Nov 23, 2010

quiet contemplation

i woke up unusually early this morning, before the alarm even went off.  it was still dark in my room and i layed there for a while, listening.  aside from the whir of the ceiling fan and the intermittent rush of the train passing in the distance, it was quiet.  no honking horns, no television, no construction noise from the project going on 6 days a week next door, not even any stomping from the heavy footfalls of my upstairs neighbor. 

as i lay there enjoying the quiet, i started thinking about my life and the things i'm thankful for.  it is, after all, thanksgiving week, and it seems appropriate to reflect on things like this right now.  so here's my short list, in no particular order....

- wonderful friends and family
- my upcoming trip to london for christmas
- the fact that i am gainfully employed
- my latest round of cardio testing that showed my heart is returning to normal functioning
- being happy in a relationship with a great guy
- living in a city with many things to do and see
- opportunities i have to travel
- my sister's visit to the states in early december

i hope you all have many things you are thankful for this holiday season!

Nov 18, 2010

dream a little dream

everyone who knows me well knows that i have ridculous dreams.  i'm talking dreams so weird, detailed and long that i often wake up feeling like i've gotten no sleep at all.  sometimes bits of the previous night's dream will come back to me throughout the day, allowing me to piece together the crazy events of my sleep, as has been the case today.

last night i was having a lovely dream about being on vacation in costa rica, staying in a little hut on the beach (i'm sure it somehow had a/c and a full bar) and doing things like body-surfing in the ocean and hiking through the jungle.  ok, stop laughing - you know it was a dream if i was doing those things and not lying on the beach, half drunk with a cocktail and trashy novel in hand. 

in the midst of my vacation paradise dream, my dream-self decided it was time to go and transported us into a very large lobby, with three huge buildings surrounding us and sharing the lobby space.  i had to go up an escalator to get on an elevator that was supposed to take me to somewhere important.  i got on the elevator and pressed the button, only to find that the doors opened and revealed that i was actually standing on a rotating disc that kept going in circles.  the disc was large and people kept jumping on and off but for some reason i seemed to be glued to the floor.  i couldn't get the "elevator" to close and couldn't find the door panel with the buttons on it anymore.  i just kept going in circles and no one would help me.  i looked down and realized i had no shoes on and couldn't see where i had dropped them.  everyone else jumping on and off the platform was wearing shoes but everyone ignored me when i asked if they could help me find mine.  finally my friend G appeared and said one sentence to me, "just jump off for god's sake!" and then promptly disappeared again.  i still couldn't do it and couldn't find my shoes and so i stood there, spinning, until my alarm buzzed and saved my dream-self from simultaneous nervous breakdown and severe motion sickness. 

as i always do after these vivid dreams, i think about them off and on throughout the day, wondering what - if anything - is the meaning of the things i dream about.  i can pretty easily interpret the costa rica segment - i want another beach vacation. that's pretty easy.  but the other part.... not so much, though the shoeless thing wasn't much of a surprise.  finding myself shoeless and in a panic in my dreams has been a pretty common theme over the past couple of years.  i did a little researching and apparently when you find yourself barefoot in your dreams it means one of two things - a) you are carefree and free-spiritied and you're not bothered by being barefoot because you're probably getting ready to run through a field where the grass feels like cotton and there are puppies playing and birds singing or some crap OR b) you are barefoot and panicking because you can't find your shoes and no one will help you, thus illustrating that you are questioning and doubting the very platform of your life (i.e. living situation, job, relationships, looming decisions/deadlines, etc).  i'm pretty sure i fall into category B.  awesome. 

so here my shoeless reminder has reared its ugly head again, not that i'm surprised.  being relatively happy with most of what's happening in my life right now, of course i have to have something that i'm doubting or unhappy about, right?!  i know exactly what it is and why it's manifesting itself in my dreams in the form of my barefooted panic, so i'm working to change it.  i won't go into details about it now, but those of you who know me will probably have a pretty good idea of what in my life i'm looking to change at the moment.  wish me luck and may you always have the good fortune to be wearing fabulous shoes in your dreams!

