Saturday, July 26, 2008

When they moved my grandmother on my father's side into an assisted living facility, one of her biggest complaints was that she couldn't get good produce. She had always lived on farms and always had access to good produce, but in the assisted living place, I guess they weren't big on fruit. She particularly missed cherries and onions. Now, I know of a really good produce place in Chicago, so I would buy cherries and onions and mail them up to her from time to time. I think she shared them with the other people in the facility, too, so there was a bit of a social element about it, too. Mostly, I just liked the idea of my grandma eating her onion sandwiches and spitting out cherry pits.

I've been buying a lot of cherries lately. They're really tasty. And every time I buy them, I think that I should send some up to grandma. Of course, she passed away a few years ago. So I'll eat them for her.

I love you, grandma.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

I worked in a factory today on an assembly line. Mostly, all I could think of was Charlie Chaplin's "Modern Times." I didn't tweak anybody's buttons, though. I did cut my thumb really nicely. Badge of honor. Woo hoo.

I think somebody owes me a cookie.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

So this morning, I ripped my last contact lens. I hate my dependence on contact lenses, but I really like being able to see stuff. So I went on this search to find out when the last time was that I got an eye exam to find out if I could just purchase more contacts from the nice, lovely online store so that I would have new lenses in couple of days, or if I had to go get a new eye exam before anyone would sell me more lenses.

Side note: I understand that one can cause damage to one's eyes if one wears contacts or glasses of the wrong prescription. However, they're my eyes and if I want to stretch a prescription past the one year mark, I should be allowed to. I'll even sign a waiver that will disallow me from suing whatever company that sells me contact lenses that damage my eyes. Anyway. Back to the real post.

Last year, when I was between insurance and employed by a company that paid me approximately seven cents an hour, I went to one of those discount eye care places where if you pay them about a hundred bucks, you get free eye exams for three years and discounts on glasses and contacts. So I signed up. And seeing as that was my last eye exam, I had to find out when exactly that took place. April. I had to go in and get a new exam before anyone would sell me new contact lenses. So I made an appointment for 5:30.

Long about 5:45, I got called in for the prescreening stuff, including the obnoxious puff of air shot into your eye. It almost makes me wish I had glaucoma so that the puff of air wouldn't be so startling. Is that the point of that test? If you don't jump three feet in the air, there's something wrong with your eyes? So they do the prescreening and the guy is very...speedy. He wants to get people in and out of there like it's a race. He doesn't really listen to anything I say, tries to flatter me by telling me I look my age when he thought I said I was ten years older than I am, and he tells me to stop twitching in the glaucoma machine three times even though I tell him that the flashing light is bothering me. What do they do with epileptics? I wonder if that light has ever caused seizures. This guy would have felt like a jackass if he told me to stop twitching and I was having a seizure. Maybe. Had he taken the time to notice. I bet he wouldn't have put a wallet in my mouth to prevent me from chewing off my own tongue.

So anyway, after the three minutes of prescreening (which was WAY too long because he had to puff my right eye twice. Sorry dude), I was taken back into the hall to wait another twenty minutes for the doctor. Who barely said two words to me the entire exam. She flew through that thing like her kitchen was on fire and she couldn't call the fire department until she finished my eye exam. She was getting pissed at me because the little flippy things they make you look through (which is better, one or two? One or two? Three or four?) were largely the same. Apparently, that was the result of me not blinking enough, not the possibility that there really wasn't a difference in the lenses.

She finished the exam and said that my prescription was mostly the same, but with little changes here and there. What the hell does that mean? Little changes here and there? All of a sudden I have seven eyes, two of which are nearsighted, one has perfect vision, and four have astigmatism in varying degrees? But she ushers me out into the hall and tells me to wait for the next guy, who then takes me into the room with all of the glasses frames to help me pick out glasses.

I'm not there for glasses! I'm there for contacts! I'm there because I hate wearing my glasses!

They would, of course, know this, if their computer system kept track of patients for more than six months. They had almost no record of me at all. When they guy clued in that I was there for contacts, he had to re-enter all of my information into the computer. Wouldn't you think that I'd already be in there since they had a paper file on me, and I was there just over a year ago, and paid to be part of their free eye exam program?

