Commuting

Five Things Friday: Things I’m Going to Miss About my Train Line

This is it, Blog Friends. The big move. Today is my last day commuting on the BNSF Metra train line for a while. If you recall, we’re currently moving into Brian’s dad’s house while we begin the hunt for our very own house. As our new residence is only a temporary one, we may return to this commute someday soon, but we won’t know until we find our house. (Which is the most exciting thing EVER. I’m going to have SO MUCH TO TELL YOU. After I’m done packing up all of the shit I’ve accumulated in the last 18 months….or 31 years. One of those.)

But I wanted to reflect on the things I’m going to miss about this particular train line, because it’s been my daily commute for almost a year now. (And I’ve been riding the train for over a year.)

In no particular order,

5 Things I’m Going to Miss About my Train Line

  1. Train buddies.  It’s funny, when I was younger, I dated a guy who had a daily commute to the city and he would talk about having drinks with his train buddies, and I was just like…that’s a thing? Weird. And then I started taking the train every day. And I was in the same spot every day. And in the mornings, I stand in the first car vestibule. Every day. I know the conductor. I know the people. Because we’re in the same spot for 25 minutes every. Single. Day. And you jump into a conversation here or there (which Brian HATES that I do) and the next thing you know, you’re on a first name basis, telling everyone your life story. And then you’re buddies. And you’ll miss them when you leave.
  2. The funny conductor. My morning conductor, whose name is always on the tip of my tongue, but I can never remember, is hysterical. He’s always grumbling and making fun of Metra like it’s his job. I like him because he remembers me and doesn’t make me pull my pass out every morning. He also makes fun of the mean conductor (who was in charge of the cars that I originally sat in). He’s quite a likable fellow. Even though he rarely smiles.
  3. 25 minute commute time. I’m super lucky to have been living in a hub of commuters. Downers Grove is an express train line, and it’s the last stop on the inbound express. Which means I get on the train, and it’s non-stop to Union Station.  I’m going to miss that when I have a 45 minute train commute…tacking on lots and lots of extra time to my day.
  4. The fancy pants grocery store. So on our way home, we get off the train and there’s this adorbs grocery store that has delicious cheese for me and pico de gallo for Brian. It’s pretty much everything we need in our kitchen. Right there. So convenient. So delicious. I asked Brian the other day, “OMG where I am I going to get my cheese!? There are no fancy grocery stores or even Trader Joe’s nearby! I’m going to have to drive an hour to get cheese.” But then I remembered the cheese shop 4 blocks from my office and I could breath again.
  5. The evening conductor. Brian hates that I strike up conversations with strangers and he randomly gets sucked into them. HATES it. But I do. And he does. And one of those people is the evening conductor on our train. While we have separate commutes in the morning, Brian and I often train home together. And we sit in the same seats in the same car every day. And our conductor always stops and chats with us. More recently, he discovered that we are not, in fact, married. And now he teases Brian about it. Which makes me laugh.

It basically feels like I’m moving schools or leaving a job or something. It’s sad. Apparently wherever I go, I build my own little community. I love that about me.

What about you, Blog Friends? Do you have a routine that you would miss if you moved? Have you ever gone through this? Do you commute on a train? What’s the world like for you?

Two Hours in the Life of Me. A Typical Atypical Day.

The other day my morning progressed in the following fashion:

7:00 AM: Woke up. Late.

Got dressed. In the dark.

Packed some snacks for work and yogurt for breakfast.

Waited on Brian. (This is unusual as he is typically waiting on me.)

Gave Brian my gigantic umbrella. Used a tiny substitute.

7:42 AM Missed my train. By a millisecond.

Thought to self, So this is how the day is going to go.

8:25 AM Got to the city.

Walking to work, I looked down at my shirt. Inside out.

Got to the elevator.

Thought to self, If the ‘vator is empty…

Then people jumped on. Got to the 16th floor.

Realized I didn’t push the 13.

Thought to self, So this is how the day is going to go.

Pushed 13. Flipped shirt outside in.

Elevator opened.

8:45 AM Got to desk.

9:00 AM Looked for yogurt. Left bag at home.

Thought to self, So this is how the day is going to go.

And the day pretty much continued like that.