Nov 13, 2010

"mom and dad found you in a dumpster"

the quote above is one of many charming things i used to torment my younger sister with when we were kids and i tried to convince her that she was adopted.  not very nice of me, eh?  however, if you look at some of our behaviors, likes, dislikes and overall preferences, it is in fact me who would be the one to stand out as not quite meshing with the family traits.  for instance....

- bourbon.  i hate, hate, hate whiskey and/or bourbon.  hate it.  i cannot stress enough how much i hate it other than to say i feel like i'm going to vomit just typing about it now.  my family, on the other hand, LOVES it.  bourbon and diet coke is the preferred cocktail for my parents and sister and i'd venture to say even the drink of choice for my british brother-in-law.  

- red meat and pork.  i haven't eaten either of these since 1995 when i decided to give them up as a new year's resolution just to see if i could do it.  it was surprisingly easy and now the thought of either (yes, i KNOW pork is "the other white meat") makes my stomach turn.  the only exception i might, might ever make is to have a really good - and i'm talking it better be phenomenal - steak, but even then i'd rather have great seafood than to risk what ingesting red meat might do to my stomach after all this time.  i do eat chicken and fish, though if i think too much about chicken i could probably talk myself out of that one, too.  parents and sis, on the other hand, are carnivores.  give em a thick, juicy filet or a burger specially grilled by my dad with all the fixins and they are in heaven. 

- salt and butter.  two more things i don't really bother with but are instrumental for any meal with my parents.  maybe not so much my sister on this one, but she has adopted the english ways after several years in london and puts butter (or "spread" as they like to call it) on sandwiches.  ick.  i use butter and salt when i'm cooking if need be, but i very, very rarely add either to my food once it is prepared.  i don't even butter my bread, toast or biscuits.

- coke, soda, pop, etc. - no, i don't drink whatever name most people call these carbonated beverages.  literally one day i just stopped drinking cokes and it stuck.  i found that i really don't care for the syrupy taste of brown beverages (beer so does not count here, people), no matter if they are diet or regular, and just quit them cold turkey.  you have to understand that in my family it was common to get up and drink a coke at breakfast or help yourself to a soda when you got home from school.  my parents didn't worry or berate us for preferring soda over other various drinks and never forced nasty sunny d or kool-aid on us like most of our friends' parents did.  by no means does that mean they didn't care about our nutrition, they just chose not to fight that battle.  we were both active, in good shape and not eating a ton of junk food so sodas weren't exactly a death sentence.  i'll have the occasional sprite now and then, usually as a hangover remedy, or i'll put a little splash of diet coke with my captain morgan if i happen to be in a rum mood, but other than that i shy away from sodas.  you'll still find 12-packs of various diet sodas in my parents' kitchen my sister enjoys her diet cokes here and there, but for me i'd rather drink coffee or water. 

- cheesecake - this one is huge.  this is the one that causes my parents to simultaneosly look at me across the table with wide eyes, shake their heads and murmur, "how exactly is it that you ARE our child?"  cheesecake is apparently a weakness for many, many dessert lovers; i however cannot eat it.  i just can't.  theoretically i should like it because the ingredients are primarily things i enjoy - cream cheese, sugar, graham cracker crust - but it's just too much for me.  it actually makes me almost gag to eat it.  weird, i know.  and certainly not anything like the preferences of my parents and sister, who love cheesecake.

but i am related to them!  i promise!  now where is that birth certificate??.....

Nov 12, 2010


it's my favorite time of year again - the time when i get to book my flight to spend the holidays in london with my sister, brother-in-law and my niece and nephew, aka the noble family.  i just finished booking a 16 day trip and will be jetting across the ocean overnight on 12/14, arriving in london the next day.  yay!!!!  i'm so excited to go and spend another christmas with my far-away family.  i'm lucky that i get to see them twice a year due to the generous bank of days off i get through my job but every trip goes by too fast and every visit is too short.  but, we make do with lots of phone calls, emails, and webcams in the meantime and just keep planning for the next visit. 

here are the little monkeys i'll be seeing in a few short weeks.....

and here's one of the whole family....

woo hoo!

