You stole my car and you killed my dog.

So,

The first few days of my summer vacation have been perfect! I walked about 30 miles 4 days and was super productive.  You know how much I love walking and productivity. I’ve been reading. Watching movies. Cleaning. Cooking. Learning German. Eating. I had the first Friday of the year with a friend. We walked at least ten miles. The day ended with Tapas at Cafe Babareeba.  It was my second weekend in a row getting Tapas. I LOVE TAPAS AND SANGRIA. The previous weekend, I had a ladies’ afternoon in Evanston. We saw Wonder Woman (which I loved), waited out a rainstorm with drinks at this awesome place called Found, and then tapas. Had friends over yesterday for my take on soup, salad, bread sticks and board games. I’m super excited for book club this week.

ALSO, funny story. Last weekend, a friend’s husband came and picked D and I up so we could all go to her dance performance together. And in the car was another of her friends…a person I went to HIGH SCHOOL WITH! A small high school 800 miles away! My graduating class had 95 people in. What are the odds that I would have a mutual friend with somebody I graduated with 14 years ago so far away?!?!

I’ve been thinking lately about how awesome the people I surround myself with are. And by those people, I mean D and all my friends. August will be 8 years in the city for me.  I remember what life was like when I first came here, not knowing anybody. Life was very small for me.  I barely knew anybody and did not adventure much. I was not very open. And look at me now! Now I have all these wonderful, smart, engaging friends. The beginning of June was a year since D and I went on our first date. It’s been such a great year. He’s a great co-adventurer and I feel very fortunate to have him around. Living together has been surprisingly easy too.

Breakfast bagel and decaf whole milk latte with almond syrup at Eva’s. My favorite!

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Wouldn’t it be lovely?

So,

I’m sick. And it sucks because I had a really busy, tiring week and was looking forward to a relaxing and calm weekend.  This week, I flew kites with my students at school and it was so much fun. I got sunburned and got a blister or two on my feet. BUT all worth it. The majority of the kids had never flown one before and seeing their faces when their kites were up in the air was awesome!

I’m very unexcited about next school year, which is a crappy feeling and makes me very unmotivated now. Everybody is jumping ship. Negotiations with my contract company did not go the way I wanted. With the same amount of therapy minutes as this past school year, I’m only slated to be at my school 3 days a week instead of 5. My students this year have made so much progress. More than half had one-on-one sessions. Lots of kids had services more than one time per week. AND I was able to see lots of RtI kids. It was nice to see what results I can get with time and resources. Next year will be the opposite. Groups of 3. No time. No RtI.

What else? Summer vacation is only one month away! I didn’t get my typical Chicago summer last year because I worked for two extra weeks and then went to Poland. After I came back, I only had a few days before school started again. This year, will be full of hamocking by the lake, farmers’ markets, wandering, and FUN FRIDAYS.

We went to Garfield Park Conservatory for Mother’s Day. I hadn’t ever been there before and it was beautiful!

Next week is book club! I’m excited for this one because we are trying a new venue AND I got a little something for everybody. Hehe.

Ugh. Went to Planetary Prom at Adler with DDDDDDDD. I fell asleep during the movies but it was still neat going! I want to try Jazzin’ at the Shedd sometime. Who’s in?

And also the Botanical Gardens and I want a spa day at the Abbey in Lake Geneva. Any takers?

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I got loyalty, got royalty inside my DNA

So,

It’s been a while! I haven’t posted in 4 months…

Let’s see. Life updates:

I’ve been cooking A LOT. Currently I am obsessed with my pressure cooker (greatest thing ever) and with the Skinnytaste website/cookbook. Everything I’ve cooked in the past 3-4 months has been from that site and it’s all been DELICIOUS. Some of my favorites:

  1. Chicken Soup with Spinach and Acini di Pepe
  2. Skinny Chicken Enchiladas
  3. Stuffed Baked Pork Chops with Prosciutto and Mozzarella
  4. Chicken Enchilada Soup
  5. Crispy Togarashi Chicken with Sesame Cucumber Relish
  6. Brussels Sprouts and Sausage Parsnip Spiralized Pasta
  7. Chicken Curry with Coconut Milk
  8. Pressure Cooker Stewed Chicken with Corn
  9. Salisbury Steak Meatballs
  10. Honey Teriyaki Drumsticks

The reason I’ve been cooking more is that I have somebody to cook for/with now. Things are going well with DDDDDD. We’ve been spending more time together and it’s been fantastic. We went down to NC for my Spring Break and spent time with his mom, my brother, and then my dad. We stayed in a beautiful cabin outside of Boone (The Mast Farm Inn) thanks to my very awesome brother. Got the Easter Basket blessed.

