Friday, February 28, 2014

Friday slump.

It has been an up-and-down week over here at, as you can clearly tell by this week's posts.  It's the cold, it's work, it's everything.

But! Boyfriend had a killer first birthday celebration last night complete with Honey Butter Fried Chicken (get in mah belly) and Magnolia Cupcakes (always this. Always). So things are going to be okay.

Also, this guy has really been getting me through the week.

I hate to say it, but I straight stole him from the internet. I sent him to a co-worker who was leaving and then made him my desktop (then I over-ed him for the blog). He is the best.

Guys, what should I name him?
Something to ponder this weekend...

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Boyfriend turns 29.

Twenty-nine things I like about Boyfriend (in honor of his 29th birthday):

1: He is always up for a giant delicious breakfast full of waffles and goodness.

2: He lets me put my cold feet on him in bed.

3: He lets me watch Downton Abbey on the big TV and hardly ever makes fun of it.

4: He is really into his bread maker.

5: The one time he got triple mega bonus points on the Indiana Jones pinball machine at Excalibur in Las Vegas he said I was his good luck charm.

6: He lets me sit on the couch when I am hot power fusion yoga-sweaty.

7: He researched the best way to store bananas. It's that important to him.

8: He cleans the litter box when I forget to (which is most times).

9: He thinks I'm sweet.

10: He hardly ever makes fun of me for that time I did a triple pirouette in the dining room and fell down so bad I sprained my wrist. 

11: He knows what he wants from life (we are working on knowing what he wants for dinner).

12: His best friend is one of my best friends. But they do all the stupid boy stuff together so I don't have to do it.

13: His patience and steadiness in the face of my manic fear and doubt. 

14: He taught me all the Notre Dame cheers and doesn't get mad when I yell, "suck it, Wolf Pack!" even when they aren't playing Nevada.

15: The first time he held my hand in The Dark Knight and I felt a fire bolt travel up my fingers and arm and through my whole body.

16: He likes a good adventure and things wrapped in bacon.

17: He knows how Excel works. Like really knows. It's impressive.

18: He lets me drink from his glass because I am too lazy to get my own.

19: He lets me be the funny one. 

20: That one time he rode the Everest roller coaster at Animal Kingdom twice in a row even though he almost threw up.

21: He lets me sleep in the car.

22: He refuses to let my inner demons win.

23: He always gives me at least half of his pickle.

24: He loves Hazel more than I love Hazel. They are the best of companions.

25: He is actually the funny one. The funniest one.

26: He always makes coffee.

27: He makes my heart feel like it might burst right out of my chest. 

28: The oven mitts that look like space gloves he got me as a prize from the Orlando airport.

29: He is my favorite person to go to sleep next to, to wake up next to, to eat new food with, to watch old TV until midnight with, to fight with, to miss, to go home to, to celebrate one more year of this with--

Happy Birthday, Boyfriend. I love living the good life with you.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014


It is absolutely crazy the sheer number of excuses I can come up with to not do the things I do not want to do.

Is being a grown-up doing them anyway? Because that is not happening. If you need me or my need-to-be-washed hair, we'll be avoiding our to-do list and reading a book.

And by "reading a book," I absolutely mean, obsessively pouring over the Paddington Bear collection from Baby Gap. Oh my polka-dotted-blue-rain-cape!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Past lemon squared

I am thankful that I have so many opportunities to return to one of my favorite old work sites.

My experience of working in this amazing Chicago institution is one I treasure and only left because someone else pulled the trigger on the magic words (health insurance) first. 

Tonight getting to be the +1 of my most favorite as he did me proud representing for the collections team and as a dynamo volunteer captain was the perfect way to revisit the old haunt. 

Drinks and stories and ghosts and lemon squares - it made me so happy and reminded me that the reasons we work so hard not to burn bridges aren't always abundantly clear in the moment.

We put on a good face and smile when we would rather scream because eventually it will all make sense in its roundabout way. 

Never burn a bridge that might eventually have lemon squares and champagne at the end. 

Monday, February 24, 2014

Spring Splurge

I cannot wait for Spring. I just want to crawl under my fuzzy blanket and sleep until April.

In an effort to remind myself that it will not always be cold and miserable, I spent approximately all the dollars on these perfect wedge sandals that I will wear every day and twice on Sundays once the mercury finds its way to the top of the thermometer.

I am slightly miffed that the Michael Kors store sells these for more than their website, but 20% of the price went to a very good cause.

