Musings of a Chicago-Born New Yorker

Posts tagged “home

So Says My Husband: “Christmas Is Saved!”

We decorated our tree! We have a pitifully small number of ornaments on it (first world problems, amiright?), but it’s up and lit. Not lit, like a great party, but alight, lol.

I put a picture up on Instagram where it was pointed out that our tree was on a lean. I would like to clarify that it’s NOT leaning. Chris did a great job at getting the tree set up. It’s very much upright… It just didn’t grow evenly on all sides.

I’ve yet to be responsible, at any point in my life, for picking out a Christmas tree. But I imagine if I did, I would walk around the entirety of the tree, checking it out from multiple angles, making sure it was as even as could be.

But like I said, I haven’t ever had to go buy a tree. So what the hell do I know about what tree options are available? A whole bunch of nothing, that’s what.

All I know is I love our tree. This is our 7th Christmas together, but it’s the first time we’ve decorated a tree together. Both of us have memories of decorating the tree with our fathers (parents, but mostly our dads), and it’s nice to make these new memories together.

Weird how one tree can make me feel like Christmas is saved, huh?

After an hour at Target yesterday, we are back on track. A failed trip to Home Depot will henceforth be known as “That Time Chris Almost Ruined Christmas, But He Didn’t, So It’s Fine, So Get Over It, It’s Fine.” That’s all I’m saying about that.

Last night I cooked half a dinner at our friend Corey’s house, the other half provided by leftovers from Merry Black Christmas. Shout out to Allyson for delicious food she’s always cooking. We drank–wait for it–watermelon double IPA beer. That 10% and lovely bitterness and low low price made the watermelon worth it. It was a like a summer-themed Blue Moon. I wouldn’t recommend it.

But we were soon drunk adjacent and happily enjoying roasted chicken breast with mushroom gravy, green beans, butter-dipped artichoke, cornbread, and macaroni & cheese. We flipped back and forth between Last Holiday and whatever football game was on. Chris and I decorated the tree when we got back home. To me, it felt like the official start of our holiday celebrations.

Tonight, we’ve got a birthday hang that will span a bar I’ve never been to and a jazz club I go to all the time. It’s our friend Deadria’s farewell to her twenties. Corey has his regular jam session he leads at Smalls Jazz Club, and as usual, if we’re out, that’s where we’re ending the night.

Tomorrow, hopefully I’ll get some packing done for our upcoming trip, then we have a Christmas Eve party to go to being thrown by my friend Michael from college who lives nearby in Brooklyn.

Christmas will be a quiet day with just me and Chris (for now, lol). We’re going to see Fences in theaters. It’s not a movie unless Viola Davis is crying out her nose. I’m cooking us a tasty simple meal.

On Boxing Day, I’ll be at work, and when I get home, I’m going to watch the Sense8 Holiday Special on Netflix with my best friend David. It’s one of the shows we try and watch together even though we don’t live in the same state. Go technology. We both love Christmas, and it’s really cool that the first episode of season two is doubling as a Christmas special. I’m also working on the 27th. But I’m leaving work early on Tuesday, heading home to get my packed bag and my husband, then we’re headed to the airport.

It’s hard to believe that just a week ago I was over everything. But now I’m back on track. I’m excited for the next two weeks, like really excited. Not sure-to-be-disappointed-because-reality-can’t-live-up excited. More like who-knows-what-each-day-will-bring-so-bring-it-on excited.

Now for your visual enjoyment, my Tannenbaum and other Christmas accoutrement (when it’s singular, it’s without the s, right?):

I know it looks like it's leaning, but I swear it's not!

I know it looks like it’s leaning, but I swear it’s not! The more I look at this tree, I’m thinking, “is it really that great?” But then I’m like, “of course it is, that tree is adorable, and anyone who disagrees is blind to the truth.” So dramatic, I know, whatever.

Our cat Jazz simply had to inspect the tree. Chris chose that fabric hangy ball thing for them. Fingers crossed they don't use it to pull down the tree.

Our cat Jazz simply had to inspect the tree. Chris chose that fabric hangy ball thing for them. Fingers crossed they don’t use it to pull down the tree.

Our older cat Belle, being creepy as fuck as usual, also inspecting the tree, and judging the rest of us for our mirth.

Our older cat Belle, being creepy as fuck as usual, also inspecting the tree, and judging the rest of us for our mirth. Also, we clearly need to sweep up the needles that got sacrificed on the altar of artificial lights.

So... this was a random Etsy purchase that I love and am choosing not to justify. The inside writing is the only reason I'd pay money for White Santa. I just really love this mug. #sorrynotsorry

So… this was a random Etsy purchase that I love and am choosing not to justify. The inside writing is the only reason I’d pay money for White Santa. I just really love this mug. #sorrynotsorry

You’re welcome. 😉

 


Thoughts On Finishing Another Visit To Chicago

On my last day here in Chicago before heading back to Brooklyn, I’m thinking a few things:

  1. I don’t love the suburbs
  2. I really love my family
  3. There are not enough hours in the day
  4. 2017 can’t come soon enough

Let’s talk about the suburbs. That part of the world between the city and the farms/woods/country is the part I like the least. The only thing worse than a suburb is a small city, only a couple hundred thousand citizens (I’m looking at you Rockford).

Out here, where in a quarter mile there’s only three businesses, and everyone swears everything is 10 min from everything else. Spoiler alert, it’s not. You can’t drive 19 miles at 45 mph in 10 min. That’s not how math or suburban traffic lights work.

Luckily my best friend lives in the city. I escaped away for a couple of days to get out the suburbs, thanks to her. And being in her apartment is like a lovely dip into a world traveled, afrocentric haven, amplified with Prince on the record player.

But my family pretty much all live in the suburbs now…

So I spent most of my trip to Chicago in the south suburbs. There are so few people. I miss Brooklyn, but I’ll be back tonight.

I got to spend some time with my parents and my grandmother. Also, I got to spend time with mother- and sisters-in-law. Bonding while running errands is real people. My mother-in-law found the bowls she needed for her party. I finally found the Maybelline blue lipstick that’s been out of stock at so many stores I’ve searched in the last few months.

Back at their house, I helped them get ready for a family party they had last night in honor of my deceased father-in-law. Chopping vegetables is another way to bond with your in-laws. One of my sisters-in-law is always substituting one type of food for a healthier alternative.

The menu last night included chili and taco fixings, so sour cream was needed as a topping option. I decided to help and setup the toppings. After searching the fridge for sour cream, I finally had to interrupt her shower for help.

It turns out she had purchased plain greek yogurt as a substitute. My other sister-in-law and me had several doubts about the effectiveness of the replacement, but I decided to roll with it and hope it worked out.

When I’m serving sour cream, I usually don’t leave it plain. You’ve gotta jazz it up and add layers of flavor when you can. So I added some paprika, fresh cracked black pepper, and fresh minced cilantro. I thought it tasted great, and when it was cold, you couldn’t even tell that it wasn’t real sour cream.

The real test came with my nieces though. One of them is an adventurous, but will quickly tell you if the food is unsatisfactory. The other is a picky eater who is hesitant to try anything that “looks” or “smells” weird.

They both took a look at the “sour cream” and were excited to try it. They loved it and the picky eater dished out some extra on top of her nachos.

I helped with prep for the party, but I wasn’t able to stay for the whole party because I had already scheduled time with my other Chicago people before I knew about it. The best parts of it are those little moments like helping undo the dog’s training for not jumping into people’s laps and watching my sister-in-law teach my niece to make lemon pound cake.

This last day, I wanted to help hang up curtains in my grandmother’s room. After doing her nails, helping my mom give her a bath, shopping for extra chairs for Thanksgiving, etc., there wasn’t enough time. There never seemed to be enough time this whole weekend.

I’d look at the clock, think about how I had three hours when I really wanted six. Then what felt like 20 minutes later, it’d be time to go again. Five days is a medium length visit for me, but it still felt too short. There are a lot of people I wanted to see that I didn’t.

And also, all the crap is spectacularly craptastic. One specific example, they are considering treatment options for my grandmother because what they were doing isn’t working. Both options have a 10-20% success rate for her. That fucking sucks.

I can’t wait for 2016 to be over. There will still be awfulness in 2017, but at least it will get filed under a different memory folder in my brain.


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.

2014-11-11 21.51.06

 

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.

2014-11-07 16.54.56

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.


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


122,000 Steps And Counting

My Fitbit is great! Thanks again to my girl Brenda for the amazing gift!

I can actually keep really great track of what I’m doing and keeping track is keeping me on track. Okay, I’m done using the word track.

Between fitbit.com, myfitnesspal.com, and cozi.com, I’m spending a good amount of time tracking my meals, steps, sleep, and workouts.

I’m hoping it’s front-end labor intensive, and once I settle into a rhythm, it will be easier to maintain. It’s already gotten easier.

I sync my fitbit a couple of time a day. I plan my meals now a week in advance. And while I’m eating or just after I finish eating, I log my food into myfitnesspal. I also log my exercises while I’m waiting for my post-exercise shower to heat up.

I don’t know how sustainable this all is honestly.

Once Easy (the husband for those of you who didn’t read my last post) is back, it might be difficult to maintain. I don’t know if he’s going to want to eat what I’m eating.

I’m basically a flexitarian now. I didn’t even know flexitarian was a thing until I saw there’s a Vegetarian Food Festival in New York in a couple of weeks that I’m going to miss.

