Thursday, December 29, 2011

I'm OK being by myself, but this one time...

Growing up means, in part, learning to do things on your own. Whether it's pay your bills, clean your apartment, do your laundry, or the typical grown-up chores, you just start doing them without being prompted. (Okay, so I admit even at the age of 31, my husband has to occasionally nag me to do my laundry, but that is ONLY when my hamper starts to take over our entire bedroom like a slow-moving swamp creature.)

Another thing that I had a difficult time learning to do for myself was eat alone. College was, for the most part, where I learned to do this. I tend to have all things anxiety when it comes to cafeteria-style eating, probably due in part to watching too many movies or televisions shows in which someone trips and drops her tray to the mocking laughter of everyone else.  Of course, I worried about that in college. At first, I never ate by myself. I would only go eat in the cafeteria when my friends were going. Eventually, I learned that breakfast was a safe meal to attend in the cafeteria. There weren't many students at that hour, and I could have a table to myself to read or study, or just sit there and enjoy my watered down, overly creamed and sugared coffee. The important thing was that I WAS EATING ALONE AND OKAY WITH IT.

I have since progressed to eating alone at a sit-down restaurant. While it is not my favorite, never again will I miss a meal for lack of company. However, old anxieties crept up again upon a recent venture outside of my comfort zone.

As I may have mentioned, P.I.C. bought me a fancy camera as a wedding present. It's very nice, but had so many bells and whistles on it that I knew I needed a class. I signed up for one. All by myself. I don't love doing new things without back-up due to my still-present anxiety at being alone. It's just how I am. So when I choose to do things alone, it's kind of a big deal. In this case, my desire to learn photography was greater than my desire to have a buddy. So I did it. Turns out, most people in the class came with a buddy. There was no real problem because there were no "partner" activities, so it was fun until lunch came around.

There was another girl, a loner, in the class, and lucky for me, we had the same camera. It was lunch time, and we had time to eat, but also an assignment. We walked out of the building together and I slowed to talk to her. I asked her if she wanted to grab a bite to eat with me and then do our assignment together. HER RESPONSE WAS LESS THAN STELLAR.

"Um, well, probably not because since we have an hour for lunch, I have some errands to run."

Sigh. I WAS SO UNCOMFORTABLE. I then went to eat at a nearby restaurant BY MYSELF. I sat next to some of the buddied up people in my class who ONLY conversed with the other buddied up people in the class, despite my best efforts to involve myself in their conversations.

This story still makes me cringe. Apparently, I still have some anxiety about being alone. In any event, trust me, I will not stop trying things alone and will not stop opening myself up to get shut-down for lunch dates with strange girls. I've grown up enough to know that taking myself out of my comfort zone is very rewarding and a big part of being an adult.

I've also come to learn that if I just wait until P.I.C. does laundry, I can just throw stuff in with his and VOILA...he does my laundry. What can I say, I might still be an anxious adult, but I have learned a few things about persuasion in my life.

Friday, December 23, 2011

One year ago today...

There was snow. Clearly, it was going to be a white Christmas. P.I.C. had the day off and had plans for a whole day of laziness. Well, aside from the grocery list. He was in charge of making his famous corn casserole for Christmas dinner and I had to make a peanut butter pie and so had to head to the grocery store. Me? I was headed into the office for one last day of "work." I hadn't been there long when I got the phone call from P.I.C.

"Hey. What does rosemary look like?"

WTF. Why did he need to know what rosemary looks like? That was most definitely not on the list I had given him. Furthermore, how is this a challenge? Find the effing herbs section in the store and locate the rosemary. EASY. (Alternatively, head back to Sevilla and grab a sprig from the gypsy women before they try to read your fortune for twenty euros. Now THAT is a challenge.) I described rosemary, and wondered what the heck was going on. I am fairly certain I was less than pleasant on the phone. I was so crabby that I had to work while he had the day off and just wanted to be left in my own misery at my desk, talking to no one.

The day progressed uneventfully. As it passed noon, I started to get very antsy. Why on earth wasn't my employer letting me go home early? The few people who WERE in the office that day were not working, that was very apparent to me. The hour creeped closer to two, with no report of an early departure. My crabbiness reached an all-time high. Of course, as my employer is prone, we received word at 3:35 p.m. that we could leave at 3:30 p.m. Merry Christmas. (Okay, I have MULTIPLE issues with this. We all sense we are going to be allowed to leave early. Please just let us know earlier. ADDITIONALLY, 3:30 p.m. doesn't really count as leaving early. That's a piss poor "you can go home early" hour. Make it 2:00 p.m. and stop being such a jackass.)

I called P.I.C. in rather sour spirits.

Me: "I'm on my way home."
P.I.C. "OH GREAT. Can you stop at Walgreen's and see if you can find a table cloth?"
....
Me: "WTF. A TABLECLOTH? WHY? WHAT ARE YOU UP TO?"
P.I.C. "Well, I wanted it to be a surprise, but I made you dinner tonight. You've been upset that we didn't really do anything for Christmas this year and were all crabby you had to work so I thought I would be nice and make you dinner."
Me: "Fine, but I don't think that I am going to find a table cloth at Walgreen's."
(We had embarked on a puzzle of a thousand cats and our kitchen table was occupied at the time by the puzzle. We hadn't eaten dinner on the table in about a month.)

I stomped off to Walgreen's, only NOT to find a tablecloth. The weather was cold, my spirits were bad. I hopped on the el and then the bus. You'd think my mood would be improving as I approached my apartment via alley. YOU WOULD BE SO WRONG. I stopped up our porch steps, attempting to knock the snow off the boots.

When I walked in the door, I immediately sense something was off. First of all, P.I.C. was just standing in the kitchen, leaning up against the counter with a bunch of flowers. I walked in, still wearing my boots and my coat and my gloves. He walks up to me, kisses me and says, "I bought you some flowers." I took one glove off and thanked him. But he stood there, looking at me. I started laughing. "What is wrong with you, you weirdo? Can't I come in and take off my coat and boots? It's cold out and I'm all snowy."

He stood there, just looking at me. All of a sudden, I noticed he had a box in his hand. He wasn't just standing there looking at me, he was forming words in his mind. I COULD SEE THAT.  After a few seconds he kind of half-nodded to himself and then got down on one knee.

YEP. THIS WAS WHAT HE WAS UP TO, GUYS.

He said a few nice things and then asked me to marry him. I started cracking up. I said yes, obviously. I kissed him. But I could not stop laughing. I was still in my coat, my hat, and my boots. I was still wearing one glove (my left one, of course.) I was holding the flowers he had handed me a few moments before.

I didn't cry. I didn't scream. I didn't pass out. I just laughed and laughed. Eventually, he helped me out of my outer clothes and helped me put that ring on my finger. And guess what? He DID make me dinner. Pork tenderloin. He ALSO remembered to get an appropriate wine AND a bottle of cava so we could toast. We reveled in our new status, yet told only a very small handful. I called a few of my friends that night, but we agreed to wait until the next day to tell our families. We were in the unique opportunity to tell everyone in person, so we just decided to wait. I nearly died from holding that secret in me. (In fact, the next morning my mom called me to find out what time I was getting to my aunt's that day and I nearly hung up on her so I wouldn't BLAB.)

So yep. One year ago today, my best friend and the best man I have ever met proposed to me. I said yes. So today, despite having to go into work yet again while P.I.C. stays home (with yet another grocery list), I am happy. I am not going to be pissy all day. Well, not until 2:00 p.m. when I am waiting for them to just say we can leave. Then I will be pissy for a little bit.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all. May your season be merry and bright and full of love and laughter. Oh, and hopefully the appropriate wine.

Cheers!

(This photo doesn't really pertain to our engagement photo, but it IS one of our engagement photos which I LOVED, so here you go.)

Thursday, December 22, 2011

So many jokers today.

I feel as though I have encountered a rather obscene amount of jokers today. When I say joker, I mean "person who is acting like a jackass." There were no jokes involved. Furthermore, this is not a Batman reference (sorry, P.I.C.) JOKERS. MY definition.

So, yeah. Lots of jokers. First, I crammed onto the train this morning only to press up against a dude that was FUMING booze. It was the sort of pore secretion that happens when one imbibes way too much the night before. I nearly got a buzz off his smelly booze seeping out of his pores. I bet he was going straight for a bagel. Or McDonald's. I know I would be if I were him.

Then, I forgot to show my I.D. badge to the security guard to get in the elevator. I think I was still thinking about Mr. Booze on the train and completely forgot that I was entering a restricted area. Only the security guard yelled "Ma'am!!!" at me, as if I were trying to pull something past her. PLEASE, lady. You know I am the ONLY person in this building who has adorned her ID badge with a hot pink holder. (This is not because I am obsessed with pink. I just needed a color that would pop so that I wouldn't lose it again. OK, fine, I guess I like pink too.) In any event, I was all annoyed at the fact that she acted like I was all about sneaking into the elevator bank. TRUST ME, lady. No one really wants to be in this building. I promise you. Also, I still don't think I deserve to be called ma'am by someone who is CLEARLY old enough to be my mother. Joker.