Last time I posted, I believe that I said I wanted to have a book club. Well, I started a super awesome book club and I love it. I’ll admit I was super nervous the first time we met because I’ve never led a book discussion before and the one time I went to a book club, I was the only person who had read the book and, while we don’t spend the whole time talking about the book, that club barely talked about it. ANYWAY.

We’ve been talking about possibly moving to Austria.  In order to do speech-language pathology there, even teletherapy, I’d need to be recognized as an SLP there. Other than taking up a lot of time, it’s very doable…with the exception of being proficient in German. Sooooo I’ve started learning German.  And I’ve been working on improving my Polish and Spanish.

Hm. What else? There are only 35 days left of school (with kids). I have my evaluation meeting this Tuesday and then negotiating my contract for next school year.  Friday is a PD day. Picking up a new client at the clinic this week. And I think that’s all for now.

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Run down yellow brick roads toward riches, just be sure to not trust no wizards. The golden age is now gone, admit it. All that’s gold is not gold that glitters.

So,

I feel myself becoming more of a nerd the older I get. I feel like in high school, college, grad school, and my first year in Chicago, I was pretty set in my ways and not very open to new things (people, experiences, food). Since then, I’ve picked up LOTS of new interests and hobbies.  In part, that’s due to roommates, being in relationships, having friends that I spend a lot of time with, trying new things with people I trust. I think it’s healthy to learn from the people you spend time with. I’m braver and more confident than I was.  I’m friendlier and better around new people (though still intimidated by large groups of strangers). Anyway. I tend to pick up things from people I spend lots of time with. Currently, it’s rap and nerd stuff.  Also, there’s somebody at work that I want to be real life friends with, but don’t know how to go about it. Ha. Maybe I’ll pull the old sticky note-it worked with Moxie Chi!

Anyway. I made what I call a character folio for my Dungeons and Dragons campaign. The nerdiest I’ve ever felt in my life was when I finished it.  I was SO freakin’ excited.  I’m stoked to show it off and use it tomorrow. I got a basket-full of materials at Michael’s.  See:

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Let’s see. What else has happened in the past month?  I enjoyed Christmas season, but actual Christmas in NC was kinda crappy.  I really liked the second act of the new Nutcracker.  The first act was a little busy.  Um. I’ve been reading a book called Don’t Sleep, There are Snakes.  It’s about the Piraha, which are a small tribe of Amazonian Indians in central Brazil. So far I’ve read that they have no numbers, counting, or color words. Other really interesting things too, but that’d take too long to write.  Would anybody be interested in doing a monthly book club?  Maybe? Anybody? Let me know. Still haven’t used my pressure cooker. Ate too much Nutella when I was in NC. I just bought a lady bow tie to wear at my friends’ wedding.  It’s super cute! The school year is almost half-over. It’s looking like I may be going to Poland again this summer. Dead of Winter is a really fun game. Pipeworks’ almond coconut abduction is an awesome beer. I have one more physical therapy appointment left.  I went to the Field Museum this week.  I was most interested in the Tattoo exhibit, which was cool, but I wanted it to be cooler.  There are two additional tattoos I want to add. Maybe if I can stop spending money on dresses, I can get them.  A small skyline behind one of my ears. And the Warsaw Siren somewhere (still not sure where).  I liked this picture from that exhibit:

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That was a lot of rambling. Oops.

