Summer Recap

October 9, 2017 at 1:45 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , )

I’m pretty sure this is the longest I’ve gone without posting since I began posting, way back in the day. I’m sure you’ve missed me and I’ve missed posting too but I’ve just been so damn busy. And I know how lame that sounds because everyone is always busy, all the time, so I need to just get back in habit of writing. Well the road to hell is paved with good intentions and all that jazz but at least I’m posting today, right?

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Wave Goodbye

So what’s been keeping me so busy? Life, basically. I thought things would calm down this year after the whole planning-a-wedding-thing last year but boy was I wrong about that. And just because I love my lists, I’m going to rehash some of the stuff that’s kept me the absolute busiest this year:

  • My dad – I haven’t written much about this here but in January, my sister and I began the process of becoming Power of Attorney for our father and we moved him from Louisiana, where he’d been living with his parents, to Indiana, where he now lives in an assisted living facility. Dad has been having some health issues for a while and can’t exactly live on his own so this was decided to be the best thing for him, because if he moved in with my sister or I we would likely end up killing him and that’s just messy for everyone involved. Anyway, I spent the first few months of the year hiring lawyers, drafting documents and learning everything there is to know about Medicare, Medicaid and “retirement communities”. I also got to dig through dad’s financial and medical records, which was an absolute blast. We eventually found a place for him and moved him in April – he’s settled in fairly well and hasn’t tried to escape yet so I guess that’s all working out for the time being.
  • Speaking of moving, Scott and I moved into a new apartment (which I chronicled in a different post so won’t belabor here). Suffice to say, it kind of sucked.
  • Then I sprained both my ankles, also chronicled in a different post. That also sucked, twice as bad.
  • While I was dealing with the sprains, I was part of a crew at my office helping to move over 1,000 employees into a brand new building. We pulled it off and the new space is great but it wasn’t easy and I’m super glad it’s over.
  • And speaking of work, it’s been keeping me busy in its own right. Right after our office move, I began working for the head of our department as his admin is out on maternity leave. He’s kind of a big deal at the company and she did a lot of other things besides supporting him so I’ve been maintaining her workload and trying not to let things slip through the cracks. Her job alone is a full-time gig but since I’m a crazy person, I’ve also been doing the following:
    • Co-created our newest business resource group, called Pride Alliance. It’s to support the LGBTQ+ employees and allies in our firm and also enhance our recruiting and retention efforts, employee culture and community engagement initiatives. We officially launched with a big Open House in August and have our next event this week, for National Coming Out Day. It’s been extremely rewarding to be a part of all this but also just a little time-consuming.
    • Along with the Pride Alliance, I’m also now on the Board for our business resource groups and have attended trainings, seminars, and most recently a photo shoot (insert eye roll here) to help promote and inform about what we’re doing for the firm.
    • I also organized and led five different offsite volunteering events for employees at local Chicago Public Library branches this summer and we helped give out hundreds of thousands of free books to thousands of Chicagoland kids – this was seriously one of the highlights of my summer, even though it kept me seriously busy.
  • In a very exciting turn of events, everything I’ve been involved with at work led to a promotion! I feel like I’ve been working almost two jobs for a while now and while I won’t begin my new position at the firm until the beginning of November, I’m very excited to be moving into community engagement full time. The hours will be longer but the work will be more gratifying and while I’m a little nervous and intimidated to begin the position, I’m also pretty pumped!
  • Travel:
    • Now that Dad is living closer to my sister and my mom, there are more people for me to visit everyone when I travel back to Indiana, which I’ve done a few times this summer and will be doing again this weekend for a family wedding. Not going to lie – it’s challenging to see everyone I want to see and spend time with all my loved ones and it’s also pretty awkward taking dad along to family functions full of his ex-in-laws, but it’s better than nothing. I guess. My mom and her entire side of the family have been great with all of this and for that I’m really thankful – it’s all been hard enough without having family drama making things worse.
    • Scott and I did manage to take a long weekend trip to Colorado and it was rejuvenating, invigorating and just what the doctor ordered. Of course, it feels like eons ago now but we had a great time and would love to go back.
    • I’ve also hosted some people at our new place this summer – my two best high school girlfriends came to town, as did my mom and my best college friends – thankfully, not all at the same time.
    • I went to Louisiana last weekend to help go through and pack up my grandparent’s house, as they just moved into an assisted living facility as well. Looks like Thanksgiving will be pretty different this year.
  • In addition to everything I’ve mentioned, I’m still doing my volunteer thing at the pantry and the Field Museum (where I’m currently writing a public tour), Scott’s sister had a baby so I’m an Aunt again, Scott got accepted to and started the food science and nutrition program at UIC that he’s been working to get into for years, and we adopted a kitten named Scout (because we don’t have enough going on). The Dude and Scout seem to get along for the most part but I’ve decided that if having kids is anything like having a kitten, it’ll be a long while before I procreate.
  • Lastly, I’ve been dealing with everything above with the horror of a Trump presidency looming over every single thing in my life. Seriously, the administration is a shit-show and I’m surprised and saddened that it’s lasted this long. I’m still making my calls, sending my emails and raging my rage but it’s hard not to feel exhausted when we’re constantly having to demand that our rights be kept safe. Also the threat of nuclear war within reach of a small-handed, small-minded, racist bigot is just a little concerning. Honestly, some days I feel lucky to just get out of bed.

