Fighting Hunger!

January 29, 2016 at 2:56 pm (Uncategorized)

So I’m on a new committee at my office and we’re trying to get our department to do service work in the community once a quarter. Our first event is taking place this weekend and 100 people are signed up to go volunteer at Chicago’s Food Depository at 9am on a Saturday morning. Talk about commitment! We’ll be doing a variety of tasks over the course of about three hours and I’m really excited to see this endeavor take off. In an effort to raise enthusiasm and awareness about our service day, we’ve had a food drive competition going on three different floors for about two weeks. One person in particular took it upon herself to collect cash money from most of our bosses and she went to Aldi’s with her husband to spend what she gathered – then she brought in TONS of food! Between her collection and the others we received, I’d say we have over 1,000lbs of food. We’ll have a final weight total after it’s all been delivered next week but trust me – it’s a LOT. Most of which yours truly boxed herself, so my biceps and I are having a love/hate relationship this week.

My friends, the boxes.

It’s been amazing and I’m so excited to have such a successful first outing. I’ve never worked for a company that gives back to the community the way my current employer does and it makes me really proud to be involved with such generous people. We won’t be doing the same thing every quarter but this is a great starting point and especially near and dear to me, since I’ve been working with a local food pantry for years and we receive all of our donations from the Food Depository to begin with. In fact, this place was my idea because I personally know some of the people and places that will benefit from our donations in the long run. So it’s a win-win for everyone involved!

Except my biceps.

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No Snow!

January 26, 2016 at 4:14 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , )

Wait. No snow?

I know many people and places are being ravaged by the weather lately and trust me, I know what that’s like. I’ve lived through at least one veritable blizzard in my time as a Chicagoan and while it was a freezing, miserable experience, it was also pretty cool. Sure, the grocery stores looked like something from an apocalyptic movie and my tears and snot froze to my face every time I walked outside, but there was something exciting about it, too. Everyone in the city always seems to be a little closer when faced with impending awful weather and watching as the snow piles up brings out the kid in us. Well, most of us.

But not this year. We’ve had maybe two snowfalls so far this season and neither one of them left much of anything to write home (or on a blog!) about. So I can’t help but feeling a little jealous when watching everyone I know busting out the shovels while enjoying their snow days. Why can’t we get one huge dump of snow that incapacitates the entire city? I don’t own a car to shovel out and I’ve got good boots, so I’m ready.

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Not this kind of blizzard. But I’m fairly familiar with these, too.

Obviously, if a huge snowstorm does happen to appear, I’ll regret these words. I like to bitch and moan about the weather with the rest of the city and right now, many of us are bummed about the lack of snow. Of course we’ve been enjoying the warmer temperatures but if we could get one big storm at least once this year, that would be great. Maybe for my birthday? After all, it was my birthday when the last big blizzard came and I even got a snow day myself out of that. So – birthday blizzard? Pretty please with a snowcone on top? Then it can melt in a few days and we jump right into spring. Sounds good to me!

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Book Nerd

January 22, 2016 at 4:20 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , )

Am I the only one who, when reading a new book, will use both my Kindle and a hard copy to do so? I love the Kindle and all its fancy perks and I especially love that I can use it while I’m exercising at the gym (shockingly, actual books don’t like to stay put on cardio equipment). The Kindle is slim and tiny and can fit in almost any purse I own, which is great. It’s also super light and that’s a plus when I’m reading larger tomes.

book

Fight! Fight! Fight!

But wait! There’s more! I also like the feeling of an actual book in my hands and if I’m sitting on my couch I’d rather have a real book versus an e-reader accompanying me. So lately I’ve been making a point of downloading the free version of the book I’m reading and also checking out a hard copy from the library so we can hang on the couch. Then I feel really good about myself because I’m supporting my local library in two different ways!

And I can’t be the only one who does that. Right?

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By the way…

January 19, 2016 at 3:11 pm (Uncategorized)

…I didn’t win the lotto.

 

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If I Won the Lotto…

January 13, 2016 at 2:57 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , )

…here’s what I would do:

