Wednesday, April 30, 2008

“Bike Chicago”

Has been an ongoing campaign here for years.

A great idea....except it needs to be tweaked to give bikers safe/convenient places to park their bikes – so as not to get them/or parts of them stolen.

When you walk down here you will see bikes locked to most anything and they are always in a state of undress – missing the front wheel, missing the seat, etc.

The missing parts, I would assume, taken along by the owners to prevent thievery....which, this morning, reminded me of a story.....

Years ago, while commuting home....a member of my posse “Cowboy” was telling us about how he and his family had purchased new bikes over the weekend and that he was going to be saving money, plus exercising at the same time by riding his bike to the train station every day.

He proudly boasted that he had ridden to the station that morning and went on to tell us all about his bike...the brand, the wheels and the nice seat that he purchased separately for it....

That is when we all got quiet and the conversation took a turn...

“Does that seat just snap in and out?” one of us asked.

“Yup.” Cowboy replied.

“Does it lock?” someone else asked.

“No.” he replied.

We watched his facial expression change....

“Do you think someone would steal it?” he inquired.

“YES!” we all said in unison.

As our train pulled into the station...we had our faces pressed against the windows...each of us trying to be the first to get a glimpse of Cowboy’s bike.

And there it was....safely locked up at the bike rack....seatless!

“Son-of-a-Bitch!” he said.

We, of course, being his good friends and all - could not stop laughing.

Our last image of Cowboy that day, which turned out to be his first and last day of riding his bike to the station...was him riding home, silhouetted against the summer sunset....swearing and cursing....all the while pedaling and standing.

hard landing

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

"I am not blogging today!"

"But, Susan, outside of your recent missed day - you always blog during the week!"

"Well...I missed that day recently for the same reason I am not blogging today - I didn't hear or see a snippet that sparked a tale to tell."

"Good. Fine. Then just don't post!"

"All righty then....I won't!"


Monday, April 28, 2008

“I can’t stop looking at it!”

“I know it is like a train wreck that you can’t take your eyes off of.” my walking cohort replied.

We were staring at the light yellow suit that the woman in front of us was wearing…specifically her pants.

They were too tight and between the color and the material – a little too revealing.

And we are not talking about a sexy, cute, firm – thonged up tush....

We are talking about a straight up - “What the hell were you thinking?” and “Didn’t they have any three-way mirrors when you bought those things?” - large, cellulite-dimpled, granny-panty-wrapped-hinny.

And we couldn’t stop looking at it......

almost mesmerized – we were caught somewhere between the “You go for it Girl!” “Good for you – if you feel good – wear it!” and the “OMG, I CANNOT believe you left your house wearing those!” followed by the “I am going to have to use mental floss when I get to the office to get that out of my mind!” mentalities.

At the corner where my friend turns left to get to his office...she made the turn first....I just looked at him and smiled....I got to stop staring....but he....

he wasn’t as lucky.

still stucky

Friday, April 25, 2008

“I just don’t get it.”

I heard her say this morning. I did look just to make sure that it wasn’t my sister Wendy - being we have had a conversation where she said the same thing....except she was talking about blogging – specifically my blog.

“I don’t read your blog everyday – I just don’t get the whole blogging thing” was her response to my question if she reads my blog.

And I will say, in all fairness to her, she isn’t the only one that feels that way. I inquired of a co-worker....”Hey, Kath if one of your brother’s blogged...would you read it?” Her reply was that she might, but certainly not on a daily basis.

I started writing because I had always thought about the snippets I heard or saw during my weekday schlepping to-and-from work and was encouraged by my good friend Hedy at to just do it!

At the infancy stage I just wrote....I didn’t care about felt good to put some creative things down in black and white...but the more blogging I did – both in writing and in the reading of some of my favorites....suddenly I started to care.

There are days that my Statcounter shows that I have had eight (8) people open my blog page, which I know would more than likely be – my Mom, Keith, Hedy, Jeanine, Judy, John from Scotland, Crustybeef a/k/a Elizabeth and DILF.

