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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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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Things I Love

February 14, 2017 at 4:15 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , )

  • My husband (we’re lovingly spending our first Valentine’s Day as a married couple apart – he’ll be in class all night so I’ll be cuddling with the cat – welcome to marriage!)
  • My family – even the crazy ones (and even my sister who is on a cruise to Bermuda right freaking now)
  • My wonderful, freaky, nerdy friends
  • My sickly, silly cat
  • My job (most days)
  • The country I live in (most days)
  • Chocolate
  • Cheese
  • Pizza
  • Wine
  • Museums, volunteering at museums and staying the night at museums with tons of kids and their families
  • Books and reading
  • Journals and writing
  • Also – Netflix
  • That feeling when you have freshly shaved legs and put clean sheets on your bed and jump in
  • Traveling and experiencing new places, people, ideas and things
  • Panko – this is a new discovery and I’m obsessed
  • Sunshine
  • My purple hoodie
  • My couch
  • The view of Chicago from the Field Museum (and the view of the city from just about anywhere else)
  • The fact that I’m getting better at yoga and can now kick my foot up over my head without falling and busting my ass
  • Being vegetarian
  • The fact that I can feel strongly about things, find like-minded people and then take action to do what we feel is right – without getting beaten up or jailed
  • Did I mention wine?

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‘Tis the Season

December 23, 2016 at 12:50 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , )

Okay so I’m still dealing with some of the same things from my last post but no matter. It’s nearly Christmas and so it’s time to focus on the positive!

One of my very best friends just had her first baby and while it was a little sooner than c8127968079a6deea834b3994205b441anticipated, everyone is doing well and I’m hoping to see them over the next few days. It’s crazy – in the time I went to the gym on Sunday she had a whole freaking baby! So new life is always something to celebrate and I’m happy to do just that.

I’m also happy to be visiting all of my family and friends over Christmas – I’m leaving town in approximately two hours and ready to go now! I’ve got presents wrapped and loaded and I’ve gained about 10 pounds this week with all of the holiday food sitting around the office so I guess you could say I’m prepared!

In other news, the weather has warmed up and my honeymoon gets ever closer. Scott had a birthday this week so that was fun to celebrate and our cat is holding steady (for now…). I received some very nice and generous gifts from my bosses for Christmas and have the promise of a bonus to look forward to when I get back from Thailand. Oh, and I basically have two days left of work until January 17th. So not even Trump can get me in the dumps!

Merry Christmas/Happy Hanukkah/Happy Kwanza/Happy New Year/Merry Festivus/Merry Everything!!

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The Little Things

November 30, 2016 at 3:31 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , )

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Truth.

Change is hard. Growing up is harder. My life has changed a lot this year and promises to change even more in 2017 so I’m having a hard time just keeping up. Some of these changes are good and some I didn’t exactly see coming but I’m doing my best to stay positive through everything. And in order to do that, I’m going to focus on the good things I’ve got going for me. This is a little late for Thanksgiving but it’s never too late to give thanks!

  • I have a great family and I love them all (even the ones who drive me crazy. And vote for Trump…). My family isn’t perfect but we care about each other and do what it takes to ensure we’re all relatively taken care of.
  • I have a great husband and he does things like buy me flowers and chocolates and wine on days that I snap at him on the phone (this may or may not have happened just today). He’s my best friend, he has my back and I love him.
  • I have great friends as well and they supported me through quite a bit this year. Some of them also danced on a stripper pole at my bachelorette party so clearly they are all awesome people.
  • I have a very good job that I seem to do very well. Or so I’m told. I like the people I work with and the work I do and I am thankful for the opportunities, perks and benefits that I receive through my employment. Hell, just a few years ago I was laid off right around now so I’m thankful to be employed at all! But I’m even more thankful to be where I am.
  • I live in a great city full of interesting, new and exciting things to do. And I even go out and do some of them! Chicago allows me to flourish in my geeky ways and places like The Field Museum only contribute to that. I’m grateful to live in a place that allows me to do so many different things and love so many different kinds of people.
  • I’m healthy and most of my loved ones are fairly healthy as well. Yes, I lost my grandfather this year but it was one of those deaths that was bittersweet…I miss him every day but know he’s better off and I’m thankful for the all the time we shared. Most everyone else I truly care about are in decent health as well and I can only hope that continues to hold true.

I have many other things I can be thankful for but having my loved ones in my life, a decent job and a roof over my head are all that really matters so I’m going to end there. And no matter what the upcoming year brings, I have a few things that will always make me smile!

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More Bridal Business

September 20, 2016 at 2:59 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , )

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But this time it wasn’t mine!

