Sunday, December 31, 2006
Annual Turkey Bowl. No broken bones!
While the boys played ball, I played with the kids. My niece Mikalea and Colin Brustad and I ran around the track for what seemed like hours. That little boy is ADORABLE. When we weren't playing our own version of football he was playing the the improv game, "show us how to get down."
Corey, Andi, Brie and Pete enjoying 'The Nutcracker."
Enjoying Millenium Park! Ahh, BFF's.
Some random Christmas Ho, Ho, Ho
Friday, December 29, 2006
Much like the "Tickle Me Elmo," Ferbies, and Cabbage Patch Kids of yore, one of the must-have toys this year was the Nintendo Wii System. Once we decided to buy one we spent much of the weekend looking for it. We went from store to store finding out they were sold out. You'd think in a city this big the manufacturers would've sent extras in anticipation of the demand. This whole limited release thing is all a marketing ploy, one that worked too.
Last night after work, we had some errands to run. We thought ahead of time and had listed the phone numbers and addresses of the Targets, Best Buys, Circuit Cities, GameStops and Toys R Us...s within resonable driving distance. Each place we called had the same answer, "Sold Out." We'd pretty much given up hope. Then literally the last place on the list surprised us when they said they did have some in stock. The race was on!
Of course it was the Target located way up north, so we weaved in and out of traffic as fast as we could in rush hour traffic trying to get there before they sold the last one. After a half an hour had past we called again to double check. They still had some. Corey was driving like a bat out of hell, and as we pulled up to the Target I jumped out before the car even stopped, forming a beautiful tuck and roll, movie style! Okay, that part's not exactly true, but I was rushing. While he parked the car, I headed to the game area of the store. In most Targets, the electronics area is on the right hand side, so that's the side where Corey let me off. Of course, this was one of those backward stores. I raced down the aisle, calling Corey on his cell and telling him to meet me on the other side. Right as I got to the Wii case, I saw there were only two left and there was a man in line in front of me getting ready to buy one. We literally got the last one in the store!!!! We got a Wii! Weeeeeeeeeeeee!!!! Good thing, cause I was ready to throw down for the last one if necessary.
And oh my God it's so awesome. The graphics aren't quite as good as, say the PS3 or XBox, but it has the added feature of being interactive. When playing tennis, you're literally standing in your living room swinging the controller to hit the ball. The sensors in the controller even make it feel like you hit a ball. It's so much fun! Upon the advice of a friend we also got the game "Rayman Raving Rabbids." Hilariously fun to throw cows, "dance" and shoot plungers at rabbits. This system is a blast to play, but you've got to be prepared to look like a fool. I was cracking up watching Corey shaking one of the two controllers as fast as he could in order to shoot carrot juice at the rabbits coming out of the water wearing snorkel gear. So Weird.
Corey of course also got NFL Madden 07. You actually make the motions of throwing a ball with the controller, not just push a button when you're the quarterback. Who knows, maybe I'll learn how to play too so I can officially be the coolest wife on the block! Anyone up for games?
Thursday, December 28, 2006
We didn't focus on gifts too much this year. Corey and I didn't exchange any at all, but we did get some great shirts from my mom and spending cash from my dad and Corey's parents for our trip.
One of the best gifts we got was the Match Game DVD collection from Pete. It's a ton of fun to watch: the hilarious 70's awkward sexual innuendos and host Gene Rayburn along with Charles Nelson Reilly and Brett Somers get more and more drunk throughout the episodes. Apparently the liquor was free flowing and they would tape a weeks worth of episodes in one day. Must be a nice job to have.
Saturday we went to The Chicago Cultural Center to see "Puppets, Music, Masks Tell Tale of Nutcracker and King of Mice." Our friend Emily was a puppeteer for these handmade marionette characters. It was very impressive. First of all the show was great, but I was impressed that Emily could play 3 main characters plus others throughout the whole show. I don't know how she kept the voices straight. Though, much like Emily, I'm sure I'd be pretty sick of little kids by the end of the run. Seriously, if you take your child to see a show, teach them to respect the art. Just because it's a puppet show, doesn't make it okay for them to jump around on stage, peer behind the curtain and lift up the stage draping. Get a leash for your child or teach them manners! Sheesh! Anyways, if you're in the Chicago area, and can be respectful, you should definitely check it out. I think there are still a few performances left.
On Sunday, we had both friends and family over for Christinka dinner. And late that night there was even a Colin Murray sighting. Apparently kids, if you leave out beer and cookies, he'll magically appear in your living room. He really does exist!
I say we didn't exchange gifts, but now that I think about it I guess we are going to do a belated Christnika gift for ourselves. We decided to buy a Nintendo Wii. Briette, Corey and I drove to several electronics stores looking for the damn toy, but of course because of the Christmas rush, they were sold out. The one craze we actually get on and we're too late. Man! When I want something, I want it now!
Next up is New Years Eve! So far we don't have any major plans, no one I know does, but I do have an 07' goal: Talk Briette and her husband into moving to Chicago. I'll keep you posted as to how that goes.
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
Corey's been busy running around helping get ready for Christmas.
No time to stop!
The only thing keeping me going is the extra money and the cruise in...count it..16 days!
Monday, December 18, 2006
Last Monday and Tuesday, the boys, Blackpool Lights stopped by for a quick visit. They were in town for 2 nights to do a radio spot, photo shoot and show. Unfortunately I had to miss the concert because of a migraine, but Corey brought along a buddy who is now a big fan. I just want to adopt them all. Of course it was a late couple of nights, so last week we were still trying to catch up on sleep.
We're also getting ready for the family to come in for Christmas and Pete to stop in for Christnikah. This year we'll celebrate with a typical Mexican Feast, just like the days of Yore. Okay, nothing is typical about Christnika except for drinking, eating and hanging with loved ones. All of our shopping is done, except for the food. We've got an exciting night at Costco planned, followed by cleaning the house. Ahh! Domestic bliss!
This coming Friday is my company's 'Kid's Day.' Parents bring their kids to work where we plan activities such as decorating cookies and watching movies and then there's a special visit. Upon request, Corey will be playing Santa again this year. Apparently several kids have told their parents that they understand that Santa's helpers are the ones in the mall, but the REAL Santa comes to mommy and daddy's work. I don't think Corey's thrilled about the added pressure. He'll be fine though, he was nervous last year, but did such a great job that everyone has requested him back for future Kids Days.
