Saturday, September 25, 2010

Historic Downtown North: Treasures

This was my first tour with the Chicago Architecture Foundation. I thought that something general would be a good introduction to Chicago architecture. Not only was I impressed with the service at the Architecture Foundations, but the docent was fantastic and I walked away with more information than I expected. So let us begin our tour on Michigan Avenue...

Did you know that the Lions in front of the Art Institute have names? They are called 'on the prowl' and 'stands in an attitude of defiance'. The Art Institute was actually built on the rubble of the Great Fire. I also learned a bit about the history of Michigan Ave and State Street. Michigan Ave was a man's street, housing men's clubs and businesses. State Street was a street for women - it's where all the shopping was.

From Michigan Ave we walked up the street to the Palmer House. The picture to the right is the outside of the building and below are some pictures of the fantastic lobby and, my favorite, the Empire Room. I have decided that this will be the location of my wedding just need to find the groom.

We then traveled a little further up State Street to The Sullivan Center (used to be the Carson Pirie Scott building). I think I'm really starting to gain an appreciation for Sullivan's design.

Now, for one of my favorite places. Marshall Fields -well, now it's Macy's but the building is still just as fantastic as it used to be. I've shopped there a lot, but have never really looked up. How about this Tiffany dome?

The Cultural Center was also on our tour. I had only been in the building once or twice, but never really got a chance to see how fantastic the design inside is. This used to be the public library (built after the Great Fire), but now it houses all sorts of cultural events as well as the main tourism office.

Back out to State Street for a look at some of the buildings located along Millennium Park.

These buildings are part of the Gage Group and reflect different approaches to the Chicago School. Two are designed by Holabird and Roche and one is by Louis Sullivan (his is the more ornate one)

Friday, September 24, 2010

Dignity, What Dignity?

It's about 7am and Bachelor #3 just left my apartment. need to scold me. I know.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Bachelor #9: Awkward

I met Bachelor #9 on OkCupid. He sent me a message that was pretty witty and had way more content than what I'm used to. I was impressed, so we started exchanging e-mails. I was drawn in by his sense of humor - a fantastic quality in a man. He looked okay in the pics he had posted (a little like Adam Sandler) and we chatted for a few weeks before finally deciding to meet up. We agreed to meet at The Duke of Perth (I wonder if they know me as 1st date girl?) last week.

Now, the date wasn't horrible and he was certainly a nice guy, but at times it was more than a little awkward. First dates are awkward to begin with and there is always a fair amount of discomfort. However, this guy clearly had zero confidence (he put himself down quite a bit) and some very poor social skills. I know you can chalk some of that up to nerves, but I got the feeling that alot of this was just part of his personality. This is sad because he was really able to express himself and hold my attention via e-mail. However in real life there just wasn't enough to impress me. For example, when the waitress came to take our order I asked for a cider. My date sat there and stared at the menu for what seemed like forever. It was getting uncomfortable and the waitress had to finally prompt him with 'what do you like to drink?'. Then to make matters worse we were there for the time frame of at lest 2 beers, but only had one. I had half of mine down and realized he had only taken a few sips. I had to pace myself through the rest of the date when I clearly would have felt better if I was drinking more.

After our drinks came we chatted about our lives. Turns out he's an out of work child psychologist. That's right, the guy who seems to have some severe confidence issues and might be socially challenged is out there counseling children. At one point we were having a conversation and he lost his train of thought. Instead of moving on he sat there and tried to retrace his thought process. It was a painful few moments for me.

This is my problem. I go on dates with nice guys, but in the end I'm just not that into them. I know I deserve better than a guy like Bachelor #3, but I also don't want to date someone who can't hold up his end of the conversation and show me has some social skills. I need something more than another awkward first date. What I need is a really good first date. The kind of first date that leads to second and third dates.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Learning How To Work This Place

Hello Everyone,

I promise not to make this e-mail as long as the last. Thanks for all of your e-mails. I'm starting to get the hang of British life now. I've been going into town a lot and now I don't get lost. Classes start next week. I'm taking a class on Women's History in U.S. and Great Britain and a class on Medieval and Tudor lit. The cool thing is that I only have class for about six hours a week and the rest is independent study.

I've also had the other two roommates move in, but I've only met one. His name if Raffie (Raphael) and he's Argentinian, but lives in Istanbul. This is his second year here so he know his way around pretty well. The cool thing about him is that he play in a jazz band. The other boy is named Marcus and from what i hear he's Spanish, but lives in India. As you can see I have an international house! I'm going to try and get my pics on disk so I can send them via e-mail. I visit Leeds Castle this week so I'll let you know how that goes.