I think this is me. Who knew? Image via No Meat This Week

I’m not a flexitarian for any other reason than a changing palate and health reasons. Tonight, I ate yogurt, strawberries, blackberries, apple sauce, brocolli, yellow rice, and kidney beans.

according to myfitnesspal, all of that was around 500 calories. According to fitbit, I burned around 550 calories just walking around today. Yet I’m full and not even a bit hungry or tired. How the hell is that possible?

I’d like to say that part of my feeling so good now is because I’ve been exercising. I have started on the Tracy Anderson Metamorphosis plan, yet again.

I can tell that my legs are stronger than they were. All this walking around NYC has made my calves look pretty good, and it’s making these workouts easier.

But the storms that have been whooping up on the East Cost have kept me from doing the other workouts I’m interested in.

When it takes twice as long to get to work, that makes getting up early to go to a rock climbing yoga class to a gym with no showers virtually impossible.

I have a friend from work who also purchased the Amazon local deal and has committed to going rock climbing with me. I’ve picked out a class at the kickboxing place that works in my current schedule.

Now all I need is for it to stop freaking snowing!

I am almost certain that when this post publishes, fresh snow will blanket the ground.

I plan on working out at home tomorrow, so I don’t need to worry about the weather until it’s time to head out to work.

There is good news in all of this. I wore a pair of pants to work this week that I haven’t worn since late summer. They were too tight.

Hell, they’re still too tight. But instead of being I-can’t-even-button-these-why-did-I-bother to being these-make-my-ass-look-PHAT-which-isn’t-entirely-work-appropriate-oh-well.

That’s a big step in the right direction. I cringe to think of my butt shrinking. But I’m happy to think of the back rolls and tummy pudge going away.

I’ve still got farther to go. But so far, the change in eating habits is going well, and Tracy Anderson is making exercise possible in spite of all of this:

image via Google

image via Google

I am looking forward to next Friday with every fiber of my being.

Oh, before I forget! The gift from Easy arrived yesterday. He got me a long-sleeve t-shirt in red with the HRC symbol on it. This shirt is comfy and a great cotton 2nd anniversary gift.

He knows that I’ve felt ever stronger about LGBT rights recently. And he knows I love a good traditional anniversary gift. He did good.


Giving, Receiving, And Leaving Town

Because we live in a sitcom, the plan the husband and I had for our Super Bowl party didn’t go so well, but it turned out alright in the end.

Our first mistake was not going grocery shopping ahead of time. We waited until Sunday after church.

Saturday night, I went to bed early-ish, which was nice. I got ten whole hours of sleep, which basically made up for the extreme lack of sleep from the week.

The husband was out super late Saturday night. He’s so friendly that he was hanging out with his old friends as well as making some new ones. He came home with this.

dollars

Where do you think he was? Strip club? Chuck E. Cheese? Playing for tips in Times Square? The options are humorous and endless.

So we get to church for morning service. It turns out there are two meetings scheduled after church. One for new members and one for the young adult ministry. Both are meeting the husband and I were to attend.

I didn’t want to go to either meeting. Because seriously, who calls a meeting on Super Bowl Sunday? Seriously?

But to the meetings we went. We didn’t leave church until after 3pm. We didn’t get home from the grocery store until after 4:30pm.

Did I mention the store had run out of chicken wings? I don’t just buy a bag of frozen wings and throw it in the oven. I cook fresh wings and make sauce to go with it. I get fancy, y’all.

So I sent the husband out in search of fresh wings and started on my sauces.

The guests started arriving and there was no food ready to eat. I felt badly, but there wasn’t much I could do. Luckily one of his friend made home-made humus and flatbread chips to go with it. And they were delicious!

I’m sure you all know how the game went down. All I’m going to say about the game is that I enjoyed watching the team I wanted to win whoop ass up and down the field. Oh, and the commercials were great too.

As the food started trickling out of the kitchen, everyone dug in. I was pretty satisfied with the final products: taco salad with sweet pepper sour cream topping; tortilla chips with ground turkey queso dip; loaded fresh-cut french fries with bacon and cheese; and chicken wings with a choice of spicy BBQ, honey mustard, or ranch sauce.

And of course I made my everything punch. When I say this is everything punch, I mean it. It has everything in it.

Don’t tell me you can’t mix certain types of alcohol. Don’t tell me dark & light liquors get into a fight in your stomach. I don’t wanna hear it!

I make this punch at most big parties we throw. I know the night is a success when people who I’ve seen drink several glasses of straight whiskey out at jazz clubs can only drink 2-3 cups of my punch before they’re really tipsy.

After the game ended, people still stayed to hang out a bit. We ended up playing a few hilarious rounds of cell-phone based Taboo. It was nice to not have to clean up all the cards and game pieces after we’re done playing.

Trying to guess the name of Oscar-nominated actors when you’re on your fifth cup of everything punch is no joke y’all. I tried to remember to take a picture of it, but I kinda forgot, so this is the best I have, a punch bowl only filled a third of the way with poor lighting.

everything punch

Looks harmless, doesn’t it? All a part of my master plan, mwah ha ha.

The good use I put my chemistry degree to is making a strong yet tasty drink that won’t leave you hung over. As long as you have a good electrolyte balance going before you start drinking, you can drink a half-gallon of this stuff and be fine.

You’re welcome.

Anyway, the husband gets on a plane later today to head to Chicago, assuming his flight isn’t delayed because of all the Monday travel issues. He’s gone for a whole month. I won’t see him until I meet him in Chicago for a wedding on March 1st. When he’s gone, we’re both so busy that we have to work hard to make time to talk. I’m sure we’ll manage though.

I’m going to miss him, but I do have something to distract me for a bit. I wrote a post recently about how I was looking forward to eventually getting my birthday gifts. I figured it would help jumpstart my efforts to stay healthy.

Guess what I got in the mail?

fitbit

A lovely lady I met in Chicago bought it for me. I met her while out with the husband at a jazz club, which makes sense because she’s a singer.

I was so excited about it, I forgot how sleepy I was and immediately got it setup. It’s as cool as advertised. I didn’t even have to take it off to have one of my marathon baths.

This is my first ever gift received purely because of something I wrote in my blog. It’s a moment for me, and I promise I’ll put it to good use girl!

I’d say I had a pretty amazing weekend. I’ll probably be a bit more low-key in the coming days. I’ll need to make time to workout so I can stay on track with my new healthy plan.

I think I may have someone to go rock climbing with. It’s one of the random cool people I’ve met while out at a jazz club with the husband. We shall see.

And I think this couple I met another time out is going to join me at the soup kitchen next weekend when I go to volunteer.

At this rate, I may actually have friends in NYC, but I won’t get my hopes up too soon.


Chicago-Style Girl’s Workout Plan, I Wanna See You Workout

If you scroll down to the very bottom of my blog page, you’ll see a few things.

There is the standard search box you’ll see on all blogs, but I’ve cleverly hidden it in plain sight so you can’t easily find it, bah ha ha. Actually, I just didn’t know where else to put it because I didn’t like the look of it on my right tab column.

There is also a job disclaimer that my people request we put up so that my words are not associated with the company. I totally get that, but I’m such a huge fan of donation, I’m happy to claim my words as my very own. Go sign up for organ donation people!

But the other thing you’ll see at the bottom is the MyFitnessPal Ticker and My Tracy Anderson countdown. Both are at the bottom so as not to depress me on a daily basis.

The Tracy Anderson 90 day countdown ended August 16, 2013. That counts as a super-duper fail. I didn’t get past Day 10. It’s just so hard. Whine whine, fill in whine here.

And I don’t have access to a scale anymore. I intend on getting this cool bluetooth scale that goes with the fitbit.

Image via Amazon

Image via fitbit

These were my intended birthday gifts. They still are my intended gifts, even though my birthday was three months ago. The husband and I are working it out.

Perhaps if I can avoid Queens in general and potholes specifically, I would’ve had my birthday gift by now. Stupid Geico insurance deductible.

Moving on. Because I don’t have access to a scale, I have no idea what I weigh. But I’m almost certain I’m at my highest weight ever. Seeing as how I never really effectively kicked off the weight loss in the first place, that’s less upsetting to say than you’d think.

Working 4p-midnight is detrimental to my life plans. I’m not a morning person, so I struggle to get up before noon. I’d have to get up and start working out by 10 am to have enough time to really workout and get to work on time. And now that I’m helping babysit at the home I volunteer at, there’s even less time. Weekends are out because of the soup kitchen and church.

I know. Excuses, excuses.

Having said all of this (what kind of jerk has 300 words of introduction?), I have a plan to kick-start my new healthy New York life.

This plan includes spending money, but not a lot of money.

Amazon Local has all these great options for things to try. Normally, I would look at it for deals at restaurants and cool live events. But then I thought, why not use it for purposes other than taking in hundreds of calories in food and alcohol?

There are some really great deals available now too.

When I was in search of adventure the other weekend, I considered finding a rock climbing place, but didn’t pursue it because most indoor places do belay, and you need a partner.

Guess what? Amazon Local has a deal on the one indoor rock climbing place in Brooklyn. I checked out the website for Brooklyn Boulders, and it looks pretty cool.

While I was looking around for deals, I also came across a yoga/pilates studio, a kickboxing class, and a ballet/zumba studio. All of these sounded interesting, but I decided to go with the kickboxing because that’s one I’ve never done before, but always found interesting as a concept.

So I have pre-paid (at amazing discounts by the way) for a whole day pass at Brooklyn Boulders and 10 kickboxing classes at Village Kickboxing Fitness. Y’all know I love me some Greenwich Village, so any reason is a good reason to spend more time there.

