Note to self…

… always – always - bring camera with you.
I was thinking about how I should start bringing my camera with me everywhere I go, even though it’s pretty bulky and heavy.
Then last week, as I was walking to lunch, I saw that one of the bridges over the Chicago River was closed and a giant crane was lowering a man in a tiny rowboat onto the river.
Why? Why was a man in a boat being lowered onto the river? I’ll never know. And you’ll never get to know how cool a sight that was, simply because I was too lazy to lug my camera with me. I hope you can someday forgive me.
And then today there was a man in a chicken suit and another man in a cow suit handing out some flyers by the train station. That might have been nice for you to experience.
And then tonight there was this magnificent dessert that I ate with Natasha and Dee-Dee, that was essentially a $15 ‘smore.
But you’ll never get to know what these things were like, except in your vast imaginations. It’s a good thing you’re so creative.
Here’s a picture of a part of a tree that kind of looks like a mouth**. I know it’s no boat being lowered by a giant crane onto the Chicago River, but it’s the best I’ve got. Mwah!

**A friend who will remain anonymous has just informed me that this does not look like a mouth, but in fact, looks like a dirty, dirty picture that I should be ashamed of posting. So I’ve now deemed it not-safe-for-work. Good god – I’m a tree pornographer! Click if you dare…


Let me repeat…

Okay – gotta hurry off to get ready for another early morning meeting, but let me just say once more about my previous post: I’m so very very sorry. I HAD TO GET IT OUT OF MY BRAIN! And into yours. Believe me – seeing it was much worse than reading about it.
And in other news – I HEART PORTLAND! I know I’ve said that before about Seattle, and DC, and New York, and of course Chicago… but this time I think i mean it. Portland is like your old friend from small-town elementary school who’s still super sweet and smart, but has grown into a really cool adult who likes to go out to eat at great restaurants and always seems to know stuff about bands you’ve never heard of. Portland is awesome like that. And the downtown area feels a little like Main Street USA at Disneyworld. Cobblestone streets and white lights and all. Except instead of Disney characters walking around, there are a lot of homeless people. So that made me homesick for Chicago.
Oh, and I think people are really trusting and law-abiding here – what up with driving the speed limit, yo? And what up with the honor system on the MAX lines? Is anyone ever going to ask for my ticket? Suckers.

Please Forgive Me

philadelphia church
Forgive me for what I am about to tell you…
Today, as I was walking to work from the train station, I watched in horror as a man in front of me…
[This isn’t easy for me to talk about]
… blew his nose INTO HIS BARE HAND, looked at it, then wiped it on his pants and jacket. He was a trader working at the Mercantile Exchange. I’m dumping all my shares of pork bellies immediately.
And here I’ve always thought the farmer blow was the most repulsive act imaginable involving ones’ nose and the open air. How wrong I was.
So really, I’m so sorry I had to share that, but I needed someone to feel my pain.
And in other news, I’m off to Portland Tuesday and Wednesday to do some site inspections for TequilaCon. Well, actually I’m there for a business meeting, and won’t get to enjoy even one minute of the city, but still. A girl can pretend, can’t she? Be good.

It’s Now or Never


[designed by dave2]

The time has come, my friends, to separate the true believers from the commitment-phobes.
I’m talking about TequilaCon ’07: Portland Edition. You’ve heard about it, thought about it, contemplated it, worried about it, decided against it, changed your mind about it, still undecided about it.

Enough with the wishy-washy, peeps! It’s less than two months away! Believe me – I know how hard it can be to make a decision like this, so I thought it would help if I gave you a Pros/Cons list, like I usually do for big decisions:

1. Tequila
2. Hang out in Portland, home of Powell’s bookstore, and I’m sure a bunch of other cool stuff
3. Meet awesome bloggers and ex-bloggers
4. Time off from work
5. Enough blog fodder to give you at least 2-3 more entries
6. TequilaCon swag
7. Breakdance contests
8. Tattoos
9. Finally get to take pictures of something other than your cats

1. Tequila hangover
2. Portland ice storms
3. Return to everyday life will be a total letdown
4. Ex-bloggers might try to convince you that blogging is out
5. Lindsay Lohan can’t make it

Clearly, you can see that the Pros far outweigh the Cons, so you really have no excuse. Once again, here are the specifics:

TequilaCon ’07
Saturday, March 10, 2007
Portland, Oregon
McMenamins Kennedy School
7:00pm – ?

