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Chicago Tales #7 - The Ghost Tour

Pic heavy post guys, so warning!

Well, overall, the Ghost Tour was a total bust except for one or two key moments. You guys know that yes, I do believe in ghosts, yes, I do sense ghosts thanks to that little pesky sensory overload gene that most Aspers have. For those that don't know, most Aspers have EXTREMELY strong senses in all capacities. If it wasn't for this stupid eye disease, I'd probably have beyond perfect vision too (but, even with this, I have night cat eyes, so there is that). As my Daddy used to say when I was little, "she can hear a mouse fart in Kentucky and probably smell it too!"...he wasn't far off. But, added to that, I can also sense "energies" (for lack of a better word). It's why I can judge people's characters so well the first second I meet them, it's why I don't like specific places the second I walk into them, and it's why I know when a place is genuinely haunted or not.

I should add a disclaimer that no, I don't typically see ghosts (although I have seen flickers of one or two throughout my life), nor do they talk to me (although I have heard sounds once or twice). When I was a kid, this sense scared the crap out of me and often made me sick. Imagine not understanding who or what you are (which I didn't), being hit with a blast of negative energy (which often occurs in a haunted place because most are from violent deaths) and then try to deal with it and NOT seem crazy! Yeah, doesn't work so well. My mother often said that, as we were driving down a road, even as a wee one, I would start crying well before we got to a cemetery, even if it was a road we had never been on before and I couldn't see out the window. My teenage years were the worst with the nausea when we'd go to these sorts of places. For example, we used to go to the Biltmore a lot when we'd visit family in North Carolina. I didn't like it, but I'd go anyway, until the last time when I had to leave the tour crying over the maid ghost in the servant's quarters (one of the few I've ever seen) and, after that, I put my foot down and we didn't go anymore. It was well into my 20's before I got a handle on that part of it and I've really only come to terms with it in the past 5 or so years and learned to tune it better so I can either block it out so it doesn't make me sick, or focus it so I can sense where more "action" is if I'm looking for it (which I don't often want to do, but sometimes I need to know for "safety's sake").

Now, back to the story at hand, so we start this ghost tour which goes down the river front, with stories of overloaded ferries and drowning people, and I felt nada. I figured it was because I wasn't actually "in" the water or because there is a LOT of foot traffic along the waterfront and has been LONG since the tragedy and it's just too much overloaded energy to feel the original bad ju-ju. This is more of a skyward shot, but I was trying to keep out the other tour members:
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Then came all the mob stories and how the train lines were the best places to run their "whatever" merchandise and the best place to knock off people. Still nothing (other than the overwhelming crushing vibe of too many living people and THEIR negative energy...not one of the most positive places in town):
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The Chicago Theater and all the tales of Al Capone (who featured prominently in all these stories we were told...no mob vibes at all, BTW):
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Honestly, at this point, I was digging the architecture more than the tales:
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But then he takes to this alleyway...now, as a general rule, alleys in big cities aren't the best places to be and I'm already acutely aware of this being a paranoid person. This alley already had two people in it smoking pot (I kid you not), who scattered like rats when we entered. This alley in particular was the back alley to what used to be the Iroquois Theater. Back in 1903, theaters used to lock their doors to keep people from sneaking in after the show had started, so everyone was essentially trapped who didn't know where the doors were that weren't locked (which were few and far between). The fire exits weren't finished either, which also added to the problem. The theater caught fire and, because of what happened during that event, it's why we now have fire exits and the fire rules we have in almost every single building we have today. Apparently, people tried to get out and couldn't, they overloaded the fire escapes, which collapsed, people climbed to the roof and jumped, and eventually, because the theater had been packed to the brim, so many bodies had piled up in that alleyway, people were able to just walk out the fire escape doors across dead bodies to get out.

