Sunday Morning Soliloquy - Musings of an Urbanite: December 2008

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

2008...A Year in Reflection

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Holy Crap, I cannot believe it is 2009 in a matter of hours. It is Cloud 9, 2009!

Well, a lot happened to me in 2008, I ran the marathon, my artwork was in competition to be toured in great galleries around the world, I got married, I started a new business, I had a baby, I bought a new home and I won the lottery. Don't you just hate those stupid Christmas cards you receive from distant friends that brag about exaggerated crap like that? I just want to drive to those people's homes and peak in the windows so I can watch their husband drink Jack Daniels out of the bottle and beat the kids.

Ok, no, none of the abovementioned happened, except the lottery. OK, no lottery either. WAIT! I must interject, an unrelated subject... I am sitting at Starbucks typing away and the hottest guy is sitting across from me, so perhaps, 2009 will bring a new love interest. I was just trying to check out whether he was wearing a wedding ring and I noticed tattoos on his fingers instead. Visible tattoos, way better than a ring in Leyla-Land. I want to turn my head and look at him so badly but I am nervous, what if he notices that I am looking at him.

ENOUGH! Back to the story at hand, a reflection of 2008, not a story about the smoking hot guy sitting next to me. In 2008, I quit my job in an upscale, 10,000 square foot restaurant after nearly four years of being their Event & Marketing manager. I started a new career that only lasted six months, mainly due to the economic downturn, when that ended, I mustered up the courage (forced-courage) to start my own marketing business. The marketing business is tough, not easy to get the ball rolling but I press on every week. I emailed four former clients today and each one delivered positive feedback which leads me to believe 2009 is looking up alreday.

I started this blog and figured out how to use affiliate marketing - by using words like PAYDAY LOAN as my keywords, I can attract people to my blog that are looking for a quick cash. Though, I do not have a payday loan advertisement on here. I always said, "I try to keep my advertisers to things I would actually want or need, or perhaps things I think are worthy". In my opinion, words like “Pay Day Loan” and “Quick Cash Fast” also attract people who may use prostitutes, perhaps I can pick up some extra work that way? I’ll also flood my blog with words like “United Arab Emirates” and “Freedom Fighters” to see what kind of browsers come flocking here. Next thing, I’ll be nabbed by the US Government for violating the Patriot Act, which just so happens to be my least favorite Act.

In 2008, in addition to this blog, my travel blog kicked off. I will tell you more about that at another time. In my last post, I included the site for the travel agency. But the blog portion will really flourish in early weeks of 2009! I am truly looking forward to writing about one of my biggest passions – travel. My first entry will be dedicated to my favorite hotel chain in the world The Four Seasons; they know the meaning of the word consistency and in a good way!

In 2008, when it came to love, I was consistent....I failed. I was in a relationship with a younger, attractive, smart man but I managed to successfully sabotage that relationship like I sabotage all of my relationships. Including friendships. I took a big risk in love and hoped for a nice return, I hoped to spend my life with him. It didn’t quite work as I hoped for, he ditched me. I was really in love with him and I wish I had treated him with the tenderness and kindness that he showed me.

In 2009, when it comes to relationships, I refuse to try any longer, I’m sick of it. Maybe I’ll turn gay – just kidding, I know you don’t “turn” gay. Plus, women make me mental, I’d likely go to jail for killing my girlfriend.

On a positive note, my father is healthy and happy after a short stay in the hospital two months ago. He had another stint put in his artery and now has a total of 10 stints. But, so far, those stints have kept him alive. As of last month, he was the longest living male in his family history – ever! He is awesome, I could probably start a whole blog on just the things that come out of his mouth.

My brothers - well, one is a graphic designer so he is also feeling the economy right now and my other brother is in IT so he is basically untouchable by the economy. It is what it is.

Outlook for 2009...
I am weeks away from launching a third site that is specifically for ladies who are looking to plan bachelorette parties. Targeting females aged 18 to 39. The blog is mainly informative, nothing to buy, just media and information to share. I have 10+ years of event planning experience and I hope to share some of my expertise with my readers.

Additionally, I also look forward to buying a lot of music in 2009, going to many more concerts and taking a wine class on French Wines. I promised myself that I need to start “living” versus sitting in my apartment watching The Family Guy and King of Queens.