Hopefully, you’ve already received these details from me in an email, but if you’re planning on going and haven’t received any of the update emails I’ve sent out, send an email to and I’ll make sure I add you to the distribution list.

Hope to see you all there!


“Come to TequilaCon or I will steal your babies.”

Opinion Poll: Etiquette

Q: If you hopped into a cab that smelled of human feces, would you:
a) Immediately tell the driver you forgot something and make him drop you off after only one block
b) Breathe in and out of your mitten the entire ride home
c) Hold your breath until you passed out and just hope that the cabbie would roll your lifeless body onto your front sidewalk after snatching the $20 bill out of your clenched fist
d) Say loudly to no one in particular, “Is it me, or this does this cab smell like human feces?”
e) Hang your head out of the window like a dog
f) Other
I did one of these.


autumn sky
Her bike is leaning against the chain link fence, unprotected. I pause a minute with my laundry, worried that someone might steal the bike, when I see her coming out of the garage. I feel relieved.
“Hi. Cold out today.”
My next door neighbor is a small Asian woman – she can’t be 5 feet tall – with a broad face and a quick smile. In her puffy coat and comfortable black shoes, she looks much younger than the sixty-something I imagine her to be. Her English is broken, so our brief exchanges typically revolve around the weather and, in the summer, her garden. She takes great care growing an impressive assortment of vegetables in her tiny yard.
“Your garden looks beautiful this year,” I’ll say as I fumble for my keys.
She usually smiles, but then brushes this off with a comment about how it’s been too wet, or too dry this season.
At least once each summer, as I am coming in from work or exiting the laundry room, she will offer me something from her garden. Once, she handed me a fistful of tarragon, and told me to cook chicken with it. This past summer, she plucked a cucumber off the vine, quickly rubbed away all the prickly bumps with her rough hand, and gave it to me.
“There. Now no need to buy salad.”
I thanked her, and said I would eat it that night with my dinner, which I did.
But even more than her handsome garden with rainbow pinwheels to scare off the rabbits, what I most look forward to is seeing her on her bicycle. She rides a child’s bicycle – small pale pink frame, high handlebars with glittery tassels, and a long, pink rectangular seat. Whenever she leaves on this bike, she pushes herself down the alley with her feet, never pedaling until she turns the corner and reaches the sidewalk. Her feet dangle over the asphalt as she coasts effortlessly.
Sometimes I see her riding home from the grocery store, plastic bags of food swinging from the handlebars. Where does she put her bike when she shops? I never see a lock on it. Why doesn’t it get stolen? I spend a fair amount of time worrying about someone stealing her bike. I think to myself that if her bike ever got stolen, I would buy her a new one. But one that looked exactly the same.


While I was rushing to the train station today, thinking about my new year’s theme of revival, I was struck by a powerful feeling that something was missing. It wasn’t the theme itself – I’m already giddily making lists of all the things I’m going to revive in 2007. It took me a while to pinpoint it, but I ultimately determined that in addition to a theme for each new year, what I truly needed was an annual sponsor. Not a sponsor in the financial sense, or in the Al Anon sense, but more in an inspirational capacity. My sponsor needs to be someone who exemplifies the spirit of the new year, someone I can look to for guidance when I start to stray from my designated path.
After some brief, yet thoughtful consideration, I determined who my 2007 sponsor is going to be, and that person is…
Ann-Margret, ladies and gentlemen! The lovely and fabulous Ann-Margret!