None of the pictures I took in that alley came out clear. Whether or not it was me shaking or the alley, I can't say, but that's the first time I've come close to that nauseous feeling since I was young and I had to fight it like crazy. I kept turning around because it felt like someone was literally hanging off my back (someone smaller, like a child, like their feet wasn't touching the ground) and that was a feeling I had for days after I came home (which I mentioned in an earlier post). Even my Sister eventually noticed that I wasn't right because I, not only kept backing out of the alley involuntarily, but I had this horrible look on my face that must have said "I want out NOW!". If he literally had kept us in there a minute longer, I would have left of my own accord (I couldn't decide which way he was going out, which was what I was trying to decide in my head, or I would have left already). But anyhoo, here are some of the pics (sorry, my Sister's nose is in this one):
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She wanted a pic of herself by the stage door, I had to take it multiple times to get it to come out this good (which is still sucky):
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The alley looking how far he drug us into it (and keep in mind the entire thing had been filled with bodies):
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And how far up the lowest fire escape is (so again, body-depth level):
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After that point, what he said and what I paid attention to, dropped off significantly, but something happened in one of the apartments above this McD's (I personally felt nothing):
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Something happened over there (again, nothing):
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Underground subway mall where a mob hit took place...now I was feeling some major oppression...felt like I was being screamed at and again, I just wanted out as quickly as possible:
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But again, out in the dark of night, something happened here and I couldn't tell you what because the "kid on my back" was back:
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Then we had a sort of "break" at the haunted Palmer House, a hotel I knew was haunted before I walked in the door thanks to various ghost shows:
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But once inside, I was more fascinated with the architecture and again felt NOTHING ghostly (maybe it's just the rooms?), so while we had a few minutes, I wandered around taking pictures:
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Supposedly where the mobsters met...nada:
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Am looking around:
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You guys know I love me a light fixture!
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Once we were in there for about 15 or 20 minutes for our "break", my nerves calmed down enough that I was able to finish the rest of the tour without issue (almost). Got to see the start of Route 66 sign:
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Which means, even though I did it backwards, I've been to both ends!
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Of course the last stop of the night was the Congress Hotel, which is probably one of the most Haunted places in Chicago..good ole H.H. Holmes himself like to snag victims from there...but for me, again nada:
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...except, see that grassy tree area to the left in this next pic? He dragged us a bit too deep up in there (for nighttime at least), close to the zoo, to tell his tale:
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and I was NOT a happy camper about it! I kept taking pics (or trying to, it was cloudy) of the moon to distract myself. Needless to say, I did take another pic of another supposed haunted area of the Congress which, I supposed if I was actually IN the room, I might feel something, but either I was too far away, or again, too many people vibes have cluttered the haunted vibe (or I was just too freaked out by the woods I was standing in)...it's the four windows with the curtains completely closed, they supposedly don't rent out those rooms anymore:
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And that was the end of the tour! We were close enough to our hotel to walk back (with a stop at the Walgreens), where I proceeded to have my Chicago Tale #1 incident.

Chicago Tales #6: Everyone's an art critic

Guess what guys...this post has pics!

I was a bit relieved I didn't have to go to the Art Institute with my Sister because we do tend to end up fighting over the time I tend to spend in the Impressionist/Renaissance time periods. I just lose track of time. And considering I really only had the two hours anyway, I was already pressed for time. I was whipping through, snapping photos left and right, thinking I would take my time and look at them when I got home. But I did get caught up with the Monet's (shock) and there were approximately four rooms of them, so I was in heaven! And I've never actually seen any of his London series in person, so that was a real treat! Thankfully, the masses were more interested in other pieces, so I had them all to myself for quite a while...and there were four of them!
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and, of course:
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ironically, my cell got a MUCH better photo of my favorite, more true to color...go figure!
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but they all got me for quite a while...longer than I had time for.

There was one Monet that I had never seen before, but I had another visitor, who was standing in front of it, ask about it as I was walking by (why can't people read the plaques beside the paintings...more on that in a moment), and I immediately just said, barely looking at it, "it's a Monet". I felt weird saying that, and I'm not sure why I did, but I did glance at the card to make sure I was right and was happy that I hit the nail on the head! I stopped myself and got lost in it and she walked off. I'm not sure if I ran her off, or if she felt like she was intruding on my space, but I was tearing up again (a recurring theme with me and ol' Claude, the man gives me the feels, what can I say?):
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Other people do tend to annoy me in general, but there were quite a few student groups there, including foreign students, so I had that to contend with as well (more on that in a moment), but it was a congregation of three teachers (high school...had to be), that got on my nerves the most. Granted, I get that impressionism isn't for everyone. My Sister doesn't care much for it (but I don't like Modern Art, so there you go). But as I was waiting to take a picture of yet another Monet, I had to listen to these three women's banter and I about lost my, and unfortunately there is no other way to say it, lost my shit! Here is the painting in question, just another one of his branches of the Seine near Giverny, one of the dozens of the paintings he did around his home (not including the HUNDREDS he did of his actual garden at Giverny):
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Now, I get it's an impressionist painting of a riverbank. But logic tells you that you have a riverbank, with trees on the side, the sun is setting, so there is a reflection in the water that mimics the tree line, so what is above, shimmers below in the water, no? These women were INSISTENT that the painting was either hung sideways (hinting that the treeline to the left side was bushes, rather than half trees, half reflection of trees in water) or it was mush that wasn't meant to be understood. EVERY PAINTING IN THERE has a description beside it's title and painter, so it's not THAT difficult to interpret for the artistically impaired, but these were also TEACHERS. Granted, I do expect they were on the high school level and probably NOT art teachers, but I can't imagine they couldn't figure out river, riverbank, trees, water causes reflection of trees in water. It ain't rocket science! Or maybe it is and it's just rocket science that I can easily understand and other's can't. Thoughts? Can you see what I do or does it look like mush to you too?

I was forced to listen to their diatribe because I wanted a picture of the art, but I ended up raising the camera OVER their heads to get the picture because they just WOULD NOT move while they had their debate. It took everything I had to walk up to the painting and go..."tree, tree reflection!". But I did mumble "stupid idiots can't tell what a reflection is" as I walked off. I'm pretty sure they heard me, but I didn't care. Two rooms later, I tried to get back in there, and they were STILL STANDING THERE debating it! I wondered about the children they were "supposed" to be there to supervise! At that point, I was done and went looking for the Seurat that I had come there to see in the first place!

