Thursday, January 31, 2013

teej bone marrow

T-Bone got half a blog post back in August celebrating what an amazing and life charging friend she has been (that was supposed to be life changing but my phone autocorrected it to charging and I have to agree. She tied a turbo booster to my 19 year-old social self and stepped on the gas) - but it didn't even mention what a crazy-awesome human being she is in the grand scheme of the entire world.

Today (on what will now be known as T-bone day), she donated bone marrow so that a little boy she has never met will get a second chance at a full, happy, healthy life. She was his 1 UP, his little green mushroom, his 100 coins.

I like to think that when put in the same position any number of people I know would do the exact same thing. My late teens-early 20's were full of self-serving assbuckets, but as I round the bend towards social security, I surround myself with do-gooders and well-wishers and people who write thank you notes and call you when they say they're going to call.

But here's the thing, none of them have given up parts of their insides. No one I know is even in the bone marrow registry (and if you are, let a sister know so I can sing your praises too). I know I'm not. Here's why: I am terrified. Straight scared shitless that my number will come up and it'll be my turn to be the bravest little toaster.

Boyfriend and I have been talking about giving blood for a couple months now and we manage to keep putting it off. Every time the opportunity arises we manage to be busy. One of us is working out for the first time in 3 months (him) or suddenly feels like they really need to focus on the job hunt (me). We cannot even manage to get over our fear of needles enough to do this very basic thing that most people I know have done a bazillion times. My brother practically majored in it.

So the idea of having a surgery, a real honest to god, under the knife surgery is about an ocean away from my comfort level.

And yet T-bone did it. Like it ain't no thang. I am knocked on my ass by how selfless and inspiring she has been. She wins at T-bone Day.

Monday, January 28, 2013

In want of an Obstinate, Headstrong Girl

"For what do we live, but to make sport for our neighbors, and laugh at them in our turn?"

Today is Pride and Prejudice's 200th birthday. And let me tell you, Lizzie Bennett looks good for 200. Still all sharp and sassy. If they had said it in those times, I feel like this book would have been full of, "you go girl's" (but sadly people only said that 100 years ago, except my Dad, who continually insists its on the verge of a comeback).

I didn't fall in love with Austen until my 20's, when I needed her. I needed beautiful words that made me think and strong women and a few good fairy tales. Now our love affair is serious business, especially with P&P and so: Happy Birthday Charlotte Lucas Collins! And Miss Kitty Bennett! And the Gardeners!

I celebrated by listening to a live reading of Pride & Prejudice (thank you JASNA!), getting there just in time for Lydia and Wickham to run off and ruin everything (per usual).

If this important event didn't make it onto your google calendar, here are some ways you can celebrate Pride and Prejudice all year long.

Get the book. I guarantee you can find it at your local book store for anywhere from $2 - $50, depending on just how fancy your pants are.

And read it. Fall in love with Mr. Darcy all over again/for the first time.

Get real drunk, and then the next day nurse your hangover with Colin Firth jumping in a pond.

Read my blogs on P&P and some junk.

Read people who write better than me (and P.D. James). Like this. 

Watch this Wishbone episode:

(Side Note: holy shit! I didn't really think this was going to exist when I started writing this blog but it DOES. The internet is the BEST.)

Then come see the Ladies of Improvised Jane Austen do it up all proper and ladylike, except when we play dudes, then watch us put one foot up on a chair so our balls can hang out.

Get one of these iphone chargers. I'm obsessed, I want one so badly. How classy can your bedside table get? Seriously, everyone go buy one and tell them you heard about it from me so I can get one for free (that's how blogging works, right?).

Wear this shirt, or this scarf (which I own and love) or some other random etsy doo-dads  and show off your lit nerd love with pride.

Finally, if you want to your lady friend to do....whatever - one night, when she's feeling all moody and sad (so, like, every night amIright?!) lean over and whisper,

"My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you." 

Oooooh, you're gonna be giving out high fives tomorrow.