Here is to you 2009! I look forward to your arrival and to your prosperity, your happiness and the adventures you'll bring!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Holidays... Happy Days

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Many exciting things have taken place over the past few days. I saw some great movies, that is one of my favorite things to do so that was enjoyable. "Yes Man" with Jim Carey on Xmas Eve, that was a barrel of laughs. Benjamin Button and The Spirit on Xmas Day.

On Xmas Eve I went to YES MAN by myself, and oddly enough, I was one of many individual movie goers. There were about 12 people in the theater and the majority of them were alone, like me! After learning about my holiday plans, one of my friends said, "that is sad" but when you don't celebrate Christmas and everybody else does, what else are you supposed to do? It is not sad if you don't celebrate Christmas. I don't have any emotional connection to the holiday and I don't have any happy childhood memories of Christmas to refer back to, I didn't celebrate it. I'm sure if you went to the movies alone on Ramadan I wouldn't think it was sad.

On Christmas day, I went to Benjamin Button - which was sad only because I cried from start to finish. I cry at the sight of old people and there is nothing I can do about it, so I cried because he was old, I cried because he was alone, I cried because they were in love, I cried, I cried and cried. But I really liked the movie, Brad Pitt was fantastic and the did a great job of making him look young!

The Spirit on the other hand SUCKS ASS! DO NOT SEE THIS MOVIE.

In other news, I finally finished my first project, I had a hand in a travel website and it is finally FINISHED. Soon, I start the travel blog portion, it is not up yet but you can check out the travel site for now Artun Travel

Here is a photo to whet your appetite.

Now a week at work and time to prepare for my NYE plans. Good times.

Friday, December 19, 2008


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Last night was a big snow storm in Chicago and the whole city was awakened by a mass of white powder....every where! It was delightfully pretty watching it come down late last night and I was excited to get out this morning and face the beautiful day. Being that this was not my first winter in Chicago (in fact, more like my 32nd winter in Chicago - I spent 4 winters else where for those who are counting), I knew what to expect after the pretty faded.

I approached the bus stop on Michigan Avenue and was greeted wtih the cold welcome of black slush. The stop had a moat around it and the moat was filled with freezing, black water about 7 inches deep. I had to stand about 6 feet away from the curb in an effort to stay dry and clean.

While waiting for the bus, I noticed the young, white collar fellow to my right. The fellow was wearing a pair of brown shoes, no boots. His poor little feet and jeans were soaking wet and I had no option but to comment. I said, "Your poor little feet, where are your boots?" He replied, "I have another pair of shoes and socks in the office to change into." My rebuttal, "But that is not good enough, you need warm boots! Or at the very least, you need a pair of those things that old men wear over their dress shoes." To my surprise he starts to chuckle and says, "Yeah, like my dad, those things they put on their feet are called 'rubbers'". He continues on to tell me, "The other day my dad went into CVS and told the lady behind the counter that he needed rubbers."

Two others at the bus stop (all with soaking wet feet) were listening to our conversation and all of us all started laughing. The thought of an older man walking into a CVS and asking for rubbers without realizing what he was saying was a great image - especially considering the usual staff at the CVS.

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Shower This Morning

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I was dog-sitting my brother's dog while he was snowboarding in Colorado. I stayed at his apartment while watching his dog because my apartment does not allow dogs. I got up this morning, fed the dog, took him for a walk and looked at the guest bathroom to check out the shower. I didn't feel comfortable showering in my brother's master bath because all his stuff was in there and I didn't want to disrupt anything. The guest bath has the full body spray and the "rain-like" shower head so the guest shower was just as nice as the master shower. I looked and saw some body soap so I thought I was fine.

I got in, set the temperature of the water, aimed the body sprayers just right and relaxed for a minute enjoying the HOT water. I grabbed the body wash and started to lather myself up. I grabbed the body wash again to get a little more and that was when I realized that I was washing my body with DOG SHAMPOO. I was too lazy to get out of my hot shower so I continued to clean up with the dog shampoo.

I cannot say that it was any different than regular shampoo or body wash. It was Oatmeal based, had a nice aroma so it worked out just fine.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

I Love Public Transportation!

