Monday, January 24, 2011

of mice and men and a honda accord

aka: grand theft auto
aka: early onset alzheimer's

aka: dude, where's my car?

Plans are funny things.

One minute you're planning on a trip to the grocery store and an early matinee movie. The next minute you're searching the streets for any sign of your car, swearing you left it right here the last time you drove it. One minute you're carefully pulling together your grocery list and checking fandango for movie show times. The next minute you're tracing and retracing every step you've taken over the past 2 days, wondering what the heck you're forgetting. One minute you have a nice little Saturday of errands planned. The next you're on the phone with the Chicago police department reporting a stolen vehicle.

What an unexpected Saturday!

As soon as I started walking towards the spot I knew I had left my car on Wednesday night, I felt like something was wrong.
What's that grey SUV doing in my spot? But to go right to "someone stole my car" just seemed a little rash. So I walked up and down and around the block a couple times. I retraced every move I could remember making between 9pm on Wednesday night when I parked my car after work to 11am on Saturday morning when it was no longer there.

Did I actually end up driving to work on Thursday or Friday and forget I had, leaving my car in the parking garage? Had I moved the car recently without remembering why? Had I actually parked somewhere differently on Wednesday night? Is this just another sign of early onset Alzheimer's

After asking these over and over, in a million different ways. (And actually calling my dad to re-walk through the last 72 hours just to be sure I wasn't missing anything.) The only real answer to any of these questions was no. And that's when I had to say it out loud:
I think my car has been stolen. Cue intense cop drama music here.

Cut to me calling the cops to file a police report. In which case I wasn't sure exactly what to say so I defaulted to every movie or show I've seen and stuck with "I'd like to report a stolen vehicle". Cut to me frantically looking up my insurance coverage to be sure that I indeed had upgraded from just collision to comprehensive back when I purchase the Accord a couple years ago. (Luckily, I had.) Cut to a montage of all the random questions from the CPD and Progressive that, I suppose, they just
have to ask....

Is there any signage around the spot that indicates parking restrictions? (Would someone actually go straight to a grand theft auto accusation before checking this all out themselves?) Do you typically lock your car? (Ummmm yes. I live in Chicago. Do people not lock their cars?) Do you typically take your keys with you from the car? (I find it helps, especially when you lock your car, to actually take the keys with you in order to unlock it in the future.) Do you have your keys now? (Do you mean am I sure a roommate or friend didn't just borrow it?) And, finally, how old are you? (Is this relevant?)

I promise I wasn't as snarky as I sound in my commentary above. But I do have to admit, the whole ordeal was rather comical. Which, on the plus side, kept my spirits up admits the initial uncertainty of
what the heck happens next?

I guess what happens next is I wait. Wait for the car to someone show up. Wait for the police to call. Wait for any word on it's whereabouts. Just wait. Both the CPD and Progressive kept letting me know that
when they find my vehicle this or that would happen. Glad to see they're so optimistic. But I've seen The Other Guys. At this point I'd rather not have my car be returned to me after God knows what happened to it in the last few days.

In the meantime, my new Progressive claims rep, Josh, has been a major help in securing a rental car for me from Enterprise and letting me know he hopes to have it all buttoned-up in a matter of 2-3 weeks.

In his experience it usually turns up in the first 7-10 days. So if we get to day 11, I should probably be looking for a new set of wheels.
.. You know, as much as I have complained about my car's age and lack of radio and, most recently, noises, when it comes down to it I'm rather happy to have a car. Rather happy to have my car even. Sure it may not be the most stylish ride on the block, but it gets me from point a to point b in one piece. And it's paid off.

I certainly wasn't planning (or saving) for a new vehicle just yet.

But the best laid plans of mice and men, right?

Friday, January 21, 2011

jerseys are becoming my cats

I was seriously considering purchasing another Colts jersey... when I had to stop myself, assess the situation and decide against it. I have two jerseys already. (Well, three, if you count the fact that I actually have two Peyton Manning jerseys - one that's a men's small and another that's a kid's large because I got sick of swimming in the men's one.) So, as much as I want a Dallas Clark or Jeff Saturday jersey. And as much as I can try to justify it by saying that my Sanders jersey is bad luck. Or mine are all blue and I need a home one. When it comes down to it I, as a 27-year-old girl, do not need another jersey. Because if I get another one, when will it stop?

I think jerseys could end up becoming my cats.

