Month: June 2012

I Don’t Get It

Oh My Goddddddd

People have been posting things that they like that other people don’t, or things that they hate that everyone else seems to love. I’m going to post things that I just don’t understand. Because some things really and truly baffle me.

why people make such huge deals out of their own birthdays

OK, I might be am biased and/or even a bit resentful. My birthday is five days before Christmas, so I’ve gotten used to people not giving a crap about mine. In fact, if a big deal IS made out of my birthday, I resist it because it feels weird. Most of them time, my birthday’s been forgotten, no one showed up to my parties, and there was the one year I was told: “Oh, it’s your birthday? I forgot. Hmm. Well, grab something from under the tree and that can be your birthday present.” My 21st birthday? I was up late by myself at my parent’s apartment watching VH1 and drinking a Tahitian Treat spiked with Bacardi. I KNOW. (Does Tahitian Treat even exist anymore? Did I just totally date myself?) So, when people plan these huge blowout extravaganzas for themselves, or have these week- or month-long celebrations, especially for a birthday that’s not even a milestone, I get confused. I get even more confused when people actually show up to these big blowouts.

I got fed up when I was participating in these birthday celebrations for everyone else and never got any acknowledgement for my birthday. I got mad when a bunch of us planned a surprise party for a roommate who did nothing but sigh and look depressed when we said “surprise” and started loading her up with gifts. I got depressed when this continued year after year, with people saying “we’ll do something for you after Christmas,” but something never happened.

(To be fair, it’s not that way now and hasn’t been for a very long time. People tend to remember my birthday before I remember it these days. Honestly. I wake up like “why are there so many Facebook notifi-Oh.” But it’s not me making the big deal. It’s everyone else. I guess it’s making up for all those years in the past.)

And I’m kind of a hypocrite here. Because I did plan a huge blowout for my 30th birthday AND PEOPLE ACTUALLY SHOWED UP.

Cutting the Cake!
see? actual people in the background!

BUT, in my defense, it was a milestone birthday, my ex and I used to throw some pretty awesome parties, and it was my voyage into real adulthood. *gulp* I haven’t had any more big parties like that since–I just don’t want to plan a big thing and have no one show up. That would be heartbreaking.

why, in the name of all that is holy, would anything think they need to own a Hummer or another vehicle of similar size, in a gridlocked city like Chicago

When I was pregnant, I fell into the SUV trap. I wanted one because well, that’s what you DID when you had a baby. You got married, got pregnant, bought a house, then got an SUV or minivan and damned if I was going to be seen driving a minivan. So, Aidan’s dad and I got a cute silver Hyundai Santa Fe. (Once I got my license, though, I went with the Hyundai Accent that I still have to this day).

My First Car
santa fe in the back, accent in the front
this was my house in ohio

I’m small, so I like small cars. I’m comfortable in them, they fit into little parking spots, and can weasel around in traffic. I am also not a road bully, and I find that people who drive the big, black SUVs (including Hummers) are sometimes major road bullies. (Just yesterday, Adam was trying to get into one of the tinier parking lots to get to the bank–there was already a car in front of us, and that car was waiting on someone to get out of a parking space–when a big black SUV came around to the side–out of nowhere–and literally tried to cut in front of us to get into this parking lot. They would have rammed us if we hadn’t moved right away.) Not to mention the gas guzzling! Gas in Chicago costs between $4 and $5 a gallon. WHY would you want to drive something that’s going to set you back more than $100 with every fill up? Not to mention the environmental impact. I don’t get it. But you know, it’s not my money, so to each his/her own I suppose.

why people love going to bars so much

Even when I was young and wild (BAHAHAHAHABAHAHAHA), I didn’t care for going to bars. I liked going to clubs, but not bars. I mean, at a club, I could dance my butt off. Mecca on Thursday, Mecca on Friday, and The Red Zone on Saturday. I danced for hours, and it was awesome. I didn’t need to get drunk, and I was there to dance, not socialize, so I didn’t care that the music was loud. In fact, the louder the better.

I realized my true distaste for bars a few years ago when Adam had to attend a bunch of events that took place in bars and I was tagging along. I was thankful that the no smoking rule was in effect, but instead of cigarette smoke, there was the yeasty smell of beer. (I hate beer.) People were screaming to be heard over not-so-good bands or too loud jukeboxes or TVs blaring whatever sports games were playing that night. I guess I don’t truly get the appeal of watching Southpark in a bar when I can be home watching it in my PJs and drinking a nice glass of cherry juice.