Then I go to court. There is a man that gets into the elevator on the sixth floor only to take it to the seventh floor. Sometimes, I get that there are locked stairwells. However, at this particular courthouse, there are escalators that go between the sixth, seventh, and eighth floors. ADDITIONALLY, there is an elevator bank for floors six through eight. DO NOT interrupt my journey to the 22nd floor so you can be lazy. Also, he had crazy long fingernails that nearly made me vomit. He should be ashamed of himself. Men should NOT have longer fingernails than me. AT ALL.

I return to the office after court only to find a PREPOSTEROUS email from a PREPOSTEROUS person. I cannot get into further details here, but trust me, this man is fully insane. This email I received means I have to wear a suit. On a Friday. ON THE FRIDAY BEFORE A HOLIDAY. (I know, I am a lawyer, I should be used to it, but come on. Oh, and it's municipal court so I likely will just wear a dress. I AM A REBEL LIKE THAT.)

WHY oh why are there so many jokers out today?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

An alternative to road rage.

Funny bones clearly run in my family. OBVIOUSLY, I'm quite hilarious. Well, I like to think I'm funny. That may be a skewed perception, but whatever. My grandfather (dad's dad, aka Grandpa C.) is quite the comedian. He was a car salesman back in the day, and he did quite well, most likely due to his rather goofy personality. Before that, he did collections at a bank. I'm fairly certain that he's the only person who can make stories about repossessing refrigerators funny.

Allegedly, a relative of my grandmother (mom's mom) was a writer for Phyllis Diller. Allegedly. Of course, my brother is quite funny too. Only two and a half years younger, he is quite the jokester. He can always get me to laugh. One of my favorite things he does that makes me nearly cry every time he tells me about it is point.

Point? Yes, point. Imagine this scenario. You're in a parking lot, patiently waiting for a vehicle to pull out of a parking spot. Someone squeals up from the other direction and steals your spot a moment before you're able to maneuver into the spot. Irritating, right? Perhaps your inclination would be to get out of your car and yell at the person. At the very least, you'd roll down your window and yell. "JERK!" My brother does not do that. Rather than let this boil his blood, he simple waits for them to get out of the car and make eye contact and he points, slowly driving off.

Imagine you are driving down Interstate 90, doing slightly over the speed limit and passing slower cars on the right. A car comes speeding up behind you and starts tailing you. Unfortunately traffic is rather heavy and there are multiple semi-trucks traveling to the right of you and you are unable to immediately yield to this person who is clearly in more of a hurry than you. When you were eventually able to pull over into the right lane, I know you want to flip them that middle finger that got SO ITCHY while you watched this guy ride your bumper. My brother instead would change lanes and then proceed to point at the person.

Really, I challenge you to try this. I cannot do it without cracking up. So rather than getting all worked up and yelling, give them a creepy point. I dare you not to laugh. Besides the person in the other car probably gets all sorts of freaked out. "Why are they pointing at me? WHAT DOES IT MEAN? AM I NEXT? Wait, next for WHAT? OMG. OMG. OMG."

Pointing. It's the clear alternative to road rage.

(This message sponsored by the clearly funny Awkward Family.)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

This guy I know...

I have to tell you a story about a guy I know who can have a short temper on occasion.*

It was a blustery and rainy day, the kind where the rain seems to be coming from all directions, not just the sky. All he had to do was make it across the street into the building. Golf umbrella opened, he began to walk briskly. As he reached the opposite side of the street something horrible happened. A huge gust of wind WHIPPPED that big umbrella inside out and then proceeded to RIIIIIPPPP it in half.

He stood there for a second before shouting loudly. "FUDGE!"** He then proceeded to bash that beat-up umbrella against the sidewalk, punishing it for misbehaving. After several good thrashes, he gave it a very swift kick and sent it flying. He then walked away, abandoning his defective umbrella.

Three people nearby just stared.

* This story is quite obviously about P.I.C.
** He didn't say fudge. I just watched A Christmas Story and couldn't resist a reference.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

I'm having a boy!

HA. No, I'm not pregnant, I swear. However, I had a really funny incident last night that still has me laughing.*

The weather was unseasonably warm for mid-December in Chicago so we had walked to dinner. After say goodbye to our lovely dining companions, P.I.C. and I strolled toward home. I'm sure we looked quite happy, walking arm in arm. We do that once in awhile. A gentleman, well-dressed, probably in his mid-30s, walked up and this conversation ensued.

G: "Wow. Sure is foggy. I feel like we're in London."
P.I.C.: "Yes, it's quite London-esque out right now."
G (after looking at P.I.C. and I standing there): "You two look like old souls, like you've known each other for many lives. You've lived many lives together, I can tell."

AWKWARD SILENCE ENSUED.

We all crossed the street. We turned one direction as G continued the other way. He turned his head for one last parting shot. "Your first-born will be a boy."

At that point, I lost it and started laughing. I'm not sure if it was the fact I was wearing my favorite fuzzy fedora or that we were walking with our arms linked together, but that man seemed to peer into our souls and give us a palm reading, even sans seeing our palms. Hilarious? Yes. It was also a little bit creepy.

* I really, really, really promise I'm not pregnant. (Emphasis fully intended.)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Another sincere thank you.

Well, we did it! My team climbed all 58 flights this past Sunday to raise money for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. It was difficult, but not quite as difficult as I imagined it would be. The fact that there was a bloody mary bar and a screwdriver bar at the end didn't hurt. Although, to be honest, a bloody mary was the last thing I wanted after climbing 58 flights of stairs. I really just wanted a big glass of water. (Additionally, I am grateful I was not riding down in the elevator with the person who puked. TWICE. Some of my friends couldn't say the same. Yikes!)

In any event, I want to say thank you to all of you who donated to our team. I made a last-ditch effort to raise my goal on Friday evening, and lots of people from twitter stepped up and helped me not only meet, but surpass my goal. I was moved to near tears as I received a steady stream of emails notifying me of another donation. Thanks to your generosity, my team was able to raise over $2,100. Not too shabby! There were four of us, and the bare minimum was $200 per person. Do the math. We surpassed the bare minimum. So yay for us. And YAY for you all. Thank you for making this possible.

In seeing people's generosity at the late hour for me, I've become determined to be able to help others out for their fundraising goals. I know I have a tendency to be self-centered and worried about buying my own stuff, but I can fit into my budget a little bit to set aside for charity/non-profit donations. Starting this month, I am going to set aside a small sum each month for this purpose. I'm starting this in December because then it doesn't seem like a resolution for the new year. I don't do those.

So thank you, from the bottom of my heart. Your generosity has moved me to be more generous. Nothing wrong with that.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Stalker.

I'm not playing hard-to-get. Nope. Six months ago, I plainly told you I was not interested. Yet you persist. You called me about six weeks ago several times. I didn't answer once. You started calling me again yesterday, including twice this morning. I know both of your numbers by heart, so I know when not to pick up the phone.

It's not me, it's definitely you.

Right now, I feel as though you are stalking me.

Does anyone else have issues with a financial planner who just cannot get the hint?

Yes, I could answer the phone again and reiterate the same thing I told him six months ago which was the same thing I told him six months before that: I am not interested. I don't ever anticipate being interested. Furthermore, in the event that I do find I need a financial planner, I will not be calling you because I feel you do not listen to my needs. Now? I do not need supplemental life insurance policies. I do not need to start an I.R.A. I do not need long-term disability insurance in place. I do not need you to continue to leave condescending messages on my voicemail after I have plainly, and rather politely told you, "NO THANK YOU."

I need you to leave me the hell alone.

Monday, December 5, 2011

But, but...I'm OLD enough.

P.I.C. has been amazing since my grandma passed away. He's fetched me my favorite Thai food (tom yum noodle soup, if you care, it can cure anything). He holds me when I cry. He wakes me up so I'm not late for work. (OK, that last one he does every day.)

The latest thing has been to buy me a box of wine. We usually have a glass of wine with dinner each night. I've taken a liking to boxed wine. It's cheaper. It's fun to pour. I know it's not really fancy, but it does make me smile. I'm wholly certain that boxed wine helped me plan my wedding unscathed. P.I.C. was doing our weekly grocery shopping this week and had the lovely plan to surprise me with a box of wine. Yay, P.I.C. You do ALL THINGS RIGHT.

Sadly, this did not go as planned. P.I.C. had left his drivers license in his car. That means when he was carded for the wine, the cashier said "NO WAY, NOT ON MY WATCH" to P.I.C. buy that wine. Even the lady in line behind P.I.C. offered to use her I.D., cashier was like "NUH UH. NOPE. YOU CANNOT DO THAT." Now, P.I.C. definitely looks younger than his thirty-six years, but he's no spring chicken. It's not really questionable that he's over twenty-one. That cashier was a real jerk.

Rude. So rude. That means I have no boxed wine. Sigh.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Blood on the Saddle.

I really need to start this by saying THANK YOU. The wonderful and kind comments you all left on my post about my grandma were wonderful. They all brought me to tears in such a happy way. The comfort that your words gave me was great, and I am truly appreciative.