You know, as a single girl, one may be okay. Two, even, if you really like 'em. But once you start getting more and more, you're just on your way to quickly becoming the cat (er, in this case, jersey) lady.

And there's no coming back from that.

7:25PM Correction:
I have 3 (technically 4) jerseys. How could I forget about my Indiana Hoosiers football jersey!? No one (and I mean no one) in their right might needs one of those.

Thursday, January 20, 2011


So your girlfriend rolls a Honda, playing work-out tapes by Fonda.
My Honda's acting up. It's cold. It's consistently parked on the street. Not to mention it's just plan getting old. (My brother reminded the other day that if my car were a person it would have it's own learner's permit by now.) So I suppose this should be expected. But, as any car owner knows, car troubles always seem like the absolute worst kind of troubles. Unexpected. Expensive. And, overall, a real wrench in your routine.

While I was home at Christmas, my car behaved perfectly. No sounds. No creaks. No weird spinning noises under the hood. Nothing that I had been so carefully trying to replicate to my father over the phone for the past month or so. Nada. That is until I was backing out of the driveway, ready to head back to Chicago. Thanks, Accord.

Turns out there was a problem causing one of my power steering belts to wear. But, ultimately, the crank shaft was worn down and spurring on this problem to begin with. (Do I sound like I even slightly understand this jargon?) So what started as just replacing the belt turned into a wild goose chase around the city of Fort Wayne (and then the broader state of Indiana) to find a crank shaft that would be compatible with my 1996 Accord.

Luckily, a couple days and $550 later, my car was good as (almost) new. Supposedly.

Not two days after I got it back into the city and made a couple treks out for client meetings in the suburbs did a new little sound begin to resonate through the streets (and even more loudly through the parking garage). Now, I'm driving around with a car that consistently sounds like it's auditioning to be the squeaky bed-spring sound effects at the beginning of Trillville's 2004 hit Some Cut.

Don't pretend like you don't remember the jam.

Identity theft.
Alternative working title: Rachel Nichols is a poor man's Erin Andrews.

I'm increasingly convinced that Rachel Nichols has stolen my identity. Or what was meant to be my identity anyway. Each and every time I watch (or even overhear) her reporting live from some big NFL game, I'm left somewhat stunned at just how much better I think I'd be at that job if I ever got the chance.

Confession time: I have, on occasion or two, practiced my would-be sign-off: Reporting live from outside the Colts hotel in Miami, Florida, this is Liz Brune. ESPN. Practiced the different scenarios. Mastered the inflection (and the ever so slight of a pause between the first and last two syllables) in "ESPN". Made myself as ready as possible for the one-in-a-million chance that I just so happen to be sitting mid-field when Rachel goes down and someone (ohhh, pick me!) needs to step in so the broadcast can go on.

Yes, I realize this makes me sound incredibly ungrounded in reality. But it also proves I'm more than ready.

And I promise I will deliver whatever "breaking" news needs to be delivered with more heart, more interest and more entertainment value than Rachel could ever muster. Plus, my hair may be a mousy color that can't decide if it's brown or blonde, but it will never, ever be that badly dyed (and fried) red.

Editors note: If ever, in a million years, I'm actually being considered for some sort of journalism job at ESPN and this blog, for whatever reason, is being used as an example of my writing, I reserve the right to take back this prior paragraph and all my nasty, bitter, possibly exaggerated and clearly envious accusations regarding a certain employee thereof. After all, no need to ruffle feathers in Bristol before my first day on the job, right?

Actually, on second thought, if this blog is being used as an example of my writing. Of my potential as a writer. Of my ability to report on anything. Or of my ability to form complete and competent sentences. Use correct grammar. Or legitimate English words. Then I doubt I have to worry about a first day anyway.

You win again, Rachel.

Now, back to you Boomer.

Pete and Repeat were in a boat...
In the same way I was obsessed with my new apartment a couple months ago, I'm now fixated on P90X. Which may be understandable when you realized that for nearly 3 weeks now, I've been hanging out with Tony Horton for at least an hour a day. Sadly enough, this could qualify as the longest "relationship" I've ever been committed to. Lord help me when I make it all the way to 90 days. I think I could end up being in love for the first time.