Ok, I think that’s a good summary of what’s been going on with me over the last few months. This has been written with the intention of not going another two months before writing again! But again, remember what I said about good intentions…

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Vacation Time!

August 10, 2017 at 1:52 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , )

August has been a long month. Wait, we’re only ten days in? Okay so July was a long month and August already feels super long so it’s a good thing Scott and I booked an impromptu trip out west!

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Paige and Scott Go West!

I’ve been working a lot lately (on good things, just things that are very time-consuming) and Scott busted his butt taking summer classes so we feel like we deserve a bit of a break. We’re flying into Denver (TONIGHT!) and spending a few nights downtown before renting a car and driving Rocky Mountain National Park. We’ve got a little cabin with a grill and private hot tub out back so if I can’t do tons of hiking on my still-healing ankles then I can relax, read and unwind. We’re both ready to unplug and neither of us have ever spent any time in the Rockies so we’re pretty jazzed. I’ve been a city girl for quite a while but the country likes to come out to play every now and then!

 

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Super Sprain!

July 7, 2017 at 12:48 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , )

Apparently I am super awesome at spraining my ankles. Who knew? Certainly not me, at least until last weekend.

I was at a friend’s birthday BBQ and we were playing around with some hula hoops in her front yard. I may or may not have had some wine and during one of my incredibly graceful jumps, I somehow managed to land on the outside of each my ankles, immediately spraining them both. At the time, I wasn’t really feeling the pain and blew off Scott’s attempts to get me to the ER. I figured with a little bit of ice and a good night’s rest, I would be good as new.

And I was wrong.

I woke up Sunday to feet that looked like they belonged to a Hobbit (minus the hair). They were huge and turning colors so Scott took me to the Immediate Care, where we had immediate memories of going when Scott broke his foot last year. As a side note – I will forever and always regret how I didn’t initially take his injury seriously and I fully believe that my own current misfortune is payback/karma/my comeuppance. Anyway, they did some x-rays and luckily nothing was broken but just about everything was sprained. So I was sent home looking like this:

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I am so full of grace and agility I can’t even walk

This meant all of last weekend was spent on the couch and while Scott watched some fireworks in the neighborhood park and sent me video, it just wasn’t the same. So much for a fun holiday weekend but at least I’ve cleaned up my Netflix queue! It was also especially awesome because our big office move is this week and I was a Move Coordinator, meaning I was supposed to check out 120 people on my floor over two days before they could be allowed to leave. This is something we’ve been planning and working on for years so my sudden incapacitation couldn’t have come at a better time. My checkouts obviously weren’t going to happen unless I somehow acquired a jet pack but at least I had a few people step up (haha get it) to help me out. This week has been long and painful but it’s almost over and next week we’ll all be settled into our brand new building and all of this will finally be over! And here’s hoping I can get off these damn crutches soon because they suck and I hate them and if my ankles don’t heal soon I’m investing in a Hoveround. Then I’ll be free to see the world!

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PRIDE!

June 14, 2017 at 3:20 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , )

June is National Pride Month and celebrates the LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning, etc.) community. And I’m proud to announce that a project I’ve been working on at my office for months will get to debut this month! Pride Alliance is our firm’s newest business resource group for members of the LGBTQ+ community and their supporters (joining a resource group for women and one for veterans) and we are launching it this month. The Pride Alliance is a group of employees committed to enhancing our firm culture, helping with recruiting and talent retention and engaging our community in various philanthropic initiatives. And I’m a Co-Chair of the entire thing! Myself and one other person from another department stepped up to the plate after a general interest meeting was held and we’ve spent the last two months researching, collecting information and creating a business plan for the new BRG. On Monday we presented it to the CEO and other managing partners of the firm – and we were approved!