However, I did learn a trick in December. I overcame my hatred of bars to meet a bunch of co-workers at a bar one evening. I realized that the drunker I got, the more fun I had!

Silent Night...Not So Much
i’m smiling because i’m drunk!
oh, and because i like all those people.

So maybe that’s the trick to enjoying oneself in bars? Or maybe that’s just me. All I know is that if I’m a bar in the future and having a craptastic time, that all I need are a couple amaretto sours, maybe a shot or two of tequila and Bailey’s, and a fuzzy navel to have a rockin’ good time. *big cheesy grin*

why everyone’s so obsessed with beer

Piggy backing off the last one, I don’t understand why everyone loves beer so much. Beer is NASTY. I’m talking screw-up-your-face-and-almost-ugly-cry nasty. Not to mention the aftertaste. Blech! I remember in college, trying to force down a can of Coors Light (which was actually better than any other I’d tried) and thinking “Oh God, why can’t they have WINE COOLERS or something?” I was told “It’s an acquired taste.”

Y’all. I am a lazy mofo. And if I have to “acquire a taste” to get drunk? I’m just going to skip getting drunk. (Also getting busted by the RA holding a can of beer I DIDN’T EVEN LIKE made it suck that much more.)

Then I was told, “Beer is cheap.”

OH. OK. Now it made sense. I was happy when I finally turned 21 and was able to purchase my own cheap bottles of Boone’s Farm or Arbor Mist. (They were right. Wine coolers were expensive.)

the new trend in parties

When I throw parties or have get togethers, I try to treat my guests well. If people are going to travel all the way out to hang with me and my family, then I’m going to make it worth their while. Reference the above photo of me cutting the cake at my 30th birthday party. That was just the crudite and cheese/cracker portion of the food we provided. There was also lunch meat, breads, chicken… all sorts of foods and beverages. Basically, if you leave any party I throw hungry, it’s your own dang fault. The past few New Year’s Eves, Adam and I had little get togethers. We had food out for people to enjoy at all of them.

It used to be that anytime someone threw a party, there was going to be something to eat there. Maybe they’d have asked us to bring sides or desserts, but they always provided something big, whether it be the biggest pizzas on this natural earth, or grilling the hot dogs, chicken, and hamburgers, or even providing all the booze, (not to mention offering their space and video game systems and fire pits and whatnot), but we could expect to be fed with no strings attached.

But NOW there’s this trend of people throwing parties and expecting their guests to provide ALL THE FOOD (except for a few things here and there). And I don’t get that. I’m inviting you to my home to celebrate something with me, so I want to make you happy that you came. I want your company and your smile and your hugs, I don’t want you stressing over what you need to bring. I’ve been getting invites to things that not only suggest guests BYOB, but that we also bring meat, sides, snacks, desserts, and even seating. OK, I get that the economy sucks and it’s hard to fund epic catered events–but I’d never ask my guests to bring food to something like a shower, and I’d certainly not ask them to bring what basically amounts to the entire meal!

Often, if we have a get together, people will ask what can they bring. I tell them to PLEASE not feel obligated, but if they want, dessert is always welcome! If they have their heart set on bringing something to share, I’m not going to turn it down. For our New Year’s celebration, Jen brought over a pot of Provencal soup she’d made. We didn’t ask her to bring it, though. She offered. I wouldn’t have thought less of her if she hadn’t brought a thing. I was just happy to have her here. (Note: It seems to be a custom to bring a bottle of wine or something when you come to someone’s home, and I admit that I’ve been woefully ignorant of that tradition until recently.)

I figure unless the guests have decided collectively that the event is going to be a potluck, it’s not cool to send someone an invite to a party with the stipulation that they provide so much. I mean, depending on the type of party, I’m OK with having people bring side dishes or beverages, but I’m still skeptical of asking people to do even that.

My take is that if you can’t afford or don’t want to buy food for a party, either don’t have one, or have it at a time that meals normally aren’t served so that guests won’t be expecting to eat. Cause I have skipped out on some parties because although I wanted to see the people there, I didn’t feel like cooking or trying to come up with something clever to take, or I didn’t have the money to buy something to take. It was easier for me to stay home.

This is not to say that those parties are WRONG. They seem very popular, in fact. It’s just different from what I am used to.

So, there you have it, folks. Things I just don’t understand. What makes you go WTF?


Kitty Love: Fi

This is Fi


I got Fi in 1999. He was a Christmas gift. A tiny little ball of black who was more than a little bit skittish. I understood completely where the phrase “scaredy cat” came from!

