Musings of a Chicago-Born New Yorker

Posts tagged “work

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.


Numb Is the Best Word Here

I’ve been barely paying attention to social media. I’ve learned that Clinton is probably going to win the popular vote. I’ve learned that white women are to blame for Trump’s win. I’ve learned that I don’t really care about everyone’s anguish right now.

I’m numb. I’m at work, and dealing with a lot of crazies. It’s like a full moon out with all the weirdness abounding here.

And my mom is texting me about what I’m thinking. And my husband is messaging me about how I feel.

I feel meh.

I’m numb. And I think the only thing that might make me feel better again is finding a school to go to for my MBA, a school outside of this country. So I don’t have to be here for a Trump presidency.

Maybe if I can make that happen, the pollsters will have learned how to properly poll Latinos and the Rust Belt by the time I get back.


Empathy versus Me Me Me

Why is it so hard to empathize with people who are different? I’m sitting here listening to some of my co-workers fussing about early voting.

I’m so confused. If you’re not going to early vote, and if you’re lucky enough to have a job where you can take the time out of your work day to go vote, why the hell do you care what provisions are in place for other voters?

Just to be clear, these people aren’t worried about voter fraud or anything like that (we all know that’s a Trump supporter problem anyway), they’re just irritated that they have to hear about the statistics of demographics of early voting.

This got me thinking about empathy, or lack thereof. How easy is it to see things from the perspective of someone else? To put yourself in their shoes and show compassion for their situation? Does having that ability make you any more likely to accept policies at home, work, or elsewhere that don’t directly benefit you?

Maybe it’s human to get that sense of injustice or to feel like something isn’t fair when things don’t directly benefit you. Or maybe it’s just a chance to stare your own privilege in the face and realize everything doesn’t have to benefit you to be important to the world around you.

But one can dream. If the world revolved around me:

  1. My co-workers wouldn’t all take lunch at the same fucking time and leave me on the phone by myself.
  2. My bosses would fix the schedule so I never worked on a short-staffed shift.
  3. Maids in NYC would suddenly start giving out “You Don’t Have Time To Clean, You Poor Thing” discount coupons.
  4. My yoga studio would consult my work and volunteer and travel schedules before scheduling vinyasa and aerial yoga classes.
  5. No one would call my husband for gigs between February 5th and February 15th.
  6. Subway platform elevators would never again smell like pee or vomit or shit or armpit or ass crack or perfume.
  7. People without children would get to vote on which section all the people with children sat in on the plane.
  8. The vending machine at work would never run out of cheesy poofs.
  9. Everything Colin Kaepernick says about the state of blacks in this country would immediately be turned into a bumper sticker and refrigerator magnet.
  10. You could subscribe to Colin Kaepernick’s refrigerator magnets, and all proceeds would go to make the Know Your Rights Camp national.
  11. My mom and dad would move to New York.

The world doesn’t revolve around me. I get it. It’s why I have to go to yoga smack in the middle of the afternoon on my days off, when I least feel like putting on pants.

That being said, I empathize with my aerial teacher, who is able to schedule her yoga classes around her other job(s) and auditions and whatnot.

And also, I love statistics. Who gets irritated about statistics? Nate Silver, my statistics boo, could make anyone love statistics. Well… I know that’s not true, but I wish it were true.


Now We’re Back On The Same Page

New York living is expensive y’all!

Imagine going to Starbucks every day for a week. You’re feeling all hyper and caffeine-alicious, but wonderfully satisfied. Then you realize that bottle of water, plus some fruit, plus a couple of those new yummy chocolate croissants, plus that tempting sale-priced Holiday blend coffee destined for your French press at home have all conspired together. And you are now $150 poorer than you were 7 days ago. And this is just from a coffee shop!

Now imagine that everywhere is Starbucks. Everywhere. Anything you do more than once in a week suddenly suck hundreds of dollars from your budget. Budget,say what? That thing that just frustrates you because no amount of planning can account for what you have no choice but to do when you lose your Metro card you just added $112 dollars to? Yeah, budgets.

Okay, I’m done with the stream of consciousness run on sentences for a bit. I think I’ve made my point that incidental costs alone make New York living expensive.

All of this was just based on my own experiences. But I’m not here alone, the husband is here too. He’s had the same challenges I’ve had coupled with the frustration of not working as much as he’d like.

We knew this would happen. We came to New York so he could spread his musician wings, open up a new market, and ultimately work even more (hopefully) than he was in Chicago.

That type of thing doesn’t happen overnight.

So it’s been a rough six months, financially at least. There were definitely some bumps along the way.

I had to stop drinking Starbucks every day. You won’t like me when I’m decaffeinated.

The husband unilaterally decided to postpone grad school. Again. That’s all I’ll say on that topic for now.

And the cats have taken to terrorizing the entire apartment building because they got used to having free reign of stairways during their months in exile at my parents’ house in Chicago.

Getting used to having no space anymore that counts as an escape for alone time, I’ve claimed some Saturdays as my own where I hang out in Greenwich Village, sometimes with the folks from the soup kitchen. Sometimes, I’m just by myself, hanging at Starbucks, drinking a mocha and watching Hulu on my phone.

But now things are evening out, at least they appear that way.

The husband is getting more calls for gigs, and offers to head out-of-town to play as well. So far, it appears he’s been able to maintain his musical connection to the Midwest while developing roots on the East Coast.

This weekend, he’s headed to Haiti for a music festival, then he’s back playing multiple gigs in NYC and some of the most popular jazz clubs in the city. Then he’s off to Midwest and out West for a month and some change to play there.

All of this has of course boosted his morale. It’s a nice feeling to know that the people like you, they really like you. And they want to pay you to stick around and do more.

On my end, I’m starting to hit a groove at work. I’m finishing up a work project that I’ve put a lot into and I’m hoping to see some real returns on it in the coming months. It’s all about getting more active participation in the donation process on all sides.

New York City provides some interesting challenges to organ and tissue donation that I just wasn’t experienced with coming from the Midwest. But I think I’ve risen to the challenge and if anything, it’s made me more committed to this work and I’ve dug deeper to find new ways to make it happen.

One thing I always tell my staff is that every time we speak to a family regarding donation, it’s an investment in today and tomorrow. Whether or not a family who has lost a loved one decides to have that person become a donor is irrelevant in this way.

I tell them that we want to make sure we are caring for these families at this difficult time and letting them know that our desire to help people get transplants never diminishes our compassion for their loss. Every time a family hangs up with us, they should feel positive about the conversation.

When we do this consistently, we are doing a small part to contribute to positive public opinion regarding donation. And we lay the groundwork for the family to say yes next time. If a family decides to donate, but they have a bad experience, they’re not going to want to repeat it. If a family decides not to donate, but they have a good experience, they may reconsider next time (depending on their reasons for saying no in the first place).

