Archive for October, 2007

Dashing Through The Snow…On Halloween

All the way through high school, there wasn’t a question what I’d be doing on October 31: I’d be pulling some random costume from a Christmas pageant out of the closet at the last minute, jumping in the green pickup with Dad as chauffer, picking up Trish and making the rounds to trick-or-treat all the country folks.

For those of you who haven’t had the pleasure of trick-or-treating in the country, you’re TOTALLY deprived. These people never see people. And they buy candy like the world’s going to end. So not only would you get a FULL-SIZED snickers, but you’d also get candy corn, a popcorn ball, a caramel apple and probably a $10 bill.

That’s probably why Trish and I just couldn’t give it up. We justified it by saying that the neighbors REALLY enjoyed seeing us in costume every year – so how could we possibly disappoint?

The event was particularly memorable my junior year in high school. Halloween snuck up on us, and I didn’t have a costume. So I raided the closet and found Brother DIY’s reindeer costume from about 4th grade. Mind you, he was about 4’5”, 80 lbs at that time. And I was 5’5” 130. Try that on for size.

The good news was that in addition to the fuzzy brown suit, I found the cardboard antlers he’d worn.

So with T-15 minutes, I jumped in the suit, adjusted my antlers, and ran out the door.

You should know it was snowing, and the power was out. Yes, it was October 31.

Mom snapped a picture of me as I was prancing down the sidewalk, and it’s amazing she managed to get me in the photo, given that it was truly pitch black outside. (Once the photos came back, the flash had reflected off the snowflakes making it look like little white bells were falling all around me.)

I jumped in the green pickup with Dad, who was once again carting us around – good thing, because the snow was pretty nuts.

We chatted up a few neighbors, who were happy to unload their goods (knowing that few people would be coming by), and then we decided to cut it short because of the weather.

Fast forward 10 years…

As you might have previously read, one of my ploys for getting a job in Chicago was to do a powerpoint presentation following my interview – to show that I was indeed the most qualified candidate on earth to work on the John Deere account.

I’m sure the antlers sealed the deal. Click here to view: Love for Deere.

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Being in Love

In case you hand’t noticed, I am in LOVE with Ree, the Pioneer Woman. It’s really unfortunate that I’m not a lesbian. Otherwise I would tear her away from Marlboro Man and we would have babies.

For those of you who are following the “From Black Heels to Tractor Wheels” romance, Ree was going to move to Chicago, to an apartment on Goethe Street.

When I moved to Chicago, I lived at the corner of Dearborn and Goethe.  Two blocks from Lake Shore Drive.

We were meant to be together.

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Stripping Down The Issue

In a scientific poll conducted by Galloping, one in four million men claim they won’t visit strip clubs because they’ll get a cold.

Galloping’s lead researcher, Ms. Firewife, decided to conduct an official internet search based on insider information from Nelly’s brother, who reported that several of his friends had come down with the crud after having a stripper’s bosom rubbed on their nose.

Ms. Firewife’s shrewd Google search uncovered a disturbing article on MSNBC, ultimately leading her to launch the full-fledged poll:

TUBERCULOSIS OUTBREAK BLAMED ON STRIPPER 
Dozens treated in St. Maarten after dancer diagnosed with disease

Nelly’s brother declined comment.

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Recognition

Sunday night, while I was getting my laundry out of the dryer in the basement (because I’ve STILL not called the handyman to give me a plan for the dryer vent), Mom called and left a message.

Apparently a week had gone by since we’d talked. I thought it’d only been an hour or so. (I still keep thinking last month was June.) I figured someone died — that’s the only time she usually calls me. I’m the one who usually does the calling, since it’s more of a sure thing for her to be free when I want to talk than vice versa.

Indeed, someone had died. But that wasn’t the headline — that was just the “what’s going on in the community” news flash.

The big news was that Mom’s entry in the Pioneer Woman’s photo contest got an honorable mention! And considering that there were over 2,500 entries, this is quite a feat.

Her entry was “Turf War.”

Brillant! Hooray, Mom!

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Service Week, Part 2: Thodos Dance Chicago

You might recall that I’ve been involved with Thodos Dance Chicago for the past couple years, most recently working on a branding assignment. I’m really excited about the brand positioning we came up with: Inspiring Expression. And though we haven’t put together Brand Standards, a campaign or anything else yet, they’re really taking our suggestions to heart (see flier for show below).

That project ended a couple months ago, and as of this week, I’m officially a board member. So, last night I attended their Fall Engagement (in an official capacity), and it was excellent. There was an array of different moods, all in perfect form — from dance technique, to choreography, to costumes to lighting. I really enjoyed it. (Never mind that my companion unintentionally let out a very small snore during the second number, which I immediately nipped with an elbow to the ribs.)

