I Choose My Choice

I’ve finally made a decision.  After five years of living in Chicago, I have picked a side.

I grew up in a football family – rooting for Michigan every Saturday and the Packers every Sunday.  Then, every summer while I was quite literally submerged in every possible body of water (pool, lake, ocean), I’d start to hear rumblings of some sort of Curse.   But, I didn’t listen, or care.  Baseball?  Boring.  The Red Sox?  Whatever.

That all changed around 2004.  I know, I know, bandwagon fan, I suck, I’m not really a fan – I’ve heard it all a million times.

It was the ALCS comeback that sucked me in.  I was only a couple of months into my internship at Villanova and was rather lonely.  So, every night, I’d stay up late watching my “hometown” team claw its way back into the pennant race, never giving up.

It was cool to watch – nothing more, nothing less.  Sure, I hadn’t suffered through the 80s and 90s like everyone else, but that didn’t mean I couldn’t enjoy the success.  Did I become a die-hard Red Sox fan after that?  No.  But I did, at the very least, start to appreciate baseball a lot more than I had previously.

When I first moved to Chicago, I lived a half a block from Wrigley Field.  So, you’d naturally think I’d start rooting for the Cubs.  But really, it was more about just being outside and enjoying baseball in the summer.  I’d prefer to go to Wrigley over “The Cell” because it was closer and Wrigleyville is more fun.

Then, when I started my current job in October of 2010, that all changed.  My company is owned by Jerry Reinsdorf and his limited partners – and for the first year of my job I worked in the stadium.  Actually, for the first two months of my job I was a White Sox employee, until we became our own separate entity in January 2011.

When you work with/for a team, it’s no longer just about wins and losses.  It’s about rooting for the team AND the front office – the people you know and like and respect (and who work their asses off).   I spent a year working with these people and can’t begin to tell you how hard everyone works or how much they care about this team – and one day you realize it’s just in your blood now, and that’s the way it is.  People can think I’m ridiculous or that my affections can be bought, but that wasn’t the case with Villanova and it isn’t the case now.

Of course as I wrote this, I watched them lose to the Yankees but whatever.  Can’t win ’em all, I suppose.

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For Entirely No Effort Your Life Can Change!

I basically did not sleep for the entire month of March.  For whatever reason, I had no problems falling asleep – it was staying asleep that was the issue (until I called my doctor and begged for sleeping pills).  So, for a stretch there, I would just get up, usually around 3am, and try to fall back asleep by lying on my couch watching Law & Order Criminal Intent.

Since I work in advertising, I think I notice commercials by default.  And the commercials on at 3am are as awful as you can imagine – and probably not hitting target audiences at that time, but have to take the worst time slots because their products are shitty and they have no money.  But I digress.

There are usually three types of commercials on at 3am:

1) The ones promoting janky dating services – whether it’s an adult chat hotline or some web site no one has ever heard of, if you use them, you’ll probably wind up in a dark alley four towns over watching a drug deal go down.

2) The ones that sell those god awful products like pajama jeans (“just like designer jeans!”) or the knife genie that cuts everything for you or a hair accessory that will french braid your hair every time you open your refrigerator.  You know – useless crap.

3) Weight loss products are the worst culprit.  Actually, I should say beauty products in general.  You know – “look 25 years younger by using this cream!”  or “take this pill and lose all your body fat while still eating pizza and chicken wings!”

The weight loss ones always bother me the most.  The skin care stuff – meh.  Whatever.  I’m can’t stop the fact that someday I will be 50 and might even look 50 and am not one for plastic surgery so will just have to live with it.

What I DO have control over is my weight.  And these products that guarantee weight loss without any effort whatsoever make me stabby.  Sure, you might lose weight, but you won’t maintain it or learn to live a healthier lifestyle.  As with anything in life – work, relationships, etc – something that is worth having requires effort and persistence.  Sitting back and letting a “supplement” such as Lipozene do it for you is a cop-out and will not work.