I’d always thought black cats were good luck. When I was in college, my roommate Heather had a black cat named Magic who I thought was so cool. His silky fur, his pretty eyes. I knew that when I owned my first cat, it’d have to be a black cat.


One of the main questions I get asked is How did you come up with the name Fi?

… Yeah. About that. The person who gave us Fi told us that he was a girl named Fiona. “Fiona” was also allegedly healthy, had just been dewormed, etc.


Fi was very sick. Dehydrated. Fever. Ear mites. Two types of worms. Fleas. A lot older than the few weeks the person had told us.


It took a lot of mental shifting to switch from “girl cat” to “boy cat.” I mean, it’s silly, but there it was. I felt betrayed. Not by the cat–it wasn’t his fault. But by the person who gave him to us, who clearly knew NOTHING about cats. Although to be fair, even the vet didn’t catch that Fi was a boy–certain things didn’t drop until later. But there were the huge vet bills that Chris and I could ill afford, the lectures from the vet about how sick Fi was (well duh, that’s why we were bringing him in), and the sinking feeling that I’d maybe gotten in over my head.


I wasn’t a very attentive cat owner back then. I’d just discovered Internet Girl World and also the joys of high speed internet, so I spent a LOT of time on the computer and not enough time with Fi. It’s no wonder that as he got older, he grew less affectionate toward me. He’d be on the floor and I’d sit by him to pet him. Within two minutes, he’d get up and leave. He wasn’t a lap cat at all, and he didn’t care to be picked up. He definitely kept his distance.

Saturday Night

Then Aidan came along.

Squish The Cat!

I realized how amazingly patient Fi was because he let Aidan squish him like this ALL THE TIME. When Chris and I separated, I left Fi with Aidan because he’d clearly become Aidan’s cat. I’d gone back to visit a few times, but Fi only seemed interested in me if I had food. He’s a champion beggar, that one.

In 2011, Chris and his partner had a total of six cats. They were moving and he told me that he needed to think about getting rid of some of the cats. I told him, IMMEDIATELY, that I wanted Fi. I told him a million times. And one weekend in July, Fi was back with me.

I Love This Cat

Fi had changed. Another question I get asked a lot is What is wrong with his eyes?

Fi has conjunctivitis, and needs eye drops. He’ll likely have it the rest of his life. He also has allergies and makes the cutest little sneezes and sniffles. But the most remarkable change is how affectionate he’s become. I’m pretty sure he remembered me, because when Chris handed him over to me, Fi immediately started purring. He’s been my baby boy ever since. He doesn’t distance himself from me anymore, and anytime I walk into the room, before I even touch him, the motor starts. Sometimes, he even gets on my lap, and remember, Fi’s not much of a lap cat.

Fi on my lap! He never gets on laps.

Fi is a completely chill cat. He’s quiet, calm, and relaxed. The only time he gets mad is when it’s time for eye drops. But even he seems to know when he needs them the most, because then he just kind of sits there resigned. He’s such a good cat, often demanding pets, purring loudly, and just being awesome. He often goes off by himself to relax and be still. He’s still super patient, and he’s super sweet. I love my Fi. :)


…And The Madness Starts Again


After two weeks where I didn’t feel all that busy, things are kicking into high gear again. Teacher training starts back up tomorrow, and my apprenticeship starts Wednesday. I have a date to help my friend Deborah look at wedding dresses on Thursday, and Friday I have an early massage out in the ‘burbs. In the midst of all this, I have a lot of freelance pages to edit, not to mention trying to keep the place looking somewhat presentable for my own sake as well as others. Oh and somehow getting ahold of a copy of KEEP HOLDING ON by Susane Colasanti, and getting that gong meditation CD downloaded. Plus I’m feeling off and a bit nauseated, but I don’t want to miss class tomorrow unless I’m like, SUPER SICK because it’s already been two weeks and I need to get back into student mode.

I’m tired just thinking about it! At least next week is fairly empty… for now.

Thursday night, I got acupuncture for the first time.

First Time Getting Acupuncture.
the needles are in my ears

I attended a workshop at Soulistic, where the speaker explained about Traditional Chinese Medicine (of which acupuncture is a part), and then we got a stress relief acupuncture session. It was interesting. Everyone keeps asking me if it hurt. Here is my honest answer. There was a pinch when the needles first go in, but it was almost instantly gone. On my right side, I didn’t feel anything while the needles were in, but on my left, I still felt a little bit of sensation from a couple of the needles. I lay down and tried to be still, but it was hard. However, when she took the needles out… well, within 30 seconds I felt like Jell-O. I was so amazingly relaxed and floaty. It was awesome. I thought I’d sleep very well that night, but the cats made sure that wasn’t the case. Hmph.