I am so excited for sundresses and sunglasses and tanned legs and painted toes and these sweet puppies. Come at me Spring!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Claire Underwood 2016

Now that House of Cards Season 2 has been around for a week, we have all seen the entire thing and have had time to muse on all the deepermeanings of what it all means (One Week. Remember when this sort of bullshit took like six months? I love living in the future).

Please note that there is nothing super spoilery in this blog, there are hella spoilers in the links below. And this won't really make sense until you watch all of Season 2 anyway.

There has been all sorts of talk on the character of Claire Underwood. Here. Here. There. And then Here again. It was the last link that got brought to my attention and then sent my brain spinning all day (because once the USA hockey team lost, it was too sad to do real work).  After reading all of it, and mulling over a large glass of wine, I am still at the very same conclusion I arrived to this afternoon (and I hate that I cannot think of a better way to say it, because this is going to sound like a Woman's Studies 101 thesis) -

We are only mad and happy and talking about this because she is using mens' rules to play a woman's game.

Ugh. Kill me twice for not being more creative.

But hear me out.

First things first. Claire Underwood is a fictional character on TV. This means she is not an actual person. She is a really good looking personification of an ideology. She is a bundle of theories and opinions with a killer wardrobe (and if a dude could rock an asymmetrical collar like that, I'd give him props too. Equal opportunity applauder over here) and that is something that should be remembered as we talk about things she did (that she didn't actually do, because she is not real) or said (that she didn't actually say because none of it is real).

The essence of Claire is she is going to get what she wants (in fact, that is pretty much the essence of all humanity, it is the reason we exist, why we have laws, why we break laws, why we do anything, really).

And the way she gets these things is by praying on people's weaknesses. Guess what guys, we all do this too. Some of us have better intentions than others and go about it in better ways, but we say what people want to hear to get what we want (like jobs, and engagement rings, and bills brought to the senate floor).

The thing is - women TEND to do this in a passive way. They tend to find a way to get what they want with positive reinforcement (men, to a certain extent, are also pretty good about knowing that girls like being told they are smart and beautiful).

HOWEVER, the reason Claire is such a B.A.M.F. is that she knows the real way to get you to do what she wants you to do is to by going for the weakest point, the pregnant lady's, the first lady's, and the American peoples'.

And we hate that because we are scared of it. We are scared of being "not nice." And men are particularly terrified of women who are "not nice." The word nice kind of makes me crazy. Shouldn't we want to be considered strong and powerful rather than nice?

I like this character because I have constantly felt boxed in by the fear that someone will think I am not nice. I don't do things that I want to do because of how it might make others perceive me. I would often rather hurt myself than others and I have hard time believing I am alone in this.

Claire Underwood is a role model because she lives without that fear. She has courage to put those fears aside and recognize that you can have both and it may come as a detriment to others, but like I said before - her job is to get what she wants and she does it flawlessly.

Except, please remember, she is not real - so she is not actually anything except a writer's imagination in Louboutins.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

TBIF: Iceland is my friend

Last night I had the delightful opportunity to talk to my most favorite Teeny on the eve of her trip to Iceland. I made so many demands of her Iceland time (rye ice cream was at the top of the list) but mostly I just wanted her to love it for me because I'm so far away and busy.

Anyway, I spent most of the day wishing that I could just drop everything and get on the next flight to hang out with her, but since I couldn't (being a grown-up is the worst), I revisited some of my favorite Iceland internet finds.

The Iceland on Tumblr (Iceland wants to be your friend) blog is one of the best things on the internet. It is happiness in Tumblr form.

This Inspired by Iceland music video might be the best tourism video I have ever seen. Also, the Holocene video from Bon Iver makes my heart hurt in the best way.

Of course, feel free to read my entire Iceland saga.

Think about how much fun Teeny is having and wish you were having it too. Then book your trip to Iceland.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014


So, my goal to use a planner to blog isn't working out, not because of any fault of the plan itself, but because I have not committed to carrying the planner around because it is just one.more.thing in my always-full bag.

Which leads me to believe that my brain may have gone completely electronic in the past year. The act of writing things down only applies to work to-do lists. I'm starting to do my second-best writing in the notes app of my phone (my first-best writing will always be up in my head).

It's a bummer because my commitment to the system that is failing means that I find myself struggling for blog topics.

So today, because I'm sick and haven't showered and am still wearing my pjs (classy lady) you get a blog about how I am failing to blog how I want to.