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Brown Line El Tour

This adventure was brought to you by the Chicago History Museum. I am a member and decided to start taking advantage of some of their awesome tours. I've done the historical pub crawls, but have not done any of the El or Walking tours. So, I decided that the Brown Line El Tour would be my first one. Tours meet at the Palmer House Hotel, which is a magnificent hotel that I will certainly be back to explore (especially the bar). Our group had about 14 which was on the larger size. I'd say the average age of the group was about 50. Sadly, not a lot of hot single guys on this one....but I digress.

Our journey started at the Library stop:

From there is was on to the Armitage stop:

We got off at Armitage and looked at some of the older buildings in the area.

And then we walked up a few blocks to look at the McCormick Row Houses. I work in this area and have seen the houses before, but never really paid attention to them. These houses are designed in the Queen Anne style and were originally part of the McCormick Theological Seminary and were housing for students. Now they are actual homes.

We boarded the Brown Line at Fullerton and took it all the way north to the Fransico stop, which had been recently renovated. Ellen Harvey did this tile mosaic.

From here we got back on the train and took it south to the Western stop which lets you off in the heart of Lincoln Square. Lincoln Square is known as the German neighborhood and has an abundance of German restaurants. One of my favorite places is Merz Apothecary which specializes in herbal remedies and bath and body products from Europe.

We continued to wander the neighborhood and stooped by the Krause Music Store which was designed by Louis Sullivan.

We made a quick detour to the Old Town School of Folk Music (which used to be a public library) and then went back to the Western station. Now, here's something neat. The Western station houses a piece of the Berlin Wall!

Overall, it was a great tour. It was supposed to run 2 hours, but we were a little longer. I blame that on the old people who were slowing us up. Who brings an 80 year old on a walking tour? Really, people.

Monday, September 13, 2010


Bachelor #3 Sunday @ 10:29pm: Is that a yes or a no?

MadGirl: Not sure...

B3: That's kinda vague

MadGirl: I know. Thinking about if I really want to bother. You seem to pop in and out of my life every few months and i just don't know if I am up for that again.

B3: Fair enough...I understand

MG: I can handle us just being about sex. However, I don't like being the girl you hook up with when you are drunk and horny and done hanging out with your friends.

B3: Okay understood, it won't happen again

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Bachelor #3 Drama Continued

Bachelor #3: Sorry about last night

MadGirl: You are a waste of my time.

B3: I am sorry you feel that way but it's not typical of me. Can I make it up 2 u?

So what do I do? Weigh in with your advice.

Why MadGirl is Pathetic and Bachlor #3 Is an Incredible Ass

I am writing this blog to serve as a reminder as to why I am not going to get involved with Bachelor #3 ever again. Last night I crossed the line and would up in the realm of the pathetic girl and that is a place I refuse to be. I'm pretty pissed off at Bachelor #3, but I'm even more angry and disappointed with myself. Let me recount my tale via our exchange of text messages.

Bachelor #3 Friday at 7:59pm: Hey is it going? Have you dropped off the face of the earth?

MadGirl Saturday at 10:26am: I'm still here. Haven't heard from you in a while. Been up to anything fun?

B3 Saturday at 3:59pm: Went to Vegas for Labor Day which was fun...r u working today?

MG Sat @ 5:09pm: Vegas? Lucky you. I work until 11. Want to grab a drink later?

B3 Sat @8:28pm: I will be out with friends but sounds good...I picked up something for your bar collection...I will bring it along.

MG Sat @ 9:19pm: Sounds good. I should be done by 11 so I will text you when I am on my way home.

MG Sat @ 11:01pm: I am finally leaving this hellhole. What is your ETA?

B3 Sat @ 11:19pm: Still at the bar, so take your time.

MG Sat @ 11:41pm: I am home. Head over whenever.

B3 Sat @ 11:41pm: Ok

MG Sat @ 1:22 am: You heading over soon? I am getting sleepy.

B3 Sat @ 1:47am: Yes closing the bar tab

That's right. I didn't actually get to bed until about 3:30am. I napped a bit on my couch, fully dressed and ready for sexy time. Truly and utterly pathetic of me. Now, I'm not very well rested, horny and angry. Not a good combination for this MadGirl.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Is Bachelor # 3 Back?

I think that Bachelor #3 and I may just be seeing each other on some sort of lunar cycle. Let me briefly summarize our dating history:

  • Meet in September and chatted online a bit. Started seeing each other in mid November and dated until end of December.
  • He drops off the face of the earth until February when we briefly hook up and then he dissapears until April.
  • We date for about 2 weeks and by May he is gone again. Until today...