My Mom because...well, she's my Mom!

Keith, possibly because of “favors” wanted (wink-wink!);

Hedy, because as a great writer and nudger of me to blog - she feels somewhat responsible for my content and wants to make sure I don't embarass her;

Jeanine, as a teacher of English, probably uses my blogs to show her students writing “don’ts”;

Judy....well, Jude...I think I make her laugh;

John from Scotland - I believe John enjoys reading about the sometimes zany antics of a partially-crazed woman from middle-America;

Crusty, who gets a tip of my hat for referring me to 6 Sentences blog – thank you – discovered me thru Hedy's blog and vice versa;

Last, but certainly not least...there is DILF – whom I have never met in person, but from his comments – I would say he enjoys spending A LOT of time in “fantasyland.”

So to my Super 8 fans, thank you, thank you, no matter what the reason - thank you for reading and commenting on my Snippets.

I will also say that I have evolved, in a blogmatic way, and find that my "if I had to be honest about it all" blogging prayer is that my readership will grow higher and higher.

don't want to retire

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

"When I got laid off......

and was looking for a job.." I overheard him say as I walked past this morning. Not sure what happened with his story...but being he appeared to be heading into work....I think it turned out well.

It made me reflect on my work history...I have been working in Chicago since I was a senior in high school...toward the end of my senior year I answered an ad placed in a friend's high school newspaper for a beginning legal secretary experience necessary.

That was me - I have no experience!!


I remember going for my interview...I was like the cricket in Times Square...being the second eldest of 8 children...we hadn't traveled too far outside of the western suburbs and at my tender age of 17...I know I had never been into the Loop.

But I was hooked. Although the door-to-door commute and the cold, blustery, long winters get me frustrated at times - I still love this City.

it's pretty.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

“A reminder….”

is how I started the email to my train posse and continued it with “today is our Pizza Party for Joe’s Birthday on the 5:04.”

Some years ago....I don’t recall exactly how it all started – but that my tall (6’8”) guy friend, Robin, and I were on a train, sitting up top and we realized that when we stopped at Downers Main Street – the door to our car lined up exactly with the door to Aurelio’s we got this idea - let's call and ask them if they would deliver pizza to our train car....and it has been a train tradition ever since.The day of our designated pizza party I will call Cookie (yes, that is the name of the day manager at Aurelio’s) and place our order....two fiesta-sized pizzas with American bacon and black olives (Robin’s original choosing and now a “have to”) – to be ready to go no later than 5:20 p.m. with instructions that upon seeing the 5:24 pull into the station – they are to walk the pizzas directly across the street to our train car and for that we tip them $5.00.

If it all works out - I, and another posse member, are waiting to get off the train car first, we meet the pizza guy/girl – get the pizzas, pay up the 5 buck tip and jump back on the train to eat pizza and drink beer all the way to the end of the line.

How is that for a nice way to end your work day?

So, in honor of today’s train-pizza-party-celebration, I will give a tip of my mobster hat to a well-loved, train posse member, Birthday Joe.

Way to go!

Monday, April 21, 2008


1. insert right pinkie finger into right ear;

2. twist around;

3. withdraw and eyeball contents adhered to end of finger; and then

4. insert finger into mouth.

Just when I think I have seen it all during my years of commuting on the train…somebody cranks it up a notch.

shouldn’t watch

Friday, April 18, 2008

"Did your world get rocked this morning?"

a co-worker asked me as I walked in my office today.

"Excuse me?? Do I need to get HR in here?" I replied.

He, of course, was talking about the earthquake that occurred at approximately 4:36 a.m. in the Midwest.

The quake was actually centered in Southern Illinois, the New Madrid fault line runs thru that area, and it has a long history of quaking.

I slept through it. But my 17 year-old had woken up because her bed was shaking - she thought it was a dream. (careful..dilf!)