She’s everything 2007: Year of Revival stands for – she’s gorgeous, sexy, playful, multi-talented, little bit crazy, endearing, groovy, kind, fun-loving, and retro-chic before retro-chic even existed. I guess that would make her just chic.
She will be my sponsor, my mentor, my spirit guide through this long and winding year. Any time I’m feeling lost or unsure, I’m going to ask myself, “What would Ann-Margret do?” A lot of times, when people ask themselves these philosophical questions, it sparks great internal debate:

Yes, of course the tree made noise. But how do you know if no one heard it? Well why on earth wouldn’t it? But what I’m asking is whether sound is relative or absolute. And the sound of one hand clapping? There’s no such thing – that’s just swatting air. Oh, you’re missing the point.

The wonderful thing about my sponsor for 2007 is that there is only one answer to the WWAMD question. And that answer is… Dance, people. Dance!

My first official act of 2007 is going to be to revive the Ann-Margret kitten dance. You know the one – bend your arms, let your wrists hang limp, and do a gentle side-to-side twisting motion. That’s it, easy… easy… you’re doing it!

C’mon gang! Everybody kitten dance! You sexy, sexy kittens! Now purrrrrr….

Jenny’s Diet Tips

Quickest way to lose those holiday pounds = three plus days of the stomach flu
Hey, I never said it was the best way. Just the quickest.
The only thing that can calm me belly is a classic example of whore eyes:
whore eyes

New Year’s Eve Weekend

December 31st – Appetizers with Natasha before going out
Cocktail franks
Spicy pickled okra
January 1st – 3:30am snack upon returning from bars
Cocktail franks
January 1st – lunch
Cocktail franks
Spicy pickled okra
Wine (hair of the dog)
January 1st – dinner
Cocktail franks
Spicy pickled okra
January 2nd – dinner
Cocktail franks
Spicy pickled okra
There are no more cocktail franks. What’s the point of living? Oh that’s right – there’s still some wine.

