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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Its Really Cold Now

Somehow Chicago has gone from degrees in the 90's from just last weekend,to low 40's today. Insane.Runners from the Chicago Marathon dropping from heat exhaustion on Sunday, to winter coats and hats. My mother would say something like 'These are the last days", to explain the whole weirdness of it all. Our recent house guest from Sweden just commented on how cold it is there,and how his wife actually made Glug wine to warm up. Tonight ,after endless weeks of blowing the air, I actually switched on the fireplace. It's cold,and I don't have my man to snuggle with and keep me warm. Certain Someone is now en route from a trip and wont be home till late. Wonder what I'll wear tomorrow? Sun dress or sweater and boots...

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Saturday, September 29, 2007

Fantastic Surprise

Last night I worked a catering event at a famed jewelry store. I thought it would be a evening like any other. As we were preparing to set up I heard music from a rehearsal taking place. I couldn't believe my eyes as I saw a toned and fabulous diva on stage in her track suit and shades belting out a number. I asked 'Is that Natalie Cole'? Yes it was! Later in the evening I got a chance to see her actual performance as we worked. Outstanding. Its amazing that all walks of life ,ages, and races really appreciated her music.This one girl from Turkey didn't have a clue to who she was, or her father. I asked her what planet she dropped from. But when I mentioned 'Unforgettable' recognition took hold. I was in such a good mood that that when I paid my astronomical parking ticket at the end of the evening , I didn't complain. I got to see Natalie Cole In such a intimate setting and gorgeous jewels to boost!

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Monday, September 17, 2007

Creepy Request


In the End
Originally uploaded by gun show
I got a creepy request from an old family friend today. Uncle "A" owns a funeral home that has taken care of my family for decades. He"s a great jovial and creative man. We were planning a future event when he asked a favor of me. Knowing I work for a Cosmetics company he wanted some samples to lead into purchasing a big order. That I can do. He explained what the 'dead" needed in terms of cosmetics. Not as different from what the living need. Coverage, smudge proof,and non mask looking. Don't you hate it when you see your dearly departed looking all 'jacked up 'in the coffin. That's why my mother didn't want anyone to see her. Just a memorial service with a fabulous portrait. Well anyway, I digress. Uncle 'A' wanted to know if I would demo the makeup on a corpse for his staff. He'll pay. Now I'll do just about anything for a buck, but not that.I asked if they were in 'good"condition or needed some heavy work. My Auntie Mame laughed at my queasiness. Shes a doctor. Morticians and Doctors just have thicker skin than this old shop girl. I'll write him detailed notes with his samples.

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Sunday, September 16, 2007

Announcement

Today I set up a new blog. I haven't been blogging as much lately.I have realized, as I pursue new things ,the Shopgirl is evolving. My sidelines seem to have a culinary bent . It doesn't help that nesting with Certain Someone helps drive this interest . So I set up the Coco Cooks blog. I plan to post in both , depending on where 'Whats on mind' falls under. They will be ramblings from a zealous amateur cook. I'm amazed at the number of foodie blogs out there. Seems to be the "trend" to be a foodie. A trend which has always been with me , and as I mature, will embrace more and more. http://cococooks.blogspot.com

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Saturday, September 15, 2007

Feck You Too


Feck You Too
Originally uploaded by pretty helmet
I just couldn't resit putting this in my blog. While I did a tasting for Cotes du Rhones today , this brand was being promoted. A toddler caught my eye holding the postcard promoting Feckin Irish Whiskey. While her mom sampled she asked me for a cork to add to her collection. Got to love it! After selling cases of Cote du Rhones and signing off, I went over to the Feckin stand. The owner himself was there with two buxom promoters wearing shirts saying things like' Your going to Feckin Love This...'. I took a try and I did. The perfect gift for Certain Someone too! The owner noticed I didn't finish my shot and inquired if it was too strong for me. Au contraire. It was really smooth. I just didn't want to drive with a buzz after tasting wine and whisky all day on a somewhat empty stomach. All in all a good day. Later the owner whizzed past me in the deli. I told him I was buying a signed bottle and he informed me that a signed bottle can go up to $800 back in the UK. So that means Certain Someone cant drink it and when he annoys me I can hold up the bottle to him and tell him how I really feel. Just kidding. He comes back Monday after a week in Europe.I always miss him but manage to stay busy nevertheless . Just had another thought. Wouldn't these make great gifts for some colleagues!

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Sunday, September 09, 2007

1,000,000 ants chasing Tiger


Tiger woods
Originally uploaded by scubaeddie32
So its been a while since I blogged. A lot is going on. I'm taking classes in cake decorating/ sugar craft now . This morning Certain Someone and I delivered a housewarming gift I made for Gabs of a house frosted in autumnal tones of butter cream , marzipan pumpkins, and lots of chocolate fixtures . She thinks I'm Martha Stewart on crack now. But I think she liked it. She has a really cute place and we're so happy for her. After coffee and assorted sweets, me and the man went to Cog Hill to see the BMW Championship/ Fed Ex Cup Playoff. I wasn't sure how I'd like this event. I was Certain Someones last choice to attend ,as he knows I don't care for sports, etc. But all of his male friends were busy with familial commitments, so he was stuck with me or go alone. I was pleasantly surprised!The weather was perfect,not a lot of bugs,and we got some exercise following the 18 holes. For the most part we stayed away from the Tiger-etts as we watched the lineup. However we couldn't avoid the master. At about 12 hole we caught up with him. Certain Someone bet me what color he would be wearing. I innocently bet blue, as he bet red.The Master appeared in Red! How the F was I to know that's the only color he wears on Sunday. Certain Someone mocked me for saying''I see Tiger wearing Blue..." I've seen a lot of celebs in my time, but it was impressive to see this young self assured man play. What I didn't like was the herds of people that only seemed to follow him and thereby pushed Certain Someone and I and obstructed our perfect views. It became of game of keeping away from the herd as we rushed to see him on to victory at the 18th hole. I saw babies yelling for Tiger and drunk old man trying to con his way into a private tent party at the 18th hole to see him win. Tiger mania. Gabs warned us earlier. Then knowing he won ,but blocked from that last view,Certain Someone and I power walked back to the last, but first parking lot,( about a mile)to beat the other ants and traffic back. What a workout and pleasant day. Kind of like the old days. Peaceful silence at times, relaxation,and just being comfortable with other. That's what Sundays should be like.

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Saturday, August 18, 2007

I like big butts and I cannot lie

This is not me! However one of my most distinctive 'ASS'sets is my derriere. Its so cute and high you could place a drink on it. Its taken me years to come to terms with it. Even at my skinniest weight , the butt added on a whole other size and dimension. My men , past and present , haven't complained. So anyway, , the other day , feeling fat already because I was assigned to a photo shoot with our companies in house models... I got the call. We had worked all morning making up the vapid young stick thin models. They even wanted us to get in on a publicity photo. So i squeezed myself into the group shot and acted as if I was touching up a model. Hoping my ass wasn't jutting out too much. We then caught some lunch , when the Booker from the caterer called. He was nervous ,I could tell. He started off with how great a job I do, the compliments I get,etc. However they had one issue with me. My pants were just too tight in their opinion. Now Certain Someone and I shopped for work pants together and even he finally concluded that all pants would cling to my form, so it made no sense going up a size! Cant they see I'm a full figured black woman. The Booker said if I continue to work for them , I must have my pants approved. At first I took it stride, and then it started to agitate me. I know he didn't want want to deliver that message I wondered if he called those wide girls of Latin orgin as well. I felt like blubber as I returned to the shoot. My friend and colleague Vicky said some wife must have complained about my ass. Come to think of it the week before this one man kept asking me to fetch him drinks as his wife looked on. . I had nightmares I was a bleached whale. The next day I shopped for "fatty" pants. I tried on pants 2 sizes larger to mask my butt. Nothing worked. You could still see the bulge. Finally I found the pair. It made me look shapeless and required a lot of belting in. And it cost me about $160. I will save the receipt for my taxes as a work related expense. I modeled them for Certain Someone and he was unimpressed. Sexy they were not,but that was the point. I will look like a sexless blob now when I serve. I give myself daily affirmation that my butt is OK. They just cant handle the butt.. I'm too bootylicious for them.