Commuting in this morning - IT is the talk of the City - camera crews and reporters were out in force - asking the guy/gal on the street about their early morning earthquake experiences.

You would have thought buildings were in shambles and large gaping cracks were in the pavement....

well...there are large gaping cracks in the pavement but they are from the awesome winter we just went thru.

But..Wait....hold on....

a News Flash is coming in.....there is a report of "official" damage - a convenience store rack of BluBlocker sunglasses fell over and crashed onto the floor!

For the Love of God - say it isn't so!

I don't know about you, but I am going to stay off of the Illinois highways for the next couple of days knowing that there will be truckers driving while suffering from extreme sun glare.

life's just not fair.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Resist the Urge…

Was my mantra as I walked thru the Merchandise Mart behind a Chicago Cop this morning.

I have self-talked about this for as long as I can remember....resisting the urge to touch a cop’s holstered gun.

Why is that?

Might there be something forbidden and dangerous about it – that I find a little thrilling?


I readily admit to being a rule follower (most of the time) and I believe that it is the fear of losing my mind and doing something insane (like touching a cop’s gun) that drives my self-talk every time.

no crime

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Blog du Jour Part Deux

It was the FIRST TIME this year that I was able to walk at lunch – sans coat while only wearing (besides pants) my faux Ed Hardy tee.


It is here! It is here!

I hope.

Spring that is.

Temperatures are predicted to be in the 70’s today and the 60's for the rest of the week.

But, more importantly, they are putting into place the chaise lounges around the pools on Eastbank's rooftop that my office overlooks.

Now that is a sure sign of Spring and to follow that ritual will be the much-higher-income-level-than-me elite donning their swimsuits and frolicking in the weekday sunshine.

I know, I know – be kind.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

“You’re an animal.”

She said to me as we were walking thru Union Station last night on my way home.

“Excuse me?”

“You’re an animal.” the stranger repeated.

“I am an animal?”

“No! Do you HEAR an animal? I thought I heard an animal, like a dog.” she sharply said.

For the record, she was on my left side – my bad hearing side.

Also when she first started mumbling – I smiled at her.

I get myself into more problems with kooks because I am a smiler.

My smiling either makes them feel comfortable in approaching me because they think I am a nice person; or they see that stupid smile on my face and think “Oh, look there’s another crack pot like me!”

Look mad – that’s the key.

Monday, April 14, 2008

“I will still be involved……

I will still be supportive.” He was saying to an unknown at the other end of his cell phone.

Why is it I immediately thought he was talking about divorce?

Maybe because that was His plan in the beginning....he would be totally involved and supportive, driven possibly by guilt due to unfaithfulness...he said he would there for me and the kids whenever we needed him....or, as I found out, at least until I started dating someone – then when he came over to drop off the kids after his weekend and he saw shoe prints in the snow on my sidewalk – too big for me to have made – suddenly the “supportive and involved” took a downward turn.


Friday, April 11, 2008

“Dance to the music!”

Was my internal snippet this morning as I walked into the elevator – the three other people awaiting my arrival were staring straight ahead – no real expressions – all three being wired with sound.

One person’s music I could hear as if I had their headphones on, which made me think of two things:

First, having partial hearing loss in my left ear…I am well aware of how precious our little eardrums are...this person, along with every other person whose music I hear as they pass, will regret it some day in the future; and

Secondly, with some people being continuously wired for sound – I wonder, besides during sleep, do they ever enjoy quiet time?

I use to always walk at lunch with my headphones on – listening to a favorite program – but I now find that if I walk sans the headphones....I am more creative, reflective and am able to sometimes come back to the office with a sense of inner peace.

For it is in the silence that our minds contemplate life, rest and rejuvenate, all of which are absolutely necessary to keep a balance within us.


Thursday, April 10, 2008

“Sign, sign…everywhere a sign..”

I found myself singing as I reached the entrance to my building.

For those of you that don’t know me well, I believe in “signs”....some are faith based and others, like today's....well, they just happen.