And don’t even get me STARTED on actresses who lose all their baby weight within three weeks of giving birth and tell People Magazine, “Oh gosh, I just walked my dog more.”  Fuck you, you walked your dog more.  You consumed nothing but water and cocaine until the weight came off.

My friend Jenn just lost 87 pounds over the course of a year.  She did it the right way – by joining Weight Watchers and changing the way she did things – both with her diet and exercise.  And she was nice enough to share her story with me so I could share it with you and we can all celebrate the fact that she hit her goal without touching a pill:

1 – What made you decide to join Weight Watchers?

I joined weight watchers because I realized I needed to make a lifestyle change to lose weight.  For me, this journey wasn’t solely focused on losing weight but also changing my life for the better. I knew I could follow a diet, I could cut carbs, I could drink nothing but water and eat carrot sticks but I wouldn’t necessarily learn anything. I wouldn’t learn how to make better choices. I wouldn’t learn how to plan for events like dinners out, weddings and vacations. I wouldn’t grasp the concept of everything in moderation. Most importantly, I wouldn’t have the support weight watchers gives you (I attend meetings and use the online e-tools) nor would I have anything holding me accountable.

2 – What were the main lifestyle changes that you made?

I cook more, eat out less. I find it easier to control what I’m eating when I’m preparing and cooking it.  I also measure and weigh out my portion sizes. This gives me freedom to eat what I want but I need to stick to the suggested serving. One slice of pizza is a serving. One small pizza is not.

I drink water, either flavored with cucumber or lemon, all day. I prefer it over soda and juice now. I definitely feel and notice a difference when I don’t drink a lot of water.

And of course, I’m active. I exercise 5-6 days a week because I love how I feel after. Whether it is running, swimming, Zumba, walking or going to the gym, I need to move my body to reset and recharge my brain.

3 – What, if anything, discouraged you along the way?  And what kept you going through that?

There were multiple discouragements along the way. The biggest was finding out exactly who my supporters and detractors were. People will applaud you and cheer for you through your first 10-25 pounds but anything beyond that becomes a separation. I lost a few “friends” over my weight loss because they thought I was going to starve myself or I had surgery and didn’t tell them. It was disappointing to know that doing something for myself and for my health made me sneaky and selfish, but in the long run I feel I’ll be much better off.

The other discouragement was on the scale. I went through three months of losing a grand total of seven pounds because I would lose, gain, lose again and then gain. It was very, very difficult to not give up and say “Ok, this is where my body wants me to be, I guess I’ll just stop.” Being on  plateau like that really forced me to stick with this and to keep doing what I was doing, even if there were times when a Doritos Taco Supreme or a 5 Guys burger and fries were the only things that I wanted. After three months, the cycle broke and I lost my last ten pounds to get to my goal weight within a month.

4 What is your advice for people who are trying to lose weight and keep it off?

You have to realize two things:

1. This is a lifestyle change. You have to accept that what you’re doing now isn’t working for you. You have to understand that you will need to change your eating, exercising and thinking. You will learn to find other ways to cope with life besides eating. It is tough, it is not easy, it is a lifelong journey but it is certainly worth it. I’m working on maintaining my weight and if I hadn’t lost weight with Weight Watchers, I would have no idea how to maintain weight, how to make good choices and how to plan.

2. Realize your life will not become magical by losing weight. I lost 87 lbs. Ryan Gosling has not knocked on my door to ask me out. My dream job offer still hasn’t come yet. I’m not living in a major city in a penthouse apartment. My life is still the same, I’m just thinner and healthier. Through losing weight, I’ve learned that if I want something, I need to plan for it, work for it and set a goal to get it. Losing weight has helped me with other areas of my life but I’m still just me.

I think the best point she makes here is that your life will not become magical.  And that’s why these commercials piss me off so much.  When it comes to weight loss (and life) there is no such thing as magic (unless you’re watching Sleepless in Seattle, which somehow made stalking look cute.  RIP Nora Ephron).

I would like to again congratulate Jenn on her major accomplishment and thank her for being an inspiration.  Sometimes when I don’t want to run or go to the gym, I remember her journey, and then I go.  So thanks, Jenn.

