Monday, December 29, 2014

The blogger itch(es)

I should be blowing up this post with photos of my toes and the pool-blue pool in front of me. It's 81 degrees and oh-so-sunny here in the Villages.

However, I have been hurting for a pedicure for like two months and just the thought of the East Coast makes raw, red mosquito bites pop up all over my legs.

So I'm feeling much too imperfect for a pool photo shoot. Even though it is glorious and warm and while the Villages would never be my first choice, it's a pretty nice place to spend a few days after the manic-insanity that is Maryland Christmas. 

So you'll have to just take my word for it. Merry very-late Christmas. 

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Bye 2014-licia

I'm not going to sugar coat it - 2014 was a real stinker of a year.

There were more cumulative minutes of me silently crying into the single-ply toilet paper of my workplace's second bathroom stall and desperately attempting to find the correct words to support friends and loved ones as they attempted to traverse some of life's most emotionally crippling roadblocks then there have ever been. Like actually ever.

There were some bright shining moments, treasured that much more because they were surrounded by so much actual struggle (as opposed to the needing-new-brown-boots struggle I normally feel).  Even boyfriend's bought-a-house-got-a-job-turned-29 party was spoiled by the most insane derecho I have ever experienced. There were so many short ribs on the floor. It was so sad. But, perspective wise, I do not even think it made the top 5 of things that hurt the most this year. There will always be more short ribs.

2014 will be the first year that I feel like the universe shook me and was like, "it is getting real. This is what it is really like to be an adult: actual challenges, true heartbreak, and experiencing joy that comes from somewhere deeper inside you than you really knew existed."

Maybe it is turning 30? Maybe it was the disappointment and sadness of the whole world hanging an even heavier weight on my shoulders? Maybe it was those few weeks I gave up bread and sugar? I do not even know.

What I do know is that through text message, U.S. Postal Service, and genius sting operations, I have gotten the news of the potential of truly wonderful things on the horizon for 2015 for me, for my family, for my friends-who-are-family. I am on-the-edge-of-my-seat excited for great adventure, big hugs, happy cries, new sights, big challenges, and, as always, snacks.

This Christmas season will involved the very-first-time in our six-and-a-half years Boyfriend and I wake up in the same room/city/time-zone on Christmas morning, and the very last Christmas morning any of us will walk down the stairs of 710 East Main. There will be lunches and breakfasts and shots (ugh, way too many shots, I already know). I am itchy with anticipation to get on an airplane, second star to the right - straight on 'til Maryland.

I stand present in all of the hard, sad moments of 2014, but look towards the bright light of #fabulous2015

Friday, December 12, 2014

Cheryl Miller Chicago Taxi

There are biological reasons for the emotional mess I am right now, but also very simple unbiological ones too. Like its time to go home. And my presents game is a mess. Also could every one just stop wanting things like right-this-very-second?

Anyway. I was feeling just super crabby after a particularly long morning and was in a cab on my way to what was promised to be a very long afternoon.

I was playing on facebook (as you do) when my cab driver's phone rang and she asked if she could take the call. I said of course and casually eavesdropped (as is my right as a passenger).

She apologized at the end of her call and then explained she was about to be interviewed for a news article. She was beyond. She could not even.

Having not be exposed to this level of unbridled level of excitement in quite some time, I listened as she told me about her role in the fight to unionize cab drivers in the city and try to regulate the ride share programs. Her's is a fight that I am becoming more passionate about as I realize that while Uber is real convenient, it all goes to shit when something go wrong (like a car accident, or someone getting attacked by a psychopath, or you know, whatever) and that their business plan benefits no one but those at the top. Its a pyramid scheme with a good logo.

We chatted about Uber and cab drivers but mostly I just loved hearing about her. At one point she gleefully announced, "You're going to be able to google me!"

Guys. Everything is terrible, but I am such a huge fan of Cheryl Miller. She renewed my faith in right now. Congratulations on having your voice heard. It was so fun to google you and share in a part of your journey.



Sunday, November 30, 2014

A perfect 10.

One more time around the sun. One more November spent with this hideous ogre hanging over my head.


But now we are officially all done. I am hanging up my fingers or whatever and calling it.

It has been a long decade. Count those years: Year OneYear Two. Year Three. Year Four. Year Five. Year Six. Year Seven. Year Eight. Year Nine. (and then, you know, this year).  And it is time to show myself out.
   
A friend of mine is embarking on writing her dissertation and she is worried about getting it all done in a time crunch. On Friday night, over beers, I shook my head at her stress. 

"You just do it."

"I don't know if I can do it."

"But I know, you will just do it. You have to just sit down and start writing and once you have started, you will just keep going until it is done."

This is a weird thing to be confident about and I could tell that she was all "you don't know me," but the thing is, if I can do this - anyone can do anything. I am the procrastinating procrastinator. I have the attention span of a real spazzy goldfish. I am always hungry.

Yet, despite being me, I can get this done. So to you - who may be doubting your ability to get things done, allow me to assure you, you can absolutely get it done.

About one million years ago, my sweet baby cousin J, was attempting to teach me how to skate backwards. I tried to get her to break it down and explain it for me. After about six minutes of watching me both fail and ask questions, she stomped her little seven year-old foot and said, "you just Do It." and skated off.

So that is my advice to people who ask me, with mouths agape, "how did you do it?"

I simply shrug, "you just do it."

That is all there is to say about it. If you want to do it, you will find a way to make it work. Even if you are putting it off for most of the month, and regretting the plot you have picked, and struggling to make it better mid-story, you will get it done.

I was super embarrassed when people asked me what this year's novel was about because it was not only hard to explain, it was pretty stupid. But I knew that Year 10 was not the year to quit. So I just did it.

Now, in the words of everyone's favorite president, Josiah Bartlett, 

"What's next?"

There will be no more writing of words unless true genius strikes. Instead, there Shall Be Editing. 

There are 500,000 words, over three different laptops (which might mean some of those words might be lost to humanity). Through all of those words, there is a voice, there are ideas, there are small moments of inspiration in dialogue, in "showing not telling," in the giving of nicknames. So now it is time to put those all in the sausage maker and try to find something delicious.

The first goal is to uncover all those words, find as many of them as I can, and print them all out and read them, with a yellow highlighter and an open mind. Next year, by this time, there will be something. I am not sure what it will be - maybe I will have just finally found all of the words - and managed to sneak-print all 500-or-so pages at the office. 

This was the easy part. The hard part is next.

As always - this dumb shit does not happen just because I open a fresh new word document. Thank you to:

The new La Colombe Coffee Shop on Foster. I wrote 12,000 words yesterday and I could not have gotten that done without the fresh hipster vibe, and delicious cappuccino provided in my new favorite Andersonville spot. 

The West Wing. How did Willy Shakes write all those plays without the sweet dulcet sounds of Allison Janney reciting Aaron Sorkin's words in his ear? In the Shadow of Two Gunmen (parts one and two) are some of the most inspiring moments of anything. 

