Musings of a Chicago-Born New Yorker

Life

Live Blogging My Way Through Election Day

00:09 EST

I have to work in the morning, I’m done for the night.

23:59 EST

Over at Trump headquarters in NYC, they are ecstatic. All I can think is there there is one black guy and one Hispanic guy in the room. Everyone else is white.

23:57 EST

Clinton headquarters in NYC is a grim place. Their faces look like how I feel. Stunned disbelief.

23:49 EST

That bottle of champagne is gonna be in my fridge for a long time. If she loses, I won’t have much to celebrate. 2016 really is the worst fucking year.

23:38 EST

She can’t lose another vote she was expected to win. Wisconsin, Michigan, New Hampshire, come on y’all.

23:31 EST

Evangelicals man… They don’t think a woman should be in charge. And misogyny, xenophobia, and racism won’t make them not vote for you… Good to know.

23:21 EST

Just took a nap helped by the food. This shit is not looking good. People are saying the polls having been properly polling the Rust Belt and that’s why they got it wrong.

It looks like Clinton is going to lose. This is so depressing.

21:55 EST

Clinton just pulled ahead in Virginia.

Whew!

Current heart rate according to my Gear Fit 2 is 87 bpm.

21:50 EST

Michigan, Ohio, North Carolina, Florida. these four states are KILLING me right now. she’s supposed to win three of the four.

The polling this cycle apparently sucked.

21:47 EST

I’m feeling a certain amount of despair. These vote counts remind me of 2008, when Obama was leading in many vote counts. His opponent never made up the numbers. Now I’ve got my fingers crossed hoping a miracle can be pulled off for Clinton.

Nate Silver, my statistics boo, still shows Clinton winning. I really hope he’s right.

I know people who chose not to vote today. They think no matter the outcome, they won’t do well. They weren’t thinking of the people of different groups who will NOT do well with a Trump presidency.

I can’t even right now.

21:32 EST

There are a lot of votes. CNN says are too early to call. But Trump has the lead in most of these states. This is so nerve-wracking. My two home states, New York and Illinois, did their part. The rest of the country is fucking up.

21:05 EST

Trump ahead in Florida and Ohio and North Carolina. I can’t.

20:45 EST

It didn’t even occur to me to watch these results somewhere other than my own home. Why would I? This is where all the good booze is. Plus, I don’t need pants here.

On CNN, they’re showing New Yorkers watching on a rooftoop. It looks like they’re at 230 Fifth. I don’t love that rooftop, but that gathering looks fun.

Nah, I’m happy to be on my couch, agonizing over Florida in the comfort of my own home.

20:43 EST

Clinton isn’t supposed to win Ohio. She is supposed to win Florida. Those vote totals so far are upside down right now. This is upsetting.

20:30 EST

South Carolina & Alabama to Trump. No surprises there. Tons of states are too close to call. It’s still early, I’m trying to remain calm.

20:28 EST

My husband is so drunk. He’s thinking he’s attracted to Dana Bash now, lol. I get it, she looks great tonight.

Ugh, Trump is still up in Florida. This is no bueno.

He’s also currently winning in the popular vote. Clinton is winning in the electoral college vote so far. I wish they wouldn’t mention states until all the votes are in–no I don’t. I’d be so impatient if they weren’t giving me regular updates.

20:14 EST

Now Trump is up by 700 votes in Florida. Ugh. This shit is too close.

20:11 EST

Most people think they can’t drink alcohol in any order. They would be wrong. You can’t drink excessively in any order. My husband doesn’t have the strongest stomach. But tonight, he started with beer, then he drank rum (and coke), now he’s drinking wine.

You too can drink in whatever order you’d like. As long as you have a chemist on your side guiding your way, lol.

Ugh, these results are coming in now Early voting in Florida is not making me happy. We’ll see what happen though because right now Clinton is in the lead. 86% is in. And Clinton is only ahead by 11,000 votes ahead.

This is some nailbiting shit…

20:07 EST

Clinton on track to win Florida… Lord please…

19:55 EST

Trump wins West Virginia, duh.

I’ve finished the Sancerre and the beer. On to Beaujolais. That is a wonderful wine I know about because of Wine School in the New York Times last year.

19:43 EST

Ohio’s Secretary of State says that they will start reporting results soon. Republicans don’t win the country without Ohio.

Conversely, they have won Ohio without winning the presidency.

I guess we’ll see which way this will go.

19:37 EST

Nate Silver (my statistics boo) thinks that Trump will easily win Vigo County, Indiana. He thinks their bellweather status is no more because of love for Trump.

I take back what I said about understanding angry white people.

19:33 EST

Florida keeps going back and forth between Trump and Clinton.

This is nerve-wracking.

My husband can’t believe this is even a competition.

I know never to underestimate angry white people.

At least dinner was good. Chris ate so fast, he got the hiccups, lol.

I’m really really hoping Clinton wins Florida.

19:14 EST

Trump is ahead currently in Florida. This doesn’t make me happy. But at least she’s ahead in Florida, but the votes are so tiny in number right now. Taking a break to eat.

food

19:06 EST

Goodness. Bellweather county in Indiana is pissing me off. I hope Vigo County is wrong this year. Right now, it’s leaning Trump.

It’s time to eat, so at least there’s that.

19:00 EST

CNN projects Donald Trump will win Kentucky and Indiana. No surprises there. Hillary Clinton will win Vermont. No surprise there.

Virginia, Georgia, North Carolina too early to call.

My husband and I toasted and took a drink our of our glasses about Vermont.

Chris: “I’m drunk!”

Me: “Join the club!”

18:57 EST

Eric Trump violated New York election law by posting a picture of his ballot, lol.

I get it though. I took photos of my ballot when I got to vote for both my mother and Obama in the same election. It was an amazing moment for me. Of course, I knew better than to post it online.

Dummy.

18:48 EST

I’m watching Ana Navarro on CNN. This woman gives me life. This Nicaraguan-born American woman makes me so happy!

18:41 EST

Classic CNN. They’re watching the counts in Indiana. We know Indiana is going for Trump. Do we really care about the last 70,000 votes coming in from there? No we don’t.

My husband and I are going to Paris and London for New Year’s. We’re pretty damn sure that if Trump wins, we’re not coming back. When we first moved to NYC, we said we were gonna be here for three years then move to Europe.

I’ve been looking at job opportunities in London in my same industry. And I’ve been looking at the visa process in the U.K. It’s very possible for us to go over there and not come back.

We each feel better knowing we have an escape route, just in case…

18:31 EST

Every time I turn to MSNBC, they piss me off. I was just trying to check on Rachel Maddow’s eyelashes, but nope. They had an awful commercial on that made me turn back to CNN before I could see her. Fiat is at peak appropriation right now, ugh.

My husband is now drinking a very strong rum & coke I’ve made him. I’m finishing the beer, half of which I’ve poured into the italian sausages.

The first part of the food is almost done: squash, yellow rice, italian sausages. Gonna be so good!

18:24 EST

I’ve been trying to do more situps as a part of my regular workout. I prolly should’ve done those earlier today… before I started drinking. Oh well, I’ll do them tomorrow before I go to work.

18:21 EST

CNN is cracking me up with these “KEY RACE ALERTS”

I’m just glad none of the alerts are surprises thus far.

18:14 EST

My chicken still isn’t completely defrosted, so I’ve got it running under cold water now. But the rice is cooking and so are the italian sausages. So at least we’ll get dinner. The chicken may end up being our lunch for tomorrow. Gonna cook the squash and broccolini soon. I’m about to open a beer for the sausages.

And drink the rest!

This food smells so amazing!

18:08 EST

I can already tell I’m gonna be so annoyed when she wins. People keep referencing how only 100  years aho women didn’ t have the right to vote. I’m just like, “white women!!!”

Yelling at my TV is not useful.

But CNN is happily distracting me. Results from Kentucky are rolling in. Donald Trump currently holds 87% of the vote with 1% of the vote in. No surprises here. Poor white people have a long history of voting for people who don’t do anything for them. Those coal workers who can’t even afford the Trump ties made in China think Trump will get their jobs back.

At least I’m getting the results I expected. As long as I see Nate Silver’s (my statistics boo) map fill in as expected, I’ll be happy.

18:00 EST

I’ve never been an angry drunk, but I’m finding myself yelling at the TV. Every time they say something I disagree with…

But I’m still my normal happy drunk self. I’m giving my husband lots of kisses and hugs. I’m sure he’s amused by my current behavior.

17:48 EST

Drunk confession? I’ve been fussing in my head that half the damn screen is being taken up by CNN having all this info scrolling at the bottom. And I’ve also been fussing that they haven’t been releasing the exit poll results yet.

#drunkfail

The info scrolling at the bottom IS the exit polling results!

Duh…

That’s my bad. So, I’m gleaning no useful information from those results. Things like, 68% of American are ashamed to be American doesn’t capture a proper picture. I’m sure that large number encompasses those who are ashamed that xenophobia, racism, and misogyny is such a driving force for Republicans and large amounts of it aren’t enough to make someone lose the vote of the base. But I’m also sure that a large number encompasses those who feel America has gone too far away from it’s values and we’re doing too much to embrace immigrants and the gays and the Muslims.

For the record, I’m all about embracing all the newness every wave of immigrant brings. In my job, every shift, I struggle to understand the nurses and doctors who call us to report potential donors. I hate that I don’t have a good ear for accents. I know life would be so much easier at work (and when I call customer service for almost any company) if every had an American accent. But so the fuck what? I prefer this melting pot. I love that I live in a city where I can get authentic cuisine from almost any culture made by people who are from there, wherever there is.

I don’t want the world Donald Trump wants us to go back to. i want to move forward. Even if that means I’ll never clearly understand another doctor or nurse ever again. The American dream doesn’t mean shit for me. The least I can do is welcome the people who it actually exists for.

17:41 EST

My husband is home! He’s amused that I’m tipsy. But I’ve given him a Brooklyn lager, so he can start catching up. He didn’t bring me butternut squash. He brought zucchini and yellow squash. I would’ve preferred the flavor of butternut squash tonight (with brown butter sauce, drool), but at least he brought me the easier squash to prepare. #drunkbenefits #blessed lol, definitely crossing the line from tipsy to drunk

17:25 EST

I finally heard a Trump support talk about real things, like actual reality for Trump. He pointed to a number of counties in Florida where the voting is up, counties that traditionally go for Republicans. He spoke (of course with no details) of plans that Trump has to fix a lot of problems for blue collar workers.

They should’ve had this guy out a lot more speaking for Trump. I mean, his words are falling on deaf ears for me, but there are bound to be people he could’ve resonated with. Maybe some middle America white folks with half of a college degree, a high level of pragmatism, no black friends, and a ton of family members that are factory workers or police officers. Surely those people would love his message.

Of course, those folks are probably already voting for Trump. Plus this guy isn’t very attractive. I dig his facial hair (and eyes, and voice and style), but he isn’t classically handsome, and we all know Trump hates to send out people who aren’t 10s to talk for him.

17:15 EST

I’m definitely tipsy. I keep trying to fast forward through commercials because DVR is how I watch most TV. At least my nails are almost dry. I’ve only messed up one of them. This is the benefit of dark nails, you can’t really see the blemishes.

Unless I’ve missed it, we still don’t have any exit polls results. Still 45 min away from the first polls closing. Soon after that, we’ll start to get results. My anxiety is building, but it’s starting to feel like an anxious excitement.

Watching CNN is helping, believe it or not. To see all of Trump’s supporters choosing to suspend reality as their candidate’s only path to victory is reassuring. I’m not saying it’s impossible for Trump to win. I’m just saying that his own supporters don’t seem to think the reality we all currently share makes it likely.

17:02 EST

Waiting for the results of the first exit polls to be released. First polls on the East Coast close in an hour. Starting to get nervous. My heart rate is up according to my Gear Fit 2.

Hillary Clinton’s camp is reporting that she is working on two versions of her final speech tonight. I’m hoping the victory speech is the one we’ll hear.

I’m still on my first, admittedly large, glass of wine. I’m gonna check to see if the chicken and italian sausage are defrosted.

heart-rate

16:48 EST

CNN is giddy because Clinton’s motorcade is leaving Chappaqua, NY to head for the city to setup camp to hear tonight’s results.

Also, women are gather by Susan B. Anthony’s grave to put their I Voted stickers there. They’re hoping tonight is the culmination of her fight. A white woman will hopefully be president. Don’t mistake my focus on color for a lack of support for Hillary Clinton. I want her to win. I’m just not foolish enough about history to forget that the fight for women to vote didn’t include women that looked like me. My anniversary of voting right’s ain’t the same as Clinton’s.

16:44 EST

Nails are drying currently. and I’m a bit tipsy, lol. Sounds like a good time to start cooking, right? Luckily I cook while drunk often. But I gotta wait until my husband gets here with the veggies for tonight’s dinner.

Meanwhile on CNN, the anchor is mocking Trump for not knowing the difference between country and county. Peak Trump… it’s in his best interest to get facts wrong.

The dark blue nails are so fall, don’t you think?

blue-bails

16:06 EST

They’re talking about how both candidates are having their parties tonight in Midtown Manhattan, which has never happened before. As a New Yorker, I think it’s kinda cool too. I’m just even happier that I’m safe in Brooklyn today.