By this point, I was so angry, I was about to scream. He asks me how many boxes of contacts I'd like to order. I tell him that I would just like a copy of my prescription. He tells me they can't give it to me until after I've placed an order. I tell him that since I wear funky contacts, I can buy them cheaper elsewhere and that it is my medical information, so I would really like to be in possession of it. He tells me that they have to first order trial lenses for me which be in in about ten days, and then wear them for a week, and then have the doctor re-examine me, and then they can give me my order for lenses (assuming they are okay) and some time after that, I might be able to get a copy of my prescription. And of course, they don't have my particular lenses in stock at the moment, so they want to charge me $90 for a supposed free eye exam and to be without lenses for a couple of weeks until the trial lenses come in, at which point I'll get to find out if I spent $90 on the right lenses or not.

I snapped at him. I didn't mean to, and I apologized for it while I also told him that the company for which he works sucks ass (though I was more polite than that), I handed over my credit card, and left. On the way home, I was pissed that I didn't say, "Thank you. You've been minimally helpful," on my way out. Instead, I just screamed in my car. Maybe not the best idea given the state of my throat for the last week and a half.

When I got home, I called this particular location back and made them cancel my order. I was a little miffed that I didn't get to rip into them for their horrible customer service, mediocre exam, and non-existent "bedside manner." And I promptly Googled another eye care chain, found a location, and was able to book myself the last appointment of the day at 7:20. Drove like a maniac to get there, but I got there at 7:18.

At this location, the prescreening is twice as long as the whole process was at the other place, but in a good way. I got the feeling that they were actually checking for stuff, not just having me stick my face in various machines for shits and grins. And the exam! What a good exam! A doctor who let me take the time I needed to determine if three was better than four without getting pissy. And she looked at my eyes. Really looked at them. She told me that I have bubbles on the lenses of my eyes. I'd never heard that before. It's nothing that apparently affects my vision at all, but it is apparently really cool to look at. And she thought that maybe the lenses I was wearing were too strong, and therefore squeezing my eyeballs. She gave me sample lenses, right then and there, to wear for a week and see how they work. We made my appointment to come back next week, or, if the lenses work out nicely, I can just call and place an order. And as I was paying for my exam, they put my prescription in a little envelope for me, just in case I might want it for my records.

So what have I learned from all of this? You get what you pay for. Yes, it cost me thirty dollars more to go to the good place and get a decent eye exam from someone whose opinion I can take seriously, who took the time to ask how I like my current lenses and whatnot, but I think that was an extra thirty dollars well spent if it means I never have to set foot in that other joke of an office again. Besides. It's just money. There are always ways to get more if you need it. And thirty dollars will not break me.

Monday, July 21, 2008

My body is so not used to working out. The actual physical exertion is not the problem. It's the fact that the squat machine rips up my shoulders and breaks all kinds of blood vessels so I look like I've been beaten. It's the fact that my hands don't have the calluses on them in the right places yet to be able to handle all of the grips on the machines. It's my hands that hurt, not my muscles. Working out and trying to be healthy should not be this hard!

Oh well. I guess the alternative is to become completely sedentary, gain four hundred pounds, and stop caring. Yeah, not so much.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

So I kind of hate to say it, but the world is not set up for single people. At least, the consumer world is not set up for single people. You go to the store and you have to buy things in bulk. I wanted to buy some lettuce today so I could make sandwiches, and my choices were to buy three romaine hearts (still in tact), or to buy three leaves of spring mix. Considering I don't know exactly when said sandwiches are going to be eaten, I opted for the three romaine hearts because they will probably keep longer in my fridge than the random spring mix leaves. I try to buy the hydroponic butter lettuce when it is available, but it wasn't available today, so I now find myself the proud owner of three romaine hearts. And what's really funny about it is that they're kind of sort of trying to clue into the fact that not everyone has a family of seven. Some companies are starting to sell things that are packaged individually. This is, in all truth, not a new concept. Just look at American pasturized processed cheese food product, or individually wrapped American cheese food slices as some people know them. You can eat just one piece of cheese without having to worry that the rest of the cheese will go bad. But you have to buy a package of sixteen of them. You can't buy just one slice of cheese. And it's not just cheese. You can now buy individually wrapped frozen chicken breasts so that you just thaw out as much as you need for your romantic dinner for two without a) having leftovers or b) having to worry about thawing and re-freezing chicken breasts. But they come in packages of six. I don't need six chicken breasts in my house. Granted, I'm a vegan so I don't really need any chicken breasts in my house, unless they are still attached to a live chicken, but even then I'd be careful 'cuz who knows what my cat would do to a live chicken.