Sweet coworkers and friends. All these people are so patient with this particular brand of psychosis and who provide endless hours of excellent distraction and boozy time and face time and boozy face time.

Yates. For forever and always. NaNoWriMoYates. I miss you.

Boyfriend. Who just shakes his head and says, "write your novel." Thanks (in advance) for buying my ticket to see Mockingjay Part One tonight.

Miso, the newest member of the dream team. She is so damned good at keeping legs warm. Our apartment is normally about 20 degrees below freezing, but she manages to keep the blood in my legs circulating.

Hazel. She was conspicuously absent for most of this journey, but as I rounded the bend at 48,000 words, she snuggled up and was there for the victory lap.


On to presents! Happy December everyone!


Monday, November 17, 2014

Pride and Podcasts Part 1

Last week, I crossed a big item off the bucket list.

I got to participate in my first ever podcast.

Like any narcissist worth her salt, I am fascinated the sound of my own voice and re-hearing bits I have already done to see if they make me laugh again.

Thanks to the amazing Mel Evans (who I have discussed ad nauseam on this blog) for hosting us for this first romp of many (I hope). 

Please give it a listen.Your reading or viewing of Death Comes to Pemberley is pretty inconsequential as we will explain all the important points of both the book and the movie while giggling. But here is my review of the book from a few years ago.

Also, you can totally download the podcast on iTunes (or your podcast app because it is 2014), if you want to listen to me "can't even" about most things on your morning or afternoon commute.

Thanks also to Jane Austen for the source materials. The amazing J.Ker_pow for being the calming to my manic. The cats for being an excellent source of entertainment, and the wine for allowing me to relax, maybe a little too much for my first podcast.

All critiques should be left in the comments of this blog for me to over-think and then slide into a deep depression.

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Dress you up (in my love).

Our very first picture together:

And now our very most recent:


For two pretty photogenic people, we take a lot of really terrible pictures. Something about Halloween though brings out our brightest, least awkward smiles.

Also, we love a good free Halloween costume.

Monday, November 03, 2014

The More You Know (about Water)

Voting is one of my favorite parts of being a grown-up. I've been getting boozy and smoking cigs since I was a wee lass, but voting - can't use a sketchy fake ID for that.

I thoroughly believe a well-informed voter is the sexiest type of voter. So - I'm here to help you get it on, by being all up in the business of the nine candidates for Metropolitan Water Reclamation District Commissioner.  Just think of me your wing lady...

Cynthia Santos. DANG. Her website game is on. point. She's also been doing this for 16 years, and water has been coming out of the taps for at least 8, so I feel good about her. She was a girl scout, so she knows her way around a cookie. She has a section of her website called "Service is a Craft," which makes me laugh because it makes no sense and also makes me think of crafternoons, which are fun.

Frank Avila. His website game is a little less on but his picture is hilarious - so small and yet such a big ole' grin. Also look at all those papers! So much business to attend to! He's a vegan which makes me judge him both as a elected official and a human being. He apparently hires sketchballs to work for him. He's just another cog in that olde-timey Chicago political machine.

Timothy "Tim" Bradford. No website? Weak. Not even a facebook page. Listen Timothy, get with the "Tim"s. He looks like Buzz, my favorite not-actual-grandfather-grandfather but I think he may have sold his soul to win that "top of the list" lottery.

James (Jim) Parrilli. Ugh, he looks like he smelled a fart in his picture and he supports Bruce Rauner. NEXT.

Herb Schumann. Schumann on Sewers is a great name for a website. And Herb is a great name for a bald guy with facial hair. Also the quote, "The road to Easy Street goes through the sewer," makes me laugh and the fact that (apparently) everyone's favorite drunk uncle, John Madden says it makes it even more hilarious. His website has no other information on it. I'm chalking this up to no news is good news or maybe running out of money for his website. Either way, I'm glad the John Madden quote was considered more important than the "sewer issues" tab.

R. Cary Capparelli. He has a commercial spot which is full of nice stock footage of Chicago and people turning on water faucets. He lost me when he filled out the questionnaire for the Daily Herald and selected George W. Bush as a current leader who most inspires him. For the record, George W. Bush isn't a current anything.

Karen Roothaan. Apparently all the Green Party candidates are sharing a website - what a bunch of filthy hippies. She founded an organization called "Trees R Beautiful" but makes up for her refusal to use extraneous vowels by (apparently) going to the bimonthly MWRD meetings before she was even running. Bonkers. City-level governmental meetings are the most.boring. They make them like that so you won't come and bother them. Well played. Also, your most inspiring current leader can't be dead (making them no longer current). Did you guys even read the question?

George Milkowski. First things first - his name is spelled wrong on my sample ballot. So whoops. Second, his ideas about how to make things better are depressingly naive and optimistic.  Does he know he lives in Chicago? I like your spunk, but dream smaller, hombre.

Michael Smith. He writes EVERYTHING IN ALL CAPS.  BYE. And in his picture he looks like he is trying to sell me a time share.

Here's the thing - the more I read, the more this entire department sounds like a huge scam. Just give everyone a rain barrel and cross your fingers that the Chicago River gets so toxic it just kills the Asian Carp for us.

Seriously though, vote. Tomorrow. DO IT. Vote for the people who are all about women having control over their bodies and medical decisions, who recognize that we were all immigrants with ancestors who got lucky at one point or another, who just want schools that work - whatever that means.

Nothing changes if your participation in the system ends at watching the Daily Show. Get out there and vote for three of these clowns, some judges (but the right ones), and some other people. Go. Go!

Friday, October 24, 2014

This is 30.

My name is Rachel and tomorrow I will be 30.


I look like my mom and sometimes my Nonna. My signature has the same style "G" as my dad.

I have a dirty bathroom, and I don't really care.

I am surrounded by people who believe in me, far more than I have ever believed in myself.

My name is Rachel and tomorrow I will be 30.

I'm in a moment of near-change in my job. Change if I want it, consistency if I decide I don't - reward no matter which I pick.

I really, really need to get my passport renewed.

I am still shocked, pleased, and full of gratitude when people tell me they love the way I write.

My name is Rachel and tomorrow I will be 30.

I can't dress myself, except I know exactly which dresses will be flattering before I even try them on.

I still drink too much on weeknights, especially when the booze is free.

I sense that there is still at least one grand adventure left in my life.

My name is Rachel and tomorrow I will be 30.

I have a bestfriendboyfriend who continues to surprise me with my his capacity to love me and his sweet moves in the kitchen.

I am committing to a life of not checking my phone first thing in the morning. Starting tomorrow.

I really like going to bed before 10:00 p.m. when I can.

My name is Rachel and I have so much life left to live - I cannot wait to see what will happen in the next 30 years.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Grocery Struggle

If I had to make a list of what was Real right now. The Struggle would be at the top.



I refuse to give up nights of one-too-many, and thanks-for-the-freebie, and talk-too-loud-laugh-too-hard. I refuse to give up a Tuesday margarita or a Wednesday beer and burger - even if it means that the grocery store is maybe the biggest challenge of my entire adult life.

