Another Town!

I took my long walk on Saturday out of the city.

That's right. I walked to another town altogether - Evanston.

View Larger Map

Whew! It was amazing!

It only added up to about 7.6 miles, but that's much longer than my normal 4.5-5 mile trek to downtown. It was a breezy walk along the lakefront, too...a beautiful day for a walk.

I departed my apartment at 3:30 pm on Saturday, and by the time I got on the train to head back home, it was 7:00 pm. I stopped for a little grocery shopping before going to the train, so I guess the trip took about 3 hours.

I barely had anything to eat before the walk: about 300 calories worth of frozen pancakes, coffee and Activia. I lazed around in bed until 1:00 pm, so I opted for a late breakfast because coffee always gets my motor running. By the time I got back to town, I wasn't feeling any hunger, but I knew I should eat. I opted for some roasted chicken, garlic bread, slaw and fries from a nearby gyros stand. Then I got home and mowed that shit down in less than 20 minutes - I was HONGRY!

I went to bed later that night with a bolus of food lodged uncomfortably in my digestive organs, and slept until 4 pm the next day. I guess it was a form of hibernation.

Anyway, I'm super proud of this "walking to another town" accomplishment. Hopefully I can traverse progressively farther north as long as the weather permits.

So there's that,


Wednesday, August 6, 2008

I'd Know That Pepperidge Farms Cake Anywhere

Seriously?  You need to find a quiet space away from the kids and Google "cake farts" when you're home tonight.  It is NOT SAFE FOR WORK.  Watch the video.  It looks like it will be wildly pornographic, but it's not that bad.  It's not the "2 girls 1 cup" I thought it would be.  But I got the best laugh in weeks from watching this last night.  It's utterly ridiculous.
And guess what?  It's a Pepperidge Farms frozen cake, and I think it's kind of sad that that's the first thing that struck me about the video.  I'm a big fan of their coconut cake.
Seriously, keep the kids away.  Seriously.  But seriously?  You need to watch this before you die.
So there's that,

Monday, August 4, 2008

Recipe: Hot Beef Injection

If there's something you should know about me, it's that I love horseradish.  Love it.  When I make oven fries at home, I add horseradish to ketchup for a cocktail-saucy zing.  I keep wasabi paste on hand anytime I want my food to have Asian zip.  When I'm stuffed up, I eat wasabi peas by the handful to clear my sinuses.  I love heat, I love horseradish.
I've been on a sandwich kick for the past few weeks.  It started when I bought a loaf of high fiber bread and vowed to myself that I will eat a sandwich every day to get rid of the stuff.  I usually can't eat bread fast enough and it goes to waste.  So for the first time in years, I packed myself some sandwiches for lunch.  The following is my favorite.
Hot Beef Injection
Serves 1
1 Weight Watchers Bagel (or your favorite bread)
1 slice Horseradish Cheddar (I got this from the grocery's deli.  I think my brand is Hoffman's but I've seen it under the Boar's Head brand.  Muenster works too.)
1-2 oz thinly sliced roast beef
1-2 slices tomato
1 Tbsp Kraft Horseradish Sauce (It's in the condiment section, looks like mayo.)
Place the cheese on the bottom of the bun, meat on top of cheese, and tomatoes on meat.  Spread top of bun with horseradish sauce, place on top of sandwich, and wrap the whole thing tightly in saran wrap. 
I know you know how to make a sandwich, but the placement of cheese and sauce is crucial to me, especially if you're not going to eat it right away, and especially if you're using a bagel.  The cheese covers the bagel hole and prevents the bread from getting soggy.  The sauce protects the top half of bread/bagel from the tomato's moisture.  When you wrap it tightly, then the tomato juice can't run everywhere and leave you with a soggy mess the next day.  Trust me - I made tortilla wraps one day last week, put them in a Ziploc bag, and by the time I pulled them out for lunch the next day they were AWFUL.  Dripping wet on the outside.  Bleh.  I ended up trashing everything and going to Subway.  God bless plastic wrap.
Don't you deserve a Hot Beef Injection today?
So there's that,

Sunday, August 3, 2008

No Good Deed

A few weeks ago, I hopped onto the empty 145 bus and before sidling into my usual seat in the back, and I noticed a set of keys on it. Then between the seat and the wall, there was a big shiny Blackberry.