Nobody speak, nobody get choked

So,

I have had a great past few days, despite Thursday having been Dead Mom Day.  My Christmas Tree was delivered. It is beautiful and perfect. I had friends over yesterday to make ornaments with me.  D made mulled wine and fancy galettes with a rhubarb raspberry apple filling, both of which turned out delicious. I made Polish gingerbread. Friends brought sweet treats (of which I have a lot now). And beer. Ornaments are super cute.  A few are posted on the bottom.  If you want to make an ornament, let me know. I still have a TON of crafting stuff.

It is supposed to snow today, so I’m super, super excited about that. I recently ordered new snow boots.  These are mega heavy-duty Sorel snowboots. Not the cute fuzzy ones with suede.  These look like they are for serious snow trekking.

I can’t believe that there are only two weeks of school left before our three-week long Winter Break! I’m expecting to pick up a second school for a day a week after break because my caseload at school is on the low side. But we’ll see. I have 7 or 8 open evals right now, which is a lot for me. Busy two weeks.

I’m excited to go back to NC and see my brother and cook Polish food with him!  I feel like every Christmas Eve is a bit better than the one before, so go us!

I’m going to the Nutcracker in a weeeeek! I just read an article about it in the Chicago Tribune. And it’s going to be TOTALLY different. It takes place during the World’s Fair in Chicago. The main character, Marie, grows up in a single-parent household and her mother is a sculptor. And Drosselmeyer is a mix of Nikola Tesla and Daniel Burnham. I’m used to the upper-middle class opulence of the previous one. BUT I love Chicago and the music is the same, so I’ll be open. Excited to dress up with D and go see it!

Also, I bought a pressure cooker!

 

 

Count your blessings instead of sheep

So,

I had Thanksgiving a day early this year. It was awesome. My brother cooked an incredible feast. Anyway. Every year he asks everybody at the table what we are thankful for.  And every year I feel uncomfortable. Feelings and mushy stuff are not my forte. But writing about it easy. I am thankful for so many things. I’m thankful to have the life I have in Chicago. To afford to be able to live on my own in a city I love. To have an incredibly rewarding job that I actually enjoy. To work with coworkers who are fun to be around. To have a boy in my life that I adore, who makes me happy. To have a super awesome, cool, talented brother. To have a supportive dad who helps me with things. To have tons of warm, special memories of my mom. To have amazing friends that I get to have fun with all the time. So, thanks, I guess, for existing everybody and making my life better.

Just a little over two weeks until I go to the premier of the new Nutcracker!

Watch this! It’ll get you excited for the Nutcracker too!

This was my contribution to the Thanksgiving feast!

Elephant juice.

So,

I am writing from North Carolina. I slept for 9 glorious uninterrupted hours.  I don’t sleep that long very often.  Anyway.  I woke up to a text from a guy I went out with exactly two years ago.  If you read my old blog, he was Bustling B originally. He had two jobs and a dog named Velma and was super busy. I think in the fourish month we knew each other, we saw each other a total of 6 or 7 times. But for some reason that was okay to me because he texted me everyday. Then one time when we were hanging out, he told me that he did cocaine and that while he doesn’t do it a lot, he’s been doing it more in the past couple of years. Then I think we texted for a day or two after that and that was it. Fast forward to last Monday morning, when I realize that I have been passing him on my walk from the train to school. And then Wdnesday, when I smile at him and chuckle to myself. He used to live out near Cumberland and of all the placed he moved to, he moved to Rogers Park. And of all the routes to take to work, his intersects somehow with mine. Anyway.  The text I woke up to was:

It was a little strange, how you just ignored me, huh? No? I don’t know. It doesn’t matter.

I should ignore this, right? Or should I explain? I quit talking to you because you did cocaine and we saw each other like twice a month.
I haven’t posted in a while because I’ve had jumbled up feelings on a few different things that I couldn’t organize well into a post.