Image via Amazon Local

I’m hoping that pre-paying will really encourage me to make it happen. I have until the end of July to use the promotional offers, but I intend to get started on them within the next few weeks. It’ll give me something to do while the husband is gone for the month of February.

I used to rock climb at this place that was in a south suburb of Chicago, but that ended when I grew my nails out for the wedding. You simply can’t rock climb effectively with long nails, and I grew them pretty long y’all.

2013-06-21 20.46.29

But now they are shorter, though still nice. If I really like the rock climbing, and if I can find someone to commit to actually going with me, I’ll keep the nails short.

With any luck, rock climbing and kickboxing will add some variety to a workout that I already enjoy (but, ahem, never make time for), and I can finally get back on track with exercising.

I’m doing okay diet-wise. I’m not on a “diet” per se, I use the word diet simply to refer to the food I choose to eat. I’m doing this pseudo vegetarian thing now. I barely eat meat anymore. I certainly haven’t lost the taste for it, I just choose better options, like black beans or chickpeas for protein.

And if I’m successful with my 30th birthday bucket list (which I promise to write a real post about soon), I’ll be able to add tofu to my list of protein options.

I don’t do too much in the way of frying, and I haven’t eaten any fast food aside from the occasional french fry in months. I just feel better when I’m not eating all that processed food, you know?

So I am going to risk the craziness and officially reset the 90 day countdown. Just so you know, this is not a 3 month thing, it’s 90 days of working out. I have to assume that I’m not going to work out more than three days a week.

Let’s be honest here I don’t have the time or the motivation.

But I’m going to set a timer for 90 workouts at three days a week. Maybe some weeks I’ll do more and that will balance out the weeks I’m sure to do less. I will also count those kickboxing classes and the rock climbing, which could turn into a membership as well.

So yup, I’m spending money in an attempt to look and feel better. If I were rich, maybe I’d be getting liposuction and hiring a personal trainer. I guess it’s a good thing I’m not rich because that just sounds like too much, right?

Wish me luck, y’all. Here I go again.

Day 90 is… August 27, 2014.

Damn, that seems far away. But it’s not really because that’s with me exercising only 3 days a week, so that’s 30 weeks. I think that’s a more reasonable goal because it lifts some of the pressure to try an exercise 6 times a week, which I was never able to sustain except when unemployed.

And if I”m doing it over that period of time, it will hopefully become a real lifestyle change. The Tracy Anderson Metamorphosis program continues after the initial 90 days, and she has a pregnancy workout plus a post-natal workout. So none of my life plans should interfere with the success of this.

I’ve written myself into excitement for the possibilities. If I do the home workout 3 times a week, swapping out one day every two weeks for a varied activity, it could work.

I can attempt running again once it’s warm outside. I have this amazing book Born to Run, available on Amazon to thank for even feeling like I could do this cause I kinda hate running. Read this book, and you’ll feel like you could become a supermarathoner. Or at least make it around the block more than once.

I can also try ballroom dancing again. You should try to polka for more than 10 minutes straight and tell me that’s not a workout.

Maybe I can even go back to hot yoga, which I truly loved deep down in my heart.

Any day now, or rather in like 7 months, I’m going to look and feel amazing. You just wait and see. I can’t wait to start complaining that none of my pants fit anymore. Well, that’s actually a current complaint because they’re kind of tight, but I’m hoping for it to turn into a complaint that they’re too loose.

Day one begins today. Anyone want to join me on MyFitnessPal so we can encourage each other?


I’m Done Paying People To Torture Me

Yesterday, I mentioned heading down to Greenwich Village in Manhattan. I promised I’d explain why I went down there, and I’m trying to keep my promise to you people. I went because of the horrible hair experience I had a few weeks ago.

In Chicago, this lovely woman did my hair. She kept my locs well-groomed and maintained. My hair smelled nice, looked clean, and stayed strong. She also worked hard to make sure it was dyed a color I loved. That’s no easy feat because my hair doesn’t take color well.

If you read this blog regularly, which I super duper appreciate, then you remember my first attempt to get my hair done here in NYC.

It didn’t go well.

I reached out to my Chicago hair lady for suggestions for shops here, but she didn’t get back to me because she was on her honeymoon. I could understand that, but I was in a bit of a crisis. I had to go to Chicago for the Chicago Jazz Fest, in which the husband was playing with his band. And I had to go to Atlanta for a wedding with friends from college I hadn’t seen since my wedding.

There was no way I was going out-of-state with my hair looking the way it was last week. It was fine for everyday, but not nearly groomed enough for special occasions.

Enter Google. You all may have noticed once or twice that I have a very personal relationship with Google I don’t even remember the world before Google. My brain has blocked it out because it’s like trying to remember a time before I had my best friend.

So Google and I got really comfortable as I sought to discover what to do about my hair. At a family barbeque back in July, one of my cousin’s cousins told me that I was wasting my money paying someone else to do my locs and I should do it myself.

I thought about the hours it would take and decided against it.

But when I’m on a tight budget and I’m gun-shy from my previous bad experience, I tend to see things differently.

Just like when I began doing my own nails, I was apprehensive, but ready to try it and accept the consequences.

Google told me I should get some loc butter. Most products have a ton of ingredients and scents I wasn’t really a fan of. So then Google told me how I could make my own loc butter. That’s how I ended up at the essential oils store. I found two scents that my Chicago hair lady used and I wanted to keep using: juniper and frankincense.

Then I had to go to two different beauty supply store, but I got everything I needed.

When I finally got home, I setup my stuff. I put together the loc butter, which sounds odd if you’re not familiar with the term. Basically, it’s just shea butter, jojoba oil, and mango butter. I added the essential oils and a couple other things to make it my own. It smelled wonderful and worked great.

I haven’t washed my hair since it was much shorter, I’m talking above my ears. I wasn’t at all prepared for how heavy it was. I’m used to having my neck supported in the sink in the shop. Standing up in the shower was painful. I definitely needed a neck rub after I was done.

After I towel-dried my hair, I set about hand-rolling my locs. I was nervous about how long it would take, but I was feeling a bit excited because I was equipped with knowledge from a few different YouTube videos.

I did the hair in small sections, then braided the locs so they would dry in a wavy/crinkle-y style. The whole thing took me about 2.5-3 hours. That’s not bad at all. It took longer than it would at the shop, but less time overall because I wasn’t sitting under a dryer, I just got in bed.

It turned out pretty well if I do say so myself. It’s been a week since I did my hair and it’s holding up well. I’m so excited to know that I can now perform maintenance on my hair. I’m not destroying the parts my Chicago hair lady put in place, and I am saving a ton of money. I can go from spending about $1100 a year to $300-400 a year. That’s a lot of savings!

Now that I’m done patting myself on the back, I’m going into worry mode. I do want my locks to have color other than my natural hair color, and I’m a bit apprehensive about doing the color all on my own.

I’ve been wanting to switch up the color to either a rich brown or a can’t-believe-that’s-your-every-day-hair red. It’s so difficult to decide, which means I won’t be doing anything to it yet. I can only wait about 12 weeks between colorings before I start to get angry at the new growth. So I have another few weeks to make a decision. Any suggestions?


I Don’t Want To Wash My Clothes, And You Can’t Make Me

The husband and I have always had issues with washing clothes. Neither of us like doing it. I probably like it a bit more than he does, but it’s just so time consuming. The only apartment I ever had that came with a washer and a dryer was lovely. I washed clothes once a week and kept everything hung up and in its drawer.

You know our brownstone in Brooklyn doesn’t have a washer and a dryer. There are a number of Laundromats in the area, but none of them are terribly close. They are all a number of blocks away. Even when I only have one load of clothes, it’s still a large effort to get it done.

I haven’t washed clothes in a few weeks, which isn’t unusual for me. The problem is that I threw away half my clothes when I moved to NYC. I was so proud of myself for downsizing. I didn’t even consider the lifestyle change needed to make it work.

I was at the point that when it was time to pack to go to Chicago and Atlanta last weekend, I didn’t have enough clothes. I actually packed some dirty clothes that I had to wash as soon as I got to my parents’ house.

Awful right?

So I’m still adjusting to being a New Yorker, having less closet space, having less clothes, and washing the clothes I do have more frequently.

I have all the essentials at least: Tide pods, Downy dryer sheets, a laundry bag, and that roll-y cart you see everyone in New York with.

Even with all the ease I’ve provided for myself, it’s still not working for me.

I intended to wash clothes right when I got back from Atlanta, but I didn’t feel like it. Then I intended to do it yesterday, but the location I chose to go to was closed and it was too late to go anywhere else. This working Monday-Friday 9-5 thing is messing up my body’s natural clock.

The tiny part of me that likes doing laundry likes doing laundry at 10 am. That isn’t an option unless I get up on Saturday to do it. This week, that isn’t an option because I’m starting my other volunteer work.

I’m just gonna have to bite the bullet and make it happen. Argh, sometimes I really hate being an adult. Which isn’t even really fair to say because I’ve been washing my own clothes since I was big enough to load the machine. My parents didn’t play that.

I think it’s safe to say my nesting phase is over. At least when it comes to properly organizing my drawers and closets. Maybe I’ll get that feeling back when I finish unpacking our apartment. I’ve made some good progress and I really should take advantage of the fact that the husband is out of town for another three weeks and get it all done.

Until all of that happens, I’ll be showing up to work in quite questionable combinations. Like today. I’m wearing a blue button up blouse, an orange wife beater, and a brown stretchy asymmetrical hem skirt. It’s an odd combination, believe me. The shame of having to look at myself in the mirror ought to motivate me to wash clothes quicker than waiting on the nesting feeling to return I think.


