I’m Gettin’ Hitched!

January 26, 2015 at 8:53 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , )

That’s right, Scott and I are engaged!

He got me good, guys. We’ve been talking about engagement and marriage for a while now and while I knew this was coming, he still managed to pull off a surprise. I had worked a full day and then went to the gym, so by the time I got home I was tired and kind of smelly. When I walked in our apartment, I was surprised to see that it was spotless from top to bottom. That alone thrilled me and Scott said he wanted us both to have a nice, laid-back evening so he had gotten our chores out of the way. I hopped in the shower and when I got out he called me to the kitchen, saying he had some chocolate covered strawberries in there for us. I walked in and he turned off the lights, because he had candles and a gorgeous floral arrangement of sunflowers and roses that he had put together himself. At this point I got tears in my eyes and started shaking a bit. He took me by the shoulders and gave a wonderfully sweet speech about how much he loved me, our little family with the Dude and our home together and that he wanted to continue loving me for the rest of his life. By this time, we were both crying just a bit. Then he got on one knee and said he didn’t have a ring yet – then he started laughing and pulled it out of his pocket, that funny guy. I basically said of course I’ll marry you and then we collapsed into a heap of giggles, tears and mushy love. (All together now – aww!).

We have a small dry erase board in our kitchen for general notes and tomfoolery. I noticed this was written there about 2 hours after Scott proposed!

We have a small dry erase board in our kitchen for general notes and tomfoolery. I noticed this was written there about 2 hours after Scott proposed!

He had called all of our parents and siblings beforehand to let them know what was going to happen so my family was anxiously awaiting my call to confirm. Everyone was thrilled and even my dad sounded choked up. We spent the rest of the evening gushing with our loved ones and enjoying some delicious carryout Mexican (since we were way too distracted to bother with a silly thing like cooking). On that note – there were no chocolate covered strawberries (I couldn’t help but ask about them later). He apologized that the store was out of them but said he needed something a little special to get me into the kitchen. I’ll survive without but may pick some up tonight just because I can!

Anyway, isn’t my ring super beautiful? It’s a moissanite, which is a gem entirely different from a diamond and made up of the same elements that have been found on meteors. It’s made by science, super gorgeous not nearly as pricey as diamonds. I think everyone deserves whatever type of ring they want for an engagement but I personally have some problems with the whole diamond industry and didn’t want one for myself. So this is perfect!

On Saturday, Scott and I went to a super fancy restaurant that one of my bosses had given me a gift card for at Christmas so we got to enjoy an amazing meal that was definitely celebratory. I was able to introduce him as my fiancé (which is still taking some getting used to) and we’re both still kind of riding this engagement high. No plans have been made yet and to be honest I want to take at least a few weeks or a month to just enjoy the newness of being engaged. Planning a wedding seems like a sucky, stressful thing for the most part and I’m not anxious to dive in. But if it means I can spend the rest of my life with my handsome, sweet best friend then I guess I’ll manage!

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Jazz It Up

January 20, 2015 at 8:38 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , )

Classy.

Over the long weekend, Scott and I finally experienced a Chicago legend. We went to The Green Mill Cocktail Lounge after a delicious dinner of Ethiopian food on Saturday night and we were not disappointed. The Green Mill has been around for over 100 years and Al Capone used to hang out there with his henchman back in the day (there’s a tunnel behind the bar leads outside and that Capone used to use that wisely but no, they will not give a tour). The interior is fairly small and not really conducive to large crowds but it doesn’t really matter because it’s pretty much always crowded anyway. Scott and I arrived as the band for the night was finishing their first set, which worked out perfectly because we were able to snag a booth as another couple made their way outside. From there we had a great view of the stage, the bar and the crowd, all of which were very entertaining. It was pretty cool because they take their music seriously at this place, which was evidenced by the bouncer telling us to keep quiet during the sets and the loud “Shh’s!” that people whispered to anyone who dared to talk once the music began. I don’t remember the name of the quartet who was playing while we were there but they were pretty good and had everyone dancing in their seats or in the aisle. We stayed for a while but didn’t really want to close the place down (mostly because the Green Mill is open until 5am on weekends and we’re too old for that shit) so we had our fill of music and booze and caught the bus for a short ride back to our place. It was a whole lot of fun and definitely someplace I want to go again! And when I do, I’ll work on making friends with the bartender so I can get that tour of the tunnels I’ve heard so much about.

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Kindle Keeper

January 13, 2015 at 9:32 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , )

As I mentioned in my last post, I am the owner of a brand-new Kindle Paperwhite. I’ve had a Nook for a few years as it was a hand-me-down from an aunt so I’m not completely foreign to the whole e-book thing, but I still feel like a grandma. The first Nook I was given was super old-school as I think it was the first generation and since it was still attached to my aunt’s account, I really only had access to her books. Which were aplenty, but not exactly to my taste (I’ve never read a Nora Roberts book and could probably survive without doing so). A couple of years later my aunt upgraded her own Nook and gave me a newer version, which was backlit so it was definitely a bit fancier. She told me she would download books for me if I wanted and there were a couple I asked for (yes, The Count of Monte Cristo was one of them) but I didn’t want to be greedy and so I only used it for select reading.

First world problems.

