Friday, May 30, 2008

Much Fun Was Had By All

Last night, Iwanski and I went to the Cubs game with Sfoofie (aforementioned as the nieciest niece), my niece Melissa, my nephew DJ, and a couple of Sfoofie’s friends, who flew in from Washington D.C.

It. Was. A. Blast!

First of all, the Cubs rocked! Not that I’m totally into baseball or anything, but there was no denying that they really did rock. And they did so again today!—in today’s game, they came from behind, losing 9-1 and ended up winning 10-9. What a team! Could this be the year?

But even more awesome than the Cubs was the conversation. It was wonderful to catch up with my nieces and nephew, all of whom I felt like I hadn’t seen in FOREVER. We exchanged stories about their parents (my brother and sister) that made us all laugh. If either of them are reading this, rest assured that it was all good stuff—mostly. (evil laugh)

But seriously, folks, we had a rockin’ good time.

Iwanski and I first met up with Melissa and DJ (Sfoof and her friends came later), and they (Mel and DJ) are both die-hard Cubs fans—even though DJ had never been lucky enough to actually go to a game in person before last night. So it was particularly exciting for him. When Iwanski and I met up with the two of them, hugs were exchanged, then Melissa started squealing in delight. Apparently her favorite Cubs player, Ted Lilly, was signing autographs right in front of us. And then, when he agreed to take a picture with her, and even put his arm around her for the picture, she was positively bubbling with excitement. I, on the other hand, barely knew who Ted Lilly was and couldn’t imagine what all the fuss was about. Iwanski reminded me that when I was younger, I would have started squealing like that if Billy Joel was in front of me signing autographs. Well, he was right about that. (I have since outgrown my Billy Joel crush.)

Then we went into the stadium, and hot dogs, nachos, sodas, and beers were purchased. I got excited that I got carded and had to show my ID with my now 35-year-old birthdate on it. The beer vendor wished me a Happy Birthday. I wish that he had wished me a free beer, instead…but alas, I had to pay the outrageous price of $6.50 for it. Oh, well, you pay for the atmosphere, I guess.

Sfoofie then showed up with her friends, just in time for the game to start. Here’s the breakdown:

Melissa and the 3 guys = huge Cubs fans who paid attention to the game. (DJ even scored the whole game. He REALLY loves baseball.)

Sfoofie’s friend Beth = nice girl who also seemed to be enjoying the game.

Sfoofie and me = call ourselves Cubs fans, but pretty much ended up yapping with each other the whole time.

So we all had fun, for many different reasons. I enjoyed Sfoofie’s company a lot. She is so fun and hilarious. And it was great to talk to Melissa and DJ, as well. We all bonded over our love of the show “The Office.”

Great food, great atmosphere, great conversation—what more could you ask for?

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


Some people would prefer that people not know that it’s their birthday.

I am not one of those people.

My birthday is tomorrow! And I’m going to be the big 3-5.

Wow. Time sure flies when you’re having fun!

I’m always happy when my birthday comes around. The weather’s getting warmer, the summer festivities are on their way…and I have enjoyed yet another year on this earth! Despite its challenges, I’m very, very grateful to be here. Especially since I have so many wonderful friends and family members that I love so dearly. For example, I happen to be married to the most wonderful man in the world. Aren’t I just the lucky one?

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. I know that I’m extremely blessed to have all the great friends and family that I do (you all know who you are!).

I could mention all of your names right here, but then I would be afraid I’d forget someone’s name. Oh, the horror!

Instead, I will just tell you about one more person: my sister Sheri. I’ve mentioned Sheri before on my blog, and I just want to reiterate that she and I have one of those special “sister relationships.” We know each other so well, and even if we don’t talk often, we always have and always will share that special connection that sisters often share. And again she showed how well she knows me by sending me the most thoughtful, clever birthday gift—check it out!

Isn’t this the coolest gift ever? I love it! And I love my sister.

And I love my birthday! I’m not ashamed to admit it.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Why Do I Like These Songs?

I like crappy music. And often I realize that a song is crappy, but I still LOVE it. Or as Alvy Singer says in the movie “Annie Hall” (and as I would say to each of the following songs):

“Love is, is too weak a word for what I feel - I lurve you, you know, I loave you, I luff you, two F's, yes I have to invent, of course I - I do, don't you think I do?”

Here are my top 10 “guilty pleasures” songs:

1. Dancing Queen by Abba (This is now my theme song if I guest co-host on the Iwanski-Winter show.)

2. God Bless the USA by Lee Greenwood (I have no excuse for this one.)

3. We Built This City by Starship (I cry when I hear this song—really! It’s pathetic.)

4. Copacabana by Barry Manilow (I like Barry Manilow. Yes, I said it.)

5. Escape (The Pina Colada Song) by Rupert Holmes (Aww, it was my own lovely lady!)

6. Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go by Wham! (Shut up. This song rocks.)