I just received a text from him asking me if I've fallen off the face of the earth...really? For a guy who lives at the end of my block it sure seems hard for him to keep in touch. Does he just contact me when he is really horny and doesn't have anyone else to fuck? So, I'm clearly going to text him back and put him back into the Bachelor rotation, but I think I'm going to try and get some answers out of him this time. I really am curious about what is going through this guys mind.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Abuse of Pastries

Yesterday was a really good day. It was the kind of day I wish I could live everyday. My adventures started with a visit to Bachelor #6's apartment for a quickie. I was only there for an hour, but I walked out of there with a spring in my step. I seriously felt like I had just smoked an incredible bowl of weed. Talk about your natural high. If I could start my day like that I would be a much happier person.

After my little rendez-vous I met up with one of my friends. We decided to head down towards Lincoln Park and go to this restaurant, Mon Ami Gabi. It looks like an adorable French bistro right by the park. It's located in this high end apartment building. It's the kind of place I'd like to live in should I ever win the lotto. Sadly, they did not open until later so we decided on Cafe Brauer which is actually part of the zoo. Turns out this was closed down for the season - I guess everyting shuts down after Labor Day. Luckily we had our old standby, Bistro Zinc, just a short walk away. We had a fantastic lunch at the bistro and I got my fill of their delicious escargot...for a few weeks at least. We partook in a few Campari and sodas, ate our lunch and then headed out for the French Market.

I have read a lot about the French Market and was expecting something very French. However, it's really just a market selling everything from produce to flowers to asian food. Some booths were a little more French than others. My friend and I got some pastries from Vanille Patisserie. I adore this place - it's a little pricey, but the pastries are exquisite and their macaroons are like crack at $1.50 a pop they are certainly a once in a while treat. We took our pastries and cappuccinos outside and spent a good hour drinking, eating, and geeking out with our nooks. Turns out that they did not give us forks so my friend and I used our fingers to eat our pastries. I realize that we are probably now banned from France after commiting such a crime. The weather was sunny, cool and a little windy. Our bellies were full with escargot and fine French pastries and our nooks were updated with fall reads. It was perfection.

After our coffee break we headed to the West Loop in search or The Girl and The Goat. Once we found it we continued to wander the neighborhood and plan our move over there when our leases were up a year from now. Maybe, I don't need a change of city, but a change of neighborhood? This seems to be a good neigborhood for a foodie like me. We ended up at Wishbone partaking in half price martins and convincing out friends to come join us for dinner. I think we were there for about 4 hours. Sadly, Oprah did not stop by to join us. All in all, a fantastic day full of adventures.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

What I Read On My Summer Vacation by MadGirl

I finally finished reading The Passage by Justin Cronin. I didn't know what to expect from this book, but quickly got sucked into the story and attached to the characters. This 800 plus page post apocalyptic vampire novel was really not what i had in mind for a summer read. However, the premise of a vampire virus wiping out most of the US in the near future is quite intriguing. The more I read the more questions I had and while some did get answered many were left to the imagination. I can't wait for the other books in the trilogy.

I also spent my summer reading 2 of Bachelor #6's books and am on my third (in e-book form) right now. I like his straight forward style of writing and it's kind of cool to get a good look around the brain of someone you're dating.

And here are a few others I read:
Tom Sawyer has been my other companion this summer. It really is different reading the classics when you are an adult. There is so much that missed when I was a kid.

The Impectionists by Tom Rachman - this was an enjoyable read about the lives of a group of journalists who all work for the same foreign newspaper in Rome
Medium Raw by Anthony Bourdain. It's Bourdain, 'nuff said.
Father Mine J.R. Ward - trashy vampire lit

Currently I'm reading The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood. Why didn't I read this before? I feel the start of a distopia themed reading list...

Here's what I want to read this fall:
Freedom by Jonathan Franzen
Madame Bovary by Gustave Falubert
something by Henry James
Absurdistan or something else by Gary Shteyngart
Fith Avenue, 5 a.m by Sam Wasson

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Banking and Asda

Mom and Dad,

I just wanted to let you know that I set up a bank account
at Barclays. There are no fees and the $3,000 converted
into about �1,900 pounds. The exchange rate really wasn't
that bad.

Also, I took the free bus to Asda. It is a really cool
place. It's run by Walmart and has a huge grocery section. I spent
�20 on groceries, but got so much food. I also bought a
hair dryer and curling iron today because I just couldn't
live without them any more. I'm really under dressed for
this place. Everyone dresses really nice and I don't see
any jeans and sweatshirts.