I wasn't expecting it to be as big as it was and, you really can't tell from this picture, but that sucker is huge! Probably ten Monets easily!
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I couldn't bring myself to walk up close and look at it...part of me was afraid it would destroy the magic of the art and I think everyone around me felt the same because NO ONE got closer than I was to get the whole thing in the shot. Until, an entire group of foreign students came into the room! They all got right on top of the painting and started taking photos, literally inch by inch! The guard, who was manning the roped off area around it (again, pointing out that the painting was meant to be looked at from a distance), kept trying to get them back, but they all acted like they didn't understand her and kept snapping away. She got more aggressive and brought in more guards to help her push them back, which FINALLY succeeded after quite a BIT of yelling, but most of the usual visitors had already cleared out because no one else could get pictures or appreciate the art because there were dozens of little heads on top of the photo snapping pictures of every square inch. I wish I would have gotten a picture of that (but I didn't want to get in the same trouble), but I did stick around to watch because it was funny, especially when they all were escorted out! By then, the room had cleared, and I had most of the Monets, Degas', and even a few Manet's to myself!

But from an OCD standpoint, I do wish they put the Monet's in one room, the Degas' in another, etc. It was like an easter egg hunt trying to find them all and that place is spread out in multiple different rooms! I'm pretty sure the Monet's were just in four of the rooms, but I hope I didn't miss any!

Found an amazing Renoir:
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They also had quite a collection of Camille Pissarro's, another impressionist that I have never seen in person, although we are pushing more neo-impressionism here, so it's not quite the same, but I still count it:
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By the time I got to the Renaissance, I had dealt with the bloody foot issue and my shoe was still squeaking, so I hit it VERY fast, taking more wide shots than close ups, although I got a Rubens:
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It was so silent in this room, I was almost scared to take a picture (my shutter tends to be quite loud), but then I saw the guy on the bench talking on his cell, so I just started snapping away:
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And you can always count on religious imagery to be quite graphic!
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And I'll stop there for now although I have dozens more (you can click through the album to find them). I wish I could have gotten more pictures. There were rooms I didn't even get to touch. I'm pretty sure I made it completely through the Impressionists, the Byzantines, the Greeks, Romans and part of the Renaissance, but I never found a Da Vinci or a Van Gogh, and I'm pretty sure they had at least one of both. Maybe next time I go back, I'll find them!

Chicago Tales #5 - Bleach and Marble - The Aftermath

The final bleach and marble story (and thankfully, it's a short one)...that sock, the one I used to soak up all the pure Clorox? The one I THOUGHT I threw away? Well, it somehow made it into my suitcase. It ruined by favorite (and brand new) Fitz from "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." shirt, a pair of jeans, multiple pair of underwear, as well as the inside of my suitcase.

I was able to order a new Fitz shirt though (even though I had to pay full price for this one, the other one I got on sale) and the underwear doesn't matter, no one sees them but me anyway. It was WAY past time for new luggage, and the jeans I just wrote off.

I STILL have NO CLUE how that sock got in my suitcase in the first place! I am 99.9% certain I threw it in the trash, so I don't know if my Sister found it and she threw it in with my stuff, if I picked it back up with the few toiletries I kept by accident, or if I somehow managed to pick it up with another day's dirty clothes...I just don't know.

But even when I got home, the second I opened my suitcase, the bleach and marble was once again another day's problem and a stark reminder of my time in Chicago. I will, henceforth, forever associate Chicago with bleach and marble!

Chicago Tales #4: Bleach and Marble - Part 2: Blood EVERYWHERE!

WARNING, GRAPHIC IMAGE AHEAD FOR THOSE WITH A WEAK STOMACH

This whole trip came about because my Sister had a conference and she asked me to tag along. She added an extra day so that we would have time to do some sightseeing, but in the process of planning, she ended up having to go to two conferences instead of one, so that ruined her extra day of doing anything, but it meant that I had more time on my own to do stuff. I was a bit afraid that I would end up stuck in the room the entire trip because I've been extremely anti-social of late, but once I got used to the hop-on-off bus with her, I was fine by myself.

This was a good thing too because, she and I have VERY different views on art and The Art Institute was one of our sightseeing places that we were going to do together, but I now had all to myself. I was worried that we would end up fighting (as we often do in Art Museums...I tend to spend too much time in the Impressionists and Renaissance areas and she likes Modern Art, which I can't stand).

As an important side note, I didn't plan on the weather to be as warm and/or as humid as it is down here, so I didn't pack clothing comparable to what I would wear down here. I packed capris, but only dress flip flops (not meant to be worn for everyday use). But it was so warm, I decided on my museum day, I would wear my dress flips anyway, and just blister pad line up the top of my foot (just in case).

Again, here is where I screwed up. Because of the schedule of events, I didn't get to the Art Institute until 3 pm and it closed at 5 pm, so I was moving at a super-fast pace. I have been there before, so it was OK, I just needed some Monet time and I haven't seen the Seurat for A Sunday on La Grande Jatte in person, so I was anxious to do so. I wasn't paying ANY attention to my feet and my flip flops, despite their dressy nature, were Yellow Box, so they were super comfortable and the tops of my feet were covered in blister pads to block the irritating nature of the scratchy tops, so I wasn't bovver'ed. Room to room I bounced, snapping pictures left and right and, despite the fact that my shoes eventually started squeaking (which I just attributed to me getting hot and sweating, although I didn't feel like I was hot at all, it was pretty cold in there actually), I felt no pain.

