Sleeping with the Fishes

I decided to grab dinner from a place around the corner from me last night. I had to park halfway there anyways and didn't have any food aside from 4 day old leftover frozen pizza...so going out to eat seemed pretty appealing.
As I sat down, the waiter approached me and said "Hi, I'm Flounder." (name changed to protect the...innocent? guilty? shameless?) I told him I knew, I'd been in there before and he actually remembered me. He asked where I sat - I pointed to the corner and he said "yeah you were in here with your mom. She was from out of town. You live a few blocks away." I was quite impressed with his memory - as the only thing I remembered was his name because when he told us the last time I said "Flounder? Like the fish?"
Anyways, as it was Wednesday night and I didn't have to work the next day I decided I'd have a drink or two. I imbibed on a Ladybird and it was delicious - coconutty, pineapply - like summertime except that it was 20 degrees outside. The chicken curry? Also quite tasty. At the end of my meal, Flounder came over and gave me the bill. He also gave me a comment card (which I noticed he had not given the next table over) and said to leave my name, email, phone number...whatever. There was no spot on the card for a phone number though...As he walked away, I realized he was asking for my number!! Score!! Side note here - Flounder is really cute, in a pretty boy kinda way. He's also very charismatic, quite the charmer. He seems like he'd be a lot of fun to spend time with. Plus I found out he's 32 and knows about the NKOTB2M98D tour. So, after a few minutes internal debate, I figure I have nothing to lose so I leave him my number.
Fast forward to an hour later....I get a text:
 "Hey, it's Flound'er." Wait...what??? Flound'er?? There is no apostrophe in Flound'er. Oh geez. That's a dumb way to spell that name.
"Want to hang out? I can come by your place...." - come by my place? That sounds like...WAIT A MINUTE....did I just initiate a booty call? That is not what I thought I was doing...
Fast forward another hour:
Phone call - I was already asleep at this point. But wow, I completely didn't see that one coming.


Kingsbury Street Cafe

I know yesterday wasn't Sunday...but I tried a brunch place yesterday. I didn't have to be at work until 11:30 so I asked that guy I went out with a few times if he wanted to meet me at Kingsbury Street Cafe for brunch. He is a big breakfast fan (and maybe a big me fan?) so he agreed to meet me.
I'm not sure if I can give the wait-time a fair rating - after all it was Saturday. Maybe more people go to this place on Sundays? But there was no wait which was nice. The wait staff was nice and willing to give recommendations. I got the lemon pancakes per the waiter's advice...and...well...I don't know that I want to listen to him anymore. They were borderline mushy, almost like they hadn't been cooked enough. The lemon sauce coating them was good, but I think I would have prefered syrup.
The guy got the Kingsbury Street Cafe Sampler or something like that - it's your basic breakfast. Eggs, bacon, a scone, roasted tomatoes (looked good!! He didn't eat them...), and potatoes. He said it was good.
I'd give this place a 5 - the atmosphere was nice. It was a good crowd. But the food was mediocre at best.

I got to do part of my giving challenge here though. I asked the guy if he minded if I left a tip. I explained the giving challenge and he said it was fine. I left the waiter a 50% tip - I remember waiting tables. When you are so accustomed to getting 10-15% (my times have changed since I waited tables...now people expect 20% minimum!), getting a big percentage of the bill is such a rush! I hope it brightened up his day.


Gift of Giving...