Also, here is one of my favorite old blog posts: Moral of the Story. I was 21 and I had what I thought were actual problems. But they were no more "actual" then the lame complain-y white girl problems I have now.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Trumpets and trains

Every day on my way to and from work there is a man in the pedway playing the trumpet. He plays along with a backing track and while I do not consider myself a trumpet officianado, he sounds pretty good at 8:30 am and at 6:00 pm which is impressive because that's a long time to be jamming on a brass instrument. 

Today on my way to the train home, a smile spread across my tired grouchy-face when I found that Mr. Trumpet had found a friend. A kid who could not have been older than thirteen was there with his trumpet and regulation middle school black hard case. 

The smile remained as I created the story in my head to how they came to be playing these sweet concerto tunes on this underground sidewalk. 

For a moment, my heart was full of love for Chicago, the home for unlikely friendships formed by unlikely music.

Then I arrived on a red line platform backed up on both ends with no train promised for another seven minutes. All that love was gone in an instant. Even faster than an instant when I realized I was going to be waiting another seven minutes after that because no equation of physics or area would get me on that first promised train. 

This is me and Chicago in the winter. This is how we do when it's eight below. This love that stretches and grows in ways I could not even image, before snapping back like a rubber band leaving me with a stinging thumb and a sour disposition. 

There can only be two more months of this right? Eventually the snow has to melt and I have to be able to stop trying to make two scarves happen (it is never going to happen). 

Until then, I hope for more trumpets and more trains.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Encouraging hearts

Today involved playing hooky from work, hours and hours of House of Cards and a very important brunch.

Its not my place to spread other people's business on the internet, but I had a conversation over eggs and endless coffee that weighs on my heart.

While sometimes I find the right words, today found me needing some support. Thank goodness for the internet.

I mostly use Pinterest for recipes and clothes I'll never buy - but occasionally, I stumble on words that resonate - and I turn to them in moments like these when my own fail me.

For one of my favorite souls who is struggling with a hurt heart, here are some words to think on...

Friday, February 14, 2014

Valentine's Day last minute small and sweet gift guide

If you are looking for a last minute Valentine's Day present, look no further. I do not have many talents or skills, but I am a pro at the very cute, very thoughtful, very simple present.

This is the Valentine's Day version, but you can use this guide for birthdays, Arbor Day, Kwanzaa, whenever you feel a gift is in order.

Also, if you're feeling a little frisky while reading this tutorial, feel free to sing along to one my favorite love songs, Dickin a Box.  But seriously, your actual first step is to get yourself to Target. I know big box stores are evil, but you are going to find everything you need and it's going to be quick and easy (just like your mom, hey'yo!).

Target always has these boxes in the dollar bin and they're adorable. Get a holiday-specific one, or just a cute one that you like. I was digging this gold and cream and with a pink ribbon, c'est parfait.

Everyone loves candy, right? If you have someone on your list who does not love candy then get them some packs of gum, or little to-go granola bars or bags of trail mix.  Something small because this fills the bottom of your little box.

I picked these raspberry hershey hugs that I had never seen before (which are pretty delicious and perfectly pink), and some really cute Lindt Hello bars. We may have done a taste-test of these bars to make sure they were not poison and they are AMAZING. And so freaking adorable. Nice to Sweet You? Get out of town adorable, delicious Lindt.

I am a big believer in practical presents. Just because you're giving a gift does not mean it has to be totally whimsical and useless. For this type of present I try to do two different sized presents.

My recommendations include:

  • Tights or GOOD socks. Not everyone can pull of hot pink tights like my good friend Jilly (the receiver of this box) can. But everyone can use some super warm smart-wool type socks. You can do holiday specific socks if you want, but people are going to love you more if you buy socks that are not chained to being worn one day a year. Even just pink or red socks would be fine.
  • Magnetic notepads. Can never have enough of these. Always useful and can be regifted without you feeling bad. Everyone always needs somewhere to write things down.
  • Cute, small kitchen appliances. My secret admirer (aka, Merlin, my mom's cat) got me this zester and I am on cloud 9. I needed a zester and I never thought to buy one, but now I just have it and my lime tart will be better for it. Garlic mincers or presses are always a good choice. If you have a friend with a Kitchen-Aid, find a cool extra blade/attachment that they might not have and pick that up. 
  • Eos chapstick (or Burts Bees, but if you are going for a color theme thing, Eos is your best bet).
  • Cute pink or red nail polish. Essie makes a billion colors perfect for any occasion. Have fun spending 45 minutes in front of the nail polish display picking out your favorite.
  • A delicious chocolate bar (this should really go without saying). More chocolate is always a good idea. Or some throw-back candy, like Fun-Dip. Remember Fun-Dip?!
  • For boys (if you buy boys present) - a little red race car (yes, even grown-up boys will get enjoyment out of a race car, the love of Matchbox never dies).
  • One of those cups with straw that everyone has now, or one of the $1 Starbucks coffee cups.
If you know something that they desperately need (measuring cups, new underwear, dog treats) feel free to throw one of those in, something cute and small.