Once I got to the Greek section, my shoes were squeaking louder, but again, no pain and it was 4:40, so I still wasn't bovver'ed, until a security guard stopped me (the third one to do so for various different reasons...I was a popular tourist, apparently...Aspers just LOVE to be noticed, thank you VERY much!) and very loudly exclaimed "MA'AM! ARE YOU ALRIGHT????". My answer in the weakest, quietest voice I could muster..."yes, thank you, I'm fine, thanks for asking" (since now everyone in creation was staring at me), "BUT MA'AM, YOU'RE BLLLEEEEDDDINGGGG!!!!" and she pointed to the trail of bloody footprints that I had left on the marble floor from the Byzantines to the Greeks.

Yea, one of the blister pads had come loose and I had rubbed my foot raw enough that I was gushing blood from one of the few visible veins I have, like someone had cut a major artery or something! That squeaking I had been hearing, for god knows how long, was the blood soaking, first my shoe, then the floor!

She called another guard on their walkies, they sat me down in a chair (much to my horror), they asked if I needed an ambulance (again, I swore I didn't, much to my horror), I used Kleenex to clog up the bleeding and wipe down my shoe and begged them to at least let me get to a bathroom (which they FINALLY did). Once there, I washed off my shoe (which REALLY made it squeak), put a new blister pad on the space (I forgot I had them in my bag until I got in the bathroom) and bolted out the door for the bus.

Ironically, on my way out, there was a janitor mopping the floor with, you guessed it, bleach!

Once it was all clean, it looked like nothing, and even a couple of days later when I got home, I can't see how I managed to lose THAT much blood from such a superficial wound:
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I only wish I would have had the sense to take a photo of the bloody footprints I left in the museum! Wonder if I was the first person to ever do that? Seems like I left my mark on a lot of marble in Chicago! But next up, the final bleach and marble story, the aftermath!

Chicago Tales #3 - Bleach and Marble - Part 1: Purple Stains

Remember the purple shampoo I mentioned in the last post? Well, it haunted me BIG time once we got to Chicago. Granted, almost everything non-clothing I own is purple (I tend to wear black and shades of heather gray when it comes to shirts and jeans as a general rule), so when my purple shampoo leaked in my purple toiletry bag (which is also purple, but I always bag it in a ziploc for just such reasons) inside my checked bag (you guessed it, purple), I wasn't too worried. The bag would dry and it was just shampoo right? WRONG!

Of course, that first night I wasn't conscious enough to grasp the situation of the spill and I didn't wash my hair, but I did the next morning and, because of the light-colored marble in the Hyatt bathroom, I was EXTRA careful to make sure that no purple shampoo remained in the shower so it didn't stain. What I didn't plan for was that my toiletry bag was still wet and that housekeeping would push my bag against the marble-tiled backs plash of the sink and it would leave stain marks on the back splash!

That second night, I noticed it right away and, thankfully, my Sister had Clorox wipes, but they didn't help. I tried hairspray, nail polish remover, and every chemical concoction I could think of to get the purple stain out of the marble, but NOTHING worked! So that night, when we made our Walgreens stop for sodas, I bought pure bleach and a scrubber.

This entire time of my trying to remove said stains, my Sister kept telling me not to worry about it. No one would notice. I was TERRIFIED she would get this MASSIVE bill from the Hyatt for replacing those marble tiles (it literally covered two tiles), so I was not about to let that happen.

On night three, I spent over an hour in the bathroom scrubbing, and scrubbing, and scrubbing those purple stains. The lighter ones FINALLY came off, the big one didn't. I decided that maybe the scrubber wasn't the best plan because I might damage the marble, so I switched to my toothbrush (yes, I finger-brushed the rest of the trip because I couldn't find a purple toothbrush at Walgreens). When that didn't work either, I decided NOT to use the hotels towels or rags, but instead one of my own socks...this would haunt me later (I was afraid that, if they got soaked in bleach, it would ruin their laundry and they would figure out I was up to something nefarious...paranoid much?). Still nada. The hotel had cotton balls in plastic, so the next day, I soaked cotton balls in bleach, placed them on the worst spots, locked them against the wall with my perfume bottle, and hoped for the best!

THANKFULLY, this last-ditched effort worked and the spots were all gone! But, because I had bleach sitting against the wall all day (with my bleach-soaked sock underneath), I had cleaning up to do that night. I made every attempt to make sure there was no pure bleach sitting anywhere and washed down every surface with water, but I did have to get hotel towels involved in the process. I stacked them all up to the side, dumped the remaining bleach down the sink, threw away the bleach bottle, my toothbrush, the scrubber, my sock (or so I thought), and my favorite toiletry bag just to keep it from getting purple everywhere else. But throwing away my toiletry bag meant I had to loose a lot of toiletries as well since I didn't have anywhere to keep them but in a ziploc. I also threw a bunch of other trash on top and hoped that housekeeping didn't go through it all down to the bleach bottle and got suspicious (although, since it was toiletry heaven, I'm sure they did).