I feel badly for my co-workers who have to work today though. My office is on 34th & 10th, which is so close to the Javits Center which is on 34th & 11th. Security and traffic over there is gonna be crazy.

Painting my nails now, so I gotta take a break from the keyboard so I don’t fuck up my right hand.

16:00 EST

CNN pissed me off for a second white white people and their dogs. But now we’re back on track. Interviews with people at the polls, and opinionated responses from the panel.

And more ridiculousness and separation from reality from that black guy who’s there for Donald Trump.

Let’s be honest here, there’s a chance Trump can win today, but it’s not happening by secret black and brown voters. His only chance is uneducated white men showing up in large numbers.

And more wine for me.

15:52 EST

Geez, now they’re interviewing Russians on their opinion of the possible outcomes of this election?!?! I know they have a lot of hours to fill today, but geez. Who cares?! I guess we’re back to CNN to see if they’ve finished talking to that Trump woman.

15:40 EST 

As soon as I turned to MSNBC, those fuckers had that video of Jimmy Fallon mussing up Trump’s hair on his show a few months ago. Ugh, this guy. I loved Jimmy Fallon before he decided sticking his head in the sand about politics this year. I get it, it’s not your jam, but it is my jam, so you can go off my TV screen.

Ole making-Trump-look-amusing, focused-on-the-wrong-damn-thing, why-is-he-even-on-your-show-in-that-case, would-rather-be-silly-than-focused self. Ugh, I need wine.

As I’m watching MSNBC, I’m not familiar with these anchors, I’m used to watching later in the evening with Rachel Maddow and them. And now I’m hoping Maddow has a better stylist this year. She always looks great, but she had Snuffleupagus eyelashes going four years ago. Don’t do that to her again tonight guys!

There is good news from my fridge though. I found the rest of my bottle of Sancerre, I thought that was finished when out mothers visited last week. But it wasn’t!

wine-1

15:36 EST

I just checked Twitter and 538.com says their prediction model is locked. No more new information in there. The prediction I have screenshotted below is what the polling model Nate Silver (my statistics boo) setup says about who will win tonight.

At 7pm Eastern, the map will change to begin to reflect the polling results as they come in. I wonder what effect results from earlier states have on the voting of later states, if any. With so much early voting these days, I’d be surprised if it has a huge effect.

Okay… Lara Trump just showed up to CNN to be interviewed. I honestly could care less about her opinions of what life has been like for Trump in these final days. Heading over to MSNBC.

15:23 EST

Of COURSE Trump is trying to say the votes are rigged. And his team have already filed in Nevada about the polling place staying open, which they are required to do by law. Anyone already in line when the polling place closes still get a chance to vote. Gladly, the judge threw out his claim.

But seriously?? Saying that ballots that were filled out for the Republican candidates switching over to Democrats? Um…. that’s a big no. As usual, no actual evidence, no actual specific polling sites mentioned, no actual people this has happened to.

I pity the people who believe him without question. If he were winning, he’d swear the electoral process was perfect.

15:13 EST

My husband just messaged me that he’s jealous because I’m drinking and he’s not. I have no sympathy, lol. I made sure I had today off from work, he didn’t do the same. He had a rehearsal today for a new band he’s gonna be playing with every other Thursday.

While I was chuckling and thinking of which drink my husband will go for first when he returns home, Paris Dennard started speaking on CNN about Trump’s chances for winning Michigan. He’s saying the same bullshit that Ben Carson was.

Why does every Trump supporter say, “let’s throw out the polls”? It’s because they all need to suspend reality to give their candidate a chance to vote.

And why the hell do all the black men supporting Trump sound like Stepford wives who’ve taken 3 Xanax in less than 3 hours?

15:01 EST

CNN is going over whether or not polling places have had glitches. A few have, and they are requesting the ability to stay open later as a result. Mostly at places with electronic voting. When I voted this morning, I used a paper ballot with a pen filling in bubbles, and then it was fed into and counted by a machine. There seemed to be no glitches, so that was nice for my polling place. We’ll see what happens in other polling places.

I’m thinking of painting my nails. It used to be my Monday night therapy while watching Dancing with the Stars before I started doing so much yoga. But I think I could use it today. I’m going for a nice sparkly turquoise shade of blue.

I think before I do that, I’ll pop over to fivethirtyeight.com and see what they think about who will win today. Nate Silver, my statistics boo, was 100% right in 2012. Will he have a repeat performance this year?

538-prediction

14:41 EST

There is a reporter interviewing two people outside of an election place in Orange Country in Florida. A lot of people see that is a decisive county that may decide if Clinton or Trump win that state.

The New York Times says that Trump can’t win without winning Florida. Fingers cross that there is some truth to that.

Back to these two voters. This woman said that she was voting for Trump because she wanted change and no more Clintons. I can understand that sentiment. But I would like it a lot more if those words didn’t come out of the mouths of people who can’t articulate what change they’d like to see.

The reporter asked the woman how she felt about the first woman voter, and she was basically like, “meh.” When asked about friends of hers who might be excited about the first woman president, she said, “yeah, I have women friends.” What does that even mean? I’m guessing it means this woman has zero male feminist friends. Surprise, surprise.

14:35 EST

Watching Ben Carson talk about how black people are called Uncle Tom if they are publicly supporting Donald Trump. Then, he follows it up with repeating all the Republican tropes of black people. Babies out of wedlock?!?! Really?!?!

I’m just glad I was able to stay awake in spite of his zzzquil voice.

14:25 EST

Love that damn near every episode of The Flash ends so emotionally. All the feels. Glad to have this moment of happy heartedness before heading into the trenches of election coverage.

And my tea is done!

tea

13:44 EST

Now I’m getting antsy and I’m wondering what the pundits are saying about early election returns. This is a great episode of The Flash.

I love seeing Draco Malfoy all grown up but still wonderfully British-ly snotty. But… I’m itching to see what’s going on over at CNN.

I’ll probably make myself a hot toddy then head over on to CNN after this episode finishes.

13:38 EST

Why is the scary guy on this show black? Ugh, at least he’s a smart science guy.

13:34 EST

I could scream that they’re let another Wells into their mix on The Flash. These multiple Harrisons are NEVER up to any good. They always turn out okay, or develop enough of a bond with the other characters to not want to kill them completely or whatever. But damn, not on any Earth does Harrison Wells have pure intentions.

And they all keep voice diaries, lol. This may make me start drinking sooner than CNN will.

drink-options

13:06 EST 

Hi everyone! I’m sitting on my couch, having just watched Lin-Manuel Miranda’s monologue on SNL for the thirtieth time–escapism! I told myself that after I voted and stocked up on wine, I’d start watching CNN for election coverage.

after-voting

But… I just cant do it yet. I’m catching up on the DVR, watching The Flash right now. I haven’t started drinking yet, and all I know about the election is who’s been posting on IG that they voted. Oh, and Clinton won Dixville, New Hampshire shortly after midnight.

Let’s see where the day takes me.


Thinking of Oranges, Master’s Degrees, And Someone Other Than Myself

I have found a volunteer opportunity! I’m going to work with a Boys & Girls Club in Manhattan doing tutoring for high school students. It’s a pretty low time commitment and they’ll work with my not-my-choice flexible schedule.

I’m just happy that I’ll be back volunteering again. I’ve missed doing something for people I don’t know. Living in New York can turn you into a self-involved navel gazer for sure. Taking a step outside of the bubble that makes up life can be healthy. In my case, it’s super healthy.

I went for orientation last week, and we start the week after next I believe. These NYC kids are tough, but the kids in the program are there because they signed up, so fingers crossed they actually want to be there and want the help being offered.

Other than getting back into volunteering, there’s still yoga, there’s still work, there’s still supporting my husband’s career. And there’s still lots of family stuff.

My mother and mother-in-law will be here on Wednesday. They’re coming in town for my husband’s recital. All the graduating students have to have a recital, and I’m excited to see what he’s chosen for his part of it. He’s in the middle of midterms now, so we’re on the final downhill slope. In just a handful of weeks, he’ll have his Master’s Degree and never have to be a student again if he doesn’t want to.

I’m so jealous. I’d love to be done with school. Instead I’m ramping up to finally complete an application to get my MBA. I’m kinda glad I waited because I was so sure I wanted to get an MBA with a focus on healthcare. But now, staying in the same industry isn’t so appealing. Getting a less specialized degree seems wise.

Leaving my company for different job isn’t the best idea because of the salary, benefits, and job duties. Not many companies can compare for my current education level and work experience. Getting a Master’s would change a lot in terms of what jobs are available to me.

Instead of standing still, not making any one decision, I need to choose a path. All standing still has got me is three years in the exact same spot I was in when we first moved here. That is a waste of time, and I’m kinda over it. And with my husband wrapping up his degree, it seems like the perfect time to finally move forward.

People usually have introspective moments on their birthday or New Year’s or whatever. I’m having this moment because my grandfather died one year ago today. He turned 90 on October 30, 2015. One can say many things about that man, but I’m thinking about how he squeezed so much life out of 90 years.

I wonder if there are things he wanted to do that he never got a chance to. I bet that list for him was shorter than it was for most people. If I had to pick one of his traits to emulate, I’d like to it be that one. Gonna squeeze more and more out of life, like a particularly juicy citrus fruit.

I love that pleasant surprise when your lemonade (made with fresh lemons) or your margarita (made with fresh limes) or you mimosa (made with fresh oranges or blood oranges) uses less fruit than average. You get a workout from really squeezing the fruit, you feel like the world gave you a little bit extra that day. And I swear it makes your beverage that much better.

I should probably buy some oranges. My mother and mother-in-law love mimosas. Plus it’s cold and flu season and I ride the subway to and from work.


And Now I Have Four Sets of Headphones

Maaaaaaan, of course my same day delivery didn’t come on the same day. They didn’t even attempt the delivery. I wasn’t at work for the next couple of days, so it got delivered at some point.

I had originally ordered replacement headphones for my cell phone because the volume buttons on the headphones weren’t working. Then I noticed they were selling them in a two pack and figured that would be a better purchase because it was close to the same price. I don’t really lose headphones, but it couldn’t hurt to have a second pair, right?

Well, I ordered the headphones, then realized I’d chosen free two-day delivery when I meant to choose same day delivery. So I ordered them again for same day delivery.

And now I have four sets of headphones.

And the volume buttons still don’t work.

I figured out it was due to the phone being messed up. One lousy little half-empty travel-size bottle of Listerine and everything goes fuzzy.

Well, not literally. The phone’s functionality has almost completely returned. That makes me very happy because I love my phone and I’ve finally got the settings just right. Fingers crossed that this phone will last until the newest Samsung Note 6 (or Note 7 Edge if the internet rumors are to be trusted) comes out.

So maybe I have to restart my phone to get the microphone on the headphones to work.

And maybe the S Pen is a little temperamental.

And maybe the phone mutes itself for no reason out of nowhere.

And maybe the phone turns itself up to the loudest possible volume for no reason out of nowhere.

But it’s my phone and I love it. And it’s really not in the budget to replace it right now.

That money has to go towards the laptop. Eventually it will stop working because I spilled a glass of red wine on the keyboard.

And Chris was just saying how I’m less clumsy with all the aerial yoga…


Stop Asking Me if I’m A Mother

Happy Mother’s Day to the mothers! And people who are acting mothers! And people who have a deep attachment to their pets!

In spite of the title of this post, I don’t mind when people ask if I’m a mother. It’s the follow up questions after that that usually piss me off.

“Are you a mother?”

“No.”

“Well, why not? Don’t you want kids? How old are you? Shouldn’t you be a mother by now?”

It takes all of my self-control not to snap when this happens. Full disclosure, I have snapped on a few people, but mostly I keep my angry responses to myself.

But to the point of I want to snap:

  1. Why the fuck is it your business why I don’t have children?
  2. I could have fertility issues and the assumptions could be breaking my heart.
  3. If we were close enough, you’d already know the answer to that question, and Mother’s Day is not the appropriate time to ask.
  4. I don’t want kids, why is that up for judgement?

When I calmly (or not-so-calmly) explain why I have no desire to be a mother, I get looks of either confusion, judgement, or pity.

The confusion confuses me. Do some people really know no women except me who are willing to stand up say, “at this point in my life, I have no desire to be a mother.”?

The judgement pisses me off because I am horrified to think of that person doing the same thing to a woman who’s only child was murdered. Or who has had multiple miscarriages. Or who is infertile. Or who also just doesn’t want kids but is emotionally affected by the judgement of strangers.

And the pity saddens me. There is so much is this world to feel badly about: climate change, poverty, childhood obesity, refugee safety, people constantly doing harm to the world in their god’s name. Being sad for me just seems like a waste of time and energy.

Knowing me, I will likely wake up one day and decide I must have children. As it stands right now, if I had a 2 bedroom apartment, I’d be filling out an application to be a foster mom. But raising a child from start to finish it outside of what I want right now.

I’ll just be happy with my own mom. And my grandmother. And my mother-in-law. And my godmother. And all the other women in my life who are like second mothers to me.

So feel free to ask me if I’m a mother, just keep the follow up questions to yourself. Thanks!


Putting in More… Everything

More of the same from me. My bad for not writing a new post in months, yada yada, will do better in the future… Wish I could figure out a better schedule to make time to post, etc. etc.

