Marriage Mondays: Complaining to the Right People

It's been ages since we had a Marriage Mondays post, eh?  I think it's high time we fixed that!

I can honestly say that whenever I see lists giving tips for a long lasting marriage, I read them with intense curiosity.  Then, I wonder if my marriage will succeed or fail based on my closeness to adhering to the list.  This is author Lydia Netzer's list of 15 Ways to Stay Married for 15 Years.  If your goal is just 15 years, this will get you at least that far.  After that, it would seem you're on your own.  : )

The best advice on here, though, is #13, which states, "Bitch to his mother, not yours."  Ms. Netzer explains, "His mother will forgive him. Yours never will."  To be honest, I'd never really thought about it that way.  A.P.'s mother passed away a few years ago, but A.P. has a step-mother who is very, very nice.  I find that when I complain to his father and step-mother, they chuckle and say, "Yup, that sounds about right!"  They get it.  When I complain to my mother, she sides with and worries about me (when she's not trying to interrupt me to talk about herself, that is).  I don't know why I never thought about this before.  But it's good advice and it's advice I'm trying to follow.

Now, when I'm frustrated with A.P., I try not to tell my family.  I will sometimes tell my friends, but I try to tell his friends or family instead.  It's an amazingly small trick that really does work!

Do you complain about your significant other to your family or friends?  Would you try this trick?

P.S. What's your number one complaint about your significant other?  Mine is procrastination with A.P.  He's the worst procrastinator EVER.

P.P.S. Check out NTPK and my other endeavor today for some other posts from my brain.  :)

(Someecard via here)


GOAL!!! (A List Update)

It's been a looooooong time since I updated you all on my list for 2012. Seeing as how today is the first day of fall, it seems like a good time to do a quick update. Here we go!


In Solidarity

Tomorrow at 12pm in Union Park, there will be a massive Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) rally in Union Park.  The purpose of the rally is to show solidarity with the CTU in our fight for a fair contract.

The CTU has been on strike for the past five days and in addition to fighting for a fair contract, it has been protesting many problems in the public education system here in Chicago, including: the mayor-appointed school board; the use of TIF money to fund neighborhood projects like the building of a Hyatt hotel on the south side by Penny Pritzker, who controls the Hyatt hotel chain and is on the Board of Education (a clear conflict of interest); the constant turning around of neighborhood schools; the slow and steady privatization of the public education system through the expansion of charter schools and closing of neighborhood schools; the use of standardized tests to evaluate teachers; and, of course, the slow and steady plot to destroy labor unions in this country and eradicate a middle, working class (see Wisconsin, Indiana, New Jersey).

These are things I am very passionate about and am baffled every day when I realize that people simply don't know about these things (and the media does not report the truth at all).  I can't tell you how many people are seriously misinformed.  This past week, I've watched more people talk about and discuss the state of education in this country than I have in the past six years.  It's amazing.    We've started a revolution and I hope it continues to spread throughout this country.

It's also been nice to really get out there and talk to the community about these things.  And while there have certainly been a lot of haters, there are also a TON of supporters.  I hope you're one of them.  If you are, I am asking you to show your solidarity with the CTU by reposting the above image, and link this post to your blog tomorrow, Saturday September 15, 2012 in support of the CTU (if you don't read this until after and want to show your solidarity, you can repost at a later date, too.  We appreciate the support no matter the day.).  Then, leave a comment below and I will link your blog below.  Please pass this along to your friends who blog, too.

Thanks again for the support all week!  I appreciate the emails and comments!

Bettencourt Chase stands with the CTU

(Stand for Public Education designed by Paul Kjelland via Justseeds)


Stand Up!

I need help in getting the word out about our historic fight for a fair contract and for the public school system.  Help spread the word about our fight by posting one (or both) of these images on your Facebook, Twitter, Google +, or Pinterest.  Are you wearing red today?