My Sister laughed off the whole debacle and told me I was making a big deal out of nothing, but I was just scared about the stains and what they could charge her.

Note to all those who use purple shampoo for blonde hair...it STAINS! Now, remember the bleached sock...that will come up in a later story, but I do have one more bleach and marble story first, and this one is WAY off from this string!

Chicago Tales #2: Bleach & Marble - The Prequel

Bleach and Marble turned out to be a recurring theme throughout my trip, and it all started the week before we even left.

Hi, I'm Keebs and I was born with naturally mouse blonde hair. However, I had been professionally blonde since I was 16 years old (chlorine blonde since childhood from pools). Granted, I tried black once and a few other weird choices throughout the years but, for the majority of my life, it's been blonde. My foray into purple a few years ago (mixed with blue, and blue ALWAYS fades to green, and green HAS to grow off) meant that I had almost a year of growing off all that bad ju-ju color that was left over (covered up with a brown) and a year of my natural color. From what I've been told, you either go gray or go darker as you get older...apparently I got darker. Darker on me made me feel like I looked 10 years older than am, so I was squirming as it was and was going to switch back to blonde, trip or not.

As a side note, when it comes to me and blonde, I don't like gold blonde, especially on me. I don't have the coloring for it. I'm more of the champagne blonde kind of person. Gold blonde looks yellow on me and its horrible! I also can't go red because it ALWAYS goes orange. My hair is VERY weird! The one time I had her do it professionally purple, it turned brown. She is very aware of my weird hair and all its quirks (it matches the weird rest of me), and she's dealt with it for YEARS, so I trust her (usually). I've only ever had two people do my hair, and she's been doing it as long as she's had her license.

I was scheduled for later in the day, but it was a pageant day (and I HATE getting caught in those and she knows it), so she moved me up to avoid that horrible traffic. I get there bright and early, all my example pics/videos ready to go (think Daisy Johnson, Season 6 Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D....without the blue/purple streaks, basically balayage'd champagne blonde) and, in no time, I'm all 40-volumed up and sitting there stewing. My Sister was getting her's done at the same time (she, surprisingly enough, was going darker with some copper streaks, she was BORN blonde, go figure...the exact opposite of me), so we kept getting swapped out, but she got finished before me and, despite our plans to mull around town, she didn't feel well, so she went home as the first pageant people started to mill in.

Now, as she's drying my hair, I'm not seeing the "marbling" that my hair should have, but rather just a VERY slightly lighter overall color and I start to squirm and she notices. She keeps saying, "it will lighten as it dries", but I can tell she's starting to squirm too. By the time she's done drying it, she realizes that it didn't take and she now has three little pageant girls starring at her with very impatient demanding faces. I'm more demanding and she knows it, so she quickly slaps another load of 40 volume on hap-hazardly, and kicks me to the side as she starts in on the first kid-victim. She knows I'm unhappy being there with those pageant kids, but we've also been texting back-and-forth, and she knows I'm MORE unhappy with my hair and willing to suffer it out (which is saying a LOT because I don't deal well with a) kids, b) pageant kids, c) people in general, d) mistakes).

First monster child is finished up and drag ready, and again, we start in rinsing and drying my hair...still nada! Two FULL rounds of 40 volume bleach and NO BLONDE! We went over my meds, we went over my conditions, we went over what I had to eat the night before (nothing conflicted). She started to go a third time, but the pageant mom complained that they had to be at wherever by a certain time and they would be late if she continued on me. Now here is where I screwed up because I offered to step aside, so her brats could get finished...not something I would normally do, I am not considerate of others. My stylist knew this and asked if I was willing to come back later in the week, but my answer was a definite NO, I wanted to wait. At this point, I probably should have realized that she was asking because she didn't have time for me, but again, I'm NOT considerate of others and I was only thinking of myself. Part of me was thinking of my busy work week, part of me was thinking that it's hard enough for me to get the courage to go there once, twice in a week is just too much, and the other part of me was I just wanted my hair fixed so I can move on with my planned week.

I sat in that shop the ENTIRE day, with kids coming and going, their horrible little demands being met at every turn and their horrible behaviors being completely ignored/placated by their mothers. I just plugged into my iPad and watched numerous episodes of S.H.I.E.L.D. and tried to ignore as much as I could (including the baby that was crawling on the dirty, hair-covered floor, sucking on bottles of hair products, throwing containers that had used bleaching agents in them and playing with old foil papers, etc) while her mother paid her absolutely no attention.

At the very end of the day, I was FINALLY back in the chair and we decided that, since I had already been through two full rounds of bleach, a third round could potentially be really damaging, so we would just do from about halfway down to the tips, but again, just in chunks, streaks, and "marbled". As I'm watching her work, I notice she's covering the entire bottom half of my hair with bleach, and I ask her THREE times, "are you covering it all with bleach?" to which I got three responses, "no, I'm spacing it out". She wasn't spacing it out. After an extended bleaching time, again I was washed and dried and, to my horror (and to hers), the entire bottom half of my hair was bright gold.