Monday, December 11, 2006
Evergreen trees stand proud and tall, a babbling brook runs near your door where you could at any point step outside for a picnic on a checkered blanket. The fishing is a' plenty, especially near the waterin' hole, as is the moose and bear hunting. In fact, the moose are not only abundant, but taller than three men standing on each others' shoulder. You can take a trip in a canoe or just sit back in your rowboat, while the smell of fresh pine fills your nostrils as you look on to the beauty of natures wonders.
Sound like a wonderful camping vacation in the woods? Oh no, this was our hotel, The Stoney Creek Inn in Moline, Illinois. http://www.stoneycreekinn.com/
We had shows again this weekend in the Quad Cities. The hotel we regularly stay in was booked, so we had to stay somewhere different. To be honest, it was actually a really nice hotel, great amenities, wonderful service etc. However, it was also awesomely tacky.
The babbling brooke I spoke of was actually the pattern of the carpet running down the hall way. It had stones on one side and a checkered blanket pattern down the other. There were literally giant stuffed moose and bears in the hall and main foyer area. Throughout the hotel were signs for "the waterin' hole," "no hunting" etc. Of course these were in "log" font. That's not a default font in Microsoft. You have to go out and get that special!
The room was even better. All of the furniture, the desk, the chair, the rack for towels in the bathroom were "wooden." Maybe they were real at one point, but now they were covered with some sort of shellac. Above our bed were two pictures, one with rows of canoes and in the log font it said, 'Canoes,' the other was of rowboats and in case we didn't have it figured out, it said, 'Rowboats.' The bedspread was even more nauseating. It had the look of a quilt with out being a quilt, but in each square there was something different, a moose, a guy fishing, a bison or tree, etc. The lamps next to the bed looked like regular lamps until you got to the base. Then they were log cabins. Even the soap was themed. You'd wash your hands or put on lotion and smell like pinesol. We were cracking up.
This was about as close to camping as you'll see from the Madrittmasters.
Thursday, December 07, 2006
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
By the time we headed out, it had stopped snowing and for the most part, the roads were clear.
It takes about 3 hours to get to the Quad City area. We left Chicago at 4pm. We knew it would be cutting it close to make the 7pm show time, but figured that there was a back up plan in place, so if we were a little late, it'd be okay.
So everything was going just fine, we were on target to get there when needed. Then, we turned onto I-80.... and the horror began. Dunn, Dunn, Dunn!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Traffic was literally bumper to bumper. Though the roads had been previously plowed, the wind must've blown snow back on and the cars had packed it down making it an icy, bumpy, somewhat treacherous drive.
Besides driving 20 miles per hour or slower, we had to deal with the literally hundreds of semi-trucks. Apparently the entire national trucking industry was unable to move that morning, so they all started down the road at the same time as us. Not only were there hundreds of semi's on the road, there were at least 40 trucks and other vehicles on the side and in the median that had slid off the highway. There were times that we actually came to a complete stop. On. The Interstate.
The 3 hour drive took us 7 hours to complete. Read that sentence again. It's only 8 1/2 to KC, we could have nearly driven home with that kind of time. Needless to say, we completely missed our show. Well, the show in front of an audience anyways. We actually had fun in the car, because we are, of course, hilarious. We had to do something to kill the time and not go insane. So we sang and laughed and butchered Christmas songs. Not once did we lose our cool at the other cars or curse the gods for allowing this luck to fall on us, we just enjoyed each others company. I'm pretty proud of that fact.
Saturday night coming home took us, obviously, 3 hours.
We have shows again this coming weekend. We're not risking it this time though. We're heading out at noon.
Friday, December 01, 2006
I know that everyone is experiencing major snow, so I'm not asking for any special pity, but DAMN this weather sucks. I love living here, but as I've said before, the part that makes it worse here in Chi-town is that you have to be out in these elements more.
Because we have a show out of town tonight, Corey drove to work. The normal 1/2 hour drive took him about an hour and 15 minutes. I'm going to leave work early and meet him near his office, so we can head straight for the show, knowing of course that there's no way we'll make it on time. So this morning we not only had to scrape the car and deal with the traffic, I also had to take the El downtown. It's not so much the cold that bothers me, but the wind.
To make matters worse, I realized this morning that I don't have a good winter coat. Somehow the one I used last year is just gone. Granted I did okay. I have a really heavy leather coat. I guess technically it's perfect for this kind of weather, but it's really heavy. Seriously, I can't move comfortably in it and my arms hurt after I take it off. It's definitely not going to work once we have just normal, cold winter weather versus this blizzardy weather. Also, my boots are also too big for me. Can I not buy properly fitting shoes? I don't know, I wonder myself. I remember loving them and wearing them last year, but now my foot is sliding around it, making it hard to walk in, especially in all the slosh. It's absolutely miserable out there.
Then, just to irritate me more, I get in the office and nobody's here. I could count on both hands how many people total are on my floor and I'm literally the only one in my department. Damn it! I should've listened to myself this morning and stayed in bed.
Oh well, at least I'll get a lot of work done.... Oh, who am I kidding? I'll just end up surfing the net all day.
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
Hopefully she's feeling alright this morning, because last night when we met up with her and friends at a local Mexican restaurant, she was DEFINITELY feeling alright after a couple hours of drinking margaritas. Maybe "Miss Andi" can work with her pre-school kids on their counting today, by having them count up to her blood-alcohol content. Except these kids are pretty young and may not be able to count that high. Oh well, they can at least work on their colors and point out the red in their teacher's eyes. Ha!
We love you girl and are so glad you moved here.
Happy Birthday, Andi!
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
Well, it's over now. We're back home and a couple pounds heavier, but it was worth it. This year we had to drive back to KC because the flights were too expensive. It's an 8 hour trip, which sucks, but it was pretty cheap and Andi was good company.
The highlights of the weekend include: winning $140 at the casino, my sister & brother-in-law surprising the family by coming into town, seeing Blackpool Lights at the Record Bar, seeing our friends and playing with our nieces. Uncle Corey and Aunt Mo are becoming quite popular with Mikaela and Sam who are 4 and 2 1/2. We had a blast playing with them. Man, we are not used to being with kids all day. They wore us out.
