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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These Old Bones…

February 3, 2016 at 3:09 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , )

…are getting another year older tomorrow!

I had a surreal moment last night because I realized I really am growing up. This moment came as I was sitting at our dining room table in my sweaty gym clothes, eating a beet salad that my loving fiance had prepared. We were even listening to classical music as he handed me my plate and I looked around at him, our apartment, our cat and our little life together and just felt…everything. If you had told me when I was a kid that this would be what my life looked like at 32, I’m not sure what I would have thought. Most likely, I would have been dismayed by the fact that I now regularly go to the gym and I would probably also be confused by the fact that I was no longer wearing corduroy pants with my Led Zeppelin shirt. I would have applauded my beet salad though, because that would have been something I would have assumed old people would eat.

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But still a kid at heart!

But really, I am totally happy with where I am in life. I have a job that I thoroughly enjoy and I’m getting more involved in our firm’s philanthropy efforts (I’m planning two new big things now!) and so I can say that I truly feel good about where I work and what I’m doing. This is the first time since college that I can say that and mean it, so that’s a birthday present all in itself! I’ve also got great friends all over the country and have been lucky enough to maintain friendships with some of my favorite people from high school and college. I’m planning a wedding to my best friend and while we’re going to have a super fun and awesome party and honeymoon, I’m also very excited to get to call that best friend my husband and start our married life together (and at this point my younger self would be gagging but whatever). Oh – I also found $20 on the street this week! Obviously, things are going pretty great all around.

And you know what, younger self? I still wear that Zeppelin shirt.

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Birthday Girl

February 3, 2015 at 9:34 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , )

Well, technically my birthday is tomorrow but I celebrate my birth all week month long and I’m posting now. So there.

Blow me.

Scott and I went out on Saturday night to a cool Mexican place with some friends who were there to help me celebrate the fact that I manage to get older without looking a day over 25. The food was good (minus the mix-up with my meal that caused my vegetarian self to eat part of someone else’s beef burrito – luckily the tequila helped to cleanse my palate) and the company was even better so we all had a great time. I have some seriously great friends and they all chipped in to cover my food and drinks (which were ample, trust me – see above). After we ate most of us wandered to a nearby club and had a few more drinks before fighting a huge blizzard to get home. Yup, this is my second birthday week in Chicago where we’ve had a record amount of snowfall and this was the second week in my life where I was able to work from home due to the weather. Talk about an early birthday present!

Now what will I do to celebrate my actual birthday?  So far, the plan includes waking up super early to go to the gym (we’ll see if this actually happens or not…), stopping in for breakfast at this diner by my apartment that I always want to go into but never make time for, working, going to an after-work event which includes snacks and adult beverages, then coming home and enjoying some quality time to myself. Scott has class all night and most of my friends are busy so I think I’m going to get a huge frozen pizza and watch some of my favorite guilty pleasure television programming. And you know what? That day sounds just about perfect to me!

I must be getting old. And I don’t mind a damn bit!

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Aaaand I’m 30

February 4, 2014 at 5:33 pm (Uncategorized) (, , )

Three decades…wow!

Growing up, I never really pictured myself as an adult.  The whole big white wedding, suburban house with the white picket fence and 2.5 children running around thing was never something I had planned and mapped out at a young age.  I’ve always sort of taken life as it comes and while a wedding/house/kids may be in my future at one point, I’m definitely not there yet.  I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t had a few freakout “I’m-30-and-technically-unemployed-and-still-living-in-a-one-bedroom-apartment” feelings but for the most part, I’ve become content with where I am.  I’m living with my best friend in a huge city that I love.  I have hobbies that allow me to write creatively (and get paid for it!) and also hang out at the Field Museum on a regular basis (and sometimes get paid for that too!).  I have a wonderful family and a ton of amazing friends.  I’m healthy and happy and this whole turning 30 thing is like a whole new slate (thanks to my sister for that perspective).