7. Even the Nights Are Better by Air Supply (Air Supply got me through many breakups. Deal with it.)

8. Can’t Fight This Feeling by REO Speedwagon (The lead singer attended the same grade school as Iwanski. So you gotta like them.)

9. Macho Man by the Village People (You gotta love a song where the singer brags about “my big thick moustache.”)

10. YMCA by the Village People (I love the song. I love the dance. I am that lame.)

Yes, I love the Village People. I have listened to their greatest hits album several times while exercising. It is what I like to call “peppy” music. Iwanski hates it when I call music “peppy.” That’s why I like that word.

But you know what I mean. Every single one of these songs can instantly energize me or make me nostalgic—or both!

I lurve them.

Radio Is Fun

If you want to hear about the fun I had, the show will be downloadable tomorrow on or on itunes.

And for anyone who wanted to call in but didn't know the number (you know who you are!), I believe you can still call in and leave a message at 1-877-Iwanski. But beware: what you say may be used against you on the Iwanski/Winter Show.


Last minute news:

I will be co-hosting the Iwanski/Winter radio show tonight. Check it out if you wish!

Here's the lowdown:

Tonight at 7:00 central time on

Hope you tune in and enjoy our silliness!

Monday, May 26, 2008

The Invisible Aliens are Not In DuBuque

Damn! I still didn’t find the invisible aliens.

However, I did find something that I’d been missing for quite a while: real relaxation. You know how sometimes you don’t even realize how stressed you’ve been feeling until you get away for a while? Yep, that’s how I felt.

On this three-day voyage, Iwanski and I traveled through Northern Illinois, into Iowa (ooo, Iowa!), and then through Southwest Wisconsin. We saw beautiful green hills and valleys, pastures with cows lazily grazing, and forests with the occasional deer venturing out into the open. We even saw a bald eagle carrying his prey (perhaps a snake) over the treetops. We did some real hiking, and some real relaxing. It was just beautiful.

And at night, we retired to our hotel to swim in the pool and kick back with a couple of cold beers while we listened to some country and bluegrass music. Ahhh…this was the life.

Now we’re back in the city, in the place of beautiful manmade “hills” known as the Sears Tower and the John Hancock Building. It’s the place of city parks, where pigeons graze on the popcorn or corn chips somebody left behind, and of metal rails with the occasional subway rat venturing out into the open. It’s the place where we often see seagulls soar over the rooftops of buildings, in search of their next meal.

And I love it, too. I just need to remember that it’s just as important to relax here in the city as it was in the country.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to crack open a couple of cold beers and listen to some hip-hop music.

Ahhh…home sweet home.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Not Giving Up

Alright, y’all…I have not yet given up on finding the invisible aliens. They must be out there! And I must find them!

Therefore, I will embark on a three-day alien hunt. No stone will be unturned, no sticky note untouched.

And no writing will be done by me until I return.

Have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend!!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Tyrannosaurus Arms

Right now, our apartment is probably as messy as it’s ever been. There are dishes in the sink, junk mail and fast food containers everywhere, and many magazines about. And yet I’m sitting here writing. I call it “creative avoidance.” Did you ever see one of those signs or bumper stickers that say “I’d rather be fishing” or something like that? Well, I want one that says “I’d rather be writing.” Wow, that sounded pretty lame. Nevertheless, it’s true.

But eventually I know I will need to roll up my sleeves and tackle the mess. (Now don’t get your undies in a bundle—Iwanski will of course help, too!) I don’t actually mind cleaning that much—especially since the day that Iwanski pointed out that while I’m cleaning, I often exhibit a very strange behavior.

You see, while I’m going around the house picking items up and putting them in their proper places, I often (unconsciously, of course) leave my arms out in front of me (folded at the elbow) as I walk from place to place. Here is a photo so you know what I’m talking about.

Iwanski promptly nicknamed this strange behavior “tyrannosaurus arms.” I have, of course, developed a whole tyrannosaurus character from this, who screeches “Aaaaaaa!” while hunting for household objects to pick up. (I was making that noise while the picture above was taken—can you tell?)

Then the funniest thing happened. A couple of months after the discovery of the t-rex arms behavior, we were visiting with my parents, and all of the sudden Iwanski noticed that my Mom was doing tyrannosaurus arms! Then later in the day, we noticed that my Grandma was also doing tyrannosaurus arms! And then one by one, we began noticing that all of the women in my family shared this same strange behavior. It was a family phenomenon!—but interestingly, it was only the women in my family. Why? We have no idea. It must have been passed on from Grandma, to Mom, to her daughters. I wonder if my great-Grandmother also did t-rex arms? Hmmm…I’ll have to scour over the old pictures more closely in the future. And what if—oh, what if!—one of my ancestors was an actual t-rex?