I think I was just tired and too stunned to speak and I know she was tired. I didn't fight too much and she didn't say anything, so I just paid and left. She recommended purple shampoo and conditioner (remember that...those things are important and will come in handy in the next story), so I proceeded to head directly to Target to get said items along with some last minute trip stuff, not really realizing how bad my hair actually looked.

Once I got home, however, the full weight of what was on my head, hit me. It was a NIGHTMARE! It reminded me of the time I tried to go from blonde to brown as a kid and turned my hair green! I immediately used the purple cocktail (twice), then did it a third time and let it sit, hoping it would take out the yellow brass. It didn't. When I woke up Sunday, I did it again, only this time I let the conditioner sit on it for hours, but I think it was just getting oranger! By late in the day, knowing my hair girl had a birthday party for her son that day, I texted her anyway and told her that she would have to fix my hair before I went to Chicago the following Thursday and possibly before I could leave the house even for work...I couldn't live with my hair like this!

She doesn't work on Mondays at all and wouldn't make an allowance for it, so I wore a ponytail and actually did go to work (although I did seriously debate on calling in sick), but I had an appointment scheduled for first thing Tuesday morning. It interfered with my VERY busy work schedule, but this was an EMERGENCY and I DID phrase it to work like that. They didn't understand, but I didn't give them a choice. There are times when I put my foot down about things and this was one of them.

When I walked back in her shop that morning, she was horrified by the damage she had done and almost started crying (so at least that made me feel better), and she realized that yes, she HAD covered the entire bottom with bleach. Even when I texted her Sunday, she still believed she had "marbled" it. I knew that I had pressured her by staying and I knew she was tired, I just didn't realize HOW tired until that moment. She is kind of a pushover and my Asper self tends to always want my way. And I ended up torturing myself by sitting there for 10 hours with a bunch of horrible children and even worse parents coming and going (my worst nightmare), all so I could leave with horrible hair! I kind of deserved what I got. She started in immediately, and for the FOURTH time in less than a week, I had bleach put on my hair yet again.

But this time, my hair came out absolutely PERFECT! Better than it has in YEARS! Granted, it's more high school Keebs and adult Keebs. The older I got the more bold I tended to get with color. This is very subtle highlighting, nothing wild or crazy, very natural, but it is exactly the right color that I like, even if it is NOTHING like Daisy Johnson's hair. She also had to super deep condition it, but still. I offered to pay her yet again (but she really outdid herself the fourth time), but thankfully she refused (and I'm glad she did because I technically didn't have the money to pay her anyway without using my nail money).

I didn't walk into work that day until well after 1 pm, but at least I could walk into work without a ponytail. I am still fighting dryness, but ironically, my hair was falling out a lot more BEFORE I had this done than it is now and it's been growing a LOT faster SINCE I had this done! I think my hair missed being blonde.

Short story long? I was meant to be blonde and I need to NEVER go back to my natural color! Granted, considering some of the very white blonde pieces at the bottom (where it's been over bleached), I have been more than tempted to streak some purple underneath but, I'm holding off that craving for now.

Next time...the side effects of the purple shampoo and marble!

Chicago Tales #1: The Case of the Strange Stand-Up Sleeping Coma

On our first night in Chicago, my Sister woke me up in the middle of the night to tell me to get in the bed. I was apparently standing up next to the bed, but I was bent in half and my head was laying on a pillow! I don't remember doing that. Apparently, even past that moment, all I could manage was barely crawling in the bed, without covers (a Keebs no-no), to finish out the night. What happened to get me to that moment is STILL a mystery!

The night before we left, I stayed at my Sister's house to make it easier to leave (her town is closer to Memphis than mine and I wanted to leave my car at my house). So I started the night before in a strange bed anyway, and I never sleep good away from home. For that matter, since I've slept on the couch for years anyway, I'm not really used to sleeping in a bed. We stayed up late chatting and watching TV, so I probably didn't get much sleep from the get-go, but I took my meds and slept as normal when they kicked in, even if it was later than usual.

We left for the airport fairly early in the a.m., and I had a Coke Zero on the way, and another one at the airport along with some candy. I had a water on the plane, but I managed to spill it on me before I had my first drink of it, and the pretzels I keep as a memento instead of eating (I'm weird that way). Apparently, Chicago isn't big on Coke, because every single place we went only had Pepsi. I don't do Pepsi, even in emergency situations. So, by midday, still no food or drink other than the two Cokes and candy (by that time, on an average day, I would have downed multiple Coke Zeros and probably an Energy Drink or two, but no food...I don't usually eat during the day, only at night anyway).

We checked into the hotel (which had a mini bar, but no regular fridge and no soda machines by the ice machine, and the mini bar had no sodas relative to Coke) and immediately headed to the hop-on-off bus to travel around to see the city. We took the entire route, just to get our bearings, and headed back to the hotel to change for the ghost tour we had booked that night and (thankfully) I got my clothes for the next day ready while I waited for my Sister to get ready. At this point, it was around 5 pm, with no food or drink all day, but we got back on the bus and the meet-up for the ghost tour was at a restaurant, so by 7 pm, we were eating. I had two alcoholic drinks (which were fairly watered down) and more water with a HEAVY meal. but I'm not a lightweight by any means, so two drinks shouldn't have affected me.