Being drunk and productive at the grocery store is basically like riding a unicorn. Impossible.

Sometimes though, when you're dang near 30 you gotta buckle down and buy groceries. You can't serve your guests boca burgers at brunch and with a week full of celebrating, Tuesday nights call for bigger and mightier functionality.

This does occasionally mean extra bacon, inexplicable almond joy frosting (3 containers), and an existential conversation about flavored orange juice.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Always sweet


When you want dessert. Eat dessert.

I spend most of my time locked in eternal mental battles. No decision is ever really made with full confidence. My favorite decision is when someone else makes the decision for me.  

All travel, career choices, meals, written words, everything is considered for as long as I possibly can before finally just blurting out something and then spending the rest of my life silently panicking that I made the wrong choice.

Except dessert. When I want dessert, I do not think about it - I find and enjoy dessert (like a Good Humor Birthday Cake Ice Cream Pop) and I never once have regretted it. 

If I'm full to the brim of other delicious things, I know enough not to pick out a dessert, but when there is room, I'll fill it up. The exception to this rule is when I give up all carbs because I am a competitive asshole with a weird religious bent.

When we went to Alinea (so long ago!) and the most.amazing.dessert.of.all.time was performed in front of us, I ate until my stomach nearly exploded. I wanted to just be given, like, 20 minutes to nap and come back for the rest. I wanted it just shove it all in my clutch and take it home to eat in bed. I miss that dessert more than some people I've known.

Food has always been a source of struggle for me. A battle of being happy versus being happier. The one battle I refuse to fight is the one against chocolate, against pie crust, against buttercream frosting. 

My birthday will have cake, it will have Berger cookies, it will have more cake, and it might have some delicious and spirited Notre Dame chocolates, and I will eat them all. 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Round and Round

Despite my internet silence, I have spent most of the past month or so musing my impending doom and slow march towards 30.

I have been thinking a whole bunch of meaningless, cliched thoughts when I wake up in the middle of the night and it all came down to this.


Its been a cardinal rule of my life that a Kitchen-Aid mixer is a reward for getting married and laying down the groundwork for making grandbabies.

I do not really need any reasons to get married, and I do not really need any reasons not to get married, because in this one part of my life - I feel pretty empowered and in a "good place."

But there was something about this carrot being dangled that felt unjust. Why should I have to wait for this good thing? No matter when (if?) I get married, there is whipped cream to be made right now.

So I carped the newegg deal and bought myself this lovely Blackhawks-Red mixer for an incredibly reasonable price (and two day shipping).

Its only been one day (and one oversized batch of delicious mashed potatoes) but it feels like Miso & Hazel's baby sister has been here the whole time.

I only have a week and a day left of my 20's and I going to try very hard to find other ways to remind myself that the only rules I need to consider following are the ones I make for myself.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Stressed White Girl Shopping List

If you're wondering how I am doing - this should paint a pretty good picture for you.

Embedded image permalink

I went into Target to pick up my prescription and get in the additional 200 steps I needed to make my goal for the "Step Up 2: The Streets" contest we are having at work. 

This all happened without me even realizing. Except that's a lie, because when I was paying for the prescription the nice girl said she couldn't ring me out due to the booze probably designed by a bunch of over-achieving tweens. 

So I walked to the other side of the store. Waited in line. And left with these things. 

I know the wine is good. I can only assume that the coffee and cookies will not disappoint. Get at me 10 more days of insanity.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Back. and forth.

I went one whole month, officially, without blogging. It wasn't a conscious decision but it did feel like something that was in order. I was struggling with the idea of quality over quantity and then was delivered a crushing blow in the disguise of an off-handed remark. THEN the world got really, bone crushingly sad, and it would not be the Grandipants way to come back and drop all the sadness on the three of you who are left.

So I'm back-ish. I'm heading into hell-month at work and I would not be surprised if you found me in a little pile of spreadsheet bits and conference call requests. I'm terrified by what the next month has in store, so it would only make sense to plan on doing some writing in here. I find I write most when I have a million other things to do and think about, which is probably I'll never be able to make a living doing it.

We'll see how it goes. For now here are some things that didn't make me cry or scream recently:


Call Your Girlfriend podcast. My in-town bestie recommended it, and it makes me miss one of my favorite long distance besties (who can no longer be tagged to anything because that bitch got herself an elected position). Its nice for mornings when I just can't get the energy to open a book.

Revolution Brewery. The brew pub I can take or leave, because while the food is on point, the hipster-to-human ratio is unsettling, even for hipster allies like myself. This spot is massive, they have all the beers you want (instead of just like the two you always get), its sups cheap and you can bring in pizza (OR, better idea, you can steal pizza from the party next to yours when they go in for their tour).

Why Your Team Sucks. My love of Drew Magary even makes me uncomfortable at this point, but this series always gets me so pumped for football season. I can't wait to watch all these over-paid, under-educated men just run into each other for 16 weeks. This year I even put some money on it, so I am especially excited for all the right guys to try to make it to Christmas with both pupils equal and reactive.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Truisms from heaven (eleven)

I like to think of that thin slice of sidewalk between the curb and lampposts, street signs, and newspaper boxes as the express lane. 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Big feels

As I meander closer to 30, I have been taking stock of the world at large, and my changing reactions to it.

The thing I keep coming back to is how much more strongly I feel emotions now. I have always been one to speak in hyperbole but I have started to feel in it too. Or at least, I have recently (within the past two years) become aware of feeling positive emotions much more powerfully.

I feel it in my chest, just to the right of my heart (my right, your left), almost at the center of my breastbone. Its this dull ache right under the ribs. It comes on suddenly and sharpens over a minute or two. The only way I have ever been able to describe it is that it feels like my heart might explode (hyperbolic until the end). Never have I remembered feeling such love and happiness as I do now.

The first instance I remember of this was the first time Boyfriend held my hand in a movie theater. It traveled from our fingers and landed in my chest to ignite the coals. The next time I remember labeling it was when one of my favorite tots (who was then about 18 months old) said my name unprompted for the first time.

I feel it all the time now, in holding the babies of my favorite people, in waking up next to my best friend with two kittens at our feet, in big hugs from the littlest (and biggest) of my cousin-monsters, in watching my friends be in love, in good music on sunny days, in sending a final "love you, good night," text after night of endless laughter.

All these feelings, that have always felt good, resonate mentally and physically. I'm not sure why. I am not sure if it is healthy or normal, but I am thankful that it happens as it gives me pause and recognition about how good things are for me. I have always been highly aware of negative emotions and thoughts, it feels as though my brain is righting itself now that I am very old.

It also might just be that I should stop eating dairy...

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

braveday

Today is full of people doing brave things.

via
It comes with really yucky, heavy belly, under-your-ribs ache.

At the bottom, though, under that stone at the bottom of your diaphragm, is this feeling of excitement. Bravery doesn't always mean succeeding, but it means trying and knowing there is more out there for you.