(CTU Banner designed by Martin Ritter via Fred Klonsky; Stand for Public Education designed by Paul Kjelland via Justseeds)


A New Label

There are many truths I wish I could tell you, things I feel I keep from you to both protect myself and also maintain the specific content I aim to create for Not the Marrying Kind.  For the most part, this arrangement has never bothered me.  For various reasons, I'm most comfortable writing under a pseudonym.  But if you've been reading since the beginning or if you blog-stalked the shit out of this blog when you first found it and just read post after post after post from way back to figure me out (can you tell yet that I do this myself???), then you know that slowly, but surely, I've revealed parts of myself here.  I started this blog in 2009 and I would only post a portion of my face in images.  It wasn't until was actually got engaged that I posted pictures of us on the blog.  Back then, it was more sporadic.  Now, I would say I post pictures of myself fairly frequently.  That sort of gradual trust that I built in you, my few, but lovely readers, is why I feel that I can now reveal another truth.  A big one.  And one, which, for the most part, I try very hard to avoid on this blog, but which, for reasons I will soon explain, I can no longer keep to myself: my job.

Before I reveal that truth, though, I want to talk about my absence and why, for a while, I think, I may need to not talk about things like weddings.  Currently, I have 22 posts drafted, 10 of which are from this year (the rest span three years!).  This year, like no other, I have struggled with writer's block.  When I stopped blogging the last time, it wasn't because I wanted to, it was because I had zero time to write.  This time around, I'm certainly shorter on time, but I also have felt creatively tapped.  And I couldn't figure out why.  Certainly, being burned out at work was part of it, but I've blogged through that in the past.  Why was this different?  Not that long ago, I had the realization that it was because I didn't want to blog about weddings anymore.  I mean, I did...I do, but I felt very pigeonholed by the blog.  I love planning parties and events and I love weddings, but I felt like I didn't want to talk about those things anymore.  Instead, I wanted so badly to talk about the one thing I sort of vowed to always keep private.

There are many reasons why I don't talk about my job here, the biggest of which is privacy.  I don't talk about my job to both maintain my own privacy and the privacy of those with whom I work.  I also don't talk about my job because this blog was, for so long, my distraction.  I needed some things that were separate and Not the Marrying Kind was exactly that: a place that had nothing to do with my day. Instead, it was a frothy, wedding-filled wonderland filled with amazing people that I never wanted to leave.

But reality has kicked in big time over the past year and my frothy, wedding-filled wonderland no longer does the trick.  Instead, all of my waking hours seem to be filled with job-related thoughts.  My internet time is focused a lot more on learning more about my job and its history.  And I'm feeling more creatively-fueled by an accidental side-effect of my job: activism.

You see, as of tomorrow, Monday September 10, 2012, I will be temporarily unemployed.  I don't know when I will return to work.  The future of my career is in the hands of others right now and all I can do is hope that everything works out for the best.  Why is my life in such limbo?  Because I am teacher and a member of the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU).

Tomorrow, for the first time in 25 years, the CTU will strike.  I left work on Friday and will return tomorrow only to picket outside.  A lot of people have been asking me how I feel about striking and I've been replying, "I never feel bad about doing the right thing."

Whatever you've heard in the media, this strike is the right thing.  For the last two years, teachers in the CTU have been disgraced by the local government and painted as lazy, greedy people who don't give a damn about the students.  I am telling you that the reality could not be further from the truth.  And so, I've decided I have to do my part to change how teachers are portrayed.

I've started blogging over here.  That doesn't mean I won't be blogging here, too.  For now, though, I need to be there.  I need to be standing strong with my colleagues and telling the world the reality of my job.  And so, I'm adding a new label here: education.  I probably won't post too much under it since I have a new outlet for that, but it fills in yet another detail about who I am away from this blog.

As a show of solidarity, I'm asking that you please wear red tomorrow (Monday 9/10).  It is the color of our union and is a small, but meaningful gesture.  If you are in the Chicago area and would like to know more about how you can help out, please feel free to email me.

In solidarity!


Don't Hate Me

I'll be back to my regular blogging OH, SO SOON.  I am under massive deadlines at work and have also managed to throw out my back a bit the last few days.  Fun!  The deadlines will be over after next week and then I'll be back with a bunch of posts I've been working on, including:

- Several Weekend Date posts for Humboldt Park, Superdawg, and a quick (pet friendly) trip to Milwaukee
- Marriage Monday posts about...SEX!!  Gasp!
- Wedding Wednesday posts for creative guestbooks
- Friday dances with gorgeous weddings

and so much more, including List for 2012 updates, and my May reading list!