Nov 10, 2010

we put the FUN in dysfunctional

i wrote yesterday about my impromptu dinner with my dad at a great seafood place in my neighborhood.  what i didn't mention was that i thought it would be funny to torture my mom by sending her a pic of the delicious crab cake i was having as an appetizer, knowing all too well how much my mom loves crab cakes and was probably at home having cheerios for dinner.  so, i sent her this.....

to which she responded with.....

in case you can't see it very well, it's a picture of a dead bug, specifically a nasty little creature i like to call a spicket because they look to me like a cross between a spider and a cricket.  i hate, hate, hate these things.  i'm shuddering right now just thinking about it.  gross.  but, i do have to hand it to her - i won't be sending pictures of yummy food to her anymore for fear of getting something like this back!

Nov 9, 2010

dinner date

my dad was driving through chicago tonight after being in wisconsin on business and decided to stop for dinner and stay over at my place.  i love impromptu visits from my dad when he ends up here for meetings, whether it ends up being dinner, drinks or just a quick cup of coffee.  tonight we went to glenn's diner for dinner and had great seafood and wine, all while sitting outside in the unseasonably warm november weather.  we talked about family, work, holiday plans and lots of other things and had a good time catching up.  having stopped in wisconsin at a cheese store, dad showed up with yummy cheese curds and wine, which we had before dinner and finished up the wine afterward. 

tomorrow he'll head home and i'll head into work but it's always such a treat to spend some unexpected one-on-one time with my dad.  i hope he makes it back up to the windy city soon and maybe next time he'll bring my mom!  ;)

Nov 8, 2010

monday funday

ok, so apparently i took the whole "wordless weekend" thing to the extreme and totally forgot to even post pictures saturday and sunday which makes me an official nablopomo failure.  but, i'm going to try to keep it up the rest of the month, just for fun.  with that, i digress...

there's one particular monday from my college days that still stands out in my mind.  that morning i was on my way to class when i got a call from my dear friend adam encouraging me to take the day off and hang out with him.  after approximately 3 seconds of arm-twisting, i agreed and monday funday was born.  we also recruited our friend rachel to skip out for the day and the three of us had a great time.

fast forward to this morning.  i was standing groggily in the shower thinking about how insanely busy my work schedule has been lately and how tired i was from the fun weekend i had in bloomington and how i just quite honestly did not want to go to work today.  as i rinsed the conditioner out of my hair and turned off the water, self quietly piped up in the back of my head....

"why don't you just take today off?  you could really use a mental health day...."

like it had all those years ago on a monday morning, it took about 3 seconds for me to decide that i could indeed call off today.  i have plenty of days to take and i didn't have anything scheduled with clients.  wrapping my towel around myself, i ran into my room and grabbed my phone, knowing the text i was about to send would seal the deal.  i sent a text to adam, who happened to be off work today, and asked if we could have a monday funday.  his enthusiastic response was all it took for me to call my boss and leave a message that i would not be in today as planned.

so today is monday funday in progress.  adam and i have run errands (very exciting as the recent target embargo has been lifted - that's a whole other story), had a yummy lunch and are now about to begin a crafty project that will make all of our wine-drinking over the last several months pay off.  (more on that to come assuming the finished product is blog-worthy)  tonight we are going to make dinner and watch the first and only season of the show "jack and bobby", which aired a few years ago but never got renewed for additional seasons.  adam and i loved this show and were very sad to see it go.  thankfully, netflix has picked it up and with the help of adam's new apple tv, we will be able to stream every episode on his nice, big flat screen telly while drinking red wine.  ahhhhh.

it also happens to be an unseasonably warm and sunny day here in chicago, so we enjoyed a nice walk earlier, which was just an added bonus.  it's going to be hard to go back to work tomorrow!