A friend of mine recommended I read a book, 29 Gifts. It is a movement started by a lady with multiple sclerosis who was feeling down and having a pity party (sound familiar anyone?!?!?). One of her friends was an African spiritual advisor or something like that and gave her a prescription to give away one gift each day for 29 days. It could be anything from a smile to kind words to loose change to anything that you "give" someone. In the book (which I'm surprisingly enjoying....kinda thought it would be lame!!), the author notes how almost immediately upon starting the challenge that good things start happening for her. She also noticed how good it felt to give things to people. She notes in the book that if you got 100 or 1,000 or 1,000,000 people to all give something each day that the world would be a better place to live in. She started a website/wrote a book - and that brings us to today.
I decided to take this challenge. Today was Day 1. I pondered all day about what to give as my first gift. I mean, this seemed big. It sets the tone for the whole challenge. I felt like I was friendlier to all my patients and coworkers today because I was in this "giving" mode. A coworker asked if she could have a bit of my Coke and I said yes. But I didn't think that should count as my gift. First, because she had to ask. Second, I would've shared with her even if I weren't doing this challenge. Then a different girl (think the dumb one from an earlier post) asked if I would try her food she brought. She was so excited about it and was very eager about me trying it and liking it. I don't think my trying her food should count as a gift. That seems like every encounter with me is a gift....well...hmmm....
Anyways, after a good workout, I decided that I'd go to McDonald's for dinner and I'd pay for the car behind me in the drive-thru. EXCEPT NO ONE PULLED UP!! Seriously. 6:30 pm. McDonald's in the 'hood...no one. I went to plan B - there is this homeless guy who is standing by my exit off Lake Shore Drive every day. He's always holding a sign asking for coffee (side note on homeless people - where do they get the marker to write signs with? Why do they all have the same handwriting?) and I always avoid eye contact and try not to stop at the stop sign. Well today is a different day! I rode over to the exit...and he wasn't there!! Man, this giving thing is hard! But he was walking up to the stop sign so I waved him over and gave him the gift card. For some reason, despite the bright red card with the big M, I felt the need to explain to him it was a McDonald's gift card and that I see him there every day and I never stop. Meh. I'll get better at giving as the days go on.
Part of the challenge is to keep a journal and to be aware of all the things that you give. I, fortunately, have never really felt like I had nothing to contribute to the world...but today alone has made me realize I have so much more to give than I would have ever thought. I'm looking forward to going through the challenge and giving things!! I'll update on here from time to time but probably won't give daily updates on my gifts. However, if you are interested - check out her website or read her book. Time to start giving!


Over Easy Cafe

H & my bro joined me on the brunchquest. We hiked through the freezing cold (bad choice on my part...) to Over Easy Cafe. Fortunately I am never on time and Gene was...so he had put our name on the waiting list. It was still about a 20-30 minute wait but the cafe seems to be on good terms with the coffee shop a few doors down, which provided a warm place to wait.
As we sat down for our meal, a water-refiller-guy/busboy approached and asked if we'd like anything to drink. It was nice that we didn't even have to wait and the drinks were there almost immediately. Our waitress approached and began describing a few of the specials. This was the description on the menu: "cornflake-crusted brioche french toast layered with vanilla bean cream & fresh strawberries, served with house-made strawberry syrup, powdered sugar & whipped cream"....but when the waitress described it? My mouth was watering and I knew I had to get it. Everything she described made it sound like I had to eat it! I pretty much fell in love with her - she was awesome. I wanted to befriend her so that she could go out to eat with me and describe my food to me. all the time.
I ordered a drink called a "freckled oj" - it was orange juice with strawberry puree. Why have I not been adding strawberries to my orange juice my entire life?!?! This was the best orange juice I've had...well...ever. And my food? Well, when the girl delivered it she said "I'm so excited for you" which I took to be a pretty good sign. She was right, she should've been excited. This french toast was seriously good stuff. Everyone at the table (I shared....begrudgingly) agreed it was pretty freaking good. The vanilla bean cream with fresh strawberries definitely made it!!
H's Sassy Eggs (two eggs served over chorizo-potato hash with cheddar cheese, red peppers, jalapenos, guacamole, sour cream, & ancho ketchup) was my second favorite dish at the table....although I find that when I order savory foods, I don't end up as satisfied and wish I'd gotten something sweet. But hers was really good for the 2-3 bites I had.
The bad things about Over Easy Cafe? The wait - it is a small establishment, seating about 35 people. I suppose good things are worth waiting for. And that's it for the bad things.
I'm giving this place a 9. I know. That's pretty high. But it was really good. And I fell in love. 3 times. Girl. Juice. French Toast.