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Saturday, August 04, 2007

Certain Someone and I Are Happy Parents


Betta Close Up
Originally uploaded by sammorrowphotography
We've done it ! Certain Someone and I have taken the first step. Out of sheer boredom and anticipating loneliness( Certain Someone is leaving me for a work project. He'll be gone a few months), I bought a fish. From time to time I fish set my neighbors little speck of a fish. The pet store beckoned. I'm not flush with funds so a fancy menagerie in a expensive aquarium was out of the question. In the back of the store I saw these gorgeous fishes in tiny round bowls. I was informed they were male Betta's . Seems they are Siamese Fighting fish. They cant cohabitate with other males, or they will kill each other. Also I was told rather than buying him one female companion,he'd need two. They like to breed and one male Betta will wear out the female.Kind of like a wife /mistress thing they have going. I also purchased a cute Betta kit Aquarium to house our baby in. He's a gorgeous red color. Certain Someone seems to like him. We worry about him. Upon coming home,Idid a lot of research. Seems these are some of natures most beautiful fish,but very finicky and sensitive. A Betta's life is severely compromised with the slightest wrongdoing in care. Seems they are quite the ornamental fad,but a lot of people miss crucial care steps. Clean water and properly balanced water are key. And a attentive parent must always be on the lookout for any sign of disease and infection. We named our angel Betta Baby , and he seems thriving.The light from the big plasma TV agitates him, so we keep him on the dining room table. He doesn't seem to eat much, but hes not lethargic. I pray I wont kill him. I figure first the fish, then perhaps a dog, and who knows I might be ready for a real baby.

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Thursday, July 26, 2007

Same Old Same Old,and the Blood Type Diet


Precious Blood!
Originally uploaded by mliebenberg
Not much has been going on with me. Except on the work front. There have been a lot of travails and sagas at the office that I wont bore you with. Lets just say the sate of my company is not doing well,but I persevere and try to function amidst all the adversity. Certain Someone has been busy as usual as well. In my free time you know Ive been preoccupied with my cooking and reading about it. So much that I have assessed myself in the mirror. Since Certain Someone and I have been together I have gained 'nesting weight'. I wasn't a small girl to begin with , but I had and still for the most part have a nice shape. The fat seems to go straight to my legs. As I cant afford to replace the superior designer duds I gave in a size or two smaller, I'm determined to loose the weight. Also I'm approaching that 40 mark in a few, and my clock is ticking. I don't want to be a lard ass gaining an additional 20 pounds giving birth.So I plan to loose at least 20 pounds. Certain Someone has mentioned his desire to so as well, but I see no plans on his part. After surgery last winter I found out my blood type in order to follow the blood type diet. Certain Someone and I are both Type A's( natural vegetarians). I found out I was to avoid gluten, all meats with the exception of turkey and some fishes, vinegar, and my favorite fruits etc. Certain Someone said no to doing this with me at all. So Ive just returned from Whole Foods,where Ive loaded up on weird spelt, amaranth, quionas, and rice based flours, noodles, etc. Ive purchased new soy based products ( tofus and milks), tamuri soy sauces, sanctioned fruit and nut spreads , butters, and juices. It shouldn't be hard as Im a good and creative cook. In fact Ive just had a nice salmon with a soy/ honey/ brown sugar/mustard seed glaze along with a simple salad dressed with just lemon and garlic. Did I mention my approved beverages are red and white wines, tons of green teas, coffee , and sanctioned fruit juices. I will still cook Certain Someones meals, but will try to sneak in and incorporate some of the new type A stuff. He wont know whats what until I tell him. He'll never give up his red meat and pork( which Type A's store as fat because we cant digest it). I plan to partake of it occasionally as well , like when we go to Germany for Christmas. Who can turn down "Mama Certain Someones "food? And that's what I like about this diet. You can occasionally fall off. Its more about lifestyle changes and health. Eventually the weight will fall off because your eating like nature intended.

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Sunday, July 15, 2007

I'm a Foodie At Heart

It seems lately all my thoughts turn to food. Not eating it so much,as the creation of it. I have been slowly making my way through a excellent book when time permits, called Appetite For Life, The Biography of Julia Child. This had lead me to to want to purchase more cookbooks in my already expansive library. The other day when in Powell's Books,I picked up the English edition of Le Corden Bleu at Home.Julia Child was initiated in the food world at this very institution. I already told Certain Someone I want a copy of Larousse Gastronome for my birthday as well as Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking Volumes 1 and 2. Its not as if I have time to make all this stuff, but I love reading and studying the techniques. Not quite finished with the first book, I picked up a copy of Alice Waters and Chez Panisse,a juicy read about another icon of American cookery and the whole organic, slow food movement.There's a whole lot of drinking and sex in the story which takes place in liberal Berkley California.My catering sideline makes me even more obsessed. I love passing the Hors D'Ouerves so I can talk to the chefs and watch them in action. Not to mention taste.
So yesterday I put theory in practice. My Certain Someone and I have had delicious schedules these past two weeks, and we have barely seen each other. He comes home late and he leaves early.I haven't cooked a meal for us in ages. So I planned a elaborate , yet casual meal for a Saturday evening. We started with cracked Dungeness crabs with he viewed with trepidation. But sine they were big and meaty he got the hang of getting the meat out and enjoyed it with a beer. While he occupied himself with that I continued to work on my Fraises Margot( a delicious strawberry mousse with strawberry coulis), courtesy of the Cordon Bleu cook book. When all was assembled and placed to chill, I fired up the grill. I put on the huge sirloins I found in Costco with some marinated veggies and assorted mushroom types from the Farmers Market at Daley Plaza. I also made a instant Shitake Risotto( yes instant!) that was pretty damn good. Charcoal Grilling is scary but the results were worth it. The meat was nicely seared on the outside , but still way underdone. I finished it off in the broiler as to not not char it to much. The results were perfect. We drank some nice Red Zinfandel along with our meal and were content. Around midnight with the Mousse all set, I served it up as a nice rich yet light treat. We cant eat like that all the time, but its nice to create a special meal every now and then.

