Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Odds and Ends

Leap years are the only years where Christmas and New Year's do not fall on the same day of the week, which is why this year our New Year's Eve falls on a Tuesday. And I'm pretty sure I don't get that day off. Some other interesting items of note about Leap Day on this list.

Favorite Comment EVER on YouTube (Concerning a Song Collaboration Between Lykke Li and Bon Iver): 

I just came across lino artist, Kevin O'Rourke, who is the March featured artist at Inkling here in Chicago. Love his work. I wonder if any of his stuff features any notable Edgewater landmarks? I wonder what those even are...? I guess the Edgewater Beach Hotel would be one at least.

George Takei has a blog, and it is really interesting. He is also a rather entertaining Facebook updater.

This month marked the 70th anniversary that Japanese Americans were required to first enter internment camps after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. George Takei talks about growing up in an internment camp on his blog and on NPR's Here and Now.

T-Rex Trying is one of those creative, clever, and funny ideas that I wish I had thought of myself. 

Monday, February 27, 2012

Rage Against the Mundane

from Hyperbole and a Half
I am having rage issues. They appeared this weekend, but I think it might last a few more days. Unfortunately they are over the kind of things that when I try to inspire Nathan to share my wrath he laughs. Loudly. For a long time. Surprisingly that laughter does not cause my rage to be redirected at him.

It stayed focused on the UPS who refused to deliver the two packages that I was expecting on Friday EVEN THOUGH I WAS HOME. Instead I was told that I could pick them up from the UPS package center on Saturday which is 40 minutes from my house. Incredible hulk-style FURY. Anyway, I was so angry I called Nathan at work so he could calm me down. He laughed at me. I remained unoffended, however, because I could tell it was a product of shock at the rage I was venting. It was pretty inexplicable.

Then last night, I was finally getting around to sewing one of the two baby presents I still have to make before the kid graduates. The "easy snaps" were not easy. I wrecked 8 snaps, and then damaged the fabric before I gave up, cursing heavily. I wrote an angry email to the company that makes the snaps, Dritz, and then proceeded to tell Nathan the problem as I stood, shaking with rage. Again with the laughter.

I also may or may not have gotten way angrier at some board games this weekend than was warranted. Luckily, Nathan is taking it in stride mostly because none of the anger has been directed at him (and probably also because the rage is rather entertaining). His laughing at me helps me put the anger in perspective a little, but it's not keeping the fury at bay when confronted with these minor things. I think my hives have sapped me of all my abilities not to overreact. I have nothing left for these other minor inconveniences.

I've decided it's not a problem because I keep it reined in and only unleash it at home. There's no possibility that it will result in road rage or shopping cart smack-downs, so I figure intervention is not yet required. As long as it's not hurting me or my relationships then my rage and I can coexist for a little longer. 

Friday, February 24, 2012

If Not for 8 Inches of Snow...

If I didn't live in a place where we are being deluged with snow, then I could be dressing to welcome spring instead of just dreaming about it. I would definitely choose to wear this outfit.

Glamour Power to You Dress: Modcloth, $74.99
Classic Crewneck Cardigan: BP, $34
Belinda Clutch: Hobo International, $110
Dancy Patent Leather Shoes: Gabriella Rocha, $52.99

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Just a Minute: February Edition

readingThe Windup Girl, which is a completely fascinating, creative, and strange multiple-book-award-winning science fiction novel. I just finished Remarkable Creatures (which was wonderful) for those of you who are not particularly interested in sci fi.

following...One of my favorite blogs is How About Orange. Jessica is a graphic and textile designer who is always sharing free fonts, and labels, and showing her cute and really doable project ideas.  One of my favorite features is when she does sewing tutorial roundups, though I always find myself
bookmarking yet another project idea that someday I plan to get around to making. Plus, she's a fellow Chicagoan, and I fight the urge to stalk her a little bit.
watching...Southland is such a great show. Though my DVR gets a pretty decent workout, (ok, admittedly a better workout than I get each week) it is the one show I savor the most. I am so excited to watch it that I hold off so that I can look forward to it for a few days. Sure, it's another cop show, but this one fleshes out the characters, has a fast pace, and has more emotional depth than the typical cop show.

 listening…to a Chicago area band that my band manager friend, Bret, told me about. I am loving the Stamps, especially Over Again and Heartache.

loving…Nathan and I recently obtained two board games that are just for two people (Lost Cities and Settlers of Catan card game). We've been having game night/day/afternoon/morning on an almost daily basis, and though he is now consistently beating me, it's still a much better way to pass the time than fighting over watching DVR'ed golf. 

