The End of the Year as We Know It

December 31, 2011 at 9:56 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , )

Well, I’m glad that cavity’s over.

I know I mentioned an update on my trip home but suffice it to say, it included LOTS of eating (and no gym time – hoping to rectify that today); lots of driving around, lots of bed hopping (not like that…just stayed in my sister’s old room, her new room and some friend’s in Indy’s spare room); LOTS of gifts (thus helping to confirm my suspicion that Santa is getting Alzheimer’s); lots of family time and even a little mini high school reunion thrown in.  It was really great spending so much time at home and it wasn’t easy to leave.  However, I even had a ride back because my boyfriend wasn’t so scared that he ran into the hills – and he may even visit again!

So that brings me to today, New Year’s Eve Day.  Like just about everyone else out there I figured I’d write a little year in review, only this will be more relevant to me than it will be to Justin Bieber or Lady Gaga.  To aid in this process, I’ve pulled out my list of 2011 Resolutions I mean 2011 Goals.  I don’t resolve to do things because I don’t know what’s going to happen in a year and if I resolve to say, run a marathon, and then wind up with gangrene on my foot and have to amputate it, I just won’t have much of a shot to complete that resolution.  So goals it is.  Here’s a sample of what they were:

  • Put together and lead a tour on the Maori at The Field Museum – and I did this yesterday!  Actually I finished the tour about a month ago and yesterday was the first day I gave it.  Unfortunately, no one showed up at tour time.  I was assured this is common and most of the visitors yesterday had small children and they’re never good groups for tours anyway.  So maybe next time.  Point is, I was there and ready to do it so it counts.
  • Write a short story and enter it – somewhere.  This did not happen but I DID finally decide on a good story idea.  This goal is carrying over to 2012 and if it doesn’t happen it’s not a big deal because we’re all supposed to die anyway.
  • Read Moby Dick.  If you’re a regular blog reader, you know this did happen and I hated it.  But I’m glad it’s over.  I have a couple more classic books on the list for this year and I’m hoping they’ll be less painful.
  • Pass 2/3 of the courses for my Certificate in Museum Studies.  Apparently I did my math wrong when I wrote this down (shocker) because I actually finished ALL of the coursework for this.  Go me!
  • Go to Canada Guatemala, completely alone.  This goal was amended due to flight costs but I think Guatemala was cooler than Vancouver anyway.  And doing it solo made it even better.
  • Be in a somewhat meaningful relationship – maybe.  The maybe was added halfway through the year, roughly a week before I met my current squeeze.  I didn’t think it was going to happen so was resigning myself to that when everything changed.  And you know what?  I’m sure glad it did.

Better get in the fun while we can

Overall, this year gave me what I was looking for.  My friends and family are still healthy and happy, which is the most important thing.  My dad successfully underwent chemo for his lung cancer and hopefully 2012 will continue to give him better health.  I moved into a new apartment in a MUCH better neighborhood and I love this place so much I think I’ll stay another year.  The fella I met back in June wound up moving in with me and we have a lot of fun giggling on the couch and dancing in the kitchen.  I think I’ll let him stick around here next year too.  My job gave me a new title (hello Director of Attorney Relations) and a raise (woohoo!) so that was pretty grand and I’m pretty satisfied with where this year left off.

Of course, not all of it was rosy.  All of the other bad things honestly pale in comparison when I think about Catsby.  I really will write a big post about her soon and I still miss her very much every day.  It’s amazing how much an animal can become part of your family and I still expect to see her run and jump up to be with me on the couch.  She was a damn good cat, the best I’ve ever had, and her loss hit me pretty hard this year.

I also lost a few good friends to other various states (and soon to be countries) but as long as they’re still living and breathing, I’ll deal with it.  I’m hoping to visit one good buddy of mine this weekend and the others will be receiving Paige Visits in  the New Year.

