Rantopolis

In pursuit of ass shrinkage

Yes, you read that right.  Ass shrinkage.  The continuous pursuit of shrinking my ass and other body parts.

You probably refer to it as losing weight or dieting, but I think ass shrinkage has a nice little ring to it.

As a result, I’m always on the lookout for delicious, healthy foods that will help get me to the promised land.  (In case you are wondering, that’s code for a single-digit dress size.)

Truly drool-worthy!

Last week, I stumbled upon one such product at my Whole Foods.  It’s a line of delicious, gluten-free, all natural cookies under the Ginny Bakes brand.  And the “double chocolate happiness” variety was only 60 calories, each.

In fact, these cookies were so good, I decided to visit the website and send an email of praise to Ginny, herself.  I think it’s important to support and encourage entrepreneurs.  Particularly women who take a risk to follow their passion.

She wrote back and as coincidence would have it, she was going to be demo-ing the cookies at my Whole Foods this afternoon.  So, after lunch at my church supporting the annual Greek festival and a pitstop at Bed Bath & Beyond to get credit for a $5 coupon I forgot to bring with me yesterday, I zipped over to Whole Foods.

Ginny and her family were there sampling their line of cookies at two different stations.  (People…this Whole Foods is huge!)

Turns out Ginny is a lovely as her cookies.  (I also should probably mention that the macadamia nut flavor is also a real winner in my book!)

So, folks….if you are in Chicago, pick up a box.  (Also available in New York, Pennsylvania and Florida, with more locations to come shortly.)   Your taste buds…and your ass…will thank you!

Now for my random Sunday night thought.  I just received my bulging electric bill.  Note the gift-giving idea on the envelope.   I can just picture it.  Hi, I was going to bring a great bottle of wine for dinner, but instead I’m giving you a gift certificate toward your electric bill.

Nothing says “thoughtful” than the gift of kilowatts.

Or, congratulations on your graduation.  I was going to give you an iTunes gift card, but instead, I bought you a bucket of kilowatt hours.

That’s about as thoughtful as the person who gave me a used vase as a wedding present.  With old root clumps still in the bottom.

July 15, 2012   Comments Off

Categories: Brands I love

Juicing–not for sissys

I just read that 150 million hot dogs are consumed on the 4th of July.  I, however, did not partake of this tradition today.

While the rest of you Americans were chomping on dogs and hamburgers and downing kegs of beer, I was planted in front of the computer working away.

Long about lunch time, I had this bright idea to “juice” my lunch.  Afterall, I had purchased a humongous bag of spinach, bell peppers and celery from Costco a few days ago.  I figure if I also threw in some tomatoes, I’d come pretty close to making my own V-8.   Throw in some freshly squeezed limes and some Tabasco, and I’d come pretty close to a Virgin Mary.  Genius.

That’s what it looks like when I channel my inner Martha Stewart.

So lemme ask you.  Have you every tried to juice vegetables?

If you don’t have a really good juicer, you might as well just stick your head into a garbage disposal.  The mess and splatter that’s created will make you cry.   If you do have a really good juicer  (I do!) then be prepared to spend at least 15 minutes on disassembly, cleanup, and counter wipe down.

If you ask me, I think this is the real reason you lose weight when you juice.  The calories you expend during the clean up is equivalent to a power session with a personal trainer.

You also have a 50/50 shot of visiting the ER afterwards.  Those blades are like piranha teeth.  Think about it.  Those puppies liquify carrots.  Get my point?

Okay, so three cups of spinach, four celery stalks, two tomatoes and a cup of carrots later, I end up with this:

I wonder what this is going to do to my gastrointestinal tract.

Looks like someone whipped up some grass clippings, right?   I carefully taste it hoping it doesn’t make me wretch.

Hmm.  Not bad.  I then reach for the limes, the Tabasco and a dash of sea salt and pepper.  It doesn’t change the color any, but kicks the taste from okay, to sort of delicious.

So, I gulp down half a pitcher of this stuff all the while going through the entire clean up process.