So on this cold, windy, rain-soaked morning, where umbrellas are totally ineffective and my only chance of getting to the office a little on the dry side was to pull back out of my closet my-promised-myself-never-to-wear-again-this-season winter jacket, and then walk with the fur trimmed hood up....I wasn’t surprised by the sign left for me – along the river side of Wacker Drive, smack in the middle of the sidewalk, a slightly scattered pile of bright silver screws...and as I continued along I would periodically see a single screw, then another and if left in my path on purpose.

What an appropriate "just happen’s" sign on this ugly morning...

and to that - my response would be.....Screw You Too!!

soon skies of blue?

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Working in the Big City – Pet Peeve #4

When crossing a street with the light - masses of people gather on the same corner just standing waiting for their light to change – thus impeding those who have the right-of-way from getting thru easily.

It shouldn’t be hard people – walking in crowded areas is just like driving a car – do not block the flow of traffic!

So here is my novel idea of the day – THINK outside of your selfish box and do not block the sidewalk for others while just standing there waiting for your light to change!


P.S. - As a side note - I was not that angry this morning - until I read Hedyblog - so I blame her blog du jour for getting me into a tizzy.

feeling dizzy

Tuesday, April 8, 2008


Traffic Management Authority replaced the Chicago Traffic Cop some years ago.

Instead of having trained police officers with police radio’s regulating traffic – it was turned over to lay people……

Regular Joe’s and Jane’s given bright yellowy-green vests, plastic light-up batons and the AUTHORITY to handle the Chicago traffic – both vehicles and pedestrians.

As you might be able to tell I am not fond of them.

So this morning when one of them stopped all of the pedestrians from crossing the street way before he needed to.....the man next to me said....

“Fuck This!” as he walked across anyway.

I must say – next time a TMA stops me from crossing an intersection for no good reason other than he or she can....

...I am taking my stand from that man.

it’s a plan

Monday, April 7, 2008

“P U!”

I thought to myself as I walked under the Civic Opera House portico this morning.

After years of walking this City, it is certainly not an unfamiliar odor. I have come to expect it when I use the underground exit at Union and come up the slightly-darken stairways onto Madison Street - sometimes gaggingly strong, but expected.

I also expect it when passing two protected-from-sight doorways on my way to Trader Joe’s on Ontario – that same stench.

But this was the first time I had smelled it and recognized the tell-tale stain on the limestone of the inside corner of the grand portico of the Opera House.

I feel pretty confident stating that most of the time this public peeing is done by men (remember I grew up with four brothers and I have a son, they all pretty much, like my male black Lab, peed/possibly still pee, on anything outside that didn’t/does not move and sometimes on things that did/do).

I can also tell you that I have witnessed, during broad daylight down here, many instances of men peeing in public, the two most memorable to date being:

A cabbie, while waiting in the cab lane in front of the Apparel Center, opened his door and stood within it, hoping, I guess, that it would shield his actual unit from view, as I approached him from the back, I saw the stream of urine coming out at his feet.....he shook and zipped as I walked past.

Secondly, and my most favorite seeing-peeing-in-public-moment, was while walking to get lunch at a salad bar kind of place on the corner of Wells and Lake under the El tracks many years ago....I crossed at the light and saw a bike messenger leaning into the I-beam that supports the overhead tracks....I first wondered what he was looking for in there....but as I got closer....I realized exactly what he had been doing upon seeing him reel it in and zip up.

I have several reasons for that sighting being a favorite, one of which is from that day forward I have been able to firmly say with no uncertainty - that what I had always heard about black least in his case...was not wrong!

long dong

Friday, April 4, 2008

“He is adorable!”

I heard one of the women huddled around the still-clean-stroller in the middle of the hallway say this morning as I departed the elevator on my floor.

I recognized the new Mom as a woman from the office two doors down, whose midsection I have watched over these past months become increasingly larger....she obviously had a baby boy and her co-workers were oohing and ahhing over him.