Of course, in this situations, the pain doesn't go away right away. While each day I feel as though I'm getting better with limited occasions of all-out crying, by the time the night rolls around, I am a sobbing mess. I feel guilt consuming me for not being there as much as I should have been. I want to throw up when I realize I will never hear her voice say my name. But then I think of a funny memory and smile. I know she will always be in my heart. I imagine that my tears will continue to come rather frequently for quite awhile. Part of me is happy that I won't be in such pain all the time. Another part of me is truly sad because knowing that the pain is subsiding means I am used to her being gone. I hate that.

BUT. I'm trying to stop the tears so I can fall asleep. I was laying in bed with P.I.C. tonight and thought of something that had me laughing so hard. My grandpa loved to torture my grandma. Sounds awful, right? Not really. My entire family tends to show its love in a more teasing fashion. The more you pick on each other, the more you love each other, right? This fact rang especially true for my grandma and grandpa. One thing that my grandpa used to do that would make my grandma SO STEAMING MAD that made me laugh so hard was playing a particular song (Blood on the Saddle) on their stereo. You couldn't even mention the name of the song without my grandma blurting out, "DO NOT PLAY THAT STUPID SONG." My grandpa would casually go over to the CD player and be all nonchalant. "I'm not playing it, GEEZ." Of course, he'd play it. My grandma would holler at him, grandpa would sing along at the top of his voice ("There was blllloooooooooooood on the saddle"), and we would all laugh and laugh. Of course, by the end of it, we were all in tears. No one could resist my grandpa's shenanigans, most of all, Grandma C.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

My Grandma C.

My grandma died today. Currently, I am experiencing a sadness like I've never experienced. I have lived thirty-one (plus) years of my life with all four of my grandparents. Today, that lovely world of having all of them around was shattered.

I'm so sad. I came home from work today with P.I.C. and decided to keep my mind occupied by going through all of my old photos and scanning in all of them of my grandma. It helped to keep my mind on all of the wonderful memories I had of her. Tonight, I feel the need to just tell you all about her in a rather incoherent fashion. I love her. I never want to forget all the reasons why.

Allegedly when I was born, she ran screeching out her house down the driveway to her neighbors that "IT'S A GIRL!" (She had two boys.)

She smoked for years. So did my grandpa. One day, she just quit. I asked her how/why. She said one day she coughed up blood. She threw her current pack away and never smoked again. Cold turkey. (Grandpa eventually quit too, only he was aided by butterscotch discs that he was so kind to share with me.)

Her hair was silver. Not gray, silver. She dressed rather smartly for a grandma. She wore great clothes and had more shoes than any woman I'd ever met. I mourned the day I bypassed her size. Dressing up in her vintage clogs and heels and modeling them in her closet mirror was one of my favorite past-times.

I loved to hear stories of how she and my grandpa would go out. Of course, this was the time when people dressed up and wore hats and gloves. They traveled all over (Bermuda, Hawaii, Spain, Morocco) and had so many stories to tell. When they went to Spain, Grandma told me she brushed her teeth with wine so as not to drink the water. I believe she actually did that. Part of the reason I wanted to incorporate Morocco on our honeymoon was because I knew that she and my grandpa had gone. I mean, Grandma hated Morocco. She point-blank told me not to go there. But I did anyhow. Mainly because I knew it would result in a good story with which I could tell my grandchildren.

She loved to shop. In fact, she used to have all of her Christmas shopping done by August. No lie. I'm pretty sure she had it all wrapped by then too. She would make my grandpa drive her all around to the various stores for anything she wanted. (She never drove.)

I used to relish all snow days, sick days, or days where our teachers were striking. That always meant Mom would drop us off at Grandma's. That meant watching Zoobilee Zoo (PLEASE tell me someone else recalls this slightly creepy show), eating spaghetti-os and meatballs from the can, having "cocktail hour" when Grandpa got home from work wherein my brother and I would get the appropriate virgin drink. I had my own room there with a double bed. No matter who stayed there, it was always my room. I used to raid my grandma's nail polish drawer for her newest shade to give myself manicures.

She loved the Chicago Bulls. LOVED them. The words "those damn Bulls" frequently came out of her mouth. She hated football though.

Her grandma was from Germany. She spoke the "old German." My grandma learned the new German. This caused a problem when Grandma was in school. Her grandma insisted on speaking to her in the old German which my grandma did not understand. Grandma would sit and do housework with her grandma during the day frequently. When Grandma's dad got home, her grandma (confused yet?) would tattle on her and tell him that my grandma was not speaking the right language. My grandma's dad would say, "She speaks the right language. She speaks English."

She taught me how to knit. I still have the little book from the 1960s she gave me to help. I still can only knit dishcloths and scarves.

Before her eyesight got too bad, she used to read all the time. She loved books. When I got older, she would pass along these books. Being a voracious reader myself, I was in the habit of reading nearly anything anyone was kind enough to donate to me. I quickly learned that my grandma had an affinity for suspenseful romance books. (Read any book by Sandra Brown. Find the page where she references "his manhood." I guarantee there will be at least one reference.)

My grandpa used to buy a couple scratch-off lottery tickets every week. This annoyed Grandma. She concocted a deal. For every $1 he spent on lottery tickets, he had to give her a dollar. For every ticket he won, he had to split his winnings 50/50. The last I heard, Grandma had saved up about $500.

She and my grandpa had cocktail hour every day. When my grandpa worked, he usually had a martini or two (gin, dry, rocks, twist) and cocktail hour was at 5:30 p.m. After he retired, cocktail hour gradually moved up to about 3:00 p.m. Grandma used to enjoy a scotch and water back in the day. She switched it up to one glass of chardonnay or occasionally a merlot. (She really really loved Charles Shaw and requested me to bring bottles of it in from Trader Joe's when I came into town.) She eventually cut Grandpa down to one martini, two on holidays.

She and Grandpa taught me that a Moscow Mule is properly served in a copper mug. Limes get squeeze in first, CRUSHED ice, then vodka and ginger beer. That is the only proper way to drink one. They knew so much about the proper way to drink things. I figure it's because they drank it all.

For a couple of summers when I was in college, I served at a nearby restaurant. I would take all of my double breaks at Grandma's house, letting them feed me and taking a nap on the couch as they watched golf.

For years, while I was in college, then in law school, then on my own, she and my grandpa would call me at 10:00 a.m. sharp every Sunday. Many days, I'd have to sleep off my hangover, but I would always call back. When she started getting sicker, those calls didn't come like they had in the past. When we would hang up, she would always say..."I love you" and I'd say back, "A bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck."

Our standard Christmas morning photo, circa 1983.
I'm sure I'm forgetting more stories and memories. This is a good start. She was a wonderful, fun, and lively woman. I'm so glad to have had her in my life for as long as I did.

Grandma, I love you. A bushel. A peck. A hug around the neck. For always. XOXO

Oh Christmas Tree...

Last year we didn't get a Christmas tree. We had gone on vacation in December and figured it didn't make sense to put one up. Man, was I depressed. The three years before, I had bought REAL trees. I would go to the nearest tree sale by my apartment (two years I bought from the boy scouts, last year from the local plant shop) and carry that bad boy home walking right down the middle of the street. (That's not so difficult when you're living off a busy street.)

Growing up, we had fake trees. My mom and I had the tradition of getting out all the ornaments and decorating it the weekend following Thanksgiving. I got why she didn't want a real tree. Messy. Expensive. All of that. But I knew that once I was on my own and had the abilities, I was going to buy a real tree. So I did for three years. I loved the smell. I loved my own tradition of walking that tree down the street. I didn't even mind the shedding needles and messy disposal process. NOPE. I love having a real tree.

This year? It's happening again. REAL TREE IS COMING TO OUR HOUSE.

However, we have one dilemma in our current apartment. We have no place to put said real tree. I suggested to P.I.C. that we put it in his bedroom. Sadly, that means we wouldn't see it much. It would be almost like we were putting the Christmas tree in timeout. That ain't cool. Santa might be missed. He might wonder, "WTF, guys. Why is this tree in a room with one chair and your angry-looking cat's litter box? Maybe I won't leave you weirdos any presents." (Santa can be SO judgmental...ya know, the whole naughty and nice list...sheesh.)

Personally? I don't care where it goes. I can't wait to lug my huge bin from our storage unit upstairs (well, P.I.C. does the lugging, but you get it) and unpack all of my Christmas goodies. I can't wait to sing Christmas carols and decorate our tree. I can't wait to wrap presents. Mostly, I can't wait to have our very first Christmas as husband and wife. (CUE THE "AWWWWS.")

Naturally, we're going to have that first Christmas with a real tree, even if we have to visit it in time-out. Santa Claus will have to learn how to deal with it.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

HEY. I turned my frown upside down. Neat.

I just wrote an entire post about the entire sad state of my union. That I'm mad at the world that I have to budget. That I'm upset that it's looking like I will never ever get another raise at my current job, despite my increasing amount of experience. That I have been having bouts of insomnia and allergy attacks on the regular.

I deleted the entire post.

While I'm not going to make a "things for which I am thankful" list as many of us bloggers are prone to do (myself included, circa 2010), I do want to leave a more positive message on the day before Thanksgiving. My life is not so bad.