By the time this whole fandango is done, by kitchen is clean and I am full.

Wait.  I’m going to repeat that.  I’m full on vegetable juice.  No bread.  No meat.    And I wasn’t being held hostage.

Freakin’ miracle.

July 4, 2012   Comments Off

Categories: Disgusting things , Manual labor , Uncategorized

Proof that I need servants

Yeah, I know.  First world problem.  But listen.  I have proof that if I don’t have servants…at least maybe one hand maiden…it’s going to end up costing me my life.   The first order of business is to get me an ironing wench.  This one domestic chore alone has cost me burned flesh and a broken appendage.

We are going to rapidly gloss over the wine glass that fell off a high shelf and shattered all over the granite counter top a few days ago.  Had I had a kitchen serving wench, this likely would not have happened.  I probably would still have the $6 quart of Whole Foods strawberries.  (They were in the sink being washed when glass shards rained all over the place.  I figured that sacrificing $6 was a better idea than swallowing a white wine stem with my breakfast cereal.)

Okay, so back to the ironing.

Remember that heat wave we had in March in Chicago?  Yeah. Ten days of 80-degree heat.  I wore all sorts of summer pants that week which I washed and then hung in a closet ready for ironing.  Yeah, okay, so three months passed before I got around to it.

As I finished ironing the last pair, I somehow turned around and jammed my foot into one of the couch legs.  And by jammed, think Spanish Inquisition.  The leg lodged itself between the last two toes of my right foot.

After I stopped screaming i looked down to see the pinky toe pointing away at a 45 degree angle.

I’m pretty sure I screamed out loud: Fuck my life!   I knew the damn thing was broken.  (Have I mentioned this isn’t the first time I’ve broken a toe.  It’s actually the second.  Umm third.

Thirty minutes after original injury. Purple already starting.

Next problem.

I was supposed to leave in two hours for a concert at Ravinia where I would be meeting friends.   After a few minutes of pondering, coupled with some acrobatic limp-walking to test the pain level, I decide I would be able to pull this off.  (Mostly due to priority parking access that night, a fist full of Advil and a bunch of adrenaline.)

Fast forward to yesterday.

I had been looking at the toe all week, watching the entire foot go through all sorts of colors of the rainbow.  I decide that maybe skipping the ER wasn’t a good idea afterall.  I mean, what if I was incubating toe-lio or something dire.

It was about 9 a.m. and as a smart city dweller, I decide to Google breaking news.  Afterall, if 30 people were just rushed to Northwestern Hospital due to due to some bus crash or driveby shooting, going at this time would probably not be a good idea.   (Indeed there had been a bus/car crash, but on the south side, so my hospital wasn’t affected.  See.  Another example of how Google is your friend.)

I quickly pull together my ER survival kit: iPad, iPhone, charger, earbuds, water bottle, sweater, purse and throw it all in a tasteful leather Coach tote bag.   (You gotta have some style, even though you are limping.)

I decide to  jump on the bus (yeah, I know…I was being all hardcore about this) and head over to the ER.   (What’s not to love about a hospital that’s two blocks a way from Tiffany’s.)

In I walk in just before 10 a.m.  I was pleasantly surprised to see only a handful of people in the waiting room.  (Looks like they’ve already dealt with last night’s gun shot wounds and knife stabbings.)  I just loves me an ER that isn’t on lockdown.

I check in and am told that it probably isn’t going to take very long until someone can see me.

Look! New bracelets over the iPad.

Right.  I’ve been told hospital lies before, so you can’t fool me.  I spot a seat in the corner next to an electrical outlet and far way from two people holding puke buckets.   Not only do I have access to electrical juice, but I’m avoiding DNA that doesn’t belong to me.  I pull out my iPad and proceed to read my book.

That’s when the crazy train pulled into the ER.

Lunatic #1 tried to steal the laundry cart until security stopped her.  Then she started screaming for someone to bring her a Bible.   (Lady, don’t even think of looking at my iPad.  I will not be downloading King James or any other version for you.)