I'm slowly learning how to work all the appliance in my
house too. This morning I had a breakfast of tea and
crumpets. A crumpet is really like an English muffin, but
spongier. I'm going to try and get to e-mail everyday, but
I can't guarantee I can do that.


Saturday, September 4, 2010

Jolly Old England

This is my first e-mail from England...oh, the memories!

Hello Everyone!

I just wanted to let you know that I'm here and I'm fine.
England is great. The flight here was fine, but it was a
pain at the airport. I feel as if all I've been doing
lately is standing in lines. I didn't find out that I was
going to get on a flight until the last minute so we had to
rush up to O'Hare. I spent about four hours in line
checking in and paying $100 for excess baggage because they
failed to let me know that my carry on was too heavy until
I got up to the counter. I had about five minutes to say
goodbye to my family and then I was off. There was a lot of
security, but that's fine by me. I was a little sick on
the plane at first, but once we got moving and I started
watching movies and playing with all the free stuff they
give you I was fine. When we finally landed in England the
real adventure began. I had not slept on the flight at all
and then we were trying to get off and they couldn't get
the airplane doors open! So there we are standing and
waiting to get off for a half and hour.

We made if off and cleared customs. We then met up with
the UKC people, but it turns out that we were not on the
list to get a coach to Canterbury. So, here we are; tired
and with 500 pounds of luggage and no way to get to our
school. We ended up taking a taxi (for£150) with this
Nigerian guy who was also going to school with us. He went
here last year so he was really helpful and made sure we
got to the University safely.

My flat is nice, but nothing fancy. It's very
institutional. Right now I only have four roommates (Liz
(American), Emma ( a first year British student) and Agnes
(She's from Mauritias which is an Island in the Indian
Ocean). We are still waiting on two more flat mates.

Here are some of the observations I've made about England:

-It really is cold and rainy here. That is no joke and I
don't think I've seen the sun in days. I probably didn't
need to bring any T-shirts. My umbrella is my constant
companion. Everything is ten times more green then at home
and now I know never stops raining!
-English Directions are not like American Directions.
Nothing is easy to find. For example, when we were trying
to find the city of Canterbury a lady gave us directions
that said: turn right at the roundabout and then left and
take Whitstable Road to the city. To this day I do not
know where Whitstable Road is or what roundabout she was
talking about. It took us about three hours to find the
city and I'm sure we took the long way. It's a bit of a
jaunt, but I need the exercise.
-The city of Canterbury is beautiful. It has old
cobblestone streets and a cute little river. There's so
much to take in. I went to the Cathedral yesterday and it
was amazing. As a UKC student I get in for free. So, I
plan to go back and explore more.
-I'm going through total culture shock. I feel like an
idiot because I can't work anything. For example, in our
bathroom there are two taps, one for hot and one for cold,
this doesn't make sense to me. I couldn't figure out how
to wash my face for a day. I'd burn my left hand with hot
water. Finally, I realized that you plug the basin and
fill it with a mixture of both.
-English food is good. I don't know what the other people
mean when they put down the food here. Our first night we
ate at this place called the Weavers INN and I had Lamb and
Rosemary pie and a pint of cider. It was the best meal
ever. I've also had tea at a little French cafe.

I'm sorry this is so long, but there's so much to say.
I'll send more e-mails when I get a chance.



I was cleaning up my yahoo mailbox and came across a folder of e-mails I sent to friends and family while living in England. I've decided to brush them off and pepper them into my blog. This first one is from October 22, 2001. I've decided to use covert spy names to protect the innocent.

Boy do I have a story for you! On Saturday night Candida,
her British roommate Carmen and I went out to the pubs. We
start out at our old standby, The Jolly Sailor, where Carmen
hits on the bartender and gets looked over by some really old men.

We decided to leave the Sailor and find a new pub so we
stumble upon this pub called King William IV. We go in and
there's this guy named Kevin Iverson playing! I don't
think he's related to Nick though. Well, this place is a
dive and we are like 'drink up and get outta here.' At
that very moment Sting comes on with Roxanne so we pound
our drinks, thank Sting, and leave.

At this point Candida has to pee so she makes me go back to
the sailor with her. We go in, pee, and as we are making
our way out these two hot British men hold the door for us.
Out on the street they are talking about where to go and
then head towards Simple Simons, another great pub. Well,
us girls mobilize and follow them there. Carmen and Candida
are behind them at the bar and I go outside to find a seat.