What A Weekend

Man, this was a good weekend! H & my bro were in town...and we did it right! They stayed at The Drake (fancy!) and that hotel is just impressive. It's old and beautiful and there are so many chandeliers! It's supposedly haunted but I didn't see any ghosts while I was there and they said that none were hovering over there bed at night...so that's disappointing but the hotel? Gorgeous! Stay there if you ever get the chance.
On to what we did...we ate. A lot. Not that that should be surprising. We went to La Scarola, my favorite mob-connected (maybe?) Italian restaurant on Saturday evening. La Scarola is always a fun experience - reservations? We had them...but they don't do you much good. We sat down about 45 minutes past our reservation time but the host was kind enough to give us a free tequila shot for our inconvenience. *shudder* We had our standard grilled octopus followed by soup - Pasta e fagioli for me, escarole for Kevin and an asparagus salad for H. Then our main meal...I ordered the gnocchi with portabellos and sausage. There was enough on my plate to feed all three of us. H's risotto could've fed the next table over. So much food....so good! We went back to The Drake for a drink and dessert.
Sunday morning? Let's start all over again! Brunch....I'll write up brunch in a moment since it is part of brunchquest but let me just tell you - I fell in love - with a girl, some juice and french toast. Yes, it was that good.
Last night we went to David Burke's Primehouse for dinner. Now this was my first experience at a Chicago steakhouse. Go. Now. It was so worth it. So what makes David Burke's cool? He has his own bull. I tend to think anyone who owns their own livestock is awesome. He also has a Himalayan salt lined aging cellar on site. I want my own salt-lined aging cellar. I opted for the 40 day old ribeye and man was it good! It was beefy and in the extra good bites and it tasted like I'd eaten this big bite of beefy earth....and I liked it. The flavor in the dry-aged beef was so concentrated that I'm pretty sure I could go bite a live cow and it wouldn't be that flavorful. The term beefnebriated got coined last night - I'm fairly certain I was drunk. on beef. Oh but I almost forgot about my pre-dinner drink!! A poison-berry cobbler. It was like drinking blueberry cobbler in a glass. Delicious. Now that my tastebuds are full of berries and beefy earth...I don't think eating will ever be quite as satisfying as it was last night.


More later but....

I never want to eat again. 20 oz of dry aged beef...and wow. That's it for me.



I didn't realize how much I missed my friends!! I haven't felt this relaxed in...well....it's been a few months at least. I don't know if it's being back home, seeing my cheerleaders rock their routine at competition or seeing my friends...but I feel so good and happy and content right now. I'm so glad I came home this weekend!! It's like I'm refreshed and anything that's been bothering me can be forgotten/forgiven/doesn't even really matter. Now when I go back to work on Tuesday....well...check back then!


Home Sweet Home

I made it home and I can't even begin to say how glad I am to be here...I needed this after the past week, it's like all my troubles just melted away. I was expecting Julia to pick me up but I got a nice surprise when it was Julia, Jeanette, and mrs. W! Oh and Ezra....he wanted to meet me :)
I'm looking forward to presenting these gifts tomorrow....plus a few other cool ones!
In case you were wondering about the date last night....it was....good. I can't say there were instant sparks like the spineless firefighter but maybe that's actually a good thing. He said he would call me when I got back in town so we will see where it goes.


Here We Go Again....

I am supposed to have a date tonight. I know what you're thinking - "Gee, that's fast. Wasn't it just yesterday you were lamenting over the spineless firefighter?" And yes...yes it was. But what can I say? I've got it like that? :) Kidding....I met him a few weeks ago and he asked for my number. I didn't figure the spineless firefighter and I were serious so I gave it to him...We've talked on the phone a few times and he asked if I wanted to go out tonight. I agreed because, well, why not? So we'll see how this goes. I'm not planning on letting any guards down because, well, we saw how that turned out!
Also, I'm leaving for Fayetteville tomorrow - the trip isn't going quite as I had hoped and I haven't even left yet...but I'll at least get to see everyone, even if just for a short while.


One More Thing...