And remember, as Lady Jane herself said, "The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid."

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Stop and Tell

After observing their behavior for over five years, I have really gotten to know the midwesterners as a people.

I've discovered a new favorite tell that 60% of the time, works every time.

When a midwesterner gets on a train or a bus (and I am talking about a corn-fed, directional-college-educated, cell-phone-holder-on-his-belt real Midwesterner, not one of those big-city-livin' Chicago types) - they will sit down and look around, not with the quick glance of "is there a goddamned pigeon on this train," but the slow and easy gaze of someone surveying the surrounding prairie, or soy bean fields or whatever you have out here.

I used to think they were scanning the train for any sort of unsavory characters who might give them a one way ticket to pick-pocket town. But, now I'm realizing that is the East Coast skeptic in me. What these people are eyeing for is some one to chat with.

They want someone to talk about the weather (here versus there), how noisy/bright/crowded/expensive things are, how proud they are of their son/niece/grandbaby for moving out to this big old city and how they just ate Ethiopian food for the first time (imagine that! with your hands and everything!).

Occasionally they'll catch the eye of someone who has a "kind soul" or who forgot their headphones at home and strike up this predictable dialogue other times, they'll just wait patiently with their companion (these folks never travel alone, that'd be asking for trouble) and eventually, if the fish aren't biting, they'll just spend the rest of their ride talking about at what stop they're getting off and how people in Chicago sure do keep to themselves.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Where have you been, Young Lady?

Ugh! I was doing so good with the once-a-day blog posting and then I tumbled off that wagon and into the waiting arms of some real bad shit.

So far 2013 has been less than spectacular on the things-to-get-amped-about scale. In fact, there hasn't really been a day when I haven't been forced to imbibe some bad news with a chaser of red wine and left over Christmas biscotti (the shining light in this crappy ocean).

The problem is - none of the bad things have happened to me, per se (except the broken toes. I'll talk about them at some point). They've all happened to people I love or people who are loved by people I love. Whatever. The point is - its not my right to put their business out there. So I won't. But let me tell you, if God is real, he is kind of a dick.

Even though I wasn't going to write about these bad things, it felt stupid and shallow to prance about writing about...whatever it is this blog is about (nothing, basically). So I struggled with that, and then I ate too much (as you do).

So now, I am saying - my bad, for ducking out on you like that - it was uncool of me. I just can't promise every day blogs anymore, because some days this year will be too full of sadness.

...AND! Some days will be too full of happiness because while life is straight-up garbage right now, I KNOW of some amazing events coming down the lane that are going to change liiiives. Seriously (again, not my business to talk about but, good things!). And on those days I am going to savor the everyloving stuffing out of the happiness and love that will be in the air and I'll get back to talking about pigeons and my inadequacies in the kitchen the next day.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Gone Girl

Oh Shit, Gone Girl, Oh Shit.

That was what I said, out loud, in text messages, and in my head, no less than 80 times while reading Gone Girl.

Some of the times (while babysitting) when I couldn't contain myself, were less appropriate than others (in bed at 2 in the morning, loud enough to freak out the cat at my feet).

In conclusion. I should read thrillers more. I remember learning at some point the "tricks" that go into making a thriller one of those page turner, couldn't-put-it-down books and then I judged thrillers. While I am humbled to admit that I got played like a teenage boy's acoustic guitar...I did. And I'll admit it. And it was awesome. 

One of the best parts of being unemployed is that I have had the time to inhale books. I'll sit down at 4 PM and won't get up until I am good and finished with a book. It's so satisfying to have enough time to read all the words I want every day. I am so spoiled. Ugh.

Gone Girl, while a thriller in every sense of the word, was so fun to read (although, as an unemployed woman in the midwest, also sliiiightly terrifying). It was also an interesting book to read right after The Light Between Oceans, so many different ways of dealing with marriage. Yikes. Best to stay away from that shit show.