Friendly? Yes. Crazy? Maybe.

Don’t think I’m crazy for saying this, but New Yorkers are so freaking nice. Maybe that’s just me. Is it? Well, I stand by it.

Ever since I arrived here, and even before on visits, I’ve just seen friendly, helpful people who have a lot more patience than other places. If Chicago became as crowded as New York City tomorrow, the murder rate would seriously spike.

When you are here, people are just so smushed together. That could go one of two ways. People could constantly fight and bicker because they’re always in each other’s space. Instead, they smile and say, “that’s okay” constantly.

Seriously, where else in America can you hit someone in the head with your umbrella four times in ten minutes and they are endlessly forgiving of it?

If you are careless or rude, however, the claws come out. New Yorkers like to live and let live. If you are encroaching upon them because of selfishness or meanness, they will let you have it in a heartbeat.

But if you are just living and not walking around like Gru at the beginning of Despicable Me, you’re fine.

And my neighborhood is so friendly and neighborly. I really just can’t say enough how great it is. Sometimes it’s crazy and a little hood, other times it’s right out of a novel (or an episode of the Cosby’s).

To fully understand it, I need to describe my walk home on two different days.

Day One:

When I get off the train, there is this park there where there are kids riding their bikes, old men playing chess and checkers, and adorable dogs barking. If it’s sunny, the sun filters through the leaves on the trees and gleams off the bronze statue in the center of the park.

As with most New York City parks I’ve seen, the grassy areas are fenced off, but every so often, there a gap in the gate specifically to let people through.

You could have a picnic over there if you wanted, but today there is a young couple posing for a photographer. She is about 5 or 6 six months pregnant and all belly. He has a fresh haircut and shave. They are both rocking fantastic natural hair and wearing traditional African garb. They look like an art piece on the wall of some African-American History professor’s apartment.

I walk past all the great restaurants on Lewis Avenue until I get to my block. As soon as I turn the corner, I see that the firehouse is open. Yes, there’s a firehouse on my corner, full of muscle-y armed men. There’s this little girl riding her bike in and out of the firehouse. Her pigtails bounce in the wind and she laughs and smiles with the firemen.

Further down the block are the men who always hang on this one stoop. One of them has a girl with a baby with him. The baby is, of course, adorable. They all smile and say hi and I continue on my way.

I get to my fantastic brownstone, check my mail, and walk in the door. Home sweet home.

Almost idyllic, no?

 

Day Two:

When I get off the train, there is a volunteer for some campaign or another passing out fliers. I think this is the fifteenth one I’ve received in the month I’ve been here. I decide to be nice and walk out of eye sight before I toss it.

The benches are lined with homeless people. I kind of want to let them know there’s a wonderful homeless shelter up the street, but I don’t know enough about the shelter yet to open that can of worms. I make a note to myself to learn more about the homeless shelter.

I pass by the restaurants and all the food smells so good, taunting me because it’s not in the budget to eat there at any point in the next two weeks. Oh well, I think, I’ll just make really good meals at home in the mean time.

I get to my block, and as I turn the corner, I see a pile of poop. Some asshole doesn’t know how to clean up after their dog, and unfortunately, it’s no one else’s job either. So this freaking poop has been there for weeks. Weeks!

I’m walking down the street, and it appears that the whole block is out to enjoy the nice weather. I come across these men just hanging out. One of them has a pitbull puppy. This puppy is super brand new and so cute. He’s so tiny that his whole body fits in the man’s hand.

It’s a bit windy, so when the man decides to light his cigarette, he uses the puppy to block the wind so he can get it lit quickly. That’s right, this man used a new puppy to light his cigarette.

Further down the street, there is a family piling into a car to go on some excursion. As they’re piling in, they notice there’s a cat sitting on the hood of the car. This cat eyeballs me on my way past, but seems oblivious to the family.

They begin yelling at the cat to get off the hood so they can be on their way, but for some reason the cat doesn’t move. I wondering why no one bothers to get out of the car to physically move the cat. Or better yet, just start driving. I bet that cat would certainly move under those circumstances.

I shake my head and keep moving.

Further down the street, there are some men playing dominoes. Several of the men have several dollars in their hands. Like I said, it’s windy.

A sudden gust of wind comes up and blows the money out of two of the men’s hands. All of us sudden, I was transported to one of those game shows where they put you in a box with money flying all around. These men would rack up on that show because they seemed to grow extra arms and hands, snatching money out of the wind with ease.

I tell you, they didn’t lose one dollar dollar bill y’all.

After all that hilarity, I was ready to be home away from the constant people. I climbed my steps to my fantastic brownstone, thankful I was finally home.

Even when things are crazy, I still love my neighborhood.  I just hope housing prices are still affordable when it’s time to switch from renting to a mortgage. That’ll be sometime around MBA completion, kid number 2.5, and age 35.

Yup, we’re planning on staying in NYC for at least five years. We’ll see though because that’s a decision based on only living here for one month.

So, could you live in NYC for year? Or at all?


Unable To Find A Good Reason To Take My Robe Off

I wish I could tell you I had great stories from this past weekend to share with you. I wish I could say we went on a very interesting double date with the future divorcé and his girl.

But that didn’t happen.

My weekend was filled with lots of stalls to the unpacking, very little showering, and absolutely no desire to socialize.

So here’s what happened.

Friday morning, I was determined to do better with the unpacking. I knew that my efforts to get the TV setup for the cable guy would payoff. I would watch Property Virgins while unpacking Friday night.

The husband found the TV power cord like he said he would. Score one for the husband.

But then the cable guy didn’t show. Well, he showed, he just didn’t install our cable.

Or even come inside our apartment.

Or even ring our freaking doorbell.

I got a call from the cable company dispatcher people telling me he was running late. Then they called again to tell me he was still running late but that they’d call when he was on his way.

Instead, I got a voicemail from him saying no one was home so he was leaving. I was pissed and called back to inquire what happened. They gave me his perfect description of my building, and told me he left because we weren’t home.

I let them know the husband was being held hostage at the house waiting on this man, so he was definitely home. My proof of this was the delivery from UPS that had arrived that same day. I surmised the cable guy was an idiot who couldn’t figure out which doorbell was ours.

They told me he’d already left the service area, but they would try to find someone to come back to the house.

I spent the next six hours calling them back several times to inquire about an available technician. This was extra awful because each time they said they’d call me back, but they didn’t.

By the time 9:00pm rolled around, I was scheduled for the first appointment in the morning, and I had a credit that amounted to 50% off my first bill. I was furious about the whole situation, so it kind of ruined my mood.

The husband had the perfect plan to cheer me up though. We went to Jazz at the Lincoln Center to see this really nice band play. One of his friends was in the band who I love so much, so it was great to see him as well.

When my best friend was here helping me get moved in, we went to Jazz at the Lincoln Center as well. This time, we were on the list, and we knew the musicians. I have to say, it’s nice being married to a musician. Things are just… easier when it comes to certain events.

I can’t wait until my best friend comes for a visit and I can take her back there musician-style.

After we left The Lincoln Center, we went downtown to Small’s. It’s this great little club where they were having a jam session. I really had a great time there.

Also, I confirmed for myself that I really enjoy this drink that is Rye whiskey with lemon-lime soda. This place I went to in Greenpoint had it on the menu called a Rye Collins (like Tom Collins, get it?). It feels like such a grown up drink, barely girly at all.

I may watch a lot of episodes of Man Men, but I’ve got nothing on those people. I only had two drinks, but I was good after that.

Good enough to not need another drink.

Good enough to need some Tylenol before I went to bed then again when I woke up.

I’m getting old y’all.

Moving on.

So the divorcé’s girl arrived Saturday morning. He went on the train and met her when she got off the bus. Then they came back to the apartment where we were just finishing up getting our cable, internet, and phone installed.

Based on a plan I helped the divorcé develop, he grabbed our really awesome picnic basket and stopped by the grocery store. They grabbed some stuff to make lunch and bought a blanket from another store on the way to the train.

When they got back, which was many hours later, they said they got so many compliments on the picnic basket. That made me happy.

I wasn’t in the best of moods though, and it didn’t hit me until much later that I didn’t even inquire about how the picnic went. Let me put it this way, I was still in my bathroom that I’d put on when I changed out of my clothes the previous night.

All I was thinking about was how the husband and I happily live in a naked house (whoop whoop, no kids yet!). But we couldn’t be our normal naked selves because we had guests. Wonderful guests, one of whom helped the husband move across state lines.

But I just wasn’t feeling it.

So we ordered pizza and watched Up on the PS3 Blu-Ray player.

They both had to leave the next morning, and I only noticed their presence briefly when they said goodbye before leaving.

I was hoping for a fun story of some sort, but instead, it’s just me pissed at the cable guy and refusing to change out of my robe.

At least I got to go to Jazz and the Lincoln Center. I can’t wait to do that again!

I almost forgot. We went to church on Sunday. The husband and I went back to the church I had attended the previous week. He loved it!

It’s been… a journey with the husband in terms of church attendance since we’ve been together.

I’m so happy he likes this church and I’m looking forward to going back again next week. And the week after that. And maybe even the week after that as well.

It’s just such a happy place. I could stand to be around people who are happy, and extra happy for no reason. I wouldn’t mind that rubbing off on me a bit.

Because of a couple of reasons, we’re only about 3/5 of the way unpacked. I really do love our apartment though, so I swear it’s not going to go like it did in Hyde Park.