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As you may have read in my last post CHICAGO TAXI CABS, I have not had a car since 1995. This makes me extremely grateful for the CTA and my Chicago Transit card. The Chicago Transit Card lends comfort, luxury and ease. I hop right onto the bus, no waiting in lines with the masses who are trying to board. When I go down to the subway, I see people without their transit cards stumbling around with singles and change, I giggle. I simply pull out my magic Transit Card, swipe the card and the gates open. The card automatically reloads from my checking acct when it has fallen below a certain amount and I am ready to ride.

On most days, if I am not walking, I take the bus, but on rare occasions the "el" is more convenient. Today is one of those days where I have to ride the "el" - the Red Line south, transfer to the Green Line west. Every time I arrive in a subway station I am reminded of the same two things.

In grad school, I would get out of class at 9:00 p.m. and there are not that many trains that run at that hour. I'd arrive at the station and I could hear the sounds of a train echoing in the distance of the tunnel. I never knew if it was a north bound or a south bound train but either way, I would race down those stairs because missing my train meant a long wait until the next train car arrived.

The second thing I always think of is my brother's former co-worker. My brother works in IT and most updates to computer systems are handled after employees go home. My brother's co-worker was one of those guys. He was working late at night, until about 11pm, in the Loop. He left work and headed to the Red Line. As he was coming down those stairs, probably as quickly as I had as a grad student, a man was waiting for him at the bottom of the stairs with a baseball bat. As soon as he reached the bottom step, before he could see what was around the corner, the man swung the bat and shattered his face.

My brother's co-worker has had several surgeries over the past 10 years. The man who swung that bat got away with a backpack filled with his lunch and a wallet with no more than $5.00. He was never caught.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Chicago Taxi Cabs

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I've lived in Chicago since 1995 and I got rid of my car two months after moving to Chicago which means two things - cab drivers are my biggest allies and my biggest enemies. In the past three months, I was almost hit by a cab two times. In the past 10 years, I've been kidnapped by one cab driver, took another cab driver to "cabbie court" for an offense (and won) and watched a third cab driver hit a girl while racing down a side street with heavy foot traffic.

Tonight was frigid, I was walking home from dinner at a local Chicago Steak House, bundled tightly in my shearling coat with a hat and my head down to avoid the wind. I was aware of my surroundings but not looking straight up. I was a quarter way through the intersection on Chestnut and State and before I knew it, my hand was SLAMMING down on the hood of a taxi cab and I was uttering the words "WHERE THE HELL ARE YOU GOING?!? YOU JERK!" When I looked up, I looked straight into the eyes of an elderly Indian or Pakistani man through the windshield of his cab. Although the man had not stopped at the Stop Sign, the look on the man's face revealed that he had not seen me in the dark, snowy night.

I walked off and about ten yards down State Street, I realized my hand hurt from the impact of slamming on the car, It was only then I calloused living here has made me that after a near (not so) fatal accident I simply walk away without a second thought.

Earlier this year, I believe early fall, I was nearly hit by a different cab driver. I was getting off the bus at dusk. The bus let me off on east side of Inner Lake Shore Drive, I stepped off the bus and stood waiting for the light to change on Burton Street. The cars driving east on Burton, waiting to turn left onto Lake Shore Drive, must yield to pedestrians. Me, Leyla, I was the pedestrian.

There was a cab turning left onto Lake Shore Drive, the cab driver WAS NOT paying attention as he was on his cell phone. As soon as the light changed, I started to cross into the intersection and he simultaneously accelerated through the intersection right towards me. I looked up and saw a cab accelerating very quickly towards me. I froze, all I could do was scream "STOP" at the top of my lungs and put my arms out in front of me. The cab driver had to swerve to my left in order to not hit me and then drove off.

It was so close that high school kids on the opposite side of the street also screamed and the cars parked at the light heading south bound had their eyes closed. Literally, the woman in the passenger seat of the Mercedes had her hands covering her eyes. Yet again, I walked away unscathed and unaffected by the incident.

The kidnapping is another story. And a whole 'nother blog. Next time, Bulls Championship, Taxi Driver from the Ivory Coast and me. This one was scary.