On that note, here are some statistics from the last 30 years:

  • I’ve lived in 4 cities across 2 states.
  • I’ve held something like 15 jobs.  I also once got paid $50 to watch a porno for part of a college psych research study.  Additionally, I once earned $30 for posing nude for an art class.
  • I loved college and earned 2 degrees in my 5 years there.
  • The longest I ever stayed awake was 47 hours.  I do not recommend doing that.
  • I’ve had 4 cars, 1 of which was technically totaled 2 times.
  • I’ve had at least 4 serious relationships and have dated both men and women.  Along the way I’ve had my heart broken and broken a few in return but I’m absolutely happy with where all that has led me.
  • I’ve only ever broken 1 bone, my arm.  And technically my sister did that.
  • I’ve only stayed in the hospital once, after my 2 tonsils were removed.
  • I own 11 animated movies, which I still watch.  In fact, I love movies from my youth so much that I made Scott watch Now and Then with me last night.
  • I’ve traveled to 10 countries in the last 9 years.
  • I’ve only been to 18 states.
  • I was 21 when I carved my first pumpkin and 23 when I first had an avocado.
  • I’ve been a vegetarian for 20 years.  And just saying that makes me feel REALLY old.
  • I’ve had 5 cats, 2 dogs, 2 mice, 1 bird, 1 hamster and 1 gerbil.  I currently have 1 cat.
  • I have what looks like 1 tattoo, even though I got it in 2 parts.  The first part was when I was 17.  I consider the whole thing a testament to being young and stupid.
  • Regardless of the stupid things I did when I was young, I’ve successfully lived for 30 freaking years.

And honestly, if the next 30 treat me as well as the last 30 then I’ll consider myself very lucky indeed!

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Ode to My Sister

May 29, 2013 at 12:46 pm (Uncategorized) (, )

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It’s been 28 years since you came into the world

so I don’t even remember a life that doesn’t include you,

sometimes I wonder what it would have been like to be an only child

College may have been paid for but it would have been kind of lonely, too.

Growing up in the country, we didn’t have many neighborhood friends

and were made to play mostly with each other,

we shared games and sports and stories and more

though sometimes I wished I had been given a brother.

It would be an understatement to say we didn’t always play nice

and some of our fights were pretty ugly indeed,

for instance, remember the first time I was allowed to babysit us both

and tried to stick you with a fire poker until you would bleed?

Of course you could be vicious right back to me too

like the time that you broke my arm,

you can’t even say it was just an accident

let’s face it – we both tried to do each other some harm!

We weren’t too close through our high school years

as we both were trying to figure out exactly who we were

but then in college we managed to hang out and actually have fun

and I became much happier that I had a little sister.

You surprised me with your schooling and now you’ve got yourself a career

You’re constantly doing things that make me proud and leave me impressed,

You’ve come a long way from the kid with the worms in her purse

who ran away from me in the Atlanta airport, leaving me stressed.

We’ve been through a lot and hopefully have much more heading our way

and no matter what lies around the bend,

I don’t think we would be who we are if it weren’t for the other

and I can honestly say you’re not just my sister but also my friend.

Awwww – Happy Birthday Sissy!

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Aging Like a Fine Wine

February 5, 2013 at 2:02 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , )

What’s another year?  Nothing to someone who has as great a family and set of friends as I do!

My birthday weekend was better than I could’ve hoped for.  I had a nice trip home to see my family, got to watch IU win over Michigan while enjoying delicious soup and playing with babies, enjoyed some quality time and brews with my mom, met a new friend of my sister’s and received some awesome presents.  And that was just the weekend leading up to my birthday!  I took the day itself off of work and was able to sleep it, then I met a friend for brunch and relaxed some more.  Scott treated me to a very nice birthday dinner at an Italian restaurant we’d never been and gave me a couple of nice gifts as well (including a clean apartment!).  If I can continue to have years as good as the ones I’ve had, I won’t have a damn thing to complain about.

Holy Birthday Cannoli!

Holy Birthday Cannoli!

Except the Megabus.  Remember when it was an hour late picking me up after Christmas?  It hit a new record on Sunday night and departed 2 full hours after it was scheduled to.  Then we took an unscheduled pit stop along the way and our driver (who mentioned that she’d “never done this before”) encountered problems at every toll we passed.  The bus was some knock-off version of the Megabus and didn’t have the power outlets the regular buses do, so my cell phone pretty much died.  The rather large man behind me snored the whole way and the bathroom had a window at crotch level that showed off your goods to anyone who happened to be passing by.  In short, it was NOT a good trip. I was glad I took Monday off work because it was 10pm when we rolled into Chicago (was supposed to be 7:45) and finding a cab was impossible, so I took an hour train ride back to the apartment.  It was about 11 when I got home, so at least I made it before my actual birthday?  Whatever, Megabus will be hearing from me.