2012 has a lot of potential, especially since it’s (another) last year on Earth.  I hope your 2011 had enough in it to keep you happy and that the upcoming year provides you with even more.  I’ll be spending the evening with my boyfriend and some close friends, enjoying a homemade dinner and a little wine while gladly avoiding the craziness of $175 bar tickets and drunks in the street.  Whatever you’re doing tonight, please do it safely – no one wants to start a new year off in jail or worse (the morgue) so be responsible while you’re having some fun.  Enjoy yourself, be thankful for what you’ve got and forget about the rest – at least for tonight.

See you in 2012 – Happy New Year!

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This Post Brought to You by Valium and Nitrous Oxide

December 29, 2011 at 9:00 pm (Uncategorized) ()

So today I had a cavity filled.  I get pretty anxous when ther is SURGERY going on in my FACE and I warned the ladies at the offce of this upon my arrival.  They promtly hooked me up with a tad bit of valium and that wondeful stuff, hapy gass.  I promise I’m not as out of it as I seem ty be through this typoing because it’s jusgt my fingegs that don’t seem to be working and in the interest of keeing it real, Im’ going to just keep these mistakes in here.

WHY do the dentalhygenist people think it’s okay to play gwenty questios as they have their fingers shoved down my throat?  How can I possibly respond to anything in a coherent maneer?  Not that I’m entirely coheerent anyway but you know what I mean.  The lady working on me told me stories from her teenage obsession with BRet Michaels to the fact that her husbad was upset that he couldn’t go snow mobiling in Minnesota this weekend.  DO I care?  Not particulary but it was nice that she was tryig to keep me distracted.  However I coudnt really respond or comment other than the odd “mmhmm” or “aohgah” so I hope she doesnt think I was rude.  At this pointm, again, I don’t really care .  She’s teh one who wouldnt’ shut up and she should know better.  Or perhaps it’s a secret kink of hers to tell patiesnts her entire life story while they are too incapicited to stop her.  Sneaky dentail hygenist.

Updates on my trip home for the hoildays and other things are going to follow but I thought writing in this state of mind could be entertaining.  Imight change my mind on this tomorrow when I reread what I’ve posted but once again but if anything it will sevre as a reminder to me to floss my teeth even more often.  Perhaps it will givey ou a laugh you might not otehrwise get.

I’m off to gnoaw on my cheek for a bit and then progably drool on myelf after that.

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Ho Ho Ho

December 22, 2011 at 8:43 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , )

Is it Christmas already?  Well, it’s close.  This has been a whirlwind past 7 days full of work bar outings, friends’ birthday parties, a walk through with my coordinator of the tour I put together for the Field Museum (she loved it and I even taught her something she didn’t know!), apartment cleaning, shopping, gift wrapping, more shopping, Home Alone watching, anniversaries and the birthday of my boyfriend.  Not to mention the craziness at work, as a HUGE project I’m in charge of will be launching January 2nd and December 22nd (today!) is my last day in the office until that launch date.  Thank you, unpaid vacation time that my office is making me take.  Not that I’m really complaining because the idea of having the next 10 days off to go home and spend time with my awesome family and friends makes it all worthwhile.  It would just be better if I were getting paid for it.  Regardless, I haven’t spent 5 nights in a row at home since…well, I’m pretty sure since high school, so this will be an experience.  And the boyfriend will be with me the entire time so it will be a test of his endurance as well.  I hope he can handle it because he’s my only ride.

So my creative juices aren’t really flowing today since I have so much else on my mind.  This is a pretty lackluster post; my apologies.  I had a long-haired, greasy looking fellow give me a business card in the elevator at work this morning for his Ozzy Osbourne cover band, so that was sort of exciting.  Gross, but entertaining nonetheless.

I won’t miss this place over the next 10 days.

I’m not sure what the holidays hold for you and yours but I hope you find happiness and joy somewhere along the way.  Don’t be a Scrooge and try to remember the reason for the season – food.  Or wine, I’m not sure which.  Whatever it is, I hope it’s merry!