I could have given the keys and the phone to the bus driver right then, since the bus was nigh empty, but I decided to hold on to them. I figured if I were to lose such precious things on a bus, the last thing I would want is to get them lost in the bureaucracy of the CTA lost and found. I've seen news stories about the loads of lost items that are never claimed; I wasn't about to let some person's stuff become statistics.

And I wanted a project.

It was a Friday morning, and I'm notoriously restless on Fridays. I thought it would be a good to break up the workaday monotony by doing some sleuthing. And I kind of wanted to play with this Blackberry - see what the fuss was about. Now I didn't want to play play with it; I just hoped that in doing so, I would find the owner, or a good contact with whom to start the search.

Suck. The keypad was locked. No fun for me there.

The only clues this phone offered was on the home screen: A long Indian name (I'll call him Mr. Suresh), three initials, and the word "Chicago." I did a Google search for the initials and Chicago, and came up with a load of different companies. Instead of giving up, I used the power of critical thinking: I pulled up a map showing all the listings and looked for the ones that were on the bus route.

God I love Google Maps!

One of the companies was a consulting firm in the suburbs, though, so I figured the phone might belong to a consultant who was working downtown. I called there first, if only to rule it out. No such person worked there.

Then I called the places that were closest to my office, and I crossed my fingers hoping I wouldn't have to travel across town to do my good deed. Hey - I'm not completely selfless.

Those numbers were dead, so I went with the last option - an office in the Sears Tower that wasn't necessarily far, but it would be a complicated trek during the workday. Turns out Mr. Suresh did work there, and he didn't even realize his phone was lost; he thought he just left it at home.

I found all this out through his assistant. After everything was cleared up, I said, "Well, how can I get this to you?" She didn't pose any solution, so I too eagerly offered to bring it over on my lunch break. I kind of hoped she'd say, "Oh no, dear soul, we'll send a messenger for it. Don't you go through the trouble."

Instead she said, "Okay. Just have the front desk call me when you get here." Click.

Goddamnit. Now I had to go down there. She didn't have my phone number; I could have just thrown the phone away and had a real lunch break. I could have worked out. I could have eaten at Pompeii. Goddamnit. Why am I such good fucking person?

So I had 45 minutes to get a bus to downtown and back. I was broke, so I couldn't cab it. I tried to catch the 151, but it was taking too long. I walked a couple blocks to the Clark bus, but that was taking too long. Then I raced across LaSalle to get the 156. And I was drenched by the humidity.

I got down to Sears Tower and tried to look my best. If you don't know it by now, I have a BIG THING for Indian men. So yeah, I had an ulterior motive. Maybe Mr. Suresh would get a look at me and know we were meant to be together, brought together by fate and Blackberries.

After a few minutes of waiting in the lobby, Mr. Suresh came down himself to retrieve the phone. And he was CUTE! Sigh! I was a little dumbstruck, and I bumblingly told him that I found the phone in the back of the bus, but couldn't give it to the driver because it was so crowded (lie). He asked if I found his keys, too, and I shuffled through my purse, having forgotten all the about them. Sigh! He asked for my email address (squee!), so I gave him my card, and with a handshake and a thank you, we went our separate ways.

Afterward, I felt like the day after a one-night stand: exhilarated and used.

I came all this motherfucking way to give this motherfucker his phone, his motherfucking life in a basket, and all I get is a handshake and an awkward goodbye? Y'ain't even gonna make me breakfast? Fuck you, guy! Oh I think I love him.

Since I gave him my business card, I hoped to hear from him. Two weeks passed with nothing.

Then on Monday morning, I get an email from Macy's...with a $100 gift certificate from Mr. Suresh.

Hells YES!

Mother Teresa was right, it pays to be selfless. She should know; girlfriend cornered the Indian market

So there's that,