Friday morning, I went wedding dress shopping with a bride-to-be. The first store we went in was a nightmare, so we headed to David’s Bridal, which was a much more successful and much less scary experience for her!

Friday night, Aidan arrived!

Got my baby for the summer!!!

He’s here for the summer! It’s awesome! We stayed up very, very late. We also stayed up late Saturday night, and last night as well. It’s starting to catch up to me. I need to make sure I get a good night’s sleep tonight so I can be good to go tomorrow.

We hung out Saturday, heading out to the porch to bask in the warmth that had finally come back.


Saturday night, I went to see Kino MacGregor speak, and she was so good. Very engaging, adorable as all heck, and fun to listen to. She’s into Ashtanga yoga, which is so not my practice, so I didn’t attend any of her workshops. Maybe I’ll like Mysore when I actually get my butt up and go, but guided Ashtanga is not the thing for me, at least, not at this point in my life.

Yesterday, we ran errands, then we CLEANED THE FRIDGE AND FREEZER. Exciting, right? Believe me, it was needed. You don’t want to know some of the dates we found on stuff on there. It’s really awesome to have a clean fridge. LOOK at that organization, yo.

Clean Fridge

Nice, right? I hope I can keep it clean!

OH. So. OK. KALE. YES. See, I grew up eating greens. I’ve always loved greens (well, since I was about 9 or 10). Turnip and mustard greens slow cooked with some ham hocks or neck bones. Delicious. Seriously. Even Aidan loves them. I remember trying kale when I was younger but not caring much for it. I thought it tasted too much like broccoli, and I can only stand broccoli sometimes. (I’m not even sure how to spell it.) But…I recently tried kale a new way, with olive oil, nutritional yeast, and a bit of soy sauce. OH MY GOD. SO FREAKING YUMMY. So, most people dehydrate that or bake it to make chips, right? Yeah, it doesn’t make it to the oven for me. I just eat it raw. So FREAKING GOOD. I just wish kale wasn’t so “trendy” (read: expensive) but you know what? I don’t care. I buy and eat it anyway. Mmm.

And let me tell you, finding the nutritional yeast was NOT easy. I had to go to this desolate corner of the bulk foods section at Whole Foods. It’s worth it, though.

This evening, I’m going to try to take it easy. I do need to pack my bag for tomorrow, and also pack my lunch. Charge my phone and iPad. Pick out outfit. Make sure I have my train card. And take a bath, and…. oh boy. The madness is starting already.

‘Til next time!


Fifteen Things I Won’t Apologize For

Photo on 04-02-2012 at 8.14 p.m.>

I got the idea for this from Jennifer at Life in the Green House.

When I was younger, I had no problems changing my likes and personality to make people like me. Or to make them happy. As I grow older, I am now finding that crazy girl who buried her true self to please others.

I won’t apologize for…

My Disney World obsession. Going to those parks makes me happy, they’re a ton of fun, and I get to be a part of a world that’s magical and awesome.

Playing FarmVille. It’s fun and it relaxes me! :)

Liking pop music. Well, maybe not most of the current pop music, but the pop music of the early 2000s and the 1990s. Yes, I am a Britney Spears fan, what! And my ringtone might or might not be Best of Both Worlds by Hannah Montana….

Having pink as my favorite color. Pink is pretty, it’s light, and it makes me happy. So there.

My doll collection. I enjoy looking at all my pretty dolls. I do need to do more with them, like take more photos and such. Thank goodness I have a bit more time to do those things now.

My voices. I use a lot of different voices to express how I feel or what I think. It irritates some people, but I can’t care about that anymore. It’s who I am and how I relate.

Reading YA novels. YA novels typically get to the point quicker. I know there are people who judge all YA based on Twilight, but they’re all not like that all. Seriously. Pick up Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, or Dreamland by Sarah Dessen and then try to tell me that YA is a bunch of dumbed down teenage fantasies. Because you’d be wrong. Just sayin’.

Enjoying my life. I have so much to be thankful for. My friends, family, yoga, the cats. So many blessings. There is no reason for me to not embrace and love it all.

My large number of coats. I’m very temperature sensitive, and every coat I have caters to specific types of weather. I get cold very easily, and it takes me a long time to warm up. I have to dress accordingly. Which can be hard in Chicago.