The real point here though is that Tony has a couple catch phrases that he seems to pepper in through-out the various videos. And since I do each video once a week, I inevitably hear them over and over again. There's one especially that always stands out to me: This makes me happy. Which he says in at least one (although I swear it's more) of the videos in my current weekly phase. I realize that, especially after having watched the video(s) now a number of times, that this should be incredibly annoying and infuriating. Especially at 5:30am. But quite the contrary. I've found that it actually does, indeed, make
me happy.

Finding things that should be annoying actually rather endearing? Shoot, I think this means it's definitely love.

Banana Peppers changed my life.
I am a creature of habit. And nowhere is this more true than at Subway. I, without fail, (except for a few visits this past summer during the short-lived era of the Orchard Chicken Salad), order the exact same thing. 6 inch Veggie on Honey Oat wheat bread with Provolone cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, green peppers, extra pickles and black olives, topped off with Honey Mustard sauce. That is, until I discovered something that would change my Subway experience forever: the banana pepper. I know, I know. This is by no means a new vegetable. It's not even new to the Subway condiment row. But, for whatever reason, I never noticed or thought about it until about 2 months ago. My life - and my sub - will never be the same.

Can you use it in a sentence?
I cannot spell convenience for the life of me.

Scratch that. My family and every teacher I've ever had would argue that the more accurate sentence would be: I cannot spell for the life of me.

It's true.

Up until about 4th grade I couldn't even spell the name of my own hometown.


I consistently spelled it out as Fort Wanye. (Which, to this day, my family uses against me at any and every chance they get. It's like the comeback that trumps any Brune family argument. Sis can't spell Fort Wayne. KO. Fight's over. We have a winner.) In fact, I'm not sure I ever really learned to spell it. I just learned a clever little way to remember where the letters go: the "y" clearly needs to be in the exact middle of the 5-letter word to balance it out. Fort Wanye. Fort Wayne.

So this "convenience" revelation of mine likely does not come as much of a shock. The shock may actually be that I feel the need to limit my spelling troubles to one specific word. When, clearly, it's more of an epidemic. But this word in particular trips me up every. single. time. And, what's worse, the way I always attempt to spell it (convience) isn't even close enough for spell check to provide "convenience" as a suggested alternative.

Not very convient, er, convenient if you ask me.

Tennis lesson of the day: How to return a backhanded serve.
It must be something in the water. But I've been receiving all sorts of backhanded complements recently. The two best ones within the last 24 hours?

1. After sending out an extremely detailed and (albeit a biased opinion) incredibly well thought-out 923-word email, (yes, in research for this entry, I most definitely copy-and-pasted it into Word so that I could check the actual word count. I mean I had college assignments shorter than that!), one of my clients replied with this: Hahahaha... have not read a thing, but just wanted to acknowledge that you are great .. and I thought I was the only crazy one on this brand. Thanks for being awesome!! Yeah, Arthur, I'm right there in the padded cell next to you. Thanks for the, um, complement. I think.

2. While waiting in line at Subway (see banana peppers above for additional context), I realized I was just a person away from a woman (from a partner marketing agency) that I had worked with recently on a client assignment. Well, we got into talking about a couple things and soon I realized that instead of knowing that I was an account person, she actually thought I worked in consumer insights/planning. Which lead her to exclaim: You mean you're an account person? (Hope her almost palpable disgust is coming through here.) I could have sworn you were a planner. You seem too smart to be an account person. Thank you, I suppose, for thinking I'm smart. But thank you, also, for belittling my career path, position and what I spend 12+ hours a day doing.


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

wordless wednesday #2

One of my very best friends just got back from Paris (where she got engaged!) and, in true Darcey fashion, brought back with her the most thoughtful gift for me. (She's the absolute best at unique and personal gifts. It's unreal how she truly nails it every time.) Well, she did it again! This time she bought me a new, uniquely hard-covered version of The Great Gatsby, one of my top 5 favorite books of all time. I can't tell you how excited I am to replace my current version, a paperback back from when I was required to read it in high-school, with this fancy new one, deserving of all the love and appreciation I have for the story.

And so, in honor of Darcey (and my newest favorite book on my shelf), my second Wordless Wednesday is dedicated to my absolute favorite quote from The Great Gatsby (and probably the reason I adore the book so much) ...

He smiled understandingly - much more than understandingly. It was one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it that you may come across four or five times in life. It faced - or seemed to face - the whole external world for an instant, and then concentrate on you with an irresistible prejudice in your favor. It understood you just so far as you wanted to be understood, believed in you as you like to believe in yourself and assured you that it had precisely the impression of you that, at your best, you hoped to convey.

