Holy Smokes!

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Did you know that there are still places in America where smoking is allowed indoors??  It’s like taking a step back into 1962.  And you feel like a criminal being surrounded by so much brazen smoking.

My mom and I went antiquing in Indiana on Sunday and stopped at a small (albeit awesome) diner for lunch.  And there was a smoking section.  Right next to the non-smoking section.  We were amazed, as if we were aliens dropped on this planet for a moment in time.  Is this really what flew in restaurants just a few years ago?  Because cigarettes are dis-gust-ing!

The entire place was thick with smoke.  People were taking bites of food between drags.  Babies sat at tables where all the adults smoked.  It was insanity.  It seems like all of this legal smoking inside business was in another lifetime. 

no smokingAnd, as an ex-smoker, I have always been very accommodating to smoker’s rights.  Until this diner experience, I was all about letting people smoke in places that were just bars (i.e. they don’t sell food just sweet sweet alcohol).  But holy shit, not anymore!  I want to live.  I want to smell my laundry detergent.  I want to smell my shampoo and hairspray.  I want to get my money’s worth out of my perfume.  I do not want to smell like a walking ashtray upon leaving any establishment. 

In Europe I don’t mind this because A) I’m in Europe, what is there really to complain about B) it feels authentic.  When smoking was banned in Paris my Parisian compatriots went crazy because to them, it was impeding a lifestyle, not just a habit.  And I wholeheartedly agree on that!

It wasn’t too long ago when it was thought okay to smoke while pregnant.  And we certainly were okay with smoking inside until quite recently.  I wonder what will be banned in 30 years that we’re doing now.  Hopefully it won’t be being awesome. 

Pet Peeve of the Day: St. Patty’s Day aka amateur hour

Quote of the Day: “Son, when you participate in sporting events– it’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how drunk you get.” –Homer Simpson

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Reflecting on 2009

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As 2009 (and the decade!) comes to an end, I thought it would be nice  to reflect on the past year considering I’m a huge fan of “end-of-the-year” lists! I’m not a fan of personal info on my blog but I think the following is pretty benign. Also, 2008 was such a horrible year, that I was determined to make 2009 awesome. I think I succeeded… Here are some month-by-month highlights (consider this my supremely annoying Christmas card!):


  • Quit my job
  • Turned 26 (sayonara quarter century!)
  • Went to Madrid with my BFF


  • Enjoyed living the unemployed dream before it got boring and tedious


  • Started my awesome blog!
  • Went to Arizona for Cubs Spring Training, baked in the sun for what I would later find out would be the last time I could do that. Thanks for the tan Arizona!


  • Another exciting Cubs season began…


  • As quick as the Cubs season began… it was already over.
  • I learned the value of couponing thanks to all the frugal blogs out there on the information super highway! Not sure how much I saved but if my CVS receipts are any indicator, my year-to-date savings there alone is over $800!


  • Went to Las Vegas for the first and last time
  • Went to my first Cubs-White Sox game on the scary southside


  • Can’t remember much about this… I can only assume this means that I went on the traditional midyear/midsummer bender


  • Started grad school!


  • Reunited with my long lost lover and became engaged!
  • Went to Seattle with my family for an awesome Bears-Seahawks game


  • Formed a legendary karaoke band, “Annette”


  • My long lost lover moved in and I said goodbye to my beloved single life forever


  • This  month flew by, I have no idea what happened in December besides Christmas and going to Pittsburgh with my Dad for an awesome Steelers game!

So that, in a nutshell, has been my year. I look forward to making 2010 even more awesome, if that’s possible. Thank you also to all of you, my readers, for making my blog and my year worthwhile! Have a fabulous New Years, be safe, and I’ll see you again in 2010!

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Decision Day!

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I cannot believe this day is finally here, but Decision Day is TOMORROW!!!  We will know if the 2016 Olympics will be in Chicago TOMORROW.  I remember a few years ago seeing this date and thinking it would never get here.  I hope there will be good news to report tomorrow…  I’m going to head down to the rally in Daley Plaza tomorrow morning and “let friendship shine!”  Go Chicago!!

Things I Live For: People who back the bid

Quote of the Day: “In the twilight, it was a vision of power.” –Upton Sinclair

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I love flags.  Whenever I travel, I do my best to find the local flag to bring back.  Likewise when family and friends visit places, they know the only souvenir I want is a flag.  Some I have acquired by purchasing here in the States, i.e. my Jordan flag.  I was at a festival and this man had a whole display of various flags for sale.  I wanted a flag from the Middle East and was looking for Iraq.  He did not have it so I settled on Jordan.  (This is likely the only way I will obtain Middle Eastern flags as it is not on my list of desired destinations…)

chiflagOne of my favorite flags is obviously the flag for the City of Chicago.  A large one hangs a wall in my house.  While I enjoy large flags, they are not as easy to display as the little handheld ones, thus I prefer those.  But for Chicago, you know I would glady make an exception.

