days like this

It’s been getting a bit rainy here in Chicago. Which means I want nothing more than to curl up at home with the kitties, put on some comfy clothes, and have a hot cider.

But we’ve had some nice days lately, and I’m glad I’ve taken advantage of a few of them.

I can’t say that there’s anything majorly life changing happening right now. I’m just really content and happy. It’s nice. And I’m thankful I’ve had more days like this than not.

Some things I’m looking forward to…

Watching the Bears game with my dad tonight. He’ll still be at home in Indiana, and I’ll be here in Chicago… but thanks to my Dad, I can now watch his cable from the internet.

Rebekah‘s wedding that’s less than two weeks away! And related: a weekend in St. Louis. (I’ve got my dad to thank for getting the hotel for me since I put it off until the last minute.)

Two Mucca shows. Telling myself I will not get fall-down drunk this time at Otto’s this weekend. And super duper stocked for Mucca’s Halloween show and the debute of something amazing.

Getting new glasses. I mean, can ya tell?

Brunch with Courtney at our favorite place.

Love my family. Love my friends. Love my city. Life’s pretty grand.

*Yes, this picture is still of Chicago. I was crossing the North Ave bridge around sunset; just east of Wicker Park. I love my city.

in the family: junk food habits

I think everyone has their guilty pleasure, junk food habits. I’ve got to say, though, I don’t consider mine a guilty pleasure–there’s no guilt there. It’s in our family.

Ladies and gentlemen of the internets, I am in love with chips and dip. Specifically ruffle chips with french onion dip. We sort of joke about the fact that you can’t really be an S, unless you eat chips and dip, and you eat that stuff with conviction. Or in my dad’s case, a spoon.*

It’s become this weird comfort food for me. And it really wasn’t something that I actually sought out on my own until recently. Normally it’s just one of those staples at grandma’s house and that was that. But for the past two or so years, I get these little cravings and nothing will satisfy me until I get some chips and dip. Lately it’s all I could think about for two months and so I caved in my last grocery trip.

I finished an entire bag of chips and a container of dip in two days. Actually, as is normally the case with me and my family, we finish the dip before the chips. It doesn’t just taste good, but it gives me that little sense of home that I sometimes miss. And I’ve found myself more and more stocking my kitchen like my grandparents’. I mean, who else taught me to have a chocolate drawer in my fridge?

But even though this food brings me happiness, I’m going to be careful… because no one wants to admit they devoured half a tub of french onion dip in one sitting… Well, unless you’re in an eating contest with my dad.

So what sort of junk food turned comfort food does your family love? What are those foods that may not be good for you, but just scream “this is home, this is family” every time you eat them?

*No joke. How else are you supposed to deal with the tiny crumbs and that last bit of dip?

stuck on you

So. January 31st, eh?  It shouldn’t surprise me that the month is ending, but it is.

I contemplated doing an end of the month wrap up post, but well, there’s just too much clouding up my mind right now.  So you’re getting that mess instead.

  • I am still, in no means, adjusted to living at my dad’s.  My sisters (and their attitudes) frustrate me daily.  The eye rolling, the correcting everyone, talking over everyone, the one-upmanship and holier than thou-ness… it’s all endless.  I’m trying to not let it affect me, but it is.  It’s why I hide in the cold basement with the cats.  I realize this is just a temporary situation, but it’s still hard.
  • I’m so grateful to have found Duneland Friends Meeting.  I haven’t been to Meeting (aka church) for a while.  I’ve missed this stillness and quietness.  And in my current situation, it’s much needed.  It also means I don’t have to attend my family’s church.
  • I can believe that they’re offering “Creation Science” at my sisters’ homeschool co-op — I just wish it wasn’t true.
  • I’m planning a trip to see this lady.  I’m excited.  Very excited.
  • I’m also getting Enthused too…
  • I completely agree with everyone.  Chris and I aren’t really breaking up, but transitioning from a romantic relationship to a solely platonic one.
  • I still hate my endometriosis.  It sucks.  I hate feeling weak and in so much pain.  I especially hate getting tired and worn out from simple tasks or just walking up the stairs.
  • … sometimes I think that I don’t actually have sisters, but I have elephants.  Or hippos.
  • I am absolutely obsessed with Chex Mix right now.  I cannot get enough of it.  I’m fairly certain they’ve put crack in it.  I don’t really care.  I just want need more.  Particularly the “bold” flavor.  And their puppy chow (or “Muddie Buddies”)… and the cheese.  AND ALL OF IT.  (Seriously, Chex Mix, SPONSOR MY LIFE.)
  • I just want to be back in Chicago.  I miss the city.  I miss not needing a car, and having almost everything within bus or train or walking distance.  I don’t like that I can’t just go meet up with my friends.  That I can’t go to meetups or send offs.  I dislike that I can’t take advantage of the free days at museums and the aquarium.  I miss having a variety of restaurants to choose from.  I miss bars like Four Moons.  I miss my nerds — Renegade & Mucca — like crazy.  I absolutely cannot wait to be back.
  • Still struggling with 140Days.  I’m forever grateful for those who’ve supported me thus far, but I’m still far from my goal.  I know it’s not going to happen overnight, but this is just a big thing for me.  I’m actively searching for design contests and grants and such — not only because I need them, but the part I’ve been struggling with is just asking for people to donate.  I need it, but well, it’s still something I’m working with.
  • Job interview on Thursday (assuming I can get back to the city).
  • I’m attempting this re-branding thing, where I re-brand/repackage items I use daily.

