getting ready to geek out.

Okay, maybe getting ready to nerd out is a little more appropriate… but still.  Geeking out and nerdery is about to commence.

Here’s what’s about to come up:

  • I’m hopping a train this afternoon and will be visiting my super amazing boyfriend, Jaron, for a few nights.  (So excited!)
  • Jaron has an invite to Lego Universe.  It’s in private beta right now.  And um, yes, I am going to make sure I get to check it out too.  (Girlfriend perks, right?  I mean, I showed him Glass before sending him an invite…)
  • Jaron is also having a super awesome party on Saturday.  It’ll be a day of gaming.  Different games in various rooms.  Sadly, though, I’ll be missing this.  (boo)
  • …HOWEVER… I get to see Jaron that night and for the whole day Sunday, which happens to be his birthday!  So we’re going to spend the day celebrating.
  • I now have a book of the complete works of Charles Perrault — the French writer who did all those fairy tales before the Brothers Grimm…  You know, back when fairy tales didn’t always have the “happily ever after”…
  • I also got a book of Grimm fairy tales… and for good measure, a collection of H.P. Lovecraft.  (I’ve read a handful of Cthulhu graphic short stories, figured I need to read the original.)
  • I’m talking with a writing program here in the city.  There is a good chance I might be starting a course next week.  I’ve felt this ever stronger tug at my heart that I’ve neglected my writing for far too long.  I’m tired of ignoring that.  I want to work on my craft and get back in the game.
  • Writing = researching = AWESOME.  I love researching.  I love learning.  If I could continue taking course forever, I would.  In an instant.  One of the main reasons I’ve been getting fairy tale books is because of a story I’m working on… it’s inspired by Perrault’s Petit chaperon rouge (Little Red Riding Hood).

Also other things I’m excited about… Attempting to distract Rachel long enough to steal her new copy of Endless Ocean.  It’s a game that lets you explore the ocean waters.  It’s prompting kids and adults to think more about things outside of their community bubble.  Wildlife conservation is a HUGE thing to me.  Ocean conservation is a very, very large part of that.  We ignore our ocean ecosystems, and we’re going to seriously f- up our world because of it.  Anyway.  The game looks awesome.  (Yes, I’m jealous that Brand About Town isn’t sending me things like this.  I mean, come on, huge nerd here.  I love video games.  Grew up on them.  I’ve got a Nintendo track jacket — and not just the Wii Fit Plus one they gave me — and for 2/3rds of college I carried around a Nintendo remote messenger bag.  They’re missing out on a great nerd right here.  But that’s not the point.  The point is I’m going to attempt to snag Rachel’s game, and return in one piece.)

wherein I treat myself to a girl’s day.

So, yesterday and today didn’t exactly go how I was hoping.  It hasn’t been bad, but well, plans changed.  On Wednesday Jaron and I worked it out so I could come to visit for a few days before needing to be at work on Saturday.  Then he got sick.  And my trip got canceled.  And that ginormous bubble of uber excitement got burst.

After the point of no return passed yesterday and it was definitely confirmed I wouldn’t be seeing my super amazing boyfriend, I shut myself in my apartment and just had a low key evening.  But today, I wasn’t going to mope around the house — pouting wasn’t going to make Jaron feel better sooner nor would it magically make me appear at his house.  So I decided I was going to treat myself.

I made an appointment at Juko to get my nails done — finally getting to use my gift certificate!  Only, I left it at home.  Luckily the owner is good friends with my boss, so I’ll be back on Monday to actually pay for my mani-pedi.  (Of course, within minutes, I scratched one of my nails — this is why I don’t normally get manicures.)

Then after stopping in at a few cute shops I’d always passed going to and from work, but they’d always been closed, I decided “hey, why I don’t I shop within my budget.”  So I went to Kohls.

New dresses for spring.  New tops.  New light cardigans.  And a couple fun headbands for good measure.  And because I really don’t care for fashion beyond “Hey I look hot!”, I’ll spare you any attempt by me pretending that I actually know anything or that I’m a fashion blogger…. Here are a couple photos!

The Abbey Dawn dress… yes, that’s Avril Lavigne’s clothing line.  The skirt is fantastic, but the top of the dress is lame. (Seriously, ribbed tank with zipper front? Not my thing.)  Oh.  And one of the ridiculous headbands.

