On the Brink of a New Decade...

Right now, it's 6pm Chicago time on New Year's Eve. I'm sitting on our couch, surrounded by the stacks of work I've been busting my butt over for the past three days, and I'm trying to figure out what to eat, and it seems like this is what I've been doing all year.

It's been a heck of a year, and for me the end of so many things: my single status, my 20s, being completely broke. So it feels interesting that I'm on the brink of a this brand, spanking new decade of being married, possibly a parent some day, of being in my 30's, and so much more.

The thing that's riding my ass right now is how much work I have left to do. My goal was to start off 2011 with no work on my plate, and it's proving IMPOSSIBLE. I almost don't want to go to the New Year's Eve party my friend B-Mac is having, just so that I can finish all this work and enter 2011 with a nice, clean slate. Alas, I don't think that's a realistic option.

So, instead, I'm going to enter 2011 with a better attitude. I'm going to work on getting things done, but also making sure to make more time for me. So with that said, I'm going to go back to watching the Food Network's marathon of Next Food Network Star, and figure out what to eat, go get ready, and have a fun time at the party. The work will get done. It always does.

Have a fabulous NYE, people! Talk to you next year!


Merry, Merry, Merry

Merry Christmas, everyone! It's been a busy, busy week. I'm off this week and next, and I can't seem to even relax long enough to sleep in! I've been running around getting Christmas shopping done, and hanging out with people I've blown off for the past few months because I've been so insanely busy with work.

A.P. took off Monday and Tuesday of next week. We were initially going to try to get out of town, but decided instead to take a staycation. We're going to go out to brunch, dinner, the movies, and we're going to go see this super awesome exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry, here in Chicago. We're also going to do a day in bed, which we came up with a few years ago, but haven't had a chance to do in a long, long time. It's awesome. We make the bed, and just spend the whole day in bed. We read, watch DVDs, cuddle, and do a whole lot of nothing. It's awesome. But this staycation also means that I won't be blogging again until Wednesday of next week. We need the time together, and as much as I hate to go silent for a few days, this is more important.

I hope you all have a wonderful, joyous Christmas! Stay warm if you're someplace cold, stay sane if you're with crazy family, and stay happy! Happy holidays, peeps!

(Photo of my mother and brother with Santa, 1968)


Nice Globes

I've always dreamed of owning a library with a study. Not an office with some books in it, but a true library/study with sixteen foot tall dark wood walls stacked to the gills with beautiful, delicious books. I want a little ladder that I can swing around on to get from book A to book B, and now, now my pets, I want this to light the way:

The real question is why would you NOT want this in your house?

(Photo via Unruly Things)


If Only...

If only this company was in Chicago...

If only this company had existed when I was planning my wedding...

Green Wedding Shoes recently posted about the amazing Ribbons & Rust, a company in Southern California that rents vintage decor for weddings and other events. How awesome is that? Imagine all the time I could have spent on things other than eBay and etsy!

(Photo via Green Wedding Shoes)


War Does Funny Things to Men*

I love these pencils so much I can't even fully describe how much my heart swelled when I saw them on A Cup of Jo. The etsy store is sold out, but it seems like an easy enough project to have some made somewhere else, if you are so inclined. Behold I give you Max Fischer's extracurricular pencil set!

(Photo via A Cup of Jo)

* one of my favorite lines from Rushmore


Why I Heart Being Married

Being married, is in so many ways, a giant security blanket. And I don't mean financially, or anything at all like that. I'm talking about the smaller things. Like this:

I have hyperhidrosis. It doesn't act up all the time, but it is kind of gross, and it does mean that I sometimes have sweaty palms and feet. I have weird ways of controlling it (thick white socks are a must...warm, dry feet = warm, dry hands, underarms, etc.), but occasionally there are social situations where it acts up. Like any time I have to wear pantyhose or trouser type socks. Anytime I wear a skirt, my hands sweat and sweat and sweat, and then swell up from all the sweating. They're also clammy. (You're really learning strange things about me today, huh?)

So what does me having hyperhidrosis have to do with being married? Well, today I got home from work, and I'm wearing trouser type socks, so my hands are nice and sweaty. Normally I would go in the other room and just switch socks, but I'm being particularly lazy while I watch Law & Order and de-stress. I wanted to snack on these Twizzlers I bought (a recent obsession...I could eat them all day, every day), and I went to go open the bag, and my stupid sweaty, swollen hands made it hard. A.P. isn't home from work yet, so I had to dick around with the package for a while. And it made me think.

If A.P. were home, I wouldn't even have to ask, I would hand him the package and he would just open it. I wouldn't have to explain that my hands are clammy and swollen, and I wouldn't have to justify opening and digging in to a big ol' bag of candy. Why? Because I'm married. Not really, but kind of. I would argue that any loving, lasting relationship could provide this same sense of routine and security, but marriage adds an extra layer of warmth (yes, I'm sticking to my security blanket metaphor...deal with it).

I love knowing that A.P. loves me so much that sweaty palms don't bother him (even though he thinks it's totally weird). I love that he accepts that I have a sweet tooth and sometimes candy eating is the norm. I love knowing that what I sometimes can't do (open a bag of candy, open a jar, figure out insurance policies), he's a whiz at. And I love knowing that no matter what I do, all he sees are my awesome qualities. All of those things come from the loving, lasting nature of our relationship. But us being married means that we're not going anywhere, and I get to enjoy this sense of having a PIC (partner in crime, for those not in the know) forever after.