I guess everything can’t always be perfect so out of all the things from my weekend, I’m glad that was the one that went awry.  Other than that it was all great and I feel totally ready to kick 29’s ass!

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Birthday Weekend

February 1, 2013 at 12:21 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , )

It’s been a long, relatively crappy and frustrating week so it’s kind of hard for me to get excited about my birthday on Monday.  I’m really trying though, especially since I’m going to visit my family this weekend and have Monday off of work.  That alone should be enough to cheer me up so I’ll just focus on getting through this day and trying to make the best of it!

And many moooooore

Turning 29 isn’t that big of a deal to me because I’ve always felt way older than I actually am.  It’s just like my body is finally now catching up.  In honor of the big day, here are 29 things you may or may not know about yours truly (I believe I’ve posted a list sort of like this before and I apologize for any duplicates…I’m feeling a little too lazy to go back and try to search for comparison):

  • I sometimes hum the tune for “If I only had a brain” from the Wizard of Oz in my head when I get nervous or anxious.  I have no control over this.
  • I can type upwards of 80 words per minute.
  • I hate mayonnaise, except on a Jimmy John’s #6.  That is the only thing it is tolerable on.
  • I enjoy eating in restaurants by myself.
  • I was once encouraged by my choir director in elementary school not to perform a solo.  That bitch.
  • I’ve worn one toe ring on each foot for over a decade.  Perhaps if I wear them long enough they’ll come back into style.
  • I still talk to Catsby and pat her urn as it sits on my windowsill.
  • I fear dead bugs more than live ones.
  • I almost always have a small toy or two in my purse.
  • I have been known to eat peanut butter with a spoon.
  • I used to say peanut butter in a really funny way when I was little and my mom still likes to imitate it.  This may or may not be related to the next item.
  • I had a speech impediment as a kid and took speech therapy classes until I was out of elementary school.  Apparently I sounded German.
  • I had two primatology professors in college tell me I would make a great primatologist.  I sometimes seriously wonder what my life would have been like had I gone to graduate school and lived in Africa studying primates as I had once considered doing.
  • I still think my study abroad in Africa was the coolest thing I’ve ever done.
  • I had the chicken pox on my 6th birthday and as I sat naked on the couch while covered in calamine lotion, I was convinced that the characters in the movie I was watching (The Wizard of Oz) could see me.  I had to grab a blanket.  Also, just writing this caused me to wonder if maybe that’s why a tune from the movie plays in my head at random times (see #1).
  • I’ve been bungee jumping and work every day on the 51st floor but sometimes I get vertigo when I stand on a chair.
  • I’ve been a vegetarian for most of my life.
  • I worry that if I ever get pregnant, I’ll begin to crave meat.  Gross.
  • I still sleep with the blanket I was brought home from the hospital in.
  • I still use my gym membership and if I go a few days without working out, I begin to dream about it.  I don’t even know who I am anymore.
  • I haven’t owned a car in over four years.
  • I will most likely be paying student loans until the day I die.
  • I have never seen any of the Terminator movies.
  • I still sing the alphabet song in my head when filing things in alphabetical order.
  • I used to have my eyebrow pierced.  Ah, college.
  • I sincerely dislike turtlenecks and hoodies.  Anything that close to my neck makes me feel like I’m being strangled and it freaks me out.
  • I am right-handed but write like I’m left-handed.  If I had a dollar for every time someone said “You write weird”, I’d have…well, something like $30 bucks.
  • I used to have crushes on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  And April.
  • I love writing blog posts with lists (which is probably obvious by now).

And thus ends yet another blog post and yet another year.  Here’s hoping my 29th is as good to me as my first 28 have been!

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Birthdays, Buddies, Booze and Boobs

February 9, 2012 at 12:52 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

Does it get any better than that?

It seems that there’s been a theme to my birthdays over the last few years.  First it was Dirty Bingo, followed by a gender-bending burlesque show (complete with clowns) last year and then this year was the Indiana Jones: Temple of the Boob burlesque show.  For some reason it appears that I like celebrating my birthday by watching others talk about or get into their birthday suits so I guess I’ll just go with it.  Who knows what next year will bring!