But it's back to work now - boo! Yesterday was tough. I was dragging all day. Not just because I was tired (I took a 2 hour nap last night), but just feeling blue, don't really know why. It's probably just from coming back to work after a 5 day weekend. Life isn't too rough for me, though. As part of the Activities Committee, we made Christmas ornaments yesterday at work and had a delicious burrito party tray. Seriously, my job is so hard, you should pity me.
The next few weeks are going to fly by, however. We have a bunch of shows for various holiday parties on the books, and family coming into town for Christmas. Before you know it, it will be January....which means one thing.....THE CRUISE!
to be continued...
Thursday, November 16, 2006
Both of us have just been super busy at work.
What? Monique actually works? I know, shocking.
Hang tight and we'll have something up soon.
Until then, imagine Pete dancing in the complete costume and makeup from the Broadway musical, "Cats." That'll keep you entertained for a while.....
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
As we've talked about before, the jerkpods at Venter and Ass. messed up our floors time and time again. Their lack of communication skills continue to cause problems.
1st - They didn't pay attention to our move-in date, or tell the floor guys the right date or something, but not only were we forced to move in a day later than expected, when we did move in (nearly 24 hours after they finished the coating) the floors weren't dry. Apparently since they hadn't installed the A/C and it was a humid day, the floors were still sticky. End result = footprints in the coating, ruined floors in the bedroom and hall just outside the bedroom door. Annoyed, but confident it would be taken care of soon.
2nd - We had agreed to set up a time to move the furniture out of our bedroom and stay overnight with a friend in order to have it redone. Instead, without telling us, they came in, recoated the floor, being careful not to move any furniture, only going around it. Since it is the floor, we of course walked on it. Since we weren't expecting the floors to be wet out of the blue, we tracked the tackiness and foot prints further into the hall and in the kitchen. End result = more of the floor ruined. Mad, we gave a stern talking to Elvis, he agreed to redo the floors at our convenience later.
3rd - AGAIN, the guys come in and redo the floors without telling us. This time, they kick out our guests that were staying with us, were rude to them and threatened us about not messing up the floors again. AGAIN they didn't bother to move furniture and only worked in the bedroom, not bothering with the hall or kitchen. End result = A fury from Corey and Monique like you've never seen. Screaming, cussing, name calling....
4th - Finally, the floors are done!!! Of course it didn't happen easily. We agreed to have them come over on a Monday. We spent the night before moving furniture and marking spots in the hall and kitchen. Well, there were so many foot prints that it just made more sense to have them do the entire hall up till the end of the kitchen area. We had Elvis come over before we left for work to show him what needed to be done. He promised to call when it was done. The plan was to stay the night at Anne's house and come home after work the next day, Tuesday. PLENTY of time for everything to dry.
At 3:00pm, I called to check on Elvis (of course he hadn't reached me). He informed me that they needed to do the floors all the way into the living room, because it wouldn't look good if we just stopped in the kitchen. Okay, fine. He also told me that they moved our furniture to the other side of the room and that we couldn't come home until Wednesday. That night Corey called to confirm why they were doing things they needed to do and express to him our frustration that he didn't warn us we'd have to stay out of our home another night. We didn't have an extra change of clothes and hadn't planned on eating out 2 days in a row. Still, we just wanted it done.
Then, on a whim we needed to stop by the house to reach in the door to where the spare keys to Anne's place were. We were shocked to see that the floors hadn't been touched. The only work these people did all day, was move our furniture. On top of it, they were going to make us stay out of the house an extra day for no good reason. We could walk right in. The floors weren't wet! Of course we called Elvis, asked him what the hell was going on. Their lack of communication had been the source of the problem yet again. Elvis had no idea what was going on w/the floors. He had just assumed the floors were wet. Even when we told him we weren't prepared to stay the night out more than one night, he still didn't look into it. IDIOT!
He even had the balls to blame us because they thought it was just going to be spots, not the whole hall. When we told him that we gave him ample opportunity to come look at it before, he complained that we always asked him to come at inconvenient times, in the morning or evening. WHAT!?!! Yes, I guess I shouldn't bother someone to do their work. Like these people haven't caused me to take enough time off work IDIOT! We slept in our own bed that night and they finished the job the next day. It was a hassle, but thank God that part is over!
Just a couple of punch list items left - only 5 months after we moved in.
Seriously, is buying a new place this difficult for everyone?
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
This morning I got on the El. In the seat in front of me there was a woman, about my age putting on her makeup. Not a big deal, but she did have her makeup case and purse and bag sprawled across the seat next to her. Train etiquette says not to take up an empty seat with your purse so that there's room for others to sit there.
Another older woman gets on the train and clearly wanted to sit in the seat next to the makeup lady. Now granted, there were other seats around, but maybe she wanted this specific seat because it was a window seat, or facing forward (some people get sick riding backwards). Either way, she asked the young lady if she could sit there. Train etiquette also says you should give up your seat for the elderly. Though it doesn't specifically address this rule to purses, it's safe to assume an older lady has more right to the seat than a bag does.
The girl actually told her no. "I'm getting up in a couple of stops." Then she just continued to put on her war paint for the day. The woman was sort of just dumbstruck. She stood around waiting for the girl to move.
Then I remembered that I too had been denied a seat by this jerkpod in the past. Just remembering it, I think I verbally uttered, "Well that's rude." I hope she heard me. Finally when her stop came, in a huff she gathered her stuff together, gave the old woman a dirty, "thanks for inconveniencing me" look and brushed by her, smacking her shoulder against the old woman's shoulder as she stormed off.
Myself and the other passengers just shook our heads at each other. Seriously, how hard is it to have a little consideration?
Saturday, October 28, 2006
The 2nd part of my trip with Brie was to New York. Just going was exciting enough since I had never been. We took the train into Penn Station and I thought Chicago was big... Man, I was wrong - at least in comparison. We caught the matinee showing of The Lion King on Broadway (thanks Walsh for the recommendation). The picture isn't great because we couldn't use flash, but the whole show was breathtaking. I had warned Corey that I would probably tear up when I saw my first Broadway show. Not just because it would be crossing a big "to do" off my lifetime list, but also because I always cry at big shows. I thought it was a weird thing that just I did, but as the opening started, Brie leaned over and whispered to me, "Are you going to cry." I said, "yes" and she admitted she was too. The woman behind us even cried, so I didn't feel so dumb.
