Blackhawk Downtown

June 28, 2013 at 12:37 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , )

Ugh.  Is this week over yet?

While I’m dealing with a crappy end to a crappy week up here in my new office that is being given to someone else next week so I can share an office with a coworker I kinda sorta loathe, untold numbers of Chicagoans are downtown enjoying a parade for the Blackhawks.  In case you didn’t know, they just won the Stanley Cup and it’s a bit of a big deal.

Can you see it?

Can you see it?

You probably can’t really tell but to the right of the statue on top of the building, there are tons of people standing in a ballpark and wearing red shirts.  They congregated in Grant Park for the culmination of the parade and I’m betting most of them had a pretty good buzz going on.  There were people drinking on my train at 7:30am this morning, if that tells you anything.  The whole parade is one giant party and given the afternoon I’m having, I really wish I had been down there with them.

At least it’s Friday.  Finally.

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Two Steps Forward, Three Steps Back

June 27, 2013 at 9:33 am (Uncategorized) ()

Things that have increased in price this year:

  1. My rent ($50/mo)
  2. My public transit pass ($20/mo)
  3. My taxes ($50/mo)
  4. My health insurance ($100/mo)
  5. My student loan interest (.2%/mo)

Things that have not increased in price this year:

  1. My wages

There’s something wrong with that picture.  And why is health care so goddamn expensive?  I get routine check-ups every year and I’m on birth control.  Is that really worth my paying $2,400 a year into a plan that’s supposed to offset the healthcare costs?  Apparently.

Sigh.  Friday, where are you?

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Ding Dong DOMA is Dead

June 26, 2013 at 9:02 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , )

I woke up today in a funk for a few different reasons and the raging thunderstorm I walked through to get to the train certainly didn’t help.  My clothes are still wet and I’m cold and I don’t feel well and I’m just generally pissy, BUT there’s some news coming out of Washington that has certainly brightened my day.

The Defense of Marriage Act has been declared unconstitutional!

Getting closer to equal rights for all!

This means that any same-sex couple who weds in a state where that’s legal is now afforded the same rights, protections and hundreds of benefits on a federal level that any other heterosexually married couple already has.  It never really made sense to me that something could be legal on the state level but the federal level could choose to go against it, so this is a huge step in finally giving marriage equality to everyone.  Of course since same-sex marriages are still state mandated, a couple who weds in a state where it’s legal then moves to a state where it’s not will no longer have that marriage recognized.  That’s not right, but I have faith that in the upcoming years we’re going to see more and more states legalize gay marriage entirely.  Hopefully Illinois is among the next to do so.

Also declared unconstitutional – Prop 8.  Gay couples can once again wed in California!  This is good news to everyone who’s been fighting the ban since 2008.  Hell, it’s good news to equality-minded people everywhere.  These are all the steps that the government should be taking to provide marriage equality across the board.  I really think that our kids will look at these debates the way we look at the interracial marriage debates of days gone by – one day, it’s going to seem like something so wholly unfair and unthinkable that it will be hard for anyone to believe people actually displayed such blatant prejudice and hatred.

Also also, there was a successful filibuster in Texas last night due to Senator Wendy Davis.  She spoke for ten hours and prevented officials from passing legislation that would have caused Texas to have some of the most restrictive abortion rules in the country.  Their bill had stipulations that would have basically made abortions illegal in the state and Sen. Davis managed to bring home a win after standing on her feet and talking for hours and hours on end.  I know abortion is a divisive topic (much like same-sex marriage) and I know there are many people who think it’s fundamentally wrong.  Everyone is allowed to have their opinions on both of these topics but I think it’s really easy to form judgements when you’ve never had to walk a mile in the shoes of someone directly affected by these issues.  I also think that most pro-choice people will agree that we don’t want people to get abortions but we do want people to have that option if it’s the best choice they think they have.  Going back to the days of coat-hanger abortions in back alleys is a truly horrific and terrifying thought.

These things have all helped to lift my crappy mood and I’m so happy to have some positive news finally come out of Washington.  Hopefully the future brings more of the same!

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Progress!

June 24, 2013 at 10:55 am (Uncategorized) (, , , )

I was perusing the card section at my local Walgreens one day last week and stumbled across this:

Aww!

Aww!