Giving Greenery

We never got the tree up the other night. It snowed in Chicago. Our first big snow. Then, as per usual, it got cold. Very cold. Today was a whopping 16 degrees! Suffice it to say, we never felt like dragging the tree and the boxes of ornaments and decor up three flights of stairs. So instead of looking at a Christmas tree in my living room and getting into the holiday spirit, I've been surfing the internerd. What else is new?

Anyway, check out this awesome find! What better gift to give than a little bit of green to cheer up the joint during the dull, white winters (like the one I'm currently trudging through)? Postcarden is a UK company offering a small assortment of postcards that the receiver can plant a small garden in using the enclosed seeds. That's right...you can plant a mini-garden in the postcard. How freaking rad is that?? What a fabulous idea, and what a clever name for a company!

(Found via Oh Joy!)

(Photo via Postcarden)


Just Gorgeous!

I'm so thrilled for one of my readers/bloggers I like to read, Kiara, who got married a couple of weeks ago. Look at the beautiful sneak peek photos her photographer, Emma Case (who is totally one of my favorite wedding photographers now) posted:

Absolutely gorgeous! Congrats, Kiara!

(Photos via Emma Case Photography)



Another Reader Wedding

Another reader/blogger I like to read, Anna, from Anna and The Ring, also got married recently! She recently posted this lovely bit about feeling nervous before the wedding, and what a wedding means to her (complete with adorable childhood photo). Here's a sneak peek of of her wedding photos (again by the amazing Emma Case):

Check out that giant sky of possibility! You can check out a couple more photos here. Congrats to her and her Bean!

(Photo via Emma Case Photography)

Christmas Time Is Here

This week, the temperature dropped to 30 degrees, some days below that. Yikes! I still haven't even figured out where I'm buying a new winter coat (though I'm leaning towards this bad boy)! But, whether I like it or not, it's December, and that means less than a month until Christmas!

This weekend, we are putting up our tree and staying warm inside. Since we met, we have had a tradition of drinking cocoa, eating a big meal, listening to Christmas music, and decorating the tree. Some years, we throw in some ornament making, or a good gingerbread house, but usually it's all about relaxing, being warm, eating well and spending time together.

The other day, I saw this Target commercial, and thought, "What a catchy freaking Christmas song! I wish there was an indie Christmas album." Still, I figured I could at least track down the one song. So I googled the lyrics, and guess what I found out thanks to this lovely blogger? Target had all these indie bands record Christmas songs, which they are using in their commercials this holiday season. And the best part is that you can download the whole album for free right here. I'm particularly fond of Blackalicious's "Toy Jackpot."

So, go! Download! Get into the holidays! And if you don't celebrate Christmas, consider this a free gift you can give your Christmas celebrating friends!

Have a great weekend!


Everybody's Changing

The other day I had a sobering dream about an old friend, who we will call Michael O'Neal. This old friend was the object of my affection for many years (not to mix movie metaphors). We met to date, and it just never happened between us, and we ended up friends. But here's the secret...I always had feelings for him. The whole friendship was really just a sham, but there were good moments there, and sometimes I miss laughing with him, because we did always really have a good time together. Anyway, the friendship ended rather badly, and we never spoke again. For a while, I missed him, I don't anymore. A.P. would ask me occasionally if I thought about him, and I used to reply that sometimes I did. I missed the ability to watch stupid tv, and monologue over it and make each other cry laughing. I don't have anyone I can do that with now.

Anyway, I hadn't thought about this old friend for a long, long time, it having been about three years since we ended our friendship. Then, the other day, I had this dream. I'm not a big person to describe my dreams, but this one was rather lucid and so I'll give some brief details. We were hanging out together and he saw a wedding magazine on my floor. The magazine had a cover article about having kids. When Michael O'Neal saw it, he asked me if A.P. and I had had kids. The way he asked me this suggested that we hadn't spoken for a long time. I laughed, and told him that no, we hadn't jumped into that pool, yet. I paused, and then said, "But we did get married." He reacted surprised, and then, wouldn't you know it, I woke up!

Anyway, this dream got me thinking about Michael O'Neal, and what he was doing. Five quick Google searches later, I discovered that Michael married his Kimmy, a woman he was dating around the time we stopped being friends. And of course, we know I married my guy.

Here's the thing, I always like to picture my life in layers or chunks of time that seem to lump themselves together based on the friends, jobs, and/or experiences I have. I'm approaching 30 now, but in my mind there have only been about seven layers of my life: Under the age of 5, kindergarten through 4th grade, 5th through 8th grade, high school, college, ages 22-25, and 26 to the present. In each of those layers, I had a lot of people I was very close to in, and yet whenever I think of these people, I don't picture what they're doing now, I picture what they did then.

It is a universal truth that nobody really likes growing up. It means more lost innocence, more memories and moments gone, and more failing body parts. We hang on to our memories of a specific time in order for us be more anchored in our past. Google ruins that completely! I don't want to see Michael O'Neal married! I want to see Michael O'Neal on my old couch, in my old apartment, laughing with me.

Plus! Googling Michael O'Neal only makes me Google other old friends: HoJo and Austin from the ad agency I used to work at, Jenny-O from college, etc. Some I find, and learn that they are married and have kids, or that they've moved out of the area. Some I don't, and I forever wonder what has happened to them. And then I feel...strange. I feel this strange sensation of emptiness that everyone is changing, me included, but we are no longer able to share this news with each other. We can only search for the other from one end of a brightly lit screen.
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