Even though I’m staying late at work today, I do intend to finish the rest of it by this weekend. The dresser I ordered online arrives tomorrow, so that should help a lot.


Welcome Home Plus The Adventures of a Future Divorcé

By the time I get home from work today, the husband should be here. I’m so excited!

I gathered my things to come to New York almost a whole month ago. The last time I saw him was three weeks and four days ago. It feels like forever.

Even though he’ll only be here for two weeks, I’m still really excited for the two weeks we have.

I wish that we could just spend all weekend cozying up in our new apartment, but that’s not even close to a reality.

A good friend of ours is coming with the husband in the UHaul truck. We’re so grateful that he’s coming to help. He’s helping drive the truck, and he’s helping up get everything up to the apartment. He has worked for UPS on and off for years, so he’s a pro at this type of thing.

I mentioned this friend in a post a while ago. He’s one of the millions of people who were a part of our wedding party. He stood up with me as one of my bridesmen. He’s also one of the people whose relationship status changed since my wedding.

This friend is getting divorced.

Before you feel sad for him, just know that every person in his life who loves him is ecstatic about his pending divorce.

You read that right. We’re ecstatic. Glad for her to go. Not even a little bit sad about it. In any way.

That being said, it kind of sucks in general that he’s getting divorced. His parents have been married for 30+ years, and so he wanted to follow that trend.

Now that we’ve established his relationship status, there is, of course, more to tell.

There’s a girl meeting him here in New York.

She’s coming for a weekend trip. Previously, the timing just happened to work out that she and a friend were taking a trip here. But the friend flaked on her, but she’s still coming.

And now she’s staying with us too. She doesn’t live in Chicago, so this will count as their third date I think.

He took a trip to the East Coast, and she’s been back home to Chicago for a visit. They came out to one of the husband’s gigs in Chicago, so we’ve spent time together, but not much time.

So this weekend, I’m going to have the husband, who I’ve been missing like crazy. But I’m not going to have my two cats because my friend is allergic.

Apparently, he’s deathly allergic, though I never knew that before as he’s spent time before in my home where I’ve had a cat.

My poor mother (who hates cats, and dogs, and birds, and pets of all kinds, and plants) will just have to deal with the cats for a few more weeks until we drive the car to New York. I’m not risking damaging the health of the person who’s helping us move all our crap across the country, you know?

I imagine that I will have some interesting or crazy stories to tell after this weekend is done. The husband and our friend will be here in less than six hours. The girl arrives tomorrow or Saturday, not sure which one.

All we have is our full sized bed and the queen sized air mattress. For many reasons, we’ll give them the air mattress. I just really need to sleep in my bed, first and foremost.

But also, these two haven’t shared a bed yet. I don’t think they’ve even napped on the same couch yet. I’m fine with doing the hospitality thing, but as his friend, I wish for him that their first time sharing a bed (even if it’s just to sleep, wink wink) wasn’t in someone’s living room.

I’ve got all sorts of things I want to do with the husband. There are so many great restaurants in our neighborhood and a nice church we could potentially join I want him to visit.

It’ll be interesting to see whether these plans will be like a weekend long double date or not. I don’t want to invite them along because they’re both so nice they may feel compelled to say yes even though they may want to hang out alone.

On the other hand, I don’t want to not invite them when neither of them are from here and they may feel left out and not know what to do on their own.

I’m not good with decisions. Especially decisions for other people I don’t know that well. Especially when those decisions directly affect my ability to hang out with the husband behind closed doors.

At the very least, by then end of this weekend, I’ll have cable, wifi, and my own bed to sleep in. The husband will have tried some great new restaurants and can finally be done moving. And our friend can spend some more time with his new girl.

If nothing interesting happens, I’ll make something up for you all after this buildup.


Is Manhattan Better For Me Than Brooklyn?

In my post on Friday, I left off with the phone ringing. My broker was calling me back. It was my attempt at a cliffhanger. Did it work? No? Oh well.

When we left the broker’s office, we were expecting to hear from her at some point in the next day. My father had a plan for this. He wanted us to go start seeing the other apartments, and hopefully find one I could live in.

Then, when the broker called, I was supposed to let it go to voicemail. When she called back to say whether or not I’d gotten the apartment, I would take that information; compare it to the potential new place. And then we’d make a decision on where I was going to live.

All that sounded really complicated to me. I just wanted the nice 1 bedroom apartment in the Brooklyn brownstone. I wanted the place I had put a deposit down for.

But I also wanted to make sure I was getting the right place for me. And I wanted to be sure I would prefer Brooklyn over Manhattan. So we kept the appointment to go look at apartments in Manhattan.

Before we could keep this appointment though, the Brooklyn broker called me. I decided just to answer the phone since it was still the same day. She let me know the landlord had accepted my application. I didn’t know it was even possible for them to assess my financial status that quickly, but I really didn’t care.

No one except me cared for the broker. But everyone got a good vibe from the landlord, so it was nice to know the place was mine if I wanted it. As I was sitting there confused about how to proceed, she let know that the lease signing was going to be Wednesday at 4pm. It was still Monday at this point, so that worked just fine for me.

We would have time to look at the Manhattan apartments and make a firm decision before I’d have to sign the lease. So off we went to Manhattan. Driving from Staten Island to Manhattan is no simple task. Especially when there is constant construction everywhere.

So we took the Verrazano Bridge to Brooklyn, then took the Brooklyn Bridge to Manhattan. I don’t even want to think about how much all of that back and forth cost. The one good thing is the total distance traveled isn’t that much, so we only filled up on gas once that I know of.

The Manhattan broker’s office is in Midtown (think: Times Square), so there was nowhere to park. My dads dropped me and my best friend off and we headed upstairs to find out what apartments we were going to see that day.

When we got upstairs, there was a lot of waiting. I filled out the paperwork so they could get me in the system, then they proceeded to tell me that my broker was running late. This was after leaving me sitting there for ten minutes saying she would be right with me.

When they finally me back, there was this oil slick (but rather good-looking) man who said he was her assistant and would help me because she was running late.

It was just so weird the way everyone described her lateness. It wasn’t like she was out showing apartments to someone else. Their tone, facial expressions, and demeanor had me writing a backstory for this woman who was quite awful.

In my head, she was on her way to work, but then got a “you busy?” text from her drug dealer/f*^k buddy. She immediately hopped off the subway and went to his place downtown. They thought she was on her way to work but she took and 8-ball detour.

I know that’s crazy, but their tone was crazy. They made it seem like she just dipped off before they could come up with a good cover story why she wasn’t there and no one could be bothered to give any of the reasonable excuses: something came up, she’s showing apartments, she got called into and impromptu meeting. Something, you know?

Either way, I’m there and I’m giving the guy my information about what type of apartment I’m looking for. Information that I’d already given to the lady broker I was there to see. I give him my price point, which is painfully low for Manhattan (no more than $1400/month).

He asks if it’s negotiable, and I tell him no. The husband has a firm ceiling on what type of rent we’ll pay. When a woman looking for apartments mentions a husband that’s not there who has a firm ceiling, I would think that would make them stick to the ceiling. He didn’t question it anymore and we moved on.

He calls over this other man and hands him a list he’s just printed off. The list has several apartments available in my price range. They are pretty much all in Washington Heights, which sucked because I at least wanted to see some part of Harlem. But that day, there wasn’t anything in Harlem I could afford.

He lets me know we’re going to hop on the train and go look at the first place. It was all the way by the 191st Street exit. I called my dads to let them know we were getting on the train and gave them the address to meet us there.

We missed the train because these tourists were occupying all the metro card purchasing machines. When we finally get to the platform, the train that’s supposed to come every 10 minutes didn’t come for over 20 minutes. And it was so hot!

Did I mention there was a serious heat wave this whole week? It was pretty much all over the country so you all know how crazy it was with the heat. Imagine a heat index of 100 degrees. Now put that heat underground with trains generating more heat. Now turn off the air conditioning. Yeah, it was like that.

So the train finally comes, and we’re sitting there hot as hell. No AC on this train car. After about two minutes, we move to the next car. No AC there either.

Both my best friend and the broker man are telling me that they’ve both only ever encountered a train with no AC once before in NYC. We got off at the next stop and waited for the next train which came almost immediately. Thankfully, this one was well conditioned, and practically empty since it was so close behind another train.

The ride up to 191st was quite far, but we made it there. Then we had a lot of walking to do. At this point, it basically high noon, and we’re walking back and forth up the street looking for this address that doesn’t properly correspond to the addresses around it.

We found the apartment building entrance and head up to the apartment on the elevator. We walked in and the place was pretty nice. There are a ton of cabinets in the kitchen and the appliances are all brand new. The bedroom is huge and the bathroom is pretty spacious as well.

As I looked around, I realized I was planning for how I would live in this space. It seemed really nice and a place I could really make a home in. I was trying to figure out if I could really pick this place over my already-beloved Brooklyn brownstone.

Then it hit. This apartment was a glorified studio. The reason the bedroom was so large is because there was basically only the bedroom. The living area, actually, the “living area” was basically a foyer. I’d have to go to Ikea to get one of those funky pieced together seating things. But realistically, the only thing that could fit in there is a coat rack and an umbrella rack.

After that, I didn’t have to worry. It was easy to say no to an apartment with no separate spaces. I’m going to be working nights once I’m off training and I’m married to a musician. I need to be in a separate space so I can sleep while he practices during the day.

If they cut the bedroom in half, they could’ve made a reasonable sized living room. But they didn’t. So we moved on.