If you Fancy, you can get a card. But a cute post it note does the job (these are from Pea Pod Paper and Gifts).

And you're done. Simple, thoughtful, and adorable. 

My Valentine and I are working all day then rushing to hop a plane where we will enjoy complimentary boozy drinks (thanks Southwest!) and then spending the weekend meeting one of the newest additions to the family and eating at Boyfriend's favorite restaurant. The cafe in the National Museum of the American Indian

Any other great Valentine's Day hints and tricks to make things sweeter?

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Baby sober

Tonight for about 95 minutes, my best camp-friend Maimees and I were responsible for four kiddos, ages 9, 4, 2 and 9 months.

Every ounce of energy I had stored up from this day off was zapped by their constanty noise.

As we toasted over white wine and sushi, Maimees and I agreed that four kids was an insane number of kids to have. We were there for about three quarters of a televised football game. We could not even begin to imagine going home to that every night.

There are talks being had, in our urban family about what the next five years will look like, and right now it seems to be a pretty blank canvas, but tonight, officially, with our black-circled eyes and our left-over soy sauce, Maimees and I proclaimed, "Four kids is too many."

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

30 seconds to L.A.

A few weekends ago took us on our first trip out of Chicago in 2014 for which we are eternally grateful.

We literally *just* made it out. There was snow and surprise champagne and trying to catch a cab on Elston (a serious Chicago no-no).

But we made it to LAX and I immediately started taking off layers.

Here's the thing, normally, 50 degrees and dark is a little bit cold, but to a body that has been stranded in Chicago since the dawn of time, it was basically tropical.

We ended up staying in Santa Monica because all I wanted from this trip was lots and lots of beach time. We stayed at the Inn at Marina del Rey which has a sketchy-sketch vibe, but was a perfectly lovely hotel and even came with a bonus drunk and disorderly possible-prostitute who put on quite the show during breakfast on Saturday morning.

Saturday was BEACH.DAY.

Sixty glorious degrees and all the sun a girl could want.

We walked all the way from Venice Beach to Santa Monica which is pretty far, but felt absolutely amazing. We wandered around the Santa Monica Pier which was pretty lame for anyone over twelve, but we snuck in some arcade games before trying to find some lunch.

Lunch was provided by Border Grill. We thought about doing their all-you-can-eat brunch, but the thought of walking back to Venice Beach on an overly full stomach did not sit well, so we just had some tacos (the al pastor, fish taco, carne asade and chicken). If I had to chose between the Border Grill al pastor, and the Big Star al pastor taco I would probably die. Guys, why do pigs taste so good?

We walked through Abbot Kinney Blvd which was so delightful. I had already splurged on a new jacket within 30 seconds of getting to Santa Monica so I resisted buying anything, but there was so many fun things and it was nice to walk through something that wasn't a Gap, even if I could not really afford most of it.

We got back to Venice Beach just in time to catch a windy sunset and before walking to Chaya because the internet said we should go there. The internet has a very bland palate because it was fine, but not too exciting. There was lots of cheap booze though and that hid the fact that the food was kind of a snooze.

The next morning we woke up with a long itinerary. Here you go:

Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum: My very first Olympic stadium. I tried not to be too down-trodden by how down-trodden it was, but still, there is a stir in my heart when we walked up. I have that Olympic fever fo' life. Bonus excitement when we were pretty sure we were going to be arrested for trespassing. 

La Brea Tar Pits: Underwhelming, but a lovely place to drink a cup of coffee.

Walk of Fame/Grauman's Chinese Theater: I did not know any place could be worse than Times Square, but I found it. It's only redeeming quality was we discovered that we have the same size hands as Jennifer Aniston (me) and Harrison Ford (Boyfriend). There is a really lovely Farmers Market down the block from the theater that only had vegetables and no baked goods. It was this moment that I realized Hollywood was really kind of broken and weird.