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Be proud every month, not just June

As someone who has identified as pretty queer/bisexual her whole life, I’m obviously a strong supporter of equality everywhere and not just in the workplace. However, even though groups such as this are pretty commonplace nowadays (even in corporate settings), this is still a pretty big deal. Our industry is typically fairly conservative but we’ve had a tremendous amount of support so far and later this week we’ll be sending communications out to the entire firm about the Pride Alliance. I wrote content for an internal website and that will be launched this week too. So it’s pretty exciting and I am PROUD!

 

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Scouting It Out

June 5, 2017 at 3:06 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , )

Has it really been a month since I last posted? Good gravy on a gravy train, where does the time go?!

It took us nearly this long to finally settle into our new place and after dealing with movers, painters, random kids jumping the fence to our back courtyard and some weird hobo living underneath us in the basement, things have finally started to calm down. So what did we do? Get a kitten, of course!

Meet Scout. Scout was adopted on Friday from PAWS, the same shelter we got The Dude from all those years ago. Scout was originally going to be called Lady until we decided we didn’t like the gender-normative connotations associated with that name and besides, Scout from To Kill a Mockingbird is one of my favorite fictional characters of all time, so it just worked. Scout is nosy, hyper and completely freaking adorable, which are all standard kitten qualities.

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Scout is clearly making herself at home

Scout and Dude were separated the first night we brought her home but they wound up playing with each other’s paws under the door so we figured they might not completely hate each other. Dude treated Scout like a weird meowing anomaly and we have no idea if he’s ever been around kittens before, but he definitely wasn’t too pissed off. Scout, on the other hand, was raising her hair and hissing a bit (probably because she’s a total badass and had to assert her dominance to the bigger cat). However, when I was getting ready this morning they were chasing each other like old friends and I’m pretty sure they’re going to get along just fine.

Kittens aren’t easy but they’re easier than puppies and WAY easier than babies so we’re pretty confident that the newest addition to our household was the right choice. And so long as the Dude doesn’t take to using Scout as a punching bag, I think we’ll all be one happy family!

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We’re Gonna Need a Bigger Truck

May 9, 2017 at 2:42 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , )

After 6 years, Scott and I officially live in a new apartment!

Well, new to us. And same basic location. We essentially moved from the third floor of a one-bedroom building in our courtyard to a two-bedroom place on first floor of building next door (in the same courtyard). So we have more space! Which is good because apparently we had crammed two bedrooms’ worth of stuff into our old apartment. Literally. The movers had to order an extra truck (and that just did wonders for our estimate, let me tell you).

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This is what my old living room looked like pre-move

Truth be told, the entire move was a bit of a nightmare and at this point I don’t want to leave our new apartment until we buy a place or until we die. And death may win on that. Why was it so painful? Let me count the ways:

  • We initially thought we were lucky since we were moving next door and figured the movers would be nice and cheap (we hired movers because we care too much about our friends to offer beer and pizza for moving heavy furniture down three flights of stairs – we’re too old for that crap). Well everything turned into a logistical nightmare and we couldn’t move into our new place until the morning of May 1st but we had to be out of our old place by 7am that same morning. And movers don’t exactly move from 2-6am so we had to hire movers to take our stuff Sunday night then bring it back Monday morning. Did I mention that it was POURING down rain Sunday night? Because it was. So our movers were tired, wet and understaffed while Scott and I sat awkwardly on the back porch waiting for it all to be over. Then we had to leave a giant wardrobe because there was no room in the truck and serious doubts about whether or not it could be moved without it falling apart in the rain. Anyway, we eventually got everything out (except that wardrobe, which was a surprise gift to the new tenant. Lucky bastard).
  • During the packing process we had to go back to Home Depot for more boxes and bubble wrap. Twice. This is on top of the 30 crates we rented and ream of bubble wrap we bought at the beginning of the whole damn thing. Told you we had a lot of crap.
  • Then Scott and I had to clean the old place. Our landlord told us we could sleep there overnight as long as all of our stuff was out by 7am so we cleaned until about 2am then fell asleep on the floor with our cat, our plants and our cleaning supplies for warmth. At 3am, I heard someone trying to get in the front door. Panic ensued and I confronted a very confused cleaning crew while I was wearing nothing much more than a large t-shirt (so that was fun…and cold). I explained to them that we were told we could be there and had no place else to go (cue Mary talking to the innkeeper) so they left and warned they would be back at 7am. At that point I was awake and running on adrenaline so I started carrying all of our plants down to our new back porch. It was during this that I experienced my first sunrise at our new apartment – even though we couldn’t pick up our keys for a few hours more.
  • Eventually (by this I mean 7am) EVERYTHING was out of our old apartment and by 8am we had keys to the new one. Then at 9am movers came back with all of our stuff and shortly after that we were left with four rooms full of boxes and crates. And the overwhelming urge to hide from it all. There were also more than a few moments of “Why did we ever think it was a good idea to move?!” regret but all in all, we’re happy now that we’re in. And once they paint and fix the requests we made, we can hang our pictures and it will truly feel like home!