Apparently Gillian Flynn (who wrote Gone Girl) lives in Chicago. I wonder how often she saw people like me on the red line, my face buried in the book, occasionally looking up to mouth,

"Oh Shit, Gone Girl. Oh shit."

Monday, January 14, 2013

Two- nip

Oh! And I dealt with a turnip for the first time. It would have been way less stressful if the Internet had just told me that a turnip is basically a carrot playing Turtle from Entourage.


Phyllo dough is a completely unfamiliar art form. We've had it in the freezer for ages and I finally found a recipe that sounded delicious and healthy.

Turns out I did it wrong as the dough is uncooked in some places, and apparently twice as thick as it needed to be.

Lesson learned, leave the fancy business to the Greeks. Though, as an Italian - I would say I made it look good.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Cup of Change

Sometimes, nowadays, this is what Sunday Funday looks like.

With six friends, and a bucket of catching up to do. It's a nice change of pace.

Saturday, January 12, 2013


"eff you in the mouth, crow pose."

This thought came into my head in yoga class after a pretty bad crow-pose related tumble and it stayed there, right up until final nap-time pose.

Inversion poses (ie - poses where my head is below my heart) make me incredibly dizzy, and combining slight vertigo with a suckerpunch to the pride was enough to make me the most vulgar yogi.

My goal this year is to do 100 yoga practices (so far, I'm at 4. Trucking right along). If I make it, I get to buy myself overpriced yoga pants. This is pretty much all the motivation I need to do anything - excuses to spend money I don't have.

We'll see how I feel later in the year, but right now - yoga makes me frustrated and sweaty. I hate being bad at things, but being bad at things while teeny-tiny women tell me that its not about being good or bad, its about being at peace (or whatever) is WAY, WAY worse.

(so why are you doing it, dummy?)

Because, I cannot get myself to run and gym memberships are dumb expensive. Its too cold to bike and I'm out of options. Also, because despite how it turns my inner-monologue into that of a sailor - it's the only thing I can make myself keep going to. Maybe it's because of the free nap at the end - but when class is over, I want to do it again.

Anyway, 100 yoga practices in 365 days is resolution two for 2013. Let's do it for the pants.

Friday, January 11, 2013

A Latter Day

On January 26, 2012, I put the following query out to the world of Facebook:


A little less than one year later, I saw the Book of Mormon sitting with 26 friends and +1's.

While, it was not the ideal way to ensure that I would be able to see the show, it worked out perfectly. If only because I rarely get so many hugs on a Thursday night. 

And like my facebook blog from earlier, literally, it was so crazy to see all these people from my past five years sitting together getting their musical on.

If you get a chance to see Book of Mormon (and really, you should). I highly, HIGHLY encourage you to do whatever you can to go into it without hearing any of the music of knowing any of the plot specifics before hand.

As someone said to one of my friends before the show, "I would kill to be hearing the soundtrack for the first time live."

Which is pretty much how I feel about all theater all the time. Seriously folks, just spend $50 and go see the show. I promise it will be worth it.

If you remember that this show is written by the same guys who did South Park who are no longer confined by FCC regulations, you will not be too shocked by the things that are said on stage.

Happy is a girl who gets to witness song & dance created in front of her eyes.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013


I have been using public transportation as my sole way of getting from heretothere for over 10 years. And if you include the years that I was a proud Metro Bus baby in DC, we're looking at almost half my life spent trusting civil servants to get me from place to place and the general public to not screw it up too much.

I very rarely have complaints about this way of life. Its much cheaper than owning a car. I could not care less what gas costs and so make much more interesting dinner party conversation. And what with all of the folks I see on a day to day basis, I have plenty of fodder for said dinner party conversation.

And while I have seen quite the cast of characters - nothing has ever really affected me. I've watched people get sick, use the train as their bathroom, use the train as their crack den, make out, break up, I've had people eye my wallet and my cellphone, I've been stuck due to a fire, a person on the tracks, a derailed train. People have said things, done things, and brought things on to trains and buses without me doing much more than momentarily lifting one eye from my New Yorker.