I'm not sure I've ever come across another piece of writing that so beautifully captures a moment and a feeling the way that Mr. Fitzgerald does above.
It gives me chills (the good kind) every time I read it.

Oh, to be able to write like that...

Monday, January 17, 2011

it all hangs in the balance

As I was (rather comedically) trying to hang on to a yoga pose in one of my P90x videos the other morning, I got to thinking about balance. Or, rather, the lack thereof. The fact that, when I really think about it, most of my major resolutions for 2011 all hinge on the notion of balance, actually. Work/life balance. Spiritual balance. Emotional balance. Physical balance. 2011, for me, is all about the attempting to push the scale from lopsided to a little more evened-out. Attempting to achieve some sort of balance amidst all the things in this crazy life that aim to tip our see-saw one way or the other.

1. Physical Balance
Put me out on a field or a court and throw some sort of ball my way and I tend to be able to (at least 95% of the time) look pretty coordinated and balanced. But athletic balance, I've learned, is much, much different than real-life balance. You know, the ability to walk down a straight street without tripping kind. That, my friend, is something I've yet to master. Or even start to obtain. (If you don't quite believe me, I have plenty of scars, pants with ripped knees and even a ankle x-ray to prove it.) Balance is not one my strong suits. Or, as my family has taken to reminding me: Grace is definitely not my middle name.
So, as much as I hate it, I'm attempting to incorporate yoga into my routine. To balance out my body. To strengthen my core. To push myself in ways that may typical running or weightlifting isn't quite accomplishing.

I've got the mat. I've got the pants. And I've got a Groupon for 5 classes to kick it off.

Now, I just need to find a Wednesday that I can actually leave work in time to make the 7:45 beginners class.

Which brings me to the 2nd resolution...

2. Work/Life Balance

It's two weeks into January and already this year feels like the longest year in the history of my world. (Except, perhaps, my 20th year when I just couldn't wait to be 21 already.)
Whatever refreshment I felt after my holiday time off is a distant, distant memory. Work, officially, is kicking me in the butt. And while I'm trying to keep my outsides smiley and cheerful, my insides are grouchy, exhausted and on the brink of throwing my papers up in the air, running to the elevator and disappearing for a couple weeks.

Now, I'll be the first to admit that I'm a workaholic. Work is the one place in my life where I feel like I have it all together. Where I feel successful. Accomplished. Ahead of the game. But even that's not enough to combat that feeling that something's just not right when I spend just about every waking minute at work. When I neglect friends and family because there's one more thing I should get done before I leave tonight. When I can't remember the last time I left a work email unanswered because I was "off the clock".

I've gotta find the balance. I've got to stop shoving a work-out into the wee hours of the morning because that's when I know I'll actually get it done. I've got to stop canceling plans at the last minute because I'm stuck at the office. Or, worse yet, neglecting to make plans because I anticipate I will be.

The funny thing is, over break, I actually got pretty used to not being at work. And I realized that I could really, really like my life even if work wasn't a part of it. That's not saying I'm going to go quit my job and throw caution to the wind (unless, of course, one of these 5 lotto tickets is a big winner)... It just means I'm going to try to remember that defining myself outside of my job is just as (if not more) important than defining myself at work.

And so, like the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow, I'm chasing the elusive work/life balance.

3. Emotional Balance

I'm not completely sure how to classify this, but "emotional" seems as good a word as any, so here goes... It's really, really easy to get caught up in the me-ness of life sometimes. You know, the tendency to focus on what's happening to you and not take a step back to look at the bigger picture. I'm just as guilty as the next person when it comes to focusing on the bad, not the good. That's not to say that I walk around all sad and depressed all the time. In fact, I'd like to think that's not the case at all. I'm just saying that I have more than enough times when I find myself all caught up in how unfair things seems to be for me. (Sob.) I want to more willingly accept the fact that life, indeed, is incredibly unfair. Especially when you look at it from a limited, personal perspective. Any one of us can find 100 things to be upset or discouraged or down about. But we could also find a gazillion things to be happy about. To thank our lucky stars for.
I want to concentrate more on those things. More of the time.