At my old job in Chicago and at this one, I have encountered families that have heard from us multiple times. They have been unfortunate enough to lose multiple family members in the last handful of years. It just so happened that these family members that passed away were all eligible for tissue donation. And when they hear from us, they have to make that decision about donation, and it’s a unique decision every time they decide.

I am finally starting to feel like I’m getting through to people regarding the importance of this. As America gets older (and sicker), more and more people will know someone in need of a transplant.

Just like with gay marriage, knowing and loving someone affected by an issue makes you more likely to support it. To me this means that in coming years, people will be more open to donation. I want to make sure that when that happens, those who have already lost loved ones and talked to us have a positive feeling towards the organization I work for.

It’s our jobs to make something positive come out of a sad situation and give people a chance to live on through others. We can’t do that unless we’re constantly taking care of public opinion regarding what we do.

I definitely didn’t mean to go on such a long pro-donation ramble, but I just feel so passionately about this. And considering the fact that all I do in NYC is work, volunteer, church, and sleep, it’s a big portion of my life here.

I’m looking forward in the near future to do more that just that. Now that the husband is working more, I at least get to go out to his gigs because they usually let me in free.

But even though I’m not out at amazing restaurants and cool clubs all the time (or, couch, ever), I’m really doing okay.

The time I spend away from home is so fulfilling, and really a lot of fun.

At work I’m saving lives with the click of a button, and co-workers are crazy and fun in the best way possible.

At church, I’m growing closer to God. And I’m looking forward to seeing what’s going on with the young adult ministry, it seems like it could be fun.

At one of my volunteer things, I get to tutor (which y’all know I love) and play with a new baby.

At the other volunteer thing, I’m hanging out in the Village, and becoming part of a really amazing family of good people who just like being together and making someone else’s day a bit better.

Since the second I signed the lease on our lovely little brownstone apartment, I’ve loved living in New York. But since things have evened out a bit more, I love it even more.

Now if I could just figure out the best way to navigate the public school system here so we don’t have to move one day when we have kids…


That Time I Almost Stabbed An Old Man In The Street

Before I talk about that time I almost stabbed an old man in the street, I first want to follow-up on yesterday. It’s like God heard my not-actually-prayed prayers and found a solution to my problems.

I will have time to wash my clothes before I have to wear more awful clothing combinations to work. I was sitting at work when one of the other shift leaders asks me if I want to go home, take a nap, then come back that night.

I did a quick thinking process and decided I was in. I gathered my things and left. I got home and took a nice long nap until it was time to get up to go do my volunteer thing. I definitely went the wrong way once or twice on the way (anyone want to teach me the difference between north and south?), but I finally got to the place.

The woman I’m working with has her final next week. So when I go back on Monday, we’re going to work hard to make sure she’s as prepared as possible for the final. Then the following weekend, we will celebrate her doing well by taking an excursion somewhere. We haven’t figured out where yet, but I’m really looking forward to it.

I’m glad this is going well because I know sometimes volunteer work can be unfulfilling and boring. This work is anything but. She even showed me her latest sonogram today! My personal opinion happens to be that sonograms look weird and pretty icky, but I was just happy for her that she wanted to show the pictures off.

I’m sure the husband will want to pat me on the back for keeping my strong ass opinions to myself for once. Thank God I have this blog to let it out on you people. I figure you’re asking for my opinions because you bother to read my words.

I’ll probably be one of the few ladies who shuns her own sonograms while she’s pregnant. The doctor will be all, “hey, want a picture of your baby? Isn’t it grand?” And I’ll be all, “um, no that alien looking thing belongs in my womb, not floating around in my purse or on my refrigerator blown up 100x. No thank you.” Then the husband will shake his head at me and request the picture anyway.

Back on topic now. After I was done with the tutoring, I headed to work. I worked until the morning at which point I went home. Now I’m not due back until Friday, so I actually have time to, you guessed it, wash my clothes!

Because I worked last night, I could wear causal clothes, which I haven’t run out of yet. And on casual Friday, I can also wear the jeans instead of the slacks. That gives me four whole days to manage to wash some clothes for work on Monday. Of course, I’ll be quite tired from flipping back and forth from day sleep to night sleep, so I still may not get it done. I’m not gonna worry about that just yet though.

On to the point of this post. In the course of getting ready for my trip out of town last weekend, I decided to take a trip down to Greenwich Village in Manhattan rather than to the Laundromat, you know, to wash clothes.

Down in Greenwich Village, I was reminded yet again of why I love that neighborhood. It just feels neighborhood-y and community-ish. The people all seem to carry the sense of belonging and lack of judgment with them everywhere they go.

My destination when I got there was this lovely little shop that sells essential oils. I’ll explain in a later post why I needed essential oils, but there I was, making some purchases, feeling very Village-like. I left the shop and noticed there was a vegan grocery store, a yoga studio, a sushi bar, and a LGBT community center all within the same half a block.

Even though I’m heterosexual and such a carnivore (pun intended), I felt so at home. That type of acceptance of any lifestyle put a big smile on my face. I don’t know how much time you people have spent around others who aren’t like yourself. I’ve encountered communities that are so supportive of vegans that they judge meat-eaters. I’ve also been around homosexuals and bisexuals that shun heterosexuals.

But nobody was eye-ing my I heart bacon sweatshirt with ire. I fit right in and happily so.

Just as I was reveling in my daydreams about moving into this building that looked like a fancy version of my current brownstone, my thoughts were interrupted by this man. He was leaning forward, swaying unsteadily on his feet. For some reason, he was holding a 7-Eleven big gulp cup partially in front of his eyes in a very I-can-see-you-but-you-can’t-see-me kind of way.

He swayed into my path and began lumbering toward me. When I stepped to the side to go around him, he stepped to the side to stay in my way. Then he started talking. I don’t recall exactly what he said, but he kept calling me Lady and laughing each time he said it.

When he got closer, I stopped walking forward and actually started taking steps back. As I stepped back, he stepped forward. This was officially an awful moment. I wasn’t sure what to do, so I ran through the options.

1)      Mace his ass.

2)      Cut his ass.

3)      Run away.

4)      See if he needed help.

The first option was a good one since I had an adorable pink bottle of pepper spray in my purse. The second option was the most attractive, but I didn’t have a box cutter with me because the husband refused to buy me one. I’m pretty sure it was out of pure laziness that he didn’t buy it for me. And I’m pretty sure it was out of pure laziness that I didn’t buy it for myself.

The third option just isn’t my style. I prefer fight over flight. The last option didn’t feel very safe. I’m alone in New York, so I can’t afford the risk to my safety by reaching out to strangers like that. I just got here, and I’d like to keep myself safe.

Based on those options, I began reaching for my pepper spray, cursing both myself and my husband that I didn’t have a box cutter. I’m not against cutting an old man who’s starting to scare me. But before I could pull out the pepper spray, another man on the street told the man to leave me alone because he was clearly scaring me.