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Love for My Friends

December 19, 2011 at 1:52 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

My friends are awesome.  Three of them (one includes my sister but most of the time I consider her a friend too so whatever) saved me from having to go down to the post office and open a can of whoop ass over the weekend by letting me know sooner rather than later that their holiday cards did in fact arrive.  So USPS gets to live…this time.  A separate, equally awesome friend mailed me my first Christmas gift of the year over the weekend and it’s the best one I’ve gotten so far this season.  And not just because it’s the only one either – in fact, every other gift this year is going to have quite a lot to live up to, because he sent me 4 MASSIVE BAGS OF CHEEZ-ITS.  That’s right, he basically boxed up a slice of my version of heaven and had FedEx deliver it straight to my door.  I can only imagine that these two large boxes with two bags each originally came from someplace wonderful like Costco but it’s possible they passed through the hands of baby Jesus himself.  I have officially received enough of these addictive little crackers to last me through the rest of the year (probably…if I keep eating them like I did this weekend there’s just no telling.  I felt like Scrooge McDuck swimming through a pool of coins, only my pool involved Cheez-Its).

This is the look my boyfriend gets when he tries to eat my Cheez-Its

Also this weekend, a good friend of mine finished his secondary education and graduated.  He’s been in Chicago while his lovely bride lived 5 hours away and I am so happy that they’re finally back together and able to move forward in the direction they want.  I’m pretty bummed I wasn’t able to visit with them this weekend but I know how crazy busy they were and I understand.  I blew them kisses which of course I’m sure they received.

Speaking of couples that I adore, another gal pal of mine became engaged on Friday.  I was one of the lucky few to find out before Facebook so I consider myself privileged and I’ve seen this pair move in with each other and grow as a couple over the last year so I’m thrilled for them as well.  And since their big news will probably involve free food and booze for my face at some point down the road, I’m even happier.

A different lovely lady in my circle also had news this weekend but it’s of a different sort.  She’s moving to China.  This isn’t a massive shock but it’s happening sooner than we were ready for and it doesn’t look like I’ll get to see her before she goes.  Luckily, I would love to visit China so she’ll have me to deal with sometime soon (maybe before 2012 is out?  Only time will tell).

Big things are happening with the people I know and there seems to be something in the air.  I’m hoping this means that 2012 is a great year all around for everyone I know – the last few weeks of 2011 are certainly off to a good start!

And in totally unrelated news, I’m still going to the gym!  But my body kind of hates me.

 

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Going Postal

December 16, 2011 at 1:17 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , )

I mailed some holiday cards out on Monday and I’m a little pissed because they have not arrived.  Typically mail takes 2-3 days to get where it needs to go but alas, Chicago is not exactly on top of things in the postal department.  This could very well be my own fault though – I dropped them off in a drop box on my street but I noticed as I shut the door that the pick-up time sticker had been removed.  Surely they wouldn’t leave a mailbox open if they no longer picked up there, right?  Well, that’s what I’ve been trying to figure out.

You have....oh wait.

I found a website that locates USPS drop boxes and it’s clearly on there, so I feel like that should suffice.  However, cards have still not arrived.  There are gift cards and photos in these envelopes and if they somehow mysteriously disappear into the dark and cavernous halls of the post office, I’ll be really pissed.  So I decided to call my local post office to verify that they still pick up where I dropped off.  The line disconnects every time.  So I called the other local post offices in my area.  All of their lines are disconnected too.  The sixth and final attempt I made (read: at six different locations) resulted in a fax machine.  I know that the mail system is woefully under budget and continues to sink fast but turning off all of the phone lines seems a bit drastic.  So I called the national number, which redirects me to the other phone numbers I’ve already called, which are still not working.  Awesome.

I half imagine the post office workers hiding under their desks, crying and furtively eating any holiday candy that passed through their hands while avoiding the public as they wait for their severance checks to roll in.  At least that’s the only explanation I can come up with that doesn’t make me want to go down to the store myself and show them what going postal is really all about.  This is not the way to get me in the holiday spirit, do you hear me USPS?

I’m sure they’re shaking in their snow boots.  And if your card is late or never arrives at all, you know who to blame.