making... Made Slow Cooker Cuban Pork this weekend. It was so good that I am still looking forward to the leftovers. Make sure to serve it with sliced jalapenos because that little kick of spicy makes it extra good. The biggest adaptation I made was using a pork roast instead of the beef called for in Real Simple's recipe. Because it was double the meat, I also doubled the rest of the ingredients. I put in half the peppers at the beginning, but then added the remaining peppers about an hour before serving. Even with a 4 lb. roast, this would be ready after 7-8 hours on low. Recipe found via @AbbyButts on Pinterest.

baking…I also made Nutella Sandwich Cookies this weekend. While the cookie base was delicious (it would be fantastic for sugar cookies), I was not super impressed with the resulting sandwich cookie. They just don't seem worth it for all the calories they surely pack. Also, be forewarned that if you follow the recipe directions, your cookies will not look this cute. The cookies pictured here were created by placing balled dough, not sliced, on those cookie sheets. *Photo from A Beautiful Mess

Friday, February 17, 2012

Not Quite What I Planned

Now that it's been quite awhile since the wedding, I feel a little more comfortable talking about the failures of our big day. Some of them were little, some a bit larger, but ultimately I'm probably the only one who noticed them.
Hot right? Who wouldn't want to be walking down the aisle toward that?
Well, this was to be Nathan's wedding outfit. It was somewhat more fancy than just the dress pants he usually wears to work, making it a special look for the wedding, but not too fancy that he would feel uncomfortable. However, when he tried it on, my handsome husband looked more like Magilla Gorilla. Apparently his shoulders are too wide to pull off the vest look.

Needless to say, this early failure was avoided and I ended up with a groom who looked like this:

So far, no complaints, right? We moved the location of our wedding; we changed caterers three days before, and we were half an hour or so late to start the wedding...None of these things are a big deal in my memory at all, but there is one. Oh that one thing, that I am still moderately horrified to remember.

And that is the music that played as I walked down the aisle. The song choice began with all the best intentions. After all, it's called You Remind Me of Home. It's by the unoffensive Ben Gibbard, lead singer of Death Cab for Cutie. What could go wrong, you ask? Exactly. Well, apparently in the last minute planning of everything it was mentioned by my sister that I didn't have any music planned. I scrolled quickly through my ipod and remembered my fondness for the tune of this song that I had recently obtained, so I said, this will work, right? I played a bit and we all nodded, but clearly NO ONE LISTENED TO THE WORDS because I walked down the aisle with the following words wafting all around me:

You remind me of home
The paint cracks when the water leaks from the rusty pipes that are just beneath my feet
You remind me of home
The heater's warm but fills the room with a potpourri of dust and gas fumes

You remind me of home

A broken bed with dirty sheets that creaks when I am shifting in my sleep
You remind me of home
In a suburban town with nothing to do, patiently waiting for something to happen

But the foundation is crumbling

And becoming one with the ground
While you lay there in slumber
You're wasting your life
Wasting your life

You remind me of home

Sitting on a thrift store couch, I'm trying to get this all down 

What!? So awful. Could I have picked a more romantic song? I doubt it. Of course we have a lovely song that we've always considered "our" song that is much more romantic, but Moonlight in Vermont wouldn't work for an afternoon wedding in New York state (talk about over thinking it, right?), so yeah I went with something that I, as someone who takes great pride in knowing music and paying attention to lyrics, am still rather mortified to think of as my wedding song. Oh those last minute decisions, they'll getcha.

I'm going with that song being one of those opposite things meant to balance out the luck of the marriage or keep us out of the eye of the gods...or something. Honestly, mostly I just try not to think about that part of the wedding day!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Wisdom of a 3-Year-Old

3 years old By The Sweet Light via flickr

While babysitting this weekend, I enjoyed the following conversations with my 3-year-old upstairs neighbor.

"I'm supposed to let you do your work. Am I letting you do your work?"
"Yes, you're doing a good job."
"Are you done yet?"
"No, I've only been working a little while."
"Is it going to be a long while?"
"I don't know if I'm going to be good at this."

"You are sniffing...You need someone to take care of you sometimes. You don't have anyone taking care of you!" (Face crumpling and looking extremely concerned.)
"Nathan takes care of me sometimes."
"OH GOOD. You have to let him. You have to say oh, ok. Don't say no, no. You have to let him because he's worried about you."

"I'm trying to remember something important."
"Ok. Can I help?"
"...oh, I see. The cow jumped over the moon. That's it."

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

My Funny Valentine

I came across these vintage valentines at an antique shop recently. I couldn't resist sharing...