They argued back and forth a bit over whether or not he was scaring me. Ultimately the creepy old man with the big gulp cup gave up and crossed the street, muttering to himself.

I left my pepper spray in my purse and thanked the man for his intervention.

Then I called the husband and fussed at him for not buying me a box cutter. I clearly needed to cut an old man, but wasn’t able to because he was being lazy.

The husband, who is saner than I am, immediately let me know that it wasn’t a bad thing that I got through the afternoon without cutting an old man.

Agree to disagree.

On my agenda while I have some time at the Laundromat: heading to the nearby hardware store to purchase a box cutter.

That old man may have been harmless, but I don’t want to be naïve enough to think everybody who walks up on me in this city will be. I’ve got plans for my life, and they don’t include becoming a statistic to senseless violence. Yeah, that just got real.


A Chicago-Style Girl In New York, Weekend Edition

Because I was so busy getting ready for the move to NYC, I started a bunch of draft posts. As I’m settling into the city, I’ll post them. To keep up with my new adventures, don’t forget to follow my new Twitter account @ChicagoGirlinNY

So now here is the story of my weekend in New York with my girls that resulted in me having just a couple weeks to relocate.

My girls and I left on a Saturday evening to drive to New York.  We had a great time doing the tourist thing in the city.

We stayed in a hotel in Chelsea. When we rolled up, it was hot, it was Sunday, and there was garbage everywhere because New York doesn’t have alleys. Garbage pick up day in New York has got be where the phrase “hot garbage on a Sunday” comes from.

imagejpeg_0 (1)

We hung out in Chelsea all morning, and did a little shopping. I had a high fashion moment with a collar accessory in H&M.

IMG-20130623-WA0001

We couldn’t check into the hotel until 3:00 PM, so we had time to kill. We decided to go to Central Park. I was so excited because out of all the times I’ve been to New York I’d never make my way to the park.

imagejpeg_3 (1)

Us citified-yet-Midwestern girls are not cut out for all that nature/walking. We entered the park at 59th & Columbus Circle. Next thing I know, we’re by the zoo and tired as hell without the energy to make it back to the subway.

imagejpeg_0

It was just so much fun walking and taking random paths and seeing the meadow, the carnival, the kids park, the rocks to climb, etc. So much stuff, and we didn’t even see half of it.

We really spent a lot of time figuring out places where they shot movies. We saw locations for scenes from Enchanted, Brown Sugar, Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, and others.

Riding the subway was fun. I’ve ridden it before, and it’s just slightly more complicated than the L in Chicago.

imagejpeg_1 (1)

It was nice to be the expert for my girls as we made our way around Manhattan.

imagejpeg_2 (1)

And we were entertained by the local performers. Sorry the picture is fuzzy, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to share a local jazz flute player.

IMG-20130623-WA0000

After Central Park, we checked into the hotel. Then it was time for food. We headed towards Times Square to do a food crawl of all the New York-style foods one should get as a tourist. But before we got the food, we got stopped by quite the sight to see.

IMG-20130623-WA0002

That’s body paint, not a bod suit. She was really something, no? I sent this pic to my friend who just moved back to Chicago from New York, and she got nostalgic for all the crazy shit that happens there that’s just regular to everyone except the tourists. Apparently, in exactly six months, stuff like this won’t even phase me.

We did hot dogs, pizza, and were going for cheesecake at Lindy’s, but we got too tired and just stopped at this place called Havana and got tapas and Latin themed drinks and flan and cheesecake instead.

IMG-20130623-WA0004

By the time we left there, the sun was going down.

imagejpeg_2

We decided to go out dancing, but I still didn’t have anything to wear. So we popped into Forever 21, which is open until 2:00 AM in Times Square.

We were loving NYC when we realized we could shop at a four-story Forever 21 almost 24 hours a day. But then it was time to go out. I got the best picture ever while we were waiting for the subway train.

20130624_000327

When we made it to the club, it was closed. Whomp whomp. Sunday night, what can you do? So instead we went to a bar near the hotel and had a drink. Then it was time for bed because I had an interview the next day.

I honestly don’t even know what the girls did while I was at my interview. I just know it involves Macy’s. My interview lasted three hours, during which I did amazing things. I mean, it must’ve been amazing because they offered me the job less than 24 hours later. I’m just so grateful to be given the opportunity and soooo excited for the move!

We ended up going to the world’s fanciest sports bar for lunch. It’s right across the street from Madison Square Garden on like 32 St. I think.

inbox_7302__draft_1372609080705

The good was great. After we finished, we got ready to get back on the road. This quick little turn around got me a job and got my girls to NYC for the first time. Even though the total driving time was only 6 or so hours less than the time we spent there, it was totally worth it.

Now I’m here in New York and experiencing times like this weekend every day. I can’t wait to share all the great places I’ve discovered in Brooklyn, a borough I never set foot in until I was apartment searching. Stay tuned!


Hello New York

This morning on my walk to work, I noticed there was a line outside of the DMV. The same line was there yesterday.

This is only my second day of work, so I’m not sure if this is a trend or not. What I do know is that in New York, there are people everywhere. All the time. All. The. Time. If there is anywhere more city than Chicago, it’s New York.

So I’ve been snapping away taking pictures on my camera phone (I really need to get another digital camera) and taking in as much of New York as I can in a short period of time. I’ve been here just over a week, and I’m so in love.

This city is just lovely. I started a new Twitter account to track all the lovely things I’m seeing and doing in NYC. It’s @ChicagoGirlinNY. Follow me and learn the city through my eyes.

My best friend (who was also my maid of honor in my wedding) used to live in NYC. She moved back to Chicago a few months ago to start new adventures. She was amazing enough to come to New York with me and help me get settled in.

I definitely have a few more blog posts in the wings about our apartment hunting, getting back and forth from Brooklyn to Staten Island, and exploring the neighborhoods.

I live in Bed-Stuy and I couldn’t be happier. I thought I wanted to live in Manhattan, but I’m glad I gave Brooklyn a chance. My introduction to New York has been amazing and I can’t wait for more.


Big Changes Coming

There will be a change coming soon to the look of my blog. I’m going to have to do it because now the look is Chicago-centric. I’m a born and raised Chicago girl after all, so it made sense to have it that way.

But now, drum roll please…

 

I am about to become A Chicago-Style Girl in New York City!

 

That’s right, I’m moving to the Big Apple on July 15th. It all happened so fast. I’ve been alluding here and there on this blog for months that a change might come, but I never really got too much into it. There was just so much up in the air, I didn’t eve know where to start.

The uncertainty of my future coupled with my shame over not staying on a consistent exercise schedule made it difficult to find the motivation to blog. Add to it how busy my life is, and you have a perfect storm of neglect.