Lunatic #2 was a guy in a wheel chair with a rolled up pant leg.  I’m pretty sure he had some flesh eating virus because there was a big black hole in his leg and a whole lot of swelling.  He then announced to the entire ER that he needed to go outside for a cigarette.

Umm…in addition to whatever ebola thing was happening to his leg, I stifled the urge to suggest a CT-scan of his lungs.

Then my name was called to visit the triage nurse.  Sweet.  This is moving along nicely.   (May I brag?  Blood pressure 115 over 70.  Take that, bitches!)

Back to my seat for more reading.  Then at about 10:48, the ER doc comes to get me.  (I decide to trigger the stop watch on my iPhone.  I’m feeling a personal best coming on and I would like to have a visual record.)

A room with a view. (No my legs aren’t the size of torpedos.  Damn iPhone!)

He takes me back to one of the ER rooms, where I proceed to tell me that I have received my medical training from Grey’s Anatomy so that qualifies me to provide a broken toe diagnosis.

He looks at it and agrees that is most likely the case.  But, I’m supposed to sit tight and wait for someone to take me to X-ray.   (That’s doctor speak for “pull out your iPad and start reading again.”)

My eyes gaze up to the wall where I spot the following:  X-ray results typically take one to two hours.

Oh man.  Am I going to have to download another book?!

Just as I’m wondering if it would be too princess of me to consider ordering lunch in, a nurse shows up with a wheel chair to take me down the hall for an X-ray.

Three positions and a lead shield later, I get wheeled back to my room.

Me: Excuse me.  How long will it take to get the results?

Her: They are ready right now.  The doctor just needs to take a look.

OMG…I have somehow died and gone to the VIP line.   Am I really at Northwestern Hospital?  It’s starting to feel a little like the concierge floor of the Peninsula a few blocks away.

At 10:59, the billing lady comes in making sure that the hospital has all of the correct information so they can extract their pound of flesh from me at a later time.

She gave me that little roll of tape to take with me. How much do you want to make a bet that they charged me $100 for it?

At 11:15, the nurse arrives to buddy tape my two toes together.  (I have a doctoral degree from the College of Google, so I was already expecting this.)   Then she asks for my shoe size.  I say 7 and stifle the urge to say “wide.”  She brings over my charming black boot which closes via Velcro tabs.

The doctor walks in at 11:20 to confirm that indeed the toe is fractured and to give me follow-up instructions.  (Basically, I need to change the buddy tape everyday for the next two weeks.)

I walk limp out of the hospital at 11:30 a.m., about an hour and a half after I walked in.

Definitely a new personal best.  (I offer a silent thank you to local gang members who have decided to not stab anyone on Michigan Ave. Saturday morning.  You may now continue with your flash mob activities.)

After, going into another building in the hospital complex to top-up my transit card, I hobble over a couple of blocks to the bus stop.   I realize two things.  I had forgotten to stop the stopwatch and I need to take a picture of my new boot, which likely is going to end up being more expensive than a pair of Louboutins.

So back to the needing servants thing.  See my point?

Haven’t you been gushing over the pedicure all the way through this?

June 17, 2012   Comments Off

Categories: Accidental things , Stupid things I do

Bus stop eavesdrop

It was supposed to be a simple little  walk down the street.   Probably about three miles there and back.  (We city people think three miles qualifies for “simple” and “little.”)  The purpose was to drop off some press kits at a client’s hotel, followed by a quick pit stop at the bank before returning home.

Right before I left, I put on a cute new pair of Hush Puppies thinking this would be a great opportunity to break them in.   I stepped into them and attached the Mary Jane Velcro strap.  I took a few steps.

Heaven.  Damn, I’m going to love these cushy shoes, I thought.  So, I grab my purse and my press kits and off I go down the street.

Three quarters of the way there, I start to notice a bit of discomfort on the outside edge of my left little toe.    By the time I get to the bank, the discomfort has turned into pain.