I remember those times as if they were, well not quite yesterday, but I could say in all honesty – I remember them like they were just a few years ago.

That fabulous anticipation of the arrival of who had been growing inside of me for some 9 months. Wondering what those elbows or feet that kicked like crazy – making my already swollen belly even more misshapen as they would try to poke thru and then silently glide across the expanse of skin almost etch-a-sketch-like, just what would they look like? How tiny would they be and most importantly would they all be beautifully formed?

So when he arrived - all 9 pounds 10 ½ ounces of him – his head incredibly bruised and swollen from squeezing out of that small passageway – after peeing all over the delivery nurse, then being cleaned up and handed to me - I witnessed absolute perfection – I cried, no I sobbed – he was beautiful!!

Back then my plan was to permanently etch into my mind every everything about him. I tried to just be in those moments – I longingly wanted him to forever be at that stage of his life with me – completely dependent and unscarred.

But the new-baby-smell wore off as that first year flew by and the next thing I knew all of those “permanently” etched memories were faded, pushed to the way back of my mind and my baby, he is 20 now and by society standards he is a man.

so much for my plan

Thursday, April 3, 2008


was the only identifier next to the whimsical face adhered with what appeared to be white paint, to a door on the side of Chipotle at Franklin and Wells some time ago.

“How cute!” was my first thought as I stopped to take a picture and wondered how I could get it off the door without ruining it –take it home and frame it to keep….forever and ever!!

Deciding it couldn't be removed intact – I headed to my office.

This past weekend when my artistic son stopped by, I showed him the photo of the “artwork” that I had stumbled upon.

He immediately recognized the artist’s work – it seems that Melt is a street artist – a graffiti tagger of sorts – except that Melt’s artwork is usually non-permanent. He further explained to me that what I thought was white “paint” is actually wheat paste – a sticky glue like substance made out guessed it – wheat.

When I told him that I had thought about taking it down – to keep for myself – he informed me that in the street art world that would be unacceptable. “Street art is to be left where the artist put it!” “That would be stupid to take it down and put it where only a few people could see it!” he firmly stated.

Okay, okay – I get it, I get it – but I still wouldn’t mind having a Melt street piece hanging on the spicy orange walls of my in-farmhouse gallery of art.


Wednesday, April 2, 2008

"I want to go back to Italy....

I still have relatives there." the dark-haired woman said to her friend as I passed them while crossing LaSalle Street about 10 minutes ago during my lunchtime walk.

That snippet got me thinking about how I feel when I travel.

I have written earlier about my trip to France with my kids, and I have also traveled to Florida, Virginia, Washington, D.C., Kentucky, California, Oregon, Nevada and New York.

With each of those trips I have never felt, not sure what word to use to describe how I feel when I travel far from home, but I will say “centered” – I never feel centered. I spend my trips enjoying all that is involved with each one – but constantly having an unbalanced feeling.

Might there be another word for how I feel when I travel outside of my Midwestern Safety Zone?

I am open to your thoughts, suggestions and knowing my audience of three or so – some good wisecracks.

a bunch of whacks

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

“I know…

I heard you yelling.” was your response. I was the woman who ran to catch up with you last night after I witnessed you just narrowly missing being hit by a running-a-red-light-Chicago bus. I would like to think that your response was more from embarrassment rather than from you being flippant.

By the time I sat down on my train to head home I was physically shaking....after all these years of walking down here - that was the closest I have come to witnessing someone being hit.

For the record – I was not the only one who yelled – it was me and probably four others that were on that corner last night – we all shouted at you and quite possibly saved your life.

So, in the future - if you want to be stupid enough to dart across a Chicago street, just after a light turns green, during a heavy rain – with your umbrella blocking your view of possible-running-the-red-light-traffic – while your hood is up and you have headphones on – more power to you – just not while you are in my direct line of vision – I refuse to have that happen under my watch.

a splotch