 

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What in the What

December 14, 2011 at 11:14 am (Uncategorized) (, , )

This is my latest fortune:

Excuse me?

I’m no philosophical genius but I really don’t see the value of this statement (it reads “Ignorance is Courageous” for the visually impaired), which I recently found in a Mexican fortune cookie.  First off – what is a Mexican fortune cookie?  Who knows, but apparently the people who write the fortunes have been sipping on some tequila.  Is this a typo?  And what’s with that smiley face?  Also, isn’t ignorance bliss?  Honestly, I’ve always sort of felt that ignorance is contagious (this theory has been thoroughly tested while working at a law firm) but I’ve never really thought of it as courageous.  Does it take bravery to be stupid in this day and age?  I fail to see how courage and ignorance are synonymous, unless this is saying that it does take courage to remain ignorant.  Which I suppose is true when you think about it, because it takes balls to stand behind a statement or idea that has generally been proven as incorrect.  Since we have the internet constantly at our fingertips and ready to fact-check us during our daily lives, it takes more courage and strength than ever before to just stay stupid.  Perhaps that’s what this fortune is getting at?

Or maybe it’s a culinary lesson and I should stay away from Mexican fortune cookies to begin with.

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December Book Club Review

December 12, 2011 at 1:52 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , )

This month, the gals in the book club and I read The Zookeepers Wife by Diane Ackerman.  The book is based on the true-life story of a family in Poland in World War II that owned a zoo full of exotic and wild animals.  The zoo was visited by all of Warsaw until the war began and the German soldiers started moving and even killing the animals in order to clear out the zoo so they could use the space for their own purposes.  The family that owned the zoo, the Zabinskis, managed to keep the location useful to the Nazis while simultaneously smuggling Jews and other “war criminals” out to safety, right under the soldiers’ noses.  It’s a fascinating story about bravery, friendship and heroics in the middle of a traumatic war and it was even more interesting to me as a student of museums and zoos in general.  Seeing how they handled such a situation was an eye-opener and made me think about how we would handle similar circumstances here.

Interesting but not riveting

As I mentioned, the premise behind the book was fascinating.  Unfortunately, the book itself had a hard time capturing the tension and drama that was surely felt by the characters in the story.  There was a lot of historical information which was of course needed for the set up of the plot but some of it went beyond that and became tedious to get through.  The girls in the club and I agreed that we would’ve liked to have read more about the emotions and points of view from the men, women and children who were being helped to escape but their stories are, much like their lives in the book, rather mute.  The Zabinskis son was a young boy during the war yet he played an important role within the zoo and yet his personal side of things isn’t really mentioned at all.  I really liked the story behind this book and there was a lot of potential but it fell short of completely satisfying.

However, all was not lost as we were completely satisfied by our food and drink at our club meeting spot of the month, O Shaughnessys Pub which is a convenient 15 minute walk from home.  I had two different beers whose names I can’t remember (they were good though, I promise) and for dinner I had a wrap stuffed with portabella mushrooms, spinach, cranberries, goat cheese and red peppers.  It was really good too but I make similar sandwiches for lunch all the time so I wasn’t totally blown away.  Apparently their fish and chips are delicious though so if you’re looking for some traditional fare, there ya go.  I had been to this Pub once before, to have some brews with a buddy, and it didn’t disappoint then either.  The place was much less crowded when we went as a club but that’s what we get for going on a Thursday night in November versus a warm afternoon in the middle of summer.

All in all, it was a good meeting.  We got to see a few new and old faces and the company is always the best part.  Next month we’re reading an old favorite of mine (To Kill a Mockingbird) because one of the members has NEVER read it.  I don’t know how that happened so we plan to rectify it next month.

On a different note – I went to the gym 4 times in the last week!  I must be losing my mind.