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Sunday, July 08, 2007

The Haves and Have Nots

Yesterday my catering sideline took me to a beautiful event. The Chairman of a major global financial institutions Chicago base threw a surprise party for his wife. The estate was on a breathtaking parcel of land on the North Shore with a private beach. The heat was intense and it was hard work. But the final result was a touching, loving affair for this lucky woman. The husband flew in a songwriter artist I have not heard of before. However upon hearing her sing her trademark song over and over during rehearsal sound check, it sounded eerily familiar. I found out later on during the husbands speech to his guests that she's a Oscar nominated songwriter ( that's why I know the song) and has appeared on several well know television series. The party was warm and intimate. We had to dress in our bistro costumes consisting of Tuxedo shirts,bow ties, and long aprons. The guests were dressy casual as they dined under the tents. The chefs and all of us were sweating it out in the outdoor kitchens. I felt sorry for some of the staff as a few seemed to drop some drinks trays on the terrace early one. Those trays get heavy. The girls and I I always had to rotate and twist our wrists when we came to the kitchen for more rounds. The guest were very nice to us which was surprising. Sometimes they can act as if you don't exist.Not that I'm expecting conversation, but at least say yey or nay if you want a hors d' oeuvres I didn't glean much from conversations, just talk of travels past and future. They seem a real loving, close knit family which is touching considering the amount of wealth, etc. They don't strike me as the types to "chase the cameras and constantly be in the papers". Just hard working, mid western, self made people. As always I love to observe this type of stuff.

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Thursday, July 05, 2007

Since When Did I Become The Bartender For All?


FireWoman
Originally uploaded by duncandavidson
This holiday was a little annoying.In the past when I was flush with funds,energy, and generosity I would always bring some Liquor ,wines,etc and make cocktails for the family get togethers. I even underwrote the booze portion of a cousins Bridal shower , and kind of regret it now due to her attitude. I'm inherently a giver. In my main line of work I get annoyed when people try to lure me into giving freebie advice on makeup and style. Who wants to talk shop in their precious free moments? It's like a doctor being bugged all the time.Now that I'm in the food industry as well , I would like to relax and just be a guest for once with no responsibilities. So you can imagined how annoyed I was when over the course of two days I was called and approached by lots of family members as to what cocktail I was bringing this year. I was instructed by my hosts that I didn't need to bring anything except what I would consume with Certain Someone. So I just planned on wine,that I get as a perk. I even planned to bring a few bottles to the gatherings. Well at the first gathering ( firework night at Auntie Mames)I got roped into bar tending with the existing ingredients for my cousins friends. She never made it to the event at my aunts. The friends ended up eating up our chicken ,etc as we we watched the fireworks and wondered where she was.Seems she was stuck in traffic because her stubborn Boyfriend wouldn't take the train . Everyone knows you don't drive in the city on the night of Fireworks. I tried not to be rude as Auntie Mame was watching, but it was odd. I figure you invite your friends ,you tell them to BYOB. At 7:00 am the next morning I was called my another aunt about what I was bringing and what to serve it in. I reminded her that I'm not a bartender and just planned on bringing some wine. She doesn't drink, therefore doesn't buy alcohol. Now we've been doing this for years,and everyone knows she has a 'dry' house. So if they wanted booze wouldn't it occur to them to bring it? I couldn't even cross the door before the 'Wheres my drinks ' started. The AWOL cousin offered up her Apple Martini Mix to me that she would have brought the night before. Mix , not Vodka.Auntie Mame brought her Vodka from the night before.I told my cousin she was grown and could make her own. She said she liked my touch. I tried to show her how to make a batch because 'I wont always be there'. She ignored my instruction and just wanted the drink. Another relation called another cousin and asked what I had made, and did I have 'bitters'. I told him to tell her if she wanted something she could make it herself and she had better pick up her bitters and anything else along the way. I didn't see anyone bring a beer ,etc. except Auntie Mame who brought the vodka from the night before.Do these people realize how expensive alcohol is and why should I carry the burden. Even if they brought their own, why should I be the bartender , when all I want to to do is relax and enjoy being a guest. I'm just crabby but hate being taken advantage of. My aunt says I should be flattered that people like my drinks. That's fine , but not when it becomes a expectation.

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Sunday, July 01, 2007

Warning : Brief Nudity


XXX
Originally uploaded by gecko_matrix
Certain Someone and I like to think of ourselves as boring people. We've left our player days and wild side long behind. Well more I've left them behind. So this holiday weekend we haven't been able to do much as he has work demands( that he's handling from the home base). But we managed to break away from the comfy confines of home to look at some real estate across the street. These fabulous units were priced at just under $1,000,000 and right across the street where we live. A girl can dream cant she? We then we decided to to do our ritual walk along the lake. We always find great secret spots that aren't congested like the lake path up north. We crossed over a field to get closer to the lake and found what we were looking for. There were only a few people with their bikes resting. We noticed a couple laying on the grass covered by the sheet. At first I thought they were just resting. But then the wind from the hovering helicopters blew their cover,shall we say.The person on tops bare ass was exposed for us to see. I couldn't make out if they were two women or a man and woman. The hair was too long and blond. Nevertheless the love fest continued as Certain Someone and I turned our heads occasionally to watch. The person on top seemed to like looking up at us and then proceed to go at it . I didn't notice any thrusting action so I assumed they were two lesbians, Certain Someone swore it was man. We couldn't see anything for proof other than the bare ass that the wind uncovered periodically. We decided to get up and walk a bit . Some police cars were searching the area and we assumed they were coming to arrest the indecent pair. But it seems they were looking for other things. We walked back towards the couple and by now we could see that thrusting action under the sheets. Another police car came driving by and they seemed to slow down. But the police were oblivious to them . Certain someone debated if we should walk past the couple who knew we were onto them or walk lower and closer to the lake on the concrete wall. We decided not to change our course. You could say they were freaks that got off on public sex and being discovered. I just wondered aloud how they would find the energy to ride their bicycles back home. Certain Someone and I continued with our usual routine. We decided on Harold's fried chicken for dinner. That white boy loves his Harold's chicken and has become a connoisseur of the delicacy. After dinner I made some cocktails. We intend to get a little tipsy this holiday weekend . But don't count on us doing anything crazy like that.

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Thursday, June 28, 2007

Do I Know You....


Frog Waiter
Originally uploaded by W10
Tonight I had a small waiter gig with the caterer. It was in a reknown Chicago skyscraper. The purpose of the event was to sell unreachable health wise and Eco friendly condos to that small segment of society who can afford to plonk down $2,000,0000 for a pied a terre. As usual I recognized a few faces. Chicago is a small town. Sometimes I feel a guest look at me with a 'why do you look familiar" gaze . But surely they wouldn't associate me in the venues they have seen me,waiting on the side.That's the comedy of it. I had arrived drenched from the torrential rains. It hasn't been my week. Yesterday I had a huge interview and got caught in the rain. I had to drive back home to change. History repeated itself. But I dried off quickly and went to work. A fun and short evening. Afterwards I met up with my Auntie Mame who was attending a party up the street at Hermes. She suggested dinner at RL. She spoils me so. How could I refuse even though I wasn't hungry , after eating the leftovers from the event. Nevertheless I made room for the baked Camembert wrapped in Phyllo with pears and a glass of Riesling . Scrumptious! There were a few people from the event dining there as well. As they passed my table they had that 'why do you look familiar" gaze again. Because I just served you .... Lifes funny and its fun to keep them guessing.