Sometimes, I feel like this is the norm moreso than it is unusual for me. Inside out shirts, forgetting things at home, not paying attention to where I’m going, fixing the problem in the most inappropriate way ever…I mean, if anyone had gotten on the elevator between floors 15 and 14, they would have gotten a much better view. Also, I think there’s a camera in the elevator. Whatever.

If you don’t believe me, here are a few additional examples.

That one morning when all hell broke loose with the broken glasses and the freezing and the ugh right before vacation.

That other morning when I was a little late to work because I forgot my keys

That time I got a concussion because of a no parking sign and the Willy Wonka of meat candy.

That other time I almost died because of an invisible wire.

I mean, at least it’s spread out over the course of several months, right?

Me on a good commuter day (okay, fine...this was on my way home.)
Me on a good commuter day (okay, fine…this was on my way home.)

Why do we rush around so much? What’s your rushed morning look like.

Every Two Seconds Someone Punches Someone Else in the Arm-And That’s Why We Can’t Have Nice Things…or World Peace

A conversation Brian and I had this morning had me in tears I was laughing so hard. I had every intention of getting on the train and typing it in my phone so that I didn’t forget it. And then I got on the train and got all chatty…and boom. It was lost.

So when I went to write the post at lunch, I was all, SHIT! I forgot what we were laughing about. Or rather, what I was laughing about. Luckily, when you have a boyfriend as cool as mine, he’ll text you a little reminder. And then you win at life.

Brian: What do you want for your birthday?

Me (thinking): I hate this question
Me (talking): I don’t know. World peace.
Brian: Okay. I will give you world peace. Two whole seconds of it.
Me: That’s impossible. The whole world is never asleep for the same two seconds.
Brian: No one has to be asleep. I will give you two seconds of world peace. You don’t have to trust me.
Me: You’re not going to give me world peace.
Brian: Yes I am. I’ll give you two seconds of world peace. It’ll be good. You’ll love it.
Me: It’s not even possible. Something bad happens in every second of every minute of every hour of every day of every week of…
Brian: No. I’ll give you two seconds.
Me: I don’t believe you.
Brian: You’ll get two seconds of peace. I swear. And I will tell you ahead of time so that it’s an actual prediction, but it’s up to you to confirm it. But you will probably punch me in the shoulder during that time out of spite like a typical human.
Me: I don’t have to punch you in the arm. It’s not going to be two seconds of world peace.
Brian: You’re going to punch me in the arm in those two seconds aren’t you?
Me: Yes.
birthday dessert
This. I want this for my birthday. Cheese in my dessert.

I hate it when people ask what I want for my birthday. So the next time someone asks, I want something really clever to say. Any ideas? What do you want for YOUR birthday?

Can Someone Come Over and Pack My Shit?

Hey Blog Friends.

Sorry about, you know…my mini-disappearing act. Things are getting hectic around here…we’re moving in T minus 11 days, and the only things that are packed around here are the Christmas dishes…because It was almost April and we were still using the Christmas dishes. Because it was too cold to bring up the non-Christmas dishes from the unattached garage…and then we were going to be moving. And so it was just silly to switch out dishes that were going to get packed up in less than a few months…and I’m totally making excuses, but as it stands now, we’re using paper plates and really crappy paper bowls and sometimes eating soup out of mixing bowls or small pots. Basically we’re doing exactly what I typically call Brian out on through Instagram photos.

So maybe there are a few more things packed. Like the pot that I thought I needed the other day. And about 70% of my game collection is living at my parents’ house (which seems to both disgust my mother and impress my brother) because 1. I can’t bear to leave it all in storage without easy access, 2. You can only fit a couple of games in a single box and 3. I’m afraid of the amount of storage unit space they would take up…And there are bigger fish to fry in the storage unit.

Okay, and I’ve gone through two rounds of clothes packing. Two rounds of, I don’t think I’ll need these clothes for the duration. Two rounds of, Dear God please let us not still be there when fall comes back because I have some ridiculously cute fall clothes that I’m rolling up into storage bins. Two rounds of, I really should probably donate these pants that are 4 sizes smaller than my current pant size, but I don’t care because I really like them. 