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So It Begins

December 9, 2011 at 1:14 pm (Uncategorized) (, , )

As I woke up this morning and dragged myself out of bed, I did what I usually do and glanced outside as I was getting ready.  That was when I beheld a sight I haven’t seen since spring of last year – snow.  We made it to December 8 without any measurable snowfall (which is only the 8th time in like the last hundred years that this has happened) and we were all getting spoiled by dry streets and easy commutes.  Now it’s back to reality, which means back to walking like an old man on icy sidewalks when I’m wearing shoes that aren’t made for such inclement weather.

Where were these when I needed them?

Lesson learned.  I’m busting out the boots when I get home tonight.

Not that it matters because the snow is all melted now and it really wasn’t even that much to begin with – just enough to make walking slippery and put a pretty coating on everything in sight.  In my humble opinion, if it’s going to snow it needs to do it enough to really saturate things and create the winter wonderland that we all love so much (preferably enough to get me out of work as well).  Then, after one such snowfall, it can be gone for good.  In actuality we’ll be dealing with light snows like this as well as heavy pains in the ass for the upcoming…oh, probably six months, so it’s just getting started.  Awesome.

At least it didn’t start at Halloween?

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When Pigs Fly

December 7, 2011 at 1:49 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , )

So I did something else on my day off earlier this week but I didn’t write about it at the time because it seemed so surreal and unheard of that I wasn’t entirely sure it even happened until the next day.

I joined a gym.

A bird! A plane! Me in a gym!

It’s something I’ve been thinking of for a little while and seeing as how my last gym membership expired sometime almost five years ago (thus concluded my 3 month experience of belonging to a gym), I guess it’s time to give it another shot.  I’m not a huge fan of exercising in general but now that class is over and I have some more free time on my hands, I decided to go for it.  This also probably has something to do with my boyfriend, who I think could be a bad influence.  He’s into this whole “healthy” thing and has been working out regularly for more than a few years so maybe he’s more of an inspiration than a bad influence.  I’ll let you know how I feel about that in a few more weeks.

Surprisingly, though, I’ve worked out two days in a row now.  And I’m looking forward to going back and working out more – but not tonight.  It felt good to be active and burn through some of the stress of my day last night and as I left I was already mentally rearranging my schedule so I can go back soon.  It helps that my workout buddy knows a thing or two about the gym in general and he was able to show me how to actually use some of that machinery that’s haunted me in my dreams.

In other news, be on the lookout for some airborne pigs.

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Webpaige’s Day Off

December 5, 2011 at 5:27 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , )

This year is the first time that I’ve found myself in the grown-up position of having to “use or lose” vacation days before the end of the year.  That means that today I slept until noon and opened a beer before 5 o’clock.  It was a pretty great way to spend a Monday and I’m grateful for the other days I’ve earned as well.  I have one more to use before Christmas and while it will likely be spent traveling down to Indiana a little bit early, for now I can pretend I could also use it sleeping in, enjoying adult beverages and eating snack foods while wearing my pajamas and commandeering my couch for an obscene amount of time.  It is the holiday season, after all.

Is it a coincidence that I live in this city? I think not.

So it’s obviously nice to have a day where you’re off and getting paid for it but this month I’m also in the unique position of having some furlough time ahead of me as well.  Oh boy.  It’s the first time my company has had to do such a thing but it’s better than pay cuts or lay offs, and speaking as someone who once went through a year long 10% company-wide pay cut in a former position, I can say I’d much rather some unpaid time off.  I’m thankful I still have a job, blah blah blah recession recession.  Anyway, there’s nothing I can do about it so I’m going to sit back and enjoy having the week between Christmas and New Year’s off like I’m some kind of school girl.  Whatever shall I do?  While I wish I could spend my days sledding and running around like I did a decade (two decades? shudder) ago, this time will now consist of longer visits with friends and family, getting a cavity filled at my new dentist (I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to this) and finally implementing the tour I’ve been working on all year at The Field Museum.  Oh boy indeed!

Back to today.  Right now I would still be on the train, making my nightly commute and fighting off the waves of weariness typically associated with the first day of the week.  Instead, I’m sitting on my couch in the glow of my tree, with my feet up and bra off.  I have a good book by my side and a good beer next to that.

I think I’m ready for my vacation.

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