I might whine about a budget, but that means I have money to pay my bills. Learning to distinguish between needs and wants is a challenge, but I am slowly coming educating myself. I might not get a raise this year, but I have a job and some semblance of job security. I might not sleep well, but Benadryl is available in my medicine cabinet. Zyrtec too for the insatiable sneezing.

Really, my life doesn't suck.

Isn't that all we want?

Happy Thanksgiving to all of my friends and family. Thank you for being a part of my life that doesn't suck.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Randomly happy.

Despite getting rather depressing news at work today, I am happy for the following reasons:

1. Thanksgiving. I get to see the family, play some card games, eat my husband's DIVINE corn casserole, and just relax. I also get the day after Thanksgiving off of work. Three-day work weeks are the best.

2. I had a really nice visit with my parents this weekend. We ate pasta, drank wine, and my dad renewed his love of a nice glass of bourbon. The girls didn't wear makeup and the boys had their PJs on early. It was wonderful.

3. Christmas! I have my presents done. Mainly because I can't afford to do much this year, but I am so excited to give people the stuff I made.

4. P.I.C. and I slept on an air mattress last night so my parents could have our bed. By the middle of the night, it was like sleeping on a water bed. Despite us both being dead tired at waking up often, we kept on getting the giggles. Do you know how fun it is to sleep in the same bed every night with someone that will GIGGLE with you? It's awesome.

5. Two occasions in the past week, I thought I was going to get bitched out. Turns out, I didn't get verbally bitch-slapped by anyone. That makes this three-day work week SO MUCH BETTER.

6. I got my camera fixed last week. This means I can take a BAJILLION more mediocre photographs while pretending like I am a professional. I will also fawn like a crazy person over the two photos that actually look lovely.

 Please share, what makes you happy today? Let's have a love fest. Please.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Another confession.

I am rather compulsive about thank you notes.*

Today, I realized that I did not receive a thank you note from a wedding that I did not attend her wedding. I did, however, give that person a check shortly before her wedding. She cashed that check. I have not received a thank you note. I FEEL LIKE I AM THE THANK YOU NOTE POLICE SOME DAYS.

We had many weddings this year. I think the grand total was eight. One was our own wedding, we attended six others. Some involved travel and hotel expenses. Some of these weddings involved being a member of the wedding party. All involved us spending our hard-earned money on other people. Do not get me wrong, I am very glad to celebrate my friends and their love. I love buying them presents and making them feel special. BUT. I also like to be appreciated. I also like to know that my thoughtfulness was noticed. That is all. I don't feel this is so excessive.

I do understand that in large wedding situations, it takes awhile to get the thank yous done. However, please do not make me wait months and months only to receive a photo thank you card with NO PERSONAL NOTE WHATSOEVER. That's rude. Don't send me a facebook message after I ship a shower gift to you saying "thank you." That's rude too.

I understand that I might be in the minority. I still love sending cards. Real cards. I buy my friends birthday cards. I mail people cards. I love them. Creative, well-made cards make my day. I will spend $8 on one card if I know it will make the recipient smile. I also put this effort into sending out my thank you notes from my own wedding. I don't expect people to be obsessed with cards or notes or stationery. I do expect them to follow some basic rules of manners and send a thank you when a gift has been given. THAT IS ALL.

Basically, here are my requirements for me to not seethe at you for thank you note etiquette:
1. Send them relatively timely.* I know that they are daunting, but they don't go away. Just do them.
2. DON'T SEND OUT FORM THANK YOU CARDS. That's incredibly insulting.
3. A little personal touch goes a long way. Again, I know that they are overwhelming and having to do over one hundred (or two) makes it less likely you're going to elaborate. But come on...just suck it up and do it.

MY RULES ARE EASY. Follow them, please, and you will never see me passive-aggressively rant about your etiquette again.

*Except I have one friend that sent out really delayed thank you notes and for her, I was not perturbed. Her notes were so funny, thoughtful, and sweet that I could never be mad at her. Plus she's one of my favorite people, and I know how she rolls. She's a procrastinator, through-and-through. This is entirely hypocritical given my extended rant, I know, but she didn't receive my wrath.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Things that make me angry.

1. "Friends" who text/call/send a facebook message/post on your facebook wall that they would like to get together. When you respond, radio silence.

2. Coworkers who operate on a sniper method. This means they sneak up on you in your office and request you to do something for them that is wholly unfavorable. Since it is a surprise attack, you have no handy excuse and are forced to complete the unsavory task.

3. A dwindling bank account that just doesn't have enough money for me to splurge on the MOST DARLING sequined miniskirt ever that I have been ogling for two weeks now. PUBLIC SERVICE EMPLOYEES WANT TO BE FANCY TOO, UNIVERSE.

4. The bitches in fashion magazines that say that because I am over thirty, I cannot wear said sparkly miniskirt. You suck. Obviously, I will wear tights with it. THIS IS WINTER IN CHICAGO.

5. The fact that the end of my day became incredibly busy, including yet another phone call from that particular person that has already called you seven times today. This means I could not get my beef jerky fix this afternoon.

6. I cannot do a serious exfoliation on my face now because I am worried I will look crazy from the spray tan coming off. I now have some light flakiness that is driving me INSANE. Moisturizer isn't working. I have flake face. This makes me angry AND sad.

This concludes today's episode of things that make me mad. You can now resume regularly-scheduled programming.

Good enough.

Last night as P.I.C. and I enjoyed a lovely dinner party with a very kind couple we know, we all got on the topic of jobs. We are all fortunate enough to be employed. "In this economy," that is something about which we can smile. I brought up, as I know I have mentioned before, that I don't find my career path to be the one that is most suited for me. I'm a lawyer, but I know I am destined for something else. Anyone who knows me knows that I have mentioned this many times over. I don't doubt that my current job is probably the best law job for me. I would be miserable in a law firm environment. I know, I have been there. I don't make very much money, which is sad given that I have been a lawyer for six years, but I get to have dinner with my husband every night. I don't have to work on the weekends. My workload is entirely manageable.

But really...does this innate dissatisfaction with my career make me a millennial? P.I.C. brought up the fact that we were different from our parents' generation. They got jobs to pay the bills. They worked at those jobs to make money to support the family or the things they liked to do. It wasn't about personal fulfillment. It wasn't about finding a "true calling" or a job that made them smile every day. The real issue was putting food on the table and clothes on the kids.

I don't recall my parents ever complaining about how their jobs just were not their destiny. My mom never said, "I work here, but I know there is something better out there for me." My dad didn't either. Of course, there was the occasional musings of "if I win the lottery," but I think everyone has those, even now. (For the record, I'd pay off student loans and housing loans in the family, take a six month leave of work, and travel the world.)

Neither P.I.C. nor I really enjoy our career. But right now, neither of us hates our jobs. "In this economy," I think that's good enough. I might not feel as though this is my destiny, and I might not smile everyday at my job, but I don't cry. Right now, that's good enough for me.

(P.S. Please say I'm not a millennial. I HAVE NO ENTITLEMENT. I SWEAR. PLUS I AM TOO OLD.)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Rules of using an umbrella in Chicago.

After being bopped in the head three times by in considerate umbrella users on this windy and rainy November morning (one bop that resulted in my hair becoming entangled in the lady's umbrella...ouch!), it has occurred to me that I should do my very own umbrella etiquette piece. Why? Mainly, I'm just pissed off that my head hurts.

Rule number one: If you are tall and carry a large umbrella, go up. Lift your damn arm up and carry it over the shorter people.

Rule number two: This is the obvious pole to rule number one. If you are short, or have a smaller umbrella, go down. Squat your knees and duck under the taller people.

Rule number three: Keep to your own damn side if the sidewalk. Seriously. Umbrellas make for trickier city walking, so attempt some semblance of patience and you will not end up ripping out strands of a stranger's hair. Strangers everywhere will thank you.

Rule number four: Really evaluate the weather. Is it pouring? Umbrellas are a good call. Is it misting and windy as hello (the very conditions that exist this morning)? Put your damn umbrella away and suck it up. An umbrella will be more of a pain in the asset that anything. You know it is going to flip out at least ten times on the way from the el to the office. I recommend a rain jacket with a hood or perhaps a hat in this situation.

If you follow these four rules, rainy days might be a shade less annoying for everyone. And yes, I will get to keep all my hair. That's the real reason for this post, obviously.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The skirt that lacks a slit.

I, like many female attorneys, have a collection of suits. I have some I really like to wear, and I have some that I just wear because suits are expensive. Oh, and shopping for a suit is not fun.

I have this one suit that I do like, but I don't love. It's a wool gray tweed skirt suit that I snagged on sale at Banana Republic. It looks professional, is in style, and makes me feel presentable in court. Its main flaw lies in the skirt. The skirt is relatively short, which is fine. I wear tights so I don't look like a floozy. The skirt does lack, however, a slit.

Slits are functional, really. They enable you to walk with your normal stride. This means a skirt lacking a slit makes me have to take shorter steps. This isn't a problem in walking around on flat surfaces. This does, however, mean that situations in which I might take a bigger step are problematic. My main complaint is boarding the bus. I have to somewhat shift my body to the side and attempt to discreetly hike my skirt up. No, this does not mean that the skirt is too tight, so shutyomouth. I guess I never realized that a slit was so important.

