The Tuesday Twelve: My Own Murtaugh List Tuesday, Dec 7 2010 

Hooray, the 90s party went off with nary a hitch.  Mr. Glib and I, six out-of-towners, and the city of Chicago at large seemed to survive our trip into a time of innocence and flannel. I had a great time staying up (way too) late, eating bad food, singing bad karaoke (what’s up, Destiny’s Child), and reflecting on the styling choices of one Brandon Walsh.  I was also, however, reminded of things left firmly in my own past.

Katy Perry, Ogden Nash, Jay-Z, and others may indeed be young forever, but I firmly accept that with age may not necessarily come better tastes or maturity, but will come a begrudging sense of responsibility that is supported by an enhanced desire for personal comfort and a decreased sense of patience.

On one legen…dary episode of How I Met Your Mother, the gang (who is incidentally supposed to be four years my junior) discussed their “Murtaugh List,” named after Danny Glover’s Lethal Weapon character who is prone to exclaim, “I’m getting too old for this sh*t.”  At 30, 35, and beyond, what have we outgrown?  For some of us (not me), it’s Taco Bell.  For others (also not me), it’s late bedtimes.  For me, it’s … well, these twelve things below, and a host of others.

12. Parties that include a keg of light/lite beer iced down in a bathtub. Even my youngster (25-ish) friends provide bottles and cans these days. We personally boast a kegerator, an unassuming refrigerated cabinet that houses two kegs of craft beers. Oh so classy.  And it doesn’t even need pumping.


11. Painful shoes when walking is on the agenda. I’ve invested in larger purses so that I can squirrel away tennis shoes or flip flops if I’m walking to a destination at which I’ll want heels.  I get there quicker and without blisters.  And who cares what I look like on the sidewalk outside, anyway?

10. NKOTBSB. Anyone – anyone! – in my high school graduating class knows how I loved the New Kids. I won’t get into how my obsession manifested itself. At 25 damn years old, I had a similar affection for the Backstreet Boys.  So you would think no one would be first in line for tickets to this nine-man monstrosity if not me. You would be wrong. I find the reunion touring a touch desperate, and while I applaud them for getting back out there to earn a living, they won’t be earning it from me.  Sorry, Joey Joe.  You’re still my favorite!

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The Tuesday Twelve: Things For Which I’m Thankful Tuesday, Nov 23 2010 

Yesterday’s 65-degree weather notwithstanding, it’s almost time for Thanksgiving. So in a rare flash of optimism and goodwill, I thought I’d think quickly about what I’m thankful for.  Now of course I am grateful for my family, my relatively decent job, and my friends both new and old, near and far.

I’m glad I have shelter (that is lovelier than I deserve) and nightly food and drink. A closetful of clothes, warm snow boots, ample toothpaste, and all of that stuff that most people I know have without worry and take for granted.

But this list isn’t about all of those super-important things.  It’s about the little things in life I wouldn’t want to live without.  Here are the first 12 of many that crossed my mind.

12. Amazon prime. This was a “free trial” that I forgot to cancel but I have been rewarded by this flash of irresponsibility.  80 bucks a year gets us free two-day shipping on every order?  Such a deal. Comes in handy, well, almost always, but especially when a birthday gift is in danger of being late.

11. The Whole Foods deli. We are fortunate enough to have three grocery stores in walking distance.  The closest of these is Whole Foods, which is all of two blocks northeast. And although I love cooking, it’s nice to know that mere minutes away, is a truly amazing deli.  Six kinds of New York-style pizza, dozens of prepared salads, BBQ’d chicken breasts, enormous panini, sushi rolls. A great shortcut that doesn’t inspire too much guilt.

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My M-F Home Thursday, Sep 30 2010 

*That’s “Monday through Friday,” peeps, not “Mother [Effing].” Well … occasionally both. I work in the Chicago Board of Trade, also known as The “CBOT” or, simply, “The Board.” You may remember it from such films as Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and The Dark Knight. Check it out:

It’s an icon in the Windy City. A National Historic Landmark. It defines the Southern barrier of the Loop. It was once the tallest building in the city. There’s a bar on the first floor that neglects to put mixers in any of its cocktails. It is also 80 years old. As are some of the grizzled floor traders (not my company’s business) that work within its walls.  These men, with whom I share an elevator every day, are driven by sweat, years of tobacco abuse, and greed-fueled adrenaline. Gordon Gekko is nowhere to be found. This is down-and-dirty bartering and the man with the loudest voice (and tallest genes) often wins.

But I digress. Part of the “charm” that comes with working in a relative fossil of a building is similar to what a home-owner faces in a pre-war fixer-upper. Sometimes, no matter what you clean, pretty up, and modernize, old problems seep in. And run deep. (more…)

Bright Lights, Big City, Close Sushi Saturday, Aug 28 2010 

Sweet home indeed.