Then I decided to splurge and get my own device. I chose the Kindle because I do most things Amazon and it was all pretty straightforward, plus it got great reviews. I briefly toyed with the idea of getting a Fire but then I decided I don’t need my Facebook and Instagram apps on half a dozen different devices. The Paperwhite is just for reading and if I had the ability to check email or surf the web I don’t think I’d get near as much actual reading accomplished. So here I am, learning the ways of yet another electronic machine. I will admit it’s pretty cool and I love being able to read about a character or learn the definition of a word with a light touch of my finger. The pages turn much quicker than my Nook did and it even has a handy feature that estimates how much longer it will take me to finish the chapter I’m currently reading. I’m sure it does other things like cook my breakfast and balance my bank account but I haven’t quite learned all of the ropes. Yet. But I did use it to finish that tome Cristo so I’ve got that going for me!

To be honest though, I’m still torn on the whole thing. I like books. BOOKS. I like the way they smell and turning their pages and flipping through them and holding them and hugging them and well – you get the idea. But I also like not having to carry a 600 page beast around in my backpack or purse every day (I brought three different books along with me on my last trip out of town – they definitely take up space). So I know I won’t use the Kindle exclusively but it will obviously come in handy on certain occasions. I’m clearly emerging into the 21st century, just a little bit at a time.

That said, I downloaded our next book club book from the library (another handy feature!) and it’s on my Kindle now. And the Kindle is in my backpack…right next to the hard copy of the exact same book. Am I doing this right? Probably not but I can read the book on the el and then use the Kindle while I’m at the gym so it works for me!

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Aaaaand Done!

January 12, 2015 at 8:36 pm (Uncategorized) (, , )

I did it!  I finally finished The Count of Monte Cristo!

If you know me, you know I’m a little particular about things. Such as finishing stuff I’ve started. It’s kind of a curse but I have a really hard time starting a book or movie and then just stopping it halfway through, even if I’m not exactly enjoying it. Take, for instance, my reading of Moby Dick. It took me quite a while and I pretty thoroughly disliked most of that book but I finished it, damnit. See, I also have this thing where I like to read some of the classics every now and then. I liked Anna Karenina and David Copperfield (not about the pervy magician) but Cristo was essentially the bane of my existence for roughly a year and a half. I know, I know, I’m ridiculous for staying with it that long but I just couldn’t stop. Am I a masochist? Nope, English major.

Well, shit. Guess I could’ve watched the movie.

And honestly, I liked Cristo. At least, I liked the beginning and I liked the end. The middle was really difficult for me to get through and that’s where I put it down for oh, say, eight months or better. In my defense with this whole thing, I read probably two dozen other books while Cristo was on the backburner but I kept returning to get it finished. I bought a Kindle over Christmas and I must admit, that helped enormously. I mean, have you seen that book? It’s pretty huge. But like I said, I did enjoy it and there were definitely parts that had me on the edge of my seat and biting my nails. The Count of Monte Cristo is an epic tale about a man who is wrongfully imprisoned for fourteen years and taken away from the love of his life right before they lived happily ever after. He manages to escape from prison and then makes it his life’s work to hunt down those who wronged him and get his revenge. It’s a long time coming, that’s for sure. The way that he integrates himself into the lives of those who had long forgotten him is pretty impressive and when he pulls the rug out from underneath everyone, it’s extremely satisfying. And depressing, not going to lie. But the plot wraps itself up nicely and has a decent ending.

But to be honest, by the time I finished it late last night I was just glad it was over. And now I think I should treat myself by reading something mindless and simple – I hear One Fish, Two Fish is a good one.

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Year in Review

January 3, 2015 at 7:16 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , )

The good:

  • New job! This time last year, I was frantically job searching and by the end of February I had landed my current position, which happens to be the best I’ve ever had. What a difference a year makes!
  • Other new job! I began working as a temporary employee of the Field Museum and taught dozens of groups of Boy Scouts all about archaeology. And I got a paycheck!
  • Scott’s back in school! His career is taking a different direction as well and he did very well in his first semester back in class. I’m extremely proud of him but also extremely glad he’s the one dealing with teachers and study sessions, not me.
  • My vacation! My solo adventure to Vancouver/San Diego was a huge highlight in the past year and one of the best trips I’ve ever taken.
  • Babies! None of them mine! Dear friends and family members produced new little people this year and it’s been very exciting to watch them grow. And then leave them behind while I go home to my kid-free apartment.
  • Haircut! I finally quit talking about it and cut off 10 inches of my hair to donate to Pantene Lengths. My scalp has been grateful ever since.
  • Loved ones! They’re all still relatively happy and healthy and I am SO SO thankful for that!

The bad:

  • While all of my loved ones are still around, some of them have spent some time in the hospital. My uncle/godfather is still in the hospital and to be quite honest, he may never come out. I did see him over Christmas though and I’m thankful for that.
  • Um…wow. That’s all I can think of. Apparently 2014 was very good to me!

Um, yes.

And now, some 2014 numbers:

  • I went on about 24 job interviews before landing my current position. I was offered two other jobs first but held out for something I felt really good about – and it worked!
  • I attended 3 weddings. All of them were in June and I was a bridesmaid in 2 of the 3.
  • I know 7 babies who were born. Zero of them came from my vagina.
  • I saw 2 movies in the theater. They were Gravity and The Budapest Hotel.
  • I read 28 books. At least 8 of them I had already read before. Also, some of them were very long.
  • I volunteered roughly 50 hours at the Food Pantry and 77 hours at the Field Museum.
  • I went to the gym 213 times. True story.

That’s a wrap! I sure had a damn good year and I’m looking forward to what 2015 will bring – if it’s more of the same as last year, I think I’ll be alright!

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