Monday, July 07, 2014

Be with the people...

You should only be friends with people who talk to you like this:


If your friends don't think you can be BeyoncĂ© - then don't spend Monday night, or Wednesday at 3 pm, or Saturday at 1:30 am with them. 

I feel very lucky to have had this summer.

Saturday, July 05, 2014

Heritage oil

If I have learned anything being raised as the daughter, granddaughter, great granddaughter and goddaughter of some (completely different but all excellent) cooks - it's that you can put whatever you want in a pan of olive oil and it will probably work out. 

Today it is beet stems and garlic scapes with some bonus balsamic.



Thursday, July 03, 2014

Thursday feelings.

It sounds real shmaltzy, but I am being revisited by the past a butt-ton recently, and I'm trying to figure out why.

Of course, the real answer is there is not a why.  The people you see on the street/liking your stuff on facebook/popping up on gchat are totally random.

But maybe it's because there might be big changes in the pipeline. Or even small changes. Maybe it is because the summer makes me nostalgic for other summers. Maybe it is because I just realized I will be 30 in less than four months, and that kind of makes me nauseous.

Whatever it is. I know you're all there - people from the past. I am terrified to engage with you, so you just kind of float along, down the sidewalks (both actual and technological) and I just wait for you to pass by.


I am forever grateful to A Softer World for always understanding exactly how I feel. I also just almost titled this "blog post" because that is how hipster-existential I am feeling this morning.


Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Goaaaaalzzzzzzz

We've had some bad flight experiences, but this one was a doozy of all the worst things that Mother Nature and Southwest Airlines can throw at you. 

It was ever so slightly redeemed by this magnificent sight on Lake Shore Drive at almost-3:00 a.m.


And then I got a little sad again realizing kick off is in a mere 12 hours. 


Friday, June 27, 2014

Miso update!

Our bags are packed and we are hightailing it out of this fog-fest for Charleston, SC for a mini-break after a furious day of getting things done.

This cab ride to Hyde Park gives me just enough time to update on sweet baby Miso.


I don't know what we were smoking when we thought that she would be super easy and a low-key addition to the family. Turns out she is a 100% kitten with more energy than the rest of us combined. She's a foot-tackler and a bug-chaser and a food stealer. We love her but dang, son, she is making is work for it. 

She's the cutest, though. Her best tricks are standing on her tower, and then falling about 89% of the time (when do cats learn about gravity?) and watching TV.


She loves The Daily Show (who doesn't?)  and cannot quite comprehend Jon Stewart's 2-dimensional-ness. She is forever looking behind the laptop to find the rest of him. 

She adores her big sister and midday naps on boyfriend's lap. Her cutest maneuver is end-of-nap-sleepy-face-scrunching. 


 
 
Happy Weekend!
 
 


Thursday, June 26, 2014

4-0-fingers

No actual blog today - my financial advisor told me to quit dicking around and figure out my 403(b) so that is how I am spending my night instead of writing about my feeeeeelings.

Also I have to do laundry.

But in case you were stressed that I am growing up - have no fear...I absolutely ate pasta salad with my fingers at a bus stop tonight.


Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The meh of both worlds

Today was an amazing day. A donut for breakfast, a quick Storytown show for some excitable kiddos with a terrible Sylvester Stallone accent, three-quarters of the movie Maleficent for free(-ish), another amazing Storytown show (this time with Mean Girl Bunnies, and school photo bits), delicious ice cream with sweet friends, and one of the last Bikram classes of the summer.

Today was a delight but at the end of the day I was left with a little bit of a feeling just under my ribs.

There is this strange middle ground of my life, of having a grown-up job (that is not quite actually a grown-up job due to its part-timeness and bottom-of-the-totem-poleness) and having this carefree, artistically satisfying life of creating amazing things with great people on a very, very limited basis.

Many would look at this and be all shutyourface. Its true that on the surface it looks like I am living the Hannah Montana, best of both worlds dream. And it feels like that most of the time too. I feel very lucky to have stumbled into a job that has a built-in day for skipping work and doing whatever my little artsy-fairy heart wants. I also feel very lucky that despite having extremely limited talents, I seem to have found people who will, on occasion, pay me to dance around, write words about things I don't understand, and hang out with awesome kids.

I love the whimsy of middle-of-the-week ice cream, and the consistency of 5:30 pm yoga class.  It feels like I have it all. And yet the problem is, I'm almost 30 and instead I feel like I have a little bit of everything, but not all of anything. I wish I had a job that was more challenging, with a better title and a full-time schedule. I wish I could live an entire life off of Storytown gigs and selling words to other people.

I know it sounds really, really childish - but actually it comes from a place of wanting to be slightly more grown-up. I feel like maybe I am ready for all these big girl things and yet, not everyone else seems to think so just yet. It is for sure a grass-is-always-greener, #princess problem but that does not make it feel any less real.

Let's be honest - during the summer, there is nothing better than this wonderful life of business on days 1-4 and party and fun on day 5. During the winter it loses some of that charm. One of my for-forever goals is to find a way to feel as though the winter of 2014 is just as great as this summer - either with a full time job at the ready or enough other work being offered up that I forget to remember that I'm just a kid with some dreams.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Run, T, Run

I'm bursting with pride about my friend Tierra Jolly's run for School Board in Washington D.C.

She is proof that if you believe in yourself and your convictions long enough and hard enough, you can do the things that you have always said you are going to do.

If you are reading this and you live in Washington D.C., I implore you to find a way to get involved. Tweet at your friends to follow Tierra. Go through your couch cushions and give all extraneous Hamiltons and Jacksons to her campaign. Campaigns are expensive (which is a bogus discussion for another day).

Not sure if you reside/hang out in Ward 8. Here's a Map. Chances are you maybe know someone who crossed the river for a reasonable rent. Tell that person to vote in their special election to help create some change.

There is nothing off the table in terms of helping with this election. Knock on doors, put up posters, wear a Jolly button to the Nats game.  Its rare to know someone who has the opportunity to do great things on such a public and valuable platform. I'm thrilled to support Tierra how I can, and I hope that those slightly geographically closer and financially more well-endowed will do the same.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

TBIF: Real Good

Here's what happened on the internet this week.  Miso and I discovered this:



Clearly, we're obsessed.


Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

My heart sings



If I were going to write a love song it would be in the key of goat cheese cashew caramel gelato.

(shown here with my favorite back-up singer, blackberry cabernet sorbet).


Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Nama-sand

I'm in the midst of one of those first-world, nearing-30, existential white-girl problems.

The struggle is real with me and beach yoga right now.

As you four dedicated readers (who are my family) know, I'm big into yoga and big into it being summer right now. Naturally these forces eventually had to combine to make some sort of lululemon-induced dream come true.

So my yoga dealer roots & [then] wings got me to do a beach yoga with her on Sunday morning. In theory, this sounded like a perfect Instagram picture- except real. In actuality, it was a sandy disaster.