Until Yesterday.

Yesterday, I was on the brown line. I got off at Belmont and immediately onto the red line training waiting for us.

As the train left the station I was suddenly aware of unfamiliar movement. It took a second longer than it should have for me to realize that there were two pigeons on this train with me and the 15-or so other CTA riders. And in the next second, after I realized what was happening, I flipped my shit.

The woman next to me said in a calm voice that indicated that she had recently taken some sort of mood stabilizer that the birds were, "much more afraid of us than we were of them."

"Well, since I can go ahead and guarantee that no human is going to poop on a birds head on this train, I am going to have to disagree with you."

And then I was left with the Sofie's choice of what am I going to let this bird poop on? My hair? No. My favorite scarf. Hell No. I ended up going with my purse which I figured would probably be the easiest to clean and disinfect.

The scariest thing was that occasionally they would stop flying towards you. Like they would just stand on the floor and you would think that they had figured out how to ride the train like normal people. But then they would freak out again and come raging down the corridor.

The distance from Belmont to Addison has never felt so far. Finally we got to the station and everyone got up to the exit. I was standing with three other women, our faces pressed against the door. When, of course, there was that extra moment of the doors being closed when the panic renewed itself as we were now sitting ducks. Or whatever it is that pigeons hunt. So we all screamed and cursed and for that extra second, I felt closer to my Chicago brethren.

The doors opened, I raced to the adjacent car and sat down, thankful that the bird-poop-on-my-stuff scare had abated. I was catching my breath and running my hands over my head, trying to ensure that I really and truly was not covered in bird crap when the man next to me rolled his eyes and shook his head slightly at the crazy girl next to him.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

These 7 days

I should have known on Monday at noon,  when the 7-month-pregnant woman next to me kicked my ass in headed yoga...

... And there were two pigeons in my train car this afternoon...

that this was going to be a really bad week.

It's Tuesday and so far all my premonitions have been right on the money.

If I don't get a Wednesday or Thursday snuggle fest or dance party this week will be the first worst one of 2013.

Sunday, January 06, 2013

Laces Up

How do you prepare for a football game you've been hoping and waiting to watch since you were three?

By making shamrock candy and oreo pops way past your bedtime the night before. Obviously.

Poke nation

I have been told that I have a serious facebook problem. And while I like to think that I spend a healthy amount of time browsing the lives of close friends, random acquaintances and people I used to hate in high school - its probably healthy like only smoking Capri 100's is a healthy smoking habit.

But! I think there is something amazing about facebook (and all social media) that will keep me on it for far longer than necessary.

On Saturday night, Boyfriend and I were at the grocery store getting necessaries for the most important night of Boyfriend's life (also known as the BCS National Championship game) and while he searched for the perfect crackers, I stumbled across these gems.

So I put this picture on facebook and asked the universe if anyone had ever heard of or experienced such an amazing feat of modern technology.

I got answers from people from 5 different states: one family member (hi Mom!), one ex-roommate, one good friend from high school, two people I've done theater with, my current favorite neighbor, a guy I baby sit for, and my best friend's husband.

That, to me, is the coolest thing about social media (mostly facebook). All these people just came together and explained that my attraction to these comes from my mildly white trash roots and affinity for salmon dip. That never would have happened. Even if I had bought them and asked just my close-all-the-time friends, I probably would have gotten a positive response, but not one that showed that clearly these crackers live in grocery stores all over the world and everyone thinks they're awesome.

Thanks global connectivity for the excellent cracker hook-up.

Saturday, January 05, 2013

Book 1 - The Light Between Oceans

Guys, I am reading books again this year. Neat, huh? Books are the best.

image via
As an after-thought, I added this book to my amazon wish list right before Christmas because its our book club book this month, but I wasn't anticipating getting a chance to read it. I lucked out that Boyfriend's Dad did their Christmas shopping late this year and that he is good at following instructions and so it arrived under the Chicago tree.