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Sunday, June 24, 2007

Oh The Misery


Sneeze
Originally uploaded by melisdramatic
Certain Someone and have a lot in common. Most recently we are both suffering from nasty summer colds. He caught his first from all the excessive heat changes and forced air conditioning. I resisted until about Friday afternoon , and it all came crashing down. Nevertheless , I got up Saturday morning and drove to a suburb I have never been to, and plan not to go to again if I can help it,to dispense wine samples.The refrigerated beer and wine section was going full blast, and not even my layers of sweaters could provide relief.Thankfully it was only a four shift. I had little luck with sales as the clientele was , lets just say not a wine drinking crowd. Those that did partake liked the sweet stuff. One even informed me she likes to mix her red jug wine with Squirt soda. Need I say more. But to each his own.When I got home Certain Someone after a awful morning playing golf in the rain, was wrapped in his robe after a steam in my Jacuzzi bath. I made us both some chicken soup out of a box and we dressed to go to his company's corporate event. Last year I remember the event as our first date. How we took the boat cruise. Neither of us were up to that with how we felt. But we did rise to the occasion to mingle, eat, and drink. His colleagues are great and warm. We called it a night before the fireworks display and went on home. At home My breathing became worse with all the congestion, and I felt like gagging . But we stayed up to watch two pretty good movies , The Sentinel and The Da Vinci Code. I awoke late Sunday determined to make the most of my rare day off. I cooked up a batch of Belgian Waffles with , my own Strawberry sauce with Cointreau, and Whipped Cream. Yummy. We lazed around some more before he went off to the office. As much as I hate being sick, I love the laying around part of it. I guess its natures way of telling me slow down. I hear you loud and clear.

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Monday, June 18, 2007

Its Nice To Have Your Man In Touch With His Feminine Side


Cabo Massage
Originally uploaded by RaJenCreation
With great foresight I had booked massages for Certain Someone and I this past Sunday. Boy did I ever need it! I had spent the past Saturday working 14 hrs at a certain well known billionaire's former ranch. It now has new owners who threw a great party! Famous music acts were flown in and all of the cities big wigs were there. Talk about six degrees of separation! I could trace a link to many party goers as well as the service staff. It was hard work, back breaking, but fun. I must of sweat ed off 10 lbs in the heat dressed in my cowgirl gear.I crawled into bed at around 4 am praying for my 4pm massage. An ex had given me a gift certificate this past Christmas. Certain Someone ,not at all bothered by it, wanted to tag along as well. He loves for me to give him massages. So I booked the couples room at a well known salon. We both enjoyed our 50 minute Swedish massages. Oh the relief! I felt like ten years had been lifted off me. Certain Someone really got into it. He suggested we do this ritual once a month( like I can afford it, but he can!). We then indulged in the rain forest and needlepoint showers. Another dimension of heaven . Afterwards I caught my man sipping water with lemon in the Asian themed padded quiet room.Who would have thought this man who strikes fear in his interns would be such a pussy cat? Certain Someone was lapping it all up , and he deserved it because he too works so very hard. And all that golf swinging is hell on his back. Afterwards he suggested a little shopping trip followed by ice cream sundaes at Ghiradelli's. YUMMY. Then reality set in and the supermarket beckoned( needed to load up for the following week). All in all a great weekend. Its nice to see so many sides of life, living , and people.

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Wednesday, June 13, 2007

I Now Have Three Jobs


you're a bum!
Originally uploaded by mistermicronesia
There was a TV show once a while back called In Living Color. One of the skits was about a Jamaican Family. In a thick accent they asked everyone they met 'How many jobs you got man...'If you didn't have a few you were called ' A lazy bum'. It was hysterical. Who would of thought with all my planning and fantasising that I would now have about 3 jobs? Mommy used to always say God laughs at peoples plans. Well anyway I have a OK job that a lot of people would be satisfied with. After 8 years with no room to to advance, a company in flux, limited pay increases, no bonus programs, and a general stifling of wit and creativity,its time to consider new options.My part time jobs have always been in my second passion of food and wine. I seem to have no trouble landing these odd jobs. However finding the big new career move is proving difficult. So now I happily demonstrate wine on weekends and have just landed a 'on call ' gig' with a very upscale caterer. I'm really excited about that because they cater to some very high society and influential movers and shakers.Certain Someone even remarked about how happy I am when I come home from these little jobs as opposed to the big one. Maybe you have to take baby steps before you find your calling and place. I'm tired as I don't know what , but happy I'm finding my way , and paying those pesky bills. In this economy a lot of people are juggling two jobs. if they are able. Things seem to be looking up big job wise as well. I got a call for a interview. Don't know what the outcome will be , but a good sign nevertheless.

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Tuesday, June 05, 2007

All That Glitters Is Not Golden


More Glitter
Originally uploaded by babybowrain
So yesterday I spent cooped up in the office on my first day back. Not much going on there. Either I'm very efficient and I prepped things to go well while I'm away, the job is that boring, or a little of both. Anyway not much drama and the usual unappreciative higher ups. Today however I ventured back into the" field". Once again I was reminded how unattractive a lot of my customers are ( God forgive me I'm just being honest) and how obtuse. As I approached one ,that feeling of dread welled up in me that I have to try to explain to this person basic skincare and makeup(I really cant do this for another decade and I admire anyone that did without going crazy). And they still have a mental block! After about a few of those encounters I took a walk around the store. I saw a lady dressed in ethnic garb with gold glitter around the mouth. This is not the first time I've seen this and I've commented here before on it. Who is telling these woman to do it? It's not cute. Its not like a subtle creamy glitter highlight on the eyes or collarbone for a night out( which is a little passe). It's smeared above the lip or around the mouth and all I can think about is ' You'll get a rash". And for some strange reason they all seem to gravitate to me. I'm a natural born sales person but I think its time for a change soon.

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Saturday, June 02, 2007

Leggings are so wrong


Leggings are so wrong
Originally uploaded by suanie
A final note about our European trip. For the past year Ive seen leggings in small quantities in Chicago. They haven't really caught on here, or I just haven't noticed. Well Certain Someone and I noticed a explosion of leggings in Europe, particularly Stockholm. It was a epidemic so bad that he really started getting annoyed . Everywhere we looked girls had them on under dresses, shirts, or shorts. All shapes colors and sizes. In the stores there were vast displays. I actually had a black pair packed ( for sleeping), but after Certain Someones expressed disgust ,kept them packed. In Gothenburg we didn't see so much. And neither in Essen. But do you believe we saw at least three pairs at the wedding! Is nothing sacred? I realize the hosiery industry has little to work with and has to do some drastic innovation every few years,but really! Stop the insanity. Hopefully these legions of woman will catch their reflection of see a photo of themselves in this ridiculous trashy trend. There enough said.

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Schlafen und Essen in Essen

Literally translates to sleeping and eating in Essen. A corny play on words. We are back. The last week our our adventure was just that eating huge amounts of food that Mama made for Certain Someone. The food was fantastic and I couldn't have turned it down even if I wanted. Mama is lucky Certain Someone didn't bring home a skinny vegetarian , no sugar, no gluten type. We would have been in trouble. Never have I eaten such large amounts of meat( sausages, beef, pork roasts, etc.) One day she made a fantastic shrimp scampi and the cousins recoiled in horror at the mention of fish. More for us. And with all that eating , we just wanted to sleep. But that was hard as there was always something to do either with his parents or to meet more friends.
I got to see so many of Certain Someones childhood friends and understand what makes him the person he is today. Essen is the fifth largest city in Germany located in the Ruhr Valley, the center of industry. The people are hard working and without pretensions.There were boring industrial parts and beautiful parts. Surprisingly Essen has a great Opera and Symphony.My favorites were Vila Hugel and walking alongside the lake Balenysee. With Certain Someone its all about family in Essen. Most of his friends are married with children. I learned some new German from the kids. Like when we visited his friends in a fabulous hillside mansion outside of Essen. We sat on the patio and the little tot E kept repeating "Wo ist stinka". That means what is stinking. Adorable. I think she just smelled her brothers diaper.
Certain Someones parents are a great example of what a marriage is about . Over forty years and you can see the love. Its a hard and strong example to live up to in this day and age. They are proud of their son and encourage him in all his endeavors. I wish I could have communicated with them better besides rubbing my tummy and saying Zehr Gut, Bitte, and Danke! But we all seemed to understand and communicate. Certain Someone and I couldn't wait to get home though. After two weeks, there's no place like home. This trip was good on so many levels. But namely I feel Certain Someone can make a life in Europe in a few years.And most importantly, we can survive side by side travelling 24/7 for two weeks. That's pretty good.