So a few years ago, at a family wedding, a bunch of us were getting together for a family photo, and we decided to do a tyrannosaurus arms photo. Here’s the picture. Notice that of course, only the women are doing tyrannosaurus arms. Iwanski insisted upon it. We all got a good laugh out of that one.

I have to say, of all the traits that the women in my family share, this is my absolute favorite one. How could it not be? It’s a pretty weird behavior, don’tcha think?

And now, unfortunately, I must stop my creative avoidance and actually start doing some cleaning. But at least I get to make Iwanski laugh when I begin t-rexing it up.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Never Again

I don’t have the energy to blog too much tonight. But I do want to make one bold declaration:

I’m never eating the chili from Wendy’s again.

Never. Ever. Ever again.

And that is all.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Beyond the Cheddar Curtain

Unfortunately, I had no luck finding invisible aliens. No more yellow sticky notes were found. However, I did find many different kinds of cheeses, and an abundance of fried seafood.

Can you guess where I went?

Yes, that’s right. Iwanski and I traveled beyond the cheddar curtain, to the brat-tastic state of Wisconsin. (That’s “brat,” as in German sausage, not “brat,” as in a naughty child.) We saw my parents and participated in what has been called the “May Birthday Bash.”

Every year, my family holds two “bashes”: a May Birthday Bash, and a January Birthday Bash. This is due to an abundance of January and May birthdays in my family. I have five sisters and two brothers and over twenty nieces and nephews. This results in many birthdays overall…with clusters of birthdays in January and May. Hmmm…if I count back and do the math, I see that the months of May and September were very amorous months. What happened in those months? The beginning of spring-like weather, and the beginning of the school year. Very interesting…

Anyway, I don’t know how these get-togethers became “bashes,” but perhaps it has something to do with the volume of my family’s gatherings. We are not a quiet bunch. This time around, there were only 8 of us in attendance (others were at graduations and other exciting events), and still, I noticed at one point that we were making a pretty good racket. Even the littlest attendee, my nearly one-year-old niece, would pipe up once in a while with a cry of “Aaaaaa!” or “Gout!” (This is her first real word, which we believe is a tribute to her uncle Iwanski.)

The only two birthday attendees were my sister Sheri (whose birthday was a couple of weeks ago) and myself (whose birthday is in a couple of weeks). We got some lovely gifts, and partook in a true Wisconsin delicacy: fried lake perch. Yum! I loves me some fried perch. No, Miss Healthypants was not healthy this weekend.

We missed having the rest of the family there, but we still had fun, and my little niece was all smiles and giggles, making the rest of us smile and giggle a lot. Babies are awesome when they’re happy.

Then my Mom & Dad and Iwanski & I said our goodbyes to my two sisters, brother-in-law, and niece, and headed back to my Mom and Dad’s house for a rousing game of “Personal Preference.”

What’s “Personal Preference,” you ask? Well, it’s only my FAVORITE game. It’s pretty much a “how well do you know the other players” type of game. The person who’s “it” picks 4 cards from a category (the categories are People, Activities, Food & Drink, and Potpourri), and has to secretly put them in order from their most favorite to their least favorite. The other players then have to guess what the person likes, in order from their most favorite to their least favorite. We learned last night that my Dad really likes spy novels, my Mom likes Michael J. Fox, and Iwanski hates cottage cheese and licorice. Pretty random, I know—but interesting. To me, at least. Iwanski pointed out that it was obvious that I should win this game, since I was playing with my parents and my spouse. He wasn’t wrong—we played two games, and I won both. Can you see why I like this game?

So it was a good visit with my family. And on the drive back to Chi-town today, Iwanski and I stopped briefly at the “Bong Recreation Area.” Yes, that’s what it’s really called. Here’s a picture if you don’t believe me.

Iwanski and I had driven past this sign many times, so this time we decided to stop and see what it’s all about. It was a beautiful natural area, and Iwanski found a lovely little trail that was off the beaten path, so we walked a bit. It’s always refreshing to get back into nature when you’ve been in the city for a while. We saw lots of birds, of course, and Iwanski even spotted a huge cocoon filled with probably a hundred little caterpillars. It was interesting, but it makes me itch just to think about it. I’m not really into the creepy-crawly things.

So we enjoyed our little foray into Wisconsin, but it’s always good to get back to our high-rise apartment in the city again…where I’m far away from the creepy-crawly critters.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Invisible Aliens

I was at Walgreen’s today, and I noticed that someone had left a yellow sticky note on a pile of plastic-packaged women’s robes. The sticky note said:

Hello Invisible Alien Population:
Mozart’s Current Body “Hit” In Chicago.

I wondered who had left the note. Of course, it could have been a crazy person. But maybe it was someone who knows invisible aliens. Or maybe it was an actual invisible alien! Who knows?