The ghost tour lasted two hours, so by 10 pm, we were walking back to the hotel, and if I still had any alcohol in my system, after two hours walking around, I would be surprised. Honestly, of all the places we went, only one place felt truly haunted, and it freaked me out enough that I had to really focus to keep from walking away. From that moment on, I kept looking behind me because it felt like something was behind me the entire time (that feeling stayed with me even after I got home for about three days, but that's another story).

There was a Walgreens on the way, so we stopped and got Cokes, water and snacks. I bought three Coke Zeros and two waters. One Coke I had finished before we walked into the hotel. One I drank once we got into the room and took my night meds with. Now, at this point, I'm not sure if I didn't take my night meds in the right order (some I take two of, others one and I may have gotten them mixed up), or what, but they usually take about an hour and a half minimum to work. I decided to take a bath and took one of the waters with me. Take note, I have NEVER taken my meds wrong before and I have drank alcohol before (in MUCH larger quantities) with them, so again, I don't think that was the issue, but the time lapse between downing meds and bath was probably less than 10 minutes.

At this point, things got murky. I fell asleep in the tub with the water still RUNNING (thank goodness for overflow drains)! Once the water got cold, it woke me up, but I have no idea how long I was in there for. My Sister figures not very long (she was already asleep when I came out), but I don't really remember getting dressed in my jammies afterwards. I do remember also falling asleep on the toilet (which I use to get dressed on in hotel bathrooms with marble floors so I don't crack my skull...I am a klutz), but again, I can't account for the time I spent there either. Then I apparently just walked to the bed, dropped my head on a pillow, and passed out! When my Sister woke me and told me to get in the bed, I still wasn't sure what was happening, but I did manage to crawl in enough to be considered "in the bed", despite the lack of covers, and there is where I stayed for the rest of the night without moving (I usually toss and turn all night long).

I woke up the next morning before my Sister (another complete first), refreshed and ready for the day (not me at ALL) and, although the next day pretty much went the same (no sodas or food until late, alcohol with late meal, meds, tub, bed), the weird stand-up sleep coma never happened again! It was really WEIRD and, although I don't like pictures of myself being taken, I wish my Sister would have gotten a pic just so I can figure out what happened! I remember thinking "what the hell?" and crawling in the bed, but my thoughts never got passed that point or could remember how I got in that position. And I can trace my steps backwards to toilet (sleep), dressed (sleep), tub (sleep), but I can't remember the in-between parts other than waking up from each step and thinking "what the hell?" and then falling asleep again.

So, what could have caused it? The pre-late night sleepover at my Sister's? The early flight/jet-lag (for a two-hour flight?)? The lack of Coke during the day? The possible Ghost Host? Maybe a med mix-up? Or a combination of several factors?

The following day was pretty much the same, although I did eat during the day, but I still was Coke-denied thanks to the city's apparently aversion to it. That night, we ate at the Hard Rock, where I had less food and WAY more alcohol. I took my meds a LOT sooner to drinking than I did before, we stopped at Walgreens again and got more Cokes and waters and I did the same routine with my meds as before, but I didn't have the same coma episode that night as before. It was, quite possibly, the weirdest thing I've ever done on a vacation before, and that's saying something!

Still here (I think)

Work has been so nuts, I haven't had a moment to think, let alone breathe! I don't do anything when I leave work, other than watch TV and sleep, so pretty much everything else has been out of the question, especially blogging and catching up with everyone else. I apologize to everyone! Hopefully, by at least February (when this whole big work project is finished), I will be back to normal, but until then, life will just suck!

I did go to Chicago with my Sister a couple of weeks ago for a couple of days (she had a conference), but I have done nothing more than move the pictures from the memory cards to the computer. I haven't edited a single one (and probably won't until February either). There were lots of total Asper shenanigans in Chicago, especially since I had about two days to wander the city alone (yep, you read that right...I wandered a city alone!), and hopefully I can share a few of the stories between now and then, because some of them are pretty funny (or pretty idiotic, depending on your point of view), but either way, they are were much Keebs things to do!

On to something more pleasant...

So, in yet ANOTHER effort to break my "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." obsession, I did a free trial of Shudder on Amazon Prime this weekend and watched "A Discovery of Witches" and boy, did that do the trick! I am now completely obsessed! For one thing...Matthew Goode, who I have loved forever, but it is brilliant, romantic, historic and epic, all the things I just adore! I ended up just buying the series on Amazon, as well as the books. The books are quite long and, despite my penchant for fast reading, I still only managed to get through the first one and barely into the second one yesterday (although I still watched the show twice yesterday as well, so that counts as a major distraction). The first book is the entire first series, and it fills out a lot of the gaps that the series leaves out (if that's possible in an 8 hr-8 episode series), but since the series focuses more on all the characters and the book just really focuses more on Matthew and Diana, I see where things had to be lost (although I wish they weren't).