In my next post, I’ll talk about the rest of the Manhattan apartments. There was the apartment with the clothesline, the one with the crooked cabinets, the one where the lady yelled at us the second we walked in, the one that screamed please-rob-me. Oh, and the one we couldn’t even get into.

My apartment hunt was intense y’all. But we’re almost through it.


Yet Another Reason Why I Hated Our Old Apartment

I contemplated whether to write more about my lovely new city, or maybe about my goodbye to my old city. But instead, I’m going to finally publish a post I started over a month ago. It was going to be a part of my why-I-hate-my-apartment-and-can’t-wait-to-move-out series. Can you remember back that far? That’s when I hadn’t even gone to NYC to interview for my new job.

On this blog, I hasn’t mentioned the possibility of a move so soon. I didn’t want to jinx it. Back when we first made the decision to move out of Hyde Park and in with my parents, the reasoning was that Chris would be headed to New York City in January (possibly by himself). So we didn’t want to get a new lease and put ourselves in the position of possibly having to pay two rents each month.

Then boom! I had an interview and the chance came up that maybe we could move to New York together. Then the interview went really well and they wanted me right away. Then boom! We had to figure out how to move to New York less than a month after leaving our old apartment. I thought we’d have six months. Silly me.

Sorry to give you this whole story in bits and pieces, but I do what I want so get on board.

Now, moving on to the point of this post, which is another reason I hated our old apartment.

So I arrived home from work one day, glad to be home early. As the supervisor at my old job, I worked crazy hours. We’re talking 50+ hours/week even though I only got paid for 38.5 (stupid salary job).

I walked up to my building, stuck my key in the door and turned. Nothing happened. I tried again. Again, nothing happened. I immediately flashed back to our semi-ruined anniversary where we couldn’t go out to dinner because they changed the locks on our building. The husband didn’t go get the new keys while I was at work and so we couldn’t leave our building to go to dinner to celebrate our anniversary because we’d have no way to get back in.

After assessing the key in the lock situation, I realized the key fit just fine, but that it just wouldn’t turn. I called the leasing office, but they were all gone for the day. At this point, I realized I had to pee really badly.

I called the husband who confirmed the key wouldn’t turn easily in the door. He told me the previous day, he had to force the key to turn because the lock was twisted to the side. I don’t even know if you can properly picture that. But imagine a normal lock on a normal door. Now rotate the barrel 24 degrees clockwise and you can picture what I dealt with.

I was so upset that the husband knew of this problem the previous day and did nothing about it. He didn’t call the leasing office, he didn’t do anything. He just forced the key to work for him and went on the house. I do not have close to the same strength as he does, so I was just standing there outside the building, upset and trying not to pee on myself.

I got off the phone with the husband and called the locksmith listed on the wall by the building door. The locksmith told me it’s $100 to let me in because I lost my keys. I told him I didn’t lose my freaking keys, I had them in my hand, they just didn’t work. He told me that even though I have a key, if there’s an issue with the lock, it’s $100.

I was furious and inquired why the charge wouldn’t go to the management company for the building if the problem was with the building, not my keys or apartment door lock. He told me I could wait until the morning and have the management people call him. When I confirmed he was suggesting I sleep outside my building until I could reach the leasing office in the morning, I hung up.

I called the husband back ready to fuss some more. He immediately asked if I tried to go through the back door.

All the wind went out of my sails. I felt like such an idiot for not thinking of that. So I walked to the back of the building and my key worked fine. I apologized to the husband for turning extra crazy, and took my butt upstairs and straight to the bathroom.

Why my leasing office didn’t have a 24/7 number to reach, I don’t know. It was just so frustrating. Just to compare, my new landlord is awesome. Anything I need he handles that day or the next morning. I’ve only been in my apartment for a week, so I’m not getting too excited yet. But let’s just say I couldn’t be happier to be so far away from the previous situation.

I think this will be the last your hear about how much I hated my old apartment. Hyde Park as a neighborhood wasn’t so awful, I just didn’t like living there. With all the building and expansion going on there I imagine it will be an amazing place to visit. Just don’t move there!


I Forgot To Give This Post A Title…

This month has been such a flurry of activity, I don’t even know where to start. Things at work are always in flux. We’re transitioning to a new schedule, and increased training. Not to mention, one of our regulators just showed up for a visit/observation. They don’t schedule those, they just show up.

Outside of work, things are also crazy. I can tell you that I’m having as much trouble packing as I did unpacking. I haven’t put a single thing into a box. For that matter, I haven’t even purchased packing supplies. And our lease is up in 12 days. What the hell is wrong with me?

Trying to stay healthy and work out is an ongoing struggle. It’s hard to make the time and find the motivation, but I’m still trying.

My parents just got back from Paris and Amsterdam. I want to be like them when I grow up. How nice it would be to take trips like that. I can barely afford this weekend road trip to New York City with my girls this weekend.

Yup, I’m going to NYC less than a week before I have to move out of an apartment I haven’t even started packing up yet.

Oh, and I’m sick. I’m sick in a the-weather-is-so-crazy-that-we’ve-been-fluctuating-between-air-conditioning-and-heat-in-the-house-and-I-have-no-idea-how-to-dress-so-I-always-end-up-wearing-the-wrong-clothes-for-the-current-weather-and-now-I’m-sick kind of way.

You don’t need air conditioning when it’s 56 degrees out. You do need air conditioning when it’s 86 degrees out. When both happen in less than 12 hours, you can’t plan for that. Sleeping under needless air conditioning literally makes me sick.

Sore throat, headache, sinus pressure, and lethargy. Isn’t the start of summer grand?

There is some good news in all this. In just over a week from now, I’ll be out of Hyde Park for good! It’s a great place to visit and hang out, but I intend to never live there again.

After I’m done being sick, I look forward to a summer without paying rent (yay parents for letting us move in with you while we work out the next step), neighborhood/food festivals, watching the husband play all these great gigs (Chicago Jazz Fest anyone?), and letting things finally even out at work.


How To Leave An Apartment You Hate, Step One

You ever live in a place you thought you’d love but you end up hating? You ask yourself, “how do I escape this hell hole?” Well, I’m not sure I can help you, but I can sure as hell chronicle how I’m getting the hell out.

  1. Make the shit as livable as possible until you can get out.
  2. Give away a bunch of stuff to the salvation army.
  3. Wash all your clothes and throw out the rest.
  4. Be nice to your neighbors so they don’t rob you on moving day.
  5. Don’t forget to turn off the utilities.
  6. Pack your shit over a period of time, really make leaving a celebration.

So, that’s just the basics I think. But really, the first step to leaving an apartment you hate is to not renew your lease. At the end of this month, we’ll be free of the high rent.

We’ll be free of the weed smoking neighbors.

We’ll be free of the loiterers with no better business.

We’ll be free of the lack of parking.

We’ll be free of the cops who were nowhere to be found while our car was stolen but showed up when the husband was changing the plates on the recovered car.

We’ll be free of three flights of steps.

We’ll be free.

Free at last.

Well, we’ll be moving in with our parents until we find somewhere new to live. But I swear we have a really good reason for not finding a new apartment yet. I’m just not ready to share.

But I will be soon.

I suspect it will come as good news too.

Just wait and see.


So Good,We Did It Again

I made the husband dinner two nights ago since he was nice enough to go to the grocery store. Porterhouse steak, yellow rice, sautéed green beans. It was quite delicious, and we really enjoyed it. When cooked food is just to our specifications, we really have a love affair with it. We inhaled our food while watching episodes of Man Men.

I’m finished with Season 5, but the husband is still catching up. Once he finishes Season 5, we’ll start Season 6 together. We like finding activities we can do together.

Last night we did a repeat. The husband purchased four porterhouse steaks the first night. When I got home from watching my cousin get all her hair shaved off ( a story for another time), we decided we wanted the same dinner twice.

So we did.

We had porterhouse steak, yellow rice, and sautéed green beans. The husband went back to the store to buy more fresh green beans, because fresh is always better. I try to stay away from canned food if I can help it.

It was just as good the second time around.

I don’t think I’ve ever eaten the same meal two days in a row where the second day wasn’t leftovers. I don’t think we’ll be making a habit of this as that was a lot of red meat to eat in two nights.

But it was just so good.

Steak cooked just how we like it. Mouth-watering yellow rice. Perfectly sautéed green beans with a white wine reduction. I’m starting to drool just remembering it now.

That reminds me, we did change one thing. The first night we used Chateau Ste. Michelle Riesling. The second night we used Chateau Ste. Michelle Pinot Gris. Those people don’t make a wine I dislike.

If you had to eat one meal multiple days in a row, what would it be?


Back Away From The Donut

I’ve been trying to get healthy again. There were a few things that happened that made me think it was time to get my jiggly ass back in shape.

First, during the Ultimate Blog Party 2013, I joined in and found some new friends, one of whom commented on my UBP13 post. This comment came from Danielle, who invited me to friend her on MyFitnessPal.

If you are on MyFitnessPal, please friend Danielle and me. Her username is msvip213 and mine is cecerose0211. I don’t know about her, but I’d love more friends to track and get healthy with. From the moment her updates started showing in my feed, I felt more motivated. Just to know I wasn’t alone in the struggle meant so much to me.

The second thing that happened came right around the same time as UBP13. I received a text message telling me about my 10 year high school reunion. I knew it was about that time, but I hadn’t made the decision on whether or not to go yet.

I went to the information page and saw the upcoming dates are August 16-18th. That means I’d likely still be in town and able to attend.