Either way, it struck me as really funny. I really wished I had a camera with me. Then I thought, “It’s a sticky note. I could just take it.” But then I thought, “Would it be okay to take the sticky note? Was it even right to take it? And what might happen to me if I took it?” I called Iwanski and asked him what he thought. “I don’t know,” he said, “You might incur the wrath of the invisible aliens if you take it.” I wasn’t sure if I was ready to endure their wrath, so I left it there.

But then I started thinking. What did the note mean? Mozart’s Current Body “Hit”? Could this just be a secret gang communication? But then what did “S.O.S.” mean? Save our Ship…an alien spaceship? That would mean the writer had to be an invisible alien himself!

So I settled on the only logical explanation: There are invisible aliens living in Chicago, and they murdered the reincarnation of Mozart. Yep, that’s right. That’s gotta be what it means.

So for the next few days, I will be working to find traces of invisible aliens. They are invisible, so I’m sure it won’t be easy. Perhaps yellow sticky notes will be my only clues.

It will be very time-consuming, so I will not have any time to do any writing.

I will update you on my progress in a few days.

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Brutal Gourmet

Iwanski and I have been eating a lot of fast food lately. We’ve just both been working late pretty often. Plus, there are about 20 fast food restaurants within 2 blocks of our apartment. Some of which we don’t even have to go outdoors to get to. It’s just way too tempting.

And then there’s the simple fact that I am not a good cook.

Yes, that’s right. Miss Healthypants doesn’t know the first thing about cooking healthy—or for that matter, unhealthy—food. That’s why I eat so many salads. Hey, at least it’s healthy. (At least that’s what I tell myself while I drown my salad in Ranch dressing.)

I think part of the problem is that I just don’t like cooking. Don’t get me wrong--I like the idea of cooking. I can picture myself humming peacefully as I alternately stir several yummy-smelling dishes on the stove. However, the reality is that a) I’m not patient enough to enjoy cooking, and b) I’m too social to enjoy cooking. On the rare occasion that Iwanski and I decide to cook a meal together, I actually do enjoy it. But I don’t like being by myself in the kitchen. Perhaps it’s just the social Gemini in me.

So when I have to cook something (hey, the fast food restaurants aren’t always open!), I try to keep it really simple. Grilled cheese sandwiches, frozen pizza, spaghetti, and the like. And yet I still manage to screw it up somehow.

I think my first cooking screw-up was when I was about 8 years old. My sister and I decided to make Snickerdoodle cookies. (Mmmm…snickerdoodles…) We mixed the batter, dropped the little teaspoons of batter on the cookie sheet, and put it in the oven. Ten minutes later, we checked on it, and the batter had run all over the pan, like one gigantic runny cookie. We couldn’t figure out what we did wrong. Hello, it’s because you forgot to put flour in the mix, you dumbasses! Well, to be fair, we were only 8 and 10 years old. You’re allowed to make those kind of mistakes when you’re that young.

But now I’m an adult and can’t use that excuse. The following are actual mistakes that I’ve made in cooking, in the past few years:

1. A few years ago, I put one of those little California Pizza Kitchen frozen pizzas in the oven. A few minutes later, I smelled something burning. Apparently I had left the cardboard on the bottom of the pizza when I put it in the oven. (Hey, it was really thin cardboard! It was so thin that it blended right into the pizza crust. So it wasn’t really my fault—I blame California Pizza Kitchen.)

2. A couple of years ago, we were over at my sister-in-law’s house. I asked her if I could help her cook anything (See? I don’t mind cooking when others are cooking with me), and she asked me to boil some spaghetti noodles. Not a problem!—I could do that. I put the cold water in the pot and the noodles in the water, and put it on the stove to boil… My brother-in-law saw what I was doing, and he looked at me, dumbfounded. “Don’t you know you’re supposed to boil the water first, and then add the noodles?” “Really?” I said. “Why?” “Because you don’t want your noodles to get all stuck together and mushy. If you boil the water first, you’ll be able to cook the noodles al dente.” I nodded, and made a mental note to later look up the term “al dente.”

3. Just over a month ago, I decided to make grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup. (One of my favorite “comfort food” meals.) We had bought a package of pre-sliced Munsteur cheese from the grocery store (the kind of package where each piece of cheese is separated by a thin piece of waxed paper), so I decided to use that to make the grilled cheese sandwiches. We sat down to eat, and Iwanski bit into his sandwich. “Eww!” he yelled immediately. “What is this…paper?” Sure enough, he pulled a little piece of waxed paper out of his mouth. “You left the paper on the cheese?” He asked incredulously. Then he peeled open the sandwich. And there, stuck to the melted cheese, was a big piece of waxed paper. I looked at my sandwich—and sure, enough, mine had wax paper stuck in it, too. I felt so bad that I had ruined the sandwiches, but all Iwanski could do was laugh and laugh.

So there you go. The cooking genius that is Miss Healthypants.

Come to think of it, it’s probably a good thing that I don’t like cooking.

