35 and Stayin’ Alive

February 13, 2019 at 8:41 pm (Uncategorized) ()

I turned 35 on February 4. How in the holy hell did that happen?! I know I’ve had white hair since I was 24 and all but this growing older thing never really does slow down, does it? Eh, I guess that’s okay. I’m pretty content with where things are and wouldn’t really want to go back to where I was back then anyway!

It was a solid birthday and a solid weekend before the fact as well. The Big Day itself fell on a Monday and the Friday before I had my book club (yes! Book Club still exists and has been going strong for almost a decade now!) and we went to one of my favorite restaurants for dinner. We were all assigned to read A Book, as in any book we could get could get through, because that’s how we sometimes roll. Anyway after book club a few of my favorite ladies came back to hang at our place for a while, drinking wine, chatting, and listening to tunes (sidenote: apparently my husband is a huge George Michael fan and I love that I still learn new things like that about him after nearly 8 years). So Friday was great and Saturday I was treated to a fancy hotel suite downtown by said adorable husband and got to enjoy jacuzzi baths with fancy cupcake-shaped bath bombs, fancy dinner and drinks, great company and Netflix from a king size bed. It was glorious. I did the typical weekend chores of a grown ass 35 year old woman on Sunday and I straight up took the day off on Monday to pamper myself. This may or may not have been because I recently paid off my (enormous and awful) student loans and so I had lots of things to celebrate. So I slept in, had two cocktails at lunch with my book (Scott was in class), and then laid around all day. I was going to treat myself to a manicure but took a nap instead, because apparently I was worn out from all that relaxation. It was just about the perfect way to ring in my 35th rotation around the sun!

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Appetizers (I wasn’t kidding about the brunch).

I must say I really am happy, surprised, satisfied, and content with where I am at this age. I didn’t  envisioned it much growing up and always sort of assumed I’d be a teacher and pop out a bunch of kids. Which would have made me happy, surprised, satisfied, and content in an entirely different way, had it happened. But it didn’t and I love this life of corporate and civic philanthropy and petting a bunch of cats instead. There’s no right way or wrong way but the path I’ve managed to make has been pretty amazing and I’m looking forward to what the next year will bring!

 

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Dozin’ Done Right

January 23, 2019 at 9:22 pm (Uncategorized)

I kicked off my ninth season of overnights at the Field Museum last weekend and let me tell you, sleeping on a concrete floor in the middle of an exhibit does not get any easier with age. Thankfully I can never sleep more than a few hours anyway so I guess it’s not really a problem? Plus when you’re maintaining crowd control and entertaining 700 children and their parents – who are sometimes just as rambunctious as their kids – sleep is among the last of your concerns. But our crew has been doing this together for a while now and we pretty much have it down, or as down as you can get with this many  variables. And while the snowstorm that hit Chicago Friday night might not have helped traffic, it certainly helped everyone pack up and get the heck outta dodge on Saturday morning after the sleepover. Which made my job much easier! I may just be singing Let It Snow for the rest of the season…

The museum has undergone some pretty big changes in the last year or so and Stanley Field Hall is no exception. If you haven’t been in a while, you should really check it out and if you’ve never been before, why are you reading this blog? Are we even friends? Contact me IRL and I’ll get you in and give you a tour. No really. You can buy me a beer at the museum bar and we’ll call it even.

But I digress.

I’ll do another post sometime soon on Maximo, the newest member of our dinosaur family, but here’s a photo to give you an idea of some of the differences (hi pterosaurs and hanging gardens!) now. Bonus for the fact that it’s after midnight in this shot and the museum looks empty but actually hides hundreds of living people sleeping in the exhibits and countless dead people and animals sleeping in displays and collections.

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I sure do love that place.

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What I’m Listening to Right Meow

January 13, 2019 at 8:49 pm (Uncategorized) (, , )

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Who me?

We have two cats and I love them. They’re sweet and furry little angels who can do no wrong, except when they drive me crazy and I begin to Google “cat muzzles” (which is kind of scary and I don’t recommend it). To be completely honest, the younger of the two, Scout, drives me crazier than the his adopted brother Dude and that’s because there are many times that Scout just won’t stop meowing. If we shut the study door so Scott can concentrate on his schoolwork, she stands outside the door and cries. If we open the door then sometimes she’ll stand on my dresser, stare into the mirror and paw it like doing so hard enough will transport her into a magical universe full of fish and catnip – while crying. When I stand in front of the mirror and straighten my hair in the morning, she cries until I pet her with one foot (then alternate feet until I’m completely finished getting ready and about to leave the house. It’s great for core strength). That one’s kind of on me though as I accidentally induced that Pavlovian response but the fact remains that she’s very vocal and it’s more than a little obnoxious. But what are we to do? If she goes silent for longer than a few hours we begin to think something’s wrong so at this point it’s simply the default ambient noise in our home. In fact, she’s crying right now. One would think we neglected her to a horrific degree or something equally awful but no, she’s just looking at a shut door. I’m sure she has a truly painful life.