You know what else happens August 16th? That’s Day 90 for the Tracy Anderson metamorphosis when I reset the counter. That day was chosen based on me working out five times a week starting last Monday. It just seemed like fate that I would get my jiggly ass in shape just in time for my 10 year high school reunion.

I have some thoughts about that reunion, but that’s at topic for another post.

On the topic of backing away from donuts, I have failed. I ate three donuts this week. Don’t even get me started on how many cupcakes I’ve eaten. I remember the summer I met the husband. I went low-to-no carb for a few months, and I loved the way I looked and felt.

Perhaps I should go low-to-no carb again? That would be no potatoes, no bread, no cake, no cookies, no anything that makes me happy in terms of food. I tend to overdo it when it comes to carbs anyway, so it might not be the worst idea.

Ugh, it also means no gravy! I can’t go without gravy, can I?

All I know is that with the new goal of truly reaching Day 90 by the time my reunion rolls around, I feel more motivated. I just have to get my life to agree with me.

My work schedule is not conducive to working out. This past week, I only got in three workouts. If I do six-a-week workouts for the next two weeks, I can easily get back on track. Tracy Anderson Metamorphosis is meant for six-a-week workouts, so I should be fine.

If I could just leave work at a normal hour, I could do it. I much prefer working out at 2pm rather than 9pm. Maybe I can  figure out a way to workout during work. After all, there is a small gym at the office with a DVD player and television. It’s definitely an idea to consider because it gets harder and harder to keep my motivation once the sun sets.

I think I have a pretty good psuedo-plan to get myself back on track. Possible no carb, possible working out at work, possible working out six days a week for a few weeks.

I will be posting again about how Day One went. I took pictures because I wanted to post about it. I am feeling so self-conscious about those pictures though, so the post will be password protected.

Perhaps when I no longer look like the pictures, I’ll feel like turning the password off. But for now, send me an e-mail if you want the password. I’ve got no problem giving that password out to my regular readers!

I can turn some of those possibilities into a reality, right?


Let’s Do It Again

Anyone familiar with the Staple Singers? I love music from before and right around the time I was born (this song clearly being almost ten years before). Those people could put together an entire song without ever saying two complete sentences. Good job Curtis Mayfield.

This barely PG song was running through my mind as I was feeling like getting back on top of all the goals I’ve set for myself.

Today is the first day in a while I’ve felt better about work. Things are still up in the air about so many aspects of my department, but at least I’m getting used to it. Having a new boss, having different job duties, and having different employees was really a lot to take in all at once.

I’ve been reading a lot of great blog posts around about how to handle stress. It gave some great tips, but it also just reminded me to acknowledge the stress and not hermit crab myself until it passed. Almost as soon as I looked the stress right in the eye, it dissipated.

I’m still not crazy about things at work, but I have a whole new perspective.

Ah, who am I kidding. I feel better because I see a way out. When you fix one part of your life, the rest seems to feel less important. Our lease on the apartment I’ve come to hate is up June 30th.

Obviously, I’ll be turning Project UnPack into Project Downsize-and-RePack. Wish me luck. I really have no choice but to get shit done in the next couple months. If I tell myself that a few more times, perhaps I’ll really mean it.

Since I’m getting my projects back on task, I’ll take a look at being healthy again. My blog was judging me as Day 90 came and went for the Tracy Anderson Metamorphosis. I really dropped the ball on that one.

If I start again (for the third time), I’ll start back at the beginning. I’m thinking I should. It was going well when I was making time for it no matter what and when I was utilizing MyFitnessPal.

A new friend I met through UBP13 named Danielle over at Motivating Mommy has invited me to friend her on the app/website. She’s my first friend on that site, so I’m looking forward to using that to get back into it. Can you tell I’m barely effective at utilizing social media?

So with Project RePack, starting over at Day 1 for Tracy Anderson, and finding a balance at work, I’ve got an awful lot on my plate. You know what always smooths things out for me? Shopping!

I don’t really have the expendable income to do a lot of shopping for myself, but I can do shopping for others. There are birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays coming up soon. Today, I just purchased the birthday gift for our twin nieces. We’re getting them these adorable old school style lunch boxes. Want to see a sample of what they look like? Of course you do!

So adorable, right? And these are just a few options they have.

So adorable, right? And these are just a few options they have.

If you click the screenshot, it will take you to the Frecklebox website, and you can have a closer look.I purchased two already and the gifts are shipping soon my way customized for each girl. Even though it’s not for me, a bit of shopping really just rounds out my week and takes the edge off.

For clarity’s sake, this wasn’t sponsored at all. If it were, the picture would be better, the post more streamlined, and praise more effusive.

Aside from the shopping-when-I-have-no-money, who’s getting back on track with me? Being healthy, reducing stress, making your house apartment a home? Let’s do this!


Back to the Grind

The day that shall forever be known as “The Day I Didn’t Become Infamous For Starting A Strep Epidemic” preceded a day I barely remember.

I was so damn sick, y’all. It’s not even funny. I acted like a whiny little bitch all morning, and the wonderful man I married put up with it.

He asked if I wanted soup, and of course I did. He offered to go buy me Progresso soup. I was hurt that he’d suggest canned soup to me when I had an amazing recipe for chicken noodle soup.

So I whined that I wanted my soup recipe, and he offered to go the grocery store and then cook it for me. I laughed incredulously at the thought that he could make home-made soup.

I’m so damn rude sometimes. But the husband acknowledges that even with me talking him through each step from the couch, something would likely go wrong.

At this point, I had no intention of getting off the couch. Feeling as horrible as I did, my raging hunger finally got me up off the couch and to the stove. I drugged myself up really good so I did no coughing, sneezing, or sniffling over the soup.

The soup was delicious and totally worth the worsening malaise. The husband rubbed my lower back for me after we finished eating because he’s the best.

The next 30 hours after that are a complete blur. I took medicine and mindlessly watched episodes of Misfits. It’s this British show we get through Hulu Plus. Crazy sci-fi weirdness and lots of slang I don’t understand, but I love that show!

When it was time to go back to work, I felt better. I’m still working on getting rid of this cough, but at least no one in my family got sick. I let my co-workers know who was the lucky winner in the Who-Got-Me-Sick Sweepstakes. I’m just glad I didn’t get the flu or strep throat.

So now I’m back on a three day string at work. Working hard and keeping pace with the constant change has become and every day part of life. At this point, we don’t even get whiplash when something major changes. But I will focus on the positive and be grateful that I don’t have one of those jobs that is the same day in and day out. Monotony blows.


Hyde Park, Oh How I Hate Thee

Can someone explain to me why my neighborhood is full of assholes? Just non-parking assholes. Assholes who don’t understand that we’re all living practically on top of each other, so can you please have you domestic dispute a little quieter? I know there are jerks everywhere, but my little south side of Chicago eclectic neighborhood houses a special kind.

Pretty soon, my problems will change. I’m looking forward to June 30th. That’s the day our lease is up. I’m turning Project UnPack into Project Pack The Hell Up.

I’m trying to decide if I want to go the route of trying to sell all the extra crap we have. We really don’t need two beds, but we have it. We really don’t need 3 TVs, but we have it. And we really truly don’t need all the bookcases we have, especially since we bought the Elfa shelves. Wouldn’t it be better to donate everything to Salvation Army or something and get a nice receipt for when we file taxes? I like the idea that my TVs would help someone who would get a great deal at the Salvation Army store.

Aside from packing up and leaving and downsizing all our crap, there are a few other things I’ll be glad to say good-bye to:

  1. Theft: someone stole the husband’s bike. They stole it from the basement room in our building that houses over 15 bikes. As far as we know, his is the only one missing.
  2. Gunfire: I hate that I saw two people exchange gunfire outside my apartment. I grew up in the 100s, so gunfire isn’t new to me. But for real, when you have galleries and hotels (not motels) and pets dogs so well trained they don’t need leashes in your neighborhood, you shouldn’t have to also dodge bullets.
  3. Hypocritical Cops: Having to deal with cops who don’t come when I report gunfire, but who make my parents move for sitting in their car outside our apartment talking before pulling off is some bullshit. I’ve heard more handcuff jokes from cops who were poorly flirting than I’ve seen drive past wearing their seat belts. And we have CPD, University of Chicago PD, and whoever those unmarked cops are because we live a half mile from Obama’s house.
  4. Poor parking: Aside from the fact that the neighborhood is too congested is the fact that half the residents cannot park. If you know your neighborhood doesn’t have enough parking, why do you purposely park like a jackass? I will never understand the answer to that. And for all you people who are self-aware bad parkers, ignorance is not an excuse. They can tell when they get out of their car that had they only moved up another foot, someone else could park behind them.

At this point, I don’t even care where we live next. As long as there is no parking issues, and the cops come when folks start shooting, I’ll be happy.

Oh, and if I could somehow make my work commute (~90 minutes in traffic currently) more bearable, that would be nice too.

Someone who loves where they live give me a comment so I can live vicariously through you for the next three months!


Getting Dragged From The House

Although you’re reading this some time after noon, I’m writing this shortly after midnight. Why aren’t I out partying? I’m at work, that’s why. I mentioned in a previous post an unfortunate set of circumstances that landed me at work on New Year’s Eve even though I’m not supposed to work holidays anymore now that I’m a supervisor. Just know that I’m getting through the night, and I’m just glad I’m in charge of scheduling in the new year.

In my last post, I was all busy putting my foot down about not leaving the house until I had no other choice, i.e., having to go work. Well that lasted until the peer pressure broke me down. The wife of the couple we had plans to spend time with on Sunday really truly just HAD to see Django that day and no other day.