Scott’s little sister Stephanie got married over the weekend (yes, his poor parents are dealing with helping to plan two weddings in about a six week span). Steph and her now husband got engaged about six months after Scott and I and are apparently ready to hop on the baby train because they wanted to get hitched asap. They had their ceremony in a small town about three hours away from Chicago, which was in-between her family and his. Scott and I arrived on Friday for the rehearsal (Scott had a reading so he had to practice) and then their big day was Saturday. I was not a bridesmaid or anything and that was honestly fine by me because I spent Saturday relaxing in a way that I know I won’t the morning of my own wedding. I went to the gym at the hotel, did some laundry, took a walk and watched a movie in bed. It was great! I guess I could probably do all of that on my own wedding day but I’d have to forego sleep in order to do it and we all know that’s not going to happen.

Their ceremony was short and sweet and then we danced (and drank…oh, did we drink) the rest of the night away. I met some of Scott’s family whom I had never met before and that was really fun, especially since most of them will be traveling up for our wedding too. Everyone had a blast if anything at all went wrong, no one could tell. Hopefully the same will be said for mine and Scott’s big day, which will be here before we know it!

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Showering the Bride

September 14, 2016 at 2:45 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , )

Holy hell, I’m getting married soon! To help me celebrate, my wonderful and amazing little sister threw me a Bridal Shower and Bachelorette Party in our hometown this past weekend. And it was a success!

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My sister did ALL of this!

By success, I mean no one went to jail and I didn’t have to ride the Megabus with a MegaHangover the next day. Nothing got too crazy which is good considering how my mom, a couple of aunts and my cousins were all among the guests! I only have a handful of friends who still live in the area and they made it out too, which was great. There were also a few family friends and a few of my sister’s friends (whom I’ve known forever too) so we had a pretty good mix of people. As you can see, my sister really went all out decorating her new house and everything was so tasteful and tasty too! She made meatballs and queso (with veggie options for me!), vegetable pizza, food for the meat-eaters, fruit, veggies and tons of amazing desserts. Which included these cupcake cake pop things that were simply divine! There was also a mimosa bar with three different flavors, each one more delicious than the last. I was seriously impressed with her ability to throw a party. She’s a pretty great hostess and I’m counting on her to throw every birthday and anniversary party for both Scott and myself until the day we die. Ok, sis? Thanks.

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For some reason I can’t put this right-side up. But it looks even more racict when I do.

The Bachelorette Party was fun too and we did a wine and paint night at a local studio, which is something I’ve never done before. This is evidenced by my painting, which you can see here. I am not artistically inclined (at ALL) but I thought I did pretty good with this painting, considering I was drinking and whatnot. Until my mom told me that my fleur de lis looked like a Ku Klux Klan hat and now that’s all I can see any time I look at it.

Thanks, Mom.

But really, thanks to Mom and Sissy and everyone else who came out to help me celebrate. I’m lucky enough that Scott’s family is throwing me a Bridal Shower in the suburbs up here next month and my Chicago friends will be coming together the week after that for a Bachelorette Party that some of my cousins probably wouldn’t approve of. But it’ll be fun!

Then I get to marry my best friend! Bring on the rest of 2016, I’m ready!

 

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Checked Out

August 2, 2016 at 1:05 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , )

I start vacation tomorrow!

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And I’m jazzed!

Scott and I are flying to Louisiana to see my southern fried family and we couldn’t be more ready. He’s been busting his butt in summer classes for the last eight weeks and I’ve been busting my own butt at work and wedding planning and in life in general so we could use a bit of a break. We’re going to spend some quality time with my grandparents, dad and some cousins and help to celebrate my dad’s birthday later this week. Then we’re going to New Orleans ourselves for a couple of nights because we haven’t had a trip just the two of us in forever and damnit, we deserve it! We’re going to take trolleys, visit museums, eat beignets and let the good times roll!

Even if it is 117 degrees.

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A Bang of a Weekend

July 7, 2016 at 2:25 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , )

My mom and sister came to visit over the Fourth of July and we had an absolute blast, pun intended. We managed to visit some of the biggest tourist destinations in the city (i.e. The Field Museum and Navy Pier…hell, we even took a water taxi from one to the other), enjoyed third-row seats at Wrigley Field to watch as the Cubs beat the Reds, ooh’d and aah’d at a scary and death-defying fireworks show basically in my backyard, ate a ton of delicious food and drank lots of delicious beverages and watched a couple of movies (To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar and Independance Day, respectively…we have diverse tastes. And Patrick Swayze has great gams). We even got our nails done! As always, their visit was a great one and over much too short even though they were here almost five days.

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Perfect!

It’s always really hard to say goodbye to my family when we part ways but I’m so, so thankful for the fun times we had. I really value our quality time and the fact that sometimes we can give each other shit face-to-face versus via text or over the phone. Because sharing is caring, right? Plus, we couldn’t be too sad when we departed because I’ll be home again in about two months. For my bridal shower.

In other news – holy crap I’m getting married in less than four months! And since I didn’t burst into flames while typing that, I guess it’s meant to be. Look out married bliss, here I come!

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