Happy Birthday to My Sissy

May 29, 2014 at 8:47 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , )

Sums it up.

Today was my little sister’s birthday.  I used to pretty much hate my sister.  We’re very close in age (15 months) and as such, we were often lumped together on sports teams and even classes in school.  We shared clothes, toys, friends and a room and there were many times I wanted to smother her with a pillow.  For a great many years in our childhood, we got presents on each other’s birthday’s so there wouldn’t be a fight – I kind wish that rule was still in place, but oh well.  We used to have babysitters refuse to watch us together because of how much we fought and I can remember at least a few occasions where we didn’t get to go do something super fun because we’d been arguing.  When we were in Junior High, we were fighting about something or other on the car ride home from school with my mom and Mom pulled over, then made me get out and start walking.  We were only a few miles from home but this was in the middle of the country and I seethed with rage as I made my way home.  She eventually came to pick me up but it was only because “your father made me come and get you” – that was when I learned that perhaps there were limits on how much my sister and I could get away with when it came to trying to kill each other.  Doesn’t mean we didn’t push that boundary any time we could, though.

Honestly, we didn’t start getting along really well until I moved out of the house and went to college.  Whether it was maturity or the 85 miles separating us, we began to tolerate each other a little more.  Actually, it was probably the distance because if we spend more than 4 or 5 days together even now, one of us ends up punching a wall in an airport bathroom on our way home from Mexico (that’d be me).  Now that we’re older, though, those kind of instances can usually be solved over a beer and with a laugh, especially since we know we’ll be in different zip codes again soon.  We actually want to hang out with each other most of the time nowadays.

Seriously though, my little sister has grown into a woman who kind of amazes me.  She’s actually pretty smart (yeah, it shocked me too) and she’s made a really decent career for herself doing something that she mostly enjoys and is really good at.  She surprises me all the time by doing grown up things like moving in with her boyfriend, planting a garden and making awesome food.  In fact, I kind of wish she’d cook for me more often but most dinners don’t hold up well via overnight FedEx delivery, so I must miss out.  She’s funny, original, interesting and much more caring than I would’ve thought she could turn out to be.  She’s very rational and handles things like family illness and hospitals way better than I do, because I mostly blubber in a corner while freaking out every time someone rolls by in a wheelchair.  She’s made of tough stuff, and I admire her.  I’m also really proud of her, and proud to call her my sister.

I probably don’t tell her all that enough (though I may mention the part about wanting to smother her every now and then).  But since it’s her birthday, I figured this could be part of my gift.  Because God knows I won’t be spending any actual money on her!  Just kidding, sis.  And Happy Birthday!

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Talk about Pissed Off

May 27, 2014 at 6:18 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , )

I know, I know.  It’s been a while since I wrote.  I think I’m going to get back in the swing of things here soon as I had an experience this weekend that prompted me to write, as a warning if nothing else.  See, I had a group of friends come in for a bachlorette party (not mine) and we stayed downtown at the Hyatt Regency on Wacker Drive (I’m being specific for a reason).  There were good and bad aspects to the weekend.

The good:

  • The girls were all a lot of fun and we got along really well, which was great since we didn’t all know each other.
  • We did some shopping and I found a pair of shoes I’ve been keeping an out for since like two months ago.  And they were on sale!
  • I was able to play Tour Guide at the Field Museum and show off some of the cool stuff there.
  • I actually played Tour Guide most of the weekend, including on a trip to Chinatown via Water Taxi.  This greatly appealed to my know-it-all nature.
  • We ate lots of delicious food and drank lots of strong adult beverages.
  • We hit the beach and had some fun in the sun.  The weather was great all weekend, which is always a gamble in Chicago.
  • We played a pin-the-macho-on-the-man game (you can use your imagination to figure out what the macho was) and Cards Against Humanity, both of which ensured a lot of laughs.
  • The bride-to-be got to do everything she wanted and had a great time, which is the most important thing.

Damn straight.