Well, a few minutes later these boys come and sit at my
table, but I'm trying to call my roommate, Puppettina, on the
mobile so we don't talk. Candida and Carmen come out and we
start talking to these men. Well, Nick sits across from me
and introduces himself and I start to realize that he's a
bit older and not as hot as I thought, but I'm still pretty
drunk so everything is good. Nick is a ground worker from
Folkstone (which is on the Channel and about an hour away).
So we're making small talk and then he says that we should
come and visit him sometime and gives me his number. Well,
being the asshole that I am I give him mine-the whole time
thinking 'what are you doing asshole' to myself.

Nick then says something to me that I really can't
understand and I make him repeat it 20 times and then I ask
Candida what he said and she says 'He thinks your a babe'!
Now, I am many things but a babe is not one of them...
Well, I start to freak out because I'm sobering up and
realizing that these men are way older and slimier then I
thought when Jack and coke were my conscience.

At this point another bloke shows up and says his name is
Soap. Soap takes a liking to Candida and calls her a
diamond. Candida and Carmen then leave me there to talk with
Soap and Nick and all I want to do is run off. Finally,
Soap asks if we want to come back to Folkstone with them
and that they will be sure that we get home safe in the
morning! Ugggg! I think all of us girls where like no way
in hell, but Candida just made up some lie about how we had
stuff to do the next day.

So, finally these men leave and we are left giggling and
I'm cringing because Nick would not stop calling me a babe
and that just made me really uncomfortable. He hasn't
called me yet and hope to god he doesn't because I'd die.

There is also a very important moral to the story: You
can't expect to meet decent men at the pubs. Trust me on
this. From now on I go to pubs to have fun and meet new
people, but not to find Mr. Right.


P.S: I need your address and phone number. I can call you
for super cheap so that means you'll be the lucky recipient
of a drunken call from a pub one night!

University of Kent
1 Ellenden Court, Park Wood
CT2 7SH Canterbury, England

Side note to the e-mail: Candida is still convinced that Soap looked like Thom York from Radiohead. He did not. Give a girl enough Jack and Coke and any loser is going to look like George Clooney.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Am I a Cuddlemonster?

Lately, I have had this extreme urge to cuddle with someone and it's kind of freaking me out. I've never been a very affectionate person, but suddenly I think about what it would be like if one of my bachelors hung around and spent the night. Okay, part of that desire is because I really dig morning sex and in order to get good morning sex you need to wake up next to each other.

I remember when Bachelor #3 first tried to play the cuddle card with me. After sex he would wrap himself around me, snore really loud and fuck me when we work up in the morning. The first couple of times he spent the night I got really annoyed. I couldn't sleep and frankly, the guy lived at the end of my block so it wasn't a long trek home. However, now I miss that. I realize that he was willing to provide me with the sex and the intimacy.

I think in my quest to be sexually adventurous I forgot to consider intimacy and honestly, I think I need a little cuddle time now and then. It's funny how I can easily bring a guy to my bed with very little inhibitions, but asking for anything more turns me right back into that timid girl that I am trying to leave behind.. I've managed to compartmentalize my relationships and take what I need from each one, but what I'm not getting, and certainly craving, is some cuddle time.

Ghosts of Bachelors Past

I got an e-mail from Bachelor #2 today. He just wanted to see how I was doing and if I was drinking any IPA. To refresh your memory I went on one date with Bachelor #2 and had a good time, but was also dating Bachelor #1 at the time and was way more into Bachelor #1. I ended up e-mailing Bachelor #2 to tell him I was getting serious with someone else and then a few weeks later Bachelor #1 dropped off the face of the earth. This is when I learned a valuable lesson: don't put all you eggs in one basket. I have since learned that it is okay to date multiple men at the same time because chances are a few of them are going to turn out to be flakes and if I'm lucky one will actually stick around.

I have mixed feelings about Bachelor #2. I enjoyed his company, but just wasn't' feeling a connection that would lead to more than friendship. However, I like to give guys a second try and that's why I decided to respond to his e-mail. I also kind of like the idea that there was someone out there who was still thinking about me. It's a nice feeling to know that you are liked. We'll see where this takes us, but I feel that as long as I am upfront with him then it should be okay.

This whole electronic communication thing can get quite frustrating. I hate the weeks of e-mails back and forth and then the weeks of trying to meet up. I'd say about 50% of the potential bachelors make it past e-mail and only about 75% actually end up in a real date. For example, I have exchanged numbers and have dates pending with 3 guys right now. If I'm lucky one of them will end up in a date and the rest will just fall into some sort of dating black hole. It's all very bizarre and I just feel it should not be this complicated. If it were up to me I'd just like to exchange a few basic e-mails and then meet up to see if we really connect. If date 1 and 2 go well and they turn out to be a good kisser then I think there could be a future.