Monday, May 12, 2008

I Loves Me Some TV

Whenever Iwanski and I get together with his family, we talk about a lot of things, but inevitably, we end up talking about TV. Even when we are sitting around a campfire, we talk about TV. When we turned out the lights for Earth Hour about a month ago, we talked about TV (and came up with “Candlewang,” a fun new game based on a skit on a British TV show).

We are a TV-obsessed society. And I love it. Because I love TV.

So I started thinking about what it was like when I was a kid. As kids, were we as obsessed with TV then as we are now? And then I remembered the types of “pretend” that we did when we were kids. Here are some examples:

1. We had this old red couch in our basement, with two long cushions that were almost the exact height of my sister and me. My sister and I used to pretend that we were Laverne and Shirley (I believe she was Laverne and I was Shirley). Naturally, that meant that she got the “Lenny” pillow, while I was stuck with Squiggy. Oh, well, you can’t win ‘em all.

2. We also used the red couch cushions to play the tv show “Chips.” My sister and I were, of course, the girlfriends to Ponch and Jon. We were always the girlfriends to those red couch cushions. (Hmm, it is a bit sad to think that our main aspiration at that age was to “have boyfriends.”)

3. Whenever we’d get together with our cousins Lori and Lisa, we’d play “The Gong Show.” The contestants would dress up in my Mom’s old clothes and shoes and do stupid stuff, and the judges would then “gong” the losing contestant. (The “gong” was typically some type of stick or hammer slapped against one of my parents’ 1960’s green floral metal tv trays.)

4. My best friend and I would often play “The Dukes of Hazzard” with the neighborhood boys while riding our bikes outside. We had a Bo, a Luke, and even a Rosco P. Coltrane. However, we had two girls and only one Daisy Duke…what to do? Well, being the creative geniuses we were, we decided we'd have a Daisy 1 and a Daisy 2! How clever!

So yeah, I think we were a little obsessed with tv, even back then.

And as I write this, Iwanski just asked me if I’m ready to watch one of our Tivo’d tv shows. Hell yes, I’m ready! I’m always ready to watch tv.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Brown Sugar Bumps

When I was a kid, my absolute most favorite treat in the whole world was Brown Sugar Bumps. What are these delicacies, you may ask? Well, the recipe is very simple—and very healthy, of course. (Wouldn’t you expect it to be, with a name like “Brown Sugar Bumps”?)

¼ cup butter
½ cup brown sugar
¼ cup peanut butter
1 cup oatmeal

All you have to do is melt the butter and then add in the other 3 ingredients. Of course, to make “bumps,” you can put small spoonfuls of the mixture on a cookie sheet and refrigerate it for 10 minutes—but I preferred to just eat it right out of the bowl. Yummy! My best friend and I would often share a bowl of this delicious mixture.

I remember one time (I think I was about 8 years old), my sister Sheri (who’s two years older than me) gave my friend and I the rare opportunity to play with her. (She of course had her own friends and didn’t often want to hang out with her little sister and her little sister’s friend.) We decided we were going to play runaways, and the only food we had to eat was—of course—brown sugar bumps.

We had an attic above our garage, and so that was our hideaway. I remember that we all had to make up our runaway name, and while my friend and I picked normal, boring names like “Sue” and “Barbara,” my sister picked the name “Cricket.” I thought that was SO cool.

So while we hid out in the attic, Cricket would give us our rations of Brown Sugar Bumps. I don’t remember a lot about the rest of what we played, but I do remember being frustrated that I couldn’t eat as many brown sugar bumps as I wanted to. That mean old Cricket!

I’m telling you, Brown Sugar Bumps are very addictive. Trust me, just try them—you won’t be able to stop eating them!**

**Unless your name is John Iwanski. He says they’re “too sweet.” I don’t know what he’s talking about!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Random Iwanskiness

I can’t believe I forgot this one…

Iwanski Rule #16: While taking a walk, Iwanski must be "unencumbered" at all times.** To walk with a small plastic bag in hand is out of the question. Iwanski will not even wear gloves. Ever.

**Note: A recent update to this rule: Miss Healthypants should be unencumbered at all times, as well. Iwanski is bothered when he perceives that Miss Healthypants is encumbered in any way and will insist that Miss Healthypants rid herself of all such encumberances.

Actual Iwanski sayings from 5-10-08:

“I’m going to get violent with this printer.”

“I see the world as one big B.L.T.”

"Moo, moo, moo, moo, moo…"

"You’re like MacGyver…no wait, did I say MacGyver? I meant you’re like your Mom."

Friday, May 9, 2008

Sisterly Love

This past Wednesday was my sister Sheri’s birthday. (I call her Sheki—long story. Happy Belated Birthday, Sheki!)

Sheri is two years older than me, and although we don’t see each other that often, when we do get together, we spend half the time laughing. It’s like no one gets the little “inside jokes” that she and I totally get. We sit there laughing, and everyone else looks at us like we’re crazy. It’s wonderful.