This is a a shot of us from the Minskoff Theater. We were unaware that Mr. Peanut from the outside banner would be joining our shot. Hilarious!
After the show we went to Chinatown to eat Chinese food and of course, to shop. I had been told ahead of time that once you find something want to buy, to haggle with the vendors. I did this when I first bought a purse. I think - See, it happened so fast..
Me - "how much for these?"
Vendor - "$35"
Me - "how about 2 for $40"
Vendor - "2 for $55"
Me - "2 for $40"
Vendor - "2 for $50"
Me - "2 for $40"
Vendor- "2 for $48"
Me - "Umm, hmm, Brie, what do you think?..." and the next thing I know money is being exchange, our purses are bagged up and we're sort of shoved out the door. I stepped outside in a daze, it happened so fast. I wasn't sure what happened, what I bought or how much I paid for.
Next, we headed to 30 Rockefeller Center. That's right, we got to see SNL. This picture is in the lobby of the NBC studios...
This next picture was taken off of my brother-in-law, Aaron's TiVo. That's right folks, that's me in front row center watching John C. Reily and surprise guest Will Ferrell (as James Lipton) in the opening monologue! Briette was on the other side of the aisle. I could've reached out and touched Lorne Michaels or the Weekend Update set. The studio itself is a lot smaller than it looks on TV. The whole thing is buzzing with cameras and cue cards, tech people and the actors. It was a pretty good show too. I couldn't stop turning my head every which direction because so much was going on and there were so many people to see. Various stars just stopped by and stood in the back. I saw Colin Hanks (Tom's son), Mariska Hargitay and Paul Rudd! He is even dreamier in person, yum!
The best part of the night was after the show. Jason lead us back stage to where his wife, Kay was hanging out. After catching up with her, she led us to Jason's dressing room. Standing there with him was, Will Ferrell. I didn't want to miss the opportunity, so I reached my hand out and introduced myself.
Will - "Nice to meet you, I'm Will."
Me - "Uh, yeah, I know who you are."
He extends his hand to Brie and asks who she is.
Briette - (hand outstretched) - "I...uhh...umm..Brie...Brieannnnuuuu."
Will- "Oh Brieanne? nice to meet you"
Me - "It's actually Briette" (Like he cares or will ever remember).
He was very nice about it and asked us how we like the show and commented on how comedy is always better live. Then he left.
At first we felt bad that we interrupted Jason and him, but even Jason agreed it was worth it to see Briette completely frozen from being starstruck.
It was overall a perfect trip to New York... above and beyond any expectations.
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
1. New Jersey
2. New York.
Brie lives in NJ, which I've learned doesn't have a lot to offer. As her and Michael (her husband) put it; the best part of New Jersey is living near New York.
I got in on Wednesday night and right off the bat we were giggling like little kids. We're very different in many ways, but I forgot how much we're alike. We even have a very similar laugh which I never noticed until this trip. When I first got into town, she gave me my belated birthday present: the entire 1st season DVD collection of Fraggle Rock! Possibly the best b-day present I got this year.
Besides our laugh another thing I realized we havin in common is getting lost. Turns out the lack of direction skills is a Madrid-women thing. She got turned around coming back from the airport delaying getting back to her house for a while, but we didn't care. We were having fun anyway. Though not having a sense of direction would come back to haunt us in New York (I'll tell you more about that later).
The next day we just did girlie sister stuff. We went shopping and stopped by a pet store to play with puppies for a while. Right before the puppy play time, we were starving, so Brie suggested we go to the Flea Market. There they have an Amish area, where you can buy homemade delicious sausage stuffed pretzels, candies and cider. As I walked in, I realized the shirt I was wearing may not have been appropriate for this more quiet, sheltered, religious community. I don't know, what do you think? (courtesy of Threadless Tees)
I asked Brie to let me borrow the sweatshirt she was wearing so I could cover it up, but underneath it she had on a low cut tank top. We had to decide which was better a.) the slutty sister or b.) the violent towards children sister. In the end I just kept my arms crossed a lot.
On Thursday we saw "The Prestige". It wasn't the best movie I've ever seen, but I really enjoyed it. I never see movies anymore and this isn't the type Corey would want to see, so I took full advantage of it. That night, we highlighted and chopped Briette's hair off. This is a big deal, because she's had it long for a long time, but apparently she was ready for a change. We cut about a foot off, she's going to donate it to the Cancer Society so they can make a wig out of it.
We also spent the weekend playing Lego's Star Wars on her XBox. It was a lot more fun than I thought it would be. Meanwhile, Corey was hanging out with our friend Tyler most of the weekend, playing Madden 07 on his XBox. Looks like I might have to start saving up for Corey's birthday present in April.
Spending time with my sister was so much fun. I forgot how hilarious she can be and how much I miss her. It was a pretty perfect weekend.
Next up... The New York trip. There's a lot there... pretty awesome. I'll fill you in on the next post. Until then, "Goodnight and have a pleasant tomorrow."
Thursday, October 19, 2006
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
We're still needing them to fix the mold in our ceiling and finish our floors. So close, so close.
Some changes have come in my so called theater/acting/improv career. My i.O team, Reverend Meeker, was cut this schedule. We were all caught completely off guard, especially considering we were getting prime time slots and rave reviews from the Harold commission. Charna apparently wanted a big house cleaning, so I got swept out the door with most of my teammates. I'm working on getting back on the schedule, but I'm not holding my breath. Most of my friends that were taken off the schedule were given the run-around about getting back on a team. They're told one thing or offered to be put on a new team only for that offer to never actually happen. I'm sure it's not purposely or anything, but maybe the powers that be at i.O are trying not to hurt people's feelings. Personally I think it's a lot worse when someone isn't just straight forward with you. Mostly likely I will just have to wait until the next round of auditions. Unfortunately they just had them this weekend. I couldn't sign up for a slot because my team wasn't even cut until the audition slots were already full. It's frustrating, but also expected. There are so many people going in that theater, that others are bound to be bumped out. I don't have one ounce of regret. I know that there's nothing I could've done differently to stick around longer. I played well and I was on a great team. It was apparently just our time.