Another favorite is my Amsterdam flag.  The reason this is a fave are twofold.  One, I love the colors and design.  Two, obtaining this flag almost did not happen.  I had amsterdamflaglooked low and high (holla!) while in Amsterdam for this flag.  I saw it flying everywhere, and on t-shirts– but no flags for purchase.  Finally, when Biggie and I finally found our tour bus after frantically trying to locate it (the time we almost missed the bus Part 1) there was a shop right there that had flags galore.  I dashed in, tossed the lady some euros, got on the bus, and happily fell asleep.

I don’t stop at flags from actual places.  For example, I have 2 sets of banner style flags that I proudly fly: Tibetan Prayer flags and Jolly Roger Pirate flags.  Obviously tibetanflagsI fly the pirate flags to warn landlubbers what they are in for.  The Tibetan Prayer flags have set meanings which I love: “Traditionally, prayer flags are used to promote peace, compassion, strength, and wisdom. The flags do not carry prayers to ‘gods,’ a common misconception, rather the Tibetans believe the prayers and mantras will be blown by the wind to spread the good will and compassion into all pervading space. Therefore, prayer flags are thought to bring benefit to all.

The flags I fly to let people know how I roll (i.e. my heritage) are the American flag and the flags of Germany and the U.K.: germany


I particularly cherish my U.K. flag because it is from my late grandmother who came over to the States from Wales.

Other flags I own that round out my collection are: Turkey (a gift from my parents), Spain, and U.S. Virgin Islands:







vi flag

I enjoy all the flags I own because of their history (which I won’t go into here since you have access to Wikipedia as well), their design, and what they mean to me, whether it is a time I had visiting that place or another reason I love it (sometimes just the design!) 

Flags on my wish-list are: Australia, the State of California, Conch Republic, France and Greece.  Why I don’t have the latter 2 is curious to me, as I as well as friends and family have spent time there.  I guess that is what the internet is for!  (Note: I am not picky about my flags– they do not have to come directly from the place they represent!)  So the next time you’re on a trip (or the internet) and you need a present for me… think flags! 

Do you have a favorite flag????

Pet Peeve of the Day: Wind

Quote of the Day: “There ought to be a law against you comin’ around — you should be made to wear earphones.” –Bob Dylan

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Vocab Lesson

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I say a lot of weird shit.  I don’t call anybody by their real names (and if I do it probably means I don’t like you or know you that well), I make up some words, and say some unusual ones.  Here’s a vocab lesson to help keep you on your toes around here:

Vom: Short for vomit.  As used in a sentence: “A shot of tequila or Jameson makes me wanna vom.”

Annoy2k: I am fairly certain Biggie’s friend from college, Marcy, introduced me to the simple “annoy” to describe something as annoying.  I wanted to take it one step further, and the year was 1999.  Hence, Annoy2k, vocabthe most annoying of all annoying things.  As used in a sentence: “The Cardinals got DeRosa?  Wow, annoy2k!”

What’s tha date:  I’m not asking you what the date is.  It’s more like, I didn’t hear you/what’d you say?  As used in a sentence: “Wait, what’s tha date?”

Mobile: Cell Phone.  As used in a sentence: “Klinker, where the hell is my mobile?!”

Vale (Bah-lay):  It’s Spanish for ok, yeah, agreed, etc.  I use it quite liberally and whenever I feel like it.  As used in a sentence: “I will meet you there.  Vale.  Vale.  Vale, vale vale!!”

Euro:  No, not my favorite currency.  Urinate.  As used in a sentence: “I just chugged a bunch of water and now I gotta euro.”

Shit’s piece:  I was asking my Italian friend to provide me with some Italian terms and phrases I could use.  (He doesn’t speak English that well.)  So he sent me a list and on it was some Italian term translated by him to say “shit’s piece.”  I thought that was the most hilarious thing I had ever heard.  I knew he meant to say “piece of shit” but goddamn if shit’s piece isn’t funnier and more descriptive!  As used in a sentence: “That weirdo that kept stalking us at the bar was a fuckin’ shit’s piece!”

I also use a variety of Aussie phrases as I love Australians and strive to be more like them:

Jumper:  Basically a hoodie or sweater.  As used in a sentence: “It’s so cold, I better go put my jumper on.”

Runners:  Gym shoes.  As used in a sentence: “I wish I didn’t have a need for runners but I guess exercise is kind of necessary.”

Sunnies:  Sunglasses.  As used in a sentence: “I’m gonna wear my sunnies inside so people will think I’m a celebrity!”

And a term I made up based on Aussie-ness:

Flippies:  Flip-flops.  As used in a sentence: “I love wearing my flippies in the summer.”

I am sure I am forgetting some… but if you’re curious about what something I say means, just ask!  More often than not it’s just some nonsense…

Pet Peeve of the Day: The smell of blown out candles

Quote of the Day: “And she made a vow, to have it all, it became her new religion.” –Tom Petty

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