When we were growing up, though, our relationship wasn’t quite so friendly all the time. We sort-of had a love/hate relationship—which I’m sure is quite common in siblings who are so close in age.

We fought a lot because (as we were often told), we were very different from each other. Sheri was very careful with her possessions; I was very laid-back and—well—careless with stuff. Sheri was the painter/draw-er artist type; I was the writer. Sheri, being the older of the two of us, wanted to have authority over me. I didn’t like being told what to do. You can see it was a match made in heaven.

But despite all our bickering that I’m sure took place, I can only remember one time when the fight turned physical.

I was about 10 years old and, at the time, totally addicted to Atari video games. (My favorite games were Demon Attack and Dragonfire.) So I played all the time. And I mean ALL THE TIME. There was probably a permanent divot on the ground where I sat by the tv in our basement as I played.

So one day, Sheri got sick and tired of it. She came downstairs and demanded that I surrender my joystick so that she could play Atari. I said the 10-year-old equivalent of “hell no!” And she said in no uncertain terms that she was my older sister, and that I had to listen to her. I refused. The more I refused, the madder she got, and the madder she got, the madder I got. Pretty soon we started hitting each other.

Back and forth we slapped each other, and then I got in a really good hit. And by really good hit, I mean a really bad hit. She was holding her eye and crying out in pain. I panicked. Oh my God, what did I do?

Mom and Dad got involved, and they took Sheri to the hospital. Luckily, it wasn’t anything too major. As it turns out, I had smacked her so hard in her eye that her contact lens had gone way back in her eye, and they had to flush it out. I was just grateful that I didn’t hurt her worse than that.

I don’t remember fighting with Sheri too much after that. Maybe it was that we were both getting older and not getting into childish fights as much any more. Or maybe it was that we both realized we never wanted to get in a fight like that again.

Whatever the case, I know that when I saw my sister being rushed off to the hospital, I realized that I really did care about her, and I never wanted to see her get hurt.

And I still feel like that today. And I realize that I am lucky to have a sister who can now laugh about the fact that one time, I hit her hard enough to send her to the hospital.

Miss Healthypants Returns

Update: Miss Healthypants is healthy once again! And about to dig into some pizza and salad…the salad makes it a healthy dinner, right? Right?? (Just agree with me. Don’t break my delusions of healthiness.)

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Excuse Me While I Sleep Another 15 Hours

I can’t believe it. For the second time in two weeks, I’m sick again. Correction: I’m sick, but almost better…thank God!

Here’s what happened:

On Tuesday night, Iwanski requested that his generous, loving wife pick up some dinner on her way home from work. His loving, generous wife picked up said dinner at Chipotle Mexican Grill. The Iwanskis feasted heartily.

Cut to later that night. Iwanski is writhing in pain (no doubt caused by the aforementioned Chipotle dinner). Miss Healthypants is sleeping through nearly all of it. Iwanski is up half the night. Miss Healthypants sleeps right through the alarm, dreaming that she and her coworkers are dancing to "Ba-ba-ba-ba-Barbara Ann" in the office. Iwanski and Miss Healthypants barely make it out of bed to get to work.

Cut to later that day, around noon. Now Miss Healthypants is writhing in pain. Iwanski has some pain, but is mostly better. Miss Healthypants is just starting to get sick.

Miss Healthypants (who is now Miss Sicklypants) leaves work early, goes home, and sleeps for the next 15 hours, waking only to eat half a container of Ben and Jerry’s Frozen Yogurt (brought to her by her loving, generous husband).

Miss Sicklypants now has a temperature of 100.7 degrees. Having never been prone to running a fever, Miss Sicklypants calls Buck, the King of Fevers. (Buck can get a slight cough and immediately start running a fever of 103 degrees.) Buck reassures Miss Sicklypants that 100.7 is not too bad, and tells her that unless it gets to 103 degrees, she’s probably okay. Then Buck gives Miss Sicklypants some great advice: take Tylenol and drink lots of liquids. This proves to be very sage advice. A couple of hours later, Miss Sicklypants’ fever is broken and she is feeling slightly better. She sleeps several more hours.

Cut to present time. Miss Sicklypants is mostly better, except for the fact that whenever she eats anything, it feels like little aliens are poking at her intestines from the inside. This feels wonderful. (Buck, you got any advice for that?)

So there you go. The story of Miss Sicklypants.

I guess I could just not eat until tomorrow. I could stand to lose some weight, anyway.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

A Thought

Would it really be so difficult to give envelopes and stamps a better taste? Really? In the hundreds of years since we've been using envelopes and stamps, they couldn't come up with a way to make them taste a little less like ass, and a little more like--say--chocolate?

Bad Habits

Everyone has bad habits, right?

Here are some of my bad habits:

--I chew on pens until they are all mangled—and then I chew on them some more.