While we're going to be pretty busy until the end of the year with remotes and the holidays, still it'll be weird not having a weekly improv rehearsal. It'll be the first time in almost 3 years that I haven't been on a consistent team. So now I'm just going to take this time to work on some new projects. I'm hoping to get FABaret! back up by the beginning of the year if not sooner, maybe even at i.O. and take it to some festivals. I also want to do some more scripted material. It's been almost a year since I've written anything. Last year I was one of the writers for pH at Sketchfest. I really enjoyed the process. I just need a goal or theme to get me motivated to do something new. I'd like to maybe direct a show (I'm talking to a writer who's interested in using me for a show he's putting up) and maybe get back in a musical or play. I'm also going to look into finding a group or venue to use my vocalizer. As cheesy as it sounds, I think it would be a blast to sing in a lounge or jazz bar or something.
If I want things to happen for me, I have to create them and prove myself to whomever needs to see me to advance things. It's a lot of work and exhausting at times, but I love it and without this drive to succeed, I wouldn't know what to do with myself.
Friday, October 13, 2006
So, what's going on here? Just working, hanging with friends and fighting the cold. It actually snowed yesterday. Not for long and just some flurries, but still. It's right about this time of year that I remember how much I don't like Chicago in the winter. I know it gets cold and even icy in KC, but you're just not out in the elements as much as you are here. Since last winter, we've moved to a place that's farther away from the El stop. We used to be just a quick jog across the street. Now we have to walk about 3 1/2 blocks to the stop. And man, does that wind bite. I know, I'll live.
Anyways, what else? Just got back from a fun weekend with friends in Rock Island. We did some shows, ate the awesome Gambler Pizza (jalapenos, hot sausage, red peppers, a burning tongue and for some, heartburn... all in all, a perfect pizza) and lots of laughing.
Unfortunately I've been sick, so I didn't get to party as much as I wanted to with them. My mom apparently gave me a chest cold when she was in town a couple of weeks ago. She got it from my sister when she went to New Jersey to visit her a couple weeks before that. Briette is quite proud that her cold has traveled to at least 3 states. Brat! It's okay though because I'm leaving on Wednesday to go visit her, so I just might bring this stubborn cough back to her. I'm really excited about seeing her and getting a chance to go to New York. We even got tickets to see The Lion King on Broadway, hopefully we'll be seeing other shows. I've saved some of my birthday money to go shopping. Fake designer purses, here I come!
Oh yeah, I had a great birthday. Corey did a good job. He started the birthday gift giving at 12:01am. He told me that I'd be getting gifts all throughout the day. My first gift was him putting lotion on his elbows. Sounds weird I know, but you don't understand, he never puts his own lotion on himself. He just doesn't see the point of it. So if I don't want rough skin rubbing up against me, then I have to put the lotion on for him. Anyways, it was a big moment when he put it on himself... and hilarious. He also sent flowers to work, took me out to dinner, gave me some workout stuff I'd asked for and the best part... a bell for my bike that says, "I 'heart' my bike." We had a party at a local bar that weekend. Low key, but a lot of fun.
What wasn't fun about my birthday was getting stuck on the train going to work. There were 3 unrelated incidents, an electric problem, a track issue and a medical emergency. All in all it literally took me 3 hours to get there that morning. We sat on the track for most of that time, but also had to go backwards and were finally instructed to get off the train and take a shuttle bus to downtown. To make matters worse, the bus driver had no idea where he was going and we circled around for a bit. I was actually impressed at how calm and polite everyone was through the whole thing. No pushing or shoving, no one freaking out, though I did see one girl on the phone crying. Maybe she was late to a job interview, or was sick, or got claustophobic, I tried not to stare at her and minded my own business. I was just glad I had something to read and didn't really mind all that much starting work at 10:45am. It's much better than if it would've taken me 3 hours to get home from work.
We're going to take this weekend to just relax, get the winter clothes out and maybe catch a movie.
Tuesday, October 03, 2006
These aren't the best pictures since I had to take it with my camera phone, but we did have the coolest view from our stage right box at The House of Blues. We got all-access backstage passes and were treated like rockstars, well more like groupies minus the sex acts (maybe... I'll never tell).
We got to hang out in the dressing room, eat and drink with the boys, watch all three bands from the press box and we even got to go into the "Foundation Room." It's the ultra swank lounge area with a Budda meditation room, other swank sitting rooms and $15 beers. Just cool to look at more than anything.
I've also decided that when we have kids, I want to have 4 boys. The band, plus a bunch of KC friends that live in Chicago all came over to watch the Chiefs game on Sunday. I made 2 huge pots of chili for everyone. I just loved cooking for a crowded house full of boys, it was a blast.
If you live in KC, mark your calendars. Turns out Blackpool Lights is going to be playing at Record Bar in Westport on Thanksgiving night. We, along with others I hope, are going to go over there early to watch the Chiefs-Broncos game and then stick around for the concert.
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
To reward ourselves, we'll be going on a 7 day cruise to the Eastern Caribbean on January 6th. I'm so excited. I've never done anything like this before. In fact, the only time I spent out of the country was in Canada for 1 hour in a mall. That was just because I was already in Michigan and wanted to say I'd been to another country. Apparently St. Thomas has amazing deals on real diamonds. If you buy through the Carnival recommended vendors, they'll guarantee the jewels. Needless to say, all our extra money is going towards the cruise. If anyone is thinking about giving me a Christmas present, don't bother. We'll take money instead. Need to be able to afford swimming with the dolphins!
Speaking of extra money, I'm working on continuing to build my clientele and especially focus on wedding work. Something to keep in mind for those of you out on The Knot or that might know people getting married, I'll give anyone a $25 finders fee for referring brides to me. I'll hand you over the cash once they've booked and I've done the work for them. I know, shameless plug, but it's my blog so deal with it.
Thursday, September 21, 2006
A major congratulations goes out to friends Billy and Ali who are now engaged to be married! Some of you may remember Billy from way back when he performed at ComedySportz-KC. Others of you may know him as the drummer for the critically acclaimed band Blackpool Lights. As difficult of a year as 2005 was for Bill, 2006 and beyond is looking brighter and better every day. We got to meet and hang out with Ali during the benefit weekend back in April, and we couldn't be more happy and excited for them. We love Billy, and yet somehow, the addition of Ali makes him even better. Crazy.