Hike up to Griffith Observatory: totally worth the hike for a pretty great view of the city - plus if you make it all the way up without passing out you can eat all of the sandwiches when you get back down.

Travel Town: we ended up here on accident on our way to some other train place, and I hope that one was better because this one was lame. To be fair - we are like three days from cashing in social security - with one or two tots in tow, this place would be amazing. Lots of trains, lots of running around, and a train ride on a tee-tiny train. Don't bother unless you are a super train nerd or like a good excuse for selfies.

The Rose Bowl which just about crushed Boyfriend's dreams of the Rose Bowl, does it always look that terrible? They were clearly doing construction, but it is a sad stadium full of sad Badger losses.

From there it was a quick stop at the Grove to get my Dylan's Candy Bar fix because even when I am not think about it - I crave clodhoppers every day of my life. 

We managed to survive on snacks until getting to The Churchill for the Superbowl. The Churchill would clearly not consider itself a "sports bar," because despite our reservation for 4:30, when we arrived at 3:45 pm we snagged the very last table in the place with a not-so-great view of the TV, but a killer brunch menu that they were still serving. We landed the brussels sprouts pizza and the chicken and biscuits - both far, far better than any football game.

The next day was non-stop-Disney-til-you drop. I could write a whole blog just on how we are the winners of both Disney parks, but I will spare you. What I will say is if you have a choice, always pick Disney World over Disneyland.  The comparison is shameful. The Disneyland castle is weak. The day had its highlights of Boyfriend cutting in front of a kid to get his picture with a storm trooper.

If you are going to eat in Disneyland - we highly HIGHLY recommend the steak gumbo at the Royal Street Veranda and the fried green tomato sandwich (with sweet potato fries!) at the Hungry Bear.  If you are eating a cheeseburger then you are probably also the asshole who doesn't know how fast passes work and so I hate you and your entire matching-t-shirt-wearing family.

To wash that Disney taste out of your mouth, its time for the Getty. The water lilies and eavesdropping on a man teaching third graders about old furniture but mostly just soaking up as much vitamin D as possible in one of the prettiest, brightest spots in the city, also the tram. Double bonus points for the tram.

A really, really good bowl of Ramen for lunch at Tsujita and then back to the airport and back to Polar vortex sadness.

When we started exploring last year, we went in with the thought that this was an audition for a bunch of cities we might consider living in, which is why our travel decisions did not always make the most sense. Of course the one city we postponed is the first one where I found myself with a longer list in the "pro" column than the "con" one. It has its faults (build a light rail or something, guys), but I think we might have found our maybe-second-home. At any rate, this year's travel will mostly be repeats, but enjoy some add-ons to The Year(s) of Exploration.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Be Happy 2014. Eat Well.

I was dancing around this month's mission for a while, but luckily, I have been living it for the past week or so anyway.

I am going to eat good food. Food that makes me happy.

At first I thought I would make this about eating "healthy" food, but there are foods that I love that are not "healthy" and I have no interest in living in a world without dark chocolate (not this month anyway).

So instead, February is dedicated to eating what I love with the bonus of eating things that are Good. No frozen meals, no noodles wrapped in plastic, as few chemicals as I can manage.

I started out the month eating everything amazing in Los Angeles, followed by a weekend full of homemade delights with my favorite potluck ladies. The rest of the month promises to also be full of such treats on the weekends. It's all about keeping the momentum going during the week and figuring out how to eat good things, and doing it before 9:00 at night (which is when most homecooked meals end up on the table in this house).

Last night it was acorn squash with balsamic reduction and quinoa. Today it was veggies with quinoa, tofu and peanut sauce.

We're doing great and we'll do well.

Friday, February 07, 2014

Panda tumble Friday

I feel like most of us can empathize with this panda.

It is Friday. It is cold and snowy and awful. Let's just get through it and eat some snacks.

Thursday, February 06, 2014

On the edge of transit.

I love public transit. I really, really do. I am a life-long supporter of buses and trains, and I would be the happiest clam if I could live the rest of my life without ever owning a car despite the birds

But there are some days where I just cannot even handle how awful other people are and how bad they are at being on the train.

Please note this car is not even close to crowded. It's got that nice, 6:30, everyone-gets-their-fair-share-of-oxygen feel to it which is why there is NO REASON to be this close to me.

If you cannot read and hold onto a bar like a normal human then leave. You are fired. 

Also if you are going to be the most leeringly, creepy creeper that ever leered how about not reading a book with a terrifying face on it. And if you don't want to be labeled as a creeper, take one giant step back for mankind. 