The bad:

  • Somehow my debit card information got hacked and while we were en route to Chinatown I had to deal with my bank, because someone tried to withdraw nearly 1k from my account.  Luckily the bank is handling it but unluckily I had about $25 to my name for the last day and half of our excursion.  I’m very thankful that my bank caught the transactions though and hopefully this will all be resolved with minimal rage on my end.
  • The hotel (again, the HYATT REGENCY ON WACKER DRIVE) screwed up basically everything they could screw up.  This is a super nice hotel right off Michigan Avenue so we thought things would go smoothly – nope, I’ve stayed in hostels in Africa that were better.  Things started off on the wrong foot as we were supposed to have adjoining rooms but they gave one away to someone else so we were like two hallways away from each other.  We rolled with it though and they ended up fixing that for the second night.  During the switch (which took forever, by the way – the second room wasn’t ready until nearly 4pm), they somehow lost the mini-fridge that we had requested. Of course the room comes with a fridge but if you so much as slightly move anything in it you’re automatically charged roughly the price of a small car, so it was useless to us. The one we had brought up was full of homemade snacks and a bunch of wine that we brought along. Eventually they found the fridge but everything in it was gone. They gave us up a few bottles of wine and gave a credit for the food we lost but it was still pretty frustrating, especially because some of the food had been made specifically for the bride-to-be.  There were other small things – not enough towels, poor water pressure in the showers, nonexistent bellhops to help with luggage, bad design layout that caused us to have to cross some stupid “quiet” walkway every time we went to the room, etc. These things and everything else I’ve mentioned so far are all fairly normal issues that, while annoying to deal with for the price we paid for the rooms, are at least somewhat understandable. However, what truly ruined this awful stay happened the first night we were there.  I climbed into bed around 1am and laid for a moment, thoroughly exhausted. Then I noticed a creeping, dampening sensation on my hip. I got out of bed, did some investigating and was completely horrified when I realized that the wetness was from URINE. And it wasn’t mine! While the sheets were initially clean, my body weight brought up the stain from the mattress. THERE WAS A STILL WET URINE STAIN IN THE MATTRESS. Oh. My. God. I’ve stayed in hostels everywhere from Africa to South America and never have I ever experienced such a disgusting thing.  The front desk (who weren’t nearly as apologetic as I expected) sent up a roll away bed but it was too big to fit in the room as we already had two Queens in there. This was after they offered to change the sheets – um, the urine was in the mattress, new sheets weren’t going to help. I sincerely hope they did some heavy cleaning to it later or just burned the damn thing but I wouldn’t be surprised if they just wiped it down and threw on more sheets. I wound up spending the night on the floor with a bunch of pillows and blankets – and let me tell you, the floor was not very comfortable. The hotel laundered my clothes for free and offered to change our room but as we were already switching rooms due to their earlier screw-up, that wasn’t necessary. They gave us a $100 credit to the bar/restaurant (half the price of that room for the night) to make amends but honestly, they should have offered more, since that bought like one round of shots for the group and there isn’t enough booze in the world to make me forget I was laying in URINE.  The entire stay was pretty lousy but the pee stain was the yellow icing on a crappy cake.
  • Then I accidentally took the girls to a dog beach and we were attacked by hairy, wet, sandy animals as we tried to eat our picnic lunch.  We moved pretty quickly and at that point all we could do is laugh, because after that weekend of COURSE that’s the beach we would end up on.

So, that was my weekend.  And this is my warning – stay away from the Hyatt Regency!  That and the Wyndham are the two Chicago hotels that have gone on my forever blacklist.  There are seriously so many great options here that I would suggest you not risk a bed full of pee and a $300 charge for a mirror you didn’t break (thanks, Wyndham).  Or better yet, you can stay with me!  I promise a urine-free sleeping environment, but I might steal your wine.