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Sunday, May 27, 2007

Swedish Wedding


Church in Gothenburg
Originally uploaded by SSkills12

Certain Someone and I finally arrived in Gothenburg via the X2000 train. The three hour trip comprised on of some lovely scenery ( mainly farms). Certain Someone slept most of the way and then we joined some of the wedding party friends in the trains bistro. Of course he had to travel first class.And I don't complain. We were booked in the SAS Radission right in the town square .The rooms were funky and modern. We only had time for a quick freshen up, nap, change ,and then off to Askims Kyrka for the wedding.

We took 3 taxis to the church after a champagne cocktail in the lobby. The church was a beautiful Scandinavian style church with a high white spire peaking out over the spring foliage.The ceremony started a little after 5:00 pm and was pretty brief. Funny no matter what language the service is in,a Christan ceremony is pretty much the same.I totally knew when they where doing the 'Our Father', etc. The guests then assembled outside the church and pelted the couple with rice before they drove off in a silver Mercedes to the reception. The reception was held in the famous Jungman Jansson restaurant. Its quite famous in the parts for its seafood. The whole party arrived in a coach bus to a breathtaking area right on the sea. It kind of reminded me of Cape Cod or somewhere on the east coast. There where little rocky islands scattered throughout the sea,and all the upscale locals where out polishing and fixing their boats.This was no fisherman's village , but a posh coastal town. It seems a lot of weddings where held at the venue which was open just for us. After a toast with Moet outside on the deck, the toastmaster and mistress started their spiel. I was touched as they singled me out in English as the 'English' speaker and apologized that it would be a long series of speeches in Swedish but I was seated next to another English speaker. They are serious with the seating plan, and Certain Someone was across from me , but a little away.Most Swedes love to show off their English ,so I had no problem finding a conversation. Anyway I liked to zone out and follow. Little did I know I was in for about 6 more hours of seated toasts, roasts, familial skits, speeches,etc.Everyone asked me to how this differs from weddings in the USA. A lot! I tried in vain to imagine engaging in the fairytale skits, song writing drinking songs,and good natured ribbing from friends, and co workers. The food was excellent. We started with lax( salmon) wrapped around a shrimp stuffing. The entree was flat fish lightly breaded with a rich Parmesan cream sauce and a potato mousse.Lime parfait with fresh berries and Aunt Ulla-Britts wedding cake with coffees and various liquors. I was done in and was to lazy to move once the the dancing started. Some tradition were different like when either the bride or groom left the table, then the opposite sex ran up to kiss the remaining partner. The brides brother who lived in California brought over the American tradition of hitting the glass for the couple to kiss.The music was retro American pop and disco. And what would a Swedish wedding be without ABBA?Certain Someone and I aren't much dancers and we observed. I was getting tired and cranky. We finally left around 2;30 am . The sun had managed to set and rise during the festivities. A lovely new experience for me. Certain Someone grabbed a burger in front of the hotel as we arrived back into the city. A drunk Norwegian woman tried to get in our cab before we could get out. I found more drunk Norwegians in the lobby. We went to bed and got up for breakfast with friends and a quick walk around the city.

Tonight we fly to Germany and I'm a little nervous. I called My Swedish aunt this morning to offer my condolences. My Austrian uncle already knew about the his brothers passing and cleared the way for me to call. Let bygones be bygones. So this week was one wedding and no funeral, but a welcoming glimpse into my future life .

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Saturday, May 26, 2007

A Special Dinner


Erics Gondolen
Originally uploaded by londonla
Certain Someone promised a special day on our last unexpected day in Stockholm. We managed to get reservations on the fast train for Saturday to Gothenburg. So we took advantage of the day and naturally he slept in really late until past noon ( he just does not want to adjust to European time) .Or it was that Poker game the night before. I tagged along for dinner . His friend F lived a the swankest part of the city I've ever seen. He mentioned the King visits a neighbor on occasion ( that's how la de da it is). It really was a beautiful place and yet another area I told my honey we have to live in. Right!Well after a mans meal of some diced potatoes,meat, etc. served with beets, and condiments( Cant remember the name),I left them and went back home. I got off a stop earlier and walked down my new favorite street Gagatan. Really Hip and fun on a steep hill. He got home later.
So the next day we got up late, had breakfast and planned to walk around Gamla Stan. He craved pasta, so we had a little late lunch at Stureplan many outside cafes. The day was beautiful for more people watching on the Birgit Nillson Alle. We then looked for some crystal glasses and walked home. Certain Someone managed dinner reservation for a romantic spot. See the picture above. Its a restaurant called Erics Gondolen high above the Stockholm,over the water, with panoramic views.Its run by a famous Swedish Chef. I had a Scandinavian style Bouillabaisse with garlic aioli and Cesar salad with grilled scallop. Delicious! Certain Someone had duck breast with ginger and lime. After dinner , we walked to the bar which is actually the part that juts out in the photo. They had a large book of mixed concoctions to choose from. I ordered the tart and fresh Green Eyes( something with pear cognac,lemon, and green curacao). Naturally he liked mine more and we switched. I was embarrassed because I had stupidly gone into the wrong toilet not comprehending Herr and Dam. When I opened the private cabin I turned to see a man taking a whiz! I managed to get out even though more man had entered , and was received by a girl laughing at me. Must have been the food. Certain Someone and I watched the mixologist master their skills and then called it a night. I was hot and dizzy.The cool night air was great as we took our final walk home. So now we are off to Gothenburg for a wedding later today, Germany tomorrow. Probably my last post , but you never know.

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Thursday, May 24, 2007

Next to Last Day in Stockholm


gamla stan
Originally uploaded by timpgh.
Yesterday Certain Someone and I slept really late and didn't get going until about noon. We first met a friend for Chinese lunch, took care of his errands and business ,and then just hung out and window shopped. We had some coffee and soaked up the sun in the trendy Sturplan. This is a plaza of sorts where all the beautiful people of Stockholm congregate to see and be seen. Certain Someone was a little moody due to some job developments and I tried not to intrude so much but be of support. We went into my favorite store NK and just window shopped. The walk was beautiful and the day was nearing evening. We had dinner plans in Gamla Stan ( Old Town) . I love Gamla Stan , no matter how touristy it gets. The streets are narrow and cobbled( ruined my Escada shoes) and the restaurants are great. We went to Ruby's Grill . Certain Someone and his friend F ordered grilled steaks , while I had the most delicious cheeseburger this side of the Atlantic with some Bearnaise and pommes frites, och spenent sallad mit Parmesan . YUMMY. And dont let me forget the Mojoitos and beer. Certain Someone then had a moonlit stroll back home along the water and looked at the all the shop windows ventured back into the artsy hip district we are staying in.
This morning Certain Someone got up really early to play golf. I for some reason didn't want to get up and was kind off dreading the day. I met my cousins girlfriend and baby afternoon with the intention on some quick shopping,walk with the baby, and maybe lunch/ coffee with her mother.I found my way on the subway alone and eventually met up with her in the vast T Centralen. No sooner than 10 minutes into our walk she got a call. My uncle had died. We are on the outs for the strangest reasons known to me. I couldn't see him this visit as I wasn't supposed to know he was sick. Now I'm in a odd situation because I'm not supposed to know he died and I cant' tell his other brother , who probably won't find out for while( like a few months when he decides to call between his travels). Certain Someone and I can't even send flowers. Talk about family dysfunction.! So I'm in Sweden where my fathers favorite brother has died( and I'm remembering the first time I met him here a few years back and the warm welcome I received) and now I might as well be a stranger .And I can't honor my fathers memory and pay respects to his family. Certain Someone just shook his head in bewilderment. Welcome to the family honey.And I'm torn because I want to call another uncle to let him know. We may see him in Germany and what am I supposed to do? So I'm just chilling at home feeling weird. Certain Someone has a poker night and I just may walk , think, and make some dinner for myself. We are supposed to leave for Gothenburg tomorrow , but SAS may go on strike. That's another issue. I had wanted to take the train anyway and the wedding is not until Saturday. Bittersweet day in Sweden