- Corey and Mo
Friday, September 15, 2006
I'll be posting pictures from our trip to KC over Labor Day weekend soon. I just haven't had the chance yet.
Incidentally, last Monday was our 1 year anniversary. I can't believe how quickly time flew by. In just one year, so much has happened. We've continued doing and creating shows, I got a promotion, Corey a new job and we bought our first condo. It's been a great year and I'm sure, with someone as wonderful as Corey, each year after will continue to get better.
We actually flew back from KC on Monday, the actual anniversary date. To celebrate, we took the next day off work. It was so nice just to sleep in and relax all day. The plan was to go on a picnic, maybe at the beach, but it looked like it was going to rain all day. Instead we stayed in and played Rummy Q (a fun tile version of the card game Rummy - only awesomer). Yep, we got the old married couple thing down - sitting at home playing board games.
That night we went to The Drake Brothers restaurant in the Drake hotel for dinner. On Tuesday nights, they have buy one steak get the second for a penny. Are we cheap, no way? I'm not ashamed that we saved money. Besides it was a great meal. They know how to make a steak and their chipotle corn is amazing. Not only do we love each other, we loves us some meat!
Monday, September 11, 2006
Wednesday, September 06, 2006
You remember as a kid, riding in the car with your dad? He turns on the "oldies" station and they're playing tunes by Chubby Checker and the Four Tops. You laugh and think, "hmmm, will this station still be playing these songs when I grow up, or will they play the songs I listen to today? Because by then, they'll be oldies, too?" Well, this weekend Mo and I were driving up to Manhattan for our friends Jake and Aubrey's wedding. I'm flipping through the radio stations for some cruisin' tunes and as I hit the seek button, the radio lands on Oldies 95 in Kansas City. The song being played: "Don't Ask Me Why" by Billy Joel. A song that first came out in......wait for it.....1980. When I was 9.
Wednesday, August 30, 2006
I know many of you have already heard of, or been to, this site, but I love it: http://www.overheardinnewyork.com.
Some of these quotes literally make me laugh out loud. My coworkers must think I'm crazy.
One of my favorite ones is from New York . It's not necessarily the funniest one ever, I love it because the reponse of the New Yorker sounds just like something Corey would say. It's perfectly sarcastic.
Satan Island, Starring Vincent Price?
Tourist: I want to go home. New York is so unchristian. Look at this, they even have a place called "Satan Island"!
New Yorker: Oh yeah, we New Yorkers are the worst. We even sold our souls to the devil so we could all read.-Mo
Monday, August 28, 2006
1. It'll be the only day the entire week that I decide to wear my hair down. Of course it looks like crap by the time I get to my destination point.
2. I will fall up steps. That's right ladies and gentleman. I fell up the stairs AGAIN today. (refer to last post to see a pattern here). This time it was right in front of my office building and not because I was in a hurry, but simply because the ground was slippery. I fell right on my ass. I'm okay though, the only thing bruised is my ego. Sigh.
Thursday, August 24, 2006
It's only 10:00am and today is already turning into one of those days.
- I woke up with the top of my foot hurting. I don't know if it's from the shoes I was wearing yesterday, if I injured it working out yesterday, slept on it wrong or if it's just another unexplained weird ailment that's attached to my ongoing back issues.
- Then I stepped outside to see that it was dark and slightly drizzley. I didn't have my umbrella with me, but I couldn't remember where I put it and didn't have time to run back in the house and look for it. Besides, it wasn't raining too hard. I just hoped it would wait until I got to work where I have an umbrella for when I come home.
- Though the bottom of my pants were wet and my hair was a bit of a mess, I wasn't too wet as I got into the El station. I was just happy the rain held off for my 3 1/2 block walk. I was heading up the escalator when I heard the train coming, so I start sprinting up the stairs. SPLAT! I fell right up the stairs, in front of the whole morning rush hour. Luckily I made it on the train and most of those behind me didn't, so I didn't have to sit in the same car with them as they judge me while I become more and more embarrassed.
- I was fortunate that I didn't get rained on too badly walking to the train from home, but once I got off the train to walk the 3 blocks to my office, it was a different story. It was POURING! My little Red Eye newspaper wasn't doing a bit of good. By the time I got into work, I was soaked and freezing. Luckily I wasn't wearing a white shirt. (Well, lucky for me - unlucky for my coworkers -- badabing!)
The rest of my day hasn't been as crazy (YET), but the bad vibes from before 8am are still following me. I'm just doing stupid stuff here and there. I called the wrong VP about a presentation that he knew nothing about and looked like an idiot, I'm messing up meeting requests that I'm supposed to send out (well, I should say, my boss is messing it up and blaming me).
It's 10:00am, I'm still soaked, my foot still hurts, my knee now hurts from the fall and I'm leery of every corner I turn, because of the kind of luck I'm having.
Monday, August 21, 2006
FABaret! opened on Friday. The show was GREAT! Granted, only 7 people were in the audience, but those 7 loved it. That would be in part due to the opening act, "The Rainbow Puppy Smiletime Hour" of which Corey is a part. They were really funny and helped get the night started off right. I particularly enjoyed Corey and Paul turning Patrick into the most pitiful, allergy-ridden, pathetic kid ever.
Those of you in Chicago that couldn't make it, should come by this Friday for week 2 of the show. I promise you'll enjoy it.
Corey and I also saw "Little Miss Sunshine." Was the movie perfect? No, but it was hilarious. It's one of the funniest movies I've seen all year. Though there were some definite wacky moments, it also has some very deep and emotional parts, too. As you can imagine, Steve Carell was excellent. Different than you've ever seen him, too. Also, the little girl that plays Olive, Abigail Breslin, played the part very real and besides being adorable, she was really great. Alan Arkin was brilliant, as well. It's truly a great ensemble piece. Go see it, you won't regret it. Unless you're planning on seeing it Friday instead of coming to my show. Then you will regret it... because I'll make you regret it!