Being stupid with my new sunglasses.  My last pair snapped in half, so I sort of needed new ones.  I’ve got a rule with sunglasses, don’t pay more than $5-7, make sure they’re big and ridiculous.

I live within a mile of Wrigley.  It’s an easy walk.  It’s about damn time I own a Cub’s shirt.  This one is damn cute.  I plan on wearing it to work as much as possible this spring.

I bought a handful more than this… but that’s all I really felt like modeling.  Tonight I’ll eat candy and ice cream, watch chick flicks and work on a few projects (like Jaron’s birthday gifts, a guest post for next week – details to come, and some reading/writing stuffs).  While it definitely won’t beat a couple days with my awesome and cute boyfriend, it was a lot of fun.

my life compass might be broken… or at least slow

So, going to take a little bit of a break from all the gushing OMG Jaron is soooo great posts — which, by the way is still very much a fact… But I thought it was time to check in on what I’m doing to live my dreams.

Honestly, some days it feels like a whole lot of nothing.  I get up, go to work, come home exhausted, dick around on the interwebs, then pass out anywhere between 10 and midnight, only to do it all over again.  I spend my days off lounging around the house with the cats.  So seriously, how do I expect to accomplish any goals or reach for any dreams if I’m just sitting on my ass?

You should know that I let the deadline for the MA in Zoology slip by without applying.  Why?  Because I was surprised with a promotion at work and thus began working 45-50 hour weeks.  Doing anything beyond surviving that and just enjoying the down times wasn’t really on my radar.

More and more I’m finding that I’m back in that indecisive about what I want to do stage.  I’m waffling.  I still feel strongly about wildlife education and conservation.  But I’m starting to feel that I’ve neglected my writing for too long.  That I need to continue to work on my craft.  That maybe I should attempt to get my portfolio done and apply for grad school at the end of the year.  And then I go and redesign a blog and create a new one and rediscover my love for all of that!  (Don’t even put me in front of audio, lighting, or video equipment, it might doom me.)

The question of “what do you want to be when you grow up” is still apt.  I mean, holy hell.  What do I want to do?  Everything I’ve liked is so varied.  I’ve never felt like anyone needs to limit themselves by becoming so focused that it does allow the freedom to explore all of your passions and interests.  But have I become so broad that choosing a direction is such a daunting task that I’m shutting down?

I still love working at the toy store.  I’m settling in to my new role in management.  My boss is tapping into some of my talents, and that excites me (just as much as getting awesome new toys — yes, I am a giant kid).  I have no real answers, but I am not taking this lightly.  I’m not going to stop just living and enjoying everything life’s thrown at me thus far just so I can get some direction… But I am working on taking steps towards paths with might lead me somewhere awesome.

Guest Post: Surviving a Long Distance Relationship

Okay, so I’ve recently reconciled with my friend Stephanie.  Beyond being a number of good things, Steph is also someone who’s dealt with a long distance relationship, who knows both Jaron and I… She’s the perfect person for me to seek out advice, so that’s what I’ve done.  And I want to share it with you.

Erini recently asked me to guest post about surviving long distance relationships so here I am.

A bit of background before I jump in:  I’m a college friend of Erini’s and her predecessor in the Evanston girl group.  I am probably the only person who can claim to have lived with both Erini and Jaron.  I’ve also had the distinct pleasure of going from a long distance relationship to a marriage.  Mike and I started dating at the end of my senior year of college.  We dated for about 4 months before I moved to Evanston.  We were long distance for another year and a half before I moved back a few months before our wedding.  So with that, here is the email I sent to Erini.  I might add or interject.

First of all, I didn’t always deal with it (long distance dating) well.  Mike was just reminding me last night of a weekend that Mike was planning a surprise visit and I ruined it.  I had a really hard week, so had decided I was going to go to Goshen.  Abby did everything in her power to dissuade me without actually telling me he was coming, but I was so stubborn that she ended up telling me to keep me in Evanston.  So be patient with yourself.

Pace yourself.  Find a good balance of time you spend here, time he spends there and time you’re apart.  Try different combination and work on developing a pattern.  There’s no right way to do this, it’s totally what works for you guys as a couple.  I suggest the pattern because it’s easier to deal with the times apart if they are consistent.  Your heart learns to deal with the separation if it’s in regular intervals.  Obviously there’s going to be some variation, but make that a goal.