Never a Bride

To: Jenny
From: Vivian
Subject: New Year
Dear Jenny –
Happy New Year! May this year be all about revival!
And I think you should start by reviving your blog! I’ve been checking
it everyday for new stories but nothing but the same pictures of your cats that I’ve been looking at for the past two weeks!
Although I know she means well, what my friend Vivian clearly does not understand is that these past two weeks have been the most trying of my entire life. Not because of the holidays – I had a simple yet pleasant Christmas with my family, bought all my gifts online so as to never have to interact with real people, and actually didn’t gain the requisite six pounds. This season, my stress came from the planning, preparation, execution, and recovery from what any woman will tell you is the most physically and emotionally draining experience imaginable – being a bridesmaid.
Several months ago, when my friend Kim asked me to stand up in her wedding, I was thrilled and honored beyond belief. When she told me that her wedding would be on December 29th, I thought it was perfect timing because I always have to use up my vacation days at the end of the year anyway. When she told me that she wanted to make it easy on the bridesmaids (I was one of fifteen) by letting us wear a black dress of our choosing, I started to feel queasy.
See, I happen to be one of those women who actually prefers having to wear a puffy sleeved lime green floor length bridesmaid dress with dyed-to-match shoes. And here’s why: I don’t have to make any decisions. For someone like me who hates to shop, is not particularly fashion-savvy, and rarely wears dresses, this was my nightmare.
Any dress I want? It just has to be black? Are you kidding me? Walk into any department store at the holidays and ask them to point you to the dress section. What you will find is no less than 7,000 black dresses – short, long, calf-length, sleeveless, backless, frontless, sequined, rhinestoned, cinched, baggy, strapless, strapful, asymmetrical, empire waisted, off-the-shoulder, flashy, demure, chiffoned, ribboned, high-necked, a-lined, classic, sexy, retro-chic, modern flaired, and traditional ball gowned.
When Kim first asked me to be a bridesmaid, I set a personal goal to have my dress purchased by no later than the end of October. I just knew that the prospect of having to rush around finding a dress near the holidays would put me into an emotional tailspin.
So when December 1st came and went, and I had yet to even look at dresses, I started to sweat. I couldn’t put it off any longer – so I headed out to Nordstom’s. My first venture into Ladies Dresses put me into such a state of overwhelm that I just wandered through the racks, lulled into a trance-like state by the clickety click of the hangers brushing against my shoulders as I squeezed past my fellow holiday shoppers.
I left without ever touching an actual dress.
I consulted dozens of friends (well, really just Dee-Dee and Natasha) who told me that J. Crew had a great line of black dresses. Fortunately, they were right. I grabbed three different styles, bought the one that fit, and got out of the store as quickly as I could. But where I thought my stress would end, it only just began. I spent the next two weeks panicking that my dress wasn’t fancy enough.
“Am I going to look like I’m going to brunch? This is a fancy wedding!”
“You’ll look fine! What are the other bridesmaids wearing?”
“I don’t know! That’s the problem! But I just know that Barb is going to wear a ball gown. She’ll look like she’s going to the Oscars, and I’ll look like I had to take a client out for lunch. What if everyone has floor-length dresses? Do you think they’ll be wearing floor-length dresses? Oh – get this – one of the bridesmaids has been a bridesmaid thirteen times already! I’m dealing with professionals here! Shit, shit, shit.”
I then convinced myself that in order to save my outfit, I would need three things:
1. Great jewelry
2. Fancy shoes
3. Whore eyes
I dragged Dee and Nat to DSW Shoes and tried on at least thirty pairs of strappy, sequined, fancy cocktail shoes and had a mini-meltdown in the sale rack and left a semi-hysterical voicemail for the bride. My biggest problem is that fanciness and walkability are in direct competition with one another, and second only to my fear of showing up looking like I was dressed for a PTA meeting was the fear of tripping down the aisle with the lit candle we would all be carrying. I would forever be remembered as that one poorly dressed bridesmaid who broke her ankle and set her own hair on fire.
After purchasing what I thought would be the perfect pair of strappy, sequined, open-toed, fancy cocktail shoes, I got a callback from my friend, assuring me that whatever shoes I picked out would be fine, as long as they weren’t strappy, open-toed, fancy cocktail shoes since we all had to wear black nylons. I apparently hadn’t read my bridesmaid instructions very well.
In the days leading up to December 29th, I returned to DSW, this time with Vivian in tow as she was home for the holidays. My original requirements of: a) easy to walk in, b) comfortable and c) cheaper than the price of my dress quickly fell by the wayside.
“Vivian – come here! What about these?”
“Too casual.”
“How about these?”
“I don’t like that heel.”
“This one?”
“That toe is kind of weird. What do you think about these?”
“Viv – what the hell? Why are you showing me black orthopedic Easy Spirit shoes when I’m standing up in a wedding in three days?”
“No, these are for me.”
“Oh. Then they’re very nice.”
Eventually, I found what turned out to be a highly walkable, very attractive, yet excruciatingly painful pair of shoes, but I was happy. I bought my jewelry the day before the wedding, and found an eyeshadow kit that I knew would make for the perfect whore eyes.
I could write an entire chapter on the events that transpired when Dee-Dee came over on the day of the wedding to get ready, as she was also attending, but instead will summarize in bullet format:

  • She ordered her dress, shoes and jewelry online four days before the wedding and had them shipped overnight to her house. Nothing fit so she had to return everything on December 28th.
  • In the entire suitcase full of clothing options she brought to my house, she somehow forgot to bring shoes that matched.
  • As she was rushing to get ready, she discovered that the nylons she hurriedly purchased were footless. I discovered that mine had a thin slime of moisturizer built into them. When did buying pantyhose become a more complicated decision than purchasing a home?
  • The outfit that our consultant Natasha liked the best made Dee-Dee look like a dime-store go-go hooker, even prior to applying eye makeup. We chose a different ensemble.

Ultimately, we somehow pulled our outfits together, effectively applied our whore eyes makeup, and looked completely appropriate at the wedding. The wedding was unbelievably beautiful and went without a hitch, but sadly, the church had some silly “no flash photography” rule, so this is the best photo of me not setting my hair on fire with my candle as I walked – not tripped – down the aisle.
So if any of my unmarried friends are reading this, and you someday want me to stand up in your wedding, please – I beg of you – make me wear the puffy sleeved floor length lime green dress with dyed-to-match shoes. If my friendship means anything to you, you’ll do me that one favor.