But all of these things require time and energy, neither of which I currently have.  Soon, though, I'll be back to my old tricks.  In the mean time, don't hate me.  : )

See you guys SOOO soon!  In the mean time, enjoy this new Beach House song which I'm OBSESSED with!

P.S.  Did you see that the lovely Sara had her beautiful baby??  A big congrats to the new mom!


Mother's Day

I had to write a post here that shows how much I love mothers since I'm bashing some of them on my other blog.  Don't hate me.  Instead, focus on the pretty brunch I threw for my mother.

(More pictures and all the details after the jump!)


I Saw Him Dancing There by the Record Machine

This week has gone by soooo slowly.  Glacially slow.  And I am tired.  I can't believe I still have to work today.  Plus, I have so much work to do this weekend!  It just never ends, does it?  On the plus side, the weather is finally warming up, so we are getting the garden all ready and though it is slow going, it's getting done.  Bit by bit.  : )

This week, I'm giving you an adorable retro engagement session.  This couple is so badass, and effortlessly so.  Lisa and Ollie's beautiful photographs are by Bekki Draper.  Ready to feel very unhip?


Weekend Date: The Logan Theater

Date Category: Saturday Date
Neighborhood: Logan Square (Northwest side)
Expect to Spend: Around $14 for two movie tickets alone; $20-25 with snacks; If you hit the lounge beforehand, expect to spend around $35-50 for drinks, movie tickets, and theater snacks for two

The Logan Theater has been around for decades.  Formerly a family owned and operated theater showing mid- and last-run movies for three bucks a pop, the Logan was one of the last cheap theaters in Chicago.  I have a special place in my heart for theaters like the Logan because, as a child, my father and I used to spend Sundays at the Village Theater in Old Town.  We would watch double features for $5 and then he would take me back to my mom's place.

The old Village Theater...$2.50 a ticket!!!

These theaters barely exist anymore, though, and Logan was one of the last.  When A.P. and I first discovered the theater, we fell in love.  For one thing, the tickets were, again, $3 a piece! For another, it's right up the street from us, in Logan Square.  Plus, even with a bunch of snacks, our total tab for the night would be just above $20!  What a cheap date night, huh?


Decision Making Tools

It's been decided. From now on, I am making all important decisions this way:

How should I deal with my boss who blew off an important meeting??  Impale evil things!  Of course!

How should I respond to A.P. when he complains I'm not paying attention to The Voice??  Whinny and rear?  Sounds good to me.

What should I do when my mother makes me angry??  Nuzzle a newborn.  Der.

Seriously, peeps, go to the site and spin the wheel and answer the question you've always wondered...What would a unicorn do?

(Photo via here)


Marriage Mondays: Making New Friends

vintage photo: great-grandma and friends

As I've gotten older, it's become harder and harder to make friends.  Finding people you get along with well enough to want to spend time with them gets more and more difficult when your time becomes more limited.  It seems like I am in fewer and fewer social situations where I can meet new people who would want to develop friendships.  Plus, if you're anything like A.P. and me, you don't necessarily want all your friends to come from the workplace since you need a break from those people.

Lately, though, A.P. and I have wished we had more friends in common or even couples to hang out with.  I have a lot of friends of my own, but A.P. only has a few.  Some of those few have moved away and he rarely hangs out with the ones still living locally.  And my friends that he really likes and would spend time with live out of state.  Which means that we basically have zero friends in common and zero couples to hang out with.

When you are in a relationship, you sometimes bring the dwindling number of friends on yourself.  To a certain extent, I know some of the friends we've lost over the years were our own faults.  We outgrew them, they moved away and we didn't stay in touch, etc.  But lately, we've been craving finding great people to hang out with that we both get along with.

When we went to Clandestino a few weeks ago, we met a great couple who were a lot like us.  This past weekend, we had a lovely dinner with them.  It was so refreshing to find people we both get along with.  I kept joking to A.P. that this was our second date with them and that we had to be on our best behavior.  No freak flag flying!  : )  Seriously, though, that event seemed like such a rarity.  Meeting this couple was great, but such a fluke!  We were so happy to meet and make new friends, but how in the world do you replicate that?