I love that they speak Occitane instead of French most of the time (another one of my childhood obsessions), that the daemons are pre-Christian, and therefore NOT evil (another one of my favorite myths) and the romance of it all is right at my level! Did I mention Matthew Goode! Anyhoo, here's the trailer, and for those who have access to Amazon Prime (or just to books in general), I highly recommend either or both!

The second series (which isn't out yet) and book (which is) takes them back in time and, although I've just started the second book, I'm thinking about not reading it just yet, until I watch the second series. The ending of the first series put a question in my mind that was a bit too FitzSimmons-y and it bothered me, so I wanted to make sure that they both made it back in time together. But the first couple of chapters were so amazing (School of Night, anyone?), that it's going to be hard to stop it now...I just don't want it to ruin the second series for me, let alone the third!

The reviews on Amazon bothered me to no end though. There were comparisons to both Anne Rice and Twilight...neither of which I understood! Yes, Anne Rice is meticulous about her history, but I wouldn't call a single one of her books a "romance", even if they may have romantic connotations. People complained that there was too much history which made them boring. I ALWAYS laugh at reviews like that, especially when they mention Anne Rice in the same review...The Witching Hour anyone? That's got like a hundred pages of genealogy in it! If you can make it through that, you can make it through anything! I love how Deborah Harkness weaves the history through the story. To me, Anne Rice always locks the story to the history and it makes it unwavering sometimes, leaving little room for ebbs and flows (which is why I think it lacks that romantic quality I typically need in a book). I do love Anne Rice, but honestly, I haven't read anything from her since she "got religion", wrote those books about Jesus (which is why she is the only author my mother and I both own books by), then went back to writing about vampires. I was afraid it affected her work and I'm not even sure she's still religious. But I was afraid it was like the Stephen King syndrome...after his accident, his writing just turned everything into giant spiders and stupid monsters, not his horror novels of old. I think that Needful Things was the last book of his I enjoyed (and the story in Four Past Midnight that was the prequel to it).

But comparing these books and movies to the Twilight series is just insulting! There is nothing intellectual about Twilight at all...it's just mindless teen drama, which sometimes is a good thing and even I have been known to want to shut off and Twilight my brains out. The All Souls trilogy isn't overtly sexual (so far), but it is very adult in themes, nature and behaviors, something the Twilight series always lacked. There is no teen drama here! And last I checked, Twilight was just vampires and werewolves...here we have witches, vampires, and daemons (and I'm spelling it that way for a reason...besides, I MISS spelling it that way!). It's like comparing knock-off Dollar Tree apple-flavored candy (aka Twilight) to a perfectly grown, freshly picked, ripe mango soaked in the finest champagne and served with candied violets with Ice Wine as your drink (The All Souls Triology). Seriously, they aren't even in the same league!

It's not desensitization, it's over-sensitization!

I kind of had an epiphany last night...all these shootings aren't people who have been desensitized by video games or movies or whatever, it's because they have been over-sensitized by social media and crave attention so badly, that they are willing to kill to get more of it! That makes WAY more sense to me as someone who has a desensitized personality. So here again, I'm taking a jab at social media!

Granted, a lot of my issues come from being an Asper (and working in a path lab my entire life has also desensitized myself to gore), but I typically hide in the shadows and don't want to do ANYTHING that would draw attention to myself and certainly not enough to get involved in a situation enough to plan a mass murder. I thought a lot last night why I couldn't kill someone and, I'm not sure it's not because I don't have the capacity to do it, I just think I don't care enough to actually kill someone else. Even when I'm extremely mad at someone, I would rather punch a wall instead of them. I just don't have the capacity to care enough about people to hurt them either emotionally or physically. It's hard for me to imagine that someone who is truly desensitized isn't the same way.

There is an emotional investment in killing, even for the coldest of murders, and anyone who can't feel emotions for other people aren't capable for committing violent acts like these. You can look at every single murderer throughout history, and even the darkest, most sadistic killers all had attachments to their victims in some way, kept keepsakes, did it for revenge or for love, did it for show, did it because they enjoyed it sexually, or for some other reason, but there was always a connection in some way that tied them to their victims. A person is not capable to committing an act like that be it a simple shooting or rape or carving up someone and eating them, without feeling SOMETHING, either for themselves or their victims and desensitized people just can't feel anything.

I could also argue that there have been cases of desensitized people doing these acts just for the simple feat of TRYING to feel something, managing it, and continuing on just for the high, but I would also have to admit that these aren't truly desensitized people if they can actually feel something, even for the briefest of times during the most extreme of circumstances, so I'm not sure they count. And these cases are rare anyway. These shooters definitely do NOT fall into these categories anyway. These are one-time things and they know it going in. It's all for the attention, pure and simple and that's just plain old STUPID! Take away their attention, stop sensationalizing their crimes and MAYBE this will stop! And the same could be said for certain politicians who Tweet stupid stuff! If no one paid attention, maybe they would stop!

So, I'm going to take my own advice and stop feeding the trolls! It's one of the reasons why I try really hard NOT to watch the news, because I have issues with controlling my emotions when it comes to things like this and I will NEVER understand people (which is typically why I like fictional people better) and try to stay away from real life as much as possible. I'm just not built to handle it and probably why I'm desensitized in the first place...I don't know how to deal with people in general!