As an oblivious child, sand never really bothered me. It wasn't until we started vacationing with my extra-old-lady-neurotic grandmother who Cannot Abide by sand that I got weird about it. Why she vacations on an island covered in sand is still a mystery- but she passed on her neurosis and now having sand on my towel, my seat, my swim suit is unacceptable.

I am not quite sure what I thought beach yoga was going to be... were they going to just, like, remove the sand to make way for yoga mats? Nope. We just laid our mats down right on top of North Avenue Beach's mess of cigarette butts, bottle caps, and hypodermic needles and set our intentions. 

Mine quickly became to just get through one flow before having to brush off my mat. It did not help that the wind off the lake wind would occasionally flip my yoga mat (and the mats of all my companions) over exposing us to more.sand. Tree Pose with a wily mat was really not the zen experience it is supposed to be.  The deal was really dealt when I watch a number of my fellow yogis take giant handfuls of sand and plop them like little hillocks on the corners of their mats to weigh the mats down.

"WHAT ARE YOU DOING? You are exacerbating the mat/sand problem!"

At the end of class, I had a long ponder about turning 30 and if this meant that I should step away from my comfort zone, and become one with the sand, or if it was finally time to just accept the fact that I am a crotchety-sand-hater. I never came up with an answer.

I feel like every couple of weeks I come to one of these moments where I feel as though I have met up with a bridge troll who is yelling at me that I'm getting old and it is time to make some gd. decisions about my life. As with many of the other times this has happened, I kind of shrugged and side stepped the question - this time by buying a 10-pack of beach yoga classes on groupon (instead of the unlimited one) - and figuring that by the end of the summer, I'll have decided one way or another. Until then, I'm just going to talk to invest in some "yoga rocks" (which are just regular rocks, but spiritual and more expensive).

Friday, June 13, 2014

Summer Friday

I wish I could bottle all the happiness I have during Chicago summer. I wish I could carry it with me throughout the cold, hibernation days of November and January.

There is nothing better than a patio and a plastic glass and a Friday afternoon stretched until the end of the weekend. There is nothing better than a Thursday night that feels like it will never end up a Friday morning. 

As I crash into this weekend, I want to remember my gratitude for how perfect this all feels and how fleeting it will all be. 

#herecomesthesun, Chicago. Get in it.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Ole, ole, Ole, ole.

Hey guys, you might not have known this about me - but I am a huge soccer nerd. #sorryIamnotsorry.

You grow up with a family of Eye-talians and it is going to wear off on you.

Last time there was a world cup, I watched almost all of it while in Europe which is basically like watching the Super Bowl from inside Cowboys Stadium (not in-person, mind you, just like, on the big TV over the field).  This year will pale in comparison because I still have to go to work and the prosciutto and mozzarella cheese sandwiches will be sub-par. But my brother won't be dying, soooo win some/lose some.

Here are some important things you need to be a world cup fan. Hop on, folks, there is plenty of room on this bandwagon and it comes with an excuse to drink at 11:00 a.m. on a Tuesday!

This guide gives you all the good soccer bars in Chicago.

If you want an outdoor soccer viewing experience - U.S. Soccer is putting on a money-grabbing "free" soccer viewing party in Grant Park. I am pretty sure you can sneak booze into Grant Park, which is good because watching the U.S. get trounced by Ghana, Germany and possibly Portugal - you're gonna need it.

Also, if you want to be an educated fair weather fan, here is my favorite thing of all time - Drew Magary's Hater's Guide to the World Cup. If I had any wish in all the wishes in the wish bank, I would want my writing to sound like the love child of Drew Magary and Margaret Atwood. What a disturbed and beautiful love child my writing would be.

Soccer (although now I hang out with enough British folks I feel like I should be able to call it Football) is the best sport to watch in the summer, because its easy and you can kind of half pay attention in the sunshine over your almost-finished bloody mary, eat all the rich, European food you love and then shrug when the thing is over in a 0-0 tie and go take a nap.  The people's game!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Summer of Strawberries. In the middle (of the rhyme)

Holy cowtown, it be raining strawberries on Uptown.


Our strawberry jar is quite full of little misshapen mini strawberries and I love them all.


I am mildly concurnicus that there are some squirrels around who also love them, but that's fine - I only eat July home-grown strawberries.


Everything my mother said was right (per usual), they are so amazingly easy. Just some water and some sunshine and a few positive growing vibes sent in their direction.

I have not eaten any of them yet, I remember the first batch of last year's strawberries being so gross and sour. Next month I will know if the are more than just a pretty picture, but for now - the summer of strawberry is raging, get on it. 



Tuesday, June 10, 2014

A Happy Monday


I do not normally invite people out for drinks on a Monday night. Mondays are for bras-off-pajamas-on laptops-on-laps loafing until you can work up the energy to go to bed. 

So maybe it's because it is summer. Or I was on Facebook at the very right moment. Or I just wanted one day of not carrying my yoga mat to work. Or that I love spending time with my new co-workers, and my family, and am always up for a free drink. 

I said "let's go." 

And they all said, "yes. Let's."

Angel's Envy puts on the Monthly Muddle at a swank Chicago bar the second Monday of every month. They find three b.a. bartenders to make three drinks each, then you go and you get to sample some drinks and then buy some more. Then you eat other people's french fries. 

Like so many things, I am kicking myself that I didn't get my act together to go sooner. Check the Angel's Envy facebook page to get in on this next time around.

I am so happy we went out. I am so happy we tried fancy drinks. I'm so happy we talked through big, important things even though I still (forever) feel like "the new girl." 

All Mondays should end feeling this good. One out of many isn't too bad.

To happy Mondays and homemade horrchada. 

Monday, June 09, 2014

And one more...

This weekend had so many fun amazing things happen.  The very most fun and amazing is the introduction of the newest member of the Grandipants Team.


Miso came to us all the way from Tree House Humane Society (which is conveniently located around the corner) where she was named Pockets. We have been talking about getting a kitten since Boyfriend bought the apartment, and finally we had a whole Saturday to spend picking out our favorite and helping her get adjusted.

She is hanging out in our guest room and when she is not hiding under the dresser, she can be found hiding in the carrier or under the bed. She is doing better about coming out and visiting us when we go into say Hi and she is a big fan of lap sitting, just like her big sister.

Big sister, Hazel, knows something is up because she is being extra adorable and snuggly since we brought Miso home. She spends a lot of time looking intently at the guest room door and trying to stick her paw under it. With any luck she will realize that Miso is her mini-me and they will be best friends.

This has been a fun experiment if for nothing else, it is giving us a small sneak peek into how we are going to do with parenting - cutthroat competition for who can be loved the most by the baby.  We are both trying to be very cool about it, but we are absolutely counting how many minutes the kitten spends in a lap before moving to the next one. I have taken most of the snuggling duties while Boyfriend is in charge of cat-toy usage.