I should start vlogging. That way I can just chat about what I want to say and don’t have to go back over it for spellcheck.

But back to the point at hand. I’m moving to NYC!!

Here’s what happened.

The husband has always intended to move to New York. He’s a jazz musician and New York is the place to see where his career can really go. We’ve planned on heading there the entire time we’ve been together.

The plan was for me to look for work in the donation/transplant field that I currently work in and for the husband to apply for grad school.

But then he didn’t apply for grad school, and our plans got pushed back a year.

This year, he applied, but extra late. Lucky for him, he got into Queens College, which is where he really wanted to go. Apparently there’s some amazing saxophone person there he really wants to learn from/study with.

Once it was clear the husband actually turned in an application for grad school, I started applying for jobs in New York. There weren’t a lot of them available that fit what I wanted to do with what I’m qualified to do, but I still applied.

I got a couple of bites here and there, but nothing that resulted in a job offer.

After a series of unfortunate events, the husband decides he isn’t going to start grad school until January 2014. Pretty much immediately after that, I got a call for an interview in New York. My girls and I had a weekend trip up there, and the timing worked out for the interview.

When I went, I fell even more in love with the city. Walking around Central Park, hanging out in Chelsea, and riding the subway  just felt so right. The interview went really well (they had me there for three hours!), and they called to offer me the job the very next day.

This was last Tuesday.

Things have been on such a whirlwind since then. Since our lease was up at the end of June, I was more than happy to move out, but now had to plan for an almost immediate move to NYC. We don’t have all the details worked out yet, but this is happening.

The husband and I are at my parents for a few weeks until it’s time for me to head to New York and try to find an apartment. My last day of work is July 12th. There are a million things to do between now and then.

But for blogging purposes, I will soon be A Chicago-Style Girl in NYC. Wish me luck!


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.


As It Turns Out, You Can Cut Yourself With A Plastic Picnic Knife

Can I just say, things have been so crazy at work that I’ve been trying to write this post for a month? I never have time to finish it and just click publish. If only I had more time to post at home.

I know I’m overdue to post my pictures of my progress. To be honest, I just don’t see much progress. Maybe it’s because my eating habits haven’t improved as much as they should. I’ve cut out carbs that come from flour and white potatoes, but that’s about it.

I’ve been doing a pretty good job of eating mostly home cooked food. It’s when I don’t have time to cook that things go awry. Vending machine food is the enemy!

Sometimes, I run to Wal-Mart and grab some groceries to make myself some easy lunch or breakfast. This usually means salad fixings. And that leads to the point of this post.

After doing Tracy Anderson cardio one day, I was starving. I felt weak and knew I needed to eat something, like NOW. I rushed to put together a good salad, with bacon of course. Because I purchased all the good salad fixings, I needed a good salad.

That involved heating up the bacon slices and making my own fresh bacon bits, getting shredded cheese, shredded carrots, and dried cranberries. And it also involved cutting up an apple for which I neglected to bring an appropriate knife. So I grabbed one in the employee lounge.

Next thing I know, I slipped and cut myself.

With a plastic knife.

I didn’t even know they were sharp enough to do that. I guess it was because I was eating a Fiji apple. those things are quite firm and required a lot of applied pressure to cut. As I watched my finger begin to bleed, I contemplated stopping the salad preparation.

But I was just so damn hungry.

So I grabbed a napkin to press against the cut and kept slicing the apple. I have to tell you, it was so worth it because that salad was delicious. And I had the whole time I was eating to contemplate how in the hell I managed to cut myself with a plastic knife.

Eventually, my hunger subsided enough so that I could properly clean and bandage my finger. The problem is that I do a ton of typing at work, and not just my never-ending attempts to put out a new blog post.

Imagine trying to type with a hurt and bandaged finger, feeling all the worse because your dumb ass cut yourself with a plastic knife.

Because I like to learn from my mistakes, this led to better meal planning so I’m not so ravenous when I finish working out. I’m still super hungry, but not so much that I will literally let myself bleed just so I can eat some food.

It’s different working out at work compared to at home. At home, I can just turn on the shower, throw off my clothes, go grab some food. I can do all that in any order. At work it’s a very clear order. I can’t exactly walk around the building in my workout gear so I can grab a pre-shower snack.

So now I try to eat and apple or banana 30 min before I work out. And I have something for lunch that I can start to munch on while whatever else I’m preparing the rest of my food. And so far, I haven’t cut myself again yet.

With a plastic knife.


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!


Just Stop Dogging Me Around

If you love Michael Jackson songs like I do, then you know more about his lyrics than the casual music listener. I lump him in with Mariah Carey, Steven Tyler, and Prince. Not because they are mega stars with hordes of fans. They are all lumped together because I never know what the hell they’re saying in their song lyrics.

But being the Michael Jackson fan I am, I know his lyrics. And in his song Leave Me Alone, he only strings together two full sentences in the whole thing. In spite of not saying much, he’s truly expressing how I feel right now.

Sometimes you just wanna be left alone, you know? You get to feeling under-appreciated. And the same people not appreciating you are constantly asking you for things. It’s hard not to let that feeling take over your whole world.

I’m feeling this way right now because of work. If you read this blog a lot, which I still don’t understand because I’m not that interesting, then you know I waffle back and forth on how I feel about my job.

I love my line of work and I love how I’m able to help people without having to directly deal with them. But I also sometimes hate my job and fantasize about winning the lottery and quitting Dave Chapelle style. I’ve recently realized that my love-hate relationship with my job has more to do with the people I work with than the work I do.

When no one needs me to solve an immediate emergency, I’m good. I churn out my reports and hop on the phone with a sparkling personality. I wow folks at meetings and speed through my to-do list. That scenario is the exception unfortunately.

These last few days, it’s been tough. I’m finally starting to understand why my dad was the way he was when I was growing up. He’s got a lot of difficult people at his job; his workplace has a much higher percentage of those type of people than I do. He would come home from work and not want to talk or do anything really. I remember wondering why he brought stress from work home with him.

But now I get it. It’s just so hard to leave work at work. In an effort to maintain a certain level of professionalism at work, I have to suppress my ire toward certain people and situations. The one outlet I had at work to get that shit out and not keep it bottled has been whisked away from me in the sea of changes implemented in the last few months.

So now I have nothing. I have a terrible poker face, so it’s obvious when I’m upset. In spite of my terrible poker face, my words and actions stay professional. All of that professional crap is draining, and by the time I get home, I just want to do nothing. I want to stare mindlessly at some movie I’ve already seen 100 times and go to bed early and wake up late.

My plan to deal with work is fine because it gets me through until things even back out again. But I don’t really have a good plan for being at home after a difficult time at work. I don’t know how the husband is going to deal with it. So far, it hasn’t been going well. He doesn’t understand why I’m upset and he doesn’t get why I don’t want to talk about it. It just takes so much energy to try and not be a monster at work and to try and not be a monster at home.