Anyway, she’s lucky she’s cute.

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I’m Baaaaack

January 1, 2019 at 8:06 pm (Uncategorized)

As someone who used to write on this blog just about every single day (and did so for a long time), it’s a little jarring to be coming back to it after an entire year. I used to work on blog posts while actually at work and that was fine and dandy for a while, but when I took a promotion last year the free time I had at work essentially went out the window. I didn’t have a computer at home that was conducive to writing and my blog fell to the back burner for quite a while (clearly). But I’ve missed it and it is sort of a nice chronicle to look back upon every now and then, so one of my resolutions for the New Year was to pick it back up. Another was to start making resolutions again. So I bought myself my first new personal laptop in just about a decade and that’s what I’m typing on right now, from the comfort of my couch. I can’t say how often I’ll be posting but hopefully I’ll crank the next one out before 2020!

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I’ve actually missed writing creatively in general and am also hoping that blogging will help get some of those juices flowing. I used to have a small monthly writing gig but, like all free magazines distributed solely in bars in Northwest Indiana, it wasn’t super sustainable and the magazine shut down. Anyway, here’s hoping for more writing in general in 2019!

And now, a brief recap of 2018:

  • Made an entire year in my new (dream) job and didn’t irrevocably screw anything up.
  • Traveled for work for the very first time and went to Portland (OR), NYC, and Boston. Here’s hoping for San Francisco and London this year!
  • Took personal trips to Texas (family reunion), Cincinnati (trip with Mom and sister), and Iceland (amazing countrywide adventure with Scott that I may or may not blog about at some point).
  • Watched many friends grow their families and remained perfectly content with our cats.
  • Said goodbye to two friends from my high school days who were instrumental in helping to shape the woman I’ve become. That wasn’t great but knowing both Marcus and DJ sure was.
  • Shared laughs and created memories with some of the most amazing, strong, beautiful and smart women I know.
  • Maintained my fond relationship with: The Field Museum, The Common Pantry, Netflix and Cheeze-Its.
  • Bought a new laptop. Oh wait! You already know about that.

I told you the recap would be short. It’s amazing how much is forgotten or glossed over when you’re not writing about it on a regular basis! I won’t get too much into how the current state of politics likely has something to do with my not wanting to think about everything that’s happened this year but spoiler: it has. But it’s a New Year and I’m feeling good! Okay actually, I’m feeling like shit and have been fairly run down and miserable with cold/sinus stuff for days but I’m feeling good that I have successfully completed this blog post. And now I’ve officially been to the gym and written on my blog every day this year!

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The End of The Year as We Know It

December 14, 2017 at 10:20 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , )

Hey look! I broke another record for how long it’s been since I posted on my blog! I’d say my New’s Year’s Resolution will be to post more often but that’s not exactly true as I’m really just happy to be posting today. And I’m kind of sick of the idea of New Year’s Resolutions, so there’s that.

Anyway, here we are at nearing the end of yet another year. I don’t know about you but 2017 has felt like the longest four years of my life. A lot has happened, both good and bad, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t post a general recap. This is not only for my loyal blog readers who have been eagerly anticipating my return (read: my mom) but also to document this year before we get into a nuclear war with North Korea or Trump has such a tantrum that he just hits that red “Destroy the World” button by mistake and everything online (and offline, for that matter) is lost forever. So here we go.

A little over a year ago there was a stretch of less than a week that changed my world (and the world in general) forever. It began with the Cubs winning the World Series, which was crazy and momentous and exciting and unbelievable all rolled into one. That was a Wednesday night. Thursday Scott and I drove to Indiana and Friday we had our wedding rehearsal. Saturday we got freaking married! And everything was wonderful and happy and joyous and seemed right in the world. Then that following Tuesday, Donald Trump won a rigged election to become President of the United States and the happy emotions of the last few days shifted pretty damn quickly.

That was November. December was a blur of shock and disbelief as we went into and through the holidays. The beginning of 2017 saw Scott and I take our honeymoon to Thailand and I’m not going to lie, it was hard to come back to America knowing what we were walking into. Then the inauguration happened and crowd size sparked the first of many stupid lies. Then I rode almost thirty hours on a bus over a weekend to march with about a million other women in D.C. and ignited a movement.