The election results surprised me, much like they did a lot of other people. I went on a roller coaster of feelings. First, it was the saddest I had felt since my mom died. I’m serious. Then I felt hurt because it made me realize how much hate there was out there. Then I got pensive. Imagine trying to console 8 year old language impaired kids who are terrified that their parents will be sent back to Mexico.  It’s hard explaining things to kids who don’t understand the concept of verb tenses or what a president does. In all honesty, I guess I’ve never considered myself that different from most Americans. But as it turns out, half of this country is very different. And as much as I may disagree with them and their views, I’m not going to look down on them or call them ignorant. Seriously. That’s not going to help anybody. This is half the country. They are different, not,worse, but different. I guess valuing equality isn’t a common to most Americans. What are American values? For serious. I feel like I don’t even know what both sides would agree on because they are so polarized.

Onto something happier.

I’m feeling all sorts of mushy feelings for DDD. We hang out a lot and have a solid mix of doing stuff with other people and alone time. He understands that I get overwhelmed by big groups and new stuff. He’s appreciative of little things and I feel really good around him. Making new friends as an adult is hard, but we recently made new friends with a cool couple.  We cook and do the Sunday crossword and talk and go for walks. He’s been introducing me to some new stuff, which makes me a little anxious, but is a lot of fun. I have this deep-rooted schema in my head of what a relationship should be. And while my thoughts on relationships are slowly evolving, it’s hard reconciling those two together. At times it seems like I almost want conflicting things. Overall, I think that I just worry about not having enough time. In the back of my mind is the thought that I will be like my mom and I won’t make it to 50. In the past year, I’ve determined that I don’t want kids. I do want a long-term committed relationship. But in addition to that, I’ll be open for now. Open to the point of being comfortable anyway. 

Here is Europe from my Children’s Atlas from the late 80s. USSR, two Germanies, Yugoslavia, and Czechoslovakia.

So good that you can’t explain it, What can I say, it’s complicated

So,

I am at a hotel in Downers Grove right now. In about 30 minutes, I leave for a hair appointment. DDD is sleeping.  I’m thinking about changes and coffee and life and delicious food and merlot from the rehearsal dinner last night and late night chats and a whole bunch of other stuff. One of my closest friends, if not the closest friend in Chicago, is getting married today. I’ve never believed in THE ONE. There are way too many people in the world for you to only be meant to be with one. What would be the chances for finding one person among 7 billion, you know? But, obviously, there are certain people we connect with and can build lives with more easily and in a more fun way with than with others. And I think it’s incredible whenever people close to me find those people. I love weddings.  There’s so much emotion (which can be hard for me) and love and laughter and people caring for each other. And then the more superficial things like booze, music, dressing up. Anyway. It’s my first time being a bridesmaid.  I have a sprained ankle, but that’s okay.

I’ve been reading a book recently called Play Anything: The Pleasure of Limits, the Uses of Boredom, and the Secret of Games. It has challenged how I think of “fun.”

We think fun means enjoyment, and that we want the enjoyment above all else. But we’re wrong. Fun is the aftermath of deliberately manipulating a familiar situation a new way.

…We could all benefit by being reared by the blind. Living with things requires that we become continuously blinded to them, that we exercise the ability to see them fresh, familiar or not, by refusing to allow them to collapse into servants or obstacles. Blindness, fun, play, limits, constraints-all these are synonyms for humility. There between earnestness and cynicism […] we can also find solace if we are willing to pause long enough to stop scolding things for failing to yield us comfort. This is the pleasure of limits, the fun of play. Not doing what we want, but doing what we can with what is given.

Don’t have time to get into it now. I think it’s important to have that kind of FUN in life.

This is a rambling post. Sorry.

I’m excited to see my dad and brother for Thanksgiving next month. Excited to vote for Hilary. To wear my bridesmaid dress. To go to PT to help with my ankle. Do Sunday crossword puzzles with DDD. To keep trying new things and enjoying myself.

But most of all, I’m excited for my friend to start a new chapter of her life with a man she loves, who loves her. I’d like to think that I had a part in their finding of each other.  It makes me smile. I’m going to be a cry baby today and that’s okay too. Cheers.

 

I’m headed straight for the castle.