About a month ago, as I think I mentioned, my high-school buddies, Mr. Glib, and I headed to the lakeside terrain of southwestern Virginia to converge upon the home of one JPK. We were instantly welcomed into his spotless, modern, and elegantly spare home, which contains any extravagance a fabulous lakehouse can hold.  Boat.  Jetskis.  Multiple, MULTIPLE places for outdoor lounging.  Plasmas/LCDs.  Karaoke.  Man-cave. Workout room.  Sauna.  Five-plus bathrooms.  Fire pit.  Etc. etc. Epic.

Of course, JPK is financially at a point in life where Mr. Glib and I are not (and may never be).  But it got me thinking about our condo in Chicago versus JPK’s lakehouse in a small town.  Sure, our Chicago real-estate money could stretch more there (maybe to, say, 3 bathrooms and one-quarter of a man cave).  Sure, the views were gorgeous and the mood was relaxed.  Sure, I have suggested (tongue in cheek … sort of) JPK hire me for a role with his company more times than is considered appropriate. But what does one sacrifice trading convenience for square footage?  It’s an eternal debate.  Here’s where I currently stand.

Chicago Minuses:

Public transportation and the stress it creates.  Will I just miss my train and half to run, Gwynth in Sliding-Doors style? Will I get a seat or have to stand with my 18 bags shrugged across me?

Real estate.  $300 per square foot and higher (much higher) is not an exaggeration, depending on neighborhood.

Suburban flight.  When faced with Chicago public schools vs. private tuition vs. a move to the distant suburbs, most young families choose the last option.  And are never heard from again.

Corrupt government.  Or so they tell me.  Ehhh .

Chicago Pluses:

Public transportation and the convenience it provides.  Never again worry about driving under the influence when busses, trains, and an abundance of cabs take you wherever you need to go.  Mr. Glib and I sold our car more than a year ago and only miss it when going OUT of town somewhere.

BYOB.  Bring your own bottle/booze/bubbly. Pick your cuisine – Mexican, Italian, Sushi, Thai, Indian, Moroccan, Argentinean – and pick your own drinks for the night out of your own fridge.  It cuts down on costs and allows for greater choice.  I love this about Chicago (and other big cities).  Even my bikini-waxing shop advertises itself as “BYOB.”

Following up on this reason, the abundance of restaurants – all cuisines, all good, many within walking distance – makes me very happy and content.  It also may explain why, despite my increased walking and physical activity levels, I’ve gained 10 pounds since moving up here.  D’oh!

Culture.  Improv clubs, theaters, venues of all sizes for artists to match. Countless museums. And a populace that appreciates it.

It’s a trade off for sure.  Comfort versus convenience, affordability versus choice. The latter is great in my youth but as I get older and less interested in BYOB Ethiopian, I may prefer a three-car garage and a nice corner pub to dine at.

Of course, there is always the middle ground – Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Austin, Seattle, San Diego.  Who knows where this life will take us next.

I’ve Been Had … by Mr. Wendal? Thursday, Jun 24 2010 

Today on my twice-weekly (sometimes … ahem … more) trip to Whole Foods, I think I succumbed to gullibility.  No, I didn’t opt for the organic walnuts over the regular ones.  But right by the meat counter, I was approached by a man who, while not poorly dressed, was missing teeth and was also clearly missing even a distant relationship with deodorant and/or soap and/or water.  He held a ragged brochure for a charity walk to combat Pancreatic Cancer; said walk is scheduled for this September.  He claimed he was trying to raise money and had lost a loved one to the disease.  Hmmm.  Written on the tattered paper were a few unintelligible first names and cash pledges – $20, $10, $5, etc.  I mentioned that I had very little cash, but gave him what I had (literally, $2).  He thanked me profusely and went on his way.

While I can’t imagine that Whole Foods management would tolerate solicitation of any kind within its walls (even if his “charity walk” story was on the up and up), there he was and there I was and I do believe I just gave $2 to a panhandler.  But I’m really okay with it.  That $2 would have gone toward lunchtime sushi or a post-work martini or something similarly frivolous, and I gotta give the guy credit for at least showing some ingenuity.  Tracking down a cancer-walk sponsorship form and developing a sob story … well played.Way better effort than the guys just shaking a Dunkin Donuts cup while chain smoking Marlboro Reds.

Unless of course everything  – the walk, the lost loved one, the pledges – WAS true and now instead of being gullible, I’m reverse-gullible, which is to say, totally jaded.

The first of many age-obsessed posts Monday, Mar 22 2010 

I have two friends at work … well, actually, I have lots of friends at work (shockingly!) but let’s talk about two in particular.  One is technically an intern (as she’s still in college), though she is as integral to the team as anyone else.  She’s 13 years younger than me, but we fraternize frequently – happy hours, lunches, what have you.  The other is a great mentor and fellow writer – he’s 10 years older than me.  We still occasionally see each other socially, for team events.  And he’s a hip dude, always learning about new music, new trends, etc.  The guy’s on Twitter, after all.