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Truth.

And that’s how this year began – a roller coaster of emotions and new realities that I may or not have been ready for, not that it mattered. The new year also brought a completely new challenge for my sister and I as we realized our father was suffering through early onset dementia and his living situation was no longer sustainable. I spent months researching and navigating the red tape of social security, Medicare, Medicaid, senior healthcare in general, assisted and independent living homes, the transfer of assets and any other bureaucratically bullshit that was thrown our way. I obtained all kinds of medical records and hired attorneys and my sister and I became Power of Attorney for our father while also taking over his finances and just about everything else. We moved him across the country over Easter weekend into his new home and then a few months later moved him to his final resting place (don’t worry, he’s not dead yet – just in a different apartment). So that’s been…interesting…especially since our history with our father isn’t exactly full of sunshine and rainbows. I then spent May moving my own damn apartment to a new place essentially next door and then June and July were full of coordinating my office move of about 1100 people into a brand new building. Oh yeah, then I sprained both my ankles at the beginning of July and was on crutches for a few weeks. That didn’t suck or anything.

Scott and I were able to take another small trip to Colorado in August and then in October I flew to Louisiana to help pack up my dad’s parent’s house as they were moving into an assisted living home too (just hundreds of miles away from dad…we should’ve thought about lumping them together to get a family discount but hindsight is 20/20). I also spent October interviewing for a promotion at my company while essentially working the new position and my old position at the same time. Then I was made an offer for what is essentially the job of my dreams! No pressure, right? I started that in November and haven’t really stopped since (because clearly every part of 2017 up until then was quiet and relaxing).

All of this has taken place with the Trump Presidency looming darkly in the background. This means that on top of everything else, my fellow citizens and I have had to worry about things like our healthcare being ripped away by politicians, our safety being threatened by wars with other countries we don’t support, our rights being squashed by those who are ignorant and fearful, our environment being damaged and climate change being ignored, our freedom of speech and internet being taken away and our democracy being threatened by our own damn President. I’ve been appalled, horrified and embarrassed by what’s been coming out of the White House more than I ever thought possible and so much has happened that I feel like I have PTSD from news alerts coming through on my phone. That said, I’m still calling my senators and writing emails and marching and fighting in the little ways I know how. Because as crazy as this year has been, I will nevertheless persist. Things like the current wave of outrage at sexual harassment in various industries and this week’s Democratic election results in Alabama are giving me hope. This year hasn’t been easy but we’re all still here and I feel like I’m more resilient than ever.

Hit me with your best shot, 2018. I’ve taken some self defense classes this year and I’m ready to hit back.

 

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Summer Recap

October 9, 2017 at 1:45 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , )

I’m pretty sure this is the longest I’ve gone without posting since I began posting, way back in the day. I’m sure you’ve missed me and I’ve missed posting too but I’ve just been so damn busy. And I know how lame that sounds because everyone is always busy, all the time, so I need to just get back in habit of writing. Well the road to hell is paved with good intentions and all that jazz but at least I’m posting today, right?

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Wave Goodbye

So what’s been keeping me so busy? Life, basically. I thought things would calm down this year after the whole planning-a-wedding-thing last year but boy was I wrong about that. And just because I love my lists, I’m going to rehash some of the stuff that’s kept me the absolute busiest this year:

  • My dad – I haven’t written much about this here but in January, my sister and I began the process of becoming Power of Attorney for our father and we moved him from Louisiana, where he’d been living with his parents, to Indiana, where he now lives in an assisted living facility. Dad has been having some health issues for a while and can’t exactly live on his own so this was decided to be the best thing for him, because if he moved in with my sister or I we would likely end up killing him and that’s just messy for everyone involved. Anyway, I spent the first few months of the year hiring lawyers, drafting documents and learning everything there is to know about Medicare, Medicaid and “retirement communities”. I also got to dig through dad’s financial and medical records, which was an absolute blast. We eventually found a place for him and moved him in April – he’s settled in fairly well and hasn’t tried to escape yet so I guess that’s all working out for the time being.
  • Speaking of moving, Scott and I moved into a new apartment (which I chronicled in a different post so won’t belabor here). Suffice to say, it kind of sucked.
  • Then I sprained both my ankles, also chronicled in a different post. That also sucked, twice as bad.
  • While I was dealing with the sprains, I was part of a crew at my office helping to move over 1,000 employees into a brand new building. We pulled it off and the new space is great but it wasn’t easy and I’m super glad it’s over.
  • And speaking of work, it’s been keeping me busy in its own right. Right after our office move, I began working for the head of our department as his admin is out on maternity leave. He’s kind of a big deal at the company and she did a lot of other things besides supporting him so I’ve been maintaining her workload and trying not to let things slip through the cracks. Her job alone is a full-time gig but since I’m a crazy person, I’ve also been doing the following:
    • Co-created our newest business resource group, called Pride Alliance. It’s to support the LGBTQ+ employees and allies in our firm and also enhance our recruiting and retention efforts, employee culture and community engagement initiatives. We officially launched with a big Open House in August and have our next event this week, for National Coming Out Day. It’s been extremely rewarding to be a part of all this but also just a little time-consuming.
    • Along with the Pride Alliance, I’m also now on the Board for our business resource groups and have attended trainings, seminars, and most recently a photo shoot (insert eye roll here) to help promote and inform about what we’re doing for the firm.
    • I also organized and led five different offsite volunteering events for employees at local Chicago Public Library branches this summer and we helped give out hundreds of thousands of free books to thousands of Chicagoland kids – this was seriously one of the highlights of my summer, even though it kept me seriously busy.
  • In a very exciting turn of events, everything I’ve been involved with at work led to a promotion! I feel like I’ve been working almost two jobs for a while now and while I won’t begin my new position at the firm until the beginning of November, I’m very excited to be moving into community engagement full time. The hours will be longer but the work will be more gratifying and while I’m a little nervous and intimidated to begin the position, I’m also pretty pumped!
  • Travel:
    • Now that Dad is living closer to my sister and my mom, there are more people for me to visit everyone when I travel back to Indiana, which I’ve done a few times this summer and will be doing again this weekend for a family wedding. Not going to lie – it’s challenging to see everyone I want to see and spend time with all my loved ones and it’s also pretty awkward taking dad along to family functions full of his ex-in-laws, but it’s better than nothing. I guess. My mom and her entire side of the family have been great with all of this and for that I’m really thankful – it’s all been hard enough without having family drama making things worse.
    • Scott and I did manage to take a long weekend trip to Colorado and it was rejuvenating, invigorating and just what the doctor ordered. Of course, it feels like eons ago now but we had a great time and would love to go back.
    • I’ve also hosted some people at our new place this summer – my two best high school girlfriends came to town, as did my mom and my best college friends – thankfully, not all at the same time.
    • I went to Louisiana last weekend to help go through and pack up my grandparent’s house, as they just moved into an assisted living facility as well. Looks like Thanksgiving will be pretty different this year.
  • In addition to everything I’ve mentioned, I’m still doing my volunteer thing at the pantry and the Field Museum (where I’m currently writing a public tour), Scott’s sister had a baby so I’m an Aunt again, Scott got accepted to and started the food science and nutrition program at UIC that he’s been working to get into for years, and we adopted a kitten named Scout (because we don’t have enough going on). The Dude and Scout seem to get along for the most part but I’ve decided that if having kids is anything like having a kitten, it’ll be a long while before I procreate.
  • Lastly, I’ve been dealing with everything above with the horror of a Trump presidency looming over every single thing in my life. Seriously, the administration is a shit-show and I’m surprised and saddened that it’s lasted this long. I’m still making my calls, sending my emails and raging my rage but it’s hard not to feel exhausted when we’re constantly having to demand that our rights be kept safe. Also the threat of nuclear war within reach of a small-handed, small-minded, racist bigot is just a little concerning. Honestly, some days I feel lucky to just get out of bed.

Ok, I think that’s a good summary of what’s been going on with me over the last few months. This has been written with the intention of not going another two months before writing again! But again, remember what I said about good intentions…

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Vacation Time!

August 10, 2017 at 1:52 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , )

August has been a long month. Wait, we’re only ten days in? Okay so July was a long month and August already feels super long so it’s a good thing Scott and I booked an impromptu trip out west!

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Paige and Scott Go West!

I’ve been working a lot lately (on good things, just things that are very time-consuming) and Scott busted his butt taking summer classes so we feel like we deserve a bit of a break. We’re flying into Denver (TONIGHT!) and spending a few nights downtown before renting a car and driving Rocky Mountain National Park. We’ve got a little cabin with a grill and private hot tub out back so if I can’t do tons of hiking on my still-healing ankles then I can relax, read and unwind. We’re both ready to unplug and neither of us have ever spent any time in the Rockies so we’re pretty jazzed. I’ve been a city girl for quite a while but the country likes to come out to play every now and then!

 

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Super Sprain!

July 7, 2017 at 12:48 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , )

Apparently I am super awesome at spraining my ankles. Who knew? Certainly not me, at least until last weekend.

