20 January 2008

My turn!

Yep, I'm finally engaged! And it only took 5.5 years! Here's the story, with a little necessary background:
There is a restaurant and lounge at the 95th and 96th floors of the John Hancock Tower, called the Signature Room, here in Chicago, which offers a spectacular view of the city. The first time I went there was my third year of school when we were in Chicago for a school trip. Ever since that first visit, I've dreamed of getting engaged there, although I never told Don this. So, you can imagine my excitement when Don's dad and stepmom got us a gift certificate to the Signature Room for Christmas this year. Now all I needed to do was postpone our dinner until Don would be able to get a ring....
Well, Don insisted that we go soon, so I finally gave in. He made a reservation for us on Saturday January 12 - pending clear skies, of course. The sky was crystal clear that day. We both dress up, as we normally would for a fancy dinner, and take a cab to the Hancock tower. We arrive early, so we sit and have a drink until our table is ready. As I had told a friend a few days before, I was really skeptical about Don proposing that night, so I was just casually enjoying our evening. Our table by the window is finally ready. We order a bottle of wine and have a lovely dinner [I ordered the scallops in case you were wondering]. Don says, "Well we have to get dessert." Not a problem for me. As we're waiting for our dessert, Don says "I have a surprise for you." Still none the wiser, I say, "What are you talking about?"
"I've been working on it for a while now." 
"What?" still unsuspecting.
Then Don stands up, and at that moment, I realized what was happening. He walked over to my side of the table, got down on one knee, and pulled out a small black box. And it's a good thing he didn't have a long speech, because I was so stunned, I wouldn't have remembered it. My response consisted of me nodding my head and saying "Uh-huh." I really was so surprised and speechless. Then our dessert arrived, with "Congratulations on your engagement" written on the plate. 
The whole night was simply perfect. 
So, Don and I are getting hitched! But so far, we have no idea when or where yet. We're just enjoying it right now. Especially me - I really enjoy staring at this ring.

ring 5

[Yeah, that puppy is a full carat! Perfect color and clarity, too.] 

11 January 2008

A little perspective, please

I've got a bone to pick, with several people, regarding the current funding crises for the CTA (Chicago Transit Authority). For those of you who aren't up to date on Chicagoland transit news, let me bring you up to speed. Last year, the CTA threatened a couple of 'doomsday' scenarios - meaning they would increase fares and cut service due to a lack of state funding. Apparently the CTA has been operating on the same budget for about 20 years. Smart. Not to mention the fact that there is no federal money for public transit since half of Washington has their hands in the pockets of big oil. But I digress.

Well, since the state legislature couldn't get their act together and help, our fantastic governor bailed the CTA out w/some borrowed emergency funds, or something. So DOOMSDAY #3 was slated for January 20, unless funding could be provided. Part of the problem is that no one in the Illinois legislature could agree on a funding bill. Or those non-Chicago reps and senators didn't want to give any money for Chicago's public transit. Anyway, long story short, earlier this week, the state house and senate finally passed a bill, to which our brilliant governor gave an 'amendatory veto.' This means he would pass it, but with minor revisions - namely, he wants senior citizens to ride for free. The bill proposes a quarter of one percent sales tax increase. Easy peasy, right?


So there are these whiny sons of bitches complaining about the tax increase because, 1 - all taxes are bad. 2 - they don't want to pay for public transit they don't use. Are you freaking kidding me?????? First of all, that is a barely noticeable tax increase - you have to spend $100 to see 25 cents worth of tax. Big effing deal. Secondly - those jerks in their cars that are clogging up Chicago's roads and freeways need to stop and think what they're saying. Guess what - alot of people have to pay taxes for services they don't use. Take me for instance. I DON'T OWN A CAR! Yet, I have to pay taxes for the roads and freeways. So maybe I'll stop doing that. I don't go to school nor do I have a child in school, but I have to pay for those. Social security won't be around when I'm old and crippled, but I still have to pay that. I don't use Medicare or Welfare or Social Services, but I'm pretty sure I still have to pay for it. It's called the greater good and it's part of being a citizen. Deal with it.

Furthermore, those a-holes also don't realize how transit helps them. 1 - it cuts down on traffic. The more affordable and available that public transit is, the less likely people are to drive. 2 - It keeps people who shouldn't be driving, like teenage girls and blind old ladies from causing 8 car pile ups. 3 - it creates a sense of community that you cannot get while driving in your air conditioned BMW by yourself (or maybe with your fluffy worthless dog). 4 - pollution reduction. Need I say more?

Another pet peeve of mine is how citizens/politicians from other parts of Illinois complain about the problems in Chicago. Guess what - Chicago is the best thing Illinois has going for it. Did I say, hmmmm, when I graduate college I want to move to Illinois? NO. I said, I want to move to CHICAGO so I can get a great job, live in an urban setting, and have Barack Obama for a senator.

I would appreciate a little ounce of perspective from all these naysayers. It only makes sense to fund public transit, you jerks.