This morning, after successfully boarding the bus without feeling like too much of a jerk, I crossed the street. There was a puddle obstructing my path at a curb. Usually, I am quite adept at leaping a puddle. I like to think that my years of dancing have given me a certain grace and ability to leap over a puddle much better than the average human. Sadly, this morning, I forgot I was wearing the slitless skirt. No sooner had I began my (in my head) graceful leap over the puddle when I felt the jerk of my skirt stopping me.

PLOP.

I jumped SQUARELY into the puddle, effectively splashing my entire lower left leg and soaking my entire right foot. Awesome.

This suit has now been been blacklisted. Well, until the next time it comes up in rotation. Fingers crossed that I have no puddles obstructing my path on that day.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Anticipate this.

My friend told me once that the best part of vacation was planning it. The anticipation, the expectations, all of the new shopping...it was all leading up to something great. Whether it be an exotic two weeks away in Spain, or just a long weekend in New York, the anticipation was always fantastic.

Of course, there was no way that a vacation could actually live up to all of the hype, right? It wouldn't be perfect. The anticipation was nearly as good as it was going to get. Flights would be missed. Trains would be missed. There was NO WAY you could actually wear all of the new clothes you purchased.

My honeymoon? You know, that trip I took last month? Well, the anticipation didn't even come close to how wonderful of a trip it ended up being. I'm not saying it was perfect. I'm not saying that P.I.C. and I never once snapped at each other because MOTHEROFGODIAMSOTIREDANDHAVENTSLEPTINTWODAYS. Oh, and I must say...I think my backpacking days are over. My thirty-one year old back isn't having that anymore.

No. It wasn't a perfect two weeks. We missed lots of trains. They canceled a bus route on us. I didn't wear all of my pretty dresses. We both got violently ill (although that was fortunate to happen at different times.) However, we ate so much delicious bread. We drank gallons of rioja. We had cafes con leche every single morning. We sat and stood in cafes, taking in all of the Spanish culture. I rode a camel on my birthday. We drank fino. We slept in almost every day. We drank ourselves asleep on airplanes. We took over a thousand photographs. We saw priceless art and ancient cathedrals.

We honeymooned the SHIT out of our two weeks in Spain. And ya know what? The anticipation didn't even come close. (Even if I didn't get to wear my new pretty pink dress.)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A confession.

Do you know that little sign in your brain that tells you when you are full? It makes sure that you don't over eat.

I don't have one of those some days.

I am reminded of this fact on the days where I make a run out for candy or beef jerky (my usual two afternoon pick-me-ups). It always starts out nicely. "Mmmm," I say. "This is exactly what I wanted." I enjoy the first few bites. Then I have another couple of bites and think, "shiiiiit. This is not going to end well."

Today, as I walked down the street with my coworker today, casually popping my afternoon poison of choice into my greedy mouth (candy corn, obviously), I commented to her about the trigger in my brain that seems to go missing around afternoon snack time. The first five candy corn are wonderful. But as I pop that sixth in my mouth, I know, in ten minutes, I will be curled up behind my desk with an awful gut ache thinking, "WHYYYYY?"  I know this. And yet I continue to eat that sugary crap until it hurts me.

Mostly? It's because I love candy (corn). Oh, and beef jerky.

Monday, October 24, 2011

I'm back!

Hi friends. Well, I have returned from two weeks and a day in lovely Spain. Here are some highlights of my life:

1. The friends who watched Oxford nicknamed him "Snowpants." They loved him. It was good to see he was so well taken care of, despite the odd new name.

2. Camp Nou is incredible. My husband is a HUGE football (aka soccer) fan. His team is Liverpool. But no one can argue that Barcelona is one of the most dynamic, incredible teams in existence right now. Watching them in a packed stadium (that seats one hundred twenty thousand people, by the way) was an experience that we will never forget.

3. My jerky coworkers? Still jerks. Yes, not even one full day back and I had steam coming from my ears.

4. I miss siestas. I miss drinking beer mid-day. I miss buying a bottle of wine every day for five euros and enjoying it so much. I miss fresh jamon. I miss patatas bravas. I just miss Spain.

5. I have stories to tell. But mainly, I just wanted to get the ball rolling. Stay tuned for the story in which P.I.C. and I got duped into drinking fino, the story in which we both got violently ill and had to make a trip to the pharmacist, the story in which I fell onto an old man and spilled water on P.I.C. at the EXACT SAME MOMENT...and many more.

I miss Spain, but truly, there is nothing like your own bed.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

En Espanya.

I made it safely. I might never come home. Send Oxford, por favor!

In other news, I have so many stories. Stay tuned!

Adios.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Do you think this is weird?

Please read the following conversation had between two people.

Setting: Elevator in an office building going down.

Person 1 (A hilariously silly girl who likes to tell stories, we will nickname her FA): "So, when do you leave for your trip?"

Person 2 (a NON-hilarious girl that causes constant stress in the life of FA, we will nickname her "Awful Girl," or just "AG" for short): "Oh, we leave at 5 today. We're supposed to leave for the airport at 2:00 p.m. today."

FA: "Well, have fun and be safe."

AG: "Don't worry, we will be. Me and my fiance will protect each other."

AWKWARD SILENCE ENSUES.

AG: "We have a code word."

Elevator door opens and FA and AG exit.

FA: "What's a code word?"

AG: "Oh, it's a word we use in an uncomfortable situation so that we know to remove ourselves from the situation."

MORE AWKWARD SILENCE ENSUES.

FA and AG walk out of the elevator banks in the same direction.

FA: "Well, I have to know, what is your 'code word?'"

AG: "It's 'wolf.' It's a family thing for him."

YET MORE AWKWARD SILENCE.

FA: "Well, don't be afraid to use it. Have a good trip."

END SCENE.

Weird, right?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Tonight.

We're confronted with awful news every day. Soldiers in far away places being killed. Children being gunned down on the streets. Teenagers being mistaken for gang members and beaten within an inch of their lives.

I have become really, really good at blocking the sad noise out. Troy Davis and his story got to me.

Tonight I cry. I am shedding tears for a man I never met. I cry not because I believe he was innocent. I don't know that. What I do know is a very basic fact: In a criminal trial, the standard of proof is beyond a reasonable doubt.

Tonight a man was executed. There was doubt. There has been doubt for some time. Yet our government with all of its handy mechanisms to not allow this to happen, executed a man. They executed a man where there was reasonable doubt. And so I cry.

Tonight, my heart is broken.

Tonight, I let the sad noise in.

Monday, September 12, 2011

An Ode to the beautiful Gus's Chicken in Memphis, Tennessee.

I was feeling rather sickly.
The back of my throat was tickly.
I'd vommed in the morning
With very little warning
My skin had become rather prickly.

I needed something to eat.
I hoped it'd make me feel complete.
We hopped in the car
Because Gus's wasn't far
And then we took a seat.

The place isn't much of a sight.
I just needed one greasy bite.
A mouthful of chicken
and my heart started tickin'.
I knew I'd be alright.

The skin was so spicy and crispy.
My speech nearly became quite lispy.
My appetite was so sated
I felt downright elated
THITH ITH WHAT FRIED CHICKEN SHOULD TATHTE LIKE(ithpy).

It's not a perfect poem, but then I never claimed to be a poet. Until I tasted Gus'. Holy hell. I will dream of this chicken until I can put it in my mouth again. Next time...I'm doing a half-chicken. WATCH ME.

For those of you who might be fried chicken fans, here is the place you MUST visit: http://www.yelp.com/biz/guss-world-famous-hot-and-spicy-chicken-memphis

Waits can be long, so grab a 40 (-ounce beer, duh) and wait patiently. It will all be worth it, I promise.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Today...

Yes, today appears to be a slow, simmering stew of anger. I believe it all began when I woke up on the wrong side of the bed. You know, the side that produces irritation at each step you take to further distance yourself from the bed? THAT SIDE.

After missing the bus, despite a full-fledged one block sprint toward it, I decided that I would use my one mile walk to the el to calm down. I didn't want today to be full of anger. I have lots of happiness in my life. I shouldn't dwell on stupid annoyances. Then I got down to the el platform only to see a train pulling away. Yep, I missed an el too.

Despite my profession to calm myself on my walk, I got further irritated when I saw all the people enjoying their brunch with their kids (likely named Seamus or Urchin or Apple or something just as obnoxious). Why do I have to continue to do a job that does not fulfill me when these jerk-wads get to feed their kids overpriced organic eggs and fun-sounding Italian sodas (I wanted one SO BAD, despite it being 8:30 in the morning).

I am in such dire need of a vacation, I can't even behave like a normal adult. I want to throw myself upon the floor (not at work, this floor is nasty times ten) and pound my fists into the ground to avoid responding to stupid letters from stupid other people. I'd like to scream-cry myself into sleep because an acquaintance's pledge to hook me up with a cheap rate on a hotel in Barcelona turned out to be just talk. Sure sounded nice.

Worst? I can't even put together a sentence that I find interesting. My words are going unwritten. My creative outlet appears to be drying up. That makes me really sad.

What is the adult equivalent of a temper tantrum? I'd sure like to engage in one of those, STAT.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Some days I love the CTA.