At work, things are too busy for someone to bother me for too long. Their phone rings or they have another meeting, so they back off eventually. But at home, there is no reprieve. The husband wants to talk about why I’m upset. And then he wants to talk about why I don’t want to talk about being upset. And then he wants to talk about why I seem irritated at the though of talking about why I don’t want to talk about being upset. I wish I were exaggerating, but this happens at least once a week.

The husband is so much better at letting things roll off his back than I am. Sometime I wish I could take on a bit more of his personality because it’s a lot harder to get him down. I admire him because It has to be difficult for him to be with someone like me who’s default is just to shut down. People, I need some advice.

Does anyone have both a demanding job and a spouse who wants all of your attention when you’re at home? How do you find a balance? How do you stay sane?

This weekend is a birthday party for one of my friends. I’m sure I can rally and be in a good mood after work on Saturday for this party. I can always rally for a holiday or birthday, but there won’t be any more of those until the middle of next month. I guess I’ll just cross my fingers and hope things calm down at the job.


I Hold In My Hand

An Easter Egg

-Easter was fun this year. My brother’s birthday fell on the day, as it does every handful of years. Making a birthday dinner fitting his tastes while also making our typical Easter food was a fun challenge. Before dinner was a great church service. I had a meeting at work in the morning before church, so I was on time to church for the first time in months. Perhaps if I went to church seven days a week, I’d actually leave work at a reasonable hour.

The praise team and the choir were pretty good. The new drummer at the church does not like to let a song end. He isn’t entirely new, but I work a lot of Sundays, so he’s new to me. But imagine any Tyler Perry movie you’ve seen. We don’t have anyone back-flipping down the aisles like Mr. Brown, but there’s definitely some Holy Ghost party stuff happening when the drummer hits that reprise.

After church was crazy because the Sunday School, of which my mother is superintendent, made Easter baskets for all the children. Imagine over 50 kids age 0-18 running around hopped up on sugar. I was standing in a corner with my fingers crossed as if avoiding a jinx. All those children running around scared me. I felt it might be contagious, so I avoided anyone too young for school and definitely all those with parasites pregnant women. Don’t get me wrong, I love babies and I read all the mommy blogs, I just like to watch from afar and avoid joining the ranks for now.

Your Job

-This weekend was full of meetings and evaluations. I’m still getting adjusted to this part of being a supervisor. Almost everyone who knows me will tell you I’m a bossy person. I like to tell folks what to do. But I’m no Donald Trump. Saying you’re fired doesn’t come easily for me. I haven’t had to fire anyone, but I’ve had some get-it-together-so-you-don’t get-fired talks.

I like people to keep their jobs, so I focus on the meetings where I inform someone they’ve earned a raise. I suppose this part of it will get easier with time, but I was happy to get back to work today and escape to my spreadsheets and reports. The numbers never need to hear “get it together.”

A Glass of Champagne

-As I said earlier, Easter was also my brother’s birthday. It was his 30th birthday. It was nice to have a party with close friends and family there. My brother isn’t really big on family, so it was nice when he wanted to have a party that included family. His godfather came with his family. The older daughter of the family was one of my best friends when we were children. She was there with her husband and son. Even though her son is only 3, I made an exception to my earlier rule and uncrossed my fingers to hang out with him. Although I did have to tell little man to stay away from my husband once the husband hugged him and said, “I want one!”

We had a really enjoyable time, and the drinks were flowing. Mimosa, beers, and champagne gave everyone a happy buzz. Nothing goes with lamb, crab legs, turkey wings, ham, pot roast, and prime rib like champagne. We had a few vegetables as well. But only a very few.

The TV Remote

-I feel like I will never catch up with American Idol. Why they insist on having no way to view episodes after airing other than DVR is beyond me. I have 22 episodes queued up to watch on the DVR at my parents’ house. I only managed to watch one on Sunday after dinner. What crazy person decided they should take up 4-6 hours of television every week. I’ll never catch up. So I’m avoiding all news and media reports of who the Top 10 and Top 8 are and all that. I’ll probably be purchasing the CD of the winner before I even finish watching Hollywood week. There must exist some bootleg website (THAT I WOULD NEVER SUPPORT) that can help me so I can watch this show without taking over my parents’ TV.


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.


Working On My Optimism

I’ve stepped behind the veil y’all. I see people in a different light than I used to. Which people you ask? I’m not talking about the husband, my friends, or my family. They’re all as crazy and lovable as ever. I’m talking about co-workers.

I’ve always described my office as a lovely place to work because everyone is so nice, good-looking, and smart. I like to have pretty and sense everywhere I look and I get that here at work. That makes life easier when you deal with death 12 hours a day, you know?

Since becoming supervisor, I’ve dealt with a lot of revealing facts. People who always seemed so nice are turning into ogres. Dealing with my own inadequacies as a supervisor hasn’t been easy either. I’m certain the person in particular I’m thinking of would also describe me as a monster. Neither of us are monsters; we just want what’s best from our perspective, and our perspectives don’t always line up.

It’s so unfortunate that you can never really replace office politics with warm fuzzy never-ending understanding. I think I’m waking up from my fatigue earlier in the week though because I’m feeling optimistic again. I feel like I have the support of my management and most of my staff. With that support, I feel like we can accomplish anything and make any compromise work.

I’ll probably feel the exact opposite this time next week.

It’s just hard to not get invested emotionally in the situations, you know? I want things to go well. I’m acutely feeling  how the decisions and compromises I make affect the morale and career of my staff. I feel anxiety when I think of it. It helps that no one’s entire career is in my hands. If I stay on the management track, I’ll clearly have to work on being alright with it. But that’s a problem for another day.

I don’t know where my career is going to take me, but I hope it takes me somewhere near where I am now. I like being involved in decisions big and small. I love being on hand to implement new processes. And I really like being in charge of giving what is most likely the fairest evaluations people will ever receive.

I’m all about the numbers and targets set. I don’t let my personal opinions shadow performance. I do let my observations of work color it. And nothing that shows up in my evaluations is news to the person being evaluated because we have monthly status meetings. If I’m ever in charge of developing an evaluation system, it will grow from the way my job does things now.

Now I feel like I’m talking about work too much. But I just wanted to get something down because I’m feeling pretty strongly about it. I love my job and I feel like I’m rising to the challenge of taking off the rose-colored glasses. At the very least, I’m soaking every moment up and trying to learn as much as possible.

And maybe, just maybe, I’ll learn something real about being a supervisor. If I’m in charge of people, I will be damn good at it.


It’s Starting To Get Real

I’m really taking the workaholic thing too far. I love my job– most of the time. And so far, I seem to be pretty good at it. But it’s just… a lot.

I’m typing this as I’m sitting at the fourth desk I’ve had at work since my promotion in November. We’re playing musical chairs and I have a starring role. I’m going to blame my inactivity when it comes to Project UnPack on my constant reorganizing at work.