In a week where we’re awaiting news from the Supreme Court on rulings for both the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and the legality of Prop 8, it’s nice to see a little bit of support in a previously unseen place.  I don’t know about you but this was the first same-sex marriage card I’ve ever seen and it warmed my heart.  There was another card there that could’ve worked for either male or female couples but I thought this one was a little cuter.  Of course I guess I shouldn’t be so surprised that things like this are cropping up because companies are all about making money and marketing to same-sex couples will only increase their consumer base.  But jaded consumerism aside, I’m so glad that something like this exists.  And hopefully there will be a day in the not too distant future where items for same-sex couples are so commonplace that they won’t stick out to us at all!

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And Many More

June 21, 2013 at 9:58 am (Uncategorized) (, , , )

It’s hard to believe that two years ago today Scott and I had our first date.  We were living together a mere four months later and we haven’t tried to smother each other with pillows yet so I’d say things are going pretty well.  In honor of our anniversary, here are the top 10 reasons why I think we’re a great match:

  • He doesn’t get grossed out when I burp and he laughs at the goofy songs I make up and sing to the cat when we hang around the apartment.
  • He tolerates and even cares for my family while putting up with our karaoke-singing, fast-talking, noisy, corny, fast-paced ways.  And he doesn’t tease me when I spent hours each week talking to my grandparents, parents and sister.
  • He’s a vegetarian who cooks for me quite frequently and who will tell me that whatever I cook for him is delicious and tasty.  On a related note, he’s good at fibbing to me to spare my feelings.
  • He doesn’t mock me because I still have a stuffed monkey from when I was little.  In fact, he sometimes dresses George up and makes sure he doesn’t fall over or onto the ground because he understands that would make George uncomfortable.

George

  • He loves reading as much as I do and it’s not weird for us sit on the couch for a few hours with our books on a Friday night.
  • He’s open and adventurous and will try just about anything once.  But I doubt I’ll ever convince him to get a pedicure again.
  • He encouraged me to join the gym and doesn’t get mad when he’s helping me train and I call him bad names.  Unless they’re really bad, which I’ve tried to stop doing.
  • He still loves me on my bad days and knows enough to give me some space when I need it.  Every now and then a Gilmore Girls marathon is the best cure and if I’m on a rampage, I’ll come into the living room to see it set up on DVD.
  • He kills (or captures and releases) all the bugs.
  • He’s my very best friend.  That pretty much covers the rest, doesn’t it?

This isn’t really a part of the list but to celebrate our anniversary, he’s making me a huge french toast dinner tonight.  Life sure can be sweet!

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Dad’s Day

June 18, 2013 at 11:35 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , )

I realize that I’m a few days late but better late than never, right?

Sunday was Father’s Day and I celebrated all the men in my life who helped make me who I am today.  My grandfathers, uncles and of course my own dad all taught me things that helped shape my personality and provided me with lessons I’ll never forget.  My dad was a stay at home dad back when that wasn’t exactly a common thing and I have memories of him picking my sister and I up from elementary school and taking us for ice cream on our way home in the afternoons.  My dad treated us like little kids instead of dainty, delicate little girls and I think that’s where my sister and I get some of our innate toughness.  We had a tire swing, sandbox and tree house and we’d spend evenings playing catch with Dad in the front yard.  He taught me how to drive and almost had a heart attack when he asked how fast I’d gotten my car up to (he shouldn’t have asked if he didn’t want to know!).  He also managed not to murder me or my first boyfriend when he caught us home alone in high school.  We lived near some woods so the lack of homicide showed great restraint on his part.

As I’ve gotten older, my dad and I have clashed on a few major things.  There have been some situations that he could have and should have handled better and he’s been dishonest about some stuff that I’ll probably never forget.  Despite these issues, I know he loves me and I know he’s proud of me.  I also know that there are many men out there who are a father in name only and who never attempted to give their kids the life that my dad helped to give me.  I know that I’m really lucky and even though we still don’t always see eye to eye, I love my dad.  I wish he was closer and that I could see him more than once or twice a year but he’s making a trip up here in August so I’ve got that to look forward to.

Gotta love the 80's

Gotta love the 80’s

This picture is from when I was roughly 3 weeks old.  Please ignore the great role model he’s being by essentially hold me up to his cigarette pack.  Also, please don’t ignore his head of 80’s hair, because it’s too fabulous to forget.

Thanks for everything Dad.  Here’s hoping we can celebrate many more Father’s Day’s in the future.