So I’m putting in more work. Trying to be more consistent

In my last post that wasn’t about Grey’s Anatomy, waaaay back in January I think, I discussed what my goals were for this year. I didn’t look to see if those goals were for 2016 or age 31, but at this point, it’s not important.

  • Chris graduate from grad school
  • More travel around the East Coast and to the West Coast
  • Make some healthy living changes that are sustainable
  • Strengthen the relationships that are truly important to me

  • Chris graduate from grad school

Chris is not going to graduate from grad school this Spring. In life, obstacles come in your way, and you handle them as best you can. Chris had a large obstacle this year. His father died. In less than a month after we found out he had health issues, he was gone.

I’m not going to go into too many details, but it was a devastating loss for the family. We are all still struggling to reach a new normal without him. Chris spent a lot of time in Chicago with his mother when it first happened, and we ultimately decided that withdrawing from classes this semester was wise. He will continue classes in the fall and will finish in December.

There is one more thing about this that I want to say. He became an organ, tissue, and eye donor. Because I work in organ & tissue donation, this was amazing news to hear. It’s not always an easy decision for a family to make, but I’m so happy it’s the decision my family made. Being a donor family adds a new layer to why I do what I do, and it would make it very difficult for me to change and do something else with my career.

 

  • More travel around the East Coast and to the West Coast

In terms of travel, I still have more I want to do. I went to San Diego at the end of January with my best friend David, which was a really great trip. My luck being what it is, it was the coldest it’s been there in years when we went. When I got back, my co-workers were concerned because there was a storm there that made national weather news. I was confused because it only rained one day. Apparently what seemed like a normal rainstorm was the worst they’d had in years.

But I did get to the San Diego Zoo!

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And travelling with David is always fun, I’m hoping we’ll get to do it again soon.

I also have taken quick trips around the East Coast, but unfortunately, nowhere new. Because of gigs that Chris has coming up, we’ll be back and forth to D.C. this summer, maybe we can expand that out… Maybe.

 

  • Make some healthy living changes that are sustainable

I definitely have gone a long way down the path of accomplishing this! One of my co-workers was fussing at us about always complaining about our sedentary lifestyle without doing anything about it. When I tell this story in person, I say she was fat-shaming us, but jokes like that don’t translate well on the internet.

Anyway, several of us were feeling bad for ourselves when she yelled at us to improve our situations and stop complaining. I told her that I would love to go to yoga more regularly. Yoga is my preferred exercise, but the studio closest to my house is 10 min drive plus parking, or a 30 minute walk. So a 1 hour class is practically a 3 hour time investment once you calculate showers and clothes changes.

She called bullshit and told me I hadn’t really looked for a studio and I should do better.

I just re-read that sentence. You should know that’s the nice version of what she said. But I respond very well to brutal honesty. So I searched far and wide to find yoga studios. My goal was to find a studio with multiple locations. One location would be on the way home from work with late night classes I could attend after my shift. The other would be less than a 15 minute walk from my house.

“And then you’ll see, I’ve really been trying!” I told her.

“Yeah, we’ll see,” she replied.

A couple hours later (I was also working, after all), I found out… she was right. There was a yoga studio around the corner from my house, literally. I felt so stupid. Then I got over myself and immediately signed up for a class the next morning.

That was over a month ago, and I’m still going strong. I also found an online on-demand yoga thing for $9.95/month. cancelled that though because I never use it. But I went from exercising hardly ever to exercising 3-4 times a week.

Chris and I went to Chicago for a wedding a couple of weeks ago. I took my mat, and did yoga there too. I haven’t felt this good or slept this well in a while. And in my defense, the studio is only about 9-10 months old. It really wasn’t there the last time I checked!

In addition to working out, I’ve started purchasing groceries more regularly, and cooking at home more. Aside from saving money, it’s healthier. I’m looking forward to seeing the added benefit of healthier food on top of increased exercise.

 

  • Strengthen the relationships that are truly important to me

After doing damage to a very important relationship at the beginning of the year, I think we’ve just about recovered. My other relationships are going pretty well, but I could be doing more.

I don’t call my parents or mother-in-law nearly enough. I communicate with most people via text or instant messaging. And I’m at the point where I really hate talking on the phone. Maybe it’s because I do it all day for work. I’m hoping that’s the reason, and not because I’m becoming anti-social.

I can’t help it if I prefer my own company and I like being left alone most of the time. But I could certainly work hard to find a better balance to makes sure the people who matter to me are getting what they need out of the relationship. Being a better friend, daughter, etc. is important, and I will work harder to make it a bigger priority.


Starting Off 2016, I’m Still Me!

Happy New Year!!!

I’ve got no resolutions, just more of continuing to be myself. As my husband Chris says during every conversation we’ve had for the last 48 hours, 2015 was a year of big changes. He’s all about reflection. And speeches. And other people listening to his reflective speeches.

For Christmas, we were in Chicago with our families.

planeMy mother and his mother combined the Savage and McBride Christmases and we filled up my parents’ new house. I didn’t think we could fill up their big ass house, but we did it. And because Chris is Chris, he had to give a speech prior to grace. It was heartfelt and wonderful and made everyone go awwwwwww.

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We were in Chicago forever, almost 2 weeks (is that hyperbole? Literary purists, help me out!). That meant lots of time for other activities. There were several dinner parties, a slumber party, a couple of date nights, Chris had a gig, and there was lots of sleeping late.

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I was, however, bamboozled! I was told we’d need to help move my grandmother into my parents’ house on moving day. but I spent hours at her house the first day. Then there were more hours at her house the next day. Then there were more hours at her house the next week.

What is family for if not to help you move, literally, piece by piece? She had 30 years of stuff to sort into keep, garbage, and giveaway piles. That took a lot of hands and a lot of time.

moving

I’m pretty sure my mother purposely undersold the time commitment. She knows that I would’ve had no problem saying no ahead of time, but that there was no way I’d say no when the rest of the family was headed over to do hard work. I just can’t not help people (sorry literary purists whose attention I’ve specifically requested), not when it’s so obvious my help would make things go better for everyone.

There is one caveat, I can’t feel like I’m being taken advantage of. And my parents never make me feel that way. So it was settled, I got easily pimped out for manual labor on the big move to get my grandmother to my parents’ house.

Then there was waiting for the delivery of Christmas presents. I just bought everything online and had it shipped there rather than bring all those gifts with us. See the start and ending pics. Shit got real. That chair got added to my room when I salvaged it from the give away pile at my grandmother’s house.

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There was also a funeral. The last of my great-grandmother’s siblings died. She was #16 of 16. It’s crazy to think that entire generation is now gone. I went to the funeral with my parents, and as much as the circumstances weren’t great, I was really happy to see so many family members from that branch of the family tree. After we left her burial, my daddy and I visited my Papa’s grave, who’s funeral I went to the last time I was in Chicago.

papa's grave

So after all the holiday parties, a new tattoo (more on that later), and hanging with friends I only see when in Chicago (if that often)…

paint & drink momma tattoo martinis

…it was time for New Year’s Eve!

I spent the holiday in St. Louis with my best friend David. We went to a nice dinner then a party at Ballpark Village. That party was so much fun and that DJ was everything. He was mixing songs based on: tempo, key, genre, lyrics, and theme. That’s right, lyrics and theme! Who does that?

Our tickets got us in all the 327 bars inside the village (more hyperbole! (I think…)), free drinks until midnight, free champagne toast at midnight, and endless dancing. We shut that party down like we have shut down several parties over the years.

me and david

My fancy sparkly shoes made it through the night, but barely got me back to my hotel. What should’ve been a 5 minute walk took almost 15! I wish I could blame it on being drunk, but I was happy champagne drunk, not old-school falling down vodka-and-tequila drunk. Nope, it was just a lot of dancing on concrete floors.

sparkly shoes

I got back to New York last night, and I was of course greeted by the cats who were looking at me like I was the biggest traitor for leaving them for so long. Our friend who lives around the corner watered, fed, and cleaned for the cats. So they were fine, they just have so much personality, so they had to let me know everything they were feeling.

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I ended 2015 exactly the way I wanted to. I’m looking forward to 2016 being a great year. I’ve got hopes for this year, but there are some specific things I’d like to see happen:

  • Chris graduate from grad school
  • More travel around the East Coast and to the West Coast
  • Make some healthy living changes that are sustainable
  • Strengthen the relationships that are truly important to me

Let me reiterate that those are not resolutions, but more of a way to focus my view of the year. It’s gonna be a great year! Did I say that already?


Who Needs Sleep? I Do, But Whatever! Part 2

I’m just going to pick up right from where I left off yesterday. I was telling a very long-winded story about my week of going out.

Tuesday, I was back out. This time I was at Moca Lounge. It is my spot on Tuesday nights because they have a poetry set that’s always great. A couple of drinks, some laughs, and always at least one poem that leaves the room speechless.

After Moca, I headed to Small’s Jazz Club. One of the best friends we’ve made since we moved to New York, Corey, had a gig there. His group, the Dubtet, plays and leads in the jam session every other Tuesday night. It just so happens to be the Tuesday I work in my 2 week work shift rotation. I hardly ever go because that means being awake for almost 24 hours straight.

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But I stayed out, and I’m glad I did because his girlfriend Allyson came out. And our friend Noah has his girl out, I was happy to meet her as well. Noah’s so sweet, so of course his girl is too.

I gave her a crash course on what it’s like to get thrown head first in the jazz world simply because you’re with a musician. She seemed interested, so that was a great sign for Noah. And me and Allyson too because we hardly ever see them women from the rest of the guys in the crew.

I think I got to a point where I could barely keep my eyes open, so Chris made me leave. I’m glad I listened to him because I’m no fun when I’m that tired.

Wednesday was my day off, and it takes a lot, a whole whole lot, to get me to leave the house on my day off. I do much better when I’m already out because of work or volunteering. But my friend Dericko, who I used to work with before he switched industries, invited me out.

I haven’t seen him in months, so of course I said yes. His company was having an event at Taproom 307, and there was a lot of beer to be had. I got there super late, as is my way, but I still had time to sit and have one great beer with him and his friends.

We caught up and had a lot of great laughs, then Dericko decided he had to head home because he had work in the morning. We decided to try and grab a quick bite before leaving.

One Google search later, we were at this place called Dos Caminos. This was not a quick bite, it was a full sit down restaurant. Didn’t mean to end up there at all, but I’m so glad we did. I’m not sure if that area counts at Gramercy Park or Flatiron District, but either way I would recommend it.The environment was perfect for a date or drinks out with friends.

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And the food was great. Freshly made guacamole anyone? My only complaint was the way they sliced their skirt steak. A few degrees in the wrong angle while slicing, and you take a perfectly tender bite and make it chewy. But everything was delicious, and it was great to get even more time to catch up with Dericko, and to get to know his new friend Liz.

The best thing to come out of the night was finding out that he moved into a new place. He said his place is large enough to accommodate all the people Chris and I have invited for Thanksgiving. Chris and I will probably take him up on that. We’re going to combine Friendsgiving with the McBride Thanksgiving for Traveling and Wayward Musicians.

Our tiny ass apartment was going to be really pushing it, but if his place is really big enough, that will take a big worry off my shoulders. I’ll probably still cook at home, where I’m familiar with the oven, but transporting the food over to his house shouldn’t be a problem.

Even though my DVR is busting at the seams, and I still haven’t unpacked from my visit to Chicago and St. Louis two weeks ago, I’d say it’s a fair trade off. I had a great time this past week.


Who Needs Sleep? I Do, But Whatever! Part 1

In the last week, I’ve gone out 4 times, and it should’ve been 6 if I hadn’t canceled at the last minute. For a person who’s kind of a homebody, it’s just so much!

I’ve been having a good time though, and if you follow me on Instagram, you know I’ve been to some cool spots.

Like I said, the world keeps turning, and against a backdrop of France trying to whoops ass at all the ISIS targets the apparently already knew about, bombings in Nigeria, and America fucking up by deciding not to let in refugees, I’ve still been living my life.

I don’t know how people who are so committed to these causes go through their days. Do they feel bad if they take time to go to a birthday party? Do they stop on Thursdays for TGIT? Do they every re-tweet a funny cat video?

I don’t know. Y’all know I’m struggling with feeling like I should be doing something more, saying something more. How do other personal bloggers just ignore this in their posts and only talk about their fun new recipe for peppermint pumpkin spice chai mocha martinis or whatever?

Talking about this stuff starts to give me existential angst, so I’m going to move on.

My week of not-staying-in-the-house-ness has resulted in two things that I know must frustrate Chris.

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I think he’s taken the if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em approach. On top of the unpacked travel bags is his saxophone case. I bug him constantly about not leaving it right by the front door, but clearly I’m not saying anything about it this week.

He’s going to New Orleans this weekend for his friend’s birthday, and him travelling is usually my cue to get the house together. Something about returning home to a wonderful clean house, I don’t know, ask my mother for the details of why that’s a great way to treat your husband. She’s been married for over 35 years, so I’m listening to her advice on this one.

But what have I been up to if not staying home and organizing my house? And what about those two days I didn’t go out? Well, I’m glad you asked.

Last Thursday was a music showcase by the bae of one of my favorite co-workers. It was at Manhattan Brew & Vine, which I’ve been trying to make my way to since it opened. I’m so mad I didn’t go. Everyone says it was so much fun, and the music was great. They went to Corner Social after to hang, which is always a good late night spot if you don’t care about not hearing anything except the music. So basically… double fail on my part.