--I bite my nails (I’ve a bit of an oral fixation, don’tcha think?)

--I pet the cat and then rub cat hair directly into my eye. (This one is not only a bad habit, it’s fun, as well!)

--I routinely spill glasses of water.

--When I’m cleaning, I often go into a “cleaning frenzy” and put objects in unlikely places. (Yes, Iwanski, your contact lens case does belong in the filing cabinet.)

--I walk in the house and dump my work clothes on the floor, two feet from the laundry basket (because IN the laundry basket would be just too easy!)

--I blend my makeup with tissues, but then leave the tissues on the bathroom counter instead of throwing them into the wastebasket directly below the counter. (I apparently have problems putting things into containers!)

--I stack books and magazines on the floor next to the couch, intending to read them, but never getting around to it.

So I’m pretty much a slob.

What are Iwanski’s bad habits? I’m glad you asked!

--He leaves little shaving stubble all over my makeup sponges (although to his credit, he’s working toward changing that habit).

--He freaks out over salmonella (to the extreme).

--He hems and haws over where to eat lunch (this is especially fun if Miss Healthypants is really hungry).

--After taking a shower, he doesn’t push the “stopper” on the faucet down, which makes an annoying “eeeeee!” sound. (Believe me, this is more irritating than it sounds.)

--He chooses Popeye’s chicken over a salad.

--He’s a clutterbug. (Do you know anyone who wants the past 20 years of baseball, basketball, and football preview magazines?)

--He balls up his socks and throws them across the living room, usually at one of the cats. (They love this. So does Miss Healthypants.)

--He reads newspapers and magazines and then leaves them on the floor next to the chair, instead of putting them in the recycling bin.

OK, I guess we’re both slobs.

What are your bad habits?

Monday, May 5, 2008

Positively Imperfect

I am a very positive person—normally. In fact, I am always the one preaching to my friends about how important it is to stay positive. (They love that.)

But today, my negativity got the better of me. As the receptionist in the movie “Office Space” said, “Sounds like someone’s got a case of the Mondays!” I want to punch that lady.

And at 6 PM, after an entire day of wallowing in worry and negativity, I thought, “Why am I doing this? I tell my friends all the time about how important it is to stay positive, and hear I am, Miss Negative Nancy, all day today! How can I be such a hypocrite?”

And then I remembered: I’m not perfect!

And then I thought, “That’s right! I’m not perfect! It’s okay that I was like this today, because I have the rest of my life (and perhaps several more lives) to try to overcome my negativity.”

And that thought changed my entire attitude around. What a blessing it is to remember that I’m not perfect! Now I can go forward and be positive again. There’s no point in dwelling on past negativity—that would just make me more negative!

Also, I really believe in the concept that “what you put out there (to the universe) comes back to you.” I believe this is especially true of our thoughts.

So for example, if you kept thinking, “People aren’t very helpful to me” or “People don’t respect me,” what do you think would happen? Well (I believe), then people won’t be helpful to you or respect you!

One of my good friends is seeing this concept work for her as she tries to improve her self-esteem. Every day, she’s been telling herself, “I love myself, and I’m beautiful.” This has been especially difficult for her, as she often sees herself as unworthy of love and unattractive (neither of which is true in the least!); However, today she was substitute teaching at a high school, and she could hear the kids whispering about how pretty she was. One of them even gathered up his courage and said straight to her face, “I just wanted to say that you’re really pretty!” Isn’t that wonderful?

So here are some thoughts that I’m going to try to think every day—we’ll see if they work!

 People are very helpful to me.
 People respect me.
 People compliment me often.
 I am losing weight every day, no matter what I eat.
 I am very organized and never lose anything.
 Iwanski loves doing housework and is obsessive about making sure the house is clean.
 I am very lucky and will win the lottery soon.

Well, a girl can dream, can’t she?

Saturday, May 3, 2008


God, I love living in this city!

Last night was the 2nd annual “Looptopia,” an all-night festival of art and music in Chicago’s loop (downtown) neighborhood. (And I mean all night—there were things going on from 5 PM Friday till 7 AM on Saturday.) Last year, John and I were in Wisconsin visiting my parents during Looptopia, so this year, we were excited to check it out.

We wandered out of the house around 8 PM and headed over to State Street. We had heard that up and down State, there were supposed to be performance artists in an overall exhibition called “Ghost Light.” We had no idea what we were in for. On each downtown block of State Street (on both sides of the street), there were single performers on raised platforms, all dressed in white. They were all different and all very weird (weird in a good way!). For example, one of them was a woman in a long white dress with a veil, picking petals from a flower and looking down at a writhing pile of white doll babies, lying on their sides with their arms and legs moving. Off to the side, there was a huge mesh bag full of more white dolls, which were not moving. Trust me, it was very creepy-looking. I heard someone say, “I think this is something about abortion.” I thought that was probably as good a guess as any.