We started out the night at The Southern, which turned out to be a great venue for a large dinner with a group of my nearest and dearest.  I’m always a little nervous when hosting a gathering of my friends because most of them don’t really know each other and the only thing they really have in common is well…me…which can kind of put me on the spot.  But the restaurant sat us at these large leather couches that were arranged in a sort of circle, which made it easier to converse with everyone and created a friendlier atmosphere.  It also prevented people from being forced to talk to their direct seatmate (not that that’s always bad).  It did make it a bit more awkward when it came time to eat, as there was only one low table, but as most of us ordered their signature macaroni and cheese anyway so it wasn’t too tough.  The food was great, the atmosphere appealing and the company was the best.  I have some really awesome friends and I was so glad everyone was able to make it.

Good, not so clean fun

The entire group didn’t go to the next stop, the burlesque show, but there were a handful that made it out.  The show wasn’t cheap ($20) and didn’t last too long (about an hour) but it was hilariously entertaining and well worth the cash.  Basically, scantily clad women enacted a story about Indiana Jones that was a summary of all of the movies combined into one new tale.  They did a good job and anyone familiar with the movies could pick out recurring gags and jokes along the way.  It was also refreshing because these were women who looked like normal females – extra skin and stretch marks did nothing to deter them from putting on a great show and it was good to see ladies who looked more like myself than Heidi Klum up there on stage (though I wouldn’t have minded Heidi…).  I won’t get too detailed but I will say that I saw one girl use her boobs in a way that had simply never occurred to me before.  And based on the laughter and other various reactions she got, I don’t think I was alone.

All in all, it was a great birthday treat.  On my actual birthday my sweetheart boyfriend woke me up with a beautiful necklace and then treated me to brunch at one of my favorite spots.  After the adoption of that cat (which will be expanded upon soon), we went out for a nice dinner at Basil Leaf, a delicious Italian restaurant that made strong drinks.  I can’t think of a better way to ring in a birthday and thanks to all who came out and made it a blast!

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Better and Better, Year after Year

February 3, 2012 at 12:03 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , )

Tomorrow’s my birthday!  I still feel like a little kid on my special day and I don’t think any amount of years or gray hairs will do anything to change that (at least I hope not).  In honor of the beginning of my 28th year here on Earth, I thought I’d post a photo from my youth.  Here’s me, age 5:

In my favorite color, too

This photo was taken in the basement of my house, where my dad kept all of his clothes.  My sister and I were playing dress up and apparently in an effort to emulate Michael Jackson, I was wearing a sock on my hand.  I’m also sporting a cast, a cane and a shirt that reads “Birthdays come but once a year.  Aren’t you glad you’re not a Birthday”.  How appropriate, right?  Even at an early age, I am the epitome of class.  Also please note the creepy giant bear in the background…yes, my childhood was interesting, if nothing else.

And now, 23 years after this photo was taken, here I am.  I can honestly say that I’m in a better place in my life now than I could have ever hoped for and I am excited to see what happens next.  Especially today – a coworker (who apparently loves me) made cheese stuffed gnocchi, salad, and french bread (okay she bought that) for lunch, along with red velvet cupcakes.  This was all done from scratch, which I didn’t even know you could do.  I also walked into this when I got in the office this morning:

They really like me!

Lunch!

Lunch was completely amazing and the fantastic cook can be seen here hiding her head behind her desk.  The flowers came from the support staff here and they look and smell great.  Seriously, how did I get so lucky?  After work I’ll be going out with a select group of fantastic friends for dinner and a show – a burlesque show called Indiana Jones: Temple of the Boob to be specific.  Don’t worry, I’m sure I’ll have updates for you later on in the weekend.  Tomorrow (my actual birthday) will consist of me sleeping in as late as possible and a mystery dinner someplace with Scott.  I’m sure I’ll manage to fill the day somehow and honestly I’m glad it’s going to be a little laid back.  After the shenanigans tonight, I may need it!