I lean on the counter, and take the shoe off.  I reach for a band aid I typically keep in my purse.  (I’ve had shoe issues before, so I typically have a couple of band aids stuffed into one of the compartments.)   I figure, I’ll wrap one around the toe and then walk the mile and a half home.

Four steps later, I realize that plan needs to be scrubbed.  If I attempt that walk, I will probably elect to self-amputate my toes long about the third block.

N. Michigan Ave. aka the Blister Creator

So, I gingerly step over to the bus stop a few feet away.  I take a seat on the bench and proceed to eavesdrop on a variety of conversation and requests.

Here’s why I hear from a group of three girls and a guy:

Guy:  See that building across the street?  I saw the penthouse on one of those buying real estate shows.

Girl #1: He must have been really rich.

Guy:  This was going to be his first purchase.

Girl#2.  It would be really cool living up there.  Can you imagine how fun into would be to look into the windows of other apartments?  I bet you could see unlimited one-night hookups.

Me:  (inaudibly)  Yes, that’s a pretty normal criteria when evaluating a high rise condo purchase.  Dear real estate agent, in addition, to the imported granite counter tops and state of the art appliances, exactly how many times a week will I be able to see other people porking through my kitchen windows?

Mercifully, the MENSA girl and her friends board the bus and get on with their lives.

Next up, is a woman in her 20s, with a messenger bag hanging across her chest.  Just as her bus pulls up and she is getting ready to board, she turns around and says to me…

Do you have a dollar you can spare?

What I say is:  No.

What I want to say is:  Sorry, but I believe you’ve confused me with an ATM machine.  Take a look at my chest.  Do you see a keypad anywhere in that vacinity?  No?  Then STFU.  Because as far as I can see, you are able bodied and have a CTA card, which presumably you’ve bought.  So, what was it about me that screamed “she’s an idiot and will most likely hand over her wallet?”

Maybe she noticed me hobbling and thought she had an easy mark.  Not a chance.

Let me share one more thing with you.  This is the sign I encountered last Friday in a rest stop bathroom on the Indiana Turnpike.   I had no idea these people clean with Agent Orange.

Damn! I left the gas mask in the car.

June 3, 2012   Comments Off

Categories: Chicago style

Locker #28

I gotta ask.  What’s with people who are pigs in gym locker rooms?

Seriously, how difficult is it to lift your towel off the floor and place it in a large receptacle  that is typically 10 to 20 feet away?

It begs the question, what happens in your own home?  Does your dropped  terry cloth eventually turn into multicolored floor covering?  Or do your ladies in waiting pick up after you?

Then we’ve got people that treat the actual locker like a mud room/garbage can.  Like this:

I'm scared of what I might find next week.

You see, locker #28 was my favorite at the gym where I go for my personal training.  Its just inside the entrance and enables a quick getaway.  Then long about February, some one stuck their wet boots/street shoes in there and left a few mud spots.  Gross.

Every week, I would check to see if it had been cleaned.  It hadn’t.

I bitched to my personal trainer about Locker #28.  Or I should say “my” locker.  Apparently, he didn’t think it was critical enough to pass the complaint along to management.  Clearly he under estimated my attachment to Locker #28.

Then last week, when I checked, I found gum wrappers in addition to the still-there mud spots.  (Of course, I bitched to my trainer again.  I really don’t go to the gym for personal training.  I pretty much pay him so that I can bitch about anything and everything.  Ain’t that right, Kurt?)

Back to the locker pigs. WTF?!

What will I discover next week?  A miniature crack den?   A deranged cat lady storing kittens there?

Will the neighboring lockers also go bad?  Condemned signs can’t be far behind.

You gotta wonder if these people were raised by wolves and under stalactites.  That would explain the mud, but not necessarily the gum wrappers and towels.

May 28, 2012   Comments Off

Categories: Slobs , What is wrong with you?

Random Sunday thoughts

To the woman from New Jersey on the 151 bus yesterday.  It is not necessary to scream out the name of every building on Michigan Ave. as you spot it.  You are on a bus, so please use your inside voice.  Otherwise we will have to brand your forehead with the words “obnoxious tourist.”