And thanks to my doctor for the pills so I don’t have to be awake at 3am anymore, watching this god awful shit (even though sometimes the commercials were SO bad they made me laugh).

Blind Items, Meaningless Crap & Being Grateful

I spend WAY too much time reading gossip blogs like DListed & Crazy Days and Nights.  DListed is run by Michael K, whose snarky and bitchtastic posts keep me entertained on a daily basis.  I started reading CDAN after Michael linked to one of the posts on the site.  CDAN is run by an anonymous entertainment lawyer (literally calls himself Enty Lawyer).  Between the two of them, I can stay on top of the oh-so-important world of celebrity gossip (which is actually the least important thing ever, which is why I am going to continue to write about it).

Both blogs will often feature blind items.  Michael K will posts them in an “I guess, you guess format” (he guesses who he thinks they’re about and then everyone else voices their opinions in the comments section).  Enty Lawyer lets you comment, but then twice a year he’ll actually reveal some.

It really makes me wonder though – who are the people running around Hollywood spilling all these secrets?  I can definitely see how an assistant key grip that got shit on by Jennifer Aniston would try to leak some secrets about her.  But how do people know what is credible and what isn’t?

For example:   It turns out this allegedly innocent NFL quarterback might not be so innocent after all. One of his admirers and fellow celebrity was overheard bragging the other day that she had no problems getting the quarterback into bed.

This is obviously about Tim Tebow and a Kardashian (or Lindsay Lohan…or Katy Perry…or, well, anyone really).  I’ve never bought his virginity act either.  With how popular he was at Florida and all the fanatical fans he has, I find it hard to believe he was able to resist hoochtastic chickadees flinging themselves at him left and right.  And you know what?  That’s okay.  He’s only human.  If lying about his virginity is the worst thing he ever does, then he’d still be in the upper-echelon of football players who don’t break the law and are mostly good people, in general, when they don’t have enablers telling them they can do no wrong so they wind up like Ben Roethlisberger.

This one is obviously about Jay Cutler & Kristin Cav – so when they announced they were expecting a baby this summer via People Mag, I had just been waiting for “when” not “if.”

So obviously the formula here is pull two names out of a hate (doesn’t matter if they are the same-sex) and make some shit up.  There you have it.

Now with Twitter as popular as it is, news and rumors are breaking faster than ever.  And celebrities are turning to their Twitter pages to dispel rumors about themselves.

Lindsay Lohan is the #1 offender of doing this.  Last week, paramedics were called to her hotel when she was found unresponsive in her hotel room (or something…there are also rumors going around that her handlers sent paramedics to the hotel ahead of time because she is such a cracked out mess).  The understanding around the biz is that she was partying so hard (alcohol, coke, meth, the nectar of a cactus, etc) she just didn’t wake up.

She of course vomited this out on her Twitter page:  Note to self.. After working 85hours in 4days, and being up all night shooting, be very aware that you might pass out from exhaustion & 7 paramedics MIGHT show up @ your door…. Hopefully theyre cute. Otherwise it would be a real let down.

Bitch is so stupid she doesn’t realize that working 85 hours in four days breaks every labor law imaginable and all the poor non-actors working on the set of Liz & Dick would legally not be able to do that.  But Lindsay has the IQ of a dung beetle, so she doesn’t think before she Tweets crap like that.  I’m surprised she didn’t tweet that’d she’d been working 72 hours over the course of a day-and-a-half.

So then, union investigators get involved and learn the cast and crew worked 70-75 hours in five days (or about 14-15 hour days).  But I can see how Lindsay would be confused, since she hasn’t worked longer than 85 hours in the past five YEARS let alone five days.

It drives me crazy that delusional, talent-less crack jobs like her continue to get free passes in life.  Which is why I should not be writing about her – or any other celebrity.   But they live in a different world that, like it or not, we often want to be a part of.