Friday is when I was supposed to meet my friends who were visiting NYC in Times Square. Y’all already know how that turned out. We were supposed to go to this bar in Times Square I love called Havana Central. Instead they went to this hookah bar one of their Cali people recommended. I wish I could remember the name of it because I would put it on blast for their weak drinks.

Saturday was great though. My girl Sara came out with me to take these girls to Liberty Theater, and my promoter friend Jay Jay hooked us up. I love the look of this place because it really used to be a theater, so it still has the stage, tiered floor, and box seats. I don’t really do clubs like this very often, but I had a blast. We danced and drank and had a really good time. There are a ton of videos and photos because millennials. I think I can find a couple to show you. I wish I had one of Sara getting proposed too. That was a fun laugh when some random man decided he was in love with her and literally tried to give her  a ring.

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Sunday  night I was at Smoke Jazz & Supper Club. Our friends Willerm, Henry, and like 2 other people, were celebrating their birthdays. Willerm’s band was playing (including Chris), and he wanted a soul train line in the club after the set. He requested my presence there, so I took a nap after brunch-turned dinner.

About this brunch-turned-dinner. My friends who I took to Liberty Theater were supposed to meet us for brunch by our house in Brooklyn. By the time they woke up, got ready, checked out of their hotel, decided against the subway, took a Lyft, got through traffic, it was 4 hours and one restaurant later. That’s all I’ll say on that topic.

The gig Sunday night at Smoke was amazing, and these guys always sound good together. Chris was the “DJ,” playing songs on his iPhone through the speaker. We had the soul train line, including some confused but thoroughly entertained tourists, and all was right in the world. Then I took my butt home and got exactly 1 hour of sleep before getting up for work.

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Groid Collective 8 out of 12

Monday night, I stayed my sleepy self at home after work. My best friend David and I watch a lot of TV together even though he lives in St. Louis. We are on the phone watching the same episode at the same time. It’s a great way to spend time together because we both watch so much TV.

I was also trying to help with suggestions of what his family could do when they visit New York the Saturday after Thanksgiving. They’ll all be nearby visiting one of his sisters who just moved, so they’re coming in to the city for a day. I’m mostly excited for his dad, who’s never been here. Should be a good time next week.

This post is getting long, So I’m gonna stop here. I’ll post Part 2 tomorrow.


Heading to Times Square, After Some Prayer

I thought I’d have a funny story to tell for my first consistent blog post in months. My girl is in town with her cousin for her birthday. They’d never been to New York before, so she wanted to visit.

I know her  through some degrees of separation. My best friend joined a fraternity in college. Her husband is one of his line brothers. The first time we all hung out is when he brought a very pregnant her to their fraternity’s annual party called The Champagne Sip (don’t worry she didn’t drink).

We did have a laugh-filled night at The Waffle House though after the party. And they cemented themselves as the favorite couple I’d met through my best friend. Over the years, we’ve had some good times though we don’t see each other nearly often enough.

This couple now has three children, all of whom call my best friend godfather. There have been many gift-help-picking-out moments over the years, which always result in something fun & educational… and maybe noisy.

But I didn’t see my girl last night. She arrived to her hotel in Times Square yesterday and we planned to meet for drinks at my favorite bar in Times Square, Havana Central.

But then I started hearing about everything happening in Paris, every terrible detail as it arrived in a push notification to my phone from CNN.

I said a prayer for the people of Paris, and decided I wasn’t going out.

Since Chris and I moved to New York, I’ve been more aware of what it means when a major city gets attacked,

I know Chicago is a major city, so is L.A., and a few others. But when I worry about American cities, my first two thoughts go to D.C. and NYC.

Whenever there is a concern for the safety of major cities, my first thought is to stay in/immediately head to Brooklyn. Manhattan is where I spend a bunch of my time, but I live in Brooklyn.

I don’t know if I was overreacting, I just know that I live in New York now.

The world kept turning, people kept coming together in Paris to deal with a tragedy, and I went home last night.

At the time I’m posting this, ISIS has claimed responsibilities for the attacks in Paris last night, Belgium has already begun to make arrests, and Paris is still treating the over 300 people who got injured.

It’s hard to wrap my head around what’s happened, to just continue with a normal day knowing that so much has changed for so many people.

But I’m going to try because that’s what we do, right? We say a prayer, put something supportive on social media, donate some money to a fund, then… keep it moving.

It never seems like enough, but I don’t know what else to do. There’s power in prayer, I do know that.

I’m going to go see my friend today. In Times Square. They say it’s safe. I hope they’re right. I’m definitely going to pray some more before I go.


Remember That Time I Started Bloggging Again?

So, if you asked me on pretty much any given day, I’d swear that blogging was important to me. I think about it a lot. I’ve been working on the Grey’s Anatomy post, updating it for years. And I read so many blogs. So. Many. Blogs.

But I think actions speak louder than words. And my actions show I’ve posted nothing new here on my blog in months. So what do my actions say? They say blogging just isn’t a priority for me. I’d like it to be though.

Hell, I wish I could make time to blog every day. And those blog posts would be adorable and funny, but also intimate and deep, making the blogosphere flock to my every word. I’d turn that popularity into a platform for equality of the live-and-let-live vein. Then ABC would call, and of course, I’d happily appear on the next season of Dancing with the Stars.

But, none of that is likely to happen because I can’t manage more than 20 posts a year…

What it really comes down to is that sometimes stuff happens in life that I just don’t want to write about. Sometimes those things are major and take up all my brain, but it just doesn’t feel publicly discussable. So when that happens, instead of posting cat videos or posting about the other, less-super-important things in life, I just kinda disappear.

Never my intent, but what the hell is intent worth when the end result is the same?

I’m sitting next to my husband Chris, and he’s super shocked that I’m blogging. His exact words were, “holy shit! You still blog?!”

I think that says it all.

So after the most rambling introduction I could come up with, what am I to talk about?

I could talk about my grandfather dying. I could allude to work frustrations, avoiding HIPAA violations to tell funny co-worker stories. I could talk about Chris’s career in music and our crazy New York friends. I could talk about my friends who aren’t in New York and all the wonderful drama in their lives. I could talk about my obsession with TV. I could talk about finally having a fully livable, completely unpacked house (for the first time since Chris and I have lived together!).

Eh, I should probably figure out what this blog is going to be about these days. Having a focus is key. How else am I going to end up on Dancing with the Stars?

I could to about being a shopaholic in denial. I could talk about how domestic I am (three course meal, anyone?). I could talk about how painting my nails is totally my therapy, but it’s the one thing in life I never seem to get better at with more practice. I could talk about my hair (dreadlocks) or my tattoos (I’m up to 6 now). I could talk about my cats; they really have way too much personality. I could talk about my family and my fabulously retired parents.

Maybe I’ll talk about all of that. A lot of how I talk to my friends is just telling stories of things I think are interesting or things that matter to me. I don’t if you can tell that I’m just typing all of this as I’m thinking it, but I’ve decided just now that I’m going to treat this blog going forward as a way to tell my stories.

If something happens that I’d tell one of my friends in a story (assuming it doesn’t violate anyone else’s privacy), I’ll tell it here. Hopefully with pictures or memes to illustrate, because who wants just words?

And now for your viewing pleasure, a picture of my latest tattoo:

holly and mistletoe tattoo

This is holly & mistletoe, tied together artistically. It’s designed to match the ivy tattoo on my arm.

ivy tattoo

I love my tattoo guy. His name is BJ Storms and he works at Code of Conduct in Chicago. He can take my crazy clip art ideas and make something wonderful and artistic from it.

Now let’s all cross our fingers that I post literally anything else between now and the end of the year.


Tat-Tat-Tatted Up

If you follow me on Instagram, you know I got the tattoos. Let’s fill you in on the rest.

I still don’t have the armoire. I took the GMAT just in time to get my scores for the application deadline to an MBA program. And I still haven’t found time to paint those Adinkra symbols on the wall.

Back to the tattoos. I had plans to go with my mom to get it done when she picked me up from the airport. Then my flight was delayed. Then both parents came to get me.

My father was unaware I was planning on getting a tattoo that day. But they drove me to the shop and dropped me off. They had no interest in joining me inside. I was there for a little over an hour, having lost my spot due to the late plane. To get my tattoos took just upwards of 10 minutes total.

When I got back in the car, the first thing my parents did was draw my attention to a woman leaving the shop after me. She had lilac hair and was heavily tattooed. “Now she looks like someone that should be coming out of a tattoo shop. But my daughter?!

My father sounded as melodramatic yet judgy yet humorous as only a member of my immediate family could. I thanked them for taking me to the shop and we moved on with our day.

I really had a wonderful visit to Chicago. I spent time with my parents and almost all of my close friends in the city. I even got to see Chris’s parents, which was great.

My parents’ new house is fantastic. I can’t wait to go back next week. We’ll be there for just a few days. It’s Chris’s birthday and he’s doing a live recording at the Green Mill Jazz club for his second CD. I’m very excited because his music is so good!

He’s playing 2 nights there. Friday, July 10th & Saturday, July 11th, 9p-1a, three sets. Right now the plan is to play the songs he wants on the CD for the first and second sets of each night. That way he’ll end up with four recordings of each song.

While we’re there, the timing works out for me to celebrate my best friend’s birthday with her. And another good friend is moving away from Chicago, so I will be there for her going away party. And my parents are considering throwing a retirement/housewarming/birthday party. So there will be a lot happening.

Also, I’m planning on getting two more tattoos when I go, as long as my tattoo guy is available. One of them is going to be part of Chris’s birthday present. He recently told me that he wanted me to get his name tattooed somewhere. I had no idea that would be something I wanted, so I thought about it. After I explained there was no way I was ever going to do that, I told him that I could get a tattoo for him though.

My three tattoos are all symbols that reflect very deeply who I feel I am as a person. I wanted the tattoo I get for Chris to be a symbol with the same depth of meaning, but it also has to represent him, and his blackness, and his love, and who he is (musician, husband, friend, son, brother, etc.).

I think I came up with the perfect thing, but I won’t mention it yet because I want it to be a surprise to him. I can’t wait to show his what it is though!

The second tattoo is going to be an ivy vine wrapping around my left arm. This is another symbol that means the almost the same thing in every culture, like the olive branch, the wisdom knot, and the Libra scales. It’s for interconnectedness & fidelity. The plant itself will grow and wrap around everything, but even as its leave ascend a tree, it only uses the tree for an anchor to get closer to the sun, not robbing it of resources.

My tolerance for pain hasn’t increased any, but dealing with the pain of getting three tattoos on my bony fingers lets me know I can handle it.

Cross your fingers for me that my tattoo guy is available next week!


Going to Grad School Instead of Buying an Armoire

I talked a few posts ago about painting, or rather not painting, my home. I realized I forgot to mention that I had some some painting. Not room painting, but wall painting.

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That’s one of the walls in our bedroom. I took one of my 30th birthday gifts from Chris (the butterfly wall hanging), and combined it with a long bit of sheer curtain. Then I painted this little curlicues design and another butterfly on the wall. It was just a little project for me to do one day to have something on the wall. I did something similar in the living room, but with shelves.

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I thought it was a nice way to accent the portion of our walls that juts out from the rest of the length. I also have put all over our walls a ton of art & street art that we’ve acquired over the years with our travels. Hopefully at some point, I’ll remember to take pictures of it to share.

Occasionally, the mood strikes me to decorate or add to the home in some way. In lieu of purchasing the fancy expensive armoire of my dreams (with all its multitasking home organizing goodness), I add crap to the walls. This time that crap comes in the form of Adinkra symbols.

Around the same time I got the desire to decorate my house, I got the idea to decorate my body.

In case you missed that, I’m considering getting another tattoo. My best friend told me when she went with me to get it that I would want another one. At the time, I thought she was likely speaking from experience, but that experience wouldn’t apply to me.

The tattoo felt exactly to me like dragging a piece of broken glass across the top of my foot. Except on purpose instead of accidentally. And I have just realized I never told this story.

So, the plan was to get the tattoo on a visit to Chicago for my best friend’s 30th birthday. We did a good job of crossing lots of items off the bucket list that weekend. I was so nervous about the pain, but I was determined to go through with it.

It just so happened that right before this trip, I was chatting on the phone with one of my girlfriends, and I stepped on what I thought was a cookie crumb (stupid Chips Ahoy). I dragged the bottom of my right foot across the top of my left foot to brush the crumb away.

It was not a crumb.

It was a tiny piece of broken glass from one of the many times Chris or I have broken something in the house (we’re both so damn clumsy). And it hurt so bad. And this tiny little shallow ass cut wouldn’t stop bleeding.

After explaining to my friend that my blood curdling scream did not, in fact, mean I was dead, I grabbed alcohol and alternated between bitching up and properly cleaning my wound.

I still have that stupid scar. And I sweep the house more frequently now. Kind of. Mostly. I also use my hands to brush away suspicious debris.

After that debacle, I arrived to the tattoo parlor fearing a similar pain. Just like I have to explain to doctors and nurses and phlebotomists, I told the tattoo man that I needed to watch him do the tattoo. Looking away would only make it worse for me. He relented and started, even though I was barely breathing and leaning as far away from him as the length of my arm would allow.