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Feline Friday

June 14, 2013 at 10:19 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , )

The Dude is lazy.  He’s a cat, so that’s to be expected, but I think he’s lazy even for a cat.  He rarely moves from the couch and if I ask nicely or try to shove him to the side, he looks at me like I’m something he found in his litter box.  So when he was lounging around the other day and refusing to budge, I had to mess with him a little.

He is not amused.

He is not amused.

I managed to stack one remote, one cell phone and one guitar tuner on top of him before he got sufficiently pissed enough to get up and walk away.  Next time, I’ll try to add more.

Don’t mess with me, cat.  These opposable thumbs mean I will always win!  Even if I do still clean up after your bathroom breaks.

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Batter Up!

June 12, 2013 at 12:02 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , )

Thanks to an awesome friend of mine, I have now been to Wrigley Field a grand total of 3 times.  My gal pal and her husband have season tickets and he graciously let her bring me along instead of going himself to last night’s game against the Reds.  I went to a rooftop Cubs game last month with my mom, sister and sister’s boyfriend and that was a good time but there’s something a little extra special about actually watching it all from the bleachers.  The weather was perfect and our seats were pretty damn good if I do say so myself.

Take me out to the ballgame!

Take me out to the ballgame!

I’m not a huge baseball buff and I don’t have a diehard favorite team that I absolutely have to watch.  I do however enjoy the atmosphere of a baseball game and can appreciate the sport.  My grandma, on the other hand, is a lifelong Reds fan and so I busted out the Reds shirt my mom gave me the last time she was in town and wore it proudly in her honor alongside my friend, who donned her Cubs top.  The Reds wound up winning but we didn’t stay to the very end, since it was a later game on a work night and we both turn into pumpkins if kept out too late.  I finished off the night with some take-home Taco Bell and couldn’t have asked for a better Tuesday evening!

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Drained

June 10, 2013 at 11:10 am (Uncategorized) (, , , )

On Saturday morning, I woke up with the intent of having a quick breakfast then going to the gym before my afternoon of docent-ing at the museum.  I walked into the kitchen and started rinsing off some dishes and then I heard it.  An unfamiliar yet unmistakable noise that could only be one thing – water spewing from the pipe underneath the kitchen sink.

Like most people, I keep various cleaning supplies and products under the sink and many of them were in cardboard boxes.  They were a nice soggy mess and I hauled everything from under the sink out onto the back porch while fitting a bucket under the offending pipe.  This was no little leak either, water was seriously gushing from the damn thing with every turn of the tap.  I called our maintenance guy and he said he could come out Monday morning – a mere 48 hours away.  Awesome.  When I took a closer look at the pipe, I realized that there was already some duct tape attempting to hold the whole thing together.  Apparently it wa’s time for an upgrade.

Sad broke pipe.

We were still able to use the sink but Scott got pretty good at dumping the bucket in the toilet while we made our meals.  To try and avoid that, I spent some time last night washing vegetables in the bathroom sink which was a novel experience but not one I’m eager to re-live.  The good thing in all of this is that it made me even happier that I rent, because while Scott and I could’ve maybe figured out how to fix this on our own, the chances that it was done right on the first try were made much higher by us using a professional.

My fingers are crossed that I have regular kitchen sink access by the end of the night.  Otherwise, my dishes and I will be taking a nice shower together before the evening’s end.

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Foodie Friday

June 7, 2013 at 11:29 am (Uncategorized) (, , )

I love pizza.  As in, could eat it every day and never really grow tired of it.  This is a good thing since I live in Chicago but it’s also a bad thing because I’m not rich and I don’t want to weigh 500lbs.  So what’s a girl to do?

Make her own!

When my latest craving hit, I raided the fridge and was happy to see that I could satisfy my urges without going to the grocery or spending a dime.  I had some flat bread, which I lightly covered with olive oil before placing on my baking stone.  I spread some marinara sauce over the entire portion, then added the toppings.  I had a little bit of feta and some parmesan/asiago that was ready to go so that went down first.  I added some shredded kale, banana peppers and some veggie crushed Italian sausage, then stuck in the oven on Broil for about 12 minutes.  Then, I ate!

PizzaPizza

PizzaPizza

It was really good though the bread I used wasn’t too sturdy so I ended up folding a lot of it and then shoving it in my mouth.  Other than buying stronger bread that will support all the stuff I loaded on top of it, I don’t think I’d change this recipe much.  Of course, just about anything can be added to a pizza, as long as it sounds good.  So get creative and make your own!

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