Nov 5, 2010

i'm goin' back to indiana

i'm leaving tonight as soon as the bf gets off work to head down to my old stomping grounds  - bloomington, indiana, affectionately dubbed "bloomington-o-fun" over the years by my friends and me.  we, along with a group of chicagoans (and one fort wayne resident - holla, gretchen!)  are going down for the weekend to see our friends who still live there and reminisce about the good ol' days of college.  we will be out tailgating at 10 am tomorrow and then watching IU take on Iowa, hoping by some miracle that the hoosiers can pull out a W.  we'll grill and play corn hole, drink and laugh, eat and play cards and just enjoy all being together again where the majority of us met and became lifelong friends.  we'll complain about the silly college students and roll our eyes at some of the things they do because god forbid we ever did anything ridiculous back in our days at IU.  we did this same trip about this time last year and had a blast and i expect this time to be no different. 

goooo hoosiers!!!

Nov 4, 2010

"your hair looks stupid"

that is a direct quote from my four-year-old niece regarding my hair when we did our most recent webcam.  to be fair, my hair did look really bad.  i had worked out the night before and even though i showered before i went to bed, i couldn't be bothered to wash my hair and dry it that night, so i left it dirty.  what she saw was a mop of hair ridged from my ponytail holder, bangs slicked back with bobby pins, dark roots and more grey hairs than i care to admit creating quite a "stupid" look, in the words of someone under the age of 5.  she's not a mean child at all, but boy is she honest. 

having to cancel my hair appointment that should have occurred in august due to schedule and money issues, i waited until last month to call to reschedule.  i know better than to do this because the stylist i have been going to faithfully for the past 6 years has quite the clientele base and appointments are hard to come by if you don't schedule weeks in advance.  so i was scheduled for my next appointment on december 3 when i got the unheard of call today - someone had canceled and summer had an opening tonight at 6:30.  this is the first time being on her waitlist has ever paid off!  my niece's words floating through my mind, i quickly decided i'd rather eat ramen the rest of the month than turn down this unexpected gift and confirmed that my roots and i would be there at 6:30.

a small fortune later, my hair looks fabulous and i feel great.  it's amazing what some highlights can do. 

Nov 3, 2010


i love yoga.  i really love it.  i'm not bendy and pretzel-ish and i have to put a hand towel over the front of my mat to do downward facing dog to keep my sweaty palms from sliding and flying out from under me, causing me to face plant in a very non-zen way, but i love it.  there's something about focusing all of your energy on your own being and blocking out everything else that restores your focus, your balance and your insight.  some people think yoga is too new-agey and they roll their eyes at the idea of chanting and tapping into energy sources in your own body through various poses and technique.  but, let me tell you - as someone who doesn't take a lot of stock in religious ideas, symbolism, that "everything happens for a reason" crap that the majority of the population seems to subscribe to, i am one who believes in yoga.  it builds strength, patience, balance and forces you to draw on your own inner strength to push yourself to your own limits. 

at the end of the class i'm always so happy that i decided to go to yoga that day and i really feel like i've treated myself.  i walk out of the studio feeling great and looking forward to doing it again.  unfortunately, i have not been good about doing yoga on a regular basis.  rather, i go sporadically and cannot seem to get my crap together to even do it once a week for mutliple weeks in a row.  aside from tennis, yoga is the only activity/sport/workout that i truly enjoy doing and since the weather has begun to turn cold and darkness falls much earlier now, i am forced to rule out playing tennis 2-3 times a week like i did over the summer.  so i should treat myself to yoga once or twice a week.  it costs money to take yoga classes but i probably spend the same amount it would cost me to go to yoga 4-8 times a month on silly things i don't even want. 

so, i'm going to make the effort to start yoga once a week and if i can make it more often, great.  i've tried running, personal training, gym memberships, etc and none of that has held my interest and made me look forward to those things like yoga does.  wish me luck!  maybe by this time next year i'll be a pretzel!