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Tuesday, May 22, 2007

I Guess They Were Too Busy With the Japanese Emperor


SE-377
Originally uploaded by ksofies.
Seriously... Today was yet another hectic, but not to glamorous or romantic day. My cold peaked during the evening and I was miserable and tired when I woke up. To top it all off I was worried about Gabi and her medical woes. Get well soon! I woke early and watched some TV at around 6:30 AM. Certain Someone didn't sleep well either. We had to drop his car off that morning in the suburbs for repair. His day started off with a expensive bill and got progressively worse. He dropped me off in the city to meet my cousins girlfriend. We had planned to spend the day together as he took care of his business. M and I went back to her place, fed the baby , and relaxed. Never had I met a sweeter baby, and I'm not saying that because hes a cousin. We then went shopping for a appropriate dress for the wedding in Gothenburg on Sunday. I had packed a black dress because that's what fit . That's a no no here. I went to good cheap and chic H&M and found a nice one and accessories to match. Not bad for broke little me. I love the Kylie Minougue collection there. Its so glamorous and I wonder if its hit Stateside yet. I can see why shes a gay icon. The girl has style ,looks, and is a survivor. M and I then had kaffe and pastry in one of Stockholms old coffee houses. And then it was time to go. I met my man back where he left me and we were driven by our evenings hosts to their house in the suburbs for dinner. Midway we got a call on both of our cell phones that the security alarm went off back home and police had been called. Just great. And I was feeling a little sad that I wont see my cousins this trip because they were dealing with some family issues. A few minutes would have been nice coming all this way,but I understand. So I'm sitting here stuffed after to much wine, great food, and company. We took the train back and on the way to the station walked by some hilly areas that supposedly contained ancient Viking graves. I immediately though of a Swedish Poltergeist movie going on that neighborhood.Not much on the agenda tomorrow,so we will see where the wind takes me.

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Monday, May 21, 2007

Drottingholm Palace


drottingholm palace
Originally uploaded by SarahMagda.
Today Certain Someone indulged me in my interest in all things royal. We drove out to see Drottingholm Palace , where the royal family resides. The weather started out beautiful as we walked the vast grounds . It was beautiful with a lake . No tours were offered but we paid admissions and walked the interiors with my guide books as reference. Typical Palace fare. War rooms, bed chambers, libraries,etc. My favorite was this room with portraits of kings, queens, sultans, etc .of other countries. And the Chinese Pavilion was a nice treat on the grounds. The weather turned gray and rainy,so we took a late lunch and returned home for a nap. Certain Someone and I got really tired with all that walking earlier. This evening he showed me his condo and I met his lovely tenant. Remarkable woman! Too bad he"ll have to sell the place this summer. It really is nice.The real estate market is crazy here and housing is expensive. He showed me a area I'd love to buy in when we move here. Bromma has lovely single family homes. Unfortunately the prices can go sky high. People put a lot into getting the right place,and space is small. So we will see. Good Night.

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Sunday, May 20, 2007

I Could Live Here

Its about 11:30 pm and we have just completed Day 2 of our Stockholm visit. Certain Someones friends were kind enough to let us borrow their very fashionable apartment in the hip Sodermalm area. This part of town reminds me of Monmarte in Paris, with the steep slopes and hills. This morning by accident while Certain Someone slept I discovered how high the streets can go and fell upon a lovely walkway on the edge that overlooked the ocean and all the other islands. Incredible. Day 1 was spent getting settled , a little nap, and then we were off. Certain Someone and I drove off in his tiny Ford Fiesta to eat at his favorite Kebab House near his condo(which he lets out, so we cant stay there). Oh My G** , the food was incredible and people come from all around to eat. We could have easily shared one plate, but we tried two dishes.His bragging lived up to the quality. We then stuffed ourselves back into the Fiesta and he drove me to another island that is owned by the King called Djurgarden. This quiet little enclave was a scenic nature filled walk with a fabulous grand mansion tucked here and there. The styles were uniquely Scandinavian . Certain Someone was quick to point out that we couldn't afford a house there, blah, blah, blah. We watched the ferries to Finland glide on the water and took lots of pictures of geese and swans.After about a hour and half we drove to his old University .It was still light outside , as it doesn't get dark up north until about 10:00( and even then not that dark). Kind off freaky but helped me with the jet lag in a odd way. We strolled the grounds and it was bittersweet, everything looked smaller and younger. Getting Old. We then came back home, did some shopping in the local supermarket( I love going to foreign markets) for breakfast things, etc. and settled into the night.
This morning Certain Someone slept until noon. By the time he awoke I has invited my cousins girlfriend and new baby over. They arrived and Certain Someone and the baby boy T bonded. They kind off looked alike with the blond/bald heads,cute faces, and blue shirts. We all had some tea and cinnamon rolls and talked for a while . We made plans for dinner later in the week and helped carry out all the stuff we brought over that she ordered for the newborn. Certain Someone and I then drove out to meet his best friend and family at 3:00. They adopted a precocious little girl nick named Tin Tin from China. She thinks shes a princess and has all the props to go with it. We naturally clicked ( one princess to another) and Certain Someone and I helped her cook mud pies in her sandbox. Her parents had a delicious Swedish BBQ for us with grilled chorizio, pork fillets,and marinated chicken. We all toasted the first year anniversary of Certain Someone and I with Champagne. It was a year ago to the day we met! Tin Tin and I posed for pictures pretending they were paparazzi and she was sent off to bed. She called Certain Someone and I her 'other' parents and I do plan to spoil her when I see her again. So cute! So now we are back home. Tomorrow is my royal day and I plan to see both palaces. I'm so glad Certain Someone brought the computer. I've found a few areas I can settle into when we move here in 3 years.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Stockholm ,Gothenburg, and Essen

Well I just wanted to wrap up my week now. I'm trying to get our things together, start packing, organize , etc. before we depart Friday afternoon for our 2 week European vacation. Certain Someone is a little stressed as there is so much to do and see when we get there. Our Swedish house guests will entertain us, we will meet up with more Swedish friends,and I get to see my cousins new baby. Then after a few days in Stockholm we fly to Gothenburg on the other end of the country, for a wedding of Certain Someones colleague. I'm looking forward to this coastal city and all the great seafood. From Gothenburg we fly to Dusseldorf Germany , to get to Essen, Certain Someones home. It is there where I will meet the parents. I wish I can blog during the trip, but it will be hard from the Black Berry. I will try to access a computer, but will more likely have a long and picture filled recap when we return on June 2. Hej då and Auf Wiedersehen!