Our weekends are filled with birthdays and weddings and anniversaries and a million other things that keep us ridiculously busy…and unpacked. And of course, even though we live in the same residence and share all the things…everything but the computer stuff, several random boxes of randomness that haven’t been unpacked since we moved here 18 months ago and his clothes seems to be mine. And Brian keeps saying that he doesn’t want to pack my stuff (as in my kitchen stuff, my bathroom stuff, my chatchkis, my art, my games, my linens, my food) because he feels he’ll inevitably do it wrong. Because packing is apparently one of my “things.” Okay, sure…I have a few OCD tendencies…I got a little crazy with TSA when they dug through my skunky Disney suitcase…okay and maybe he’s concerned that I’ll get upset or have to redo the packing…

But here we are with 8 days to pack up all our stuff and each day seems to fill up with work, gym, life, etc. So I’m going to ask nicely…

Can someone please come over and pack my shit stuff?

I May Not Have Won a Bloggie, but I did Win a Dance Off and That’s Good Enough for Me.

So, y’all remember how I’m an elite Yelper, right? The other night, I attended a sweet Elite event at my favorite breakfast restaurant, which happens to conveniently live across the street from me…for 17 more days.

At this delightful event, we were served mimosas, crepes and French toast…in our pajamas. And you know how I feel about breakfast. I love me a pajama jammy jam if there ever was one, and any opportunity to wear my sparkle camo slippers in public is a big win.

There are sequins on them, I swear. Also, don’t judge my Polish cankles.

Anyways, so I found out at about 7 that the Bloggies went and lied, saying they were tweeting the winners on March 31, but really they did it on the 30th. Whatevs. I was over it with three swigs of my mimosa. (I was honored to be nominated for THREE flippin’ categories, and it makes my heart happy that y’all supported me in this endeavor. So thank you!)

But THEN the Yelpy community manager, Candice was all, “Hey there’s a dance off!”

And I was all, “Pants on dance off, right? No public pants off dance offs, right?” Because sometimes you have to confirm that shit.

My pal, V, was chanting like “Do it! Do it! Do it!”

And I’m thinking to myself, Fuck. I’m not wearing a bra…

And then I thought…But I have mad dance skillz. 

OBVIOUSLY, I danced anyway…

And tied for first place. It was a great honor for sure, because my dance moves were rocking (not). I did the running man, the twist, the Chrissy (basically bounce around like a fool until someone tells you to sit down before you hurt yourself) and many more. And I looked like an ass. But people think I’m funny…or they feel sorry for me and I got a gift card to go back and get me some corned beef hash bennies (it’s the best corned beef hash ever. Even better than my own corned beef hash recipe!) *drool*

And here’s a video created by one of my favorite Yelpvendors Andres D., photographer/videographer extraordinaire!

Have you ever participated in or won a dance off? What did you win? Would you do it? What would you dooooo for a Klondike bar (or an ice cream sandwich cake)?

Ice cream sandwich cake

Easy Peasy Ice Cream Cake for the Lazy and Crazy Like Me

I know. That title is terrible. But this ice cream cake? SO. NOT. TERRIBLE.

Ice Cream Sandwich Cake

So last week, Brian sent me an animated gif with ice cream sandwiches becoming a cake. With Brian’s birthday this past Saturday, and the fact that he NEVER requests things like that…I knew I had to make this cake. Of course, there was no how to on the gif, so I made it up as I went.

Yesterday, we celebrated my brother-in-law’s birthday, Brian’s birthday and sort of my brother’s birthday (he’s 30 this year, so we’ve got another party for him next week). I got all the ingredients to make this sweet little cake and dropped them off at Mom’s.

After dinner, I pulled out the ingredients and quickly whipped this cake into shape. It was seriously the easiest thing ever. And the 15 minutes? Totally included picture taking.

15-Minute Ice Cream Cake (serves 6-8)

Ingredients

  • 9 ice cream sandwiches
  • chocolate syrup
  • caramel syrup
  • Cool Whip

Steps

  1. Lay 3 ice cream sandwiches next to each other
  2. Drizzle chocolate and caramel over the sandwiches (this keeps the layers all stuck together-I also considered using real frosting or fruit)
  3. Lay 3 ice cream sandwiches in the opposite direction
  4. Repeat steps 2 & 3
  5. Cover the entire cake with Cool Whip
  6. Decorate as much or as little as you like
  7. Slice lengthwise for ice cream cake joy

BOOM.