Since I’m not at the point of quitting my job in a Michael Bay-style blaze of glory, I need to work on balance and calm. Typical Libra that I am, I’m always seeking balance that is never reached. But I won’t stop trying, no no I won’t give up.

People do things like drink, or do drugs, or get lost in a good book to escape from the stress of work. I however cannot develop a drinking problem no matter how hard I try. I don’t mean to joke about addiction, as I know it’s something that’s a real struggle for some people. I just feel frustrated that I have no real vices to lean on as a form of escape from a difficult day.

I’ve been supervisor long enough that now they are putting me in real charge of people’s careers and evaluations and progress. I knew that at some point I’d have to say no to a promotion or fire someone or give them a negative evaluation. But it doesn’t change how difficult it is.

My approach to leadership is blunt honesty and positive reinforcement. It seems like those two things don’t necessarily go hand in hand, but I’ve tried to cultivate an environment where you’ll hear from me whether it’s good or bad, and I’m not gonna sugarcoat the bad or downplay the good.

But when it’s all bad and no good, it’s just so hard! And now I’m whining, so I’m moving on to another topic.

The husband called me today and when I told him I was still at work, he sounded angry. I was unemployed when we me and only got this job 2 weeks before we were engaged. I don’t think he figured on being married to a workaholic. I know I didn’t intend on being one.

I imagine it frustrates the husband that I spend all this time at work, giving and giving (with no overtime paid), and come home and crash. I’ve done a much better job of working as hard to maintain a good attitude at home as I do at work. I know he appreciates that, but I know he probably wants more.

No one has yet said to me they feel like I’m letting them down, but I feel like at any moment this thing is going to fly off the rails. It may just be the lack of consistent sleep talking, but I’m worried. I get a lot of support from the husband, my family, and my bosses. So I’ll be okay. At the end of the day, I love the work I do and I love the husband. These days my life doesn’t consist of much more than that unfortunately. But at least the two things that take up most of my time bring me some joy in addition to all the stress.

If you’re still with me, thanks for reading my whole rant. Sometimes you gotta vent, you know?


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!


Living For The City

Do you know that Stevie Wonder song? It’s a really great song. It came out around the same time as Higher Ground and Don’t You Worry ‘Bout A Thing. My whole life would be better if I could just get someone to follow me around with a boombox playing every song Stevie Wonder ever did.

Not that I need my life get better; it’s pretty great the way it is now. So much has happened since my last post. The short version is that I’ve been super busy with work. I’m kind of workaholic. I’m that girl who’s on a weekend trip to New York City at a fabulous restaurant known for celebrity sightings and amazing Asian food who calls into work to check on things.

I play the Sims 3 and characters with the workaholic trait will just whip out their cellphone or laptop in the middle of another activity to check on work. For years now, I’ve been judging those Sims and the crazy tech guys who created them. I used to think, “how unrealistic. No one would stop in the middle of a pool party to check a work e-mail. What kind of asshole can’t unplug from work? And what kind of insanity must one possess to habitually stay late at work just for the hell of it?”

Apparently, I’m that type of asshole. Nice to meet you, my name is Insanity. Insanity B. Asshole. And I’m a workaholic.

I love my job and what I do, but is that really an excuse for all the working? Eh, I don’t know. Maybe it is. I’m just trying to learn everything I can learn so that I’m prepared for whatever comes next.

Usually in the midst of working hard, I’m not doing much else. I haven’t seen most of my friends in weeks. I spend a good amount of time with the husband when he’s not touring, and with our parents, but not much else. The husband misses me when I’m gone, which is so sweet. He’ll cal me while I’m at work just to say hi, only to hear me ask in an exasperated tone why he’s calling. A more recent conversation went like this:

Me: Yes?

Husband: Hey, I know you’re at work and you’re probably busy–

Me: Yes, I am busy. I’m always busy. I haven’t written a blog post in 137 months because I’m always busy since moving to days. And can I ask you something? Do you remember me doing this to you when you were teaching? I can guarantee you don’t because I never did this. I never called you in the middle of the day. I assumed you were busy with work, teaching, or lesson planning or something. But yet you call me all the time, just to say hi. I’m glad you love me, but you need to let me work time be my work time. Please tell me you have something important to say.

Husband: Yes, I do. I just got the call. They want me to do the Chicago Jazz Festival this summer. Is that a good enough reason to call?

Me: Hell yes it is! I know this is that moment where I should take back what I said, but the point still stands. You’re not calling me just to say hi, and that is amazing! After playing at the fest a couple of years in a row, this time it is your band! Yes!

Husband: I know right. I’m so excited. Okay, I’ll let you go. See you when you get home.

 

I wish all our conversations went like that when he calls me at work. Just amazing news and brief conversation.

But enough about work and the husband. Well, a little more about the husband. We just got back from Alabama. We went to visit a friend of his (who was a groomsman in our wedding) who teaches at a college in Tuscaloosa. We had a pretty good time, and crossed Alabama off our travel list.

There really isn’t much to the state, but you’d be surprised how fun any location is with good company. I love travelling with the husband, even if it meant running for flights and barely making them both coming and going. We really need to only every go on road trips because planes always have some calamity or near-disaster involved when we fly. I won’t get into the details because it just feels like too much to write in an already lengthy blog post.

So, in other news:

  1. My best friend just moved back home and I’m really looking forward to a fun summer with her before we will live in different states again.
  2. There are three weddings this fall, in a five-week period. All three couples were at our wedding and got engaged after our wedding. So exciting!
  3. Being supervisor is such a  mixed bag, but I’m totally cut out for administration, and possibly management too. It’s too soon to tell for certain.
  4. My younger cat, Jazz, is getting so big now. She’s almost as big as Belle. And she whoops her ass when the play fight. It’s not even a contest, poor Belle.
  5. I’m so heartbroken Smash got moved to Saturdays, which means it’s on its way out. And Leverage got cancelled. Gossip Girl ended this season and so did Private Practice. What the hell!? At least I have Scandal, Grey’s Anatomy, Glee, and White Collar.
  6. I’m still catching up on everyone’s blogs. I apologize for the lack of comments. Along with not having time to write my blog posts, I also didn’t have time to read any.

Avoiding The Mirror

A week in and I’m still exercising. I feel very lucky that Tracy Anderson’s workout plan includes a day off. My work schedule has been bananas this week and I simply don’t have the energy to workout.

I’m not talking in a, “I’ve been working 12 hours and just don’t feel like it” kind of way. I mean, “I’ve been working 12 hours after only having 2 hours of sleep because I wasn’t supposed to work today, but I’m on fo resource, even though no other resource people ever bring their ass to work when people are short-staffed, but what the hell ever” kind of way. There was no way I was working out yesterday, so thank God it was my workout off day.