If you've tried calling/texting/communicating with me...I'm not ignoring you. Well, I am ignoring you. But not intentionally. Well, yes intentionally. Since I look at my phone when it's ringing and I choose not to answer it, I suppose that is intentionally ignoring you. But here's the thing: I'm barely holding on right now. I'm trying to maintain a not dismal disposition and not dwell on the fact that I'm going to be alone forever - but when people ask a simple question such as "How are you?", "Are you ok?", etc....I lose it. I want to cry because the truth is no, right now I'm not. Well, actually right now I feel pretty good, I even have a half smile on my face. But when that question is posed to me...it reminds me that I'm not so good. However...I will be fine, I just need a day or two or five to adjust to the fact that I got blown off yet again and that I was wrong about the spineless firefighter (not to be confused with the creepy firefighter who I was just reading about on my blog from when I first moved here and it made me giggle.). Plus there's some other stuff, just general life stuff, that I'm not thrilled about right now but that's what my plan of action is for!! Stuff that was bothering me but I was able to brush it aside because of the spineless firefighter....toss him into the mix and it all just got a little overwhelming for a bit. I'll be fine.


Well today went better than yesterday. I made it out of my pajamas today. Yesterday was rough....but today was better and tomorrow should be better after that right? I just want to know why. Was I really that wrong in reading him? I honestly truly thought he liked me...a lot. It sucks to think I am that bad at reading people. I never expected the firefighter to become the spineless firefighter. He just hit on the one (ha!) insecurity that I had - being blown off. Which he did. As did the guy before. And the guy before that. Now the original guy - I may have played a big part in that. The second guy? Meh...I was upset at first but no big deal now. This one? Devastation. Which may seem silly after such a short time but as I said, I really thought he liked me. Plus it's the third time in a row. I'm starting to take it personally now.
Anyways, this is not a completely mopey blog today. Although my immune system is feeling about as dejected as I am. I almost threw up on a patient today. (This will sound racist...it's not) She smelled like foreign food. I don't know what nationality she was. She told me she didn't speak English although she was speaking limited English to the dentist. She wouldn't even try with me. She also wouldn't let me lean her back so I had to do her cleaning with her sitting pretty much straight up - which means I was pretty much leaned all the way over her. Achy back! All that was not the point...the point is I almost puked on her. That would've been bad. The dentist said I could go home if I was considering puking on patients but I said I thought I could make it through the day without actually doing that. (I did make it)
I am trying to come up with a plan of action. A friend of mine always told me if I wasn't happy in a situation I had two choices: a)sit around and complain about it or b)change it. I guess a little complaining is ok once in a while...but I'm going to try to be done complaining. Instead, a plan of action. I'll reveal these parts as time goes by but part 1 is to get my student loans down to $10,000. Initially I said $15,000 but guess what? They are at $16,800 right now! Which means $15k is way to easy of a goal. $10k will be hard but I think I can do it. I want to have it down to $10k by mid-August, so 8 months from now. Which means $850 a month or $425 per paycheck period. That pretty much means that my perio paycheck will go to the student loan every time and my general paycheck will go to my bank account. I think this is completely do-able.


Another One Bites the Dust....

Well....I didn't see this coming. I should've seen it coming. But I didn't. The firefighter has completely blown me off and won't speak to me and even unfriended me on facebook. I have no clue why or what caused the complete turnaround. Maybe it was me sticking my foot in my mouth. Maybe he decided to get back with his ex-wife. Maybe he just doesn't like me and never did. I guess I'll never know which kinda sucks. I thought he'd at least have the balls to tell me why.


5 days to go...

I'm going back to Fayetteville in 5 days. No, not for good...although right at this point I wouldn't be completely opposed to that. Just for a few days to visit, get out of this cold and get some good food in my belly. I'm beyond excited to give my nephews their Christmas presents....they are going to be so stoked when they see what I got them!!


I wonder....