That said – I’m making myself comfortable because I do NOT want to go through this again anytime soon. Neither does my cat.

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Crummy Crown

April 26, 2017 at 2:23 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , )

Remember when I had to go to the dentist for the worst appointment ever, when I was super hungover and had to have a crown put on my back molar? No? Well, I do and the horror of that evening will always reside deep within my heart. However I tried to put it behind me and had mostly succeeded – I even managed to get through my most recent, routine dental appointment last month with nothing more damaging than some plaque removal so I figured I was all set. That is, until this week.

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Maybe I should just get a gold grill instead. Problem solved!

I was enjoying a fancy Cuban-pressed sandwich for lunch with a friend who happened to be in town when I felt it. A tooth. My thoughts went like this: Oh my GOD that’s a tooth and I don’t think I lost one. Is that someone else’s tooth?! Like that episode of Friends where Phoebe finds a thumb in her soda can and gets all sorts of rich? AM I ABOUT TO GET RICH QUICK?! Let me fish it out, oh god please don’t let it be a toenail or something like that oh CRAP IT’S MY CROWN! It’s my own freaking tooth and now I’m looking at LOSING money!

My mind works very quickly so I had all of these thoughts in about 5 seconds, or roughly the time it took to extract my crown from my mouth full of half-chewed food. I was a vision of pure loveliness, I’m sure. So not only was I worried, embarrassed and grossed out by my own damn self but then the raw nerve that had been covered by said crown began to throw a party in my face. Now. I could’ve understood the crown popping out if I was eating a caramel apple or chewing ice or opening bottles with my mouth (which is, by the way, how my genius self obtained the crown to begin with). But I was eating what was essentially a PB&J sandwich so there was just no excuse for it. Technically I was eating a guava jam and fried plantain with peanut butter sandwich but it was all still soft and the damn tooth should have just stayed put. So I got to rinse it off, call my dentist and nicely inform them of how I wasn’t going to pay for this to be fixed and then I spent my Monday evening getting the crown cemented back in my mouth. For free, so that’s something.

One would think that would be all of my health-related excitement for the week but I woke up Tuesday unable to turn my neck to the right because of some apparently funky sleep I had and I also have a bladder infection. So that’s fun and my pee looks like Tang.

At least I didn’t swallow my tooth because the last thing I want to do is explain why my tooth is stained bright orange due to being fished out of my infected urine.

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Happy Birthday Mom!

April 19, 2017 at 1:48 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , )

Today is the anniversary of my mom’s 21st birthday! I mentioned this to Scott last night and he said, “haven’t we been celebrating her birthday for a month?” and the man had a point. But that’s okay because my momma is so special that she deserves it!

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Not me but my sister.

Her trip to Chicago with my sister was part of her birthday celebrations and that was nearly a month ago. We went down to visit her over Easter and we took her out to eat at one of her favorite restaurants, The Chicken House. You know I love my mom when I, a vegetarian, paid for an entire dinner at such a place! We also sang to her on Easter with the rest of the family and then my sister and I had flowers sent to her work today as an extra surprise. You may think that’s going above and beyond for one little lady but trust me – she’s worth it. Here are some of my favorite things about my mom:

  • She refuses to take shit from anyone and passed that trait along to my sister and me
  • She snorts when she laughs (also passed on to me…)
  • She tells it like it is, like the time she told me I may have inadvertently killed my kitten when I stepped on it (“Well, if you did some internal damage it will probably just die…”)
  • She makes the best fried egg sandwiches ever
  • She is clever and has more tricks up her sleeve to improve or simplify one’s life than you could possibly imagine
  • She’s always prepared and her Mary Poppins bag is as handy as it is entertaining to rifle through
  • She’s one of the most thoughtful and caring people I know – and I know quite a few of them
  • She’s pretty smart with her money and that’s something else that I’m glad she passed along to me
  • In fact, I’m pretty happy I inherited just about all of her traits
  • She knows more about plants than I know about the indigenous people of New Zealand. And that’s a lot
  • She’s tougher than dirt and stronger than nails yet she always has on pretty nail polish and has more than her fair share of good hair days
  • She’s a ton of fun and has drunk me under the table on more than one occasion
  • She’s always there for me and one of my very best friends
  • She deserves the whole damn world but I’ll settle for a damn good birthday!