It was 5:15 p.m. or so and the Clark and Lake Blue Line platform was crowded from one side to the next. One train pulled up. No one got on. Another train pulled up. A handful of riders got on. At this point, P.I.C. and I decided, dammit, we were getting on that third train.

It eventually pulled up and was relatively empty. We slowly boarded (there were many people still waiting, even after the second train pulled away), and took our cramped positions in our very fortunately air-conditioned car. No sooner had I worked my way to the middle when I hear an elderly voice say to a relatively young man, "Is that seat for seniors?" Very clearly, this lady was senior the seated young man by far. He rather reluctantly gets up and lets her take his seat. "You see, I don't want to fall down now."

He stands there, looking somewhat irritated. Oh, but that lady wasn't finished. "Can you move your bag? If you push it that way, it won't be bumping me."

OH YES. This lady cited TWO serious CTA rider "suggestions" to this guy. He was PISSED. Me? I was dying laughing. Of course, some days it is virtually impossible to fit your body on the train, let alone any possessions that might accompany you. This wasn't a backpack situation, though. His messenger bag was just tucked along the same side of his body as the lady was seated. Even though he was several feet from me, I could see the irritation on his face.

OH. But that lady was not done. Oh no she was NOT. She continued to chat him up as the train pulled out of the station. "Do you know that I had to wait for the THIRD train to board?"

At this point, I was desperately trying to hold it together because this lady? She just didn't care. She was going to sit down and DAMMIT, no one's bag was going to touch her. And guess what? She was going to just keep chatting at that guy like he wasn't a sullen emo-millennial child. I loved it.

It's times like these, I truly love the CTA. And man, am I glad I worked my way onto that third train.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

WHAT?!? Another poopscapade?

The other day, I wrote about how some strange person in my neighborhood has been leaving bags of dog feces on the speed bumps in our alley. (I suppose I should call them "Speed Humps." This IS Chicago. And yes, after over ten years here, those signs still make me giggle.) I haven't seen anything like that this week.

HOWEVER. There is a new problem with poo in my alley. Some strange person has now been allowing his or her dog to defecate behind my neighbor's car and is not cleaning it up. The other morning, P.I.C. says to me, "Be careful, someone let their dog shit behind our neighbor's car last night." Sure enough, there was poop there. I also feel it important to note that "behind the neighbor's car" means it is almost nearly in my path to walk down the alley from our back door. It is also a mere four steps from behind our car. So this DOES affect us, even more directly than the poop bomb person.

Sure enough, this morning, P.I.C. warns me again. "There is more dog shit behind the neighbor's car."

MORE? Yes. It was more than yesterday.

I'm not sure who is behind all of these poopscapades in my neighborhood, but I am starting to wonder. WHY? WHY DO YOU LOVE MESSING WITH PUPPY POOP SO MUCH?


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

My very own financial cul-de-sac.

Yeah, it's another Sex and the City reference.* DEAL WITH IT.

Some days I fear I will never be able to get out of the financial hole I have dug for myself. I went to private school for SEVEN years and now pay for it handily each month. I have worked at jobs that just didn't pay quite enough to allow me to live in a rather expensive city. I really, really (I mean, REALLY) love to go out to eat. I also REALLY love to cook and to buy nice ingredients. (Seriously, I POUT if P.I.C. suggests we end up purchasing our meat or seafood from Dominick's.) Of course, this means that I tend to live above my means.

Sigh.

Getting married this year also crimped my financial situation. Well, that and the SIX other weddings to which we have been invited in this calendar year (P.I.C. being in one, me being in one). AND...our long over-due honeymoon means that every extra penny is going toward some aspect of making sure we get fed while in Spain.

Sigh.

ONE BIG SIGH.

I know, WAH WAH WAH. I got marrrrried. I have to pay for my HONEYMOON. I can't eat at fancy restaurants all the time. I have to BUDGET. (WHINE WHINE WHINE.)

Despite feeling panicky quite often about money, I get by. Furthermore, I really do love my life and there is not a lot I would change about it. (Well, I might require that public servants get the occasional raise. I mean, I did go to school for seven years. I would think that should stand for SOMETHING.) I sure hope that after this year (and our whirlwind trip to St. Thomas in January for P.I.C.'s best friend's wedding) we might have a little bit of a breather from showers and weddings and stuff.

This post has no purpose other than to whine about my consistently first world problems. I would apologize, but it's my blog. So I can whine WHENEVER I CHOOSE.

* For those of you not "in the know," this particular statement came from the episode in which Carrie is faced with the prospect of having to buy her apartment. It is shortly after she and Aidan break up (the second time).

Friday, August 26, 2011

Things that make me stop and ponder.

This morning as I was waiting for the bus, a lady honked at herself to hurry through the light. Why?

Who is this person who insists on placing the little plastic baggies of dog poo on the speed bump in my alley so that when a car drives over them, it's like a poop bomb? Is this fun for him or her? Personally, I don't like to have to swerve to avoid the pooey mess when I navigate my way through the alley. I just like to walk normally.

Why does it give me such endless joy when I overhear P.I.C. taking his Rosetta Stone class and the beep it makes when he makes a mistake. He eventually yells "F*&K YOU!" at the program and it beeps at him again. Silly, P.I.C. That is not how you say "policia."

Mashed potatoes really can take any sort of addition and be made more delicious. For example, tonight, I'm planning on putting goat cheese in them. I've never done it before, but I am certain it will be DELICIOUS. On that note, if you're interested in stellar mashed potatoery (it's a new word I just invented), I recommend stirring in some cream cheese and sour cream, then placing them in a casserole dish and topping with cheddar cheese. Bake til gooey and VOILA. Heaven in a dish.

I was sure that a woman who works on my floor was a zombie.* She walks kind of off-kilter and never smiles and says hello like most of the people on my floor. The other day she said "hi" to me. It scared me a little bit.


I wanted to entitle this post "Things that make you go hmmmmm," and now I have C+C Music Factory stuck in my head. I sure hope you do too.


Happy Friday!!!!



* This sentence structure and overall grammatical correctness of this particular sentence is brought to you by Amie.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Another weekend, another wedding.

2011 has been the year of weddings for us. Not only did we get hitched, we have been to three weddings so far this year. We also have three more weddings this year and one early next year. We are officially surrounded by people in love, apparently. (P.I.C. has put his foot down though and declared that we will not go to anymore weddings next year after January.)

This past weekend, we trekked west for our friend's wedding. We knew we were in for a good time, knowing that the bride and groom never shied away from fun and knowing we'd have some of our favorite people in attendance. After a very long drive, impeded by a sink hole blocking our access to the highway, we finally arrived. Donning our wedding attire, we watched our dear friends get hitched in a lovely glass room along the river. Then we proceeded to attack their open bar with reckless abandon. (We're really great guests.) We enjoyed the cocktail hour, laughed our way through dinner, and patiently waited while the bride and groom did their required dances. We knew our turn to dance would come soon. (We are TOTAL dancers.)

As it turned out, their wedding wasn't the only one being housed in the convention center that evening. Nope. There were two more. Of course, this lead to a very serious discussing about crashing the other weddings. How. When. Best technique. P.I.C. began trolling the rooms, checking out the goods. First room? His choice bourbon. He'd have to crash that one first. Having discussed it, we knew that we'd have to wait a bit before we could appropriately gain access. So we took a few spins on the dance floor, ate some cake, drank some more, and got ready for a little debauchery.

I had just gotten back to our cocktail table after a rousing dance session (to Ke$ha, I'm sure), when I see P.I.C. approaching me from the other direction rather sheepishly.

"What's wrong?"

"Do you have a dollar?"

"Why?"

"Well, I went to that other wedding with the good bourbon. Turns out, it was a cash bar. So now I have to go back and give him a dollar because I only had four ones on me."

Yes, folks, he crashed a wedding with a CASH BAR.

Rookie mistake, clearly. We later all discovered that the wedding across the hall not only had the choice bourbon, but also a  photo booth. I can't wait til that bride and groom go through their guest book of photo strips and see one of me, P.I.C. and our friends signed lovingly, thanking them for the awesome time.

A plethora of weddings in one year will make you a little loopy, I suppose.

Friday, August 19, 2011

The TOMS (and fashion) of the 20th Anniversary of Lollapalooza.

One of the best reasons to go to Lollapalooza (aside from the plethora of live music, obviously) is the abundance of jerks in their "concert finest." My theory is that people follow the gossip rags, pay attention to what people like Lindsay Lohan wear to Coachella and then attempt to replicate it at Lollapalooza. The result? People-watching magic. Just so you're hip to the outdoor concert scene for 2011, I have compiled a visual list of the most popular trends.
Fanny packs were the serious rage.

Couples who wear Toms together, stay together???

Like "Green Man," but "Half-Purple, Half-Yellow Man" doesn't have quite the same ring, does it?

Awww, yeah. mom jean shorts.

Not sure what their outfit scheme was, but it definitely seemed coordinated in a horrific way.



This was another Toms couple.

Mom jean shorts AND a fanny pack...Mom? Is that YOU???

Toms and man-pris. Why not? It's concert season, live a little.

Toms hidden behind a tree.