I've been doing a lot of wondering lately. Here are some things I wonder:
 - would I be happy living in a small town? I like living here. It's fun. However...I don't really go out all that often so I'm not taking advantage of the night life (it is nice to have options though). It's cold. If I moved to a small town in NC, it wouldn't be nearly so cold. I guess I knew moving here that it would be cold. But it's really cold. I like being able to have food delivered to my house...I'm all about some grubhub. So that much is really convienent. But I went to culinary school...I should cook more anyways. I wonder if I moved to a small town in NC would I expect my life to be just like a Nicholas Sparks novel? I do love me some N.S....but expecting to move there and the man of my dreams is living next door and then my abusive ex-husband shows up and burns down our house and our dog dies trying to save me...well, it's all a bit unrealistic isn't it? (I may be mixing up books there...)

- Did I completely misread the firefighter guy? I never updated you from our date. It was..in one word? amazing. He was amazing. I never expected to be able to completely connect with someone upon first sight. But it was just natural. Ok, maybe the first 3 minutes were a little awkward. But after that? Smooth sailing. He ended up coming with me to game night (my out in case he was really lame) and it went really well. He invited me to the firehouse the next night because he told his firefighting buddies about me and they wanted to meet me..so off I went. I was a little disappointed that they all wore their shirts and didn't have Taylor Lautner's abs...but what can you do? (Sad that when I think sexy abs, I think Twilight?? yes.) Then the next night he picked me up, we went to dinner and a comedy show. Yes, that's a lot of hanging out real quick like...but it just felt...right. Then things got busy and it was like a week and a half before I could see him again. So that felt like it slowed things down a bit....but when we had trouble finding a time for both of us? He offered to bring lunch to my work so that he could see me...even if just for 30 minutes and sitting in the break room at work. We ended up running to the mexican place a few doors down (not good mexican, serious disappointment) and it was a good refresher to see him in the middle of a hectic work day although I can't say going back in to work was very easy. Then....the holidays. The timing couldn't have been worse! I was busy the week my mom was here. He was busy the week after while his kids were here. We texted a little...and then the conversations seemed to become a little less...flowable. Maybe it's because things got so busy. I don't know. I think I messed it up though...not because of the holidays but because of my big mouth, my desire to be the center of everyone's universe (I'm used to being indulged on this front...or at least being led to believe I'm being indulged), and my impatience (shocking, I know.) So we'll see over the next few days. I'm not an idiot. He likes (ed?) me. He really likes(d?) me. How did it go so wrong? Oh right...me.

- If I moved back to Charleston, could I pick back up at my old life? I know my old job would hire me back if there was an opening...but would there be an opening? Could I go back to coaching? Would I be happy injecting myself back into that environment? Or would it run it's course and have me right back to what brought me to Chicago in the first place?

- Why are the girls at my job so drama-focused? Sheesh. I guess when you put 20ish women in one building, girls will fight...but really? I think it's stupid. I overheard two girls talking about me today. I'm not overly worried about it...but I COULD HEAR YOU! It's rude. I didn't necessarily understand what they were saying...just that I was "just standing in the hallway." Yes, I was just standing. Because I was waiting on the doctor and visually willing him from outside his doorway to come do my exam. He came out just a few minutes later so clearly it worked. I wasn't just standing. Sheesh. This is the same girl who asked me to empty my 1/4 full trash can the other day. That was a stupid request so I told her no. It was only 1/4 full and the gloves were out of it. (The gloves can't be recycled so the trash has to be sorted thru.) Then today, they really hate this girl that works at the front desk. I heard the trash girl (appropriate!) say she doesn't even say hi to her because the girl is so stupid. Seriously. Can't. even. say. hello. I told her I thought that was really rude and can't imagine how the girl must feel. But apparently she locked herself in the bathroom crying because they were mean. Seems a bit of overkill to lock ones' self in the bathroom at work. But they can be really mean.

- I'll end this on a funny story though. Well, not so much funny, but it made me laugh pretty hard. I was sitting in the breakroom when the crying girl (not crying at the time) buzzed back and asked if anyone had ordered Chinese food. We all said no and looked around, wondering who ordered it. She then said he was asking for "U". U looked confused and said I didn't order Chinese food. Then it dawned on her. Crying girl is not real smart. She saw a Chinese guy with food and assumed he was delivering Chinese food. And then said as much right in front of him!! It was funny. Really funny. As I said, she's not the brightest...