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Mommy Dearest

May 11, 2014 at 5:37 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , )

Man, I know a lot of women who have kids.  Besides the wonderful grandmothers, aunts and cousins in my life who are all fantastic mothers, more and more of my friends now fall into that category too.  I think they’re all pretty amazing because they all have what I consider the hardest job in the world.  I’ve yet to decide one way or the other if I’ll ever join that club because while they all make it seem like it’s something that comes naturally and is the greatest job in the world, it kinda sorta scares the hell out of me.

Even though the Moms in my life are all inspiring and awesome in their own ways, I’m especially grateful for the particular woman I call Mom.

Thanks for everything, Mom!

I wish I could’ve spent some time with her today but I’ll be seeing her three times in the next few months so I’ll have plenty of time to show her my appreciation then.  My sister got to spend the day with Mom though so she at least had a consolation prize (ha).  We really did luck out with our mom because she’s honestly the woman I still want to grow up to be.  I wouldn’t be who I am or where I am in life without her guidance, advice and support.  She’s also one of my best friends – I probably spend more time on the phone with her than with anyone else I know (Scott can attest to that!).  She can always calm me down or cheer me up when I’m upset or having a bad day and anytime I get good or bad news she’s the first person I think to call.  She lives her life in a way that I hope I’m still living mine in 3o years and she’s got more balls than all of the Chicago Bears combined.  She’s the reason I’m here and I really don’t know what I would do without her.

So Happy Mother’s Day to my Mommy.  If I ever wind up being just half the mother you’ve been then I will consider myself a success indeed.  I love you, I miss you and I will see you in a few weeks!

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Meat is No Treat

May 4, 2014 at 5:52 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , )

In the past three weeks, I’ve accidentally eaten meat three different times.  As a vegetarian for more than 15 years, this disturbs me.  Is the universe trying to tell me something?  Do animals really want me to eat them?  Or am I, in my old age, just getting too lax in the checking of my food for flesh particles?  I don’t know the answer but I will say that I’m going to try to kick this trend to the curb.

The first time this happened was at a Mexican restaurant with my mom and Scott over Easter weekend.  I had ordered some deep fried chili thing full of cheese and I was halfway through it before I noticed that it also held a substantial amount of chicken for it to be a veggie combo.  I don’t think I actually ate much but I was none too pleased.  I didn’t make a scene or anything but I did nicely let the manager know of the situation and they comped my meal while also giving me something actually vegetarian to take home for later.  So I still came out ahead.

A few days later, our office had catering brought to the office for lunch.  I, trying to prevent another meat laden meal, asked what specifically was vegetarian.  There were a few salads and pastas so I happily loaded my plate and went back to my desk.  Then I realized the pasta had sausage in it and the salad was full of bacon.  At least I didn’t really eat much of that and hey, it was free too so I can’t really complain.

I identify with this episode a little too well.

Then I went to a surprise baby shower this weekend for a former coworker, at the home of my old boss, the guy who owned the company that went out of business last year.  He started a new firm and his 1.6 million dollar home shows he isn’t hurting, but that’s another story.  It was kind of an awkward night but there was lots of beer and homemade Mexican food so I was able to distract myself.  I was thoroughly enjoying the guacamole when Scott informed me that he just found out that it contained bacon.  Well, shit.  Who puts bacon in guacamole?  I don’t think I’ve experienced such a thing – I thought it full of tomatoes.  So apparently I’m an idiot as well as a lousy vegetarian.  Thankfully, the beer helped ease my pain.

I didn’t get sick after any of these instances and I’ve honestly been trying not to dwell on them but man, I think I’ve eaten meat more on accident in the last month than in the whole time I’ve been a vegetarian.  What is up with that?  And can it just go ahead and stop already?  I’m not trying to sound prissy or like a drama queen but I really don’t like it.  It’s just not my thing, which is why I quit eating it to begin with.  I think it’s yucky and I want it to stay out of my pie-hole.

I’m making a homemade pizza tonight and I have some vegetarian pepperoni to use as a topping.  At least, the packaging said it was vegetarian.  I’m not sure what I believe anymore.


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