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Sunday, May 13, 2007

Just As Cute As Knute


Eisbär Knut darf leben!
Originally uploaded by Lioness.08.
Certain Someone and I are mesmerized by the German Environmental Superstar , Knute.We track his blog, collect his magazine covers and photos. He really is a ham. Unfortunately we wont be able to catch him in the Berlin Zoo, so we decided to visit his distant cousin at good ol BROOKFIELD ZOO. We're amazed that not much media coverage has been given to the baby polar bear at Brookfield. I only heard of him on a obscure talk radio show. The zoo spends more time publicising the Naked Mole Rat exhibits on bus billboards than the unnamed baby bear. There even a naming contest going on , but still no name.I propose Jackie Bear, after my Mommy. They share the same birth date,December 14. When we got to the bear he wasn't on view.Certain Someone refused to budge from his seat until he saw that Baby Bear. Big bad PapaBear was strutting around next door all alone. But soon a excited rush came over the crowd and out came Momma Bear with the little one obediently following. They chose a cool shaded corner and baby went to town as he nursed on his Mommy. It must have been boring and draining( hahahaha) that she fell asleep.Baby Bear finished and took a little one with her. Certain Someone and I went to the beer garden and continued to watch the bears. They got up , relieved themselves for all to see, and walked around some more. We noticed the crowds were not that huge, but it was the main zoo attraction. Berlin Zoo is making a killing off their bear.I guess Brookfield doesn't need the money as it costs a bit to park, gain entry, eat, drink, and rent a wagon for the kids. I'm spoiled with the free entry of LINCOLN PARK ZOO. But nevertheless, its a great zoo. We enjoyed the desert, rain forest,and Australia House exhibits.Certain Someone took a liking to the bat section in which they were free to fly around you. All the animals seemed tired and were "sleeping" or just being lazy when we approached them. The families and kids gave us some interesting observations as well. We spent four hours lost in nature and I thought that was good way to spend Mothers Day. We can learn a lot from the animals. And unlike little cute Knut, who for some reason rejected by his mother, it was heartening to see Mamma and Baby bond. On second thought, lets keep this Chicago's quiet unspoiled secret.

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Wednesday, May 09, 2007

No European Shopping Spree For Me


stockholm-nk
Originally uploaded by Liz Highleyman.
So next week Certain Someone and I fly off to Sweden and Germany. This will be the first time I have gone to Europe since I was a teenager, with limited means. I've have had at least 3 major European Shopping sprees in the past 8 years. A sort of pick me up after some traumatic times. And I don't regret a euro or kroner spent.I still wear a lot of acquisitions, although I could loose a few pounds. Ive pictured one of my favorite department stores of all times, and Ive been to many! NK. I guess I have to be content window shopping all the great Scandinavian designers on display.It's a shame because I read a major strike with retailers had been averted. They must have known I was coming.I will stay focused and do a lot of site seeing and walking tours of Stockholm and Gothenburg. And I will revisit Certain Someones friends and my own cousins. I cant wait to see the littlest addition to the fold.And after that whirlwind I will spend five days getting to know the parents of Certain Someone. I cant wait and I'm counting the days.

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Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Town Drunks


Town Drunks Pabst Flyer
Originally uploaded by wellsdunbar.
I had a terrifying weekend with the wine demos .The location I choose to work at is at a crossroads with the Gold Coast and some notorious Public Housing projects. So you can imagine the mixed bag of customers. And add free samples of wine,hot weather, and Cinco De Mayo , a girl can be asking for trouble. I place my table in the wine department which is not far from the refrigerated beer. There is a particular beer called 211 which seems to come in large cans and sells for around a dollar. Well these 'characters' seem to pop in at various intervals to purchase their can. Its not unusual to see them make several trips in a few hours. I don't think they know what a six pack or case is. Well anyway, a few of the 211 patrons decided to harass me . One sexually suggested that he noticed how low I can go as I was counting my inventory of wine. I wanted to smack him . The other was a happy drunk who insisted on a aperitif of my sampling before he drank his. He insisted on shaking my gloved hand with his dirty one( I politely refused) and told me point blank he was a alcoholic, I was beautiful,and he wanted me to meet his mama.Words to win a girl over, NOT! His mother popped up right behind him with her 211 purchases and got a sample too! The real trouble came when this guy started yelling that I had samples. He strutted over and started rolling his eyes. He was looking for a fight. In a antagonistic tone he challenged me to give him all the samples he wanted. When I gingerly handed the cup over with a my regulation gloved hand,he started yelling that I was treating him like garbage,that I was beautiful but to stuck up to smile at him,etc. I recited my wine pitch to him and he still wouldn't leave. Then I told him I've done my job, if hes not going to buy, but continue to harass me I would call security. He screamed at me some more and walked off looking over his shoulder and said that's why he would get ' a white woman'. I told him to go ahead. Good luck to him with any woman!. Well a few hours later I felt his presence,and there he was ,getting his 211 beer. His eye caught mine and he strutted over again. He incoherently mumbled how he would deal with me , etc. and I just stared him down and reminded him of my earlier threat. Disgusted and defeated he walked off. It freaked me out a bit. I think I'll ask for a new location. 211 beer and heat does not mix well at all when a girl is trying to sell some wine.

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Sunday, April 29, 2007

Club Smokey


Club Smokey
Originally uploaded by kellinahandbasket.
The Swedes seem to be having a great time. After making them a huge breakfast, I went off to promote some Aussie wine for a few hours. I wont name the brand, but it was a hard sell. I then picked up some of the guests and we all went back home. Its amazing how I'm coming up with huge snacks,and meals for them.The guys went off to a White Sox game, and I took a well needed nap while falling asleep watching Soap Net. We had plans to go out that evening to The Rocks favorite club J Bar. We packed into my Audi A4 , with the smallest guy Little M, aka 'The Helicopter' laying across "Big M" and the others. The techno music was at it loudest. Certain Someone didn't seem to want to leave,but we were all tired. We packed back in the car and went home where I put together a late night meal for our hungry guests. Bratwurst, sauerkraut,Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream,and hot fudge sauce. Little M commented that he was worried about adding a new natural gas source for Exxon after that meal. So today I'm off to hustle more wine , while the guys are playing X Box. Tonight we plan to go China Town. Yummy. And tomorrow we conclude with another poker match, Harold's fried Chicken, and Champagne. That's whats Chicago's all about.

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Friday, April 27, 2007

A House Full of Swedes


swedish flag
Originally uploaded by mararie.
Certain Someone has four visitors from Sweden staying with us this week. I feel bad because after a wonderfully warm last week, its cold and dreary yet again. They guys arrived yesterday afternoon and were real troopers with the obvious jet lag. As Certain Someone and I had to work,we assembled everyone at his office and took off for the grocery store. It was amusing to see one of them fascinated by the huge American mega supermarket. We loaded up the car with beer and fixing's for dinner. I love my European hose guests . They are so well mannered and presented me with a beautiful necklace and bracelet from SNO, and hot Swedish brand, and a bottle of Moet for Certain Someone and I to open on our anniversary. One even helped me in the kitchen. I prepared platters of Nachos heaped with meat ,cheese, beans, peppers,sauce, and assorted Asian style appetizers to go with the endless bottles of beer.Maybe we should have rented a keg. The men , tired as they were, settled into a game of Texas Hold Em, as Certain Someone sought to exploit their weakness and fatigue. I fell asleep , but his plan backfired, and someone else won. I'm sure there will be more games this weekend. Tonight we all go to Fogo De Chao. Men love their meat!

