Wednesday, December 22, 2010


It’s my birthday today, and so far one of my favorite gifts has come from my friend, Jill, who sang Happy Birthday to me on my voicemail while she walked Michigan Avenue.

I melted. Because in case you are unaware, the way to my heart is through Chicago. That’s right. Just get on I-90 and keep going (provided you don’t hit traffic … which you will). You’ll inevitably run into my heart, which is nothing more than a giant mass, encompassing the Chicago skyline and part of Lake Michigan.

Jill knows this, which explains her voicemail. It also explains this note she sent yesterday:

In honor of your birthday, I am going to Chicago (on Wednesday--the actual day of your birth).

I will walk the Magnificent Mile and sing "Happy Birthday" (dear Amanda) under my breath.

I will eat at Cheesecake Factory and have them put a candle in my cheesecake and will blow it out while thinking about you.

I will attempt to look as "not touristy" as possible so as to not embarrass you.

I will (hopefully) visit the Sears Tower and refuse to call it Willis Tower by correcting every tour guide person I hear that calls it the wrong name. (I probably won't do this verbally, but I will be giving them the what-for in my head.)

And there you have it. My birthday gift to you. :) Enjoy.

I think my heart just grew a bit and swallowed the suburbs.

Friday, December 17, 2010

a conversation with myself

ME: Hmmm … will baby names always be a popular topic among mothers?

MYSELF: Of course. I mean you’re not a mother, and you’re already making a list of names.

ME: True.

MYSELF: Which reminds me, have we come up with any new boy’s names? We’re really lacking in the middle name department, because I’m not sure Tad will go for “Christian Roald Luedeke.”

ME: Well, I was thinking lately how some last names make great middle names.

MYSELF: Like what?

ME: Steinbeck. Fitzgerald.

MYSELF: Those are dead author names.

ME: So?

MYSELF: It’s the same problem we’re facing with Roald.

ME: Well, we could use some of Tad’s people’s names, too.

MYSELF: You really want to have a little Schwarzenegger running around?

ME: I was thinking more of a little Bale.

MYSELF: So now we’ve got Christian Bale Luedeke as our primary name option.

ME: Yeah … I guess I didn’t think that one through …

MYSELF: You’re welcome.

Note: This post should be taken at face value, as I am in no way implying anything or presenting a coded pregnancy message. I simply spend some of my work day researching mothers. Hence, the thoughts on baby names.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Personalize funny videos and birthday eCards at JibJab!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

5 things to expect after the first Midwestern snowfall … aside from absolute chaos

1.People will have forgotten that snow is slippery. They will insist on going through life as though the ground is perfectly dry and the weather is 70-degrees. Expect many car accidents. Many people walking dangerously close to the side of the road. Many bodies going down in parking lots and on sidewalks. And a general disinterest in salting public walkways.

The snow plowing team will have forgotten where they put their keys. They will look out the window and think, “Hmm … I should get out there and start to plow and salt the roads. Now where did those blasted keys go?” Expect them to look for their keys for a bit and then go to sleep. This will result in a ten-hour delay before the salt trucks and plows begin doing their thing.

Ice scrapers will be MIA. People will go out to their cars and see that they have some snow on them. Or perhaps a layer of ice. They will look for their scrapers and brushes only to remember that they’re stored elsewhere. Expect snow-covered cars with only tiny cleared circles on the windshield through which the driver will peer. Expect the snow to fly off of these cars when they reach speeds in excess of 20 miles per hour and land on your clean windshield as you travel behind them.

Some people will freak out about the weather, while others will care less. Expect some of your acquaintances to give hourly updates with such bothersome facts as expected accumulation and temperature lows and snowfall duration. Expect others to go about their lives as though snow is their be-yotch. Expect to swear to yourself that you will never participate in either extreme because both are equally annoying.

The snow will be gone within 24 hours. Yup. You heard me. It will melt and disappear. Expect this process to repeat with point #1.

Welcome to the Midwest.