Monday, December 31, 2007

Another year over, and a new one just begun

Tonight we bid farewell to 2007 and I know that it's supposed to be a time of reflection, a chance to put the year in review and see what you might have done better/the same/not at all.

I couldn't be bothered doing any of that.

Instead, I am spending my final day of 2007 at work, trying to look busy, and failing miserably. I have checked my hotmail about 5 times in the last 10 minutes, browsed all the online stores I can think of for any last-minute bargains that I have no intention of snapping up, and watching Mero read Einstein's biography and having her tell me that one look at Frau Einstein and it was no wonder Albert spent so much time in his lab - woof woof. Yes, it's been one of those days.

So tonight I'm off to one of my favourite Chicago bars to celebrate New Year's Eve, with a lock-in party where I get an open bar of top-shelf goods, plus a buffet of delicious appetisers, from 8pm to 1am. Then I strongly suspect that I will jump into the first cab and head home for a long sleep. Fortunately I have January 1 & 2 off work so I will become very good friends with my sofa and cable TV (if I wasn't already!).

Chicago enacts its city-wide smoking ban from midnight tonight, which means that all public places will finally be smoke-free. I am very pleased about this of course, though I know that since they won't be able to smoke indoors anymore, the smokers will simply congregate right outside the entrance of any club/pub I want to go into, meaning I will still get anointed in stinky smokiness wherever I go. But at least the death glares I dish out will be legitimate this time.

HAPPY NEW YEAR ALL (even the smokers)!!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

And I live here why?!

I read in this morning's online US news that a winter storm has been lashing the northeast of the country. Um helloooo the Midwest took quite a battering yesterday, cheers thanksalot.

I went out with my friend Reeder to an outlet mall in Aurora (yes, home of Wayne's World), and we had a wonderful day browsing the designer warehouse shops out there. I tried to buy Christmas gifts, and I did get a few, but I also ended up with a few things for myself, just to keep myself motivated and in the Christmas spirit I guess.

The whole time we were driving up there, in the stores, and driving home, it snowed and snowed.

And last night was one of those rare evenings where I had multiple social commitments that I needed to honour. I first went to Bork's apartment for her Christmas party (and by some miracle scored a cab - not sure how I did that). Then I walked to nearby Guthries pub - only sliding and falling once in the soft snowdrift - to say goodbye to LS who was flying back to Australia today. And then we waited in the freezing snowstorm together for a cab, which we shared back to my place, and then he went on his way to his next farewell party with friends.

I was so frosty when I got back to my apartment, I had to take a hot shower to thaw out, it was incredible.

And the snow ploughs were out at 6.30am or so to shovel the inches and inches of snow off the footpaths and side streets to make it safe for us to venture out again today. But I tell you what, you need to step very gingerly out there.

I was just lucky that I fell yesterday while the snow was still so soft. It was like landing on a pillow. The street I was walking on was so deathly still and quiet that had the snow not melted so quickly right near my head and given me an earache, I probably would have just laid there in the darkness for a while and hung out. It was very peaceful indeed. Looks pretty, feels lovely, but is bloooooooody cold.

Monday, December 10, 2007

My brain is better when it's turned off

The weekend was a bit of a blur of blackness, as I spent much of it in the cinema.

Very early in the morning on Saturday, I saw a screening of the new Disney movie "Enchanted". I can see why it has been getting rave reviews - it is such an adorable movie. Even McDreamy Patrick Dempsey was so charming but I have to say, James Marsden (Cyclops from "X-Men") stole the show - he was so camp and cheesy and wonderful.

We wandered in the frosty Chicago air to the German Christmas Market right Downtown, and I made a beeline for the toasty glazed almonds. Well, we kinda made a beeline for the nuts but we couldn't find them, and then we got stuck in the crowd, and then I watched as a demented woman tried to run over another woman with her kid's stroller - it was the Christmas spirit at its best. NOT.

And then on Sunday, we both went to a much smaller screening of two movies, "Away From Her" with the lovely Julie Christie, and "3:10 to Yuma" with Christian & Russell. Ahh bless. The screening was actually held in a small movie theater inside of an apartment building - I guess that's the way the other half lives, or something...

I was sad that they didn't have a candy counter at the smaller screening as I was very much in the mood for buttered popcorn, but a quick stop at the 7-11 next door fixed me up with enough Diet Coke & chocolate to see me through.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

The little apartment that could

I cranked the heat up on two of the radiators in my apartment last night, because the weather channel suggested that a winter storm would come through the City today, and already the ominous chill was in the air. I don't normally put my heat on; I would rather just rug up (and have accordingly become re-acquainted with immensely thick, fluffy socks). But last night was different, because I was having L&D over.

I'd invited them over for pizza & wine, but from the look of my wine rack this morning, it appears we had a dinner of wine, with a side order of pizza!

We ordered pizza, chicken wings, and cheesy garlic bread from the delivery place that knows who I am, just by the Aussie accent. Embarassing (for me, that is). Fortunately I don't call the place too often these days.

And a bunch of conversations later, the problems of the world solved, D's phone beeped and we all realised that it was 3am. Wherever did the night go? The boys left shortly after, in choruses of "aww your place is so cute/charming/pefect" and I couldn't agree more.