Have you had trouble making friends as you get older?  If you're in a couple, have you had trouble making couple friends?  How do you make and keep good friends as you get older?

(Photo by deflam via Flickr)

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Wedding Wednesday: Etsy Finally Joins the Dark Side

Aka the wedding side.  Yes, for those of you brides (or grooms...who knows, maybe I have male lurkers?) who haven't heard yet, one of favorite sites, etsy, has finally launched a wedding division of their site.  Look at it in all its beauty!

Here, you can shop for wedding related things or even...gasp!...register for gifts!  Oh how I wish this had existed when I was getting married!  It's so rad.  Check it out here!


All of the Books

So, I readily admit that I have not been keeping up with my reading goal as much as I would have liked.  But just having the goal has made a difference in my life.  I've probably already read more this year than I did in total last year.

That being said, I still am not as spot on with the goal as I'd like.  For instance, I totally didn't read anything in February.  Actually I started The Hunger Games (see below), but really only ready 20 pages or so, which doesn't really count.  And in April, I only read one book, but once you see what it is, you'll see it was book enough for a month.  : )  Here's what I've read since our last update!


Marriage Mondays: The Language of Intimacy

Black and White intimacy

A while back, I was reading this article about the language of a marriage and found myself thinking about  the nature of intimate relationships.  It was so interesting to read about another couple that has a secret language.  Not that I think secret languages between loved ones are unique to A.P. and me. Whenever I have been in a serious relationship, even before A.P., I had secret jokes or little Morse codes of intimacy.  For instance, my first boyfriend ever and I would give each other's hands a quick squeeze three times to say a silent "I love you." He came up with it one night after we had visiting my sister.  When we were getting a ride home, he leaned over and whispered the meaning of the hand squeezes in my ear.  And so a secret language was born.  To this day, I still remember the last time he made this gesture.  We'd been having problems and had been growing apart for months.  One night, we went on an innocuous date to the movies.  I was particularly sad about the state of our relationship and the movie we were watching, A Beautiful Mind, was making me even more sad because of its topic (I have a mentally ill brother).  He wanted to make me fell better, but we were still kind of icy and distant towards each other.  And so, when he couldn't say the words anymore, he squeezed my hand three times.

This is perhaps one of my favorite things about being in a relationship with someone.  This level of intimacy is certainly not confined to marriage either.  It's a language built between two people who have shared moments together that no one else has shared.  In six years as A.P. and I have grown in our relationship, we have developed a language, too.  Little jokes that only we understand.  Anyone else requires an explanation.

For instance, when we first started dating, A.P. didn't want to reveal how picky an eater he was and hurt my feelings about food I'd make him.  One day, I literally slaved ALL day making a dinner for him.  I made pumpkin ravioli with a vanilla scented bechamel sauce, making both the pasta and the ravioli filling from scratch.  I also made frosted buttermilk brownies with cherries and chocolate baked into them. It's important to note that the entire meal was amazing and the brownies were DELICIOUS, but A.P. is a picky eater and he was even pickier then.  He didn't like that the pasta dish was sweet and the brownies were fluffier and more cake like than regular, dense brownies.  Plus, they had frosting on them and cherries in them and, well, all of those things made A.P.'s head explode.  He couldn't really hide the pasta on his plate, but he successfully fibbed about the brownies.  I left him a container with a bunch more brownies in it in the fridge.  Then, I watched as I returned time after time to the container of brownies in the fridge.  I kept asking him if he liked them and wanted one and he'd tell me he just kept forgetting about them.  Finally, months later, he confessed he hadn't liked them.  We laugh about it now, because he could have so easily gotten away with it had he just tossed the evidence, but he really did keep forgetting.  Now, when A.P. says he likes something I've cooked or baked and I doubt his, shall we say sincerity, I will ask him if this is like the brownies.  We always laugh and he will reassure me that no, if he didn't like it, he'd tell me now.