So what this all means is that I need to move to Europe where people tend to go to the market daily and you can buy a one-serving-sized loaf of fresh bread and an individual serving of cheese (not that I eat cheese, but you get the idea) and three strawberries and one carrot to have a one-person-sized dinner of fresh, healthy food without tons of stuff going to waste or turning into mush in your fridge because you don't want to eat the same thing everything day until you run out of pastrami.

I just want one head of non-iceberg lettuce. Is that so wrong?

Saturday, July 19, 2008

There's a hole in my ceiling, dear Liza, dear Liza
There's a hole in my ceiling, dear Liza, a hole

Well fix it, dear Kitty, dear Kitty, dear Kitty
Well fix it, dear Kitty, dear Kitty, the hole

With what shall I fix it, dear Liza, dear Liza
With what shall I fix it, dear Liza, the hole

Go fix it with spackle, dear Kitty, dear Kitty
Go fix it with spackle, dear Kitty, the hole

Okay, but see, I tried that and the spackle was all gooey and not in the good gooey spackle kind of a way, and then when I went to dry off the bit of my ceiling that was dripping, part of the ceiling came off in my hand. I'm not sure that I have the tools to put my ceiling back together. I'm not sure that as a renter, I should be required to put my own ceiling back together. I called the emergency repair line. They might end up charging me $40 for calling the emergency maintenance line in a non-emergency, but I would say that a dripping hole in my ceiling qualifies as an emergency. If a burst pipe is an emergency, the possibility of my ceiling caving in should qualify as an emergency, too.

Anyway, please keep your fingers crossed that they come to fix my ceiling soon. Before the next monsoon hits.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

So yeah, I've had this sore throat since Sunday that is really starting to piss me off. I stayed home today to try to rest it, and ultimately learned why it is important, even when you have no appetite, to eat when you are sick. See, if you've got something like post nasal drip, where your own mucous is dripping down the back of your throat and eventually into your stomach all day, and you don't have anything else in there to keep your stomach occupied, your stomach tries to digest the mucous, which it ultimately can't do. So instead, it sends it right back out the way it came. Almost.

Yeah, right about 1:30, I was really glad I'm at home today and not at work. Though I'm turning into one of those people who keeps up with her work emails from home. When did that happen?

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

I had blueberries and mixed nuts for breakfast today.

I'm eating nuts and berries.
Okay, Uggla got into the All-Star game and DeRosa didn't? I can pretty much guarantee you that DeRosa would not have committed THREE ERRORS in the game.

But maybe that's just me.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Okay, so the All-Star game.

I wish Derrek Lee got to go. I wish Mark DeRosa got to go. I'm loving watching the Cubs players who are there and I love Zambrano for picking someone off of first just now, and that's all I'm going to say about the Cubs having the largest number of representatives out of any team in baseball. Except one little woo hoo.

woo hoo

This particular game is a lot of fun because of all of the old all-stars who are in attendance. It's like a live version of the Hall of Fame. I recognize so many of the names and a lot of the faces, and I find myself wishing that I had been around to see more of them play. Ernie Banks, Ron Santo, Mickey Mantle, Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Fergie Jenkins, Willy Mays, Jackie Robinson, they all either retired or died before I got to see them play. Makes me a little sad. And makes me that much happier that I get to see guys like Geovany Soto in his rookie season, you know?

I love baseball.

One question: now that the All-Star game determines home field advantage in the World Series, do they play extra innings in the event of a tie?
I remember when I was little, the last thing you wanted was anything generic. You didn't want your mom buying the green beans in a white can with black block letters saying "BEANS" any more than you wanted her to buy you a jacket at K-Mart. It just wasn't cool. You couldn't brag about it. "Yeah, well my peanut butter doesn't have a fun cartoon character mascot, so there!" Just doesn't have the same ring to it.

And then somewhere along the way, probably in college, we got over that. I think it has to do mostly with that being the first time in your life when if you want something, you have to buy it yourself. And if you can get your sandals at Wal-Mart for five dollars, that leaves you more money to go out with on the weekend.

I also remember when generic stuff became brand name. Each grocery store started carrying it's own brand of stuff, so they could put a cool name on it and add some color to the packaging.