The people at Tree House are the best. Their cats are the best and you can even watch the kittens on the internet - Kitten Cam, it is like Panda Cam, except you can totally take one home with you. They will try to convince you that you take maybe two or three, but stay strong - the cats may not outnumber the people, no matter what Sydney the cat lady tells you.

We are super excited for Hazel to have another non-human companion to keep her company, we just hope she is as excited as we are. Miso has been practicing being adorable to win her over.


Thursday, June 05, 2014

Be Happy 2014: Binge and Purge

Summer makes me want to hug everyone.

I spent so much time outside in May. It was full of cartwheels and glorious.


In June I plan to keep enjoying sunshine as much as humanly possible. The trick to bonus outside time is eating dinner out there. And then just watching people go by and be grateful for these moments of warm weather.

June will also be a month of doing everything. All the yoga, all the meals, all the opportunities to stay out late and regret it the next morning, all the patios and getting tan.

June will also be a month of getting rid of stuff. We're purging closets and unpacked boxes and pieces of furniture we will never use again (adios papasan chair!).  Of course, this means new things will come into replace them eventually (bonjour new living room armchair!) but for now we are enjoying shedding things and fitting just perfectly into our home.

Happy summer!




Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Sleepytime post

I need to remember to write in the morning some times. Because other wise we end up with nights like these, where its 10:30, and I've been working for twelve hours and all I want is to crawl into my bed and wake up sometime tomorrow afternoon.

Sadly, thats not how this will shake out for me but its okay. I am cool with it - it just means no real blog post, just this place holder.

I need someone to tell me how to get my brain to stop automatically checking facebook. Its a reflex and I need to turn it off. If I took all the minutes I spend on facebook in a day and piled them together, it would make an amount of time that I could actually get something done.

But this isn't the time or the place for that.  This is the time and the place for washing face and going to bed.

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

A decade of talking about feelings

Ten years ago, today, I was already up to my chin in what would be an absolutely life changing summer. I am known to throw around the hyperbole pretty loosey-goosey over here, but as I look back on my development into human-hood, the summer of 2004 stands out as a 1-UP-mushroom game changer for life.

It comes down to having the opportunity to invent myself. I had never really had the chance to be new anywhere where people cared. The person I was in high school was just a slightly taller version of the neurotic, precocious asshole third grader I had been, despite the fact that I now had boobs and a quickly developing dry wit. No one cared if I had become a better human, they all knew me and had written me off (except for my friends. You four are the best).

In New York, I had time to perfect the version of myself that I had been cultivating. But I was also busy cultivating keeping our electricity on and learning how to be a functioning roommate instead of a slobby asshole. The summer of 2004 was where all the practice of being a person paid off. I was not the best version but I was finally, a version of me that I liked more than any of the other previous iterations.  It was nice.

Also, let's be real, it was a summer of hedonism. Booze, pasta, lack of pants.  I subsisted off of alcohol and whatever other people would feed me, with the occasional peanut butter sandwich. I lived in a room with a girl who I delighted in despising. She was a fine person, but it was more fun to hate her and make drama (though, with that in mind, we got along great for two people who shared a 10'x4' cell that was only ever 100 degrees F). And it was a summer of shitty things too. Some not-nice things happened. There were so many tears, and not-nice words. But even those moments are tucked away with, "I am happy these happened, they made me a better version of me."

I learned that life should be lived, if for nothing else, "just for the story." Most of my favorite, best, oft-retold stories are from those brief and shining months free from responsibility and left to make choices that felt right in the moment. So I almost drove a car into a house, and made my friend do a shot of cooking oil, and poured hot wax on another friend's chest by accident.

I lived with people that, somehow, to this very day are in my top 10 of favorite people. I also lived with people who I have never seen since, and that is just as awesome. They came into my life for this one shining moment, with their kittens and their Mormonism and their ginger boyfriends.

It would have been totally different if I went to actual college, if I had four years of what I got all in one summer. I probably would not hold this summer up on quite such a large and sparkley pedestal, but I feel like I almost prefer it that way (which is good because our time machine is in the shop).

Since the end of May, I have been thinking about this post, and these memories. I have been reliving it with some of the cast of characters but mostly alone, enjoying reflecting on a time that feels so far away, and yet, not that long ago. I also am grateful/wistful/thoughtful that this all happened before facebook was even a twinkle in our eye. So the only picture I could find online of it is this one.


Which is pretty perfect (despite the fact that my shirt looks really weird). I am fairly sure I had no idea how that camera worked. It is only because of this turd nugget of a magnificent human being this even happened. Stupid Mikey Pits putting ideas in my head and instigating dumb shit like this.

While it is only in retrospect, I am always and forever (ie- never), tryna hang out.

Monday, June 02, 2014

Humor in sadness and gravity.

I have so many blog posts backed up in the mental queue. I have all the things that I am thinking about and I haven't told you guys about my stupid strawberries in ages.

Anyway, that all has to wait because I have to tell you how super-bummed Boyfriend and I were last night when all of a sudden our three-peat dreams were dashed and the Blackhawks had to leave their own ice with that walking-on-skates-shuffle of a loser.

It didn't seem fair. All that work, all that coming back from behind, all those goals and on our own ice. Of course, after the first shock and disappoint set in, the next voice was the little one that whispered, "this is probably how the Bruins felt last year,"

So we're off to a pretty sad start to our week. Its hard to be on the losing end, especially when you get so close and the playing is so exciting and good. So we'll take a seat and watch the rest and get amped for 2015.

But, the silver lining to this cloud is very obviously this vine. Every time I watch it I giggle.

Go Rangers.


Thursday, May 29, 2014

TBIF: Don't take my word for it

I am 100% over the moon for this Reading Rainbow kickstarter.

I cannot remember a time in my life that I did not love books and reading. I am forever grateful for my parents who encouraged books to be a part of our lives, by making it a part of our entire family.

Now that we are older, books are still a part of our family. They get purchased as gift for someone, as an excuse to read them ourselves, then passed around the family. There are books that I got as gifts that have never actually spent anytime on my shelf (which is fine, I feel completely comfortable taking books of any number of shelves and never returning them - it all works out in the end).

I cannot imagine not having this relationship with books. I can't imagine a life not full to the brim of stories I have read and the comfort that comes with a book in my hand.  While I did not need Reading Rainbow's peer pressure to try books for the first time, it gave me security in knowing that this love I had for books was a great thing.  And I watched it joyously, just as I watched Seaseme Street, 3, 2, 1 Contact, and Ghostwriter (PBS did a damn good job raising kids in the 80's and early 90's. Thanks guys). I know there are kids out there who discovered reading through the show and for that I think the world is a much better place.

I am tickled pink that the Reading Rainbow Kickstarter has already blown itself out of the water because there are so many people, like me, who recognize the value of reading as a joy rather than a test-able subject in school. People who are nostalgic. People who love LeVar Burton (he is so very, very lovable). People who love a good coffee mug (I am way too excited about this mug).

I also know there are people who more skeptical about this whole thing. People who do not trust the internet, or celebrities, or crowd-sourced anything. And I completely understand and respect that.