There are so many more jokes we have, some appropriate...some not.  ; )  And we share them all the time.  They're especially handy when we're in a room of strangers.  The reality is that from the time we first started dating and making memories, we became a family and that's what happens when you become a family.  You have jokes and sayings that only you understand.  It's the nature and language of intimacy and when times are tough, it provides oh, so much comfort.

(Photo by october_zju via Flickr)

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...In With the New

Hope you like the new look!  I know it's not perfect, but it's something and it's cheerier than the old look.  I was ready for a change.  It has been almost two years since I last updated the look around here.  I'm way too trendy to sit on one look for that long.  : )

You'll also notice that there's a new page listed up there.  That's right.  I just knocked #14 off my list for 2012!  I have a new blog!!

Don't worry!  I'm not going to stop blogging here; this will be in addition to Not the Marrying Kind.  I set up Not the Parenting Kind as a blog last year, but haven't had time to do anything with it.  I probably don't have the time now, but I've been itching to work on it more and more lately.  And so, out of more and more frustration with how much time work has been taking out of my life, I sat down and devoted a whole weekend to finally putting together months of work.

You'll note that Not the Parenting Kind's design is extraordinarily similar to Not the Marrying Kind.  That's intentional.  I see the two as sister sites.  Here, I'll continue to blog about marriage, weddings, and my life with A.P.  There, I'll blog about parenting and children and my fear about taking the leap into parenthood.  I see these as separate, but related sites because getting married and being newlyweds is so separate from becoming parents.  I see them as two distinct periods in a life and so felt the need to have two different internet resting spots.

I hope you'll join me over at Not the Parenting Kind, too.  I can't promise I will post there as often at first, but I promise when I do, it'll be worth your while.  : )

Out with the Old...

I'm making changes around here. Some big...some small. I'll keep you posted, but in the mean time, pardon my metaphorical dust while the blog undergoes some construction.

: )


Barn Dance

It has been SO long since we danced, no?  This week was a bit of a blur.  It was also my last week of guitar class...and I didn't go.  I skipped class and my recital all because it's been weeks since I practiced and frankly, I was just too tired to go.  I'm sitting out the next session.  I want to relax a bit and focus on some other things.  I'll pick it up again in the summer.

Speaking of summer, I'm thinking about going on a diet in May.  Gear up for the summer.  I shit you not that the other day a coworker asked me if I'd gained weight since the fall.  Can you believe some people?  Soooo crazy!

Here's something that's only crazy in the sense that it's crazy beautiful!  Emily and Brandon got married at her parents' house, with a big, beautiful barn as the backdrop.  This gorgeous country wedding, photographed by Ken Kienow, is simple and rustic.  Check it out!

Is that not the most gorgeous, relaxed looking wedding?  The details were amazing, but it's not overly fussy.  I love weddings like that.  Effortlessly beautiful, even though you know it took a ton of effort.   : )

Le sigh...what are you up to this weekend?  I am trying to convince A.P. to go to this free market for a weekend date feature.  Other than that, I'm looking forward to some relaxing/possible Dexter episode watching. We've been on a roll the past few weekends and we're about half way through season 6...finally!  Whatever you're doing, I hope it's relaxing and wonderful!

In the mean time, here are your dance moves for the week:

Custom Tap Pants

My thoughts exactly on marathons

Where the fuck should you do your drinking?

For the Star Wars geek in all of us ladies

Wearing aprons outside of the kitchen?  What a cute idea!

Pretty prints like this would be so lovely in a bathroom, don't you think?

Pinata Cookies???  TOO FREAKING AWESOME!!

(Friday dance photo by Millie Clinton; Emily and Brandon's Backyard Barn Wedding photographed by Ken Kienow via Green Wedding Shoes)


Weekend Date: Secret Supper Club

Date Category: Depends
Neighborhood:  Who Knows?
Expect to Spend: Around $150 for dinner, drinks are BYOB

I have a confession to make: A.P. and I are total foodies.  In case you haven't already figured it out, we love to go out and eat, and we've tackled many of the best restaurants in town: Moto, The Publican, Longman & Eagle, Owen & Engine, Table 52, Les Nomades, MK, EPIC, and oh so many more.  We're not snobs about food.  We like casual places and neighborhood places just as much as we do fancy joints, but we love interesting, well-prepared food.