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Saturday, April 14, 2007

I Should Feel Ashamed of Myself,But I Dont

Last night Certain Someone and I went over to the Rocks house to see his new plasma TV .The Rock and Certain Someone , like most prosperous men of their ages have a unspoken of rivalry to see who can get the latest tech appliance. In the past few months they have both purchased new cameras, TVs, and Heaven only knows what else. A few more friends came over and we all ordered takeout and settled down to watch Blood Diamond on the wide screen HD format. I wanted to see the movie, as it was my original suggestion, but hesitated when Certain Someone started using this a major excuse as to why I won't get a diamond from him. I told him there were conflict free diamonds, and he tisked B** S***. This has been a ongoing discussion. In Germany when you get married you get a simple gold band. Certain Someone cant conceive of spending all those months salary on a ring. On a TV, watch, or golf outing ,yes. We did enjoy the film and I learned another dimension to the continent my ancestors came from. But being in retail these days it seems not much is sold today without some level of controversy( think sweatshops, sneaker and soccer ball production facilities,products tested on animals, and the oil we burn in our cars and homes). So does that stop my desire for finer things,no. It does make me conscious of my choices. But Certain Someone can always find a nice vintage solitaire with a interesting history, if he doesn't want to add to ongoing wars.

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Sunday, April 08, 2007

Wine OH !


Wine Kaleidescope
Originally uploaded by masonfoley.
This weekend I started a new gig as a wine demonstrator in various super markets and wine shops in the area. My first assignment was Friday afternoon at a branch of a local supermarket. Gabi was kind enough to visit and lend support after attending her Good Friday services. We cracked up after odd characters began to approach me. I have a talent for attracting crazy old men. One man with very strange hair was so mesmerized by my necklace that before I knew it he was reaching for my chest to 'feel it'.His wife was not amused and I didn't make the sale. Gabi talked up my offering of Cabernet Sauvingnon and I sold large amounts of it within four hours. I also let the local elderly derelict types have 'a taste' as they like to call it. I imagine they expecting something sweeter and fizzier. Nevertheless it was great fun.I was amazed at the attire of some women shopping. One heifer was pushing 300 lbs in thin white cotton Lycra pants that showed off every cellulite bump and ripple. She swayed her ass from side to side as she worked the aisles.I asked Gabi was I that big. At the end of a long day I got to take home a few bottles as left overs . Not a bad gig. The next day I did the same for 8 hours.in the far suburbs. It was a bit slower and way different crowd out there. The wines of the night before were a bigger hit than the first round of Pinots, Cabs ,and Chardonnays from various vintners. But once again at the end of a fast paced long day, I gained a few more bottles.
So today I'm cooking a big Easter lunch for Certain Someone and Auntie Mame. Baked ham with pineapples and brown sugar glaze,baked macaroni and cheese,green beans, roasted potatoes with rosemary,hot rolls and chocolate cake. We are all nursing the remains of colds,and plan to take it easy. Happy Easter.

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Sunday, April 01, 2007

Who's The Expert Here?


HLP-040020.JPG
Originally uploaded by Alex Segre.
Today is Sunday , my first day off this week. I have a few hours to kill before I pick up Certain Someone from the airport. He spent the last part of the week in Vegas living it up and whacking golf balls with his buddies. I on the other hand , spent a week in a major cosmetic promotion.During these times business peaks and customers can be at their worst. I found myself daily facing some rather strange looking women who apparently knew nothing about makeup and skincare, telling me their expert opinion. One in particular had the largest pores I've ever seen with a shock of what was left of her hair in a bright fuchsia color. She was probably in her middle sixties and had a smear of burgundy eyeshadow across her heavy thick lids to 'compliment' the crazy damaged hair. She didn't want to listen to my expert opinion and insisted on all the wrong products.in the end you have to give them what they want, if they wont listen. Its people like her that give my brand a bad reputation. Another customer followed her who was by far one one the most intellectually challenged I've meet. As she perspired and soaked her satin blouse , my eyes were drawn to the cleft above her lip. Someone must have told her she would look cute with a dab of chunky gold glitter there. Talking to here was as frustrating as talking to a brick wall. The gift we are giving to the customers is hard enough to give away. I had one lady in a another store try to start a fight with the counter manager. The customer was very dark with Shirley Temple curls. Her lipstick of choice was another bright fuchsia colored mess. We couldn't please the lady, who was looking for a fight , so she went to another store( but same counter). She came back twenty minutes later strutting around the counter with a smirk. The crazy woman pulled out an old gift from a few seasons back that they gave her, and declared her satisfaction and called my counter manager 'Ghetto'. We could only stare at this women with our mouths hanging open. Yes these are my customers that make a really cool job ,hard to like at times like these. The things I'll endure for a sale and good numbers.

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Sunday, March 25, 2007

Back To My Old Tricks

Yesterday I persuaded Certain Someone to take a nice drive with me to my favorite shopping mall. For those that really know me I hate malls, and shopping on my free time. But I love The Glen( a little shopping village) in the North Shore. Seeing as I've been pretty good lately with the credit thing, and the weather is turning, I decided to check some things out. The destination I choose was a little gem of a store called Von Maur. Its like a mini Nordstroms with excellent service. I always manage to find a great suite , shoes , or bag there. Certain Someone was so patient and supportive as I tried on my pieces. He persuaded me not to blow my money on another bag and focus on some nice career wear which will also come in handy when we go to Europe in a few months. He even found me some nice wide leather belts on sale to cinch off the outfits. We then focused on his shopping and as usual he managed to bag some watches, shirts,etc. I cracked up as this older sales lady flirted with him on his accent as he purchased a great watch. He in turn cracked up as It seems I cant go into any store or mall without the sales staff knowing me. The accessory lady commented that it must be scary for 'my Husband', when all the sales people know me. Certain Someone chuckled. The sales lady also commented that she hasn't seen me in awhile,and I told her I had to take a leave of absence shopping for a while. I assured her I'd be back perhaps for that Donney and Burke gingham canvas bag, that was my original intent.She gave us a knowing smile.We then went for dinner at this restaurant owned by billionaire Ted Turner that specializes in Bison. I wanted Certain Someone to have his 'steak' without all the cholesterol and fat beef contains. He thought it was tasteless, but enjoyed all the sides and appetizers. We decided to return the Kenneth Cole watch because it had a slight defect after dinner. They didn't have another , so we drove to Macy's . More sales associates recognized me and asked how I was.It didn't surprise Certain Someone. We found the watch and repurchased it at even a lower price ( due to a promotion and unused store credits).He then lead me to the shoes where a very cheerful and busy saleslady became our new buddy. She was the best I've seen in action for a long time and juggled all her customers with ease. She and I persuaded Certain Someone to get a Macy's charge to benefit from even more discounts! He ended up with two pairs of shoes and some other stuff. As usual he surpassed me in the shopping game. Our saleslady wanted to know if Certain Someone wanted to add ' His wife' to his card. He shouted 'Absolutely not!" That's OK , I have my own . I think its cute that everyone thought we were married yesterday. so did he. All in all it was delightful day doing what we do best, spending and eating. When we got home we watched 'The Godfather' to continue our mafia theme from the night before, when we viewed' The Departed'.Today we will do the Costco thing with Auntie Mame and have dinner .She loves her ' nephew in law' and he loves her. Then he's off to Vegas with the boyz and I will have busy week wearing my new rags.

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Glamah-rous cook and baker. Thanks for visiting. I love to receive comments.

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