When he started my tattoo, it obviously hurt like hell. I chose my bony finger right on the bone. But it didn’t hurt like I thought it would. I thought it would be some vague level of unbearable.

But instead, it was a more dragging-glass-accidentally-across-your-foot-but-on-purpose level. I was so thrilled in that moment to have a permanent scar to accompany my new tattoo. When my best friend’s boyfriend joked that I should be crying by now based on my punkitude up to this point, I was happy to give him the middle finger, then turn back to watch the World Cup Finals. Yeah, I was handling it at this point. Feeling so used to the glass-dragging feeling that I could enjoy some sports on the huge TV in the tattoo spot.

Even after all of that, and being quite sure that day that I’d never want another tattoo, it turns out she was right.

But I’m sticking with what I know. I’m getting 2 more tattoos, both on fingers, both on fingers I always wear rings on, both of symbols of who I am that I don’t think will ever change.

So now we come full circle back to the Adinkra symbols. I’ve loved them ever since I saw them in an African-American History Museum in college. Back then, I thought that’s what my first tattoo would be of.

Each symbol stands for so much, and ultimately I decided that what if my devotion to one particular symbol changed over time. I know some people use tattoos to tell stories of their life, with each one representing a different stage, but I’m not interested in that (as of now). I just want something I can look at in 30 years and still feel happy about it representing me.

Plus, my hands already look old, so I know what the tattoos will look like all raisin-y. I rolled around the idea of a few symbols, starting with what I was considering 12 years ago.

But size limitations, plus disagreements with the meanings of some of the symbols cut the list way down. I ultimately decided on:

image via adinkra.org

This symbol is called nyansapo. It means wisdom, intelligence, and a bunch of other wonderful things. I’ve had a gift of brainpower and discernment since a young age and pending any brain injuries or disease, it will be a part of who I am. It’s such an integral part of who I am that I was floored when I first met Chris and he thought of me as “the pretty girl” rather than “the smart girl”.

 

This symbol is the olive branch. It is a religious symbol for many Western religions that gained strength in the Mediterranean. It was one of Athena’s symbols in Greek mythology. It is a symbol of peace and victory, brides and bounty, God connecting people of different backgrounds (tree grafting in the book of Romans, one of my favorite books of the Bible), and God’s covenant with his people (Noah after the whole 40 days 40 nights flood). All around it’s pretty awesome.

The picture above is the simplest image I could find. I’m thinking of getting it tattooed around my finger, but there may still be size concerns. I may have to go back to the drawing board.

When I go to Chicago in 11 days (yes, I’m counting), I plan to get these two additional tattoos. I’m very glad the ticket prices were on point. I’m also considering dyeing my hair. My best friend just got a new apartment, and it would feel so throwback to go there and do my hair. We spent many a Thursday night during college doing each other’s hair.

Personal changes aside, let’s get back to the paint I’m going to add to the walls of our home. So many of the symbols have such a wonderful meaning, that I would love to see them on our walls, hand painted as representations of the guiding principles of our marriage and adult life.

Symbols like odo nnyew fie kwan, which translates to love never loses its way home. Seeing as how we both travel so much (and travel separately), I love this one for right above our home’s entrance.

And there’s akoma ntoso, which mans understanding and agreement. That one should be in every room of the house so I can look at it and stay on task when we’re having one of our many heart-to-hearts.

I also like nsaa, which represent excellence, genuineness, and authenticity. I think that’s perfect for the music room. Having that energy when Chris is in there working sounds good to me.

There are so many others, but I’m going to run them by Chris before picking up the paint brush. I want to make sure they represent what we want, not just what I want.

I’m not sure what’s causing all of this “I simply must be me!!” that’s taking over me these days, but I’m gong with it. I’m having fun with this inching closer and closer to the person I’m supposed to be.

I was always just me, without a lot of expression of me. I spent a lot of time doing things, thinking about doing things, and thinking about what I thought about the things I did. I planned, I remembered, and I thought about those plans and memories. But putting real time into just answering “who am I?” is new.

I’m finally becoming a true millennial, I guess. I’m feeling moderately narcissistic, feeling the need to try to make the world pay attention to my self-expression. Maybe that’s not accurate, I don’t know. I just know that instead of thinking too much about it, I’m trying to focus on how good I feel.

Feeling good like this makes me want to plan for the future. I’m putting myself on a plan to get out from under my student loans in 10 years. This answers the question of whether I’m staying at this job. The answer is yes. And it answers the question of whether I’m going to grad school, and so now I’m hitting the ground running to try and get my crap together to make the application deadline.

That may adjust the timeline on us buying a place in the near-ish future. Hopefully it doesn’t, but we shall see.

Weird how I can all of this just from trying avoid spending $500 on an armoire, isn’t it?


I Won’t Paint My Home, But Can I Paint Yours?

I can’t even say why, but I really love talking about the weather y’all. It’s finally over 60 degrees in New York now. And that makes me very happy. And the forecast is holding. It’s not supposed to go any lower than 38 for the next 10 days.

You know it’s been a brutal winter when you’re happy for a low of 38 in April.

In celebration of Spring, there will be pastel nail polish, there will be spring cleaning, and there might be packing away winter clothes.

Now that I live in NYC, and there are pretty distinct seasons, I feel like I should put away the sweaters and heavy boots until November. But now that I live in NYC, I don’t have any freaking room for extra storage. I know, I know, first world problems.

But I really want to put away the clothes. I want to put some lavender potpourri in with the clothes so they smell good when unearthed in 6-7 months. And I would love being a size too small to fit some of the clothes at that time.

A girl can dream.

Pinterest isn’t helping. I dream of amazing storage solutions and a multi-tasking armoire, and basically just other ways to spend up all the money. Thank God I married a man who likes to save.

It’s nice to add things to my apartment to make it feel more at home. Brooklyn still doesn’t feel like home to me, but that apartment is feeling more like home.

We’ve been in the apartment since July 2013, which is quite a while for me. So. Much. Moving.

In all that time, it always felt like this super temporary place, and even unpacking the suitcases seems extra. But everything changed when my parents came to visit.

My mother and father came for New Year’s, and it was amazing. We didn’t really even do much of anything. But on New Year’s Eve, it was perfect. I came home from work, my dad made steaks, we popped some champagne.

We watched the New Year’s Eve programming on ABC, flipping back and forth between that and a Law & Order marathon. At one point my mother fell asleep, and then Belle took a nap of her head. My dad and I were the only ones awake in the house, just bantering back and forth about whatever was on the screen, and I’m pretty sure we went through almost 3 full bottles of champagne.

It was like someone picked out my favorite New Year’s Eve moments from the last 30 years and smushed them all into one evening. Having that time, just on the couch with my parents, finally made that apartment feel like home.

Since their visit, I’ve been doing more decorating and organizing. Knowing our 3-ish year plan, it just makes sense. Why feel temporary in a place for 3 years if you don’t have to?

But there are certain things I just can’t bring myself to do until I’m in my permanent home. I won’t paint the rooms any color. I won’t get any more custom shelves made. I won’t buy curtains that cost more than $25. And I’m not buying my dream couch.

Something like this is what I’d love. To be able to lay down in front of the TV also facing the TV… that’s the dream…

It would suck so bad to have this amazing couch and then have to get rid of it because it doesn’t fit in a new place. Ditto for those custom-made shelving solutions I’ve seen at the Container Store. And on Instagram. And Pinterest.

Pinterest really isn’t helping.

I take it as a sign of growing up that I’m having this desire to set up a more permanent home. That, and I watch a lot of HGTV. I would be falling over myself to get on one of those shows if they filmed in New York.

I would love to go on Property Brothers. If not them, then Fixer Upper. Worst case scenario, I’d buy a crap place with a lot of space, then go on Love It or List It. But none of these shows are in New York. Why?! It’s just not fair.

In the mean time, I’m living vicariously through my parents. They just bought a new house. I’m trying to work out my schedule so I can go visit and see it in person sooner rather than later. I am not painting my apartment, but I can certainly paint in their new place.

Yes, a bit of a nesting fix is exactly what I need.

I’m off to check ticket prices on expedia.com.


You Are All Mini Cupcakes to Me

Twenty-six days since my last post. As horrible as that sounds, it is an improvement over the months between the last two posts. Sometimes life is like that, you know?

I checked the weather forecast today, and for the first in months (months!), the forecast says it will not drop below freezing again. Ever again. Well, at least not for the next 10 days. God willing, it will stay above freezing all day every day for the next 7 1/2 months. Fingers crossed New Yorkers.

Checking the weather made me feel hopeful. It’s funny how my outlook on life can be tied to the weather. Not my mood necessarily, but how optimistic and productive I’ll be in a given day.

Even though it was super cold on my walk to work from the subway, I felt happy. I knew it was the last 24 degree morning I’d have to walk through for a long time, so I was feeling full of energy.

Consequently, I had a very productive day at work. I’m talking a cross-everything-off-your-to-do-list, come-up-with-new-tasks-cause-you’re-in-the-mood level of productiveness.

And not feeling completely drained from the combination of “work and not completing said work” has led me to writing this post.

I want to talk about shopping. I gave up shopping for Lent. Shopping and carbs.

Shit, it’s been hard. I may or may not have fallen off the wagon a couple of times. For carbs, falling off the wagon includes eating 4 french fries or sweet potatoe fries or a bowl of cereal here or there. Otherwise, I keep my carb intake to less than 15g per serving.

It’s really impressive that I haven’t made myself a big batch of mashed potatoes. I miss potatoes. And breadsticks. And cake.

For shopping, falling off the wagon looks like this:

While I’m still trying to figure out my own home-made shampoo, Carol’s daughter has some amazing new products I’m trying, even though I should’ve waited until after Easter.

And also like this:

This is my current “everyday” bag for the beginning of Spring. Technically neutral, so cute, holds everything I need. Now I definitely should NOT have bought it, but I love it so.

And… also like this:

This I bought the day I bought all those Carol’s Daughter products… I needed something to carry them home in! When I was at the airport, everyone that looked remotely my age was carrying these super stylish and fun backpacks, so I joined the trend. I have nothing to say for myself.

But other those lovely finds, I only purchased what was pre-ordered (meaning, I never had to click “checkout”), and food, which was allowed, as long as it didn’t have carbs.

Most of my favorite places to eat have very little carb-free options. Everything is fried or in sandwich form or served over pasts. I miss sandwiches. The willpower it took to avoid Potbelly’s during lunch one day is what led to the pink bag pictured above. It was either that or walking to Penn Station to buy a Cinnabon.

I miss Cinnabon. I haven’t had one in literally years. But still…

I’ve been coping with what I gave up for Lent by living vicariously through others. When I went to Indianapolis to visit my friend who just had a baby, we went grocery shopping, bought the baby a dress, and had her take pictures with the Easter bunny. That was good money spending, it scratched the itch a bit, you know?

She looks like a doll. A little doll nestled in an Easter basket. Her daddy picked that dress for, and he did well, if I do say so myself.

She looks like a doll. A little doll nestled in an Easter basket. Her daddy picked that dress for her, and he did well, if I do say so myself.

When it comes to carbs, I’ve gotten quite creative. I’ve been eating meals that are basically exactly what I’d eat if I turned vegetarian, mixed with a whole bunch of meat.

For example, I made a dish with quinoa, black beans, red onion, olive oil, lemon juice, white wine vinegar, basil, and sauteed kale. It was a hearty, delicious, low-carb dish. It was still low carb because I only had a 1/3 cup cooked quinoa in one serving of it.

But because I’m me, I added bacon to it and ate it alongside siracha, worchester & white balsamic glazed chicken wings. I’d be such a good vegetarian, but I don’t wanna, and you can’t make me.

And another way I cope with carbs is to imagine those around me as carbs. Like in a cartoon where the hungry character imagines their friend as a turkey leg.

I’ve been imagining my co-workers as all sorts of things. They get a kick out of me figuring out what each person is. I have a buttermilk biscuit, a single breadstick from Olive Garden, fried zucchini, a blondie, fettuccine alfredo, and squid ink gnocchi just to name a few. Drool.

And those of you who are reading this, in my mind you are all mini cupcakes.

This image comes from

This image comes from The Cupcake Blog. If you  bake, seriously check out this blog.

Perhaps you are 24 assorted flavors, like you get in the grocery store, but a good grocery store. Like Publix. With whipped cream frosting and no artificial colors.

I miss Publix. They’re down in Florida and they made the best sweet tea. And fresh hoagie rolls. And breaded chicken tenders. And store-brand cookies. Simply the best.

Okay. Moving on. Staying strong.

There are benefits to all of this deprivation. Saving money is nice. And not gaining weight is also nice.

I’d like to switch from “not gaining” to “actually losing”. I have a plan for that. I’m back down to only the one job because working 14 out of every 15 days was B-A-N-A-N-A-S. After a few days off with absolutely nothing, I’m planning on taking my ass back to yoga.

Even though my bike was stolen, I’m thinking I’ll just walk there because driving then finding parking is ridiculous.

Which brings me back to the weather. It’s feeling so spring-ish that I feel like walking 20+ minutes to my yoga studio.

Or maybe I’ll take the money I’ve saved the last 5 weeks and buy myself another bike next Sunday.

This is the best part of spring. Feeling like the possibilities are endless is one of my favorite ways to feel.