4. Spiritual Balance

I'm trying to get better at the trusting in a higher plan. In letting go. And letting God. But it's a real struggle for me. I like to control things. I like to plan things out. I like to know where I'm going. And how I'm going to get there. Trusting, for me, is easier said than done. Even when it comes to God. I realize this is incredibly foolish, but it's the truth. It's like most of the time, I know and truly believe there's a bigger plan for my life and all these little things along the way are in pursuit of that plan. But sometimes, especially when I'm focused on the little things themselves, it's incredibly hard to see the bigger picture. Incredibly hard to trust that my utmost well-being truly is being looked after. I want something now. And God says "wait". I say "please". And God says "No, it's not best for you". It's that whole notion of learning to love and live the questions. So that, one day when the time is right, you'll eventually get the answer you need. Although perhaps not the answer you want right now.

And so I'm working on it. I'm praying about it. I'm trying to loosen the reins I have on my life because I know it's a silly thing. I'm trying to trust more. And look to Him for guidance when I can't seem to understand it on my own. Ultimately, I'm trying to balance this selfish, foolish desire for control with the trust and reassurance in His plan.


So those are the four big pillars that make up the mammoth balance resolution. I'm not saying it's an easy feat. But I do think it's an important thing to work towards, even if it may take a lifetime getting there.

Now excuse me while I go work on my Warrior II pose. (Grunt.)

Sunday, January 9, 2011

will you accept this rose?

The Bachelor is back for what seems like the 96th season (don't misinterpret me; I'm definitely not complaining). Brad Womack, the Bachelor who three years ago in the most. dramatic. rose ceremony. ever. chose neither Jenny or DeAnna, but instead walked away alone, is back in the Bachelor saddle again. Merry belated Christmas to me from my friends at ABC!

After watching last Monday's first episode I've come to a pretty solid conclusion why I never got a call back from ABC... I'm way too
normal for this show. I mean you've got Madison, the vampire. Raichel, the manscaper. Shawntel, the funeral director. Keltie, the Radio City Rockette. And who could forget Emily, the drop dead gorgeous platinum blonde who's high-school sweetheart and former fiance died in a tragic plane crash just before their wedding. Only to find out just a week later that she was pregnant with his child! It's like a line straight out of All My Children. And to top it off, she's a southern belle and as sweet as pie.

I, with my advertising job in Chicago and a totally normal/alive family and friends, didn't even stand a chance to get into this cast of love-struck characters vying for the final rose.

I guess I should have known when I was filling out the 18 page (no exaggeration here) application form that I wasn't right for this. When I couldn't keep a straight face while answering "Why do you think you haven't found true love?" and "Do you think you can find true love on The Bachelor?". When I sarcastically answered that I was saving children from a burning apartment when the person filming me at the in-person interview asked how I broke my ankle.

I'm just not what ABC is looking for.

Because, when it comes down to it, as much as I love the show, I just don't believe it's good for anything other than pure entertainment and a couple exotic dates. I just don't. And unless ABC is going to bring back Jesse Palmer, the most dreamy Bachelor in the history of the show, I just don't believe I'd ever fall into love on this mess of a show.

Because I don't find it particularly tragic that Brad didn't pick either girl last time he was on the show. In fact, I liked him more for that. I liked that instead of proposing (proposing!) to someone he had only known for a couple weeks within the context of this make-believe, non-realistic, reality show bubble, he took a deep breath and realized he didn't like either of them enough to move forward.

I'm clearly alone here. If you watched Monday's premiere you can see that ABC has brainwashed us all, including Brad, into thinking this was the cardinal sin. Meeting and dating 25 beautiful women and then not liking any of them enough to propose? There must be something wrong with this guy. So much so that Brad's apparently been in therapy over the past three years trying to figure out why in the world he didn't find true love (gasp!) on The Bachelor. So much so that they just had to bring back his jilted lovers so they could comment on his commitment issues and whether or not they believe he'll be able to actually find true love this time through. (Note: both DeAnna and Jenny are happily engaged. Get over it, ABC!)

Give the guy a break. This happens every day in real life. You meet great people. You may go on a date or two with some of them. And, inevitably, most of those don't work out because you just don't like them enough. But that's where the Bachelor gets you. It tries to make you believe that maybe just maybe with a little romance (and a lot of eligible choices) true love is inevitable. Even if history would tend to put that notion in it's place. And so we watch with earnest interest. For true love to blossom? Perhaps, if you're a sap. But more so because it makes us feel better about our crazy dating lives.

I mean, I may be a single, total-wreck-when-it-comes-to-dating headcase most of the time... But at least I don't have fangs. (Yep, that one's for you Madison.)