There’s still a bit more muddying up my mind… but that’s sort of the main chunks.

So, what’s stuck in your mind?

Jobless, broke, and trapped in Indiana.

I knew moving home was going to be an adjustment.  This is the first time that I have lived with, rather than visited, my father since he was married to my mom.  They divorced sometime around or before I entered kindergarten.  So, it’s definitely been a while.  Among all the differences and changes and such, the thing that’s hit the hardest has been the fact that I AM GOING STIR CRAZY.

In Chicago, I didn’t have a car or really much desire to drive places.  As much as we like to complain about the CTA, I was in love with it.  I relied on it daily.  So when my license expired on my 25th birthday, and I was lacking the proper documents to renew it, I didn’t worry.  But now, 18 months later, stuck in middle of nowhere Indiana, it means I am completely TRAPPED at home.

If it was just me, I could deal with it.  However, the only person who leaves the house on a regular basis is our foreign exchange student.  She attends a local high school.  All four of my younger sisters (ranging in ages from almost 8 to a 15 and half year old) are all home school by our stepmom.  (Their mother passed away in 2006.)  My father works from home in the basement about 80% of the time.  There is no privacy in this house unless you’re in the bathroom with the fans running.

Luckily I did renew my license (and thanks to Indiana I only had to take the written test) and I do have access to the car.  If only I had a place to go.  Farm towns aren’t really structured for social life.  It makes me miss Chicago even more with the constant barrage of things to do — and question my sisters more when they adamantly state how they could “never” live in Chicago. I’m jealous of everyone who will get to sign up for BiSC.  I’m jealous of Jenn and the other Ambassadors going to New York.

I’m jobless, broke, and trapped in Indiana.  It probably explains why I am creating silly things like IROCs.

The good news is that I do have a phone interview tomorrow for a job, albeit temporary.  Wednesday I will be back in Chicago to visit the Portfolio School, as well as complete my application interview.  Thursday I will finally be heading south to my mom’s — and I will also visit all the grandparents and family (aka finally celebrate Christmas with them).  I’ll return to my dad’s either Sunday night or some time on Monday.  Some time in February, I’ll be visiting this kick-ass lady in St. Louis.  So there is a little excitement coming for me… but I am sooooo ready to be back in my city.

Chicago, I miss you.

#reverb10: how can I say thanks?

I signed up for this thing called #reverb10. A month full of prompts guided to help me reflect on this past year and focus on goals for the next.

December 14: Appreciation.
What’s the one thing you have come to appreciate most in the past year? How do you express gratitude for it? (Author: Victoria Klein)

Chris – He’s meant a lot to me.  He’s supported and loved me for the past five and half months.  As mentioned, we don’t know really what we are or where we are going — but we’re still together.  And I think regardless of how we turn out, because Chris might not be the one (and that’s okay), he’s going to be a big part of my life.  He’s my best friend.

Doctors – Even though I’ve gotten to see, first hand, how much being uninsured in this healthcare system sucks, I do appreciate the doctors who have been taking care of me.  I couldn’t afford surgery, so my doctor tried to do the best she could to make sure I could get by until I finally did have insurance.

Kitties – They’ve been great.  They know me well, and know I’ve been sick and stressed.  They’ve done the best to their little kitteh abilities.  Their cuddles have helped a lot.  Not to mention they’ve been pretty amusing.

Nintendo – So, I may have failed at keeping up with WiiFit Plus… and I haven’t read many classics on my DSi XL… but, having my DSi (and my XL) for long waits at the airport — or for overnight stays at the hospital… Getting awesome “mystery packages” like Kirby or Donkey Kong when I’ve had a shit-tastic week.. or month…  Zoning out, or having a date night in, with Netflix on my Wii… Well, I really appreciate these kind gestures from them.  And if the water ever cools down enough, I’d like to send them some of my awesome tie-died cupcakes as a thanks.

My boss – He’s fought for me on a couple of occasions.  He took a risk hiring me — I had no marketing experience — and when times got tough, he fought to keep me on.  Without him, well, I might be writing this post from my dad’s house — where there are already 7 people living.