I think my best bet for maintaining my motivation is avoiding the mirror. The way this workout plan works is that you see results almost immediately. The second I see firmer thighs, a slightly flatter tummy, and less jiggly arms, I get too excited. That feeling that I can slack off because I’m almost there creeps in.

That feeling is complete insanity because I am in no way “almost there.” The goal is to fit into the dress I was wearing the day I met the husband. And I don’t just want to get it on, I want to look as good or better than I did that day. Just because my thighs aren’t as jiggly doesn’t mean I’m anywhere near that sexy little black dress.

Putting that in writing somehow helps me believe it more. Because I’m so far from fitting a size 0 it’s not even funny. Well, it’s little funny because for some reason I kept all my size zero dresses assuming I’d one day have the motivation to work out enough to get back into them. That’s pretty funny in an ironic kind of way.

But I still have hope. My optimism has not yet waned and I think my waist can again be less than 30″ without me sucking in. It will happen! Just not right away. It will take me a while, and if I’m being realistic, it’s going to take longer than the 90 days Tracy Anderson alludes to.

There’s honestly no way I can work out consistently 6 days a week. I think it would be better for me to aim for five days a week. That way, when crazy shit happens with my work schedule, as it always seems to these days, I’ll still be on track. And it will be easier to keep track of which set of workouts I’m on if I’m doing five days a week. She has it in 10 days intervals, so it will take me 14 days for each set of ten instead of 11-13 days.

I should reach day 90 in 18 weeks. That would be May 4th-ish, depending on which day of the week I would actually complete the 90th workout. That seems so far from now, but it makes me feel better somehow.

I’m not crazy, I swear. It’s just that the idea of boot camps and 30-day workouts mess with my head. It seems like a quick burst of hard work that’s impossible to maintain in the long run. But a nice mid-length goal of 4.5 months sounds good to me. It’s something I can maintain when I’m done, and the 5 day a week workout is doable as well.

I hope my optimism turns into proactive behavior. I guess we’ll see.

Oh, the other reason for avoiding the mirror is how I laser in on the burn on my lip every time I glance toward a reflective surface. I just hate the way it looks. I’ve been applying lots of neosporin, cocoa butter, and medicated lip balm. It’s healing quicker than expected thanks to the quick turn over of the skin cells of the lip. I hope it doesn’t leave a permanent mark.

For now, avoiding the mirror is the plan. I can’t see my burned lip or my lack of jiggles. I’ll just keep it up with the leg lifts and the neosporin. Before you know it, I’ll be wearing a size 0 (which is the size of my frame, not some unhealthy weight I shouldn’t aspire to) and having no signs that I ever foolishly threw freshly sliced potatoes into hot oil.


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?


Shrinking Underpants

In honor of the holiday season, I haven’t even bothered to get back up on the exercise wagon. When my next Tracy Anderson Metamorphosis DVD arrived, I looked at it as it judged me. I felt bad. Then I added it to the stack of DVDs with the promise of returning to it. One of these days. One day real soon, I promise. I’d like to be an inspiration to myself. And I’d really like to wear this backless micro mini dress I own that I haven’t worn in over 2 years before I’m thirty.

With all of my not-exercising, I’ve been pleased to notice I don’t have to go up in a size of jeans. Those size 3 jeans I was so happy to wear last month (or was that September) are back in the closet on time out, but at least I’m not having to purchase new, even larger clothing. The only problem is my underwear. It seems to be shrinking.

I could’ve sworn my panties covered more of my ass. Obviously, I’m washing my mostly cotton underwear in water that’s too hot. Or possibly drying them too long. I mean, that has to be it, right? It can’t be that my ass, etc. is expanding, yet somehow still fitting into the same clothes, can it? Seriously, how can my pants fit, but my underwear suddenly feel skimpier?

I’m going to go completely irrational here and blame the lack of sleep. Today is the first day at work since I started that I actually feel well rested. It’s an amazing feeling and I want it again and again. Adjusting to being awake early in the morning has been no easy task, but I think I’ve found the perfect combination. Before I reveal my fool proof plan for falling asleep, I want to discuss the causes of my lack of sleep and my shrinking underwear.

Washing clothes has the potential to be the bane of my life. It would be an exxaggeration to say that now, but trust that there is potential. The husband and I own way too many clothes. And we wear them all. So they need to be washed. There’s never time to wash, so I get it in where I can. Like at the parents’ house while we rake leaves. The point is, they take up too much time and take away from more important things. Like TV. And sleep. I’ve only recently stopped skipping sleep to wash clothes because it just wasn’t worth it. So much for getting a couple loads done each week…

Also, my cats are jerks. Well, they were. Actually, they still are, but they are less jerky than they previously were. Are you following? Well, they used to run around the apartment at 1:00 am at high speeds, and the little one, Jazz, used to purr loud as hell sitting right on my chest while I was trying to sleep. They don’t do that anymore. Now they run around at 1:00 pm, and Jazz naps on the bags of not-yet-put-away laundry out in the hall. The running still sucks, but at least it doesn’t interrupt sleep. And I’m sure that Jazz’s naps are somehow related to the shrinking underpants.

Our property manager is taking their sweet ass time fixing things in our apartment. Like our dishwasher. The husband does all the dishes, but I think we both really miss having a functioning dishwasher. The manager used to call me with all these issues. After a few calls and e-mails, we finally got its sorted out earlier this month, and now they bug the husband with these calls, since he’s the one at home during the day. Our dishwasher is still not fixed, but at least my naps or work time aren’t getting interrupted by someone outside an apartment I’m not there to open the door of.

The last couple nights, the husband has been really busy. He’s had gigs, and he’s had plans with his friends. I like when he’s out and about, though part of me misses him when he’s not home with me. But since he’s been gone, all I’ve had to think about was how to amuse and feed myself the last couple nights. The husband and I are very compatible usually with preferred activities, but a couple changes and voila, I had no trouble falling asleep.

I accidentally stumbled across the perfect combination. I drank water with my dinner instead of wine or juice or milk. Usually the husband and I have a glass of wine, and no one should drink alone (unless it’s their birthday), so I had water. I’ve also been working on my nails. Instead of waiting until the polish chips or it’s time to file them down, I’ve been doing maintenance each day. A polish fix on one nail can be surprisingly relaxing. And lastly, I watch The First Wives Club each night. The husband can’t sleep if there’s a TV on. This only applies to the bed because he has no problem falling asleep on the couch or in a theater during a movie. But I love it. When I lived alone, I’d watch Hairspray or The Holiday or See Jane Date.

Perhaps when the husband finally runs out of steam and is with me at bedtime, I’ll switch to reading the books that half of these movies were based on. But I need either a light to read my paperback of The First Wives Club or my backlit phone/Kindle to read my ebook of See Jane Date. Or maybe since it’s a movie and not television, the husband will be able to fall asleep. Either way, I’ve got to get continue to get enough sleep because I’m quite sure, that is the only way to make my underpants un-shrink.