Also, don’t you dare judge my super awesome chocolate caramel heart on the top of the Cool Whip. I forgot to bring maraschino cherries.

You guys, this was seriously delicious. Everyone enjoyed it. It got a little messy near the end–definitely more difficult to cut than I thought it would be. Just make sure you slice all the way through the cookie layers, and you’ll be good to go.

Chesh: The Untold Story and Why Disney Thinks I’m a Villain 

I’ve got a very special guest post today brought to you by a random Facebook conversation and a classy group of bloggers. You’re welcome. I think.

Greetings. You may know me as Chesh or The Cheshire Cat. Recently, I’ve been seen consorting with a slew of Disney villains in the Monopoly world, and honestly, I’d like to speak on my behalf.

image

It’s hard to fit in with this Disney world. There’s not a lot of room for the morally gray. You’re either a princess or a villain. There’s very little in-between. Even Alice gets honorary princess status among those other hoity toity teens.

I liked Alice. She was silly and irresponsible. It was especially fun to play with her in the presence of the Red Queen. But now, she’s a princess (of sorts), and I’m a villain.

Villain. HA!

I’ll admit it. I’m a trickster. A prankster, at best. I’ve never done much wrong. Nobody’s perfect. And yes, I am quite mad. But I’m not angry. Or even crazy. And most certainly not a villain.

I’m just tricky. I like to have a little fun every now and then. Sure, I’ve got a cynical side, but doesn’t everyone?

A few years back, I tried hanging out with The Sinister Cat Club, but they didn’t like my style. Those Siamese cats couldn’t handle my disappearing act. It was quite amusing, really. One would see my tail and the other would see my grin…they’d each pounce and *poof* they’d be pouncing on each other without even noticing that I was laughing on the other side of the room.

So I went to find Alice. She was having her nails done with Jasmine. I thought this would the perfect opportunity to acquaint myself with Rajah and Dinah. Rajah was alright, albeit a little whiny, but Dinah was insufferable.

Luckily, that little monkey with the hat (his name escapes me) was there to make me laugh. Until I stole his little hat. Then, some genie came after me with little regard for my disassembled body. He grabbed my tail, eyes and grin and tossed me out of the salon so fast, I didn’t even know what was happening.

So I don’t fit with the villains. And I don’t fit in with the princesses. I decided to come to the real world and hang out with some real life bloggers, instead. That Quirky Chrissy and Words for Worms Katie are the bee’s knees, in my book. Who needs Disney, anyway?

image

Holy Crap, We’re Actually Moving.

Life update:

It’s hard to believe it’s been 18 months since we moved into our little Downers Grove apartment. Our first home together with just the two of us. The first non-college apartment I ever lived in. The first place I officially moved out of my parents’ house to live. There’s some serious nostalgia here.

But I’m excited. Because I’m pretty sure the apartment has been trying to kill me for 18 months. And because this means we’re legit looking for a house. Where we can build a secret passageway and a slide/staircase. And create the perfect quirky and unique home that is all ours forever. (I’m an optimist, kids).

Moving to a new home
Our bedroom hasn’t looked this perfect since that day we moved in. *facepalm*

Our move is scheduled for less than one month from today.  For the duration, 95% of our things are going to live in storage, and we, along with the other 5% of our crap, are going to live in Brian’s childhood home. We have a few weeks (and zero weekends) to pack up all of our things and decide what we absolutely need to keep with us and what we don’t. Obviously, I’m having a hard time with this.

But on the bright side, this adventure ends with a second move, from storage to a house.

I want to know, Blog Friends, what would you keep with you when most of your stuff has to live in a storage unit for an unknown duration of time.

Save me!

Three Years Later, and No One Can Make Me Laugh as Much as This Guy

Today is our third anniversary. We’ve now got 3 years of a laughter-foundation to build on. Last year on our anniversary, I wrote Brian a schmoopy and ridiculous letter and made him a super special card.

This year, I’ll spare you the schmoop and (hopefully) make you laugh.

Thanks to Daylight Savings Time, I’m still not in my normal sleep patterns. So Brian was ready to fall asleep the other night when I rolled into bed. I popped a melatonin (Dudes. The NatureMade Vitamelts taste like mint chocolate. #shamelessplug #noonepaidme) and tried to get sleepy.