What reading all this garbage does for me, however, is make me appreciate that I DON’T live in that world.  Sure, I’ll never be as rich, but I also won’t have so-called “friends” selling my secrets to the tabloids.  It’s nice to have people in my life I can trust and don’t have to deal with the rampant deception that runs through NYC and Los Angeles.  And yes, I’m aware deception happens everywhere to everyone, but most of the time people (including myself) are able to go through mistakes, heartbreaks and failures in private, rather than having it be the lead story on People.com.  And for that, I am grateful.

And yes, I realize that with this book, I will be doing just that – sharing all of the above with the masses (if I can actually get this thing published).  But the main difference is that I am choosing to share it after the fact rather than have it forced upon me.  I have the choice – and for that, I am eternally grateful.

Brilliance is spelled F-A-C-E-B-O-O-K

No, that is not sarcasm above you.  Facebook is brilliant.

Allow me to explain.

Over the past two years, Facebook has changed a lot.  The layout, the features, the privacy settings – everything.

And you (and I) have bitched about it.

But here’s the thing – the new “timeline?”  Genius.

How else could I read through all my status updates, therefore continuing to help tie together the past 5+ years?

I mean, you can pick a year/month and see all activity.  It is fascinating.

For example, I had a status in September 2010 that said, “when it rains, it pours.”  Reading that today, I had no idea what I was talking about.

Was it:

A) Numerous new job prospects

B) Numerous random dudes e-mailing me on OKCupid

C) A weather report

After digging through email archives, I discovered the correct answer was “A.”  But that doesn’t mean I didn’t find some other status updates that were hilarious and jogging memory lane.  For example:

8/22/2009:  is pondering voicemails left at 3:30am that are entirely in Spanish.  (thank goodness I remembered 3-5 words and could barely translate it)

11/6/2009:  me: I tried to make it my profile picture and it kept giving me error messages. I think it was a sign. Katie: yes, it was a sign. from above or below, depending on who you ask.  (pretty sure it was a sign from both directions – no one wanted it to happen)

11/23/2009:  overheard the most awkward conversation on the bus this morning, starting with the guy getting on the bus. Girl: “omg, I didn’t know you took this bus, what a coincidence.” Guy: “yeah…oh by the way I got your text Saturday night.” Girl: oh hahaha that was NOT my idea, that was Liz’s idea.” Yeah RIGHT. It was your idea until he didn’t respond and you had to pass off the blame. Been there, done that.  (painful)

1/19/2010:  Courtney: How big was the bottle of rum? Me: it was a normal size. Is that a handle? Courtney: No. A handle HAS a handle.

3/13/2010:  is obviously being punished for a previous life. Miami just lost to Duke and Illinois just lost to Ohio State. Fail.

I could go on and on and on.  The point here is that Facebook is allowing me to relive status updates I otherwise never would have remembered.  I’m lucky enough to have that and GMail archives to tie everything together and remember things that I’d have no chance of revisiting otherwise.

Hate the timeline all you want, but it’s actually the key to many, many stories you may not otherwise remember.  Because, as Facebook just reminded me “whatever…we still have 1985.  Georgetown can bite me.”

Relief

Tonight, Jerry Sandusky was found guilty of 45 of the 48 sexual abuse charges against him – and thankfully,  bail was revoked.  The longer the jury deliberated, the more nervous I was.  Had I been on the jury, I would have pushed for a guilty verdict in 47 seconds.  I could barely follow the story in detail because it was so disturbing.  It baffles me that a monster like that could exist.

I’m working on a book – a book that will delve into my mistakes and my heartbreak.  There were times when I was lying on my bathroom floor in tears.  Lying in my bead in tears.  Fighting back tears at work.  In constant agony because JigSaw never loved me back.  But here’s the thing – throughout these past five years, I’ve been safe.  I’ve had enough money.  I’ve been loved by my friends and family.  At no point in my life has a monster taken advantage of me in his basement.  The worst thing that’s happened to me was losing my Grandpa Chuck, my favorite person on the planet, to lung cancer in 2005.  My life is not all that bad.

And most importantly – I have four nieces and a nephew.  They are healthy and happy and amazing and beautiful and have amazing parents.  And mark my words – if anyone ever tries to hurt my ladies or my gentleman, I will go Lorena Bobbit on them, and I know a good defense lawyer, so don’t test me.  No one hurts the people I love.