To those people, I say, give your money that maybe would have gone to this to Open Books. My favorite literacy program in Chicago. Open Books give kids the joy of reading with bonus joy of writing included at no extra cost. They make living life better for kids in Chicago. The programs are focused on reading and writing as a thing to treasure rather than one more thing to worry about failing.  And if you feel like you are being scammed if you don't get anything in return for your donation - go down to the Open Books Bookstore and buy yourself something nice. All the money from the store goes back into their amazing Chi-city programs.

I feel like there are so few things left in this world that we can just enjoy without worrying about how its going to kill us (food, the water in Lake Michigan, hugging people) that reading should be something that is pushed for its capacity to make the world a better place.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

On Birds and Words

I had truly no idea how hard the news of Maya Angelou dying would hit me. I guess I had never really considered it until I was faced with it - and it just hit me like a ton of sadness bricks.

How people managed to pick their one favorite Angelou quote boggled my mind. I could no sooner pick a favorite cupcake. Why would you limit yourself to just one?

I am grateful to my AP Lang and Comp teacher for introducing us to Phenomenal Woman. For telling all the boys to shut their yappers when they said it was stupid (oh weird, another theme to this terrible week) and for those of us who heard it, she encouraged us to listen as hard as we could.

So I want to take a moment and say Thank you to Maya Angelou for putting words together in a way that had the capacity to stop my heart and made me feel through every single pore.

Thank you for living your life and letting us share it. Thank you for inspiring so many writers and readers by being you and no one else.


Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Emdeedubs

I feel like we start the wait for Memorial Day Weekend the second week in November. Once the temperature dips, we know it's time to get our mama bear on and snuggle up in the cave until that sweet siren odor of grilling meat and sunblock calls us back to the world of the fun.

It is also the hardest three day weekend to jump back from - who wants to work on the Tuesday after Memorial Day when there is glorious sunshine that we just got to spend three whole days playing in? 

This year it was even worse because our long weekend started on Wednesday and the party did not stop until this morning when it cops-showed-up-beers-run-out-parents-come-home-eeerrrrkkk-on-the-record-player stopped and real life started again...


Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Friendly Ground

Today we are skipping town to go watch my baby sister 'Bear graduate from college. Obviously, this makes me incredibly old and I'm working through all my old-person emotions.

The best way to do this is with booze, obviously.


When I was ordering this balanced breakfast, I asked the bartender if I could take this back to my gate to enjoy while stealing the wireless from Boyfriend's phone.

"Of course, young lady, you can take this wherever you want. Welcome to the South Side of Chicago."

My heart bubbled with Chicago pride. We booze when we want (8:30 a.m. on a Wednesday), where we want (the gate because airport bars are sad) and how we want (it was only 40 cents extra to get Kettle One. Hell. Yes).

As I reflect back on my college graduation which was EIGHT YEARS AGO OMG. I am so grateful for the opportunities I had and the choices I made that led me to such a great town.

Cheers.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Are we at 10 truisms yet?

I think we wait until the last possible second to pack, not because we want to, but because it has been so long - we don't know of any other way to do it.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Mary Kay Vox Box review

Guys. I owe you some words about Mary Kay. Influenster was nice enough to send me the Mary Kay Glam Vox Box so I could realize a couple things.

One. The lighting in my bathroom is ferociously terrible.


Two. I make weird faces. 

Three. This lip gloss is On. Point. It goes on a little too glossy for my personal taste, but it lasts with a nice every day red that seems to work with everything.

Four. Gel eyeliner is so scary, but so FUN. Right eye over there is made up to the nines with the Lash Love Mascara, Gel Eyeliner, and Cream eye color (in apricot twist). So fun!

Five. There are so many more goodies in this box that I am going to be tweeting about like whoa. 

In conclusion - Mary Kay is not make-up for old ladies. Mary Kay is make up for all ladies who like really great quality make up at a decent price. Plus anything I can buy while wearing sweat pants is pretty great. Call your local Mary Kay lady (trust me, you have one) and get on this business.  And some day I will learn how to not look totally awkwardsauce in pictures.




Friday, May 16, 2014

Face Off.

Influenster sent along the super amazing Mary Kay Glam VoxBox and I've been loving playing with all the goodies that came in the box.


I owe the universe a blog about how amazing all these things are (because they are - the cream eyeliner, omg). But right now, I kind of hate my face. I know that it is the one that I am always going to have so it is time to start loving it, but right now? not so much.

So have a good weekend. On Monday I will put my game face (heh) face on and tell you all about how Mary Kay is not just for old ladies any more. Until then, recognize that everyone has an ugly day (or few days) some times even when they are on the internet.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

TBIF: No words

One of my favorite silly obsessions is words that do not have a direct English translation. There is even one I am considering getting tattooed on my body for forever because I love it so much.

Of course, the internet took one of my favorite things and made it even better by adding pictures.

Anjana Iyer's Found in Translation series. Its hard to pick a favorite, but this one spoke to me.


God bless the Norwegians for knowing how important this is and being able to label it. I'm super excited that she still has 50-some days left. I cannot wait to see the rest of the words.

Maptia did a similar series based on the book Through the Language Glass (which is now at the top of my to-read list).


Happy words!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Little Bee

So Grandipants got a little more social media buzz than normal today and it is giving me all the anxiety.

I like to pretend that no one reads this because it makes me far less nervous about creating quality content. However when I am so rudely accosted with praise and encouragement and tweets from random authors (as in like, actual people who have written books, which I guess I now have to read #awkward) I start to get panicky.

Because eventually, some day I will be forced to deal with the fact that I should be trying harder in this virtual space. That I can probably do better if I were to try just that much harder. It all comes back to figuring out what I am trying to say. What is my message?

Not sure guys. But for those of you who are reading - thanks. I appreciate it when you say nice things. And even if you just occasionally think them, I am grateful. It is nice to know that people enjoy this - whatever it is. And just know, I am thinking and trying and considering how to make it better for you.


Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Train Talk.

My love for public transit is strong and everlasting. Despite the requisite transition to Ventra (which was so lame), the overcrowded red line and the vanishing Damen bus, I love it until the day I die.

However, I am never, ever interested in engaging in conversation with strangers on public transit. The train is for sitting quietly. The bus is also for sitting quietly. Its for books and music in headphones and playing on your phone.  If you happen to be on the train with people you know, then some idle chatter is fine. If you run into someone you know, then a catch up session is fine too (if only because it makes excellent eavesdropping fodder for those of us around you). 

I do not ever want to talk with you on the train. I do not care if the train stops, or is crowded, or if it is raining. The exceptions to this rule are if there is something so insane, so crazyballs that it needs to be addressed to ensure that neither party is dreaming it up. 

"Oh my god, is that a freaking BIRD on the train?" (this is my favorite worst story still)

Beyond that, no talking. When you talk to me, I assume you are trying to steal my stuff, hit on me, or are perhaps an unhinged lunatic. 