After much cajoling, they got me to agree to go. No one believed me that my lip burn was much worse than it looked. They didn’t understand that my skin flap was just pushed up and hiding an awful looking sore. So it was either go out into the public or ruin everyone else’s day. So we went to see Django, which I had no interest in seeing. I’m not a fan of Jaime Foxx like that. I’m really not a fan of Quentin Tarantino. I don’t like it when Kerry Washington and Jaime Foxx are husband and wife in a movie either. But I do love me some Leonardo DiCaprio. I had to sit through three hours of a racist Leonardo with what felt like 60 full minutes of previews in front of it. It was a long ass afternoon.

After the movie, we went to the grocery store and bought fettuccine noodles, alfredo sauce, shrimp, crab legs, salad, chicken breasts, lemons, and powdered sugar. That sounds like a lot, right? Ah, but it was just enough for a great dinner. We had a chicken breast salad with red wine vinaigrette (my own special home-made dressing). Then we had shrimp alfredo. Then we had crab legs. Then we had lemon bars. I made smaller portions so no one over-ate. It was a great meal, and we had fun playing video games, drinking wine, and discussing the movie while we ate.

When it was time to say goodnight, we made plans to hang out again soon. The husband and I really like hanging with them, so it’d be nice to hang out more than once every couple of months. I don’t think I’ve mentioned it yet, but this is the couple whose wedding the husband and I met at. We were having fun regaling them with stories about when we first met that they’d never heard.

The story that really threw them was how we both knew from the moment we met that we simply must get together. We weren’t referring to a relationship though, we were referring to our physical chemistry. They laughed when we said neither of us expected things to go further than a fun weekend together. It still took us several months to get things right. Hell we were already engaged before we got things right, but it was amusing to look back on how wildly different our expectations were from how things turned out.

And as they left, they reminded me that my lip really didn’t look all that bad and I was being self-conscious for nothing. The husband agreed that it was worse in my head. The next day, I got out of the shower while getting ready for work. I noticed the little skin flap (doesn’t that give some odd imagery?) had come off, and now all I could see was a bright pink mark on my lip.

When the husband saw my face, all he said was, “oh.” My response was, “so now you get it?” And he did. What’s going on is that my upper lip looks terrible now. I have armed myself with neosporin and lip balm. I can only hope that soon enough, it goes away. And by soon enough, I mean months instead of years. My skin takes a really long time to heal from burns.

On a completely different note, I’ve been working out! It’s only been two days, so don’t get excited. But I’m just glad I got my lazy ass up off the couch and started again. The stress from work really has kept me from gaining too much weight. I’m only about a pound heavier than I was at my lowest weight when I stopped the last time. I’m just out of shape and flabby. This Tracy Anderson workout pulls everything in and makes you tight.

The couple we were hanging out with asked me why I cared so much about working out when I was smaller than most people. I told them it was because I cared about once again fitting into the dress I was wearing the day I met my husband. They liked that answer. The husband did too. So I’m trying to stay on the workout bandwagon. I’m too invested in my physical appearance to have so many jiggly parts.

Last time I was working out, I felt sure that Tracy Anderson was trying to kill me. This time around, I started to feel the same way, then I remembered that I brought this on myself. I’m the one who stopped working out. I’m the one who got out of shape. I’m the one who (wisely) started back over at Day 1 of her workout plan so I wouldn’t be behind the curve on the later workouts. I never feel pity for people with self-inflected problems, so I don’t have any self-pity now. It’s my damn fault everything hurts. But at least I have a wonderful husband who massaged my legs for me so I could keep going with the workouts.

It seems like most everything I felt had gone out of balance I’ve managed to get back in a few days. Something about putting into writing really put it into perspective for me. It really got my head on straight. Once I remembered my priorities, I was able to find the motivation. The hardest part was getting started. I figure that should last me about a week. Then I’ll have to find a new motivation to keep me going.

And, of course, at some point, I’ll work on unpacking our stupid apartment so I can pack it back up again in a few months.


Why Go Out When I Can Stay In?

The husband had a gig Saturday night. It was for a wedding at Trump Towers. I can only imagine how amazing a wedding was at a place like that. He asked me if I wanted to go with him, but that was before he knew what type of gig it was. When I heard it was at the Trump Hotel in the tower, I was pretty hesitant to just say yes to going. It could’ve been a holiday or some corporate event. There were many gigs that could be there. I could think of so many types of gigs that I shouldn’t just be waltzing into. I’m not sure what the husband was thinking he’d be doing there, but the fact that it was a wedding pretty much solidified that I’d be staying home.

The other thing that solidified my night in was my lip. During a conference call with the other supervisors in my department on Friday morning, I had an accident. During my excitement at planning our annual department party (which is always in February), I also realized I needed to cook the husband breakfast as promised because he had to get to a rehearsal. So I chopped potatoes and heated up oil. I managed not to chop off any fingers, but I did toss freshly chopped potatoes into hot bacon grease/olive oil/butter and it popped back at me.

It hit my right hand pinkie finger and the left side of my top lip. It hurt so badly, I spent the next five hours rotating out different frozen foods to ease to pain. Why not just use ice, you ask? I couldn’t use ice because though we have seven ice trays, all in the freezer, we only had three ice cubes amongst all the trays. I hate ice and never use it except for parties, so I didn’t notice this. So frozen chopped peaches had to do.

Eventually, I switched to neosporin because the pain only kept getting worse. The neosporin helped so I didn’t need to keep ice on my face, but at that point, I was more concerned with how my face was going to look with a burn blister on my upper lip. It takes me forever to heal from burn wounds, and one on my upper lip…? You know, looking like some sort of infection/cold sore/questionable scar?

How exactly does one explain it? Somehow, “no this is not a cold sore I’ve recently contracted from the cheating of either myself or my husband, it’s actually a burn I carelessly caused to myself from hot ass bacon grease because I got too excited thinking about an awards ceremony and wondering where we’d find a golden headset.” Seems like something might get lost in translation for anyone who doesn’t see me everyday and have an intimate understanding of my marriage and my job. So that meant hiding away until I knew what I was dealing with on my face.

One of our favorite couples was to meet up with us Friday to hang out. That had to get moved to Sunday so I could figure my face out. Well, also, I was extra tired from working the last couple of days and really needed to decompress. So I stayed home and re-applied neosporin and waited to see what would come of my lip. It felt worse than it looked. The husband swore he couldn’t see anything on my face. I think his vision is worse than mine though, so I took it with a grain of salt. It did give me hope though that as long as no one looked to closely at my face, they wouldn’t think I had some questionable sore on my face.

So now we’re back to Saturday and the husband is at his gig at the Trump Tower hotel. I laid on the couch, catching up on episodes of Leverage. That show is absolutely amazing, by the way. As I sat there, I thought about how I should get my lazy ass off the couch and start working out. But I ultimately decided against it. I can’t remember why exactly but the reasoning being something like concern about doing too much too fast and burning myself out. I just did the great task of getting back to my blog. A workout would take it too far, or some such nonsense.

So what did I decide to do instead? Well, I chopped up some potatoes, and I made myself some french fries. My daddy always taught me to get back on the horse. I didn’t want to get afraid of the potatoes + oil, so I went in. I didn’t think about the fact that I was eating fried foods two days in a row, I just felt good cooking two days in a row. Then I took it up a notch when I took the fresh-from-the-oil french fries, covered them in cheese and freshly rendered bacon (I like fresh, even if it is unhealthy, you know?), and popped it in the oven to melt the cheese.

It was so delicious, I just ate it straight from the pan. Again, no new burns. As I settled into my potato coma, I felt good. So good, in fact, that I relaxed and let my mind wander on how great I am for getting back on the hot oil horse. Right at that moment, I rolled over and scratched an itch that had been bothering me. Then I set up with tears in my eyes.

Half of the tears were from the pain of accidentally ripping off a layer of skin that was barely protecting the burned area. The other half of the tears were from the knowledge that without that skin, my face would be scarred for months to years while it healed the wrong way. I ran to the mirror and confirmed my fears. I had a bright red spot of skin right there where my actual lip meets that skin between your nose and your lip. What was worse is that the skin wasn’t all the way pulled off, just halfway scratched off.

I grabbed a band-aid, pushed some of the skin back into place, and then applied more neosporin. The ointment burned, and the band-aid felt awkward. But at least I was scratch-proofing my face. I was so worried what the husband would think when he got home. I angled the band-aid so it was diagonal, otherwise I would’ve had a Hitler mustache thing going on. It was just horrible to look in the mirror, so I just stopped.

I fell asleep before the husband got home from his gig, and when he saw me in the morning, he said nothing of the band-aid. He just went to sleep (he was out pretty late, I guess that means he discovered ReBar, which is a wonderful place inside Trump Tower). So I texted our friends who got rescheduled from Friday. I asked if they wouldn’t mind staying in with us. There is just no way I can go out into the public where people can see me with this band-aid on my face. The jokes from the husband and our friends will be bad enough. Then I have to work Monday night. That still gives me several days (until Wednesday) to heal up before I have to deal with the general public, i.e., back on the day shift and running errands.

All I can think of now is how I have less excitement about this party in February. It’s not the party’s fault I got burned, I know. It’s my damn fault. But correlation and causation is hard to separate in the human mind. And my face still really hurts. The lips are one of the most sensitive parts of the body, and getting burned there hurts more than most burns. So what’s the lesson in all this? I think it’s the fried food. I should’ve just baked the home fries I made for breakfast. It would’ve been healthier, and apparently, safer.

Have you ever done anything to yourself that made you want to hide away from the world so no one will know?