Thursday, August 17, 2006
On Thursday we went to see the taping of NPR's game/news/comedy show "Wait wait...don't tell me!" If you've never listened to it, I highly recommend it. It was hilarious. A panel of semi- celebrity/journalists answer hot topic news questions. Callers dial in to play some of the quiz games as well, in hopes of winning the prize of NPR's news anchor Carl Kasell recording an outgoing message on their answering machine. Each week they have a celebrity guest that calls in for an interview and also to play a quiz game themselves. This week's celebrity guest was Tommy Chong. As you can imagine, he was a great guest. For some hilarious listening, click on the link above and on the show's homepage you can hear some past Carl Kasell answering machine messages. They're awesome.
We also spent a lot of time shopping, and of course eating. Uncle Lloyd was particularly funny. I've never seen a 75 year old man eat so much ice cream. At every turn he was ready to eat. He particularly got a kick out of the guys on the street pushing the carts full of ice cream. "Can you believe this! An ice cream bar for only $1. In Kansas City, this would cost me $1.50 and they wouldn't bring it to you right on the street!"
The Old Town School of Folk Music right up the street from us had their annual garage sale. While Corey's mom and Aunt and Uncle shopped around Lincoln Square, Corey, his dad and I waited in line for an hour and a half to get in. It was worth it, though. In their garage sale, they sell used instruments, accessories, books and other accompaniment they've collected over the year. Corey bought a used, but in great condition bass guitar, amp and strap all for under $200. He's going to start taking lessons next month. I found a great steal too. My dad is a musician. He plays all sorts of fun percussion instruments like the Jimbay, Bongos, other African drums and even some that he's made himself. I called and asked if he was looking for anything so I could keep an eye out. All he was really interested in was a steel drum. I figured there'd be no way we'd find one at a Folk music store. But tucked away, kind of in a corner, was one! It's pretty big too, over 1 1/2 feet in diameter. It's from Trinidad and brand new would normally cost $600. He got it for $175! Now the problem is figuring how to ship it back to him.
We also went to the beach. Sometimes I forget how awesome this city is until we have people in town to take out. It was a gorgeous day and we sat back from the water on the cliff between the grass and the sand and ate, of course, ice cream.
I think realizing how great being outside can be (at least with the kind of weather we had) finally convinced Corey to get a bike. He got a great deal on a refurbished bike and we've been like kids riding around our neighborhood every night. It's the perfect blend of fun and exercise.
Sunday, August 13, 2006
The very difficult decision to have the veterenarian put Ted to sleep was made on Friday. He was 12 years old. He was having some recurring renal failure, and while I won't chronicle the specific symptoms, suffice it to say he was suffering. It was with a heavy heart that the decision was made to end that suffering. I know in my heart it was the right thing to do. It doesn't make it any easier, though.
I adopted Ted when he was just 10 weeks old. On a visit to Wayside Waifs I walked by a cage with these two adorable little puppies. It was Ted and his sister. The staff at Wayside allow you to take the dogs out of the cages to a little fenced in area to play with them for a while when making your decisions. Ted and his sister were brought out to the play area and while his sister cowered in the corner and was hesitant to interact, Ted came bounding over and instantly started playing with me. The decision was a no-brainer. I was done looking, and immediately dubbed him Ted, mostly because I thought it was funny.
When I first brought him home, he was tiny. He could almost sit in one of my hands. He couldn't quite jump high enough to get on the couch. He was just this little fur-ball of energy. The folks at Wayside Waifs had labeled his kennel "chow mix" because they didn't know his origin, but could tell there was some chow due to his partially purple tongue. Ted grew, but never got very big. A vet later concluded he was part chow, part golden retriever and part pomeranian. He never grew much bigger than a pomeranian, but looked so much like a retriever that most people assumed he was still a puppy even when he was surpassing 10 years old.
We had some really great times, going for walks on the Plaza, running in the leashes-off section of SM Park, and teaching him tricks. He could sit, lay, roll over, shake (with either paw), and "high five" upon command. He was even the inspiration for a sketch performed by Der Monkenpickle and portrayed on stage by my friend Ed Goodman. Ted and I moved from the apartment near Westport, to a house in Brookside, before moving to Denver. We lived in three different apartments in Colorado and played a lot with Emma, the Schwartz' dog in their backyard. We later moved back to KC and lived in Lawrence for a year, too.
When I decided to move to Chicago, the hardest decision was to leave Ted behind with my parents in Overland Park. I knew it was better for him. He would have a backyard to run in and kids to play with him, while I would be living in a small apartment in the city, and keeping a crazy schedule. Plus, my parents loved him tremendously and took wonderful care of him. Even though I missed him, it was alright since I knew he was having a better life in Kansas than I could provide here in Chicago. Whenver I came home to visit, though, it was obvious that he still remembered me and clearly didn't hold it against me. He was just always glad to see me.
We went through a lot together. He was there for me in good times and in hard times alike. He never judged me. He never doubted me. He never took me for granted. He just loved me unconditionally. I miss you, buddy. I'm glad you're feeling better now. Goodbye Ted.
Wednesday, August 09, 2006
FABaret - A Cavalcade of Song! Fridays 8/18, 8/25, 9/8 and 9/15 @ 8pm at The Spot (formerly Frankie J's) 4437 N. Broadway.
Kevin Sciretta and Monique Madrid star as Tom and Tina.
Their on-again, off-again relationship, partnership, and showmanship is back ON AGAIN!
It's a fun-filled cabaret of improvised scenes and songs, accompanied by the amazing Mike Descoteaux on the piano.
Tickets are $8, and just $5 for improvisers.
The Spot features nightly drink specials and fantastic food.
Opening for FABaret will be "The Rainbow Puppy Smiletime Hour" - improv with Corey Rittmaster, Paul Guilianelli and Patrick Mene.
Wednesday, August 02, 2006
Every once in a while, however, you stumble across something that puts your faith back in those old truths you used to hold so dearly. The following is the video by the band OK Go for their song "Here It Goes Again". The thing that I have to keep reminding myself is that it's all one take. There's no edit in there.
Prepare to have your mind blown.
Tuesday, August 01, 2006
Clearly you can tell this is going to be an exciting post...
Not much new going on. We bought a futon over the weekend for the spare bedroom, so now there's no excuse not to visit. We've got plenty of room and a really cool guest room since we painted it, too.