This, of course, says more about me than it does about you. It says that I spent my prime commuting years in a city full of unhinged lunatics hitting on me and trying to steal my stuff on the train. It says that I am not trying to make friends. My transplant status means I continue to lack the folksy midwest standards you all were born with. 

Of course, I am completely #sorryIamnotsorry because seriously, if I wanted to make friends, I would hang out at Mad River until girls sat me down and told me they had talked it over and told me they wanted to be my friend. Or, I would go to Girl Scout sleep away camp. Either way, on the train I just want to get from place to place and perhaps do a little reading or facebook stalking and that is totally normal.

Think of the train as just a giant car that we are all in separately. Feel good about yourself for not destroying the planet, but don't feel the need to tell me all about it.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Be Happy 2014. Failure to Unlaunch (and some sunshine)

It feels like the month of April took approximately 100 years. Perhaps because it is already Mid-May, despite the fact that I feel like it is still May 2nd.

April was my first collosal failure in the Be Happy challenge. I told myself I would unplug, disconnect, turn off and focus on what is in front of me. I lasted about 10 days before I found myself putting facebook back on my phone - simply because it is a habit. A bad habit I cannot break. On the bus, waiting for people in a bar, waiting for a meeting to start Facebook makes me feel like I am connected.  I know I am not, but it fills the waiting minutes better than most things.

And once I reinstalled it, it was only a matter of days before my phone was back out even after people had arrived in these places where I had made the excuse of, "I was waiting." I check it without thinking. I check it like I check the time, like I crack my nuckles or stand my with my leg in passe (true story, standing like this is the best and most comfortable for my hip alignment).

And I think perhaps, I could have forced myself to stay away, if it didn't seem like everyone else is always on their phones. We as a civilization (with some notable exceptions) are just on.our.phones. And it is so much harder to stop with the crystal meth when your friends are basically Badger and Skinny Pete.

That being said, its not an entire failure. I have seen this clip a couple times, but every time it resonates with me. I am so terrified of that empty sad inside part of me (I think because I am pretty in touch with it and hyper aware of its existance). But it has to, eventually be okay.

 

I know May is half over, so it seems silly to set a goal for this month, but it has worked out really well that this has been/will continue to be pretty amazing. So I am putting into place one of my goals for the whole summer.

It has been the winter of falling sadness for the past three million years (guys, I am not 100% sure if I know how years work) and now it is finally gorgeous outside almost all the time.

For example, it is 8:23 pm as I write this and I am on my porch. It is literally the perfect temperature outside. There was a threat of rain, but all its done is take the edge off the humitity from earlier and make it basically perfect evening weather.

After spending so many months depressed as all get out about the state of weather affairs in Chicago, I refuse to take this amazing business for granted. So there will be late night writing (and reading and talking) sessions on the porch, and walks through the neighborhood, and lunches in the park. May is the month of creating good outdoor summer habits to hold onto until September forces them away. 

Friday, May 09, 2014

TBIF on Friday = Friday Finds, full of flowers

Last night I fell asleep before I could get my act together to write this blog, but I was too excited to skip a day and/or skip telling the 4.7 people who read this blog about this amazing company.

My favorite go-to lady for whiskey drinks and romantic entanglement stories, KK, shared this on the fassse-boouuk.

Flowers for Dreams

As someone who has ordered several bouquets and received two (#humblebrag) in the past few weeks, I have spent a lot of time being disgusted by the ticketmaster-esque gouging by florists.

Not anymore, mi amigo.

Flowers for Dreams has a flat rate system. Something says $35, you pay $35 (+tax because #chicago). Its a game changer, folks. Not only that, but a portion of however much you spend on flowers goes to their monthly charity partner, so you can feel good about buying flowers for someone because 1- You're being nice to a single person and 2- You're being nice to humanity. Extra double bonus points.

Also, in case you were confused, their bouquets are gorgeous. You have some capacity to select the flowers you want (although, they're flowers - if people get bitchy about getting the "wrong kind," they don't deserve them) but their limited selection is why they are priced so reasonably. Also now you don't have to pretend like you know something about flowers.

Now for the sad news - they are a Chi-town (and surrounding areas) exclusive. You may only have this if you have ridden the struggle bus through Chibera and now want to live a Spring/Summer chock-full of flowers and delight.

Is it wrong that I want to buy myself flowers all the time now? It is for a good cause, right? Also, Friendly reminder if your mom lives in the 606-area you should buy her some good-for-the-world flowers.

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Three Books. One Shame.

As I mentioned on Monday, I managed to coast through three books in the past couple weeks.  Two of which I flew through, the other one that took me ages and ages, partly because I kept reading other things because I didn't want it to end.

(turns out kindles make for bad blog photos, that kindle screen says How We Do Harm: A Doctor Breaks Rank About Being Sick in America).

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay takes some patience at the beginning. You have to want it. Keep reading and you will be eternally grateful for the opportunity to go on this journey and you will be sad.

How We Do Harm confirms the fact that everything in America is the worst particularly in terms of Healthcare. Not only are we being scammed by health insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies, but also apparently doctors. So that's a new thing to be worried about.

A Long Way Gone has been on our bookshelf for years and I finally opened it and then read it in about three days. If you're looking a direct punch to the gut and some real rude perspective, give this guy a whirl. Yikes. You will be #firstworldprobz-all over the place.

So after three brutally emotional sadbadnot-glad books in a row I needed a palate cleanser and luckily there was one on the shelf.


Guys, first things first - this book is terrible.

You know how you have that friend who name drops like, as much as humanly possible (note: I might be that friend sometimes. I am working on it)? This book is just "how many Nantucket-y things can I mention on one page?" I love it but I hate that I love it.

Also, its got that Dan Brown device where you feel like a genius because you solve everything fifteen pages before the characters do. How does someone write people that stupid?

And it is Salacious. What you may not know about me is that I a giant blushing prude. All kissing makes me uncomfortable anything more scandalous and I am sure that everyone on the train knows that people are totally naked in this book. I just want to die.

It's gotten away from the "Reginald's quivering member" themes and now is just absurdest mystery. But, I can't stop. I will read this whole book and then if someone wants to get boozey with me and talk about the overarching themes and Elin Hilderbrand's place in the cannon of post-modern feminist literature, I am in.

Sometimes after a flavorful, huge, delicious meal you just want some month-old Easter candy.

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Summer of Strawberry. Part just after the beginning

Guys. I am here to tell you that I am cuh-rushing this take-care-of-a-strawberry thing despite the fact that it is not quite actually summer.



Look at that luscious green monster. So healthy and well-watered. I am so excited that things seem to be going really well in the growing leaves department.


And look! Everything I have read says that flowers = eventual edible bites.  So I am just going to sit here until these guys expecto-patronum themselves into things I can dip in chocolate.


Sadly, there is a bit of sadness. In a terrible wind/other plant lid/fate accident one of the little guys did not make it. We will miss you little guy. We will especially miss the fact that there is no way to replant anything in your place.

She's pint-sized and amazing.