So short story long, one is 13 years my junior, one is 10 years my senior.  And yet … I feel I assimilate much more with the youngster.  Is it because we are both girls/women?  Is it because my elder has kids and a life in the suburbs as opposed to a strings-free life in the city?  Is it because I don’t act my age and am a constant embarrassment to all those around me?

How old would you say you are if you didn’t know how old you were, they say?  And I think I would honestly say about 8 years younger than I am.  Unless I’m trying to run a mile, in which case … 79.

Is it rude to be friendly? Thursday, Jan 28 2010 

Juliet, Naked - Nick Hornby

This book is not about nudity.

On the train home today, I noticed a fellow commuter was reading the same book as I.  I smiled to myself and buried my nose back in my copy.  After all … what is the point in saying something, really?  You chat with a stranger about whether or not you are enjoying the book or not, and your commute – which is sometimes only enjoyable because you get to get through many pages of said book – is interrupted.

A few months ago, I spotted a woman carrying a messenger bag from the same New York book store my tote bag was from.  “Nice bag,” I said, and strolled by, pointing at my own.  She looked at me as though I had scurvy, and then I had to up my walking pace to avoid having her think I wanted to engage in actual, you know, conversation. I mean … my iPod was on, people!

I live in a city of eight million plus and I find these shared-yet-anonymous affinities strangely charming, though I really have no desire to vocalize it, and clearly neither do many other folks.  But I know in certain smaller metro areas (New Orleans, for one, definitely), people chat about shared interests and bond over mutual hatred.  The most ordinary trip to the grocery store could yield a new friend over the mirlitons.

I’m not trying to make a big deal out of nothing, but I’m beginning to think we’re all a bit self-absorbed.  I guess once I stop noticing what others are even reading at all is when I need to really worry.

“Don’t talk to strangers,”

Lucy Glib

At the Movies Saturday, Jan 9 2010 

Two sci-fi-heavy flicks in less than 24 hours.  Check the Nine Words or Less reviews for Star Trek and Avatar.

Avatar Poster

Photo Courtesy of James Whatley

Avatar, if I may say, was a bit preachy for my taste.  It had a bit of the Titanic “Capitalism … it’s bad” feel, with a nod to Native Americans, with a lot of creatures and impressive effects.  Not sure I’d see it again.  I will say my experience was lessened by the fact that I was sitting in a theater that was about 58 degrees next to a woman that kept sucking on her teeth and/or candy.  I got to one point, as I also did with District 9, that I felt like audibly saying, “We GET it, [James/Neill].  We are bad, thoughtless, heartless, corrupt, greedy people.  Can we get to the climax and resolution?”  It was a bit too on the nose, but then again, so was Titanic.  But this didn’t have Kate Winslet in beautiful dresses and Victor Garber acting stoic.

Also? Sam Worthington has the same acting flaw as Julian McMahon – inability to maintain an American accent for more than one sentence.  Distracting.  But a fun ride, and I’m glad we saw what the hype was all about.  Also glad we bucked up the extra cash for the 3D “experience.” Though $24 for a pair of matinee tickets?  Ouch.

And the previews reminded me that I fear I am tired of Tim Burton.  I appreciate that he has his own recognizable style and approach, but everything is so strikingly similar these days.  Johnny Depp is nutty!  Helena Bonham Carter is crazy!  Colors are vibrant!  Score is all kooky minor-key dissonance!  That said, his take on Alice in Wonderland should be interesting and entertaining.  I’d just like to see what he would do with a minimal budget and a subdued story.  Like Ed Wood, but with less maniacal Depp wandering around.

As Mr. Glib sits on the couch catching up on Dexter (thank God – have tried to keep him spoiler free for weeks now – I don’t watch, too depressing, but I read lots of Facebook updates), I defrost my bones and prepare for a nice evening at Piazza Bella.  Good Italian food, warming wine, and the company and comfort of old friends.  I’m thinking gnocchi or farfalle.  And now I’m thinking I need a snack.

Happy lazy weekend, folks.

xoxo,

Lucy Glib

Weekend To-Do List Friday, Jan 8 2010 

  1. Catch up on Sleep – capital S.
  2. Watch Star Trek on DVD
  3. Watch Avatar in 3D
  4. Remind self that I am not a sci-fi fan.
  5. Eat free Italian food.
  6. Drink free Italian wine.
  7. Laundry … perhaps.
  8. Call sisters-in-law, parents-in-law
  9. Snuggle with Mr. Glib

57 Channels and Nothing On,

Lucy Glib