Potential is my drug.

I’m off to do bit of window shopping. Cupcakes and bicycles.


Don’t Even Ask How Busy I’ve Been

I haven’t posted in a very long time. It’s because I’ve been busy. There’s just so much happening in my life right now, most of it fantastic, that it’s hard to find the time to get to a computer, organize my thoughts, make them somewhat readable, and get them posted.

Let’s just take it one post at a time as see if I can manage to turn myself back into something of a blogger.

So here’s what I’ve been up to.

I work a lot now, like all the time. I basically have every other Sunday off. but it works out because it’s for a good reason. With the work, plus tuition reimbursement at my job, I’m hoping I can pay for grad school outright and now have to take out any additional loans. The loans from med school are killing me.

The other thing that’s taken up a lot of my time is planning. The husband and I have a plan. It’s a three-ish year plan and it goes a little something like this:

2015-I start grad school, he does a live recording for his second album, we start saving like we’re serious. 2016-he finishes grad school, we put out his second album. 2017- not much happens except more saving, some investing, and more school for me. 2018- I finish grad school, hopefully move up in management, we buy a home.

These are big plans that require a lot of things to go right, but it’s a great plan. If we get all of this done, we’ll have pretty much everything we thought we’d want for ourselves by age 35.

You may notice I didn’t mention children. I’ll put it this way, neither of us have said we’re ready or interested in having kids now. If we change our minds, they’ll fit their way into the plan. If not, well… we’re not not trying, so we’ll see.

In the mean time, we’ve been dealing with birthdays, turning 30 and all that. When the husband and I turned 30 last year, things went well and our people did good for us. So we want to make sure we do the same. I’m not saying any more than that for now.

In my free time, I’ve been hanging out in Harlem, which is crazy because I do not love Harlem. But a friend of mine invited me out to this poetry set (which I also do not love), and I’ve been hooked ever since.

I’m all for cultural integration and all of that, but I have to admit, it’s nice to go to Harlem and spend time somewhere where it’s almost nothing but people who look, talk, and act like me. The fact that it’s erotic poetry almost makes it more bearable. Sometimes, I even imagine contributing, but I just can’t do poetry. It’s so not my thing anymore. Maybe a short story? Eh, we’ll see. I’m not the type to seek out spousal approval, but I feel like this might need to go through the proper channels first.

Other than the poetry set, I’ll have dinner or grab a drink or go to see some live music with friends. For a while, I didn’t think I’d make any real friends here in New York. But I’m glad I was wrong. I’ve met some of the most amazing people, who are doing the most amazing things with their lives.

I’ve met musicians, of course, and they are killing. So many talented folks. I just need to have a scene for me in the movie they make about one of these people’s lives one day. Hopefully that scene will be me making dinner for the guys in the Groid Collective or the guys in SkipTone. Or one of our crazy house parties.

My other friends are all interesting too. There’s an actor, a lady who works for a law firm and manages a band at night, a lady who does framing professionally for galleries and museums and is an artist at night, a guy who works exclusively with craft microbrewery beer, a chef, and a couple of entrepreneurs. They’re work stories are just so fascinating. And don’t even get me started on their backgrounds like where their from, what they’re families are like, etc.

I have made it super official that I’m a New Yorker now. I finally went and got my driver’s license switched over. I love the picture, and it was less painless than I thought it would be. Life is a lot easier if you have a passport. The worst part was waiting for them to mail my ID to me. In Illinois, you just sit in a plastic chair for 15 minutes while they make it for you.

But this is not Illinois. Terrible, awful, worst-I’ve-ever-encountered customer service aside, there’s no place better than New York.

Okay, one post down, let’s see if I can manage to write anything else at all this month. Wish me luck!


So About This Bucket List

I mentioned this bucket list about a year ago. My friends and I had grand plans to get all this cool stuff done before our 30th birthdays. Well, I’m happy to report I got most of it done. I did a post about the first things I did, but now I’m just going to do a round-up of everything.

That’s what happens when you miss 100+ days of blogging. You gotta summarize.

Just to remind you, my best friend and I made a list of different categories. Each of us then had to choose something within that category and attempt to complete it by our 30th birthdays (give or take as everyone didn’t have a full year to make it happen).

Let’s just say that out of the 10 or so people who liked the idea, not many people actually worked on crossing items off their list.

But a few of us really tried. My best friend did the most, she even completed her task of skydviving! Her mom, who is amazing, scheduled it and went with her.

This is what I came up with when we first settled on the idea. The left column holds the categories, and the right column are my chosen activities. Each thing I chose had to be approved by someone else doing the bucket list.

“All the kids are doing it” Watch one whole season of Bad Girls Club
Culinary Exploration Find soy/tofu dish to love
Dating Five unique dates with husband
Free Spirit Table-top dance at bar
Friendships Make 2 new NYC friendships
Hobby/Lessons Horseback riding lessons
Physical Appearance Tattoo
Thrill-Seeking Activity Bungee Jumping
Unconventional Travel Backpacking train ride to ME B&B
Wildcard

I did make some changes over the year. Since I didn’t choose a wildcard, I decided to use my nose piercing to count as that one. It felt quite wild and spontaneous when I did it, plus it was something I ordinarily wouldn’t have done. I decided on a whim to get it done while a friend was visiting from out of town.

I also changed the hobby. I changed from horseback riding lessons to Wine School. Following along with the New York Times’s Eric Asimov and learning a lot about an existing passion (wine), made sense for a good replacement because I simply didn’t have the funds or time to pursue horseback riding right now.

That being said, here’s how I did on the updated categories:

Category Activity Completion
“All the kids are doing it” Watch one whole season of Bad Girls Club Binge watched all of Season 11. The girls were in Miami. I didn’t enjoy it. At least I confirmed for myself that I really don’t like that type of reality show. ANTM and DWTS, plus a smidge of Chopped and Iron Chef is all I need.
Culinary Exploration Find soy/tofu dish to love Tofu just wasn’t gonna happen. I really tried. But a great suggestion from an online friend led me to chocolate soy milk. I genuinely enjoyed it and it’s currently the only store bought chocolate milk I like to drink.
Dating Five unique dates with husband I had so many rules for this one, I was setup for failure! The date couldn’t include one of Chris’s gigs, couldn’t be a group date, and couldn’t happen at home. We only did one date that was outside of those three categories. Life gets busy and all that… Major Fail.
Free Spirit Table-top dance at bar This one I did. When some friends came to town to celebrate a med school graduation, I went out with them. We danced all night, and some of my dancing included a table top at a bar. Good times.
Friendships Make 2 new NYC friendships Done and done. I’ve made more than 2 friends. I think if I’m being honest, there are 3 total friendships I made that I would continue to pursue even if I (or they) moved away from NYC tomorrow. I had such a hard time making friends when I first moved here, so I’m glad this one worked out.
Hobby/Lessons Wine School I’m months behind, but I’ve done every month up until July. And I have all the bottle up until November, just waiting to try them. This counts as a win for me!
Physical Appearance Tattoo I got the tattoo. I watched the World Cup final, literally watching the second tick away. Probably the tiniest tattoo ever, but I love it so much!
Thrill-Seeking Activity Bungee Jumping Nope. Didn’t even schedule it. Still a punk. I need to get my life.
Unconventional Travel Backpacking train ride to ME B&B Nope. I even took off a weekend from work to make it happen. But travel costs, and pricing, and trying to find the perfect place on airbnb. Excuses, excuses.
Wildcard Pierce Something Other Than your Ears Yes sir! Because I kinda rolled this one in at the end, it counts! I got my nose pierced. It’s almost healed, and I’m currently shopping for a great nose ring.
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This is my favorite new friend here. Corey is a musician, he plays trombone, and he’s amazing!

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These are a good number of my NYC friends and co-workers. This is the surprise 30th birthday party Chris threw me.

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This is the almost-finished glass of chocolate soy milk when I first tried it. Trader Joe’s is the only brand I’ve tried. It’s so yummy!

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The is the best shot I have of me dancing on a table top. There were about 4 of us crammed onto this not very strong table, but we made it work. The girl was shocked that I wanted pictures, which is why she’s making that face. Too bad the random stranger I enlisted to take the photo wasn’t a better cameraman.

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Me right after my nose ring piercing. Hopefully you can see it well. I didn’t get great shots of it that night. Too much darkness, too much alcohol.

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And the tattoo, last but not least. Libra scales on my ring finger. Love it so much!

 

So I didn’t finish them all, but 7 out of 10 ain’t bad.

There’s good news here. My friend and I decided to extend the list until the end of the year. I don’t know that I’ll get to Maine, but I can at least try to finish the dates with Chris and maybe, maybe, think about possibly looking into the chance of seeking out a schedule for bungee jumping.

At that point, I’ll have 9 out of 10. Not all accomplished by my 30th birthday, but damn close.

We were also talking about doing this again next year. Fewer categories of course. We were just far too ambitious this time around.

We haven’t decided on the categories yet, but they will definitely have the same intention of pushing us outside of our comfort levels.

The only category we’ve decided on so far is “Creative Project”. That’s a working title for now. But the idea is to take something we like to do, and to commit to taking it to the next level creatively.

For me that would be continuing with the video posts. I’ve made more test videos, but I don’t like them enough to post them. I need to just get over myself and go with it. I don’t really have issues with avoiding attention or anything like that. But I do have some hesitancy when it comes to public attention, especially seeking out public attention. But I’m trying to get over that, and I think the video blogs will help.

I had some other ideas for other categories. I was thinking something like “Grown-Up Skill Building”. The idea of this category is to learn something that a fully functioning adult should know, but perhaps you don’t. For me, that might be learning to change my own oil or something. It’s not a very exciting category, so it probably won’t make the cut.

Another idea was to try on someone else’s hobby. I don’t have a title for that yet, but it would be something like picking an interesting friend, finding out their favorite hobby, and then trying it out with them or alone.

And one more is to focus on health/fitness. Really pushing ourselves into something fitness-related that’s outside our normal bounds. For me that might be like committing to do some sort of workout 5 days a week. For my friend, maybe training for a bike marathon maybe?

These are all just ideas. We have another month and a half to sort it out. But I’m loving this bucket list idea because it gives you focus for the year. Having specific fun-or-self-improving-or-meaningful goals gives you a sense of purpose. At least it feels that way to me.

Wish me luck on getting those dates planned an executed. Did I mention Chris is heading to Poland in two days? The life of a musician’s wife.


May’s Wine School: Sancerre

Hey y’all!

I know I’m extra late here, but due to being super busy and having such a difficult time even finding the recommended wine for Wine School, I didn’t even try the May wine until the middle of August.

And I took 100+ days off from blogging, but I’m finally posting this now.

Instead of going to all these different local wine shops (because who has time for that?), I just used Google shopping and finally found the exact bottle I wanted from a wine shop in California.

Eric Asimov chose some pretty hard to find wines. May came and went and I still couldn’t find the wine in New York, you know, cause I looked so hard. So I was back to the store in California.

Here’s the catch, the store doesn’t ship to New York State or Illinois. But luckily, my best friend lives in St. Louis, and they do ship to Missouri. I called him and begged him to let me send the wine to him. He agreed because he’s the best.

All he had to do was ship it to me once it arrived. By this time, it was mid-June. My friend who works for UPS gave me advice on the best way to get this bottle to New York from Missouri. It involves a bit of don’t ask, don’t tell of the is-this-alcohol-let’s-not-discuss-it variety. Suffice it to say, it didn’t go as planned.

Luckily, my friend came to visit NYC in August. He packed my wine in his suitcase and hand-delivered the bottles. Yes, I said bottles.

 

Sancerre and June's bottle of Riesling

Sancerre and June’s bottle of Riesling

I went through all of this just to try this wine, but it makes for a good story I guess. The silver lining is that they also had June’s wine: Riesling, which is pictured above with the Sancerre. Don’t even get me started on how much I love Riesling, and how I’ve been moving toward drier Rieslings recently anyway, which is exactly the type chosen for Wine School.

Even better than the hand delivered wine was the fun weekend my best friend and I had while he was here. We took what had to be our 37th selfie, and I feel like I’m getting pretty good at taking them.

I usually start with cutting my face out. But I get it right on the 2nd or 3rd try.

I usually start with cutting my face out. But I get it right on the 2nd or 3rd try.

So how did I feel about Sancerre? Well… ever since I began my love affair with Bordeaux, I haven’t loved white wine nearly as much as I used to. But the wine wasn’t bad. it’s made from sauvignon blanc grapes, but apparently it’s different from sauvignon blanc wine.

We were encouraged to respond emotionally to the wine rather than “hyper-rational”, so that’s what I tried to do. In hindsight, I don’t remember loving the wine and I wasn’t fantasizing about what meals go great with it. But I liked it.

The taste of it reminded me of mud pies. Well, not mud pies exactly. Did you ever make a mud pie as a child? I did, but not out of mud. My “mud pies” were made from sand in the sandbox at the park near my childhood best friend’s apartment. I may or may not have taken a bite just to see how powerful my imagination was. My imagination was not powerful enough to make a sandy mud pie taste like anything but sandbox.

Moving on.

I did check a couple of times to see if there was sand in the bottom of my glass, like maybe some micro pieces of the cork got in somehow. Something about Sancerre reminded me of that time in my childhood.