The number one?  Well… I’m going to pick my favorite thing to appreciate: My Mom. She’s the most amazing woman I know.  She still takes care of me, and yet again she’s bailed me out of way more times than she’s needed to or should have had to.  I’m still really biased that she’s the best mom ever.  She’s a proud dork, a great musician, a wonderful caregiver — and I think G would easily say that she’s an amazing grandma…

Momma, you’re wonderful and beautiful.  One day I want to take you away to an amazing beach vacation.  Because you more than deserve it.

(And if you’re wondering about prompts 12 and 13?  … Well, I’m hoping 2011 has a lot of action — plenty of dreaming as well as doing.  And for 12 — body integration? Try having 3-4 pelvic exams in ONE day… and then have the very very painful cyst on your ovary poked with an ultrasound wand… pain can make you feel plenty connected with your body…)

#reverb10: eleven and eleven, plus a little more.

I signed up for this thing called #reverb10. A month full of prompts guided to help me reflect on this past year and focus on goals for the next.

December 11: 11 Things.
What are 11 things your life doesn’t need in 2011? How will you go about eliminating them? How will getting rid of these 11 things change your life? (Author: Sam Davidson)

Stress.  Stress stress stress stress.  Stress times eleven.

So it’s not 11 things, but there are probably 11 things that are causing stress in my life that I’d appreciate not being there any more.

So 11 things my life doesn’t need in 2011?

1) Severe pain. 2) Endometriosis, or whatever this is. 3) Hospital/Medical Debt. 4) A broken iMac with all my files. 5) Only one pair of dress/work pants. 6) Worrying if I can afford groceries. 7) Worrying about work stability. 8) Less time with family. 9) Feeling judged. 10) Holiday uncertainties.  11) Did I mention the severe pain?

What about 11 things I’d like to see in my life in 2011?

1) A more impressive portfolio. 2) More time writing. 3) More freelance work. 4) More time with puppies. 5) More time with family. 6) A better work wardrobe. 7) More cooking at home. 8) More exploring Chicago. 9) A membership to Shedd. 10) More time and space to craft. 11) A feeling of accomplishment and growth.

I also want to throw in there: more time for music, more time for Chicago & non-Chicago friends, a new apartment that feels like home, more internet-spawned/blogging-spawned opportunities, more time studying and learning, more chances to be nerdy — more Nintendo!, and of course, more cupcakes!

oh so.. thankful.

It’s been crazy.  But I’ve got to say, I am extremely thankful.

I am thankful for a family who has always been supportive, and just pretty much amazing.

I am thankful for two kitties who have always been cuddly and can always make me giggle.

I am thankful for a man who’s shown me nothing but love and support — and just happens to make damn good food.

I am thankful for another week of employment, and a boss who believes in my ability.

I am thankful for health insurance, so I can finally see my doctor.

I am thankful for four continuous days of minimal/tolerable pain.

I am thankful for my friends, online and off.

I am thankful for an amazing and relaxing Thanksgiving with Chris and his cousin… …and for food comas… and lots of leftovers…

taking a look at the glass — empty or full?

I hate all this suckfest that seems to be going on with me right now.  Now, don’t get me wrong, there are some very good things that are hopefully coming my way.  But there’s been some pretty big, not so great things come my way too.

But when I look at it, I can’t tell if the glass is half empty or half full.

Empty:

  • Fairly obvious by now, The Pain. Maybe it’s from endometriosis, maybe not.  Regardless, it’s not been a fun journey.  Currently, the pain is making it’s return, and I’m low on supplies.
  • Due to The Pain, I haven’t been able to work full-time like I used to.  Previously I’d have 45-50 hours a week.  Now? 20-35.  I’m slowly getting more hours, but right when I get to a point where I can start doing more they cycle begins again and I’m out of commission for those 7-9 hour days, on my feet and running the store.
  • Because I can’t work full time, my financial situation sucks.  With every paycheck since being in the hospital, I’ve had to get help from family.  Regardless of the fact that this next paycheck is coming a week later than we thought it would, it’s still not going to be enough to cover my bills and such.
  • Due to lack of funds, buying food hasn’t been something I can easily do.  This month, I think I’ve really only been able to get one loaf of bread and some cat food.

Full:

 

 

 

 

  • The previously mentioned, potentially good thing seems to just keep getting better.  It’s almost looking like a reality.  I should hopefully get some good news this week.  Which means I can hopefully share what’s going on soon.
  • Even though we technically broke up, I still have The Bartender in my life.  I’ve never really had someone show and verbalize how much the care for me like he has.  It’s a little overwhelming, in a very good way.  Neither of us really see anything long term with this relationship, but neither of us are ready to abandon what we have just yet.
  • OMG the support I’ve gotten from various people… from my Lovely roommate, to commenters, to bloggy-friends, tweeps, my endo support group, co-workers… the list just keeps going.  I’ve had just people saying they were thinking about me, to offers for food… (which I do want to thank Ramon from Dominos for providing me with dinner one night, and a ride home.)
  • I can’t forget my family.  They’ve footed too many of my bills and carried my burdens for so long now… I know, that’s what family does… but I still can’t say thanks enough.  It’s thanks to my family I’m going to be able to take a much needed vacation out east.  Boston, Maine, Montreal and Toronto.  October 4-10.  It was hard deciding to just not work for a week when I need money so badly right now… but I need to take care of my mental health too.  And being with family and getting a break trumps staying here.