I started reading it on New Year's Day-night, post-Rose Bowl. I got about 10 pages in before I fell asleep. I was sure that, despite my friends words to the contrary, this book was going to be slow and boring.

On January 2nd, what with no job and no prospects and it being only the day right after 2013 started, so no motivation to get either the former or the latter, I sat back down and opened up to page 11.

Five hours later, with tears streaming down my cheeks so much that I could barely see the words on the page, I finished the book. 48 hours in- I had my first ugly cry face of the year, that's some sort of personal best.

I think right now (in my life) is maybe the best time to have read this book as I am smack dab in the middle of the babies-and-weddings portion of the journey. I cannot imagine getting through this book as a mother. The amount of actual physical pain I felt was incredible, if I had a grown/raised a baby, I assume it would be akin to some sort of invasive, unanesthetized surgery. And while I know I would have loved the book in my younger years, the questions of what sort of sacrifices you make (and don't make) for the people you love probably would not have resonated as strongly as they did.

That all being said, the wonderful writing and vivid imagery make up for any emotional wringer it might put you through, so read it anyway no matter where you are in life.

Unlike so many books I like, I am actually willing (and dare I say, interested?) in seeing the movie version of this. If they get the right actors involved, the words of this book lend themselves to a solid script and if the western coast of Australia is anything like she describes - its going to be landscape porn best viewed on the biggest screen you can find.

Let's all go live in lighthouses and/or Australia.

Friday, January 04, 2013

First position

If you happened to be on State street between Lake & Randolph tonight and looked up, you may have seen me attempting to reclaim a small piece of my childhood.

Last year, on a whim I bought a groupon to the Joffrey Academy for 5 classes. And of course, it is expiring in two weeks so I figured I should probably use it.

I didn't have tights or a leotard, but I did have my shoes. I've easily had these shoes longer than I've had most people that read this blog. Dating back to the late 90's these shoes have traveled through many states and even to South Africa with me. I haven't worn them probably since 2006 or so, but they travel light and there was no reason to throw away one of the very last pieces of my childhood.

I kept meaning to take a dance class in Chicago, but circus class sounded like way more fun, and then improv was something I was actually really good at (rather than something I just loved) plus I got to drink beer afterwards. So it was put off.

And now I am in a place of grouchiness where my body is concerned. Turns out you can't live on cookies and pasta for two months without working out and not gain all of the pounds. So this was not the ideal way to get back in the game. But I toughened up and did it.

First, I felt like a dbag for showing up in gym capris and a tank top instead of my black and pinks, but I felt slightly better that I was the only one not committing this terrible, terrible fashion faux-pas. Also, I wasn't late. So basically, we're even-stevens in the faux-pas department.

I made it through class. And more heart-filling, I found myself smiling in the middle of class, smiling for messing up the degage in the back, for a perfect inside pirouette, a high grand jete, and doing 36 changements in a row without stopping. All these things I didn't think my body was capable of doing and I was managing it, despite my busted, janky shoes.

I have four classes left on my groupon - all that I'll do in the next two weeks (next time read the fine print, dummy) and after that, we'll see if I still love it as much as I did tonight. But one thing is for sure, its time for these shoes to go. Good-bye childhood, you hurt my feet.

Thursday, January 03, 2013

In my bones

I feel like finding validation is nearly impossible in my life. I don't do enough stuff that can be measured for there to be a quantifiable, "you done good, kid."

Today at the Storytown show at the hospital there was a young girl and her mom who were pretty much our only audience members (most of the kids watch on TVs in their rooms). At one point we pretended that the girl and her mom were Woody and Buzz from Toy Story and then, because sometimes we're jerks who like to make our own fun, we asked the mom to say, "To infinity and beyond," for us (some movie lines never get old).

The mother who was super embarrassed put her head in her hands and hid from us (as much as you can hide without going anywhere). One of the cast members assumed that she was crying and apologized for making her sad.

"She's not crying. She's laughing. Y'all are funny." pipped up the little girl.