Then there was the tortured artist guy, who had drawn ominous-looking self portraits and was trying to poke a hole through one of them with a metal pick. And the female karate master, who did a series of bows and slow kicks and then used a pair of chopsticks to slowly pick up a gummy bear from atop a huge bowl of gummy bears and move it over to a canister on the other side of the platform.

The best part of the exhibit was probably hearing people’s reactions as they went past them. “I don’t get it,” was one of the most common utterances. There’s nothing to get, people! It’s art! It means whatever you want it to mean.

We walked for a good hour through this exhibit, and then walked over to Dearborn Street. Around every corner it seems that there something else interesting to see. We saw two women stacking up eggs on the sidewalk, a wandering band of hippies singing some tunes, and a giant multicolored lit-up piece of hard candy.

Then we got to the hoedown. Yes, there was a hoedown in downtown Chicago! Right in Daley Plaza, there was a live country/bluegrass band complete with a guitar, banjo, and fiddle player—and a square dance caller. We got there at the end of the square dance lesson, and then watched as hundreds of people—young and old—square danced next to the Picasso. They were pretty good, too!

Then the band played a waltz, and John and I joined hundreds of other people waltzing in the square. You could almost touch the positive energy in the air. It was just beautiful.

Then it was time for the Virginia Reel, a type of line dance. John, who doesn’t always like to join in line dances, decided it was time to join. The guys were told to line up on one side, the girls on the other. There were about 6 couples to each line, and somehow John and I became the head couple. The instructions seemed easy until it got to the linking of elbows. Somehow, John and I got completely lost on what we were supposed to be doing at that point—and our fellow Virginia Reelers didn’t help much, either. Some of them were yelling “We’re supposed to join the other line!” while others yelled out, “No—it’s right elbows, then left elbows!” It was all very confusing. John did the right thing and left the line. “’Bye!” he yelled, and I followed him, laughing. I was glad to be away from all that. We instead did our own little dance from the sidelines. We had fun, either way.

After that, it was a free-for-all dance, and the band played a rousing Irish tune and then three bluegrass songs. The band was fantastic, and John and I were in seventh heaven, dancing and singing among hundreds of others who were having the time of their lives.

At a hoedown, right here in downtown Chicago.

I know that there were several other events happening throughout the night, but for us, nothing would top this.

After that, John and I walked around for a while longer and joined the throngs of people wandering the streets, taking in all the amazing artistic and musical exhibits. There was a feeling of happiness and energy in the air. The city was just so alive.

Eventually, we went home and opened our window a crack as we watched a bit of t.v. I fell asleep on the couch, and at two in the morning was awakened to the sound of music and people yelling and “woo”ing. Yep, the festival was still going—all night long.

At 5 in the morning, there was supposed to be a huge game of hide-and-go-seek happening in Millennium Park. I wish I could have stayed awake to see that.

About 9 years ago, John and I decided to leave Wisconsin to come live here in downtown Chicago. I have never regretted that decision. And I’ve never been happier to live here than I was last night.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Dirty Jobs

OK, we’ve already confirmed that I’m a lucky bad-ass.

Even in my job, I think I’m pretty lucky. I work with people I like for the most part, and the work that I do translates into good things for the community.

But I wasn’t always so lucky in my professional pursuits. My first two jobs were the worst.

The first job I ever had was sorting through people’s nasty clothing at Goodwill. My sister-in-law worked there, and my Dad talked her into getting me a summer job there. He later told me that he helped me get the job so I would be convinced that I needed to go to college. I was convinced after the first hour there.

My job was to sort through huge crates that came in, to find clothing that was suitable to sell in the store. This meant that it had to have no stains, or holes or rips. Trust me, VERY little clothing that we got in those crates was salvageable. And it wasn’t just clothes. You would not believe the horrible things that people “donated” in those crates. Chicken bones were one of the least disgusting things, if that tells you anything. One time, we saw a pair of child’s underwear with poo in it. That was lovely. Then there were the times when an entire crate would come in stinking of ammonia. Why on earth would people donate pee-stained clothes? Or else they were peed on by someone after they were donated. Yikes! Either way, those crates went right into the garbage.

So we had to stand there all day, digging through these dirty crates, never knowing what we’d find in there. Oh, and everything was so dusty (and I’m allergic to dust), so I had to wear a dust-mask all day long. Man, I hated that job.

Then, in college, I worked one summer as a housekeeper on campus. (People would stay in the campus townhouses for a couple of weeks at a time. I guess it was cheaper than getting a hotel room.) That job convinced me that I do not like to clean up after people. (Yeah, my future kids are always going to clean up after themselves. Always.) I remember one time that I picked up a half-full can of Mountain Dew. I went to empty it into the sink, and gobs of chewing tobacco dribbled out. The smell was even worse than how it looked—I started gagging and almost threw up.

Man, I’m really glad I went to college.