Happy Birthday to my Momma!

 

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Friday Round-Up

April 7, 2017 at 2:23 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , )

As usual, my brain has been a little all over the place lately. I’ve been dealing with some family stuff that isn’t exactly fun and while it’s not over yet, some of the biggest hurdles have been crossed. I think. I hope. Because my head is more than a little spazzy, I’m going to let loose with my post to get some stuff out.

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Right?

It’s been raining for like three weeks and the sun came out today and I had almost forgotten what it looked like. I felt like a vampire and not in the sexy way. However, the juxtaposition of the first sunny day also being the first day our new “President” drops bombs on a struggling country without Congressional approval is somewhat difficult to align. I cried this week watching videos of Syrian children gasping for breath and I cannot imagine seeing that happen to my family. I don’t think there are any good or easy answers to these issues but I don’t see how fighting violence with violence will put an end to violence. Fighting a war for peace is sort of like having sex for the sake of virginity. But I’m not someone who gets to make those decisions so I will sit here and stare at my phone and think “What fresh hell is this” every time I get a new news alert.

What else. There are positive things even in the darkness and today I found some unexpected money that will go to a deserving person. I’m having a good hair day. And I think Scott and I convinced the guys in the apartment we’ll be moving into to move out a day or so early, which will help us save tons of cold hard cash when it comes to hiring our own movers. So that’s a win! I’m working all night at the Field Museum tonight and will get to spend my evening surrounded by excited kids, taxidermied animals and dinosaur bones. So clearly my Friday will be cooler than yours. And it’s going to be warm and STILL sunny this weekend so I plan on enjoying the crap out of our weather.

Also. I have Jury Duty next week for the first time ever and I’m pretty freaking excited about it. I really want to be chosen and am trying to determine a good way to ensure I do so without making the court think I’m a crazy person. I just want to see the judicial system in action and don’t even care if it’s for something like a traffic violation. This is my civic right so let me at it!

I still have great friends and great family and a great husband and I’m trying not to take the good things in my life for granted while I also fight off the bad. That’s all anyone can hope for, right?

And hey, at least it’s Friday!

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Tourist Take on Chicago

March 30, 2017 at 3:23 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , )

My mom and sister spent last weekend here in the city in a four-day long celebration of my mom’s birthday and her 27th anniversary of being breast cancer free – my sister and I are pretty grateful for our great momma so we had to take her out on the town to prove it!

They arrived on Friday and we spend the evening gorging on Chinese food and hanging out in my living room. This was after my sister and I carried up my wedding present from her, in the form of a giant (and heavy) kitchen island that she oh-so-generously donated to me. If my mom ever had any doubts that she raised two strong and stubborn women, we put that to rest after carrying that thing up three flights of stairs! So our Chinese and rest was hard-earned. On Saturday we checked in at The Virgin Hotel, where we had a swanky room with separate dressing room “chamber” that came in handy when it was time to get ready for the concert we had tickets for. After a fancy dinner at The Walnut Room (told you we were going tourist), we went to the Chicago Theatre for the Experience Hendrix show. It featured a group of artists honoring Jimi by playing some of his hits and we got to see Buddy Guy and Jonny Lang, who happens to be one of my mom’s all-time favorite musicians. The show was good but we all agreed that we wished Jonny had performed a little longer…just gives us a reason to find another concert to see him in the future!

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Told you it was a trip!

We spend some time wandering around downtown and shopping but our grand plans of drinks at the top of the Hancock Tower were thwarted by bad weather. Such a shocker for Chicago. We finished the evening with snacks and drinks at the hotel then thoroughly enjoyed our room with crazy-black-out-from-the-future-blinds that made us feel like we were sleeping on the dark side of the moon. They even had a button to lower and raise them and not going to lie, it was pretty hard to get out of bed the next day. But we did! Eventually. Afterwards, we treated ourselves to a brunch complete with Bloody Mary’s before finding a huge Flower Carnival in Macy’s that was free, fragrant and pretty fantastic. Then we headed back to my place to nap it all off. But wait! There was more! We also had mani/pedi’s and drinks at the local bar  grocery store before watching a movie to cap off our weekend. What movie, you may ask? Finding Dory (because we’ve learned the hard way that watching family-friendly films with Mom are better than say, Black Swan).

I wish we could treat my mom to weekends like this more often but I think we managed to pack a good amount of fun stuff into the time we had.

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