So,

Not a whole lot of super exciting stuff has happened in the past few weeks, hence no posts. It’s Sunday morning and it’s been a busy weekend for me thus far.  Yesterday I had a daytime bachelorette party to attend and then an annual party in the evening. It was tiring because I had to be on and around a lot of people all day.  But I did meet some new people and I had fun. I finally got to have high tea.  We went to the Peninsula Hotel which is BEAUTIFUL.  I still want to go to The Drake for tea around Christmas when it’s all decorated.  This year, I have to find new Christmas things to do in the city.  ARE THERE EVEN CHRISTMAS THINGS I HAVEN’T DONE IN CHICAGO? I don’t think so. I got to have a cheese flaky from Dinkels. Yum. There were three left and 6 people in front of us. I was worried that there wouldn’t be any for me by the time it was our turn to order. This is starting to get disorganized. Oh well.

After eating glorious smoked shitake mushrooms at Fat Rice and researching how to make them, I bought a stovetop smoker (I still very much am in love with Amazon).  Last weekend, I made baby back ribs in the smoker. Invited friends over and made two racks with different rubs. I even used the BBQ sauce I made from scratch. I’ve known that I’ve enjoyed baking for a while, but realizing that I enjoy cooking for people has been a recent discovery for me. I wish my apartment was more conducive to get togethers and big dinners. I also made cornbread and bourbon creamed corn to go with the ribs. It was SO GOOD. I bought pork tenderloin (but one get one free at Jewel!) and am going to smoke those guys next. Just waiting for my applewood smoke chips to arrive. Next, I want to get a pressure cooker.  Then I’ll be able to make pork belly. Yes.

Que mas? Works has been interesting this year. I feel like there is a lot of anxiety and negativity everywhere.  It takes extra effort to remain laid back and positive in that environment. It’s harder to stay in my speech bubble.  BUT, I’m doing well. This school year has been fantastic. Manageable caseload. Cute kindergarteners for rti. My own space. Getting closer to some of the staff. One week and then FALL BREAK! Though I will still come in some of the days to do paperwork and stuff.

Stuff with DDD is in a good place too. He’s sitting a few feet away now doing work. It had been a while since I introduced a new person in my life to several of my close friends. It’s kinda fun doing that.  You realize two things:

  1. How much you like said new person in your life and how fun it is when he gets along with your friends
  2. How awesome your friends are

Soon it will be time for us to go for a walk to pick up the Sunday newspaper. We’ve been doing the Sunday crossword for like 4 or 5 weeks now. It’s really fun. And then Luke Cage watching time. Wahoo!

I miss my brother.  I usually go to NC over the summer for a week or so, but because I went to Poland this year, I ran out of time. I want him to hang out with me here and I want to cook with him and all that good stuff.

Anyway. This has gotten long enough!

I painted this cherry blossom yesterday. It can go with my other bachelorette party painting. In case you’ve forgotten what that was, see below.

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You worry bout the wrong things, the wrong things

So,

Long time no post.

For the first time ever in my whole life, I had a craving for curry.  So I made some curry chicken with cumin and garam masala and coconut milk and tomato and cilantro. All with some garlic naan. It was sooooo good.  


Life is good. I discovered Amazon Prime. I’ve been productive at work. I watched some new shows on Netflix. Cooking new things. Spending time with DDD. Nails quit peeling. Eating less junk. Drinking less caffeine. Reading. Listening to Kanye West.

DDD went to a cookout with me on Labor Day and he got to meet some of my closer friends. It was really fun and my friends all liked him. It’s the first time in two years that somebody I’m seeing has met more than two of my friends. He also said he’d go to a wedding with me.  I had a really tough time asking No Nickname C to do anything with me. We got to do tons of fun couple stuff, but I never felt comfortable asking him to do stuff with my friends or going on Agnes adventures or other stuff. A part of me thinks that it has to do with the long term relationship I was in before. He blamed not having friends on spending time with me. When he should have blamed it on immaturity and personality. But anyway. I think I’m still super concerned about other people’s time. Like, even though I know spending time with me wasn’t the reason he didn’t have a ton a friends, maybe subconsciously I worry about taking up too much of anybody else’s time. Anyway. It isn’t a big deal with DDD. It feels good.

I’m excited for tomorrow!