So it is no surprise that years ago, when I first heard about the underground supper club, Clandestino, I immediately put myself on the list.  What followed was four years of me getting the emails about upcoming dinners, forwarding them to A.P. begging to go, and him never responding or forgetting or not seeming terribly into the idea.  Finally, for whatever reason, last week he bit.  I was pleasantly surprised to get a response saying he'd made reservations for us for their upcoming dinner event, WTF (Whiskey, Tango, Foxtrot...not the other commonly used texting colloquialism). Needless to say, I was SUPER psyched.


Um, I can't believe it's the weekend already.  I am actually happy this week is almost over!  It was a stressful week.  My last guitar class of this session is today, which means there's a recital.  Besides blogging, guitar took a hit, too.  I've barely practiced and reluctantly decided to take a break this time around.  But I don't want to never play again or give it up, so I joined the Old Town School of Folk Music.  I figured if I was a member and paying for it, I'd be more likely to sign up for classes and not give up on my folk music dreams!  : )  I'll take a break until June and sign up for the next session.  Gardening season is upon us and I plan on working long hours over the next few months.  Guitar would have been the death of me!

Anywho...I may not have gotten it together to blog Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of this week, but I did get it together to blog today...twice (I'll be posting a weekend date later on today!).  I'm really, really trying to blog more, even if it doesn't seem like it.  I've just been so, so tired and overwhelmed with work lately.  Here's a short list of everything I've given up for work lately:

- Blogging
- Guitar
- Photography
- Talking to family
- Talking to friends
- Seeing family
- Seeing friends
- Crafting/making things
- Cleaning (A.P. does this almost exclusively now)
- Reading

And I'm sure there are more things I'm forgetting.  It makes me wonder, though, how do people do it?  I'd love to do a feature here on balance because some people seem to do it so well and I seem to struggle with it so.  I obviously have much to learn.  I'm amazed when people work full time, are part of some kind of book club or sport team or what have you, and they manage to have a social life.  I just don't get how that happens.  If they have kids on top of it, I'm even more baffled.  How do people find balance in their lives?  Do they just make a decision to leave work at a certain time or not work on the weekends?  Or are their jobs simply more conducive to having a life?

How do YOU find balance?   What tricks can you share with the hopelessly unbalanced like me?


Weekend Date: The Portage

Date Category: Saturday Date
Neighborhood: Portage Park (Northwest side)
Expect to Spend: Around $100 for dinner and drinks for two

A couple of weeks ago, A.P. and I wanted to go to the movies, but first we had to head to my mother's to visit.  Well, if your parents are anything like mine, a 2 hour visit just doesn't exist.  By the time we left, it was too late to go to the movies.  We wanted to go out and we were in the mood to try something new, but didn't know where to go.  We weren't in the mood to venture far away (we live near Logan Square on Chicago's northwest side), but didn't want mediocre food, which is sadly a bit of a staple in this area.  All of a sudden The Portage popped into my head.  A while back, I'd read a review of this restaurant on Yelp and I'd always wanted to try it.  It was described as having a casual atmosphere, upscale food, and being reasonably priced.  These were all the things we were looking for in a restaurant, so we decided to check it out.

Our appetizer of Duck Fat Fries was amazing!  The fries were delicious and the aioli and jalapeno dipping sauce was great, too!  A.P.'s ordered fried chicken and I ordered the Smoked Tavern Ham Steak, a special that evening.  Both were fantastic, perfectly cooked, and soooo yummy!  In addition, we were sipping on some super awesome cocktails!  

Finally, we had an amazing dessert of deconstructed chess pie.  This, too, was a special.  Frankly, I'm always on board for any kind of lemon-flavored dessert, but this was SOOOOO good!  A.P. and I cleaned our plates!

Overall, The Portage is a great restaurant.  The service was phenomenal, the food and drinks were delicious, and they were super cool about me taking a ton of photos, like, non-stop.  Seriously.  If you're hungry on a Saturday night, head to the northwest side and check out The Portage.

(Photos by me!)
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