A valentine from your stalker.
 The writing says 
"Don't try to get away from me-
That would be all wrong, 
'Cause where you least expect it, 
You'll find that I'm along!"

An extremely cautious valentine.

"Valentine's Greetings To Someone I Like"
That valentine greeting for when you're not quite ready to commit fully to the whole love thing.

This is one of the oddest poems for a valentine. I had a moment of relief that
Nathan did not encounter it first, or I'm sure I would find it in my valentine envelope this year.
"As much as college 'profs' love books/As much as icemen love the cooks/
As much as some folks love home brew/That's half the love I have for you!"

Of course this was my favorite!
"Blondes may be favorite but oh you red!"

Sunday, February 12, 2012

This is Typical: Diagram of a Disagreement

Nathan and I have entirely different communication styles. In fact, our brains are wired so differently that we, on an almost daily basis, have a discussion that seems straightforward and impossible to misconstrue only to realize later that we came away with wildly different understandings of the discussion. Usually this realization comes too late to do us any good.

Nathan's diagram of one such misunderstanding.

Back when I had my old phone, which was very limited in its capabilities, Nathan texted me while I was on a conference call asking me if I was on my way to pick him up as we headed out of town for the weekend. I texted him back a y which I meant as short for yes. He took that to mean "Why?" So he wrote back, "Can't you just answer," which I understood as "Can't you just answer my call?"  since he had tried to call me twice already (but actually he meant can't you just answer the question?) I was so frustrated that I had to exit my conference call (which wasn't over) to call him back just to tell him that "yes, I am here to pick you up" that by the time he finally got to the car I refused to talk because I knew we'd end up yelling at each other (never a good start to a 3 1/2 hour drive).

There's nothing more demoralizing to an English major than to feel like she cannot communicate clearly. I can't begin to list how many times this has happened. We used to get so exasperated with each other that we'd end up fuming. Because of one such conversation, I spent one Sunday morning sitting in a parked car next to the interstate halfway to Chicago while Nathan finished his golf game in Indianapolis. We have walked miles out of our way trying to "meet up" somewhere in our own neighborhood! Fights have begun only to turn out that we are actually arguing the same side.

 Luckily, at this point in our relationship we have begun to expect the miscommunications and nearly always find them funny. I now tend to err on the side of rephrasing something six times suspecting that he will probably still miss my point, while he just assumes I'm going to get lost on my way to meet him. And yes, even after eleven years together we still cannot communicate clearly enough to prove these assumptions wrong.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Love is in the Air

e heard a lot of moving StoryCorps* clips on NPR, but this one ranks among my favorites. A perfectly lovely love story that spans decades. If you choose to read it instead of listening, go here.

Photos from Audio produced for Morning Edition by Michael Garofalo with Jasmyn Belcher. The Headens' story is included in the new StoryCorps book, All There Is. 

*StoryCorps is an independent nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs with the opportunity to record, share, and preserve the stories of our lives.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

When It Turns On You

It's surprising how much your physical health impacts your overall outlook on life. My body feels like it is rebelling against me, and it is breaking me down emotionally. And this is only hives! This lingering trail of puffy and extremely itchy bumps from my palms and wrists onto my forearms and backs of my hands that I've had on and off since Thanksgiving has, in the last week, become impossible to get rid of. It is, apparently, a very visible sign of my lack of health that seems to give strangers an invitation to give me advice on nutrition, pet ownership, cleaning, my bathroom routine, etc., not to mention the street diagnoses. "It must be scabies. Look at those gross bumps. Definitely scabies." (It's not.) Strangers have actually shrunk away from my touch.

This gives me a glimmer of understanding of the depth and nuances of emotion that accompany a life altering diagnosis. I am so frustrated with my body for failing me on this very small issue, I can only imagine how much worse it is when the health issue is life threatening. I'm told my body is communicating something to me, and that I need to pay attention. Was this my fault in some way? This seems to have come out of nowhere, a response to some invisible change in my environment. Or worse, it may be a reaction to something that I've been in contact with for years that my body has suddenly decided it cannot tolerate.  

I am left to depend on a doctor who I will have just met who will spend an hour pricking me with needles and coating my body with substances to purposefully cause more hives (this time on my back, one of the few areas that currently doesn't already have them). This should magically tell me that I'm allergic to shellfish or mushrooms or my cat, instead of telling me (what I am afraid will happen) that I am allergic to absolutely every solution that touched me including the doctor's rubber gloves and the paper gown that I wore while getting the test done.

I will warn you now that I am a very physical person; I'm not going to do well in my own personal bubble!