How I wish I had the courage and the forthrightness to tell this man to back the truck up, but I cannot. I do not have this power. All I can do is take subtle pictures and write about it. Which makes me slightly creepy too, but in a justified way, right?

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Be Happy 2014. Read a book.

So far, my first mission of happiness has been a delightful success.

In honor of awards seasons (the most wonderful time of the year), here are the awards given out for the books I managed to read this month:

Best book that reminded me why my favorite author is my favorite author:

MaddAddam. During this really stupid webinar I listened to this afternoon about marketing strategies, the guy leading it said, "use a photo instead of text. Unless you are Margaret Atwood, your text will never be as good as a photo." Its true. This world she has created are sad and terrible, but I can see them. I know what they look like. Read all three books in the trilogy and think about the world we have created. Then be sad but also happy because good books make people happy and then go ahead and be kind of angry because you will never be that good, but be grateful that someone else is. Margaret Atwood makes you feel all the emotions.

Best book written by someone who once borrowed my hoodie:

The Shining Girls. I spent a Jan Term in Cape Town, South Africa. We had an amazing guide who told us where to go drink and told us to stop referring to it as "Africa" because it made us sound like assholes. After we got back to New York, we became facebook friends (as you do in 2005) and I was able to keep track of how successful she was at just about everything. This is the first book of hers that has been published that I have actually gotten to read, and it is about Chicago, which is always fun. It was gruesome in parts, to the point that I had to look away but worth the journey. Anyway, we went up Table Mountain and it was cold and so she borrowed my very loved Juicy Couture velor hoodie. And then she wrote a book.

Best book that kept me up at night (that was not worth it):

The Bloodletter's Daughter. The problem with the Kindle is it is too easy to buy books for 99 cents. I do not even have to carry them anywhere or open a box or anything. I do not think this book would have made it past the first page flip in a store, but with just the touch of the screen, boom. Anyway, this book is full of crazy historical business that I had never heard of before. Apparently some of it is true and I know I had heard the name Hapsberg before, so I will take it. The history nerd inside me paired with a nasty bout of late-nap insomnia resulted in me staying up until 2:30 finishing it. It was not worth it. The time would have been better spent on Pinterest, but whats done is done.

Best book that mentioned someone I know by name:

Meaty. This also gets an honorable mention for making me giggle on the train. Samantha Irby is amazing. I should have already known this because she is good friends with some of my favorite people. It is a big bummer that the name drop was not wonderful and happy but more sad and wistful. It was real just like the rest of the book. It was real, everything about it. Funny real, sad real. Samantha Irby is a delightful human being and now that I have made her laugh once in real life, I hope I get a chance to do it again.

Best book that makes me so sad I can barely breath (again):

And the Mountains Echoed. It is no Kite Runner and it is no A Thousand Splendid Suns, but even this bronze medal winner in Khaleed Hosseni's "also by the author" list is still so wonderfully sad and good. Kite Runner, while I am comparing the three might have actually been too sad. It was sobbing on a train in Brooklyn sad, which makes me, and the three gentleman on my train car very uncomfortable. This was a more comforting sadness. It nearly perfectly matched my dreary January mood. Nothing would ever be nice again and this book just proved it to me. His sadness makes me inexplicably warm though. Cathartic sadness for January.

Best book that kept me up at night (that was totally worth it):

The Ocean at the End of the Lane. I am trying very hard to train myself how to sleep on airplanes. Nearly every flight I try to force myself to sleep sitting up so that eventually I will be able to do it for six straight hours. Our flight to L.A. last Friday we almost did not make it, but we did so we celebrated with a drink and some complimentary oreos (hey, yo!) I also was reading this new Neil Gaiman and had considered trying to squeeze it in before the end of the 31st, but decided a training nap was more important. Just kidding. This book was my everything. It was perfection. It was the real-ist fairy tale made for the most child-like of grown-ups. Read it immediately. It will take you exactly one flight from Chicago to Los Angeles (a flight you should be on anyway becaus it is awful winter up in here).

This experiment turned out perfectly. Six books in four weeks is what I should be averaging and I am so happy that I managed to luck out with five amazing ones and one that only cost 99 cents (and was not actually thatbad). I only missed The New Yorker just a few days ago when someone mentioned David Sedaris had a new piece, but beyond that I have not even thought about it. More books in February, but something else too...

She's pint-sized and amazing.