I ended up drinking the Sancerre along with a pretty interesting meal. I had a friend over for a girl’s night in dinner. I made homemade shrimp alfredo with spinach fettuccine, roasted zucchini, roasted yellow squash, roasted asparagus, collard greens and roasted chicken. I love salads, but when it’s time to cook for a guest, no light meals. I refuse.

Don't let all the veggies fool you. This was not a light meal!

Don’t let all the veggies fool you. This was not a light meal!

While I’m thinking about emotional responses to the wine, I remember feeling peppy. It wasn’t a long lingering bubble bath kind of wine. It was a 90s pop music sing-a-long kind of wine. On top of a flavorful meal, the wine combatted the feelings of wanting to curl into a sleepy little ball. We watched The First Wives Club while we ate, and I feel like Sancerre made me just a touch wittier with my talking during the movie commentary.

Overall, I didn’t love it enough to put the wine in the regular rotation. But I would probably jump at the opportunity to enjoy a wine flight at a bar or restaurant that included Sancerre.

Image via Amazon

 

Obviously, I’m super far behind, but I’ll try and catch up to November. Here are the upcoming wines.
June: Riesling
July: Zinfandel
August: Chablis
September: Chianti
October: Champagne
November: Rioja

It’s like he knew my birthday month is October and wanted to celebrate!

I’ve already tried June’s wine, I just have to post what I wrote about it. After that I have five more. Five new wine choices in just a few weeks is my goal. Wish me luck to actually find those selections though!


Yet Another Hiatus, But I’m Back

Well hello everyone! I’ve been MIA for much longer than I thought. It’s been over 100 days.

In my mind, you all missed me terribly and were close to sending police to my last known residence. But then I remembered that my Twitter feed shows up on my blog, so you all knew I was alive. And also, you have your own interesting lives, so who cares why I’ve been gone.

I have done an abysmal job with blogging in general, but I’ll shortly catch up, so look for new comments on posts from 75 days ago!

So what’s going on with me?

I’m still in New York, obviously, because I’m never leaving this city, except for maybe Paris, á la Carrie Bradshaw.

I still work in organ and tissue donation, which is still an amazing job. I’m soon moving to working during the day instead of the evening. And I’ll be working longer hours, but less days. You know what that means, more time for bloggng!

Speaking of donation, we have a new ad campaign for organ donation in New York, and you should check it out, if I can figure out how to add it to this post or my blog.

Long Live New York

That link is gong to have to do because I can’t yet figure out how to add the video itself from my phone.

This phone though! If any phone (or phablet) can do it, it’d be this one. I just got the new Samsung Galaxy Note 4 last week. This phone is freaking amazing!

Back to New York. This city is wonderful, and each season brings a special kind of wonderful. Fall is killing it right now. Sweaters and boots, but still warm enough to not need a coat. This type of weather only lasted for 10 days each year in Chicago, so I’m winning right now.

Speaking of which, can anyone recommend a great cobbler? NYC is hard on shoes, there’s just so much walking. Shoes that I’ve had for years couldn’t last through 5 seasons here. It’s really very sad. And I get now why people spend so much money on shoes. I bet it is a lot easier to repair a well made $300 pair of shoes that to constantly replace $40 shoes.

And hats! I need to step my hat game up. I have a business card for a shop that makes hats in different sizes, which I now need because I have a bigger head circumference with the locs.

I have already bought one hat from this great consignment shop in Soho, but it’s a tight fit. I love it so much though, it may be my go to hat once it gets (and stays) cold.

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Gray hat made by grace designs, purchased at Greene Street Consignment, gray gloves from Target, and my long-sleeved HRC t-shirt Chris bought me for our anniversary

Speaking of which, I’ve made some changes physically! I almost forgot. Okay, I got a tiny tattoo in July during the World Cup finals. I dyed my hair a kinda-bright-but-not-really red color in August. And I got a nose ring when a friend from college came to visit in September.

Plus I turned 30 October 11th.

I should show pictures of all of this, no?

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It's the Libra scales. The one thing I could think of that I know for sure will still be me when I am 60.

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A quick rear-cam selfie to show the hair and the nose ring.

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My surprise party at Reunion surf bar. It was 8 days after my birthday, which was spent in Houston at a wedding.

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Not a bad way to spend a birthday, plus I was there with my best friend.

Okay, so let’s see how good of a job I do sticking around this time. If you want to see me on social media away from the blog, my Twitter is ChicagoGirlinNy,and my Instagram is chicagostylegirl.

I’ve been on Instagram for about a week, and I love it. Aside from the rampant narcissism, I enjoy the picture views into people’s lives and thoughts. But if I didn’t appreciate the self-focus, I wouldn’t blog, right?

I’ve been considering doing vlog posts in addition to or in place of regular blog posts. Any interest in that?


On Becoming Even More Of A New Yorker

In some ways, I am feeling like such a New Yorker these days. I’ve talked before about embracing the city, but I’ve gone even a step farther. There are things I would never do before as a Chicagoan that are totally second nature now as a New Yorker.

The first example is that we finally bit the bullet and we now pay someone to wash our clothes. I’ve written before about how I can’t seem to wash clothes with any regularity, but now the problem is solved. Easy takes our clothes to the laundromat once a week or so. They weigh the clothes, then they wash them for us and we pick them up the next day.

When I told my mom how we’re doing this now, she told me that laudromats in Chicago used to offer the same service. It must’ve been way back in the day because I’ve never seen it advertised on any laudromat except in rich neighborhoods. When I first moved here and people talked about sending their clothes out to the laundry, I thought it was crazy. Such a wasted expense, and also, really, you can’t wash your own damn clothes? Is that really something one should outsource?

But every freaking laundromat here offers it. When I would go to the laundromat to wash my clothes, I would see the woman who works there washing other people’s clothes. She took such good care of the clothes and she was so quick. It takes me hours to wash my clothes, but she was on it! Has those clothes washed, dried, and folded in the time it would take me to run the dryer a second time.

And the cost is much lower than I expected. It comes out to the same price of what we paid to wash our own clothes plus around $2/hour to pay the lady for her labor. Because of the convenience, I’ve made peace with what feels like an unecessary indulgence. It’s totally worth it.

The second example is my increased use of taxis. I used to think it was such a waste of money unless I had someone visiting from out of town. I still don’t use them all the time. But if I’m in Midtown and I need to get to the Lower East Side, I’ll just hop in a cab. There’s a perfectly good bus and/or subway route that will get me to my destination, but I still take the $8 taxi.

I can’t even explain why, except to go back to the convenience factor. It’s nice to know that at 12:30 in the morning. I can get across town in 10 min for $8 versus in 60 minutes for $2.50.

And then there are the bagels. I have become such a bagel snob. I’m also a pastrami slob. And a pickle snob. And a pizza snob.

Let me stop right there. Chicago-style pizza is stil the best, by far. There is no comparison.

But when it comes to New York style pizza and bagels and pickles and pastrami, there are very specific ways you should order it and consume it. Anything less would be uncivilized, ha ha.

And the last way that I’m becoming more of a New Yorker is how I’m drawn to random crowds of people or lines or sights. On my earlier visits here, I was confused as to why these people would form these seemingly random lines. It was never clear what they were lining up for. Sometimes it was a Megabus. Sometimes it was a party, and sometimes I could never quite figure it out.

But now those lines appeal to me. They seem less weird, they just seem interesting. I wonder if they’re going to a special screening and I make a mental note to try to get involved for next time.

Being from Chicago, my natural instinct is to avoid crowds because I’ve found they’re not paying attention to anything particularly interesting. And also in Chicago, when there are crowds gathered, the chances of someone getting shot really goes up.

But now that I’m a New Yorker, a crowd means there’s likely an interesting street performer in the center. Or news about come cool event. Or free stuff. Or who knows. But it’s almost always cool.

Last weekend, shortly after I left the soup kitchen, I was walking around The Village. This cafe has an HD TV setup outside showing the soccer games live. They setup benches and it was just open to whoever wanted to sit and watch.

No one was concerned about the TV getting stolen. No one was upset about that part of the sidewalk being less useable. People were just gathering naturally to this thing that never existed before last week, like an popup outdoor sports bar.

I would not be surprised to find that the concept of the popup party, the popup anything really, came from New York City.

There are always museums and restaurants and live events to attend in NYC. But I’m starting to learn that embracing the city means more than spending all of my income on event tickets. Sometimes, it’s just stopping to watch a few minutes of a soccer game with random neighbors outside of a random cafe.

Because that’s what we New Yorkers do.


On Getting Ready For Birthdays

Not sure if I’ve mentioned it enough, but I’m turning 30 this year! I’m super excited about it. I honestly don’t know why exactly, but I just am!

I love my birthday more than most people I know. The fact that I have a handful of friends with birthdays around mine adds to it because we celebrate together every couple of years or so. I think for this 30th birthday, it’s going to be all about me though.

But I’m not the only one turning 30 this year. I’ve mentioned before that a group of us have this 30th birthday bucket list. I’m enjoying crossing items off of mine. I can’t wait to talk about what I’m doing to alter my physical appearance in ode to my 20s. And my friends have been doing some interesting things for their buckets lists as well.

Not everyone doing this bucket list is a close friend of mine, but a couple of them are. In fact, one of my best friends is the one who had the idea for the bucket list. And it just so happens her birthday is one of the first up for my people who are turning 30 this year.

The absolute first of my people who are turning 30 has a birthday next Thursday. He’s so excited about his birthday, and he should be. He has a lot to celebrate this year. He just graduated Harvard Medical School and he got the residency of his choice in Dermatology.

Up next is Easy. His birthday is July7th. Easy is my husband for those of you who missed the post where I said he wanted me to go back to using the nickname I gave him on my old blog when we first started dating.

Anyway, Easy turns 30 in a few weeks and he’s excited too. We don’t really have the funds for me to do something super extravagant for his birthday, but I didn’t let that stop me. I’ve been having so much fun getting ready for his birthday.

I’m doing something I’m going to call Gifting Mondays. It’s a crappy title, but it requires no explanation at least. Starting last Monday, and going for every Monday until his birthday (which falls on a Monday), I’m getting him an awesome you’re-a-grown-up-now gift. It’s been so much fun getting these gifts for him. I think I purchased the first one back in March and just hit it at work for a few months.

Last week, I got him and iPad mini. If you about the Apple products, you know this is a pretty cool gift. I got him a bluetooth keyboard to go with it. I think it could be a functional and fun gifor him because most everything he would do on the laptop, he can also do on the iPad Mini.

This week, I got him a flask. It’s a pretty nice flask, if I do say so myself. We have *cough* like four flasks already at our house. We usually use them as to go cups whenever someone leaves one of our parties early. And because our people are awesome, they return them. The flasks I bought are super girly, so they never get given out; we usually give away one of Chris’s. I really wanted to get him a flask that would be all his.

Things Remembered is a great store for personalized booze-y gifts if you didn’t already know. I would link you to the page with the one I bought him, but it doesn’t apear to be on sale on their website anymore. But I did find a picture online from QVC. I want to show you because it’s so cool looking to me.

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I got it engraved with his initials to look like a nice monogram on the front. On the back I have a simple quote. It says: Best. Day. Ever.

I’m not going to discuss what’s coming next week because Easy reads this blog, so no spoiler alerts!

After Easy’s birthday is one of my best friend’s birthdays. Hers is actually one day apart from his. I love celebrating her birthday with her because we always have a good time. Also, it’s important to me to make her birthday special because occasionally her other friends drop the ball when it comes to her big day.

I think it’s because she’s nonchalant about things maybe they don’t get that her birthday is important to her. Nonchalant isn’t the right word. She’s just not the type of girl to get all giddy about every little thing. But lack of giddiness doesn’t equate to lack of interest, and I get that. So I try to always make sure she knows I care about her birthday.

Because this birthday is the big 3-0, I’m making a special trip to Chicago to visit her. Usually when I’m in town, my schedule is packed full with all the other family, wedding, friends’ birthdays crap, and we can’t always get together. So this time, I’m coming to Chicago just for her. Seeing other people will fit around our schedule.

I’m waiting until the weekend after her and Easy’s birthdays. I’m doing so because I want to be in town the weekend before Easy’s birthday, and secondly, she won’t even be in Chicago. She’s taking a trip to Europe for her 30th birthday. Quite a gift to give yourself, right?

Her job includes a lot of event planning, so she doesn’t want to plan a whole big thing for her birthday. I get that, so I told her I’d look up a couple of options, and when I got to town, we’d just pick something off of the list and see where the weekend takes us.

And also, I’ve been working on a playlist. We have been friends for over 20 years now, and music has been an integral part of our friendship. Back in college, we would get together Thursday nights and do each other’s hair. There was so much experimentation with color and cut, what we would have for dinner, and what we would talk about while we were hairstyling. But one thing that stayed consistent was the music.

We listen to a lot of the same songs over and over again. When a new album or single comes out that is really amazing, that gets put into rotation. I still remember when Amy Winehouse’s album Back to Black came out. That really got put into heavy rotation.

So now that it’s time to have an epic birthday celebration, it wouldn’t be right without a playlist. An epic playlist that includes almost every song we’ve loved in the last 20 years. I have most of the music we like on my phone and synced with my Google account, so I’ve been working on this playlist. I know I haven’t caught all the songs, but I’m trying. In Chicago, we’ll be driving pretty much everywhere we go, so I have enough music to fill an entire weekend with the soundtrack of our friendship.