Afterwards we went to Lucca’s for the “Gathereen” — drinks, desserts and chat with the other board members, benefactors and dancers.

If you know anyone who wants to give a few million dollars to an up-and-coming dance company, let me know immediately.

Thodos

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Service Week, Part 1: Off The Street Club

Amidst the general craziness of deadlines this week, I spent some of my free time doing community service projects.

Thursday night was our work outing to “Third Thursday” at Off The Street Club. OTSC is an after school program — with a fantastic facility — located in the heart of the hood, abot four miles west of the Loop. The advertising community in Chicago has supported this effort for over 50 years, and at my last job there were a lot of opportunities for involvement.

In 2006, my old agency was tasked with hosting the Holiday Luncheon, which is the club’s major fundraiser (to the tune of around $600K). I was on the committee, and part of my job was to organize the photo shoot for the materials. So we spent a couple days over at the club with a renowned photographer from New York, capturing the kids a la Annie Liebovitz.

I don’t really like being around kids that much, and when it comes to volunteer work, I’ve always said that I don’t do kids, and I don’t do animals. Must stem back to my 4-H agent days, when I got burned out. With kids, I always end up with a cold, and they exhaust me. But these kiddos at OTSC are amazing — so sweet, polite and open. (Never mind that I can’t spell most of their names.)

So this past summer when we were deciding what service project to undertake at work, I suggested that we go to one of their monthly “Third Thursday” events, where community folks go to the club for the evening and play with the kids. The October event was a pumpkin carving party. And though everyone at the agency had the best of intentions to make it, we ended up with a small but mightly delegation of 5.

We set out at 5:15 to head over to the the square across from the Wrigley Building to be picked up by the OTSC buses. As we were waiting, a hail storm came up. And we got drenched running the 150 feet to the nearest building. Four minutes later it was done.

But our spirits weren’t dampened. Michelle and I reminisced about our school days while waiting for the bus to take off:

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Once we got to the club, we were met by a mass of kids giving us hugs. I should mention that the traditional handshake at the club is a hug. So for people with personal space issues — well, this isn’t the place for them.

Two 8th grade girls –Chamika and Julia — latched onto me right away. We spent the first hour in the gym, first tossing a football (yes, I know this is weird), then waiting in line for face painting. Then they discovered that I could do handstands.

It was all over. I created handstand mania. We had people falling on their heads. I ripped my shirt. But they had a blast.

Next it was trivia time. Here’s my pal Chamika.

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After a round of Halloween Q&A, we moved across the street to start our pumpkin carving adventures. They told us not to be too greedy with the knives.

Here’s Angela with her buddy:

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And Beth with hers:

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Erik and his new friend went all out decorating their pumpkin.

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I have to say, we were all dragging by the time we went to the basement for dinner. (It was 8:45.) But we all situated ourselves at one table, ready for the kids to arrive downstairs.

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And yes, service projects are a great place to meet hunky men. Here’s Jeff. We carved our pumpkins next to each other. He’s hot. And none of us single ladies were bold enough to get his e-mail address so that we could “send him the pictures we were taking.” Sigh.

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We feasted on a nutritional dinner of fried chicken, rolls, potato salad, macaroni salad, jelly eyeballs, sugary pumpkin candy, cupcakes and cookies. Accompanied by McDonald’s orange drink.

(That’s Julia at the head of the table — she was my other pal along with Chamika.)

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All in all, though we didn’t get dropped of until after 10, we were really glad we went. The kids are truly amazing. We’re looking forward to attending the holiday luncheon, where we’ll see 10-year-olds do public speaking on par with professionals. You’d be blown away.

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Cleanliness is next to…

I’ve been giving quite a bit of thought to hiring a cleaning lady. Or man. Really doesn’t matter.

But it does seem like the lazy person’s way out to HIRE someone to clean 742 square feet. Seriously. Next thing you know, I’ll be paying someone to pick my nose. 

Several of my cowokers and clients swear by their cleaning ladies — who even do their laundry. (But I suppose they actually have a washer/dryer in their living space. Um, yeah…I was supposed to do that last spring, wasn’t I?)

Assuming I can track someone down this week, I am indeed going to fork over the dough (and my pride) to a bright shining lady donning rubber gloves.

What’s precipitating this, you ask?

I decided to take my sofa cushion covers to the cleaners. So I figure my place better be spotless (and hairless) by the time they arrive back in my hands on Wednesday.

And why did I take my cushion covers to the cleaners, you ask? Well, it turns out that every guy I date is allergic to cats. So it makes things a bit difficult when you want to invite them over for dinner. They sneeze in the soup. And puff up like my fuzzy cat.

Meow.

Nette

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