I biked to and from Second City on Sunday. That's 6.5 miles each way. The worst part going there was riding against the wind. Coming back it was the ridiculous heat. My back felt fine through the whole thing, but I was exhausted afterwards. Since it's not as stressful on my back as running, it's usually a good exercise that I can handle. My hip was killing me the next day though. Man, I sound like a 70 year old woman. Still, I'm really proud that I did it. My ultimate goal is to ride to and from work a couple days a week. That's about 7.5 miles each way. Definitely a reachable goal, but I have to be able to do that at 6:30 in the morning. That's the hard part.
The floors are getting refinished tomorrow. What? We actually know about this ahead of time? There's actual planning involved? I know, shocking. Let's see if they can do it with out screwing up too badly.
Last night we had dinner with DWalsh. He was in town on a layover for a business trip to China . Corey and I, Walsh, his business associate Matt, and his cousins all met at Lou Malnati's for some Chicago-style pizza. You know, you really can tell what kind a person someone is by the people they hang out with. We had a great time. Everyone was friendly, told great stories and we laughed alot. This was a nice change compared to some recent parties we've attended where we again didn't know people there, the difference being that not a soul made any attempt to get to know us. How hard is it to introduce yourself and strike up a conversation? Maybe I've just been spoiled by hanging out with outgoing improvisers. Anyway, it was a lot of fun, until I woke up feeling sick at 2am . I don't know if it was the pizza or dehydration or what, but I spent the rest of the night sleeping on the couch with an empty trash can next to my head just in case. I ended up not throwing up, but I'm pretty tired this morning. I'm sure you wanted to know that.
I'll post more later if I think of anything. This is enough to thrill you all for now!
Wednesday, July 26, 2006
Our KC friend Andi and her friend Dulaney stayed with us for a couple of days. Andi's going to be moving here at at the beginning of August. We're so excited about having a new friend and fellow KC person here. She's doing the whole improv thing. I can already tell it's going to be a good fit for her, because again, Chicago is awesome and so is Andi.
We've also been stressing over our builders.
DO NOT BUY FROM VENTNER & ASSOCIATES!!!!!!!!! or use Habitat Realty! They are morons, liars, and beyond incompetent from top to bottom.
For the 3rd time, these ass bags came into our home and re-did the hardwood floor coatings without telling us. If you put on a clear coating without us knowing, we're going to step on it and mess it up over and over again. For some reason, they don't get that concept. They came in yesterday and were rude to our guests, didn't even fix all the messed up spots and did a half-assed job of the spots they did touch. Then they said we couldn't go in our bedroom for 24 hours, as they re-did the coating on the floor in the entry to the bedroom. How are we supposed to get clothes for work this morning? These people are morons! They never even finished the bathroom. Besides having no toilet seat or shower door and the wrong cabinets when we moved in, they didn't even install our towel bars or toilet paper holder. Come on... how hard is it to just finish the job, oh and not leave a mess and all your tools hanging out when you're done? So we spent several hours YELLING at them. I mean going off on them, we were serious bad asses. I haven't seen Corey that mad in a long time and I was pretty impressive myself. Seriously, you do not want to mess with us.
So, supposedly today they're doing more work - Not the floors, but at least finishing the bathroom and cleaning up etc. We'll see. I'll get home and either finally be happy or I'll have to pull out another can of whoop ass.
Oh yeah and today is $.49 hamburgers at McDonalds. That'll ensure that at least part of our day will go well.
Friday, July 21, 2006
Basically he thinks it's all muscular and that I don't need to be afraid that I have some crazy disease. He was using more pressure on my muscles than anyone else has so far. It's not that he's into hurting people, but as he said, nothing has worked so far and we really need to work harder at getting my muscles unknotted. I don't even know if unknotted is a word and considering I used it, not him, I'm going to assume it's not. Anyways, I will now be seeing him twice a week for deep tissue therapy and acupuncture.
I've never done acupuncture before and am really not a fan of needles. Not that anyone really is... unless they have some weird fetish or are in their gothic, teenage angst stage. It's not a full-on phobia, but they really do make me nervous. At this point, I don't care anymore. I just want to get better.
So, I'm laying on the table with my bare back exposed. The Dr. started feeling around for the most tender spots on my back and rotator cuff and suddenly BAM! "there's the first needle." No warning or anything. With cat-like reflexes... wait I hate cats, they're assholes.... With Superman speed (not great, but moving on...), he just started sticking needles in me. He put 2 near my armpit, four in my upper back along the original pain spot and 2 in each upper shoulder. It didn't hurt at all. It was weird, but it didn't hurt. Then to help eliminate my headaches, he put 2 needles in the back of each side of MY HEAD. Oh My God, there are needle in my HEAD!!!! Again it didn't hurt, but man it skigged me out. There were just needles stickin' out of My Head. And the last two went in my ears. Again, weird but apparently it's a good place to release endorphines. Then he left the room.
At first I lay there, thinking to myself how weird is all was. I was writing this blog in my head... that's how dedicated I am to you people. Next thing I know, about 20 minutes later, the Dr. was waking me up. It's pretty relaxing overall.
Then came the torture. He worked with the deepest muscles and even used what felt like a metal tool along my back. It felt like it was something that you'd use to tenderize meat. I now have two bright red lines of broken capularies on either side of my spine. It's really weird, but apparently that's also a Chinese treatment. They use it to detoxify you. In Western medicine, it's believed to make the muscles or tissues of some kind deep below get more blood flow and cause inflammation which is actually a healing processes. I don't remember exactly what he said to explain it, I was too busy being in a strange place of pain and total relaxation. I felt pretty good when I left his office, but flared up a few hours later. It's expected that I'll be sore for a couple of days, but then we'll see if it helps and supposedly I'll get progressively better and eventually be able to be more active.
Tuesday, July 18, 2006
We sat by the big open windows and as a big group of a dozen or so people set up The Best 4th of July Prank Ever... Making strangers fart!
It wasn't going to be as easy as we initially thought.
These Chicagoan's weren't going to be fooled.
Initially, they ran from the farting machine.
But that's when the guerrilla style genius of Corey came into plan.
We'll camoflauge the cushion with sticks and a leaf.
Almost a dog fart.
they won't know what's coming... hee hee
The tension is building...
Thursday, July 13, 2006
There was bbq!
Mmm... hot dogs
Good friends, such as The Barrett's
Some embarrassing moments - why are you so embarrassed Collin?
And of course, as all good 3rd of July parties should have... Rockin' out!