Sleepy Toms AND Mom jean shorts? Lolla fashion all rolled up into one tight little photo.

Red Toms!

I suspect he iss a never-nude. Tobias??? CONGRATS ON YOUR ENGAGEMENT!



She just didn't care anymore. She was really tired.

You can barely see these Toms. They blend in with his feet nicely...ya know, for those going for the "I'm wearing Toms, but it looks as though I am barefoot" look.
Sinking Toms....GOOOOOODBYEEEEEEEE!!!!

All in all, the music was great, the fashion was heinous, and the people-watching topped it all. Lollapalooza 2011 was a real success in my book. 

Thursday, August 18, 2011

More Fun with Oxford.

Sometimes, I forget to feed Oxford before bed. No, I'm not a bad cat momma. He is a princess diva cat and prefers his food dish to be full. (He also doesn't care that he strews half of the contents of his bowl on the ground in the process.) Once you can see the bottom of the bowl, he'd prefer you to top that business off, thankyouverymuch. When I forget to top his bowl off, I am punished.

I will be sleeping in bed peacefully, trying like mad to not be exhausted for once, when I will hear him. Some random bag left laying in the closet or even my work bag will be attacked. Clawed. Licked. Any way he can make noise, he will be doing it. I have tried to just sit up and scold, "OXFORD" really loud. That works temporarily, but not for long. He'll be back to clawing and licking whatever item he's found in short order. The only way to stop this assault on a random thing is to get out of bed and put more food in his bowl.

Last night was another evening where I forgot to top the princess diva cat's bowl off. I was having a rather fitful night sleep (if Oxford could talk, he would say this was Karma for not filling his bowl, I'm sure), when I heard him. I couldn't even see what it was that was his noise-making companion when I dragged my barely-into-REM-sleep body out of bed. I opened his new bag of food and proceeded to freshen it up. Of course, by the time I had realized that (1) the old bag was empty and (2) I had to actually open the new bag, he'd climbed back into bed with P.I.C.

As soon as those fresh little kernels of compressed feline nutrition hit the bowl, I heard his little ten-pound body land on the ground and saw him hustle over to the bowl. At this point, I figured I'd use the bathroom and drink a glass of water. By the time I was sipping my water, a mere 90 seconds later, I saw him, sitting there staring at me, sitting outside the bedroom door.

I realized, he was waiting to give me my reward for feeding him. Sure enough, I finished my water and crawled back into bed. I didn't even need to call him when he was on the bed and all up in my business. Usually, he likes to lay on P.I.C. right when we go to bed. He gets all the snuggles. But when I get up in the middle of the night to feed Oxford, and P.I.C. sleeps away, things are different.

I rested my head on the pillow when I felt those ten pounds climb right on my stomach purring away. He put his face right up next to mine and give me a few kisses. After a few minutes, he'd rotate his body. He did this every so often for ten minutes or so before he took his usual position at the foot of the bed. Of course, this keeps me awake even longer. I'm okay with that. I love his sweet little purrs almost as much as I love a sound night's sleep.

Nao I kin haz sleepz all dae.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Lollapalooza Recap

Last year was my very first experience at the massive music festival Lollapalooza. For a recap, I wrote about day onedays two and three, and also about the fashion I encountered in my three long days. Not to worry, I have a special post in mind for the fashion of Lollapalooza 2011, but I figure that since I always have such a great time at Lollapalooza, I'd highlight my happy moments (and the not-so-happy moments) here.

Happiness ensued when...
...Coldplay started. I know, I know, you know I'm gay because I like Coldplay. The truth is, I do. I also love Chris Martin. He's a dreamboat. Sue me. I'm sad we only stayed for a half an hour.
...I discovered J. Roddy Walston and the Business. Number one, I love their name. Number two, the dude can rock the shit out on a piano. Number three, it was one of those surprise first-of-the-day acts that wasn't very crowded, yet blew me away. Number four, the sign language interpreters were SO entertaining...I have to smile when I think of them shaking their asses as they signed away.
...We made it over to Fitz and the Tantrums. Infectious. Happy. Dance-worthy. Download them. You will be so happy you did.
...The rainbow came out after the storm when the Arctic Monkeys finally were able to play.
...Foo Fighters. I love Dave Grohl. He's my rock star crush. Not only does he seem totally cool (not at all rock star jerky), he is so talented. I love him. I also love the Foo Fighters. Despite the fact that I had to walk barefoot across Grant Park thanks to its mud pit state, they were worth enduring the torrential downpours. No doubt. When they kept rocking out in the pouring rain and everyone was singing, it was magic.

Happiness DID NOT ensue when...
...I was forced to witness the incredibly awful fashion choices of today's youth. Mom shorts? Really? I'm pretty sure you're only sixteen, WHY ARE YOU WEARING THAT? (More on this subject later.)
...Drunk kids. I can handle people wanting to have a good time. I've been known to have a good time quite often. But when people are slamming into me, incapable of walking on their own, and actually making me concerned for their well-being, it makes me sad for them. And sad for me...because I then feel like a sober mom judging.
...I had to take the El home each night. Now, props to my brilliant husband for knowing to go to the southern-most stop. We almost always got a seat. However, on the second night, I got SMACKED in the head so hard this kid knocked my bobby pins out of my hair in his rush to get to a seat. We got into two altercations with people who refused to get off the train to let people get off. Basically, people who don't know how public transportation "works" making us crabby.
...The rain. I already mentioned that it created an amazing rainbow. The downfall? It rained pretty hard one time. Then it stopped. Rather than enjoying a full Arctic Monkeys set, then grabbing food and enjoying the end of Explosions in the Sky, we had to go wait for food. After that, we missed the beginning of the Foo Fighters, the lines were so long for the porta-potties, I ended up holding it for three hours. Also, the mud. I had to go BAREFOOT in Grant Park. Blech, to say the least.

All in all, it was a great weekend. The happy moments trumped the sad ones, and we saw lots of great music. Cheers to next year when I can utterly exhaust myself again in the pursuit of good live music!


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Adios, old passport.

Last night, I was brushing my teeth getting ready for bed when P.I.C. asks me, "What do you have going at work tomorrow?"

"Not much. Just have some projects to plug away on. Why?"

"Perhaps tomorrow would be a good day to renew your passport."

....Yeah. He's right. While we have no plane tickets (YET), we are nearly two months away from our overdue honeymoon. So today, I gathered all of my necessary documentation and arranged to make the necessary trip to the various places to renew my passport. It did make me think though, of how sad I was to get rid of my existing book. What adventures I had in that one...

(At this moment, I imagine the waves and music of a flashback montage are occurring. It might help if you imagine that as well.)

The year was 2003. I had recently found out that my scholarship was going to enable me to study abroad for the summer. My old passport had expired, and I had to get my ducks in a row for nine weeks in Europe. I had carefully plotted my outfit the day of my passport photo. Turtleneck. V-neck sweater. Hair straight, and parted down the middle. The photo? Black and white, of course. I wanted an old-school look. My passport was issued relatively promptly, and I was set to see the world. Well, I was set to see the Western part of Europe, that is.

Rome, Italy. May 26, 2003. The stamp was barely legible, yet I knew exactly where to find it in my book. Crooked, but there. The very first stamp in my new passport. I even traced over the number "6" so that I was certain of the day I arrived in at the Leonardo da Vinci Airport (or Fiumicino). Sadly (to us), the European Union meant that you were likely to not get your passport stamped on the train. So I went from Italy to Switzerland, then onto France, Germany, Belgium, and Luxembourg with no additional stamps. My next stamp was London. We arrived via the Chunnel. I went through immigration as the officer grilled me on my intentions in the United Kingdom. Then, finally, home. Sweet home Chicago.

Two years later, I ventured to the Caribbean. Twice. Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. Not only did they plainly stamp it upon your arrival, they also stamped it when you left. Twice as nice! Finally, over five years after that trip, P.I.C. and I trekked to Panama. Sadly, that was to be my last stamp in that book.

You see, I got married (DUH). I changed my name. In so doing, my hand is forced in losing all of those stamps I acquired over the last eight years.

It's OK. While it is a collection of my past travels and adventures, I am fortunate in knowing that I will have many more travels in my future. Well, I sure hope I do!

Today I mailed off that little book, along with a new photo (they want color now), a check, and my application, with my fingers crossed that I get my new book in the next two months.

What's in two months, you wonder? SPAIN, also known as the honeymoon.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

I received a new diagnosis.

I.E.D. That stands for intermittent explosive disorder. The Mayo Clinic's website has a very handy description of this disorder here.

I did not diagnose myself with this affliction. No, no, no. Read it. Seriously, go back up there and click that link. No one in their right mind would ever voluntarily admit that they have such a thing such as I.E.D. One of my usually not-so-kindly coworkers finds it hilarious on a daily basis to visit the Mayo Clinic's website and diagnose a few of us from the list of disorders there. My particular diagnosis is I.E.D.

Namely I received this wholly unprofessional non-medical opinion because of this portion of the description: "repeated episodes of aggressive, violent behavior in which you react grossly out of proportion to the situation."