I’m not going to say too much about the activities I’m looking into because she reads this blog too, so I’ll just have a list ready when I get to Chicago, no spoilers!

After that, there are a couple of birthdays for old friends. The most important of which is my friend who was one of my bridesmen in my wedding. He’s my favorite Libra (besides myself of course), and it sucks that I probably won’t get to do any celebrating with him this year. We have had some amazing birthday celebrations over the years together, and including another Libra friend of ours (who doesn’t turn 30 for a few more years).

Then there is my birthday! Hopefully, Easy will have something fun planned. Hopefully, my girls will make the trip here for Halloween and help me finish out my birthday month. And hopefully, I’ll have finished the bucket list by then.

Then last is another one of my bridesmen, who is a Scorpio. He’s making a trip to NYC at the end of the summer, so maybe we can do some early celebrating as I don’t expect to make it back to Chicago any time in November or December of this year.

Then next year, there’s a whole other slew of 30th birthdays. But we’ll get to that later. Because this year, it’s all about those of us born in 1984!


On Getting Ready For An NYC Summer

It’s finally warm!!

Sunday was June 1st, and according to The Weather Channel, it was the last day with a low in the 50s. From here on out (at least until September-ish) the weather should not go below 60 degrees, even in the dead of night.

It was hot-garbage-on-a-Sunday hot here when I first found an apartment and moved in last July. But I like hot. So I was OK with it. You know, once my AC kicked in.

But once fall hit, I missed the warmth. This was one long awful winter. A trip to Chicago in the winter had me enduring -10 degree weather. I remember it being warm-ish around my birthday, but that was in early October. So I have been missing the heat.

But now it’s here. Even when it rains, it stays warm. And Tuesday night was the first Summer Stage concert. So now it really feels like summertime in New York City.

What’s SummerStage you ask? It’s basically a series of free performing arts events all summer long. Events are in Central Park, and other parks in all five boroughs. And it’s freaking awesome.

Last year, I only went to a couple of events, but I can’t wait to do more this summer.

And I’m also going to do my very best to get tickets to Shakespeare in the Park as well. That’s not so easy and you have to wait in line and give a pint of blood and a voucher for your firstborn. But other than that, it’s free.

I’ve never been to the beach in NYC. I still haven’t been up to the Bronx. And there are always endless restaurants, Broadway productions, and sporting events to attend.

For the things that interest me, New York City has so much to offer. I can’t wait to have a whole summer here.

I have nowhere to go in all of June. It’s pretty much the only month this whole year I’m staying my butt put at home. So that’s a bit less money spent on plane tickets and a bit more spent on trying a new seafood restaurant or a going to a Yankees game or renting a paddle boat in Central Park.

It’s gonna be good y’all.


On The Need To Be An Educator

If you’re looking to help explain to someone else about gender beyond traditional binary assignments, read this. If you’re looking for a good reason to be more tolerant, read this. If you’re looking for a well-written anything, read this.


This Chicago-Style Girl is Home

I had a great time in Chicago. Dinner with my girls was so much fun. The Memorial Day barbecue with my family was also a blast. Hanging out with my best friend in my parents’ kitchen like we used to when we were 14 was so great. And hanging with all the jazz musician etc. folk in Chicago the night before we left was the cherry on top.

But the moment of the weekend was the wedding we went to. Most of you all are probably unaware of this, but Easy and I met at a wedding. Quick synopsis: we met at a wedding 4th of July weekend 2010. We got engaged Memorial Day weekend 2011. We got married Valentine’s Day weekend 2012. Since that time, we’ve been to a buttload of weddings.

There are a lot of things that happen at weddings, but the drinking and dancing part is what we excel at. It’s what led to us being married in the first place. So each wedding we’ve been to (except the cheap, dry, or uber-religious ones) have all been great experiences for us.

The other memorable thing that happens at weddings are the toasts. The most memorable toasts from weddings I’ve attended are:

1) The wedding Easy and I met at. The maid of honor cried through her entire toast, and the only thing I heard was, “you guys… have shoooooown me… the reeeeeeeal meaning of loooooove.” The best man said something like, “man, I never thought [groom] would be the first one to get married. NEVER…. [more random accidentally anti-marriage stuff]… and remember that time with Shelly in the basement?” The bride’s name was not Shelly.

2) The wedding from this past weekend. The maid of honor gave a nice speech. I don’t remember any of it because wine & beer. But the best man was more memorable. He spoke of how much the groom has matured and how he felt lucky to have witnessed watching him “really grow up in the time he’s been with Stephanie.” The bride’s name was not Stephanie.

3) My wedding where we had 4 people giving toasts. The wedding guests heard none of the amazing toasts because their cell phones were vibrating with breaking news updates confirming the untimely death of Whitney Houston.

4) The wedding of one of my best friend’s other best friend. He was their best man as well. Unlike my wedding, at this one, everyone heard his speech. It’s the one he and I had many a phone conference to work on in the months preceding the wedding. Anyway, this speech was so funny, heartfelt, and crowd-winning, that to this day the bride and groom don’t believe he was sober while giving the speech. He was totally sober, but they refuse to believe him.

Moving on from memorable toasts. Let’s talk about family portraits. For some reason, it didn’t occur to us to use the portrait as an opportunity to get head shots done for Easy. He is a musician after all and people are always requesting a shot of him for TV-type stuff. After we were all done with our pictures, it occurred to us.

Luckily, his horn is never far away. He ran across the street to my parents’ house and grabbed the horn. Because we want to reproduce the photos whenever we need, we purchased the photo CD that comes with it. As soon as it arrives, I’m adding the photos to my phone, Easy’s phone, my dropbox, and sending it to our e-mails. The Walgreens app is great for ordering pictures on the fly. I can order prints directly from my phone and they’ll be ready in a half hour at the Duane Reade store up the street from my office. New York is the best.

Speaking of New York being the best, I was so happy to arrive home yesterday. I don’t know why it took me so long to learn that I need a day off when I first get back from travelling. I can work right up until it’s time to leave for the airport before a trip, but after, I need some time to unwind. Our flight landed in the early afternoon, and I was so happy to just lay on the couch and watch the midseason finale of Mad Men and do nothing else.

There are some things better in New York, and others better in Chicago. Here is a short list based on my weekend travels.

Barbecue: Chicago wins this hands down! I shouldn’t have to travel to Williamsburg and wait in line for 2 hours to get good BBQ.

Navigating my way home: New York wins this. A taxi ride home from the airport was right around $30 and took less than 30 minutes. Chicago cabs can suck it.

Buying liquor: Chicago wins this. For Memorial Day, we spent about $200 on drinks for the BBQ. The same stuff would’ve cost $100 more in New York.

Getting great food close to home: New York kicks Chicago’s butt on this one. Chicago really has some amazing food, but it’s not accessible everywhere. But there is great food everywhere in New York. You may not get the cuisine you’d prefer right in that moment, but if you’re not too picky, you’ll never have to leave your neighborhood to get affordable, healthy, tasty food. AND most places deliver.

Crime: New York wins again. In New York, you can fall asleep on the subway at 2 am with earbuds in both ears and a laptop on your lap, and you’ll likely make it home safe. In Chicago, you don’t even want to leave the house after midnight, even if you’re carrying a knife in open view. This is because in Chicago, you’re just bringing a knife to the gunfight. Do better Chicago.

Lastly, is skylines, but I refuse to compare the skylines of the two cities. I love a good skyline, no matter where it is.

Previously, on flights to Chicago, I would feel this surge of love for my city as the skyline came into view out my window. I would suddenly feel this longing for the city, embracing everything it has to offer, and I would cringe at the thought of having to leave again, even if only for that moment.

This past Friday, I didn’t feel any of that. I felt happy to arrive for a visit, but no emotional swell happened. On the return trip to New York, I was too sleepy to notice anything on the landing. But on the ride home, I felt that same, “I live here, I LIVE HERE” moment when I saw the Manhattan skyline across the East River.

It’s not quite the same old-timey, returning-home feel I used to get with Chicago.

It’s newer. Less familiar. But more hopeful of treasures still uncovered and neighborhoods still undiscovered.

But still, when I saw the Empire State Building, I knew I was home.

Where is home for you?


A Chicago-Style Girl Goes Home

As soon as I wrote this post title, I started thinking, “what is home?” I thought that and other existentialist things that I won’t share because those thoughts make me sound even weirder than I normally do.

But seriously, When I think of home now, I think of three things:

1) Our apartment in a brownstone in Brooklyn

2) The soup kitchen I volunteer at in The West Village

3) The dining room table at my parents’ house

The fact that 2 of my 3 “homes” focuses around food may help explain why my weight is hovering around 15lb heavier than a healthy BMI.

But anyway…

Only a tiny bit of Chicago feels like home to me now. I’ve been talking about this trip a lot. A family portait (yuck, but also kind of cool), another wedding (blech, but also kind of cool), and Memorial Day with my family and Easy’s family (completely cool, only positive feelings towards that one–see Christmas 2013 in Gramercy Park) add up to a great weekend getaway. Throw in a thrice rescheduled dinner with one of my best friends and a double birthday dinner with my girls and you’ve got an action packed weekend.

So why am I not super excited for this trip?

Eh, a big part of me would just rather stay home. Which is New York City. I’m will always be a Chicago-style girl. Big city + Midwestern sensibilities – red state restrictions = me. But New York is home.

So this weekend, I’m not going home. I’m going to visit my friends and family. This make my blog’s name all the more appropriate. I’m not a Chicagoan anymore. I’m Chicago-style (Chicago-ish? Chicago-adjacent?).

Easy and I haven’t decided for certain if this NYC thing is permanent. Hell, four years ago, I couldn’t even imagine myself living here. Of course, I blame that on being only exposed to Midtown and Harlem. If I’d gone straight to Chelsea and the Village on my first trip here, I may have never left.

Back to this trip though. I’m packing in an awful lot. First up is a double birthday dinner for my girls. There will be 8 of us dining at Ruth’s Chris in Chicago. One of the birthday girls has never been and really really wants to go. So we’re making it happen. The birthday girls don’t know I’m coming in to town though, so I’m just showing up at dinner as a surprise, which is why this post is publishing almost 24 hours after being written.

Next up is a family portrait. My parents, my brother, Easy, some cousins, and my aunt and uncle are all cramming into one shot. I think it will be one of the few photos we have of members of both my mother’s and father’s sides of the family that’s not at a wedding or funeral. We’ve decided to wear combos of red, navy, and white. Should be fly.

Yup, I just said fly. I’m an 80s baby. Deal with it.

Then I have a dinner with one of my best friends. Seriously, like every time I go to Chicago, we’re unable to hook up. Between my short stays, he work schedule, family obligations, etc. we kept cancelling on each other. But not this time. We have reservations at Cantina Laredo, which is an amazing Latin restaurant in downtown Chicago. Check it out if you’re in the area, totally worth the valet/effort to find parking.

Then Easy and I hop in my mom’s car to drive to St. Louis for a wedding. These are friends from when he lived down there when we started dating. We were considering just staying in St. Louis, and the four of us were going to do this Honeymooners thing. That would’ve made a completely different life for us. The St. Louis version of Easy and myself were interesting people, different from who we are in New York.

Eh, no use wondering what if, right? The NYC versions of us rock, and we have better looking calves from all the walking anyway.

Then back to Chicago for Memorial Day where we will eat BBQ and left over birthday cake from our nieces/cousins. Two words. Atomic cake. Google it if you don’t know. Because you need to know.

I really cannot wait for the BBQ. Can someone explain to me why I have to travel to Williamsburg to get good BBQ? And for that matter, why do I have to travel to Harlem to get good soul food? And to Flatbush to get good jerk chicken? New York is such a melting pot, but they really fuck up food the entire rest of the country has mastered. Excuse my language, but I really feel pretty strongly about it.

And then after lots of good food, we get on a plane back to NYC. That will make 5 days, 4 nights in the Midwest. By Tuesday, I’m going to feel sooo ready to come home. So perhaps I’ll write another post called A Chicago-Style Girl Goes Home. But that one will talk about street food and easy taxi/subway options and volunteer opportunities and lack of allergy sufferers due to the lack of trees and wifi everywhere and people who don’t care if you accidentally step on their foot and a beautiful nighttime where outside of every window looks like Christmas will all the twinkling lights coming from every office window.

That run on sentence (so sorry!) just gave me clarity. NYC is like a new relationship right when you go from limerence to being fully in love. At that moment, their dirty drawers shouldn’t even bother you.

I think NYC’s dirty drawers count at the stinky homeless man who coughs up part of his lung on the subway and you just know he has tuberculosis. I am in love, but I’m not stupid. NYC’s dirty drawers bug the hell out of me. I don’t want TB. You can’t donate your organs and tissues if you’re contracting TB from a random stranger on a train.

That being said, hopefully my love is long-lasting. After all, it’s not blind-to-logic love. It’s just enamored, full-hearted love. A love that says Chicago can suck it. Because you’re #2 now.

Disclaimer: this only applies to the cities, not their sports teams. Bringing Phil Jackson to the Knicks is a step in the right direction, but really it just makes me think of the early 90s and his 3-peat with Jordan & Pippen. Da Bulls Da Bear Da Sox