Nov 2, 2010

rock the vote

today is election day.  i have been reading up on the candidates running for various offices in order to make an informed decision that will hopefully enable the best candidate for the job to be elected.  however, living in illinois and specifically in chicago, i often feel that the election process is just choosing the lesser of many evils.  our state is known for being extremely corrupt, politicians doing favors and taking kick backs from businesses, and running one of the worst deficits in the country.  we are also the proud home of idiot  former governor rod blagojevich which has put our state government in the spotlight as a cautionary tale to the rest of the country.  awesome.

so with that said, i'm going to head to the polls today and hope that my vote helps someone who is dedicated to addressing the issues that are important to me succeed.  now get out there and VOTE!

Nov 1, 2010

relationship 101

i've been dating a great guy for the past 5 months.  we get along really well, have a great time together and have been open and honest since day 1, which has made for a surprisingly easy relationship thus far.  i love spending time with him, i really do.  but.... there are a few things you don't realize you've signed up for until you've been in the relationship long enough to really get to know those adorable "quirks" that the other person has.  i'm sure i have my fair share of endearing habits that the boyfriend could rattle off if he were asked to list a few so i don't feel that bad in sharing some of his with you, dear readers.  i'm sure i'm not the only one out there that laments on certain behaviors or wants to beat her head against the wall when these fun little quirks happen over and over and over and over...... 

so here are some of my favorites, the things that make me shake my head and poke fun at him, knowing all the while i'll grin and bear it because at the end of the day he makes me laugh and makes me happy, no matter how annoyed i get. 

the shower curtain.  i cannot comprehend why he cannot pull the shower curtain closed the way it is supposed to be.  i've shown him 100 times what it should look like after a shower is taken and yet he doesn't see the difference in pulling it closed neatly, with the curtain hanging outside the tub and the liner inside, and leaving the curtain gaping open on one end with the material bunched up half in the tub and half out of it.  apparently that looks exactly the same. 

the hair.  men are hairy creatures.  i knew this but never fully understood the implications of that until one started spending a lot of time at my apartment, shedding on things.  it's sort of like having a pet.  in fact, i fondly refer to him as chia pet or wildebeast and we often joke that it would do no good for him to shave his arms and legs because his hair grows back immediately.  still, i didn't realize i signed up for the same lint brush duties when i started dating a guy as i would have if i had gotten a cat. 

the beer smell.  what is it about guys the day after drinking beer that makes them smell as if stale beer is oozing out their pores??  it's like they douse themselves in beer and just marinate in it all night.  gross.  sometimes i want to air him out before getting near him especially if he's hungover.

the garbage disposal.  no, i'm not talking about that nifty addition that many sinks have; i'm talking about my boyfriend's ability to eat like he's not only in a race for his life but also like he's eating for a family of four.  i have never seen anyone eat the sheer volume of food he can consume in one sitting and do it at break-neck speed.  sometimes when we eat dinner i just sit and stare and see how long it takes him to come up for air. 

the dancing.  oh, did i get a good peek at the boyfriend's dancing skills this weekend.  granted, we were out for halloween and had been drinking quite a bit and his dancing was pretty much confined to moves he was doing from the comfort of his barstool, but still - i think i know exactly what he looks like when he dances at wedding receptions.  sprinkler anyone?  how about a double fist pump?  don't forget to add in a clap or two.  and all of this to an n'sync song.  i'm so proud.

the selective hearing.  this is something that i think just comes naturally with the y chromosome.  there have been so many times i've repeated a story, brought up a specific topic we had discussed or started a conversation about a subject we talked about previously, only to have him stare at me in confusion as if i was speaking swahili or had just grown a second head.  zero recollection of the topic or subject matter and how the discussion went the first time.  i'm pretty sure he listens to about 1/3 of what i say, even though he would argue to the death about this rather than admit i'm on to him. 

the fork.  by far, this is my favorite oddity about him.  he owns one fork.  ONE.  how is that even possible?  he is 32 years old and has one fork.  no matter how many times i say it or think about it, it just makes me shake my head.  needless to say, we don't eat dinner at his place.

i'm sure as things go on i'll find out more fun facts about him but until then, i'm thinking a nice set of utensils and a hearing aid are at the top of the list for potential christmas gifts.