  • Pay off my student loans and all student loans for all of my family members.
  • Be out of money!
  • Just kidding. Sort of.
  • Build my mom a new house on our old property and ensure she has no more bills, ever.
  • Build my dad a new house on new property (for him) and ensure he has no more bills, ever.
  • Hire nurses, cooks and maids to live with all of my grandparents and take care of everything they need and yup you guessed it – no more bills for them, either.
  • Quit budgeting for my wedding/honeymoon.
  • Travel to each continent (again – but no more hostels).
  • Buy you a car! And you a car! Everyone gets a car!
  • And all friends and family would get anything else they need, too.
  • Donate substantial funds to: the food pantry I volunteer with as well as the Greater Chicago Food Depository, The Field Museum, PAWS animal shelter, American Cancer Society, St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital and any other place that tugs at my heartstrings.
  • Update my entire wardrobe. And the wardrobes of everyone I know, if they want it.
  • Update our apartment from a one-closet, one-bedroom to…hell, a two-closet, two-bedroom would be great. Just so long as there is laundry IN-UNIT!
  • I would almost give away all lotto winnings for in-unit laundry…
  • Almost.
  • Actually, if I were truly rich I would probably splurge and buy a house – with a yard!
  • And maybe pay for someone else to always do my laundry.
  • Get a dog. And another cat. And a pony.
  • Maybe not the pony. Two dogs it is!
  • Publish my book.
  • After I take the time to finish my book.
  • Travel some more and go see all of my friends and family I’m always too broke or busy to see right now.
  • Hand out large sums of cash to strangers in anonymous, nonsensical ways.
  • Quit my job. Probably. Maybe? I really like my job and I wouldn’t want to get lazy. Perhaps a sabbatical then part-time work after that.
  • Have a kid or two. Or pay someone else to do it for me. Then hire a bunch of nannies and wet nurses to ensure I only have to do the fun stuff.
  • Adopt some more kids just because I can and they deserve a nice life, too.
  • Pay a band to follow me around and play theme songs for various moments of my life.
  • Or maybe not.
  • Maybe I’ll just learn to play an instrument instead.
  • From Jimmy Page.
  • Save the rest (not really – I would’ve gone broke long before this list is finished).
scrooge_mcduck-e1334907919275

I would probably do this, too.

Anyway. Here’s hoping!

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Galena Getaway

January 12, 2016 at 12:34 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , )

Scott and I spent last weekend in a little town about three hours from Chicago and it was awesome. We needed a weekend getaway since we haven’t traveled anywhere alone (without visiting family) in YEARS. Saving for a wedding and honeymoon will put a damper on big travel plans, let me tell you! Luckily, though, this town was close enough to be doable and far enough to feel like someplace entirely new. Which it was. And it actually felt farther away than it really was because we hit intense fog on our drive through these rural, curvy roads and had to take our time. But we eventually made it to and the fog lifted, both metaphorically and physically speaking!

 

Good, cold fun!

Galena is cool because it’s really historic and on Saturday Scott suggested a tour President Ulysses S. Grant’s former home. Clearly he gets me. We learned a lot while walking through the little mini-museum and shared mutual appreciation for indoor plumbing after seeing their chamber pots. We also spent a good deal of time wandering the downtown streets and doing some shopping while enjoying various foods and beverages (including at a local brewery!) along the way. Our resort was really nice too (thanks, Groupon!) and had a few different restaurants/lounges for us to choose from, as well as a pool that we did not use because the thought of putting on a swimsuit when it was 20 degrees outside wasn’t exactly appealing. Shocker.

We managed to do some walking of the grounds too but by Saturday evening the already chilly temperatures dropped and it was COLD. So we enjoyed some free cable in the room and binged on snacks and drinks while having a slumber party. Jumping on the beds may have happened too, because that’s just how good grown-ups roll!

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Fired Up

January 6, 2016 at 3:25 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , )

I come from a place where guns are no big deal. My father never went hunting but he had a few handguns and rifles in our house and it was common to hear our neighbors shooting squirrels and deer in the woods (for dinner, not just sport). I used to date hunters and some of my Southern family proudly sit in deer stands a few months out of the year. Hell, I can remember announcements being made in my high school about needing to take the gun rack out of your truck before coming to class (you can tell that was pre-9/11). I’ve shot guns for fun and am no stranger to the fact that many people need or want one, for whatever reason.

That said, I’m totally behind this, which is our President’s plan for gun control.

I understand the right to bear arms but I absolutely think we need tighter measures for owning those arms and I simply don’t see the reason for guns used in wars to be out in the streets of our country (I don’t see the reason for most wars to begin with either but that’s opening another can of worms). I also think we need better mental health services for our citizens and hopefully if certain people get the help they need, they will be less likely to commit such horrible acts.

I’m like President Obama in that I believe we’ve gotten entirely too numb to these instances of mass shootings. The first time I can remember crying over senseless deaths brought on by guns was after a school shooting in Paducah, KY in 1997 – two years before Columbine. My young brain couldn’t wrap itself around the fact that a kid could do that to another kid and my mom and I stood in our kitchen, crying and trying to understand why. I don’t react that way anymore when another shooting happens (though some hit me harder than others) because they seem to be so commonplace. Here’s hoping that our government is taking steps in the right direction and that one day we will look back on this part of our past with the dismay of looking at something awful, foreign and long-removed.

Here’s hoping.

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