To her daughter who blocked the aisle with her baby’s stroller.  Newsflash.  “Public transportation” means that this vehicle will actually transporting the public.  This is not your personal SUV.

To the four idiots attending the Bonnie Raitt concert last night.  People paid to hear the artist, not you guys talking loudly in a drunken stupor.  We have enough bars in the city who would be thrilled to have you.

If your name isn't on this marquee, then please STFU during the concert.

To the musicians who keep dying.  Stop it.  Seriously.  Between Davy Jones, Whitney Houston, Donna Summer, Barry Gibb, I’m exhausted from reading breaking news bulletins about death.  Yeah, I know it’s inevitable, but can we please space these out a little more.

To the peeps at Saturday Night Live.  The season ender with Mick Jagger as the host was hilarious.  Especially the karaoke bar skit where the cast tried to sing Rolling Stones songs and Mick butchering Satisfaction.  Well played.

To Ralph Lauren.  Was it necessary for you to discontinue the 600 thread count Regent line?  I think not.

To the person who invented Pinkberry mango flavored yogurt.  I love you.

To the person who invented M Burger’s chicken sandwich.  I love you, too.

To my musician friends, who gave me two weekends of amazing concerts, I love you the most.

May 20, 2012   Comments Off

Categories: Music la la la , Random thoughts

Surprises hidden in the water tower

I’ve lived in Chicago all my life, with the exception of that lost decade in Cleveland.  One of Chicago’s most famous landmarks is the Water Tower.  It was one of the few structures that remained standing after the Great Chicago Fire in 1871.

In the past 20 years that I’ve lived down the street from it, I must have walked by it hundreds of times.  But never once have I walked inside.  In fact, I didn’t even know that you could.  Just another example of how we frequently don’t pay attention to things in our own backyard.

Or maybe this is just means that I’m an idiot.

A few days ago, I was invited to attend a play.  When I noticed the address, I figured that the theater had to be somewhere around the Water Tower.  What I didn’t realize was that it was in the Water Tower until I used Mapquest to pinpoint the location.

Hmmm.  There is a theater inside the Water Tower?!  Wow.  Next thing you’ll be telling me is that there is water in the Water Tower.

So, walk a mile down the street and enter the Water Tower.  Well, shut my Alice in Wonderland mouth!

The Water Tower has water and lots of it!

I was stunned to discover that the Water Tower not only had water, but it had a large tourist center, a lovely seating area and…..wait for it….a one-room Chicago Public Library.  And oh yeah, the theater.  (It also had a person who kept mumbling to himself, but hey, not every experience is perfect.)

The Chicago Public Library branch is on the left. Note the vinyl albums. I wonder when the last time this inventory was updated. 1950s??

Maybe next weekend, I will attempt to explore the city’s sewer system.  Perhaps I will find the lost city of Atlantis.  Or maybe just a nightclub for rodents.

May 6, 2012   Comments Off

Categories: Chicago style , Random thoughts

Buying dishes is half the battle

Having received a 10% off coupon from Crate & Barrel, I thought that now would be the right time to replace my 20 year old stoneware and flatware.  (Actually, the right time probably would have been three years ago, but a little thing called the recession got in the way.  So what if little stoneware chips took a journey through my intestines.)

Early this afternoon, I drove over to Crate & Barrel to find the dishes that I am likely to be eating off of for the next two decades.   I find a beautiful pattern with an artisan flair.  After selecting a service for eight, I add some companion serving pieces.

Next, I move over to flatware section.  Who knew there was so much to learn about 18/8 and 18/10 stainless steel.  Which is really a combination of nickel and chromium.  They might as well have hung a periodic table over the flatware section.  By the time, I added eight matching butter knives to the order, I knew I was venturing into table setting overkill.  (Mercifully, the pattern did not have a fish knife option.)

Clearly I was exhibiting signs of Crate & Barrel addiction.