Settling Into The Day Shift

I’m loving my new job. It’s just that simple. Each day I work I learn more about my job and how best to do it. I like the sense of challenge and/or accomplishment I’m feeling almost all the time now. We’re only a c ouple weeks in, but so far, so good.

Being awake during the day all the time now means being asleep at night all the time now. It’s really an adjustment for me. I’m naturally more of a night person to begin with. If you consider that I’ve been on night shift for the last 18 months and was unemployed for 12 months before that, you can see how I’ve had a lot of time to embrace my natural state.

Then suddenly, I’ve got to be in bed by 9 at the latest. It’s laughable to think that’s still my goal bedtime. I don’t think I’ve accomplished it more than once. If I work two days in a row, I’m not even home until after 8:30 PM, and that’s not even enough time to brush my teeth and pick out my clothes for the next day. But of course, I’m usually not home. There’s always a family gathering, or the husband has a gig, or there’s an episode of a favorite show that I simply have to watch on a specific night (while I retouch my nails). And once I’ve fulfilled my duties as a well-groomed daughter/wife/TV junkie, I can go to bed in peace knowing 1-3 less hours of sleep won’t be that bad.

And that is why I’ve downed at least 20 cups of coffee since I got the promotion. I love the way coffee tastes, but I’ve never been a coffee drinker out of necessity. You will do some strange things in the name of being good at your job. For instance, while shopping at Target, for a baby shower gift on my lunch break, I downed a caramel brulee latte in less than five minutes. I didn’t even let it cool down. I was just so tired, I needed to mainline the caffeine and get back on top. I wonder if this is how habits start. I haven’t had any coffee since that day earlier this week. But then again, I haven’t been that tired either. How long before a need turns into a want?

Nobody can make something as simple as a cup of coffee dramatic like I can, huh?

I really do have a good reason for needing all the coffee though. Her name is Jazz, and she’s an asshole.

The adorable cat that lives in my house, making all new visitors fall in love with her is a jerk to the tallest degree. Both cats are, really, but the baby is even worse. Our cats have learned how to wake the husband and I up when they want to. It usually involes sitting on your back/chest/side. That way, their weight slowly crushes your ribcage and you have to wake up from the lack of comfort and reduction in oxygen. They also will reach from a distance that’s just far enough away for their arm length and scratch us. Not a mean or sharp scratch, just an insistent scratching like you’d do if you had an itch on your nose that won’t go away.

Five straight minutes of either of those things, and trust me, you are awake. Belle, our older cat usually reserves her jerkiness for the husband. If she wants to be by me while I’m asleep, that usually just means snuggling up next to me and making judgy eyes at the husband or Jazz when they dare disturb us. Oh but Jazz, as I said, is an asshole.

She’s on my old night schedule. I understand that a couple weeks is not enough time for a young cat to act like she has sense. But it is too much to ask to leave me alone if it’s clear I’m sleep and not getting up? If it’s daytime and she wakes me and I don’t want to be bothered, she finds something else to do with her time. But if it’s night, namely 12:30 AM, it’s a no holds barred wake-your-ass-up-and-play-with-me fest. My first three days at work involed being awake at 12:30 AM on the dot with a cat sitting on my chest pawing my face.

The next week, she would sit next to me and get a claw stuck in my hair. When I batted her away and rolled to the other side, she walk around and start messing with my nose, arm, shoulder, or whatever she could reach that wasn’t covered by blanket. It was horrible. I was in deep sleep at this point. Each night she woke me, I was surprised to find I’d only been sleep for a short time. Then I got to try and go back to sleep, but of course my sleep was never as good the second go round.

It hasn’t gotten any better yet, but I’m expecting it will eventually. Jazz is the more stubborn of the two cats, but she likes love too much to keep doing things that get her kicked out of the bed.

Why don’t I just close the door? Yes, I heard you asking all the way through your e-mail or Google reader or however you read this blog. I can’t do that, it isn’t an option. The cats have free reign of the house. This means if a door is closed, they try relentlessly to open it. And while a cat scratching my arm for 2 minutes is bad, a cat scratching at a closed bedroom door for 20 minutes every hour on the hour is far worse.

So for now I’m just crossing my fingers and hoping the cats adjust to my new day schedule. Because otherwise I’ll end up hooked on coffee, shaking and jittery waiting on my next caffeine hit. And I’m pretty sure that will affect my job performance. I don’t want that because I like my job.


Having Crazy Dreams

In the weeks leading up to my wedding, I started having nightmares. Back then I was blogging about my wedding on Weddingbee, so I’d heard of pre-wedding nightmares. They usually consisted of missing dresses, missing grooms, missing guests, etc. My nightmares were nothing like that. Mine included hundreds of unfamiliar eyes, staring at me unrelentingly, and ruining the intimacy of my whole day.

The nightmares got worse the closer the wedding was. I think I freaked out the husband (then fiancé) by asking if we could not get married as planned. But once I assured him that I definitely wanted to get married, just not as planned, he fixed it. We got married early with 20 people in attendance, including us, the ministers, and the musician. It was amazing and intimate and everything I wanted, and my nightmares immediately ended. I slept great the next three nights leading up to the big ass wedding we had with 300+ people in attendance.

Since then, I haven’t had many nightmares. I’ve always been an either happy dreamer or prescient dreamer. Crazy unhappy dreams aren’t really my thing. So when the bad dreams started again, I was frustrated to find the husband couldn’t quickly fix it for me. Well, I didn’t have to even “find” it out. I already knew because the dreams are work related, and obviously the husband can’t fix work-related anxiety manifesting itself through crappy ass dreams.

This most recent dream involved me showing up to work after a week off only to find that three younger siblings of an ex had been hired. They were hired to replace three people who got promoted to fill supervisor positions. Two of the three people promoted to supervisor were a couple, making their dual promotion all the more unlikely.

I’ve been hinting toward this for weeks without directly talking about it, but this dream likely makes it clear  to you, my dear readers, that I’m currently waiting to hear about a possible promotion at work. Armed with that additional knowledge, perhaps you can imagine how harrowing this dream was. To have my co-workers replaced by siblings of an ex is bad enough. The detail of why the rest is so bad isn’t even important because it’s the siblings of an ex!!

Oh how I wish the husband could fix this for me. The higher ups at my office will decide soon enough though. If I get the promotion, great. And if I don’t, I’ll be disappointed, but I’ll be fine. It’s really the not knowing that is the problem. I hate feeling this anxiety. Considering it’s only happened to me twice in the last year, I should be grateful. There are a lot of people who experience far worse anxiety, some in my own family.

I’ll just keep my fingers crossed that they decide soon. I really don’t want to see who will pop up in my dreams the next couple of days if this remains unsettled.