Of course, I started rambling at Brian about him getting sleepy and hypnotizing him into loving Disney and wanting to go to all the Disney parks in the world. He picked up on my game and started saying we could go to Disney Antarctica (and that segwayed into tap-dancing penguins [because shouldn't every conversation lead to tap-dancing penguins?] and flying puffins).

Eventually, though, he commented on my lack of sleepiness. And this is how that conversation went down.

Brian: You’re not tired at all, are you.
Me: Nope. But I’m trying to tone it down.
Brian: You’re melatonin it down, you mean?

At which point I started laughing like a hyena and giggling like it was the funniest thing on the planet. Even though it wasn’t really. And then he was totally awake. And trying to shush me. But I couldn’t. Stop. Laughing. And was thankful that our downstairs neighbors moved out because I was laughing REALLY loud. And I would have felt bad.

5 minutes later, I was out like a light.  I do that. All awake one minute; passed out the next.

Things like this happen. All. The. Time. Because he’s funny. But mostly, he’s funny to me.

To the best boyfriend on the entire planet-Happy Anniversary.

Do you and your person/boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife/partner have weird inside jokes and make each other laugh with really bad jokes?

 

 

Corned Beef Hash in Green Earth Frying Pan

Makin’ Breakfast with my Ozeri Green Earth Frying Pan AKA Corned Beef Hash JOY

I recently had the opportunity to work with Ozeri, who sent me a free 8″ Green Earth Ceramic Non-stick Frying Pan to test out in my kitchen. The product was free, but as usual, no one paid me to say nice things. Those are all me.

I was super excited when this pan arrived in the mail. I’ve been jonesing for a new pan for quite some time now, and when Ozeri asked me to work with them I was all, “HECK YES!” Plus, I’ve been having some SERIOUS trouble with my cast iron skillet, so this was a nice vacation from that.

Ozeri
8″ Green Earth Frying Pan by Ozeri, with Textured Ceramic Non-Stick Coating from Germany (100% PTFE and PFOA Free)

The color is a happy shade of green, which just makes me smile, and the textured coating is unique. I was concerned by it at first, but I rapidly discovered that it was not a problem at all. When they said non-stick, they meant it!

I decided that I’d be making breakfast for you, since it’s kind of my thing. And with St. Patrick’s Day, I had a corned beef from the Irish deli just waiting to be used. This recipe is SUPER easy, so get ready for it.

Corned Beef Hash

Ingredients

  • 1 thick slice of corned beef (simmered the night before)
  • 5 canned whole potatoes (cooked in the corned beef pot)Corned Beef and Potatoes
  • a pinch of onion powder
  • a pinch of thyme
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1/2 Tbs Kerry Gold Irish Butter with Garlic and Herbs (you can use regular butter…but why?)

Kerry Gold Irish Butter with Garlic and Herbs

That’s all.

Steps

  1. Dice corned beef into tiny pieces
  2. Dice potatoes into tiny pieces (they should be a little sticky)Homemade Corned Beef Hash
  3. Mix potatoes and beef together
  4. Sprinkle seasonings and salt over mixture
  5. Mix well
  6. Melt butter in Ozeri Green Earth Frying PanKerry Gold Butter in Ozeri Green Earth Frying Pan
  7. Add corned beef mixtureCorned Beef Hash in Green Earth Frying Pan
  8. Fry until golden brown (or preferred crispness)2014-03-20 08.00.18

The pan was AWESOME to work with. I walked about for about 5 minutes while the corned beef hash was frying and sizzling in the pan and nothing stuck to the pan, nothing caused problems. You’ll even see in the video that I created for you how easily everything cooked up in my Ozeri pan.

Of course, it’s important to clean the pan well. It came with all sorts of instructions to make sure that I keep it in top notch condition. Obviously, Brian’s not allowed to play with this one. Yet, anyways. So I made sure that it was cooled down before I cleaned it, as recommended by the product guide. I don’t want to chance it in our shoddy apartment dishwasher, so I have hand washed it every time I’ve used it so far.

Look, guys! I made you a video! You’re welcome.

If you click on the links to Amazon products above, and buy things, you will be supporting my cheese habit. And you’ll be buying a rockin’ awesome pan. So there’s that.

Blog Friends, do you have a favorite pan at home? Or a love of corned beef hash? Or breakfast in general?