I was at a friend’s birthday BBQ and we were playing around with some hula hoops in her front yard. I may or may not have had some wine and during one of my incredibly graceful jumps, I somehow managed to land on the outside of each my ankles, immediately spraining them both. At the time, I wasn’t really feeling the pain and blew off Scott’s attempts to get me to the ER. I figured with a little bit of ice and a good night’s rest, I would be good as new.

And I was wrong.

I woke up Sunday to feet that looked like they belonged to a Hobbit (minus the hair). They were huge and turning colors so Scott took me to the Immediate Care, where we had immediate memories of going when Scott broke his foot last year. As a side note – I will forever and always regret how I didn’t initially take his injury seriously and I fully believe that my own current misfortune is payback/karma/my comeuppance. Anyway, they did some x-rays and luckily nothing was broken but just about everything was sprained. So I was sent home looking like this:

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I am so full of grace and agility I can’t even walk

This meant all of last weekend was spent on the couch and while Scott watched some fireworks in the neighborhood park and sent me video, it just wasn’t the same. So much for a fun holiday weekend but at least I’ve cleaned up my Netflix queue! It was also especially awesome because our big office move is this week and I was a Move Coordinator, meaning I was supposed to check out 120 people on my floor over two days before they could be allowed to leave. This is something we’ve been planning and working on for years so my sudden incapacitation couldn’t have come at a better time. My checkouts obviously weren’t going to happen unless I somehow acquired a jet pack but at least I had a few people step up (haha get it) to help me out. This week has been long and painful but it’s almost over and next week we’ll all be settled into our brand new building and all of this will finally be over! And here’s hoping I can get off these damn crutches soon because they suck and I hate them and if my ankles don’t heal soon I’m investing in a Hoveround. Then I’ll be free to see the world!

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PRIDE!

June 14, 2017 at 3:20 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , )

June is National Pride Month and celebrates the LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning, etc.) community. And I’m proud to announce that a project I’ve been working on at my office for months will get to debut this month! Pride Alliance is our firm’s newest business resource group for members of the LGBTQ+ community and their supporters (joining a resource group for women and one for veterans) and we are launching it this month. The Pride Alliance is a group of employees committed to enhancing our firm culture, helping with recruiting and talent retention and engaging our community in various philanthropic initiatives. And I’m a Co-Chair of the entire thing! Myself and one other person from another department stepped up to the plate after a general interest meeting was held and we’ve spent the last two months researching, collecting information and creating a business plan for the new BRG. On Monday we presented it to the CEO and other managing partners of the firm – and we were approved!

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Be proud every month, not just June

As someone who has identified as pretty queer/bisexual her whole life, I’m obviously a strong supporter of equality everywhere and not just in the workplace. However, even though groups such as this are pretty commonplace nowadays (even in corporate settings), this is still a pretty big deal. Our industry is typically fairly conservative but we’ve had a tremendous amount of support so far and later this week we’ll be sending communications out to the entire firm about the Pride Alliance. I wrote content for an internal website and that will be launched this week too. So it’s pretty exciting and I am PROUD!

 

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Scouting It Out

June 5, 2017 at 3:06 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , )

Has it really been a month since I last posted? Good gravy on a gravy train, where does the time go?!

It took us nearly this long to finally settle into our new place and after dealing with movers, painters, random kids jumping the fence to our back courtyard and some weird hobo living underneath us in the basement, things have finally started to calm down. So what did we do? Get a kitten, of course!

Meet Scout. Scout was adopted on Friday from PAWS, the same shelter we got The Dude from all those years ago. Scout was originally going to be called Lady until we decided we didn’t like the gender-normative connotations associated with that name and besides, Scout from To Kill a Mockingbird is one of my favorite fictional characters of all time, so it just worked. Scout is nosy, hyper and completely freaking adorable, which are all standard kitten qualities.

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Scout is clearly making herself at home

Scout and Dude were separated the first night we brought her home but they wound up playing with each other’s paws under the door so we figured they might not completely hate each other. Dude treated Scout like a weird meowing anomaly and we have no idea if he’s ever been around kittens before, but he definitely wasn’t too pissed off. Scout, on the other hand, was raising her hair and hissing a bit (probably because she’s a total badass and had to assert her dominance to the bigger cat). However, when I was getting ready this morning they were chasing each other like old friends and I’m pretty sure they’re going to get along just fine.

Kittens aren’t easy but they’re easier than puppies and WAY easier than babies so we’re pretty confident that the newest addition to our household was the right choice. And so long as the Dude doesn’t take to using Scout as a punching bag, I think we’ll all be one happy family!

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