I hope that at the very least, this verdict  will help the victims find peace and closure.  I hope Jerry Sandusky has to suffer eleventy billion times the physical and emotional pain he caused his victims.  Suicide watch for him is a good idea – he deserves to suffer and not take the easy way out.

It is time for this nightmare to be over.

How Hard is it to Remember That You are Having COFFEE at STARBUCKS?

2008 did not end well for me.  I was laid off right before Thanksgiving and spent December in a failure-induced depression.

Right before the layoff, things had fallen apart with Mr. Titspervert.  Being the mature adult that I am, I immediately unfriended him on Facebook and took him out of my phone.

About a week later, he emailed me about wanting to talk and “clear the air,” so I agreed.  He suggested we meet at Starbucks one evening.  Of course, the day of, he emailed me again because he couldn’t remember that we were meeting for coffee.  At Starbucks.  Which he suggested.

I tell Katie this, and she drops the brilliant line that is now the title of this post.  Unfortunately, Starbucks turned into the bar across the street, and instead of clearing the air, everything became more muddled.  Also, I am pretty sure he walked me home and unhooked my bra as he was hugging me goodnight.  Nothing but class, I tell you.

I am person who is all about closure.  I need it.  I embrace it.  With Mr. Titspervert, I never really got it – and that’s okay, because we weren’t a good fit for many reasons, and now he is engaged to a lovely girl, and I’m happy for them.

But in the thick of it, in 2008, it was agonizing to deal with that AND the layoff at the same time.

I look back and wonder why I was so clueless.  But in my old age, I’m thankful for all the experiences I’ve had.  It can only help me.

Advice From a Tree

The Advice from a Tree image and words previously posted were an infringement of the copyrights of Ilan Shamir and Your True Nature and has been shared around the internet. We are reposting the correct version of this and encourage you to visit the Advice from Nature website at http://www.yourtruenature.com for Advice from a Tree and over 100 other advice bookmarks, posters, journals, tshirts and other eco products. copyright 1993-2012 YTN

I saw this on Facebook today and HAD to share.  Last night I was talking to Courtney about this concept (sort of – bear with me).

It was actually in the context of sports and what I wrote about last week – us taking simple concepts and turning them into 400-page documents consisting of rules, regulations and enough legal jargon to make your head spin.  And also, me trying to be better about not freaking out if my team(s) lose, and this conversation of course occurred when the Cubs were drilling HR after HR against the White Sox and I could barely stomach watching the game.  So, that’s going to be a goal I probably won’t achieve.

So when I saw this photo, I had to share.  The only people who make life so complicated are other people.  If we take a step back and focus on the basics, taking advice from a tree is the way to go (no, really).

Stand Tall And Proud:  Be cool, be confident, be proud of yourself and your achievements (unless you are Jerry Sandusky, in which case I hope a 300-lb man named Bubba makes you his girlfriend in jail and the physical and emotional suffering enacted on you knows no limits, you sick piece of shit).  Wait, where was I?  Oh, right.  Good posture, be confident, and carry on.

Go Out on a Limb:  If I had never asked Tad Hamilton to be my date to Melissa’s wedding, he never would have called me  to cancel 48-hours before he was supposed to fly here.  Going out on that limb was SO worth it.

Remember Your Roots:  To bring back memories of TGIF in the 90s, I think this one is pretty self-explanatory:  Family Matters.

Drink Plenty of Water:  Much healthier than soda!  Which I am currently drinking!

Be Content With Your Natural Beauty:  I hate my nose.  I saw a plastic surgeon in 2008 about a nose job (how I was going to pay for it is beyond me).  I’ve had more than one person tell me I need a nose job (as Stephanie Tanner would say, “HOW RUDE.”).  But, well, what’s the point?  I could pay $10K for a nose job and wind up hating it.  I think just coming to terms with the fact that this is how I look is a healthier approach.

Enjoy the View:  Because no matter where you are, there’s always a good one to be found.