Talk about types and amounts of communication.  If you both know what the other person’s needs/wants are upfront, then you can find a good middle ground if they are different.

Think about and practice coping strategies.  Does going out with such and such friend help you not obsess about Jaron?  Do you have a coffee shop (or cupcake shop) that feels really comfortable to you?  Find those people, places, and things that help you live in the moment and enjoy the life you have without Jaron immediately present and use those when times get tough.

Just try to stay positive with it.  It’s good to be ecstatic about such an amazing guy.  Stick with that.  But it’s so easy to go from “he’s so great!” to “he’s so great I wish he was around all the time… ”  When you start to feel yourself crossing that line, remind yourself how great it is to have him in your life at all and refocus on something else.  Distraction is a great tool.  If sending him a quick note helps, do that.  Just keep it positive.  It’s good to let him know that you miss him etc. but sometimes it’s good to vent the more negative side of it to a close friend.

Over all it’s about being patient with yourself and him and the situation.  Good luck!

YotC – February: Molly’s Cupcakes

Now, before you get all “But you said that Molly’s couldn’t count!”… well, that’s true, I did say that.  But here’s why I decided it’s okay: I have actually never been to Molly’s.  I had 1 cupcake at 1 even.  (Plus, I did some other awesome cupcake things that month.)

So. Molly’s Cupcakes.  It was busy, but it was also a Sunday afternoon.  So Jaron and I waited in line and got our treats to go.  Which, well, I did want to sit at one of the swings at the bar, but they were all full and the girls sitting there didn’t look like they’d get up for anything (well, had RPattz walked in, maybe)…

So I ended up getting the Tiramisu, however, I didn’t eat it that night.  So it slept in the fridge for a night, which may have changed the texture of the cake.  The coffee-soaked cake was very moist.  Like, near dripping.  It had a cream filling as well, which didn’t help the moisture situation.  The frosting was great.  It was nice and light.  Very smooth.  The cake, however, was just a bit too strong.  The coffee was a bit too much.  It wasn’t terrible, but it was very wet and heavy.

I’d definitely be willing to try Molly’s again, but I’m not so sure about the tiramisu. (Or at least I won’t get it unless I know I’m going to eat it right after purchasing it.)

Stuck on you

So a couple people have asked about “my boy” and how things are going… so here is another gushing update…

I’m settling in as a permanent resident of swoonsville.  It’s been a month and the butterflies haven’t gone away.  (OMG IT’S BEEN A MONTH TODAY.)  However, in this month I’ve spent a total of two weekends with him.  And that’s been it.

Last weekend was one of those.  We walked around the Art Institute until our stomachs kicks us out and took us to a tourist filled restaurant.  We giggled our way through the Lego store.  I brought him to enemy territory (the Apple store — he’s so a PC).  He survived a very quick trip to Victoria’s Secret (what? I *really* needed a new basic bra).  We dorked out at the robot store.  And Jaron got to feed a want (while I avoided temptation) and he got a Nook — but I did (finally) get a book of complete works from Charles Perrault (thanks to Jaron finding it!)…   That was all before dinner on Saturday.  Directly after he got off the train.

When you’re in a long distance relationship, you try to smash SO MUCH into whatever time you have together.  And whatever you do, you do your damnest to make sure it’s always together.  You are glued to each other.  It seems overwhelming to some, but it’s just a reality.  If Jaron was living in Chicago, yes, I could live without seeing him every free moment.

This month, I’m only going to get to see him for one day.  ONE DAY.  Probably less than 24 hours!  It’s only for the day before his birthday — I can’t even see him on his birthday.  It’s hard.  I miss him like crazy.  But we’re doing what we can.  We try to talk almost every day, even if it’s just something short.  He’s now on Glass with me, which is SUPER awesome.  And I’ve even talked him into blogging.  (No idea what he’s going to write about, and he’s admitted the same, but you can follow him here: Supposed to Win.)

I’m falling for this guy, completely and utterly falling for him.  There were moments this past weekend when looking in his eyes, when he held me, just seeing him smile… it was a feeling beyond words.  It’s those moments that make all the distance, all the time apart… it makes them worth it.