Seriously though, I can’t help but feeling like the luckiest girl in the world.  I never really used to think about what my life would be like when I was a “grown up” and even though I don’t feel I’ve reached that status yet, I’m pretty sure I’ve been an adult for a while.  I still don’t have a grand, master plan but I think it’s a little better this way.  I’ve been pleasantly surprised by many things over the past few years and each day and each year really does seem to be better than the last.  I’m grateful for it all and grateful to my parents for bringing me into this world to begin with.  I’m especially grateful to my Mom, who had to deal with having her stomach cut open in order to get me out (not to mention dealing me through my teenage years, when I’m sure she wished she could cut me instead).  I’m also grateful to all my friends and family who are making my birthday weekend the best in memory.

I’m also glad I no longer thing wearing a white sock on my hand is the epitome of style.  I grew out of that weeks ago.

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One Score and Six Years Ago…

February 4, 2010 at 3:16 pm (Uncategorized) (, , )

…I arrived in this world (this is me seven months after that.  I know, I’m adorable).  Before I go any further in this post, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank my mom.  I get a lot of attention and well wishes on this day but she’s really the one who did all the work – I kind of just showed up.  My mom is the best mom I could ever ask for and I must admit, I think she did a pretty fantastic job raising me (I’m not biased or anything).   She’s the strongest woman I know and she’s given me care, courage and confidence when nothing else could.  Much of my independent, dynamic personality stems from things she taught me.  So to Mom – Thank You.  For everything.  And in honor of what you did all those many years ago, I’m going to retell the story of the night of my birth (it’s still fresh in my head since it was repeated to me just last night).

Apparently, my mom went to the doctor on February 3rd and was told that it would be a while before I made my grand entrance into the universe.  I wasn’t due until Valentine’s Day so the doctor told Mom that he would see her next week as he sent her on her way.  She went home and made my dad rub her back because I guess I was a pain in that particular body part from the very beginning.  Around 1:30 in the morning, Mom woke up and realized I would be coming into the world a bit sooner than anticipated.  So what did she decide to do?  Take a bath and apply a full face of make-up, of course.

Before I continue, I would just like to say that when it comes to scary google image searches, the word pregnant is just about as terrifying as the phrase chicken pox.  In case you’re too much of a wuss to check it out for yourself (not that I’d blame you), I’ll just say that the very first image that I saw was of a hugely pregnant stomach and a clear, tiny footprint coming from inside.  What.  The.  Crap.  I don’t know if that photo is real (or possible) but if it is then my mind has just been blown.  Can an unborn baby really press so hard against the stomach that you can see that much of its outline?  Am I the only one who thinks that thought is incredibly disturbing and reminiscent of the movie Alien?  I guess there are some things I’m going to have to come to terms with if and when I decide to procreate.  I thought of using that photo instead of Barbie (who’s creepy in her own ways, especially in this picture) but I know I’ll never be able to unsee the image and I didn’t want to inflict it on anyone else.

Back to my own birth.  So there’s my mom, calmly applying mascara like she’s getting ready to go to the mall, while my dad was likely pacing while chain smoking to try and stay calm (this may or may not have been before the general public realized smoking around babies is bad.  Am I really that old?).  After Mom was sufficiently primped they took off for the hospital, where I decided to further complicate things by turning breech.  Mom was planning for the whole natural-birth thing (I told you she’s the strongest woman I know) and I kind of botched those plans, because giving birth without drugs is extremely difficult when they’re going to slice open your stomach.  I was eventually born via c section so I can officially say I’ve been doing things my own way from day one.  Oh, and in what I can only assume was a display of my future vegetarianism from womb, my unexpected arrival caused the spoiling of some pork chops that Mom had laid out for dinner the next night.

As you can see from the photo at the top of the post, I was the cutest baby this planet has ever seen.  It took me a while, but I eventually grew into the phenomenally badass and outrageously awesome woman writing this entry.  This particular birthday has been good so far, and with a vacation day staring me in the face tomorrow I’m sure it’s only going to get better.  I had a nice Happy Birthday banner over my desk when I walked in this morning (AND it has Curious George on it – ironic, since my boss didn’t know of my lifelong passion for that devilish monkey) and the whole office just sang to me and gave me a huge chocolate cupcake.  Tonight I’ll be playing some dirty bingo with a some dirty minded friends and I have various excursions and outings planned all weekend.  I’m sure you’ll be able to read all about it in the next few days.  Until then, thanks again Mom and Happy Birthday to Me!

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