 

There are both good and bad things surrounding me right now.  I go from celebrating to wanting to hide under the covers.  I’m trying to stay focused on the Full, but the Empty has a very loud voice.

Loud enough to make me consider swallowing my pride to ask for help from the internets…

random update > no update

  • the potentially good thing is growing in potential.  I’m still remaining really hopeful, and very excited.
  • I met my deadline for my portfolio, and it went over well.  More updates on those such things later.
  • The Bartender and I have been talking a lot, trying to figure things out.  We’ve come to the conclusion that we both believe we are a very important part in each others’ lives, and neither of us want to lose that.  We both care for each other like crazy (a particular word was used — a first directed at me)… so this may not be long term, but it’s what we need and want right now.  There might not be terms for this, but in some form or another we’re together. ish.  (He reads this, so if he so feels, he can put in his two cents.)
  • The Bartender is going through a lot of shit right now.  I wish I could do more for him.  I wish I could make it all better.  I just want him to be happy.
  • My body is still doing unhappy things.  Even though I’m on birth control to help take care of this possible endometriosis, my body’s still trying to start its cycle regardless.  Meaning the birth control isn’t really working.  I had some really good days, no pain medicine needed.  And now that’s all gone to pot.  I’m nauseous, crampy, sore, and can’t get comfortable.  This has turned me in to a grumpy person at times.
  • My flights are booked.  From October 4-10 I will be on vacation with my family.  Boston, Maine, Montreal, and Toronto.
  • On October 3rd I’m getting a puppy fix: The Bartender gets his ex’s dog for a weekend, and I’ve arranged a play date for myself.

And the big one….

Today is my beautiful and amazing niece’s 5th birthday.
I miss and love you like crazy, G.

what I want…

a pony! oh, wait…

Every once in a while, I like to go through and evaluate what I want in life.  Most of the time I only think about at one area at any given time.. but I thought I’d go through a good handful here and see where I’m at.

Relationships:

BOYS.
It still doesn’t feel I’m looking for much — and that’s not meant to be an insult to the boys I want.  I still am looking for companionship.   That best friend and adventure buddy (to steal a term from Josh), who, of course, we can make out like horny high schoolers (and much more).  I want them to inspire and encourage me, just as I hope to be a positive influence on their lives.  But honestly, I’m not seeking out forever — if it happens, cool… But I’m much more of a let’s have fun, enjoy each other, and see where it goes.

Friends
I think mostly I’d like a consistent group to do things with — which I think is also why I’d like a boyfriend; it’s someone to do something with on a regular basis.  I love my friends, but sometimes it’s hard to find even one person to do something with.

Family
Things are pretty good.  I’d love more time with them, of course.  Especially my grandparents — well, I should say some of them, I do have 5 grandmothers and 4 grandfathers.  I could always use more time with my niece.  And apparently, my puppy is getting worse in his old age…  So time.  I’d like more time.  And some of my late stepmom’s potato soup.

Career Stuffs:

Current Job
The job’s been full of ups and downs.  It’s not terrible, but it’s not my passion.  And I’m getting used to Josh not being there.  I think when it comes down to it, I know this job isn’t going to keep me.  I just want a better opportunity to come, and for my boss to understand.

Goals
I want this school to really start getting underway.  I’d like to find a mentor or two.  And, as much as I want this community education center to be my project, my baby… I know I’m going to need help.  I want things to fall in place, and for the first courses to start either this fall, or in the winter term.  For us to find a building next summer and to be ready for courses next fall.

Education:

It seems crazy, but working full time, then also full time for the community education center I’m starting, that I’d also want to start grad school.  I’m going to continue on with my plans of starting my MFA in Creative Writing.  And I might, also, put in my application for a MA in Zoology… and I’ll probably take a couple business courses.  Either way, I think I’ll apply for more than just an MFA and see what happens.

Financial:

Yeah.  I’d like to get this stuff in better order.  But I’m working on it.

Other:

There seems to be a lot of other small things I want, but there’s been one that’s stuck around for a while… to practice my horn more and actually become a better musician, and to have confidence in my ability…  All I need to do is practice, right?  Maybe if there was some sort of mute large enough or some sound proof room where I could practice.  Just until I get my confidence back.