Each time I'd get upset at another colleague for pawning off work onto me or for not doing his or her job properly, or even just the stupid hats he or she might don on his or her way into the office, he would chant at me "I.E.D. I.E.D." True, I did threaten to cut up her wedding dress. And that time she sent me an email at 4:52 p.m. on a Friday asking me to argue a contested motion, I did swear I would punch her.

BUT I DO NOT ACTUALLY DO THESE THINGS.

Perhaps I have a form of passive aggressive I.E.D.? The Mayo Clinic should look into this. I will submit myself for this study for a small charge. Hey, just putting that out there. My condition, if treatable, could be a medical breakthrough.

I'm certain.

Monday, July 25, 2011

My first apartment to my first year at home.

My very first apartment in the city was one room. It had the tiniest kitchen one could imagine, a "galley kitchen," if you're into real estate lingo. The stove and refrigerator were mini versions of the usual appliances. All of the cupboards were metallic, and at that time, there were enough to hold my paltry collection of mismatched dishes and pots and pans. I had a rather large-sized microwave that had to go on a cart outside the kitchen because it just wouldn't fit inside the kitchen.

My parents had helped me move, and my mom spent the night the first night. She took me to Target to get essentials such as spatulas and a dish drying rack. She also was with me as I drove around my new neighborhood for AN HOUR AND A HALF LOOKING FOR PARKING when we got home that night. (As a side note, never trust apartment rental agencies' assurance that parking is available in a neighborhood. They will like through their teeth at you resulting in the sale of your beloved Dodge Neon. You know, if you were cool enough to drive one of those around town.)

My living area consisted of a love seat and matching chair, hand-me-downs from my mom, lovingly decorated with green slip covers. I had a full-sized bed and a table, also hand-me-downs. My nineteen-inch White Westinghouse television sat proudly on an entertainment stand that my parents had received free with the purchase of their last television. I placed all of my case books in a bookshelf that I had gotten when I was a cashier at Menard's. Truthfully, when I first moved into that apartment in late April 2003, really nothing in that apartment was my own.

In May, I left for Europe for over two months. For over two months post-moving in, that apartment sat empty, housing a random selection of odd furniture and belongings.

Yet I made it my own. I got back from Europe and found Oxford. I eventually got real matching dishes. My dad had helped me assemble a book shelf from Target. I got rid of the old table and bought one of those cool fold-down tables that was more conducive to studio living, thanks to Ikea. I bought a new bed (file that under top ten purchases of my lifetime.) I bought a nice comforter and flannel sheets for the winter. Eventually, I got my first job, and the large walk in closet started to contain more suits than jeans.

Four and  half years after moving into that tiny apartment and attempting to make it my home, I moved into a more northerly neighborhood. I got an apartment with my very own bedroom. I bought a new couch and a chair. I bought an entertainment center for that same beloved nineteen inch television. My cool fold-down table fit perfectly into my vintage kitchen. I killed my own cockroaches. (I know, that's disgusting, but it's true.)

I moved again. This time, I bought no more furniture. I had everything I needed by then. But I did paint a wall. I found my birds, and my dad helped me hang them. I hung photos by myself, using my level.

Nearly a year ago, I moved in with P.I.C. While there were some (rather heavily documented) adjustments, this place has become a home. We have hung artwork. Eventually, we will get some of our wedding photos framed and on the wall. Despite attempting to make a home for myself in this city for the past eight plus years, I feel I finally have one.

From tiny studios on the north side to a tiny bedroom on the west side, I have finally settled.

That's not to say we won't move again in a year and make our home elsewhere. Just not this year.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Lost my religion.

After an hour and a half of sitting through a Catholic wedding ceremony last weekend, it got me thinking about religion. Well, more specifically, the lack of religion in my life.

I started out as a Catholic. Baptism? Check. First Communion? Check. Confirmation. SCREEEEECH. Nope. At that point in my life, I became Lutheran. I went to a Lutheran Confirmation Camp. I was confirmed Lutheran. Then I went to a Catholic college. Then a Catholic university and law school. At some point, I decided that it was important to me to return to my Catholic roots. I thought I wanted the traditional Catholic wedding ceremony. I loved the tradition, the Ave Maria, especially.

However, a few years after law school, after a rather tumultuous relationship with an allegedly Catholic person (who behaved decidedly un-Christian-like, never mind his subscription to the tenets of Catholicism), I decided that being Catholic wasn't for me. If I had to tell myself that I could be Catholic despite not believing in so very many of its principles, it certainly wasn't for me.

When I got married, I chose a civil ceremony. My husband isn't religious either. We thought it would be silly to find a church in which to marry, given that neither of us was particularly religious. We don't go to church. Yet on that day, wed by a very dear and close friend, I felt connected and loved. A church wouldn't have added to that experience, I am certain.

Yet as I sat in that open church on Saturday and remembered all of the various traditions that go into a traditional mass, I wondered at exactly which part of my life did I lose my religion?

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Yet another invention.

I am SO PLEASED to tell you all that I have discovered a way to make my fortune. The way to put my kids through college. The way to buy my husband season tickets to Anfield every year (yes, I love you that much, honey). I present to you...

THE TWO COOKIE DIET.

How does it work? Well, the gist is, you eat relatively healthfully all day, but you get TWO COOKIES each day. TWO. WHOLE. COOKIES. No more. You can eat them in the morning. You can eat them in the evening. You can split up the cookie experience. I don't care. But if you sign up for my TWO COOKIE DIET, you WILL lose weight. I (kinda) guarantee it.

I came up with this BRILLIANT idea last night. In fact, as I told P.I.C. all about it, I went into full on "sell it, baby" mode. I started throwing out an infomercial with some of my pleased customers (Laverne and Leroy). I started fielding questions from inquiring minds (P.I.C.) Of course, I would need to work out the kinks. Eating two Iced Sugar Cookies from Einstein Bagel (470 calories each, YIKES) would not fit into my plan. And two fig newtons probably wouldn't cut it. I would have to develop the perfectly-sized and prepared cookie. I'm on it, don't you worry. The more I sold this diet to P.I.C. (using Laverne's and Leroy's testimonials), the more I became convinced it would work.

Unless you don't like cookies. But what kind of person are YOU then?

************DISCLOSURE: I am not a health care professional. I have NO TRAINING in nutrition or dietary needs other than the common sense about basic nutrition. PLEASE BE ADVISED that I have not begun trials of my TWO COOKIE DIET. I do not advise going on the TWO COOKIE DIET without the advice of your doctor (an M.D., not a J.D.)************

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A new admirer???

I was standing on the street corner, waiting for the light to change, hearing a man leaned up against the building rant about something. No sooner had I turned my head to roll my eyes at my coworker when that man was standing right next to me.

Him: "I loooooove white women. Can I getta hug?"

Me: "NO. I don't hug strangers."

Him: "But I looooove white women and girrrrl, you look good."

Me: Um, thanks?

Him: "Come on, girl, gimme a hug? What's wrong with me?"

Me: "Don't take it personally, I just don't hug strangers."

I walked away from him as he shouted to my backside, "I LOOOOOOVE YOU. YOU LOOK GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOD. I LOOOOOOVE YOUUUU. I loooooove white women."

I was with three coworkers who witnessed this happening. But yeah. I walked off thinking, "Did that really just happen?"

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The man.

I used to see a man quite often. Having worked within a one block area in the loop area of Chicago for over six years, I walk by the same Dunkin Donuts nearly every day. I would see this man there several times each week. He was always alone. Always sitting on the counter seat with his one glazed donut and a small coffee.

I'm not sure why he made me so sad, but my heart would ache for this man. He was probably in his early fifties and had the look of a man that had done blue collar-type work for much of his life. Thin, with fine gray hair cut in a shaggy, longer style layered to his shoulders, he looked like a sad man from another decade. He usually would be wearing a short-sleeved dress shirt that hung on his thin frame with skinny pants. I fancied him a smoker, yet never saw him outside taking a drag.

He had very sad eyes. Pale blue, no spark of life in them. I would glance at him, quietly eating his donut, sipping his coffee, no real expression of enjoyment on his face. I figured he had to get some kind of enjoyment out of his treat, out of his routine. His face never reflected happiness however.

I hadn't seen him in awhile, but did this morning on the train. The very sight of him still makes me sad.

I'm still not sure why.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Mini-girl vacation time!

Wait. That title is entirely misleading. I don't mean I'm going with miniature girls. No, no, no. The vacation part is mini.

UGH. FINE. GIRL MINI-VACATION.

Tonight, I'm leaving on a jet plane to visit two of my very best friends with another of my very best friends and guess what? We are meeting two other of our very best friends at the airport. I am so excited.

I'm not sure if it's that I'm rather ambivalent about my job lately, but I certainly know that I am in need of a few days of purely girlish entertainment. Not the kind creepy dudes go for. No. The kind where we get our nails done. We'll shop. Probably drink fancy cocktails. DEFINITELY drink champagne. Giggle.

Truthfully, we could do this in our lovely home city, Chicago. Well, not quite because one of the gals in our group is now a New Yawka. This weekend New York City (and its respective burroughs) is ours, sans distractions. No husbands. No pets (accept for our lovely host-pup, Tillis).

Just girls, champagne, cocktails, shopping, and manicures.

Catch you on the flip side.