Even with that awareness, I couldn’t stop with just dishes and flatware.   I mean, seriously.  Don’t new dishes deserve new placements and napkins?

When they brought out a trolley to transport my purchases to my car, I knew the line had been crossed.  More like obliterated.

Delabeling, washing and storing awaits.

By the time I brought this little stash home, I had chewed through three hours of my life.   And here everything sits until I clear out the old dishes from the cupboards and remove 96 price labels.

Yes, I counted.

And no, I didn’t buy the water at Crate & Barrel.  It finally saw an opportunity to escape from the trunk of my car along with the dishes. (The water hid behind the bread plates and smuggled itself out.)

Yeah, bread plates.  So sue me.

April 29, 2012   Comments Off

Categories: Shopping roulette

The only thing missing were the grapes

After a full day face planted in front of the computer, I thought it would be a good idea if I got my ass up and went to the gym.  Normally I like to get rid of some stress by doing a spin class but this time I headed to the gym’s main cardiovascular room.    Which, at the East Bank Club, resembles a small unincorporated township.  Massive.

Oprah and Obama have worked out in this room.

As I walked past rows of equipment, my eyes spot a new row of elliptical machines.  (This club upgrades equipment like most people change towels, so there is always something new to try.)

In addition to the huge flat screens mounted on the walls, some of the exercise machines have individual TVs.  This was one of them.  You just plug in your earphones and jump on.

So, there I was.  Pumping my arms and legs back and forth, watching my heart rate, calorie burn and a reality TV show which shall be nameless.

A little ironic that I'm watching a woman consume 1,000 calories while trying to burn off a fraction of that.

And then I saw it.  A small button on the control console that said “fan.”  What the….?!  Fan?!  This thing has a fan?!!  No way.

So I press the button.  Suddenly air whooshes out of the console up toward my face.  OMG.  Hilarious.

Let me get this straight.  This thing has a place to hold my water, a personal TV, heart rate monitor…and now a fan, perfectly aimed at my face, to cool me down.

Just one question.  Isn’t a cute trainer supposed to be feeding me grapes long about now?

April 22, 2012   Comments Off

Categories: Exercise torture

Coupons. My new crack.

Okay before I hear some huge cyber gasp that I’ve suddenly become an uncool extreme coupon clipping maniac, may I respectfully suggest that you chill the hell down.

I do not have time to sit there and rummage through pages and pages of newspaper coupons.  Plus, I’m not into getting ink on my fingers and the inevitable carpel tunnel from cutting all them out.

But here is what I am into.  A handful of major ass coupons that come my way that are irresistible.  May I share with you the recent influx of coupon crack that has come my way.

10% off an entire Crate & Barrel purchase.  Okay, so now I can finally justify buying new everyday stoneware and flatware.  (My current set was purchased during the Paleolithic Era.  Definitely time to replace it.)

25% of a CVS purchase.  Okay, so get this.  You know things are going to go down in a serious way when you actually reach for a shopping cart at a drug store.  As I’m throwing things in the shopping cart, I notice they’ve got a special on suntan products.  If you buy $25 worth of Neutrogena suncare, you’ll get a $10 coupon for a future purchase when you check out.  Also, last time I was there they had given me a $5 coupon on a specific brand of eyedrops.  Oh, yeah, and another $4 coupon, just ’cause they love me.

What started off as something in the $130 ish range, ended up at about $80 when it was all said and done.

The next day, a new 20% off coupon from CVS appeared in my inbox.   Clearly, CVS is my new crack dealer.

Then today, we used a $10 off of a $50 purchase from Dominick’s grocery store.  (The weird thing about that is that dairy products could not count toward the $50.  WTF?!  Apparently it’s some vendetta against cows.)

Bed, Bath & Beyond.  They always have either 20% off or $5 coupons.  And the great thing about them is that even if the coupon is expired, they will still accept it!

So, Rantopolis readers, what kind of awesome coupons have you gotten lately?  Share, please.

April 19, 2012   Comments Off

Categories: Shopping roulette