My large number of purses/bags. I have to have purses to match my coats! :)

The fact that I eat a LOT of spaghetti. I’ve always loved spaghetti. Ever since I was a little girl. It’s such a simple, inexpensive, and delicious dish. It’s quick and easy and tasty, and I’ve spent many a happy evening watching The OC and eating spaghetti. Good times.

Treating myself. If I don’t treat myself well, then why should anyone else treat me well? That doesn’t mean being all selfish and indulgent at the cost of others, but why not have a massage or a $4 smoothie every once in a while? As long as I’ve taken care of the things that needed to be taken care of, there is no reason why I can’t have a little extra fun sometimes.

Phone marathons with my mom. I don’t talk to her every day, so when we do talk, we make up for lost time, so to speak. We go on and on about Aidan, foods, life. She updates me on Cleveland and the family, and I tell her what’s going on with me.

Being a kid at heart. Who wants to be stuffy and “mature” all the time, anyway? Where’s the fun in never smiling or laughing at Spongebob or something silly? Why not play with dolls or enjoy buying toys for my little boy? I’m having a blast and I’m not going to stop to please anyone.

Being me. I’m still figuring out who “me” is, but sometimes, I even kinda like her.


Kitty Love: Helena

Meet Helena.

Enjoying the Sun

She’s my orange tabby cat. Orange cats are also known as “ginger” or “marmalade.” Sometimes I call her my Little Orange Girl. I also call her Little Lena.

Most orange cats are male; only 1 in 4 orange cats are female. That makes my Little Lena special. :)

A couple of famous orange cats are Garfield and Heathcliff. Neither of them are as cute as Helena.

Beautiful Helena
helena in 2008

We adopted Helena on July 12, 2008 from PAWS Chicago, a no kill animal shelter here in the city.

the day we brought her home

She was shy with me and Adam but she loved Aidan and Crookshanks right away. Most kittens run and hide when you bring them home and let them out of the box. Helena did just that… but Crookshanks went into our room and poked his nose under the bed. She came out, they bumped noses, and have been friends ever since.

Cuddly Kitties
this was just two days after we brought her home

Even though she used to follow me and purr and roll all around, it took her just under a month to trust me enough to get and stay close to me.

Mommy & Kitty
me and lena in august 2008

Helena was quite a challenge at first. She’d come from a hoarder situation–basically a crazy cat lady who had 40 cats. They were not taken care of, and some of the cats had started to eat each other. :( Apparently, it was a bad situation. She also needed a lot of dental work, which we got done as soon as we could.

Then there were the behavioral problems. She clearly wanted to be petted, but anytime Adam or I would touch her, she’d immediately start biting us. She peed everywhere, including clothing I’d set out to put on when I got out of the shower. We almost took her back to PAWS numerous times, but something told me to hold on. Lots of Nature’s Miracle and splashes from the spray bottle later, she’s finally stopped, for the most part, peeing in naughty places.

Beautiful Helena

Helena calmed down at LOT sometime in 2010. I often wonder if it had more to do with the fact that we switched the cats’ food from whatever was cheapest to Iams, or if she just mellowed the heck out. After all, she was just a baby when we got her (just over a year old) and by then, she’d been with us for a while and she wasn’t a kitten anymore. She started cuddling more and more with me: sleeping on my feet, and scooting next to me and purring. Suddenly, she was my baby girl.

Enjoying the Sun

Helena loves the orange afghan that Adam’s grandma Dee made for us. If I want her to sit on my lap, all I have to do is put that afghan across my legs.

Little Lena

She also loves her daily serving of canned food, so much so that she drives Adam absolutely batty until he breaks down and feeds her. She hates it when Crookshanks is allowed to sleep in our bed but she isn’t. (She hasn’t quite learned that our feet are not to be attacked.) When the cats are out of water, she stands by the water dish purposefully, and if that doesn’t get our attention, she puts her paw into the dry dish and taps insistently. She loves to be pet on her head and will stand on her hind legs so you can reach her better. She still follows me into the bathroom, and I swear she purposely holds her poops until I sit down to have dinner, because that is when she decides to hit the litter box.

Pretty Helena

A lot of noise, strangers, and activity makes her nervous, and she’ll run and hide in a hot minute. People get a kick of seeing her dart across the room and disappear behind the couch. Once the place settles down, though, she comes out cautiously and heads over to take a drink from the water dish. Then she relaxes and settles in for her nine thousandth cat nap of the day.

I love my Little Lena.

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