But if anyone has their doubts about store brands or "generics," I would just like to point them in the general direction of Trader Joe's. They have the soy ice cream thing DOWN. They have the pre-packaged, microwaveable food thing DOWN. In many cases, I prefer the Trader Joe's brand of stuff to other brands of similar stuff. And no, they're not paying me to say that. I just had some chocolate soy creamy and it's probably the best vegan chocolate ice cream I've tried. If you didn't know it was vegan, you wouldn't know it was vegan.

So kudos to Trader Joe's for turning us all on to generics. Woo hoo!
Okay, so I know that summer is the time for big blockbuster movies, but in all honesty, I think whoever it was that made the schedule for what movies to open when needed a little help this year. We've got two fantastical action movies starring Brendon Frasier coming out within a month of each other, and we've got two fantastical movies featuring long-slumbering armies that are brought back to life to destroy the world. Do they really think the American public needs that many movies with similar story lines all at the same time? Or is it because of the writer's strike, they really didn't have anything else to release this summer?

Whatever the reason, I'm looking forward to The Dark Knight this Friday. As far as I can tell, it's the only movie coming out this summer with bats and guys who model themselves after the playing card that isn't used very much.

Monday, July 14, 2008

I've started watching Gilmore Girls again. I'm not sure if it's in response to George Carlin or something else. I have a feeling it's something else, but I'm not sure what. The movie ending. The fact that it's going to get cold again soon. The fact that in about six weeks I will have been at my day job for a year. But yeah. It's a little better this time because I am actually doing other things while I'm watching, so it's not eating up my whole life. But yeah, I'm expecting to be a bit on the down low for a little while.

That and I have a sore throat. Which, as my mom pointed out, is a bit odd because I'm not in tech week for a show or anything just now. I usually only get sick when my body is telling me I need to chill out for a bit, but I don't know what I need to chill out from. Life in general, maybe?

Anyway. One thing is for sure - I want to start writing more again. Both in here and for creative purposes. Books, plays, music, whatever. I'm going to start writing again. So look out word! I'll be filling my hard drive with drivel! Woo hoo!

Sunday, July 06, 2008

So it's been a rough week for the Cubs, but we're still sending seven guys to the All Star Game. Woo hoo! I think that is the largest number of Cubs I've seen in an All Star Game ever. Yay! I do wish Lee and DeRosa got to go, though. I think they both really deserve it, maybe even moreso and one or two of the guys who are going. Oh well.

But that's not really why I'm here today. I'm here to wish a very happy birthday to my mother. I don't know that I can adequately describe who she is or what our relationship means to me, so I'll use the very inadequate words "I love you, Mom," and hope she gets the rest of it. I love you, Mom. Happy birthday.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Happy Fourth of July.

I'm having a little bit of trouble wrapping my mind around the fact that it is July already. Probably because it's a whopping 65-70 degrees outside. But seriously, where has the year gone? Another month and I will have been at my current job for a year. A year already. When did that happen?

But I digress. Today is about celebrating this country in which we (I) live. We have free speech (sort of, in theory anyway), freedom of religion (kind of), we have a million opportunities...

I love being American. I really do. I love living in Chicago. I've been to New York and Los Angeles and San Francisco and Houston and Boston and London and Madrid and Paris and Amsterdam and Sydney and who knows where all else and I have to say that Chicago is a world-class city. It's a great place to be and live and experience. I love it here. I'm having a little bit of trouble believing in our current leadership, but hopefully that will all be changing soon. History will be made in November and maybe we'll infuse some hope back into this country. I guess that's one good thing about America -- even when crappy leaders are installed, they can't stay in power longer than eight years. Well, it's been a rough eight years and it is time for things to change. Show the rest of the world once again why America is a good place to be and that Americans are decent people, for the most part.

But given all of that, is it wrong that I don't really want to go out and brave the crowds at all of the various Fourth of July festivities? I'm not really in a fireworks kind of place at the moment. Is it wrong that I want to stay home and clean my house and watch the Cubs game (please please please please please let us beat the Cardinals)? We'll see. I might feel differently in a couple of hours. But for now, I think I'm going to go eat some ice cream to follow up the soy dogs I had for lunch/dinner. What do you call a meal eaten at 3pm?

Oh! And I got my hair fixed yesterday. No more Dorothy Hamill. Yay!

Happy Fourth of July everybody. Whatever your plans are, be safe.