The show went on and at the end we all laughed about how sweet the little girl had been. And while it was cute, it was also incredibly rewarding. Kids are honest, and real and they don't have time to say nice things to you just because you're doubting yourself and your choices.

That little moment of pure childish honesty was enough for me to keep doing this to infinity and beyond.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013


I've decided to take the month of January to come up with my resolutions for the new year. Honestly, my resolution should be to get a job and becoming a functioning member of society again, but I've kind of lost interest in all that what with all the free time I have now. Jobs are for suckers.

Anyway, resolution number one is pretty simple. Anytime someone offers to buy me food or booze or pretty much anything and I have no reason to believe that this offer comes with some sort of ulterior motive, I'm going to take it. You say that dinner is your treat? Cool. This rounds on you? Sweet. An ipad? Awesome.

Now that I'm basically a hobo with an ideal living situation, I'm fresh out of cash and I'm also fresh out of nonsense. Over the past few weeks, some of my most-favorites have been sweet and kind enough to buy me delicious things. I've protested and then finally relented every time and now I'm wondering why.

Why do we go through this who act of, "Oh this is on me" "What, no, you're crazy." "Your money is no good here, you old broad." "Oh, you crazy coot. You're a nut, you hear me." (apparently all conversations when replayed in my head sound like the old west as seen in Back to the Future part III).

Its a weird game that when extrapolated out is so much of what is wrong with society. Why is everything so fake? Why do we have to fight nice gestures? And when I say we - I mostly mean me, because I am the worst at this, just ask my well meaning but often downtrodden boyfriend who can't even buy me Christmas presents with out me getting real, real emotional about it.

Anyway. This is the first step. In 2013, if someone wants to buy me dinner and its not going to end up with them making a Lifetime Movie about me. I'm down. So bring it on. Mamma's hungry.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

In & Outtie

There are very few things I look forward to with this much anticipation every year. The in and out list helps make my year the best it can be. Which, tends to be not so great, so there you go.

Some notes on this year's list:

St. Germaine (out) / Sherry (in). This is one of the classic frustrations of this list. I only discovered in 2012 what a fucking delight drinks made with St. Germaine and champagne can be, and now I have to cast it aside for Sherry. Which, let me tell you, I had a bottle of sherry in my house for four years, and for those of you playing along at home, that means, that I moved said bottle of sherry four times. It wasn't until I made Boyfriend chug it with club soda and regret that I finally got rid of it. It's easily the worst.

Can't I'm going to Iceland (out)/Can't I'm going to Antarctica (in). This is a sign that I am on the right track. I already did Iceland. And while my tentative trip to parts south wouldn't happen until 2014 - its at least a good excuse for any weddings or wristband parties that might be planned for the next year.

Leica (out)/Lytro (in). The best part of the In/Out list is learning about new things. For example, how bad ass is this Lytro camera? So. the answer is So. bad ass. While I will not (probably) purchase one of these guys, the fact that I know they exist makes me feel way better about myself as a member of society.

Mason Jars (out)/Growlers (in). Further proof that my godmother is trendy long before her time. She introduced me to Piece growlers back in 2006. And they've always been better than mason jars due to the fact that they can fit more beer (duh).

Fred Armisen, Seth Meyers & Jay Pharoah (out)/Aidy Bryant, Kate McKinnon & Cecily Strong (in). Part of being part of the improv community in Chicago (I have discovered) is watching people you know go off to do bigger and better things. This is the first time that someone I know has been actually listed BY NAME on the In/Out list. Which is pretty amazing. Thanks for that free TV Aidy! And thanks for covering my box office shift that one time Cecily!

Having it all (out)/Halving it all (in). This is the year of getting healthy. So there is that kind of metaphorical halving. But also - for Christmas, Boyfriend got me a companion pass which means we essentially get BOGO air travel for the rest of the year. This is the year to be one half of an amazing, adventuring team.

She's pint-sized and amazing.